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We are not adventurers by choice but by fate – Van Gogh

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Fueling your body for success

Post by:  Veronica

Nutrition has recently been a topic of conversation at our house.  And the more people you talk to, the more it seems that everyone has a different idea of what constitutes a healthy diet.  One person says that all carbs are bad; others say to avoid fat and sugar; and others still say that meat (especially red varieties) should be avoided.

The only thing that seems consistent across the board is that vegetables are good for you—but even at that, there are discrepancies as to which vegetables are the best.

Highly recommended read: Michael Pollan's "Food Rules"

Two weeks ago, one of our triathlon coaches gave a talk on nutrition.  And I just have to say, it was a breath of fresh air!  Her words of wisdom were very reminiscent of Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules.”

They gist is simple:  Eat predominately whole foods, eat a variety of foods, and eat enough to fuel your body.

Eat Predominately whole foods

If you can grow it or raise it, then you’re good to go.  If you’re great-great grandmother wouldn’t recognize it, think twice.  The fact of the matter is that as American’s we have created a highly-processed diet, and consume foods that are high in flavor, but also high in sugar, salt, calories, fat—basically high in most everything but nutritional value.  If your read the label and don’t recognize or can’t pronounce the first three ingredients, that should tell you something.

Eat a variety of foods

According to the FDA, a properly balanced diet should consist of 60% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 20% fats.  I’m not one that believes that any one food group should be excluded from a diet.  The key here is picking the good kinds of carbohydrates, the good kinds of protein and the good kinds of fats (yes! There are good kinds of fats….).

  • Choose carbs that are full of whole grains and fiber, such as brown or wild rice, multi-grain or whole wheat bread.  If it’s white, most of the nutritional value has been stripped down, so it’s best to substitute it with another option.
  • Lean protein, such as chicken and fish, are important to eat.  But don’t forget protein from beans or soy as other good options.  This isn’t to say that red meat doesn’t have a place in your diet, just that it should be eaten in moderation.  For those who are very active, protein becomes a super important part of your diet, because it helps rebuild your muscle and tissue after a long, hard workout.
  • When it comes to fat, avoid foods that have significant fat added.  But there are a great amount of whole foods that have good fats that your body needs:  avocado, olive oil, cheeses, ect.

Also good to note is that the more colors that are on your plate, the more your body is receiving all the minerals and vitamins that it needs.  Each color of food supplies your body with a different health benefit.  So include yellows, reds, greens and purples!  Your plate will look good and be good for you.  And everyone deserves the indulgence of a guilty pleasure—so don’t cut sweets and snacks out completely.  Just choose smaller portions and eat these treats on an occasional basis.

Eat enough to fuel your body

Check out the FDA guidelines to see what a male or female at your specific age and activity level should be ingesting.  It’s isn’t as simple as the average 2000 calories a day that the food labels use.  If you are trying to lose weight, stay just under that number, but don’t drop so low that you aren’t giving your active body the fuel that it needs to optimally perform.  There isn’t necessarily a magic formula to follow here—everybody’s body and energy level will respond differently.  Keeping a food journal, that tracks activities and energy levels, will help you be in tune with your body and find patterns in your diet and energy levels.  Fatsecret.com or MyCalorieCounter.com are both great tools to use.

Trust me, this is not a food-haters guide to healthy living.  I LOVE food!  If you give yourself an extra hour or so before the week starts to plan your meals, go grocery shopping and do some of the prep, you’ll find that eating healthier can be easier than you think.

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Adventure Race Training Update

Post By: Jake

Only 4 short weeks till the GrizzlyMan race! Although I’d love to say my race partner and I have been furiously training everyday together, honing our orienteering skills, and mastering the art of racing as a team… In reality, our time spent training together is a bit on the scary side. We’ve met a total of two times to train together. Our first outing was spent snowshoeing about 3 or 4 miles, while we practiced our orienteering skills. We were far from perfect, but we did manage to learn a lot that we can apply on race day. Our second outing was spent ice skating with Yak-Tracks up a kinda steep solid ice trail. Needless to say, we weren’t setting any speed records. After the hike, we got on our mountainbikes for a short ride, where I promptly learned my bike needs a serious tune up!  Winter is being persistant and today it is snowing hard again, setting us back a bit further on our training schedule. There’s only so much you can do on a spinning bike, but I suppose it’s better than sitting on the couch, hoping to get in shape by watching others bike on TV.

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Gore-TexAs some of you may or may not know, I am currently helping out W.L. Gore as a moderator on their online community.  I’ve been helping organize a promotion for the site, and it just launched today!  Members have an opportunity to win a Kokatat Gore-Tex Paclite paddling jacket!  5 runners up will also receive a special anniversary edition t-shirt (which are sitting in my living room, and they look GREAT!). To enter the promotion, you’ll need to setup a free profile on the Gore-Tex community and create an “Experience”.  Experiences are a unique feature to the community,  they are composed of photos, videos, and a description of your experience. It could be a recently ski trip, outing with the family, or a great story you’d like to share.  Check out the contest post on the forum for a little more info, or shoot me a question if you’ve got one.  Good luck!

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Troubles with Earbuds?

Post By: Jake

Veronica and I attended the Winter Outdoor Retailer show back in mid January, and discovered a couple excellent products to help keep your earbuds where they belong, in your ears. These products work so well I just had to share them with you. Everyone that has ever worked out with a normal mp3 player and earbuds knows all too well how annoying it is to constantly be fiddling with the earbuds, trying to keep them from falling out. Running, biking, hiking, doesn’t matter… no matter how hard I try, if I’m moving, the earbuds are falling out.

We were introduced to two products at the OR show that have changed the way we workout with music! First, the YurBuds. YurBuds make a discrete, small silicone cover that wraps around your existing ear buds (or you can buy a set earbuds complete with covers). The silicone covers come in many sizes and are molded into an ergonomic shape of an inner ear. A good fitting pair will actually grip the inside of your ear and make it very difficult for your earbuds to pop out on their own, in fact they are “guaranteed” to not fall out.

The second product we were introduced to is the Nite Ize “Curvyman”. The curvyman looks simple enough, however it’s packed with well thought out features. It’s marketed as an ear bud organizer. Wrap your earbud cords around the body and clip the cords into their respective cord locks and never worry about tangles and knots in your cords again. I’ve found the biggest benefit to be the cord lock holes and micro biner clip. I clip the Curvyman to the chest of my shirt, and lock in my earbud cords, and it keeps everything in line, and close to my head. preventing little tugs that eventually make your earbuds fall out (yes even with the YurBuds). Used with the YurBuds, my earbuds are secure and I can work out without the annoyance of constantly shoving those little things back into my head.

Product Notes:
Yurbud covers, MSRP: $19.99 at Amazon.com

Nite Ize Curvyman, MSRP: $3.10 at Amazon.com

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Road IDYou heard right, we’re conducting our first give away contest!  We’re giving away a Road ID product of the winner’s choice. Road ID is a great safety minded company, dedicated to two things: One, to educate outdoor enthusiasts (runners, cyclists, triathletes, skiers, snow boarders, kayakers, walkers, and anyone that doesn’t spend all of their time on the couch) about the importance of wearing ID. Two, to provide these athletes with innovative identification products that they will want to include as part of their gear.

So, here’s how to enter:

Step 1.) Do one of three things: “Follow” Road ID on Twitter; “Like” Road ID on Facebook; and/or Visit RoadID.com

Step 2.) Post a comment after this message, telling us a few things: What of step 1 did you do?  What is the Road ID product you would wear? AND also tell us what sports you participate in where you’ll wear the Road ID.

That’s it!  The winner will be chosen using Random.org and announced on (or near) May 1st, 2011.  If you like our blog, feel free to subscribe via e-mail in the green link to the left.  We’ll send you a message when new content is posted. Best of luck and stay safe out there!


Epic Jackson Hole Ski Trip

Post By: Jake

Several weeks ago Veronica and I had the opportunity to ski Jackson Hole for our first time. We had been wanting to ski in the “epic”; Teton snow for years and finally decided to make it happen. On a very normal Friday afternoon in mid-February we crammed into a car with three friends and made the 6.5 hour drive south. Hungry for dinner, we stopped at Gringo’s in Rexburg, ID. Their menu was a little hit or miss, offering some tasty entrées, and some not-so-much. Cresting over the winding Teton Pass, we could see the soft glow of Jackson in the distance. For accommodations we chose the newly remodeled, and very budget oriented Motel 6. Although small, the rooms were very clean, and had a very functional IKEA feel.

In the forecast, snow was predicted nearly every day, however we weren’t expecting more than a few inches each night. We woke up Saturday morning to a report of 9-fresh inches on the slopes! Our first turns confirmed the 9-fresh, however by mid-day most of the soft cover was packed down and most of the funnel runs quickly were skied down to bare ice. Content with our exceptional morning skiing, we called it a day at about 2:30 and headed back to Jackson for showers, hot food and cold beer at the delicious Snake River Brewery. After dinner we took a walk around town to burn off a few of those extra calories. Any trip to Jackson wouldn’t be complete without a stop to Skinny Skis. Walking into the gear shop, I quickly heard “Jake?” spoken loudly behind me… I turned around, not recognizing the 2 figures in the bright doorway at first. It was our good friends and fellow MountainTech Pete and Kristin and their adorable daughter. Turns out they were up from Salt Lake for the long weekend, hiking around Grand Teton National Park, and Pete was going to ski Jackson Hole the next day. We exchanged numbers, and met up at the gondola the next day.

Day 2 we woke up to another fresh 10-inched of snow outside our hotel room. Jackson Hole’s report was 10-inches at 6:00 a.m. but by the time we got our tickets, and made it to the top of the mountain, our first turns were producing face-shot after face-shot, slicing through at least 2-feet of cold fresh powder! By anyone’s standards the day was EPIC! We skied to the point of exhaustion, finally throwing in the towel at about 4:00. Pete continued skiing like an animal, but in all fairness, he easily had double the amount of ski days under him, and was used to skiing epic Utah powder.

Our trip to Jackson Hole gave us memories we’ll never forget. Chance encounters with great friends, great food, and some of the most incredible lift-serve skiing anyone can hope for in their lifetime. The trip, was EPIC!

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Triathlon training week two–What am I doing here?!

Post By: Veronica

In the middle of the timed two-mile test I was running for the Triathlon clinic, a girl next to me asks, “So are you a mountain biker or a road biker?”  Taken aback by the fact that she was able to think of anything other than the burning in her legs AND could muster up enough oxygen to utter a complete sentence, I shook myself out of my running trance and answered, “Not really either.”  Then I thought to myself,  ”Actually, I don’t bike, I never learned how to swim and I’ve never been a distance runner…what am I doing here!”

One week later, as the “Adaptation Phase” of our training comes to a close and we’re finally getting the hang of things, I feel much less out of my element.

From spandex to swim caps--my new athletic gear is taking some time to get used to. We're no longer on the volleyball court Toto!

For our training clinic, the group meets three times each week with the coaches.  Tuesday and Friday we are in the pool and Wednesday we’re on the track for a run.  The rest of the week, we bike, lift and usually do another run workout on our own.  Originally I thought it odd that we never meet for our bike workouts, and instead have two swim workouts as a group.  But I soon realized that I was not the only one in the group who felt least comfortable with the swimming component of the race.  In fact, the majority of our group had signed up specifically to improve their swimming comfort and ability.

You see, the beautiful thing about a multi-event sport like a triathlon is that everyone has a component they are confident with and everyone has a component they struggle with.  For example, someone can be holding their own in the pool workouts, fall behind and hate the run days, but then when you see them in the spin room…they are in their element, in the zone.  Personally, I come out of swim class like a drowned rat, am so-so in a bike workout, and am (to my own surprise) loving the run workouts.

So the question could be raised, “Why don’t you just stick with what you like and/or are good at?”  Fair question.  Personally, being pushed out of my element is helping me grow, both mentally and physically as an athlete.  Every day works a different set of muscles and for the first time in my athletic journey, I am genuinely excited to master a weak skill.  Seriously, I’ve spent hours watching YouTube video after video on swimming techniques.  And practicing the motions in my living room!  From mastering the stroke, to figuring out how to breath.  And, when I start getting frustrated about not catching on as quickly as I’d like, I get a confidence boost at the run workout the next day.

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And The Beat Goes On…

Post By: Jake

Week two of Triathlon training is now behind us!  Our first actual training event was a swim trial, to help sort the group into “like” swimmers.  Our instructors split the group of 20 into 3 tracks, Fast, Faster, and Super Fast. Although I didn’t feel like I was any of these,  I chose the “faster” group since I knew how to swim, and once upon a time (nearly 20 years ago) I was on a swim team so I knew the basics. Our instructors yelled to us to do a quick down and back however we wanted… 7 people in a lane designed for 1 must have been comical to watch us bumping into eachother, swimming into walls, and overall getting in eachother’s way (much like a triathlon I imagine). Our instructors then told us to keep to the right, give eachother a few seconds lead time and swim down one side of the lane and back the other… and do it again… On the second lap I looked up and realized I wasn’t catching the person in front of me, and quickly realized the person behind me was about to catch me, I kicked it into high gear and by the time I got back, I was ready to be done for the day, out of breath and satisfied with my workout for the day. On no… it continued for another hour, back and forth, back and forth… I didn’t think I had it in me, but by the end I smiled, realizing I had been pushed further than I was comfortable, and I lived.

Day 2 was the running trial.  We were to run a timed one or two mile route (our choice) to establish our baseline speed (which assumedly it would get faster throughout the training). The course was a bit snowy and icy, and the air was pretty brisk (30 degrees), not exactly conditions we’d expect to be setting  speed records. “GO!” was shouted and we all took off. Initially I sped up from the pack a bit just to get away from the pack. I am NOT a runner.  I told Veronica the other day, if God would have wanted me to run, he’d have given me longer legs. But there I was, legs a kickin.. I was fully intending on running the one mile course, however when I got to the turnaround point, no one was there. Not knowing where the turnaround point was I kept running, only to be told I was doing the full two mile course! My goal quickly shifted from “turn in a decent one mile time” to “try and simply run the two miles without passing out.”  At about a mile I nearly fell over dead, but managed to struggle on, and miraculously by 1.5 miles I was catching a second wind and actually increasing my pace.  I ended up at 16 minutes 10 seconds for the 2 miles, by far my personal best (although, I haven’t run a timed distance in probably ten years).  Proud of my achievement, I walked home… while Veronica ran.


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WIN $10,000

JanSport just launched a new promo to win a cold $10K.  They want adventurers to film a 360 degree view of their favorite outdoor spot. That’s it.  20-30 second film, upload, and go home rich!  Not to worry, the 50 runners up also get to take home a JanSport bag of their choice. Check out their contest page for all the details as there are a few fairly specific guidelines they are looking for. All submissions are due by August 31st at 11:59 p.m.    I have my favorite 360 degree view in mind, how bout you?  (We would love to see a comment on where you’re video would be filmed!!!)

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Need a fitness kick in pants? 5 tips to get started

Post By: Veronica

For about two months, Jake and I have been regularly exercising.  On average hitting the gym 3-4 days each week for about an hour each time.  Yes, compared to the 2+ hours, 6-7 days a week I was used to in college, it seems like it should be a walk in the park.  But add full time jobs, family commitments, house projects and the occasional social gathering and 4 hours a week quickly becomes difficult to obtain.

Needless to say, our efforts have paid off.  Both of us have started to shed the extra “winter layer” we’d put on over the past few years, but more importantly, we each feel better, more energized and are all around healthier people.

For those of you who, like me, have taken so much time off from working out that you’re not sure how or where to begin, I thought I’d share a few tips that have helped us stay focused:

1.  Have a partner–one who will actually hold you accountable.  Motivation is something that comes and goes–and when it’s gone, it’s extra important to have someone there to say, “Hey, it’s Wednesday and we haven’t worked out yet this week.  Let’s go right after work instead of waiting until after dinner.”  Honestly, sometimes the hardest part is getting yourself out of the house and to the gym.

2.  Set a goal.  I know this is almost cliche and growing up in sports, goal setting didn’t make sense to me.  I played to win, not to improve my endurance or work on my technique.  But as an adult, when it’s not about winning or losing, but about being fit and healthy, goals become more important than ever.  Perhaps it’s to lose 5 pounds or to try something new–goals are not only the motivation for getting to the gym, but they also set the pace for your workout.  Just remember:  realistic and obtainable.

3.  Listen to your body.  This has been one of the hardest things for me.  In my mind, my body is capable of doing what it did 5 years ago when I was working out 20 hours each week in college.  In reality,… let’s just say things are a little rusty.  And yes, sometimes it is OK to take the night off.  Just make sure you and your workout buddy are committed to giving a serious effort the next day.  Whether training seriously or exercising leisurely, full rest and recovery are an important, and often forgotten, part of the formula.

4.  Make sure your iPod or other personal music device has been updated with great up-tempo songs.  I guess music choice while working out is a personal preference, but find something that will keep your mind off the exhaustion.  Personally, I find it really helpful to use the up-beat chorus sections of a song to increase my running tempo.  I’m then adding some intervals to my workout and I don’t have to think about when to push myself.  Just follow the beat.

5.  Mix it up.  One of the things I love about the Tri-training that Jake and I are doing is that in one given week, we bike, run, swim and do strength training.  So everyday is something different.  Hitting the treadmill five days a week may be great if you have a serious passion for running.  But if you’re looking to simply “work out” chances are you will get really bored, really fast.  Plus, mixing up your activities will work different muscle groups–making for a much more complete fitness program.  This also means doing something FUN and active.  Have a racquetball day, hit a Zumba class or shoot some hoops.  Just because you’re “working out” doesn’t mean it all has to be “work.”

If you are just thinking about starting a new workout plan and want to stay on track, check out this article from the Mayo Clinic to get started.  Happy running!

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