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Peach Mango Salsa

This recipe is fast, easy, and most importantly healthy. It’s a great topper for grilled fish, chicken or your favorite tacos. For a snack that’s good for you try it with baked tortilla chips or with flax crackers.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped peeled fresh peaches
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet yellow pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped peeled mango
  • 2 tablespoons chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro
  • Tortilla chips

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Serve with tortilla chips. Make 4 cups.

Nutritional Facts

1/4 cup (calculated without chips) equals:
14 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 2 mg sodium, 3 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, trace protein

Source

The Little Things

Every runner I know wants to improve in some way shape or form, and each runner has some idea of how that feat is to be accomplished. This improvement is usually defined as the BIG thing — runners want to increase mileage, run faster miles, attempt hilly runs, run workouts, etc. Each of these aspects of running are usually considered big things, big pieces of the running puzzle that will lead to success.

However, most of the time, runners forget what can be the biggest thing of all: the little things. The little things comprise all the behind-the-scene routines that go unnoticed or undone. When you look at a professional athlete and you hear them speak about their training you think to yourself “wow, they work really hard–two runs a day and four workouts a week seems tough!” Well, I am here to tell you what you don’t see and hear: top level professional athletes work all day long, their job is not just running but doing all the little things after and before that can make the training they do possible. What you don’t see a professional doing is the ice baths or stretching or the technique drills that take up time each day.

Most of my athletes have a constant drive for improvement, so I often hear the refrain: “Coach what more can I do? How can I get better? I have tried everything!” While I know they’re trying hard, it’s almost certain that no one has “tried everything.” So I want to share some of the key “little” things you can do that will greatly improve your running.

  • Ice baths
  • Hip and core strength training
  • Recovery drinks
  • Proper stretching
  • Striders/form sprints
  • Upper body strength
  • Running on softer surfaces.  Ex:  Go and drop a golf ball on the pavement. Watch it bounce.  Now go drop it on the ground/grass.  Get the picture. Now imagine that the golf ball is your legs.  Running on softer surface, can not only improve your ankle dexterity, but it will help you be less injury prone and recover quicker.

While you may already sporadically participate in the above techniques, it should become a daily part of any runner’s lifestyle. This is why I classify these aspects of running as “little things.”

Ice baths and recovery drinks are the best tools a runner can have for sore tired legs and bodies. Hip and core strength along with upper body weights are imperative in running because you generate most of your power from your hips and core — when your legs die you only have your arms to rely on. Most runners claim that they don’t need arm strength, when in fact it is crucial. Lastly, strider or form sprints: with so much focus on endurance, our bodies forget how to run fast… Remind them! Striders and sprints are a great way to work on your form and technique which is the key element in injury-free running. Added benefits of striders are the speed and quickness you keep in your muscle memory.

Each of these aspects will improve your running efficiency if done on a consistent basis. Sometimes the biggest thing of all is actually many small things together. I challenge each runner to go out and attempt to complete regularly each of the little things listed and I can assure your body will show you the benefits and improvements over time.

Coach James

Running in the Heat

I just got back from a midday run and it was HOT! (especially for a person who loves summer). The heat of summer has arrived, and we must take precautions as we acclimate to running in hot, humid weather. Our bodies are far better designed to handle cold than hot and we have a difficult time in an environment that is even a few degrees above normal body temperature. Excessive temperatures can impair performance and lead to dehydration, fatigue and heat illness. Here are a few facts and guidelines that will help us better enjoy our summer training.

  • It takes 2-3 weeks of training in hot conditions to acclimate.
  • On hot, humid days, slow your pace from the onset rather than waiting until you body forces you to slow.
  • Many athletes experience fatigue and dehydration as they adjust to the hotter weather. Don’t worry, this is normal.
  • Runners perspiration rate differ, hydrate accordingly. In addition to fluids needed by daily maintenance, athletes need to replace fluids lost with exercise (weigh yourself before and after runs over a period of time). Drink 2 cups of fluid for each pound lost during exercise. If exercises exceed one hour, a sports drink will replace sugar and salt lost, less than an hour, water is adequate. However, don’t overdo it either. Some athletes adhere to the “more is better” theory, but drinking excessively, can lead to hyponatremia (low salt) which can be potentially dangerous.
  • Recent research has suggested that drinking ice cold fluids helps to combat the core body temperature rise.
  • An acclimatized person can sweat up to 4 liters per hour, while a person not acclimatized can only sweat about 1.5 per hour.
  • Vary time of day you run—morning is the most humid, but temps are cooler and evening is generally hotter.
  • Expect slower times for long distances.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that allows moisture and heat to be lost from the body.Wear sun screen and a visor for protection from the sun

Using strategies like these can make a difference in hot weather training.

Happy Summer Running!

Anytime Smoothie

This green smoothie contains 4 servings of fruit, 1 serving of veggies, and 1 serving of dairy. And it’s yummy to boot!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup low-fat vanilla soy milk (or low-fat milk)
  • 6 oz low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 ripe banana, frozen and cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, washed
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, strawberries, peaches or any fruit you have on hand
  • 2 tbsp wheat germ
  • Handful of almonds

Directions

Combine soy milk and yogurt in blender. Add frozen banana pieces, spinach, blueberries (various fruits), wheat germ and almonds; blend on high until ingredients are thoroughly mixed together. For a thinner smoothie, add a little water.

Recipe adapted from this article on nyrr.org.

How great can you be?

Need some inspiration? This video is amazing.

(They have disabled embedding into other websites,  but trust me,  it’s worth clicking through!)

A New Perspective

I love spring time. It’s a beautiful time to recognize the growth and blossoms in our lives, especially after a long, cold winter. Life is out there; changing, growing, renewing. Transitions are unavoidable.  Maybe it’s a new racing goal, maybe it’s handling an injury or illness, or maybe adjusting to an aging body.  Maybe it’s a job change, a child, or a new relationship; but change will happen. Spring time reminds me of how everything is evolving, unfolding. It’s like we get another chance—a fresh start. A do over.

Have you ever noticed how we pass the same sights and sounds so many times each day that we grow immune to them?  We know exactly how many minutes it takes to get from here to there.  If we run at the same place each day we know exactly how long it takes to complete the distance. We probably see the same people along the way. We struggle with the phenomenon of complacency and numbness.

I have been trying to look at my usual surrounding with fresh eyes…a new perspective. While life goes on, let’s remember to take the blinders off—expose our complacency, let in the refreshed air and light and really see.  Next time you go out for a run, alone or with a group, notice the beauty of the moment, your friends, the rhythm of your feet and how blessed we are to be out there, running with eyes wide open.

“Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything that is beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting—a wayside sacrament.  Welcome it in every fair face, in every fair sky, in every flower, and thank God for it as a cup of blessing.”Ralph Waldo Emerson

What’s blooming in your life?

Here’s wishing you happy miles this spring!

Coach Brenda

First 3-miler!

Tanner with Coach Brenda and Coach Jamie

Tanner and Coach Brenda

Tanner Brooks

Congratulations Tanner on running your first 3 mile race!  So proud of you!

Future runner…

Look at that happy face!

I’ve Never Gone All the Way

By Carolyn Palombo

13.1. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride. The ultimate running experience seemingly out of my reach…the marathon.  My personal Everest.

As I picked up my race packet for the Richmond Half Marathon, I could only focus on the fact that my shirt was red. I couldn’t tell you what it said or anything about the graphic. It was red. The marathon shirts were blue. Why couldn’t the shirts be the same color? Why did everyone there have to know that I was only running half the race? I wanted that marathon star on my belly like Dr. Suess’ Sneetches. This was ‘race’ discrimination! Where was Sylvester McMonkey McBean when you needed him?

As I finished half of the real race, my feet were throbbing and pain was shooting down my back. However, I felt no sense of accomplishment or joy afterwards. Strangely enough, if someone had put a gun to my head and said go back and run that again, I would have invited them to pull the trigger. So why do I think I should even attempt a marathon if I found 13.1 miles so brutal?

The good Lord answered my plight with an email. (Actually it was from Sports Backers, but I’m sure God wanted me to read it.) The byline caught my eye — “If you make it to the finish line, does it really matter how you got there?“. The story was written by a 55 year old woman who was preparing for the NYC marathon (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-hannah-grufferman/life-after-50-walk-breaks_b_965199.html?ir=Healthy%20Living). She was using the Galloway method to train; a combination of gentle running and regular walk breaks, along with checking your ego at the front door.

Heck, I could do that! After the initial excitement subsided, I wondered what Coach Brenda would think. Here’s a woman who powers through every run, digs deep, doesn’t lose focus, and beats the pants off others half her age. I suspected she would turn up her nose and snicker quietly at the thought of run/walking a marathon. I was afraid to tell her. However, I put on my big girl panties and ‘fessed up. Coach Brenda said she would love to work with me to create a plan. I was overjoyed.

I finally feel like this ultimate goal is attainable with help and support from my coach. On paper, I’m a mess — 50 yr old woman with arthritis in both feet, scoliosis, disk degeneration and asthma. However, now I feel I can get off the porch and run with the big dogs. If I get that blue shirt next year then watch out Richmond. I may start saving for a trip to Nepal.

Fun Times

Coach Brenda training with Sandy Henderson at Huguenot Park!

Look out Boston Marathon!