Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NEW Summer Training Table Foods & Supplements

Healthy Goodies by the (bicycle) basket full!
Summer is officially here and if you are like me, you'll want to rethink your menu ideas to get the most out of your season. There are some really impressive natural foods and supplements which have just launched and are worth including on your training table. I'm in training for the Rapha Women's 100 Bicycle Sportive so here's a roundup of some of my NEW favorites:

Viki's Granola
Made with 100% all natural ingredients, it is about as close as I've found to my own homemade granola. 1/4 cup = 150 calories with 9 grams of fat, (mostly Omega 3's). All of her varieties are delicious with my favorite being Maple Cranberry. The little 1.5 oz packets are perfect for summer hiking, camping and cycling. Bring along some homemade organic almond milk (recipe HERE) and you can have breakfast on the road! Add the abundant summer fruits and berries available now and really live it up. See more selections at VikisFoods.com 

Nightfood Dietary Supplement Bars
As the name implies, these little bars are designed to satisfy night time hunger with fewer calories and a formula that won't interfere with your sleep. At 140 calories per bar and 2.5 grams of fat, Nightfood Bars leave out the stimulants often found in other protein and energy bars. The Cookies n' Dreams tastes a bit like a cocoa infused Rice Crispies Treat. See all the varieties at NightFood.com


Viki's Granola & Nightfood Bars

Grilled Salmon is Rich in Omega 3's
I so enjoy my salmon in the summertime, especially when it's grilled. You can get fabulously creative and add grilled garden produce to salmon fillets and burgers. The Omega 3 Fatty Acids in salmon and other such fatty fish greatly knock out the inflammation that comes with intense exercise.


3 oz salmon fillet on the grill
Aim for 2-3, 3 oz servings per week and you're good to go. These Salmon Burgers come in 1/4 pound patties and cook quickly. Try one of my favorite salmon grilling recipes HERE.


Grilled Salmon Burger served with organic spring greens & a CA Chardonnay.
Everyone's Omega Fish & Flax by Rainbow Light
If for whatever reason you can not get enough oily fish like salmon and sardines in your diet, you might want to try Everyone's Omega Fish & Flax. It is made with ultra pure fish oil (anchovy and or sardine) and organic flax to promote both heart and brain health. Take one capsule daily for the equivalent of 2 fish servings per week. Has no fishy smell or aftertaste but the capsules are a bit large. See more products by RainbowLight.com online.



Garden of Life Raw Vitamin Code Liquid
Totally new from Garden of Life, I had the opportunity to try the Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin E capsules last month at their Blogger Summit and was very impressed. As this line is food based, you can take it with or without a full meal. This is perfect for me as I need to be up and running before the summer sun gets too hot! I've just started using Garden of Life's Vitamin Code Liquid but take it with a full meal. It is made with 46 superfoods including 34 raw, organic fruits, veggies and sprouts. The stuff is like pure rocket fuel for your workout.


NEW Vitamin Code Liquid and Raw Protein Energy from Garden of Life
Garden of Life Raw Protein Energy
This easy to digest, raw protein formula is about the only thing I can tolerate before a hard run or long bike ride. In fact it was the only thing I ate all day for the More Fitness Women's Half Marathon this past April and it did not let me down. The individual packets are genius as they go anywhere and make the perfect recovery drink. Another amazing product is their Organic Plant Protein Smooth Varieties which are pea based and mix instantly into nearly anything. See all of these new products at GardenofLife.com 


MitoQ and Gaia Turmeric Supreme Allergy

MitoQ & NEW MitoQ Heart
MitoQ is a very concentrated form of CO Enzyme Q 10 which is specially formulated to enter the cell's mitochondria. As a targeted antioxidant, it is perfect for countering the oxidative stress one gets from running, cycling and other sustained aerobic exercises. I've been taking MitoQ for about three years and feel as if it's turned back the clock on my energy levels and brain function. I've just started using the new formula, MitoQ Heart about two weeks ago. However I can already detect a faster return to my resting heart rate after working out. Doing hills on my Nishiki is starting to become a pleasure! See both super antioxidant formulas at MitoQ.com

Gaia Turmeric Supreme Allergy Formula
Pollen is simply a part of working out, outdoors and meteorologists are predicting this summer to be a record breaker. I don't like OTC allergy medications that can make you drowsy (Heaven forbid with me riding my bike) so I've found a very good alternative. Gaia Turmeric Supreme Allergy contains turmeric of course but also a blend of natural herbs that help knock down itchy, watery eyes and runny nose without making you sleepy. I take two in the morning before heading out and I'm good all day. See all of Gaia's Turmeric based formulas at GaiaHerbs.com


New Dr. Formulated supplements for intestinal health.

NEW Dr. Formulated Line - Maintaining Proper Intestinal Flora in Summer
During my attendance of Garden Of Life's Blogger Summit, we were treated to several educational presentations highlighting the importance of proper intestinal flora. They've just come out with a Dr. Formulated line which I am taking plus digestive enzymes in chewable form. All the vitamin supplements in the world will do no good if you can not absorb them. 


Shopping Whole Foods with other journalists at Garden of Life's Summit
Likewise having diversity in intestinal bacteria means a healthier mind and body. This is because many types of intestinal "bugs" (the good ones anyway) can mimic or act as hormones and neurotransmitters which are needed by the brain. Others support a healthy immune system. The two new products I'm trying are:  Dr. Formulated Probiotics Mood + which has 16 Probiotic Strains and Dr. Formulated Enzymes Organic Digest + with 29 organic fruits, veggies and 120,000 units of papain. Find these newly launched supplements at Whole Foods nationwide or visit online at Garden of Life.
  
Stay Hydrated! Zero Water's Filtration Tumbler
Zero Water 26 oz Tumbler with Filter
Talk about pure water to go! Zero Water is well known for their filters but this is a welcome addition to the portable systems out there. This easy to use tumbler accommodates a 5 stage filter which removes 99.6% of dissolved solids and fluoride that other bottle filters leave behind.
Take it to the gym and it transforms water fountain water into something you'd actually want to drink. Take it on a park ride or hike and it will work on public water fountains too. If you know there is a potable water source at your destination, you don't need to haul quite as much. Just pack this Zero Water Tumbler and filter as you go. Easy. Available at most retail stores or check them out online at ZeroWater.com



Training for my ride!

Want to Ride With Me?  Rapha Women's 100 Sponsorships are OPEN
I am accepting a limited number of elite, fitness related sponsors for the upcoming Rapha Women's 100 Cycling Sportive on July 26th, 2015. Companies interested in supporting/advertising with me on this ride should get in touch as soon as possible via email at: Drmiczak@yahoo.com


Friday, May 1, 2015

2015 Rapha Women's 100 Cycling Sportive

Join women from all over the world for the Rapha Women's 100 on July 26th!

Now into its 3rd year, the Rapha Women's 100k kicks off on Sunday, July 26th. I'm signed up and mapping my ride for the day but you can sign up and/or find a local ride HERE.

As I've participated in this ride for two years now, I'll be sharing my route details, training table menu, conditioning tips and cycling equipment on XTreme XTraining. You can click here to see my post from the 2014 Rapha Women's 100 Ride.

My Vespertine Vesp & Terry Symmetry from the 2014 Ride

Spring-Summer Training: Since it still pretty cool most mornings, I have a wide range of cool weather cycle-wear to go from about 48-55 degrees. Layers are going to be essential. I like to ride early in the morning if I can before the sun gets up too high. As July is notoriously hot, I chose to wear very light cycle wear such as the Castelli Body Paint series which was incredibly aerodynamic yet cool. 


Castelli Body Paint Kit & Giro Amare Road Helmet from my 2014 Ride

Giro Amare Cycling Helmet is very light and well vented thus was a real lifesaver in the heat last season. I've added Cat-Ears to the straps since last year's ride and can now hear traffic approaching from behind. They help dampen the wind noise quite effectively.



Cat Ears added to my Amare

So these are just a few tweeks I've made to my cycling kit to help keep me cool as well as safe out on the road. Visibility is extremely important so I keep a very bright head and tail light on all my bicycles and run them during the day. I also wear my Road ID which has all my contact and medical information. I wore it for the More Fitness Women's Half-Marathon too! Really anytime I leave the house for a run, walk or ride I wear it. 
Looking forward to getting to it for this cycling sportive!




Want to Ride With Me?  Rapha Women's 100 Sponsorships are OPEN
I am accepting a limited number of elite, fitness related sponsors for the upcoming Rapha Women's 100 Cycling Sportive on July 26th, 2015. Companies interested in supporting/advertising with me on this ride should get in touch as soon as possible via email at: Drmiczak@yahoo.com


Monday, April 27, 2015

2015 More Fitness Women's Half Marathon Recap

The 2015 More Fitness Women's Half Marathon in Central Park
Central Park, NYC As the sun came up on Central Park West on April 19th, 2015, over 7,403 women runners and their supporters gathered near Tavern on the Green for the 12th Annual More Fitness Shape Women's Half Marathon. The temperatures couldn't have been better too. Low to mid 50's with lots of sunshine and very little wind.



The Race Course was two times around Central Park for a total of 13.1 miles. The route was incredibly beautiful with park trees in early bloom. You may not be aware of this but Central Park is full of hills and inclines. Not at all flat like most of the city! 


Race participant Beth McCombs is ready to roll.
As an embedded journalist for this race, I met women who were for physical reasons, choosing to walk the course. One such woman was pregnant and decided to do this half-marathon walking with her mother. Just as long as you complete the course within 4 hours. Carrying a rather heavy bag of camera equipment and taking pictures/video along the way, I had a slightly greater degree of difficulty, especially when we hit the hills!





A Woman's Only Race the More Fitness Women's Half Marathon is one of the largest races of its kind and builds on "Girl Power" with a positive spirit of support. Yes, there were women who are there for the business at hand but there are also women who are recovering from injury or illness, trying this for the first time and those who are looking to get into shape. 


Coming up on Mile 1!
Everyone is welcome and I found none of the snobbery I've seen racing with the men at the Mountain Bike Classics I've participated in. In fact the lead runner came back out to the course to cheer us on during the race. Now how cool is that?


Lead runner, Deena Kastor passed us to cheers and hoots.
Suffering and Succeeding Together are some of the best parts about an event like this. I saw women with canes, visible limps, grey hair, no hair, in shape, no shape, overweight and everything in between. One thing they had in common. No one was judging them but everyone was encouraging them to finish. Everyone who finishes receives a beautiful medal just for that so each woman who completes the race receives something tangible for her work.




The Central Park Route as you can see from the above video snippet is a beautiful one as it allows you focus on doing your own race without traffic and other unwanted distractions. The trees did not have a lot of leaves on them and so allowed the most sunshine possible. There were also hydration tables and lots of fantastic volunteers who kept cheering us on. Some were holding funny signs saying "You Got This!" and "Ryan Gosling is Waiting at the Finish Line!" It was just like a breath of fresh air and a second wind seeing them out there.


The Finish Line! The Journey was just as much fun as the Destination.
The Finish Line had SO many people cheering the racers on. Everyone wanted to blast over it in triumph. One women whom I met on the race route told me that last year just as she was ready to cross the finish line, the racer in front of her fell. Unable to avoid her, she fell on top of the poor woman! So not every finish is picture perfect.


The Final Stretch: Some walked, some ran.
All the same everyone who crossed the finish line gathered at the Naumburg Band Shell for some great music and dancing. Each woman who came over that finish line had something to cheer about. Completing a goal and perhaps encouraging someone else along the way makes this a worthwhile challenge on so many levels.


Happy friends who came over the finish line together!
What I Learned: A Half-Marathon is a great milestone event and there were pace runners whom you could follow if you wanted to finish in a certain time period. Here are some main take-aways from this race:

Road Shoes & Socks: I would also wear running shoes about 1/2 size larger than usual. Even though I wore RejuvaHealth Socks (which helped a lot), my toes did swell some. It happens when I skate for long periods too so go a half size up. In this race, I wore Hoka One One's super-light Vanquish Road Shoes which did not disappoint. 

Race Essentials: GoPro, Hytail Hat, THINK Tank & Hoka One One Vanquish

Dress in Layers: The day started with me arriving at about 7:30 am with temps in the high 40's so I wore my THINK separates which I have been training in. The tank was a life-saver as you can see me at the finish line stripped down to it! Likewise the THINK yoga pants have enough spandex to give your thighs a bit of compression. I topped these with my black Terry Metro Skort which is really lightweight. I topped everything off with my THINK Pink Hoodie which needed to be peeled off after a few miles! Rethinking all the equipment weight I was carrying, I would have preferred to have run with very little on. I was able to warm up quickly.


One of my sponsors, Mariel Heather, owner of THINK apparel.

Sunblock for face and lips: I applied sunblock before taking off and kept a 30 SPF tube of Australian Gold Lip Balm with me and reapplied it during the route. I also wore my Hytail Pony Tail Hat which helped keep the sun off my face. It kept my hair out of the way as well.

Fuel for the Race & After: Having to rise at 4:05 am to make my connection into NYC didn't leave me much time for a hearty breakfast. So I had an Organic Plant Protein Shake (by Garden of Life) and was on my way. I didn't use any energy supplements or fuel bars for this race. Just water and a little Gatorade from the water tables once I was on the course. Once I came over the finish line, the volunteers offered us bagels and fresh apples. I didn't eat them but got some more water and fixed myself a Raw Protein Energy Shake (by Garden of Life) to recover. That night, I took some Rainbow Light calcium citrate and Gaia Turmeric Supreme to ease any lactic acid build up and inflammation.  It helped because the next day I was back on my feet running around!

My training table protein shakes, vitamins & energy supplements
The Wrap: I would definitely recommend doing a half-marathon like this. Very well organized/hosted by the NYRR Club and even televised on NBC with hosts, Natalie Morales and Eric Hill, you will find so many people rooting for you to finish! The only drawback to races like these is that they often require you to pick up your race numbers & route a day or two before. You could have a family member pick it up for you or do it yourself if you are already staying in NYC. 
I would recommend working your way up to a half-marathon by entering a 5 or 10K first though. That way you can get an idea on how to pace yourself and calculate your approximate finishing time.
Very special thanks to all my race support team members and amazing sponsors, namely: Lole Women Activewear, Hoka One One Running Shoes, Terry Bicycle Clothing, THINK Fitness Apparel, Hytail Pony Tail Hats (AD Activewear) and Garden of Life Organic Nutritional Supplements



NEXT UP: I'm signed up again for the Rapha Women's 100 Cycling Sportive on July 26th, 2015. I'll also be celebrating Bike Month (May) and Bike to Work Week so stay tuned to more fitness fun at XTreme XTraining!