Friday, December 9, 2011

Growing Up

Well, I can say I am in a much better place than I was 1 year ago when I thought my world was crumbling apart.  When PT school did not work out for me, and when I was crying once, if not 2-3 times a week because I was failing and not enjoying it.  Thought I was failing in life.  Sometimes I wonder if I brought that upon myself, thinking I had to be studying every second of the day.  (Which...we almost did!  It was legit hard!)

The exercise science/kinesiology major is definitely for me.  I got 100% on my physiology of aging final, and 97.5 on my exercise physiology final.  Clearly, I'm in the right place.  :)  I think I'll have a 4.0 this semester, or close to it (haha-not sure about research methods-that's more of a challenge for me, but hoping for an A!)  This is also the 1st semester I haven't cried over a tough class.  I even cried every semester in undergrad-because I had to take some harder classes to get into PT school like chem and physics-challenging for me! 

I'm in such a great mood today, thought I'd write a blog about it.  I taught my first whole spin class this morning, and it went real well.  The other trainer said I did a great job, and some of the members came up to me after and said they really enjoyed the class!  I also get compliments on when I sub for a strength training class :)  I definitely feel like I was meant to teach fitness classes.  I just need to get a GroupEx certification so I can have my own class in a few sessions I'm hoping!  I work at the Y, have my personal training certification as well as a Spin cert.  I'm allowed to sub for other group ex classes because of those certifications.  Anyways..I think one of the reasons I am pretty good at teaching them is because I learned a lot from fitness DVDs I used to follow like Denise Austin, and various others, as well as taking classes myself.  I mean...every day in the summers or on break I would throw in a tape and workout!  I was thinking..maybe I could make my own DVD 1 day, but I don't even know how to go about that, I'd need help.

So, I am still unsure of where I want to go with this degree, but I have options :)  Either in a more clinical setting (cardiac or pulmonary rehab), or corporate fitness (I like fitness the most...but then, I also enjoy older adults and working with them too in a clinical setting...I'm very thorough, which I think would be good in the hospital).  I could maybe take 1 class a semester toward the PhD+work.  Ahhh I don't know.

Ideally, though, this is my dream job that I made up:  Owning a fitness center within a ski resort out West.  I don't even know if they have those.  But I should start one.  Then, I could own the fitness center, personal train, teach classes, and teach snowboard lessons.  Haha :)

Oh, and I have an AWESOME boyfriend who is an avid cyclist, and doesn't mind the amount I work out, because he often spends 14 hrs a week on his bike in season.  Nice.  I support that.

My sister has been working out more too.  Also wrote my mom an interval workout for her bike this winter-she gets bored riding the same moderate level all the time.  She enjoyed it-even sweated more wooo!  I wish I was closer to home sometimes so I could train her!  Us Perchinske's work hard!  Seriously, though, it's my mom's "always working at the best of your ability, no slacking" attitude, and my dad's super strong work ethic that has produced the same results in my sister and I :)  We have AWESOME parents!  Now...if only I could be promised a great job in the future where I can make an impact in people's lives, and Kristen a good job for next semester, she's graduating next week woo hoo!

Ok, I better get started on some schoolwork today, haha, I haven't yet! 

"Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness."  Edward Stanley

"God is with those who persevere."

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it."  Helen Keller

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Exercise Slows the Aging Process!

So, my teacher sent me some articles she found on cognitive function and aging.  For those of you who read this and don't know, I'm doing my thesis on it.  (Yes, for sure, I know I get excited about other things, but the mind is extremely fascinating to me, and so are studying the effects of aerobic exercise on the body, including the brain.)

Well, this article is titled, "Long-term treadmill exercise induces neuroprotective molecular changes in rat brain"
Rodents are similar to humans in the physiological workings of the body.  Anyways, they compared 3 groups-moderately exercised rats, handled but nonexercising group (handled on the treadmill somehow I guess), and a sedentary group.  What they found: That exercise...
-improved many brain parameters especially in the hippocampus.
-upregulated sirtuin-1, a protein in the brain that extends life
-stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis
- activated AMPK
-preventions of signs of neurodegeneration
"These findings are consistent with other reports showing that physical exercise has positive effects on hormesis."

I wasn't quite sure what mitochondrial biogensis was, so I looked it up, and came across this from another study.
"Moderate exercise also mimics CR by inducing mitochondrial biogenesis. Negative regulators of PGC-1alpha such as RIP140 and 160MBP suppress mitochondrial biogenesis. Another mechanism involved in mitochondrial maintenance is mitochondrial fission/fusion and this process also involves an increasing number of regulatory proteins. Dysfunction of either biogenesis or fission/fusion of mitochondria is associated with diseases of the neuromuscular system and aging, and a greater understanding of the regulation of these processes should help us to ultimately control the aging process." CR is caloric restriction.  I've read some studies for class saying that in rodents as well as 1 study involving humans for a short period of time, calorie restriction also helps slow the aging process and diseases associated with aging.  However, not many people are going to want to restrict their calorie intake so much for the rest of their lives :) So it's good news that exercise, and just a moderate amount, can slow the aging process.

This, I've kind of always known, and been scared of chronic illnesses later in life.  Yes, I worry about these things now, even though I'm young lol.  My grandmother had a heart attack, and my grandpa had a # of them, with triple by-pass surgery.  My other grandma has Alzheimer's.  I am going to try to do everything I can to avoid these diseases.  This is why I do what I do.  I want to see if I can live a very long, diseased free life.  This is why during my 40hr internship I decided to train for a full marathon at the age of 22.  This is why in grad school, I still work out just as intensely as the summer months.  This is why I sometimes workout twice a day in grad school.  Sometimes I lose sleep (only sometimes, don't worry) in order to get workouts done (still producing great school work!).  I am fully confident that when I have a full time job I'm still going to be able to work out for at least an hour a day.  I did it once and can do it the rest of my life, and I'm doing it now because school+assistantship is like a full time job.  Oh and if I decide to have children someday-I'll be that crazy jogging with a stroller or attaching the baby thing on the back of my bike.  Nothing will slow me down unless I get injured or die from the crazy adventures I tend to take on!  :)  Plus, if I didn't workout this much...I wouldn't be as fit to do the things I really love snowboarding for 8hrs a day or going surfing or backpacking through mountains...:)  Live the life you love!  Who cares what everyone else thinks.

Of don't have to work out as intensely as I like to...this study..and a number of others show that it's just moderate exercise that is needed :)  (Although I think more intense exercise few days a week can produce even greater benefits....:)

I am also proud to say that I have no gray hairs at 24, almost 25, and my mom had her first at 18 LOL :)  Of course, she's wasn't as athletic like me :)   But I sure do look like her!  She looks pretty well for her age of 55-she still walks or rides her bike regularly. (mitochondrial biogenesis article)

and (the exercise and brain health article)

It's so cool that sirtuin-1 extends life!  And that exercise can boost this protein!!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


This weekend was amazing.  When my teachers told us during the first week that they needed grad students to go to the MWACSM (Midwest Chaptor of American College of Sports Medicine), I made sure to tell them right away I wanted to go :)  I always enjoy reading research articles from them online, and it's the organization I got certified through for personal training.  (Which, my teachers told me that is the most highly recognized organization, so we should get certified by them, if possible, in case anyone wants to know :)  My teacher was the executive director this year.  I remember I was on the 2008 jeopardy team when they came to BGSU.  I got to watch that this weekend, it was fun, our team of undergrads didn't win, though :(  They pulled questions like which muscle flexes the knee and internally rotates it?  I couldn't remember, but it was Popliteus.  LoL, who would remember that muscle?  Now I'll never forget it :) 

There were 5 of us grad students, we had to have at least 2 students working registration at all times, I felt a little guilty I kept leaving, but my teacher said it was ok, they wanted us to learn and see what was being done in the field.  I sat in on The Female Athlete Triad, Patellofemoral Syndrome, Resistance Training for Triathletes, Genetics and Sport, Physiological Adaptations to Long-Term Exposure: Implications for Exercise Performance (which was very interesting, but the way, they studied natives in the Andes and Himalyays and compared the two, interestingly, the andes natives had way more hemoglobin than at sea level, and I forget what else, but the himalayans adapted more physiologically to their climate.  Anyways, what was the most interesting to me was that from living at high altitudes for all their lives, their brains can actually atrophy, and have some cognitive impairment.  The researcher wasn't sure if that was from the altitude or nutritional deficiencies, they didn't study it further), I also listened to the Physiology of Endurance Performance:  What do we Really know?  Basically, it was about environmental factors like heat, carbohydrate intake (they talked about depleting carbs somewhat the week before, then a few days before eating more of it to help increase performance, and caffeine actually helps.  I'm sorry I can't go into much of this further because I was very tired at this point, and although interesting, I couldn't pay attention fully :(  And I'm exhausted right now, it's been a long weekend)

Anyways, I enjoyed chatting with the guys who talked about resistance training in triathletes-no one really knows the exact doseage of resistance training for triathletes.  They said either lifting heavy with low reps, OR lifting light with high reps worked the same.  Interesting, as I have always been taught in undergrad that for endurance athletes, you want them to lift light but with high reps, for some strength and more importantly muscle endurance.  However, some people may respond differently to it, (like me, I think, I gain muscle so fast), and you also want to help these athletes train for power, because duh, you need powerful arms, powerful legs on the bike and run.  Yes, you can train for these sports, but important to get in the weight room during off season, at least twice a week, if not 3-4.  Now, during the summer, they told me to back off resistance training (I usually do anyways, ha, but I was curious as to what they did, so I had a chat with them afterwards and today :)  So...yeah...if I want to get faster, I'm going to have to make lifting a priority as well.  It will not increase VO2max, BUT it will help these athletes train at a higher percentage of their VO2max if their muscles are stronger and more powerful-this means you will be able to exercise for a longer period of time without fatigue at a higher intensity.  Cool.  I think I knew that, somewhere back in the cobwebs.  This is what I like about exercise science.  There are always new findings in the field, and what we were once taught, could change.  It's a very humbling field.  You think you know it all, then we come out with new insights and studies, and information, and it completely changes.

So, the one guy gave my his contact info and told me to email him.  So I did already :)  Northern Kentucky.  Now, I know I keep talking about the West, haha, but Kentucky may have what I'm looking for, too.  Ah, this is why I take the road less traveled by.  Always an adventure, life, not knowing where you're going.  Sorry, this is probably poorly written, I'm very tired from the weekend, I didn't even get to workout 2 days in a row!  (figured I needed a break anyways, I'm still not fully recovered from trail running up and down hills 3 days in a row last weekend.) 

Got to know my classmates better.  I don't think I'll be as nervous standing up in front of the class.  Now, I have a paper due Monday I need to finish tomorrow, and present it on Wed.  It's on fitness and activity levels in older adults and how it impacts their cognition.  It'll be fun to talk about.  I wanted to do my masters thesis on it. this what I PERSONALLY enjoy doing, or am I doing it just because my grandmother has Alzheimer's and I want to find ways to help improve cognition and at least delay the onset of the disease.  No...I am personally more interested in endurance performance.  I may have to have a talk with my teachers...ugh.  I can't let this be like PT school.  I have to do things for myself, or I'm never going to be fully happy.  I may radiate happiness (most of the time, unless I'm stressed from school, yes, it happens with deadlines and training and lack of sleep, but in the end, I'm glad I'm doing this :)  but I have to do what I want to do. 

So...I emailed that professor who studies endurance athletes in Kentucky, he seemed interested in chatting with me (especially after I told him what I did this summer...:) and he knows one of our new professors at BGSU.  Awesome.  So..maybe I can keep in touch with him.  Also got the contact info from the guy who studies altitudes.  I LOVE THE OUTDOORS.  Options...OH!  My classmate asked if I wanted to be in our new professors study-he's testing runners-having them do intervals and testing VO2max, I believe, as well as blood lactate, I think, and other things.  So...I told him I was interested.  I'm not the best runner, though, but it'd be cool to be in that study. 

Now I've made some of my dreams come true already.  I'm unsure of my future.  I have options.  I'm waiting to here back from Rev3 for a sponsorship( lol, I still find it weird saying those  sponsored?)  It prob won't happen, it's probably really competitive, but I sure am motivated.  All I like to do is train and study exercise physiology.  I'm not your average 24 yr old, I'd rather stay at home and write a blog on this than go out LOL :)  Besides...I have a 2hr run and 1hr resistance workout I need to get done tomorrow morning before I start my project.  No time for drinks, did that last night with my classmates and teachers haha :)

Sorry my blogs are more emotional and personal than they are scientific.  I'll post my writings towards the end of the semester if I get good grades on them, lol.  And adventurous lately, no big races.  Sleeping Bear Dunes, MI was fun last weekend though!  Beautiful area, lots of outdoorsy stuff to do. 

I should end this with a quote, as I'm tired and can't blog anymore!

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I---
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
People, I WILL finish a half ironman, full ironman, more 5k swims, 10k swims, maybe the Channel, maybe ride across USA, ultramarathons, and snowboard in CO.  I'm thinking no full on marathons for awhile, I need to cross train if I have some talent and motivation in triathlons.  Oh and more backpacking and extreme hiking and snowboarding :)  I want to backpack a little of the AT this spring break if I can :) Oh, and I'm thinking, I might possibly try to write out a triathlon training plan for myself this winter break, but I'll need some help.  Maybe I can email that guy from Kentucky after I write it.  Hopefully I have time with all the snowboarding :) 

sorry for typos,

Your adventurous, nerdy endurance sport/physiology loving friend,

P.S.  Ask me anything you want.  I love talking about this stuff.  I hope I never come off as arrogant, and because like I said, this field is always changing, one must have an open mind to study in the field of the exercise sciences and sport performance as well as the physiology and biology behind all of this.  I don't even know the half of it yet, nor will I ever, I'm sure.  :)  I'm just really passionate about all this and like to share it with others who like it, too :)

P.S.S. the National ACSM meeting is in San Francisco this year, but I don't think the school has funds to send me to that one...darn..:)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

What the Heck is Lactic Acid and What is Responsible for the "Muscle Burn"?

While studying for my Exercise Physiology Exam, I came across lactic acid.  I remember my teacher telling us the "burn" in our muscles isn't actually from lactic acid, but from Hydrogen ions.  I couldn't remember why, exactly, and where lactic acid played a role.  So, I looked it up in my book.  It's pretty common language among athletes to blame the burning in their muscles from sprinting or racing, on lactic acid.  But actually....while it is somewhat true, it's not the real reason.  Let's dive into the underlying science behind it so you can actually understand why lactic acid accumulates in the blood and what, exactly, is responsible for the fatigue!!

I'm just going to quote my book here-

-"Various metabolic byproducts of metabolism have been implicated as factors causing, or contributing to, fatigue.  One example is Pi, which increases during intense short-term exercise as PCr and ATP are being broken down.  Additional metabolic by-products that have received the most attention in discussing fatigue are HEAT, LACTATE, and HYDROGEN IONS."
-Lactic acid is a byproduct of anaerobic glycolysis (what is broken down by anaerobic metabolism,  anaerobic means without oxygen, aka-working out above lactate threshold, aka- sprinting)
-Here is the important part:  "Although most people BELIEVE that lactic acid is responsible for fatigue in all types of exercise, lactic acid accumulates within the MUSCLE FIBER ONLY during relatively brief, highly intense muscular effort.  Marathon runners, for example, may have near-resting lactic acid levels at the end of the race, despite their fatigue.  Their fatigue is likely caused by INADEQUATE ENERGY SUPPLY, NOT EXCESS LACTIC ACID".  This is true for any endurance sport.--it's actually pretty hard to take in enough calories during exercise, despite your efforts, especially in a long race, hence, the fatigue (For me, when I race, it's usually at a higher intensity, and I don't know about you, but sometimes the last thing I want is food, but I know you have to get it down, little bit at a time, as long as you can get some energy in, that's good)

So, what is responsible for this type of fatigue (for short efforts), you say, if it is not what we all commonly think of, lactic acid? (Well, not all, but at least I, and a number of others I'm sure, have misinterpreted!)
Well, it's actually due to the accumulation of Hydrogen ions, wow!!

-"Short sprints in running, cycling, and swimming all lead to large accumulations of lactic acid"-What most of us believe to be true, yes.
-"But the presence of lactic acid should not be blamed for the feeling of fatigue in itself.  When not cleared, the lactic acid dissociates, converting to lactate and causing an accumulation of HYDROGEN IONS.  This Hydrogen ion accumulation causes MUSCLE ACIDIFICATION, resulting in a condition known as acidosis."
-"Activities of short duration and high intensity, such as sprint running and sprint swimming, depend HEAVILY on ANAEROBIC GLYCOLYSIS (remember, anaerobic=exercising without oxygen, which is why you can only do this for a few min, if that.) and produce LARGE AMOUNTS OF LACTATE and HYDROGEN IONS within the muscles" (remember, lactic acid is converted into lactate, which then is responsible for the accumulation of hydrogen ions).
-"Fortunately, the cells and body fluids possess buffers, such as bicarbonate (HCO3), that minimize the disrupting influence of the Hydrogen Ion.  Without these buffers, Hydrogen ion would lower the pH to about 1.5, killing the cells.  Because of the body's buffering capacity, the hydrogen ion concentration remains low even during the most severe exercise, allowing muscle pH to decrease from a resting value of 7.1 to no lower than 6.6 to 6.4 at exhaustion."--I learned in class that the better trained you are, the better you are able to buffer lactic acid.  Cool.
-However, those 6.6 and 6.4 levels are pretty low, and "most researchers agree that low muscle pH is the major limitor of performance and the primary cause of fatigue during maximal, all-out exercise lasting more than 20s to 30s."
-Now, "reestablishing the preexercise muscle pH after an exhaustive sprint bout requires about 30-35 min of recovery"--crazy!

How does this apply to athletes?  Well....

"Even when normal pH is restored, blood and muscle lactate levels can remain quite elevated.  However, experience has shown that an athlete CAN continue to exercise at relatively high intensities even with a muscle pH below 7.0 and a blood lactate level above 6 or 7 mmol/L, 4-5x the resting value.
     "Some coaches and sports physiologists have attempted to use blood lactate measurements to gauge the intensity and volume of training needed to produce an optimal training stimulus.  Such measurements provide an index of training intensity, but they might not reflect the anaerobic processes or the state of acidosis in the muscles.  Because lactate and hydrogen ion are generated in the muscles, both diffuse out of the cells.  They then are diluted in the body fluids and transported to others areas of the body to be metabolized.  Consequently, blood lactate concentrations depend on rates of production, diffusion, oxidation, and clearance.  A variety of factors can influence these processes, so measuring blood lactate is of questionable value for fine-tuning training."

There ya have it.  I hope this cleared up what exactly lactic acid is and what it does inside your body during exercise.  It's converted to hydrogen ions!

Wilmore, J., H., Costill, D., L., & Kenney, L., W.  (2008).  Physiology of Sport and Exercise.     
     Champaign, IL:  Human Kinetics.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Benefits of Daily Exercise

I'm just going to post the many benefits of physical exercise and prove why disuse is one of the factors of aging rather than disease and time.  Aging can help slow down some of the physiological processes that are associated with aging.  I'm just going to list what I read in my book, "The Physical Dimensions of Aging."  I should really be writing papers right now, lol, but I felt the need to post this and point out some important things and misconceptions about aging and exercise.

-4 of the top 5 causes of death in adults are attributable to deterioration of the cardiovascular and respiratory system.  Aging and disuse degrade these systems, whereas systematic exercise generally enhances them.  (I'm sure you've heard this before!)
-The primary structural changes of the aging cardiovascular system include an increased thickening of the walls of the blood vessels and left ventricle, an increased stiffness in the aorta and arterial tree, and an increase in size of the left atrial chamber of the heart (exercise and prevent/slow this from happening...but it has to be habitual exercise throughout life.)
-Now, thickening of the vessel walls is a strong predictor of stroke and cardiovascular disease.  (Ahhhh!  When blood vessels are thicker, blood cannot flow as freely, eventually clotting somewhere in there, leading to decreased oxygen to the brain, which=a stroke! or decreased blood flow to the heart, which=some heart disease)
-By age 75, 54% of men and 66% of women report no physical activity :(
-Now, the recruitment of skeletal muscle during exercise results in an increase in oxygen consumption (VO2)
-The more intense the level of exercise, the greater the oxygen requirement.  VO2 increases as a linear function with increasing exercise intensity and will reach a max value at exhaustion.
-Longer endurance training programs of moderate to high intensity elicited increases in VO2max in older adults SIMILAR IN RELATIVE MAGNITUDE TO THOSE SEEN IN YOUNG ADULTS (keep fit your whole life so you can better use oxygen as you age and will not be dependent on others when you get really old!)
-This was really interesting to me-The highest levels of VO2max, at any age, are those exhibited by competitive runners who maintain an intense, daily training schedule and who compete regularly-(this shows it's important to be physically active your whole life!  And my guess is why runners, not swimmers or cyclists, have the highest VO2max values is because running is the most basic form of human movement.  You can push yourself to your max very easily.  With swimming, it requires more skill and technique, one may not be pushing themselves to their max or even able to get up to their max values if they can't even swim right.  With cycling, again, foreign object under you; you're only using your legs.  Using your arms as well helps to get your heart rate up even more.  I'm not going to develop these ideas more fully, don't have time.  Anyways, of course there are some people who are swimmers and cyclists who can maintain very high levels of their VO2max throughout life :)  Look at Lance! ha
-This was awesome-"Shepherd (1987) suggested that an increase in VO2max of 20% is not trivial.  He maintained that a gain of this size "offers the equivalent of 20yrs of rejuvenation-a benefit that can be matched by no other treatment or lifestyle change"-again, goes to show habitual physical activity really is the best medicine....
-Frequency of exercise, rather than intensity, is more important for optimizing blood pressure.  Daily exercise is the most beneficial activity. And this reason, is why I believe I must do something every single day.  Obviously if I go real hard one day, I take the next day or two easy (in a different sport, perhaps!).  But I still do something.  I want to get the increased oxygen blood flow to my brain to help me think more clearly, and help my mood, as well as keeping my health #'s low.  I may be OCD about this, but hey, I don't care, it's being healthy.  Sometimes it is OK to take days off, though.
-Again, the American College of Sports Med states that the important exercise criterion is frequency rather than intensity, with daily exercise being most beneficial.
-Active people have lower blood triglycerides and more high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (helps off set a cholesterol imbalance, the more you have, the more you are protected against heart disease), and they generally report less anxiety and depression (oh God, if I didn't exercise, I can't imagine how moody I'd be.  I still get moody even though I exercise regularly!)
-Coronary arteries of endurance-trained individuals can expand more, are less stiff in older age, and are wider than those of unfit subjects (meaning more oxygen-rich blood flow!)
-There is some evidence that exercise may decrease the potential for clot formation; thus, with larger, more compliant coronary arteries and a diminished likelihood of forming clots, the active individual of any age is at a lower risk for a heart attack.  Additionally, the heart muscle itself becomes bigger and stronger with regular exercise.  Cool.
-It is clear that daily physical activity is important for optimal physical and psychological function even for the extremely old and frail, although the goals of the exercise program as well as the exercises will be altered to accomodate individual disabilities.
-However, it cannot be assumed that the physical work capacity of all individuals, if they followed a similar lifestyle, would be similar to that of masters athletes, because about 40% of an individual's physiological athletic capability is attributed to genetic factors-interesting.
-Some researchers suggest that highly trained endurance athletes and moderately trained fitness participants who maintain high-intensity training may experience less decline in aerobic capacity than sedentary individuals (book and teacher pointed out that if you were once an athlete, this does NOT protect you.  you must continue to train.)
-The major determinants of changes in VO2max with age were the initial level of aerobic power and the subject's reduction in activity level.---ahhhh stay active so you will be able to use oxygen very well throughout life; activities of daily living won't be a challenge for you when you're older.
-The encouraging aspect of these studies of highly trained aged competitiors (masters athletes) is that a decade of aging (50-60) may have little effect on a highly exercised cardiovascular system.  The VO2max values of current masters athletes reveal strikingly youthful cardiovascular function--see, we can slow down the aging process with regular exercise!
-So....some measures of fitness decline by 50% within 3 weeks, and light or moderate exercisers who quit exercising may lose all exercise benefits within a few months.
-Again, my book states "To provide long-term benefits, exercise must become an integral, daily part of an individual's life."

Take a look at what disuse, bed rest, and deconditioning can do to your body:
-Experiments on bed rest have shown that even a short period of physical inactivity, even in relatively YOUNG SUBJECTS, can have NEGATIVE effects on the cardiovascular function, blood pressure, and hormonal responses to exercise.  Twenty days of bed rest in young adults led to a 25%! decline in VO2max, whereas 4 months of detraining in older adults led to a complete loss of endurance training adaptations of the cardiovascular system.
-In the detraining study for 60yr olds, there was an increase in VO2max of 16%! after 16 weeks of supervised training on a cycle ergometer.  However, all of this gain in aerobic power was lost when the subjects were discharged from the study.
-A lifetime of physical disuse can have catastrophic effects, eroding strength and mobility, and may eventually lead to frailty, immobility, and total dependency.  ahhhhhhh!
-One last fun fact:  Exercising the lower limbs assists in venous return (returning blood to the heart thru the veins), improving the blood flow and pressure needed to maintain adequate perfusion of the brain.

One story my book shares:  Effects of Disuse: A Personal Testimony
Bortz (1983) articularted the deleterious effects that disuse has on the body from he personal experience with a leg broken during a skiing accident:
"When the cast was removed, I found my leg giving all the appearance of the limb of a person 40 or 50yrs older.  It was withered, discolored, stiff, painful.  I could not believe this leg belonged to me.  This similarity of changes due to enforced inactivity to those commonly attributed with aging was striking.  And, in fact, if one were to go to all the standard textbooks of geriatrics and write down all the changes which seem to accompany aging, set the list aside, and then go to the textbooks of work physiology and write down all the changes subsequent to inactivity--and then compare the 2 lists, one would see that they are virtually identical.  The coincidence is not random.  It is intense.  It forces the conclusion that at least part of what passes as change due to age is not caused by at age at all, but by disuse."  Scary.  Stay active so you can enjoy and live life to it's fullest when you're 50, 60, 70, 80, 90...etc. :)

-also if interested, read this story about an 80yr old who was inactive her whole life, got a ton of diseases related to aging, but once started walking, was off meds in a yr or 2 and started competing and winning events in the Senior Olympics.  Darn, I can't post the site here I guess, but look up Eula M. Findley Weaver.

Also I have been taught this and read an article this morning including a study by this guy Steven N. Blair who works at the Cooper Institute in Dallas, TX who studies heart disease...that you can be fit and fat, as long as you're #'s are low (heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.) and you generally eat pretty well and exercise on a regular basis.  Cool.  :)

Also, I am doing my masters thesis on how exercise can help improve cognitive function/prevent short term memory loss.  I already know that it helps increase blood flow to the brain, and I've been reading studies that this can help prevent/or maybe I should say prolong the risk of dementia and alzhiemer's in older adults, but only if they are moderate to high intensity regular exercisers.  Interesting, because as you age oxygen to the brain slowly decreases, resulting in some memory loss there.  Also, the structure of the brain and the cell processes there are also altered.  I'll post papers when I get them done...I just felt the need to post this because I feel everyone should know what I know and I want people to age well!  lol  Sorry if there are typos.

Oh and I didn't paraphrase anything really, so I got the info from the book Physical Dimensions of Aging, by Waneen W. Spirduso, Karen L. Francis, and Priscilla G. MacRae

Take-Home-Message-Exercise is good for every body system.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Swim to the Moon :)

     Ok, I'm not quite sure how to begin talking about this race.  I guess I should go back to childhood.  I was a shy, quiet girl in school, most of you know if you've read anything in the earlier blogs, so I won't get into that.  But anyways...I felt like I was never good at anything besides swimming, and in high school I was a pretty strong swimmer.  Could of been more if I ate better and had more positive thoughts.  Anyways..I always had big dreams.  (Who admits this?  lol)  
     I ran a marathon at the age of 22.  A long, long time ago I had the goal of swimming the English Channel.  When I met the runners of Medina County, I found out what ultra-running was and wanted to do that, too.  (And, secretly, an Ironman...perhaps ultra-ironman races too)  Why?  I'm not sure.  I'm not sure why I enjoy exercising for long, long periods of time or what motivates me to do these things.  Whatever it is, it's in my heart.  It's like something is pulling me towards it.  I love it.  I love being out in nature, enjoying the beauty that was created for us.  Maybe that's one reason.  With swimming....I don't know...I've always loved it.  Before I swam on a team, I was ALWAYS the last kid in the pool, never really wanting to get out.  I love how the water feels as I pull through it with my stroke.  I love how these activities make me better prepared to handle any situation that is thrown at me in life.  I love how I can think more clearly, love and appreciate the people in my life more, and take on challenges, not only physically, but with the mind as well.  
     I used to be a negative thinker.  As I've grown up, my thinking has changed more to the positive.  I don't doubt myself too much anymore.  I've put in the hard work, and I'm ready to perform.  (Whether it's athletically or in school/work)  It doesn't matter how fast or slow I am compared to others, what matters is that I give it MY all.   I always know I'll finish the event.  That's no question (as long as I train, hydrate and eat properly...this will need some work though as I grow and enter more races, and more races of greater distance).  There's this one quote by Apolo Ohno..(yes, I like to read about Olympic athletes..:)  "I acknowledged the negativity....then I let it go."  Very powerful.  No use in being negative anymore.  It gets you nowhere.  And "You can't put a limit on anything.  The more you dream, the farther you get."  Michael Phelps-I believe there is truth in that statement.  After letting going of negativity in my thoughts, I realized that I COULD do these things that I wanted to do.  I have had some great role-models, such as my parents for always working hard towards their goals and never giving up.  They are probably some of the most hardest working people I know.  Also, ultrarunners of NE Ohio.  Yep.  You all have amazed and inspired me.  Then, joining Team Toledo Triathlon Club.  There's a bunch of people older than I am too competing in triathlons and Ironman Triathlons, both men and ladies!  How cool!  So, I know there's real people out there doing these things.  If they can I :)
     Anyways...I'll say a bit about the actual 5k swim lol.  I knew I'd be able to finish, no doubt in my mind.  Some people say 1 mile of swimming=4mi of running.  I'm not quite sure if I agree with that.  That means I would have run like 12mi today, I don't think I put that much effort in the water lol.  My goal was to swim in under 1:30, hoping to swim around 1:20ish if I swam fast.  I'd be happy with 1:30. Friend from Team Toledo told me to use the first 500yd as a warm up.  So I didn't go out too fast.  I still went out fast, but not too fast.  All the other girls in my wave went super fast at the start.  I never know how I'll do compared to others in my wave because this summer I entered races that I had never done before.  So I wasn't sure if they were just going to be way faster than me or if they were going to die out.  A lot of them lost their speed and I was able to pass.  I eventually caught up with some men (hehe) and my friend who was with me did as well (this always makes us feel awesome LOL :)  I quite enjoyed swimming in Lake Michigan.  The water was clean, dark, but clean.  It was fun swimming around buoys and looking for the next one.  Swimming through a tunnel and under a bridge was cool, too.  I finished in 1:22:30.  I definitely could have swam faster, I think..but with distance swimming (especially it being the first 5k race you've entered!)  you want to make sure you save energy for the whole thing.  So I didn't go too fast.  It was a steady pace.  I didn't even see the finish until the last buoy!  Which is when I sprinted :).  Clearly...distance swimming...and distance anything is more what my body was made for.  (Which is awesome because I like it!)  
     I'll probably do it again next year.  I'd like to get into more open water swimming because it's fun and challenging.  My friend from FL said she'd crew for me when I decide to swim the Tampa Bay 24miler, and I'd like to swim the English Channel.  Yep :)  
     On another note, for my exercise physiology class, our teacher asked us to find a topic within the exercise physiology field and find a research article to share in a few weeks and lead a discussion on it.  We eventually have a review paper on that topic due at the end of the semester.  I am interested in seeing how body fat vs training effects certain endurance athletes (particularly ultra-endurance athletes) of different disciplines like ultra swimming, ultra-running, and ultra-ironman triathlons.  I found one study on male ultra-swimmers about body fat, height, leg and upper body measurements vs training volume and intensity.  Some studies say that having a higher amount of body fat will help in long-distance swimming because of the cold water (yes, true), but in this study they actually found training intensity and volume were a better indicator of race time.  Now, if I recall correctly, the men had an average body fat % of 17, at about age 40.  Which is I believe in the healthy range, but not athlete range (don't quote me, I haven't written the paper yet)  Interesting.  I also found more studies about ultra-runners and other ultra-athletes where body fat isn't always the best indicator of race performance.  Yes, you don't want to carry around excess fat, but what I've found so far that as long as you're still in the "healthy range or slightly higher," you can perform just as well as your leaner competitors, given the same training volume and intensity.  It seems training volume and intensity are a greater predictor of race time.  So..I'll post my work when I'm ready.  I want to study all endurance athletes and their measurements vs training variables.  It's cool stuff!

"To accomplish your goal, you have to be willing to sacrifice beyond what others are willing to sacrifice; you have to be willing to train at levels others are not willing to train at; you have to be willing to accept accomplishing goals that others never reach."  John Schaeffer

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sylvania Triathlon and Getting My Master's in Kinesiology...

Hello!  I am going to talk a little bit about the Sylvania Triathlon, and a little bit about school.  I need to vent anyways.
     As many of you know, I competed in my first Olympic distance Tri last weekend, 2nd tri ever.  Let me go back a bit in my life.  So...I think I mentioned in another blog I bawled my eyes out for probably 15minutes after my last swim meet in HS.  I loved it that much.  And if you read my other blogs, you know I swam on my own throughout college (could of swam for a college, but didn't) and joined the MCRR to train for and run my first marathon.  Some people may wonder why do you like doing those activities for so long?  Because I LIKE it.  I like compettition between other individuals (this may seem untrue regarding my personality, but it is :)  .  I like to test myself.  In the race setting, you have a chance to give it your all, see what you can do with the amount of time you put into training.  And, probably most importantly, I like to meditate/think about life/pray while I'm doing long endurance exercise.  I love letting my mind wander, and I always have.  Maybe it's because I'm always reading, learning, or doing something that involves my mind the rest of the time.  Whatever.  Anyways....I'll start.
     The swim:  1500m swim, just right under a mile.  Now, I knew I would be one of the top female finishers in the swim because I swam in high school and have kept it up, so I have a pretty efficient freestyle stroke.  With swimming, it does not matter too much how large or little you are, it is more concerned with how efficient you move through that water.  So having a swimming background will always have an advantage to any athlete who decides to "try a tri."  (Of course, so will the others, but I'm just saying, swimming is rather hard to learn the right technique, unfortunately, but don't give up, it can definitely be done if you put in enough time!!  :)  Anyways, gun went off, and off I swam!  I was pretty calm, as I swam around this pond with Team Toledo for practice.  I caught up with the male wave (hehe), but didn't have a hard time passing through people as I thought and didn't get kicked (which was my fear).  I did get pushed out a bit from a current rounding a buoy because I went wide to avoid others, I'm sure I lost a little time on that, but was able to get back by everyone after a few minutes.  So, I finished with a decent time of 23:37, and ran to transition.
     I was out of breath and shaking again (I think the running to T1 after swimming gets my heart rate way up lol).  I slowed way down putting on my shoes, and for some reason (with the lack of oxygen getting to my brain, I'm sure) mounted my bike, lol.  A volunteer quickly told me I had to run with my bike, then hop on (duh!  I knew this.)  So I lost probably half a minute there because I was so tired, and trying to mount my bike when I was still dizzy was a challenge lol.  So, I run with the bike, tried to get a hammer gel down, only got 1/4 of it in because I was still disoriented and dropped it while running with the bike.  Finally mounted the bike and was off!
     I did not enjoy the bike leg during this race at all.  It was raining a little during the swim, then picked up on the bike (of course...).  I was a little scared because of the tar on the road, I didn't want to slip!  But, I did ride aero most of the time and tried to cycle as fast as my legs would let me!  I got yelled at a few times from being too far over to the left by other cyclists passing me, lol, but sometimes it was rougher on the right, and me being a newbie didn't want to fall!  Oh well.  I was glad when the bike leg was over.  (This is my least favorite, I still enjoy it, but not really when it's raining...)
     T2.  Went relatively smooth.  Didn't have to change my shoes since I wore my running shoes because I'm afraid of those cycling shoes and clipping in.  Had my garmin watch on from T1 (wanted to know my pace during the run) and was ready to run!  I was running strong at the start, but noticed my adductors (inner thighs) were super tight.  I slowed way down to about a 10:00min pace for the first 3 miles.  I tried picking it up but I just couldn't!  Here's where I knew I should have practiced more bike-run brick workouts.  But oh well.  Two girls in my age group passed me, but I couldn't keep up with them, they were very strong runners.  Then..a girl started to pass me at a slightly faster pace than I was going.  She was a bit larger than myself...and I told myself, "NO!!  I am NOT going to let someone who's bigger than me pass me!"  This may sound mean...but that's what I thought.  So, I picked up the pace and was able to maintain 8:00-8:30's the rest of the 3.2 miles.  Also, this guy passed me a little while back, said I was doing great, and ran on.  He was still in sight, so my goal was to keep up with him.  I finally caught up to him and said I needed to stay with him in order to keep ahead of that girl.  We started chatting (I enjoy talking to others as I run) to get our minds off the pain.  He definitely helped, we shared stories of our past running experiences and how we both hated sprinting and were better suited for longer distances.  Anyways, I was starting to run faster than him (I am always able to loosen up after 3 miles anyways in distance running, this is why I suck at 5ks lol) so he said go on, and I said nice to meet you, good luck and great job for your first tri!  He is what I call a "running angel."  He was saying good job to every single person who passed and help me through my pain.  I was lucky enough to see him at the finish and congratulate him.
     It was a neat experience.  I'll do another.  I ended up getting 2nd in my age group and qualifying for age group nationals for next year in VT.  But I have to check on this, I'm still a little confused.  Top 5 in each age group get to go, after a few days someone else was first in our age group, so I guess I got 3rd, but still have the 2nd place trophy lol.  Oh and thank you Mike for being there the whole time :)  It was nice to have some support for my first one, and thanks to my sister for trying to see me, she got there when I was already on the bike, but was leaving for Cleveland, so didn't stay the whole time.  Thanks guys!  Meant a lot to have some support!
23:37swim, 2:38 T1, 1:18:16bike 19.1mph, 2:05 T2, 55:32run, 8:57pace, 2:42:06total.
Obviously I need to work on transitions and getting faster in everything.  Good first one though!
     So...I am very excited to study exercise science/kinesiology.  The study of human movement...studying the physiological effects of exercise on the human body...there are numerous benefits to both the mind and the body.  I'm having a hard time deciding what to do my thesis on and what to study.  I have 2 yrs to narrow it down (I'm definitely pursuing a PhD in the field.)  I met with my teacher to discuss my thesis a few weeks ago.  I told her I wanted to go the doctoral route, and we have the decision of doing a masters project or thesis.  Since I'm going the PhD route, it's better to do a thesis so we get used to writing one.  I told her I wanted to test short term memory and how exercise effects it.  There have been studies done saying that for example if you exercise before an exam, you will be able to think more clearly (because of the oxygen to the brain).  I noticed this in undergrad.  If I didn't workout in the morning before classes, I didn't feel as alert.  Anyways, I want to test older adults and younger college aged students.  I will ask them to remember something (words, shapes, sentences, I have no idea yet) before, during, after and 15-20min after exercise to test this.  I am very interested in the mind.  Especially what happens to older adults, and if exercise can somehow prevent/pro-long memory loss.  I wish I could do long-term memory, which is why I will probably have to go to a different school after I get my PhD to study it.  But testing long-term memory isn't practical for my master's degree lol.  So I chose short-term.  My teacher thought it was a great idea.  I just have to read more studies done on the topic to get an idea of how to do this.
     It was funny, she said that college professors joke that they are very absent-minded, but when it comes to books they are very smart.  I've been like this my whole life lol.  Having "blonde" moments or forgetting where I misplace my keys when I'm only 24, yet excelling in school.  I thought that was funny.  Anyways...I'm also very interested in human endurance (Obviously...I'm friends with a TON of endurance athletes, and particularly find ultraendurance events and the people I'm friends with very interesting.  This is one of the reasons I'm on facebook so much.  I like to see what my ultrarunner friends are up to lol.  I kinda want to study the effects of what ultraendurance activities has on the human body.  I wonder if there are some detrimental effects or what and what the benefits are of ULTRAendurance activities.  Personally, I think there are many benefits, as long as you are careful and get in the right nutrition.  I need to read more on that topic, as well.  As long as it's not an obsession, (well...haha) but I mean as long as it doesn't get in the way of spending time with family, I think it's good.)
     Ahhh I love the whole field!!  So...I think I'll post all my work I do in school in my blog for you all to read and give me feedback :)  Also, please, if ANYONE has any interesting articles for me to read about the field, please let me know.  I'll need all the help I can get lol.  Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Female Athletes

     So, I am currently reading a book on sports nutrition, and I have some very important information for you endurance athletes, especially the females.  I'll just quote stuff from the book.  We know as women we need a certain amount of body fat for our body to function correctly.  I have read that for female athletes, body fat is typically at well, it varies, so I'll just post what's in this book.  Average for the healthy, non-competitive population is about 21-33%.  33-39 is overweight, anything over 39 is obese.  Anyways, book says for bball (18-27%), bodybuilding (8-10%), cycling (15-16%), gymnastics (8-18%), running (8-18%), swimming 12-23%), throwing (22-30%), tennis (22-26%), and weight lifting (17-20%).  I've also read that yes, it is important to be in a good body fat range for your sport, but also, some athletes may perform better with more fat on their bodies, it varies depending on your genetic makeup.  Even if you have a little more padding, you are still very healthy if you exercise rugularly-your blood pressure is probably low or normal, heart rate considerably low, cholesterol levels low and HDLs very high (if you're a regular exerciser!, HDLs are the good cholesterol, you want high levels of it).  I'll share, I'm at 26.4% fat right now, but I have never felt stronger in my life.  I don't mind having it a bit higher.  However, I'm working on lowering it to 22-24% just to see what happens. (I think I'll run faster LOL, but if I can't lower it, oh well)
     Anyways wanted to share some of this info with you as I know a lot of female athletes may have distorted body images or have/have had eating disorders because of the pressure to be thin within their sport and society. 
"On the psychological side, anorexics are able to motivate and push themselves to exercise, despite feelings of exhaustion.  Sufferers are strong willed, highly driven and have a strong desire to succeed.  On the physiological side, it is likely that the body ADAPTS by becoming more ENERGY EFFICIENT, REDUCING ITS METABOLIC RATE (10-30% is possible).  This would allow the athlete to train and maintain energy balance on fewer calories than would be expected.  Some scientists, however, suggest that excessive exercise during dieting may augment the fall in metabolic rate. 
     To overcome physical and emotional fatigue, many anorexics and bulimics use caffeine-containing drinks such as strong coffee and 'diet' cola.  However, in the long term, performance ultimately FALLS.  As glycogen and nutrient stores become chronically depleted, the athlete's health will suffer and optimal performance CANNOT BE SUSTAINED indefinitely.  Maximal oxygen consumption decreases (bad), chronic fatigue sets in and the athlete becomes more susceptible to injury and infection."-this last paragraph is EXACTLY why I don't mind having a little more fat on my body than maybe most athletes that do what I do.  I enjoy going long, long, long and hard.  I believe I do need a little more fat to help get me through long endurance activities.  Like I said before, I have never felt stronger, and this is probably the most body fat I've ever had, and the most I've ever weighed in my life.  And....I wonder...if this is why it's being proven why women are better at ultraendurance events than men, because of their genetics and ability to store more fat than men.  Hmm. 
     So, ladies, ignore the scale and focus more on body fat percentage if you can get your hands on it.  And don't worry if you're not in your "optimal body fat range" for you sport.  I think I may be an example, but then again, I just said I'd like to lower my body fat a bit (still not too low though!) so maybe my running times will drop.  I think as long as you're not overweight or obese, you're good to do well in your sport.  It's all about training the body physically, and even more important, training the mind mentally (mind mentally...does that even makes sense?  lol you know what I mean).  And, of course, to eat healthy most of the time, but not be afraid to indulge in your favorite comfort food from time to time :)  (Umm like once a week for me...hahahhaa)

Oh, and these quotes came from the book, "The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition," by Anita Bean.  If anyone has any questions you can ask me :) or challenge me :) 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Lake Metroparks Pirate Triathlon

     Well, what a good way to start my triathlon career :)  Ended up placing 1st in my age group, got a nice little pirate trophy haha! :)  I've worked long and hard, over multiple years to get where I'm at now.  The only difference is I stopped running so much and started swimming and cycling even more, to balance everything out.  Alright so I guess I'll just go right into talking about the race! 

     So, Rachel Nypaver told me about this triathlon during our 50mi adventure race in May.  She said it was pretty cheap and would be good practice for the Olympic distance I'm doing in 3 weeks in Sylvania.  And for $20 of course I signed up!  It was an hour and 15min away from Brunswick.  On the East side of Cleveland.  LoL, so my parents drove me (Thank you!) along with one of my best friends, Davea :)  I was very glad they stayed to watch the whole thing because at transitions they yelled out for me!  Anyways...I got up at 5:07am.  Left by 5:45am, got coffee along the way and were off!  I arrived at the race at 7, started at 8.  (My wave went out at 8:15 though)  Anyways, I had to wait in this long line to pick up my race #, which left me only like 15 min to set up my transition and go to the bathroom.  When I finished setting up transition, ran to the bathroom (this is when I already went once lol!)-huge line for the ladies of course.  I met this girl, her name was Colleen, and we started chatting and I told her this was my first tri ever.  She then asked if I had an extra swim cap because she forgot hers.  I did-but the race was going to start soon and we didn't even get in the restroom yet!  So we hurried up, ran to transition, I tossed her my extra cap (I brought it in case mine ripped), and went running to the beach.  The kayakers went off first (yes, if you couldn't swim, you had the option of kayaking in Lake Erie-pretty cool!)  Then, male swimmers aged 34 and under, followed by males 35 and older, followed by my group, female swimmers 34 and under. 
     I swam in high school and have kept it up over the years, so I knew I should start out in front.  Got a nice spot in the front, and as soon as the alarm sounded, us females were off!  Now, of course, everyone started out fast, so I had to swim as fast as I could to get ahead, and many burned out after the first 100m or so.  Now, with Team Toledo Triathlon Club, we get to swim open water practices all summer (there's 16 of them) and we have the option of swimming 500m, 1 lap around the lake (1500m) or 2 laps (3000m) so of course I swim 3000m hehe :) and this other girl were right next to each other...she was quick so I stayed with her until......WE CAUGHT UP WITH THE MALE WAVE!!  She was able to find a way through some males and I couldn't squeeze through, so got caught behind this one guy, then eventually swam around him, tried to stay with the fast girl, but ended up finishing RIGHT BEHIND that girl.  Anyways, the swim felt so short compared to what I normally do in open water!  It was so fun though.  I think it was my favorite part :) 
     We had to run for a little bit up the beach and to the transition area-my heart rate was skyrocketing because I was breathing hard and man oh man, I was shaking!  My hands shook as I tried to double knot my running shoes (no cycling shoes for Roseann yet!)  I remember my friend Dan Bellinger said that if I really raced the swim portion, I would be shaking afterwards, and yes...I was :)  So, I drank 3/4 of my water bottle of gatorade (because I can't drink on the bike yet LOL and I knew it was short distance so I planned to drink a lot before and after :)  and then put on my garmin watch (no HR monitor, would have taken too long to put on), my shorts and shirt with race bib.  Mistake #1-wear a shirt more fitted.  The one I had was flopping around in the wind lol.  Anyways grabbed two more cups of water out of transition from volunteers, and ran out with bike!  Hopped on when got to sidewalk (volunteers told us when to get on) and powered up this short, but very steep incline!  So, me, used to riding in flat Toledo area, only practiced shifting on SOME hills here.  Nothing compared to that hill.  LoL, so, I felt like I was going to fall over if I tried shifting (I'm also borrowing my friend Chris's tri bike and am extra careful.)  So I hopped off towards the top and started running with it until I was over the hill lol!  (mistake #2, practice shifting on hills A LOT) andddd mistake #3-slowed down on all the turns (there were quite a few...) because I'm not comfortable taking fast turns yet.  Oh and I can't go aero yet because I'm scared.  This week I will, don't worry, along with riding through turns and not slowing. 
     The run.  Ohhhh gosh the run.  Is my worst lol.  I am strongest on the swim, second strongest on the bike, and the run is horrible.  Which...I like running more than cycling, but maybe swimming the most.  For as much as I love running, I'm really not that great of a runner lol.  Which is ok, but ah!  Some ladies passed me up on it.  I actually was surprised on how well I personally did on the run though, my legs felt like jello during the first half mile, but after that they were fine.  They still didn't feel as normal as during a normal running race but with the swimming and cycling of course they wouldn't. 5k time was 25:38 (according to my garmin) which, my 5k PR is 24:19 (but then my PR for 10mi is 8:39min/mi LOL not far off from 8:0-something min mi for 5k.), so not too bad considering the bike and swim.  Clearly, I think distance is more my thing.  And clearly, perhaps triathlons are more my thing :)  I love all 3 sports anyways and always have a hard time choosing which one I love most.  Oh and I saw Colleen at the finish-she gave me my cap back, and saw I won my age group, and said, "Well..congratulations, you won your first triathlon, now the sky is the limit for you!" :) 
     Now, I need to thank a few people.  1)  My friends Chris and Nina for letting me borrow their tri-bike for half the summer (Chris's knee is injured, getting better, but won't be ready to race this season, he did considerably well at Glass City though-3:19 for his first marathon, then 2 wks after had knee problems :(  2) Rachel Nypaver for telling me about this race and I should say her and her sis Sandi are a great source of inspiration for me because they win ultraendurance running races around Ohio, and they are young, like me!  (Hard to find friends around my age who do this stuff!)  3) Team Toledo Triathlon Club and the Medina County Road Runners Club-they are all a source of inspiration and were very welcoming when I first joined :) 4) Oh and boyfriend Mike for helping me so much on the bike :)  Thanks :)  5)  Dan Bellinger.  He is always encouraging me and being an older person who still runs ultraendurance races....amazing.  6) Parents and Davea for supporting me today!  7)  God.  Which leads me to the next paragraph (read only if you want-I never force religion on people and am friends with people from all walks of life with all different kinds of beliefs!!  We shouldn't judge.)
     So...I am Christian.  Of the Catholic type.  lol.  I hold it very close to my heart.  It's great, once you have that personal relationship.  Anyways I'll try not to go too deep on the internet :)  So, if you read my blog about PT'll see I struggled during it.  Well...when my friend Sammi took me out one day we went to Barnes and Noble (we both like to read...) and I picked up this book, "Quarterlife crisis" which I bought and read-funny how things are sometimes...but one of the stories was about a guy who went all the way through PT the very end, then decided to quit because it wasn't for him.  (, right? Sign there..)  Anyways, I saw this book called, "The Grace to Race."  By Sister Madonna Buder.  A Catholic Nun.  She was...oh I think the book said 83yrs old, still racing triathlons.  And, I believe she wins her age group a lot.  Anyways...I asked for it for Christmas.  I have high respect for nuns.  LOL-I think they're pretty sweet, caring people.  When I read it...I felt like I could relate to her.  She starting racing later in life after a priest told her to go for a run on the beach when she was going through some emotional times.  Anyways, just the way she really was...graceful.  She prayed before each race.  Soon, people caught on..and wherever she races...she has a whole group of Christians surrounding her, praying with her before the race.  And you know what?  She mentioned in the book the Sylvania Triathlon that she's done a few times I think.  I'm doing this one in 3 weeks.  I live here, in Sylvania :)  How cool.  I hope to meet Sister Madonna Buder one day. 
     "Running does change people's lives. When I first entered the religious life at the age of 23, I was set apart from the world. Once I began to run and to compete, my path opened wide to include the whole world. God's ways are not our ways." Sister Madonna Buder  Amen. :)
     There are a few athletes I know who are Christian.  Ryan Hall is.  Kelly Clark, pro snowboarder is.  So, I will continue to pray wisely and thank God everyday for a working body who is able to do this stuff and truly appreciates this awesome life and opportunity that was given to me.  I may not win any triathlons ever again, but I do think that maybe I have some talent in the sport and I will continue to do my best in each race and train smart and hard  :)  I feel I have FINALLY found something I am relatively good at.  Today, after the race, my mom and I were relaxing at home in our pool-she said, "Oh I could recognize your stroke, your graceful swimming stroke that looks like no other, it was easy to spot you."  And, "I wish I could call your elementary school teachers and tell them your accomplishment."  She said when I was real young, my 1st grade teacher and gym teacher were worried about me, asking my mom if I at least liked to ride bikes or if I even could.  They were worried I would be so uncoordinated because I was so shy and not good in gym.  I always got picked last in gym class.  I admit, I'm not that good at most sports they played in gym, besides softball.  And I hated running back then, too.  I love swimming and riding my bike and rollerblading, though, which of course they didn't have in gym.  My mom told them I'd be fine lol.  I should thank my parents....when me and my sis were young, I was about 8-10 my dad started taking us on 15-20mi bike rides.  The whole fam.  So...endurance things are kinda normal for us.  It was my Dad, then me, then Kristen, then my mom following us.  Slowly as I grew older (and I have a competitive spirit...) I was able to speed way ahead of my Dad :)  On our mtn bikes.  haha!  This is getting long.  Sorry.  The passion gets to me....haha :)  Thanks, all :)
     Oh!  One more thing-when fall comes, I get to swim on a Master's swim team at BG with one of my Kinesiology teachers lol!  Said he'd introduce me to the coach and I'm excited to start!  woooo I bawled my eyes out when swim team ended for me in high school.  Could of swam college, confused senior, glad I didn't because then maybe I wouldn't have found the major of exercise science at BG and wouldn't have been given my current opportunity.  Glad I ran the marathon 2 yrs ago, learned as much about running as I could, still learning, since it's my weakest, glad I found Team Toledo Triathlon Club, and glad I got this assistantship for grad school in the exercise sciences, and am ready to focus a little more on swimming this fall.  So...I think everything in my life so far was leading up to this point.  Everything happens for a reason.  Oh!  Signed up for a 5k swim in august in Lake Michigan.  I love this.  There's nothing else I'd rather do with my life.  Train.  And learn about training and the human body and how exercise is so good for it with the different systems of the body.  I believe that if you have a passion, and you follow that passion and work very hard, you can reach your dreams.  Some of mine have come true already :)  Sorry if there are typos.  It's getting late.  Don't know where I'm going after my grad program.  That's what I like about my future.  Like being free and living in the moment.  Free-spirited with an open, honest mind :)
 "Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. This is what we do. This is what it's all about.". Patti Sue Plumer US Olympian

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oat Bran Muffins

So I wanted to share this recipe with my friends who are health-conscious!  Got it from a member at the Y :)

Oat Bran Muffins
(Makes 24)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup oatmeal
3 cup oat bran (If you go to a health food store to buy the oat bran and oatmeal it's usually cheaper)
2T brown sugar
1 T baking powder
(Stir the dry ingredients)

2 eggs
2 egg whites
1/3 to 1/2 cup vegetable oil OR
1 cup applesauce (I prefer the applesauce vs. veg oil)
16 oz Pineapple Juice (sometimes I use grapefruit juice!)
1 or 1&1/2 cup milk (I use light vanilla soy milk :)
Add nuts to suit (I never add nuts but I imagine walnuts would taste amazing!)

Grease pans-use oil or spray
Put the oven on 400 degrees for about 21 min (I sometimes need 24 min, depends!)

**Use a large mixing bowl!

These are my favorite healthy snacks!  I freeze half of them until I've finished the other half!

Good fuel for endurance sports...:)

PT School, Following Your Heart, and Figuring Out Yourself.

I am finally ready to talk about this to anyone who wants to hear it.  Hopefully this story can be a learning lesson to some of you; maybe it can help you out with a current problem.  This is going to be quite a long blog I'm about to write about myself and how not to make the same mistakes I have :)
     I'm going to start with talking about myself back in high school.  Let me talk about swim team since swimming is very much a part of me still.  So, joined swim team in 8th grade.  LOVED it.  Coach said I should swim in high school, so of course, I did.   However....being a freshman in high school brought on a lot of new changes.  We were required to swim or lift in the am, then again in the pm, and sometimes, we'd have to swim in the am, and pm a few hours before a meet!  This was a lot for a 14-15yr old girl to get used to.  Especially one who got stressed out easily.  I remember going to school with wet hair and smelling like chlorine even though we showered lol.  Anyways...I couldn't handle it (my parents talked with the coaches) so I think I only swam in the am once a week.  It was the most intense physical activity I had ever been through.  I remember wanting to quit.  There was a point during the heavy training load that I would cry a lot, complaining to my parents that I couldn't handle all of this-school, band, swim practices consisting of 3 or more hours.  So they said, "You can quit, you know, it's ok."  And I said..."but I'm NOT a quitter!"  (This part of me will reveal itself later on in my story)  So I stuck it out.  Found out after the season ended our current coach was leaving us (we found out for another team in our division!)  Anyways...I didn't like him much lol and wasn't going to swim my sophomore year.   
     We got a new coach the following year, and she's still there today :)  When I heard we didn't have to swim in the mornings anymore (besides Saturdays and Christmas vacation mornings) I was so in.  Because I loved to swim.  From then on, with the new coach, my times started to drop woo! (I still had low confidence and I think if I thought more positively I would have done even better) make a long story short, I swam all 4 yrs and my senior year of high school I was recruited for a division III school, Mount Union.  But...I was confused on where to go to college and what my major should be.  I didn't want to go to a small school.  I had my heart set on OSU for awhile, then I changed my mind at the last second to BG.  (Why?  Because it had a nice pool....I'm serious...that's the only reason.)  I figured eh what the heck I don't know what I want to do with my life and all these schools have good opportunities, I'll just go to the one with the nicest pool in my opinion.  Yeah....I guess I could have tried to be a walk on for the swim team at BG, but I didn't want to travel or practice 2 hours in the am AND pm.  Besides, I have to study very long and hard to obtain good grades, nothing has ever come easy to me.  Not school, sports, anything.  So I tried swimming on a Master's team, then just gave up trying to make practice and started working out on my own time (see my note on how I got into running on facebook!)
     During my freshman yr of college, I just took the general ed classes, and during my second semester came across the major or exercise science/kinesiology or Pre-Physical Therapy.  Pre-PT major sounded boring, exercise science sounded more fun.  And since you could get into PT school with the exercise science major and take an extra chem and physics class, I chose exercise science.  What I did for the next 3 years:  Study my butt off.  Did NOT go out hardly at all.  Of course, I'm not your typical college kid anyways, got up before class to work out, then studied and went to class the rest of the time.  Alcohol and me don't do very well-although don't get me wrong I do enjoy a margarita every once in awhile :)  I studied my butt off because 1) you had to have a high GPA to get into PT school and 2) I was fascinated by my Kinesiology classes.  For those of you who don't know, Kinesiology is the study of human movement and exercise science is studying the effects of exercise on the human body.  Pretty cool stuff.
     So, I applied to a few PT schools during my senior year for the following fall, didn't get in any, so waited and applied a second time.  Besides, I hadn't exactly finished school yet, I still had to do an internship in PT.  Which...I really wanted to help people.  Through physical activity.  My senior yr of HS I was inspired by an awesome PT who really loved his job and cared about his patients.  I'm still friends with him to this day.  He made me want to go into the profession.  However..once I started doing volunteer hours and my 600 hour internship...I was kind of bored with it.  But I still decided to apply for PT school because I thought I'd make a good PT and it was a nice paying, secure job where I could make an impression on others and help motivate them to be more active.  Although the nice-paying part didn't concern me as much as the secure job did.  I was not sure if I would have a secure job if I continued on in Kinesiology.  I have been a pretty "unsure of myself" person all up until now, after PT school didn't work out for me. 
     During the winter before I knew if I got into any PT schools, I had also applied to the graduate program in Kinesiology at BGSU.  One of my teachers asked me during my internship if I really wanted PT.  She said I could also apply for an assistantship in Kinesiology if I wanted to.  But I was stuck on PT.  I had been talking about PT for so long to so many people that I figured I should just go for it.  I didn't want to let anyone down.  I wanted to help anyone and everyone I could that had physical ailments and I felt friends and family were counting on me.  (So wrong, it's not always about you and they would have been proud either way.)  Anyways, I also applied to the Kinesiology grad program in case I didn't get into PT school.  Well, I got into both.  And this time, I really considered saying no to PT school and yes to Kinesiology/exercise science.  The exercise sciences is what truly interests me and what makes sense to me the most.  I even read books on it in my leisure time.  But...again..I didn't want to let anyone down since I got in, and I had to try PT school to see what it was like.
     Those close to me know what happened when I was in PT school.  And many others that I've told.  After about the 2nd or 3rd week I knew I wouldn't make it.  I couldn't handle the workload and felt I was in way over my head, didn't feel in the right place.  I have always needed a lot of time to study, and 15 credit hours of hard classes+being in class 7-8hrs a day didn't do me any good.  I have never been in any honors classes, even though I did graduate with honors, I was never in the accelerated program.  I just couldn't keep up.  (Of course, most everyone else worked as hard as me, I just was one of the few who didn't make it :) I would take an hr break to workout, usually with my friend Kara-we needed those endorphins and that 1 hour!  Other than that, all our time was spent studying.  Had no social life.  I wasn't having any fun.  I started to call home every few days complaining or crying.  I cried to all my teachers (I couldn't help it, the tears always came pouring down when I went to their offices LOL).  They told me to stick it out for the semester, give it a shot.  So I did...because I am not a quitter.  I did meet with my kinesiology teacher from BG though.  She told me I had to be the one to know what's truly in my heart and take that path.  She also told me to finish out the semester too.  So I did..but it was SO HARD!  That semester was just one big blur to me.  I was in a dark place, wasn't even praying or going to church.  I even recall only exercising 3x a week sometimes (which is so unlike me!).  I called my good friend Sammi who I met at BG at our church.  She helped me get out of this rut I was in.  Started going to church and praying constantly.  I know I tried my hardest that semester.  There was nothing else I could have done.  I remember my friend Davea telling me when I had no hope left (this is sounding way too dramatic lol, but this was one of the hardest times of my life, thinking I'd let everyone down, the past 4 yrs studying your butt off just to get into PT school...feeling like your whole life is now ruined), but she said "The light at the end of the tunnel will come, trust me."  And it did.  I also chatted back and forth through facebook with the student who was a graduate assistant when I was in undergrad.  She helped me out a lot too, as well as a few runners from the MCRR :)  I ended up not passing some of my classes.  I had never failed anything before, so this was something new.  (Well, I actually didn't fail any classes, but got below the C mark-only allowed 3 Cs throughout the whole 3yr program)  Thankfully, I was already accepted into the Kinesiology program at Bowling Green :)  I just had to wait a few more months to see if I got the assistantship.  And I did.  :)  I had a nice winter break full of snowboarding, family, and friends (and a few margaritas).  My PT school teachers said they would hold my spot for me for next fall if I wanted.  No way.  I knew what I wanted to do now and didn't want to waste anymore $ on something that wasn't there.
     I am in a much happier place now.  Life feels right again.  I took 2 classes this semester towards my Kinesiology degree (since my teachers didn't have an assistantship this semester, they recommended taking a few classes just to stay in the swing of things. And I wasn't going to pay anymore for more classes so I just took 2.)  I got a job at the YMCA personal training and instructing fitness classes that I love.  I have met some pretty cool people, and another trainer who is very much like myself with the constant, intense physical activity :).  Even though the field of Physical Therapy and Kinesiology are very closely related, I'd rather help keep people moving and prevent disease and injuries before they happen as opposed to rehab them.  I find the exercise sciences/sport sciences/kinesiology/whatever you want to call it way more interesting than physical therapy, even though I highly respect physical therapists for what they do and what they went through with the schooling.  I truly care about people's bodies and am fully committed to dedicating my life to studying the human body.  It's what makes sense to me the most and what I am most passionate about.  I just had to find the right field within the health field that was suited best for me.  Sometimes it takes failing to realize who you truly are and what you want out of life.  I have made some pretty great friends through PT school, though.  If I ever need anything, I know who to ask :)
     What I have learned through all of this is 1) Do what you love, don't worry about what others may think, 2) Be strong and never, ever give up, you have to give every opportunity your all, 3) Don't be afraid to take the road less traveled.  Some people ask me, "Well what kind of job can you get with exercise science?"  I am not quite sure yet, but really appreciate my teachers taking me back and giving me an assistantship for awesome opportunities :)  There's corporate fitness, possibly research (I think I'll really like this...I love reading and learning.)/university professor of Kinesiology...I've already looked at UNCO-they study Biomechanics and running economy in people with prosthetics, and their exercise physiology department also works with the Rocky Mountain Cancer Institute to study the effects of exercise in patients with chemo, and...lastly...the one that would be the dream job:  The Olympic Training Center :)  But..I do not know which one I'll go into, whatever I fall into.  I must not make any ultimatums anymore, as they might not work out and I don't want to be devastated ever again.  Enjoy the moment that you are in and work very hard because you never know where it may lead you.  Dare to take the road less traveled, because I truly believe in Robert Frost's poem:  it will make all the difference :)  And #4-Open up.  You cannot keep problems like these inside.  I am lucky to have a number of great friends who I was able to reach out to and give me some help and advice.  Thank you all :)  Thanks for being there when I needed it the most!
     And is a song that I feel describes 100% of how I felt during my struggles in PT school, it's by one of my favorite bands, Superchick:

She never slows down (My dad's always telling me to slow down, and especially in PT school to focus on 1 thing at a time)
She doesn't know why but
she knows that when
She's all alone feels
Like it's all coming down (The struggle was so hard-I felt like I was letting my family and friends down, and the world because all I ever wanted to do was help and inspire others)
She won't turn around
The shadows are long
And she fears if she cries
That first tear
The tears will not stop
Raining down (This would happen, I had to constantly, I'm talking at least a few times a week, fight back the tears during class)

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain (Tried my hardest not to quit that semester)
You won't drown
And one day what's lost can be found
You stand in the rain (I was able to find myself halfway through the semester with the help of friends and family and listening to my heart)

She won't make a sound
Alone in this fight with herself (Oh it was very much a fight against myself, if I chose another path, and not PT school, my family would have been just as proud)
And the fears whispering
If she stands, she'll fall down
She wants to be found
The only way out is through
everything she's running from
Wants to give up and lie down (I never wanted to quit anything so badly before, but I have always been able to endure any pain I was going through, both physically and emotionally, so I stuck this one out, too)

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day what's lost can be found (I was able to figure out where my true passion lied, and am not afraid to follow it anymore :)
You stand in the rain

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
Stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day what's lost can be found

So stand in the rain
Stand your ground
Stand up when it's all crashing down
You stand through the pain
You won't drown
And one day what's lost can be found
You stand in the rain

I truly care about everyone's bodies.  This is why I chose these two fields.  I care about your body more than I care about my own.  (The constant texting or facebook commenting about health...sorry friends LOL :)  I want everyone to know how very important it is to stay active.  There are numerous benefits-emotionally, psychologically, and physically.  Regular exercise enhances your life in so many ways there are too many to name.  I could post a whole other blog on just that alone.  My motto that I often joke around with my sister is this, "What's more important, your health or your favorite TV show?"  There is ALWAYS time for at least 30 min of exercise.  Get up a little earlier, skip your TV shows...something!  Anything!  Make the time for it because it will make you feel so much better.

And I'll end with a quote from one of my favorite books, then a Bible verse.

"So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun." Into the Wild
"Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." Matthew 7:13-14   Sound a lot like Robert Frost's poem, The Road Less Traveled...?  :)

Where's the Dam Trail Half Marathon

     So, I ran 13.1 miles yesterday.  I think I said somewhere in a note on facebook that I wasn't going to run that distance this summer.  I did...but I feel I was smarter about training this time.  During this run I had a lot of time to think.  This is where I do some of my best thinking, while running long distances.  I have a chance to look deep inside of myself while the endorphins are rushing and when I feel the most alive-in the great outdoors.  What did I think about?  My training, running form, what I've read and studied and know about running form, and my NE Ohio runner friends from back home. 
     Why I couldn't pass up running this 13.1mi race?  It was only $7 so I started awhile ago slowly building up my longer runs to 10 miles and I didn't want to push it past that.  Starting in January up until now, I only run 3-4 times a week, with one long run, one speed workout (sometimes every other week) and 1-2 easy runs of an hour usually.  Why?  I kept getting hurt training for long distance, actually anything past 30mi a week running seems to hurt me right now.  So my decision was to train for triathlons this summer (besides, I think it may be more of my thing than just pure running).  Um...what I'm about to tell you may sound crazy and if I have time I'll post my training log later this year (I've kept each workout in a log since January, I got lazy with logging mileage in March though)  but I will do anything in order to keep running long distances.  Plus, I like swimming a lot, and cycling.  If I'm sore in one sport, I'll push hard in the other.  Sometimes I won't push hard.  Sometimes I'll take it easy.  I do something every single day.  I really listen to my body.  Sometimes I'll even workout on the AMT trainer for an hour (kind of like an elliptical, but you get the fuller range of motion).  I get in at least 2 strength workouts a week.  I am training for life now, not a certain event, really.  And I like endurance, so sometimes I'll get an hour to an hour and a half in the morning, and maybe an hour of something else in the evening.  Or more. (this will end once school starts lol-back to one hr/day).
     I have talked to my friend Rachel about natural running and barefoot running.  She lent me her book, “Natural Running,” by Danny Abshire.  It was interesting and made perfect sense-landing in the center of gravity, slowly transitioning yourself to land on the balls of the feet.  I’m not going to get into too much of what the book said (read it!), but after I ran this race, I was chatting with my friend Bryan (1:17 half marathon PR at Glass City!) and he is also a personal trainer at the Y like myself so we often chat about the field of exercise science.  Anyways he was telling me it’s going to be hard to change to landing on the balls of my feet if I’m a natural heel striker (he watched me, I am).  He said to just focus on landing under your center of gravity and to do this-drills before EACH run (high knees, skipping, butt kicks, leg swings, etc.)  I watched him run-he kinds of springs off his feet and lifts his knees up.  His stride was perfect.  (I overstride when I’m tired and try to book it.)  So I feel that along with the book I read and Bryan’s advice, I might be able to slowly transition into better running form, but it will take awhile.  I’m still going to run in my orthotics because I do have a forefoot imbalance which was causing knee, hip, and foot problems as well as shin splints from tight calf muscles which could have been due to the bad running form, who knows.  I have to stretch my soleus (muscle under gastrocnemius-your main calf muscle) every single morning for a full minute at least.  (Because I had heel pain, and heel pain can be either from plantar fasciitis or from tight calf muscles because if they are all tight, they will pull at their insertion on the heel bone.)  So I’ll run in the orthotics until I figure all this out-form, my imbalance, training smartly, balancing my body out, etc.
     Ok so now that I’ve blabbed about my training and running problems, I will finally post about this race.  I read online that there was going to be water stops every 2 miles, so I didn’t bring my hydration belt (mistake, now I know to always bring it no matter what!).  I get there, and ask again if there’s water every 2 miles and the guy I asked said “no, there are only 2.”  So I knew I was going to be in trouble.  My goal for this race was to not push it too hard because I have my first sprint tri this coming weekend.  I just wanted to use it as a training run, so I definitely held back starting out unlike my usual excited quick pace at the start lol.  I stayed around 9:30-9:45 the whole time (sometimes closer to 9).  I also knew that if I started out too fast in that heat (it got up to 95 Sunday) I would be in trouble.  Especially with only 2 water stops!  I stayed with this couple that I had met at the start-very nice people by the way, the woman said “nice job,” to each and every runner we passed that was coming back from the 6.55mi race or 13.1 (out and back course).  So, naturally, I started praising every single person as well, even on the way back.  This woman had to slow her pace down and walk at the halfway mark so I continued on running myself.  I am not quite sure how I was able to keep running when I probably needed water.  I actually didn’t feel too dehydrated.  Because of this, I believe, is why I ended up passing a ton of people on the way back.  Which surprised me, I got “looking good!” and “you’re still smiling and have a ton left in you, good job!”  (I tried encouraging them by saying, we’re almost there!) and chatting about the lack of water stops.  But the reason I think I may have been able to do so well is 1) I paced myself well on this run and 2) I kind of train myself normally not to drink much water during exercise.  I am going to explain this in the next paragraph because it may take awhile…….           
     Ever since I was born, actually, I remember LOVING to drink nothing but water.  Milk?  No.  Pop? Ew it always made me burp and it burns going down and coming up.  Not too much of a juice drinker either.  Anyways…I have to drink water with everything.  Even gum sometimes.  If I eat something, probably a whole glass goes down.  If it’s a full meal, (I’m not joking here…) at least 6 cups of water (I use a huge cup, so I’m guessing it is 3 cups worth, and I will re-fill it twice for meals, if not more.  Ok I just measured-yep, about 3 cups!  I don’t know why I drink so much, guess I’m always thirsty.  I will also drink coffee (at least 2 cups a day) and a glass of crystal light a day.  I have no idea, but I probably drink at least 20-24 cups of fluid daily.  When I’m NOT exercising.  So…I know I may be setting myself up for hyponatremia, but then…I don’t drink much during exercise.  My boyfriend is always telling me to drink while we ride on the bike, mainly because I haven’t figured out how to grab the water bottle from my friend’s tri-bike that I’m borrowing lol.  So I have to stop riding to drink!  (I don’t plan on stopping during the sprint tri-it’s only 13 mi so I’ll gulp water before and after at transitions)  Plus, I’ve been in dehydrated situations before-backpacking in the Smokies and not getting to rivers soon enough to purify our water, which leads to severe headaches (Please, no one try this, carry enough water, too) and during the adventure race that I did with Rachel-dropped my water bottle early in the bike portion and didn’t have much until the last few miles of the backpacking portion, an event that lasted 5 hours and 12 minutes.  Thankfully she let me have some of her Gatorade!  But this is not smart.  Not smart at all.  I do wonder if I’m able to make it during these events because of how well hydrated I am before, but I do know if you drink when you should, you will perform even better.  Guess I need to race more to figure it all out :)  I do feel that mentally, I am able to carry on when dehydrated, but again, not smart!  Oh and I read this book called Running Hot, by Lisa Tamati, where she had to ration out her water supply while she was running hundreds of miles across the Sahara, I believe.  So in my mind…I kinda do really want to partake in long, long endurance expeditions, but I must be smart about it!!  Water and Gatorade are very important…if I don’t want to die haha.
     And lastly, during my run…couldn’t stop thinking about all the people I’ve met along the way through running.  Runners are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met (we’ve all heard this before).  I should thank NE Ohio runners for especially being so friendly and welcoming when I first joined the Medina County Road Runners back at home.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into, joining it to train for my first marathon!  (There was no way I was doing 20 milers by myself!)  Anyways…I was introduced to the world of ultrarunning…and felt like I finally had found a home, somewhere I truly belonged.  I may not be an ultrarunner yet, but I sure put in enough time in all 3 sports, plus skating, snowboarding, or exercising in general for hours on end.  Through the MCRR I met more and more runners from NE Ohio.  They are ALL so friendly!  And the area to run is phenomenal!  I am ALWAYS missing home, missing the beauty that the scenery we run by brings, and the many friends I have met.  (I joined a triathlon club here in Sylvania, Team Toledo, and people are just as nice!  But the scenery is not as nice lol)  but, miss you all and will run with you whenever I’m home :)  Thanks for inspiring me. 
     Ok I am going to end this blog.  With a quote.  Thanks to anyone who reads this, I always have so much to say and don’t know how to shorten it. 
“I am my own enemy
The battle fought within my mind
If I can overcome step one
I can face the 99, go one more, don’t stop now, go one more.”  ~Superchick