The Seven Guidelines for “Your Best Diet”

What should I eat to improve body composition and gain energy?

2012-11-16 18.03.08

If you are asking yourself this question or similar ones about nutrition you may be looking for “Your Best Diet.”

What is “The Best Diet?” The answer is, it depends…. The best diet is different for everyone based on their goals, health status and accessible foods.

Marketing material, doctors, trainers, coaches, nutritionists and peers may all give you conflicting advice.

So, where to begin?

healthy breakfast example

Here are seven simple guidelines to help you develop “Your Best Diet”:

1. Determine Your Goals! If you don’t have goals then it really does not matter what you do because you have nowhere to go….

Maybe you want to loose a certain amount of body fat, improve your overall energy, lower your cholesterol and/or decrease simple sugar intake.

What ever your goals are, think about them and write them down. Make some goals specific and measurable. Goals can change so reassess these on a regular basis.

2. Get blood work from your doctor (or order your own blood work online from Direct Labs especially if it has been more than 1 year).

If you are not sure what to check choose a CWP (Comprehensive Wellness Profile). The CWP will cost under $100 and provides you with the basic tests for your overall health. Once you have your blood work results I recommend seeking a professional who you trust to help you asses your results, compare with previous results and give you feedback.

3. Check your body weight, girth measurements and (if possible) body composition by using a scale, tape measure and/or skin calipers. This will give you a starting point and data to remeasure each month to track progress. While knowing that your clothing fits differently or someone comments on the way you look is good feedback,  body composition gives you quantifiable data.

4. Determine caloric needs. I use the Cunningham Equation based on body weight and body fat or Lean Body Mass (LBM). There are also many other formulas and ways to measure your Basal Metabolic Rate (calories burned at rest) to determine daily caloric needs. Using a trusted formula based on extensive research is a great starting point.

5. Develop a grocery list with fresh foods high in fiber and nutrients and low in simple sugars.  Shop on the outsides of the grocery store in refrigerated and freezer sections for most products. When choosing foods always read the ingredients. If you do not recognize and ingredient, look it up. The less ingredients there are, the more likely the food will be a healthier choice. Click HERE for a grocery list template.

6. Count your calories. I use an online website such as MyPlate. Counting your calories is important for healthy body composition changes and energy maintenance. It is also a good way to determine your percentages of carbohydrates, fats and proteins through trial and error. You don’t have to count calories everyday but it’s good practice so you become aware of what and how much you are eating. Start with three days of food logging. If you get out of the habit repeat the three day logging once a month until you reach your body composition goals.

healthy stuffed peppers

7. Finally, take the initiative to plan and prepare your meals. I enjoy using simple, balanced and tasty recipes from The Feed Zone Cookbook.

These seven guidelines have helped my clients become more aware of their diet needs, nutrition habits and achieve their goals.

Start your journey and develop “Your Best Diet.”

Visit me at enduranceworks.net for personalized nutrition help…

Happy and Healthy Eating!

Krista Schultz, MEd, CSCS

 

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Big Race In a Small Town – Run Galesburg Run


I live in Boulder, CO, the mecca of endurance athletes, and have the privilege to train with some of the best coaches and athletes in the world. At workouts we often discuss our upcoming races.

As The Galesburg Half Marathon came closer my friends would ask me things like, “How many more days? Did you do that half marathon yet?” There were times I was surprised by their interest because some of them had just won an Ironman or made it to Olympic trials and this was a half marathon in a small town.

I realized that I often talked about how excited I was to prepare for the Galesburg Run. When anyone asked what races I had planned it was the highlight to my schedule. My Close friends Dave Dunn and Natalie Kessler created the event and that was a big deal to me.
In addition my husband, David Glover was hired to develop standard operating procedures and one of my favorite race announcers Brad Rex was the race announcer.

Brad Rex, race announcer

Brad Rex, race announcer

The birth of Run Galesburg Run

Many small towns around the US are not exposed to the same amenities and events as a place like Boulder, CO. A 1- mile fun run can draw people away from the couch and help them clean up their nutrition for the joy of running with other people at an organized event.

Before Run Galesburg Run was developed I mentioned to Dave Dunn that I thought it would be a great thing for the Galesburg community to have a run race. In my mind Galesburg needed a reason to become a healthier and supportive place where being fit was more the normal way of life.

After a brief conversation with Dave about the idea of putting on a run race, he quickly made it a reality. Dave Dunn is a highly successful businessman and skilled marketing professional. He owns an auto body shop in Galesburg, Illinois called Dave’s AutoBody and created Dave’s Gator Sauce. A bottle of Dave’s Gator Sauce can be found in almost every Galesburg restaurant on all the tables. Dave’s Gator Sauce is one of Dave’s unique marketing pieces and it tastes great with everything!

Since I have competed in 100’s of triathlons and run races all over the world I have a sense of how races compare. The Run Galesburg Run event ranked very high on my list of best all time races. From packet pick up to the post race party everything flowed and felt fun. In addition to a half marathon there is a 1-mile fun run and a 5k so anyone can get involved.

The day before the race I went out for my pre-race workout:

  • 40 min (W/U: 10 min ez, 5 x 1 min at threshold with 3 min ez in between, C/D: EZ rest of run),

I am a triathlete so I run 3 days a week and swim, bike and lift other days. Typically, I have one longer run, a speed session and a shorter easier jog. Some weeks I will add a fourth day of running depending on my time and energy. I also coach several triathletes, cyclists and runners and create training plans including run plans for beginners to the advanced.

While I was out running I saw Dave Dunn and Brad Rex (race announcer) marking the racecourse. From that point on I didn’t see those two much until after the race since they were hard at work.

After Natalie finished some of her morning tasks we ventured to packet picket at the local running store, Go Outside and Play. Nick, the storeowner and race director helped customers with a smile on his face. His staff was friendly and helpful. The store was well stocked with a variety of quality run accessories.

Go Outside and Play

I picked up my race packet and it contained several great things including a quality race shirt and a bottle of Dave’s Gator Sauce. Later that night we attended the pre-race athlete dinner and talked to some of the volunteers and other runners. Dave and Brad went back out to the race site to help with set up and I headed to bed.

It was a great race day on Sunday June 2nd when I woke up to a cool weather in Galesburg, Illinois. I enjoy races because it is like a celebration with other athletes. Today I would be lining up with more than 800 runners to compete in the Galesburg Half Marathon express (13.1 miles).

Krista Schultz, Co-owner of She Does Tri and Endurance Works

Krista Schultz, Co-owner of She Does Tri and Endurance Works

The race course
After a 15 min warm up with some pick-ups and dynamic stretches I walked toward the start line where Brad was making announcements. The national anthem played and there were some words from the sponsors then the gun sounded and we were off!

Race start

Race start

The first couple of miles were through neighborhoods where families were outside cheering. There were a couple of bands stationed at great spots, which was motivating. I was impressed with all the volunteers and police officers directing us so we did not make a wrong turn.

The landscape was peaceful and pretty and I found myself running alone after the first 5k. I heard cows mooing and there were some people riding a golf cart cheering as they drove by. The next two aid stations somewhere between miles 4-6 were the best; they were filled with cheers, goodies and helpful volunteers. I knew there were two climbs coming up which would be challenging so I backed off the pace slightly in order to maintain good running form throughout the climbs.

Once we turned into the wind about half way through the race I caught myself complaining so switched my complaint bracelet a few times and focused on positive thoughts only. Even though my left IT band was flaring up I kept my composure and enjoyed the scenery and course entertainment. There was a drum band and a guitar player and the course was marked to perfection.

As a reached the last 3 miles of the course my IT band was becoming painful and instead of trying to bridge the gap between me and the first place woman my goal became to manage the pain with efficient running form.

As legendary triathlete Dave Scott says, “Do what you can in the moment”.

I have a great physical checklist for my self when my body aches (BAG) Back- Engage middle back by retracting the shoulder blades to keep chest and lungs open, Abs- pull the belly button toward the spine to help stabilize the pelvis and spine and Glutes- Squeeze the glute muscles so the hip flexors and quads are not doing all the work. Click HERE for 5 exercises I developed for cyclists and runners to help reinforce BAG.

I did everything I could to pick up the pace and finished around 1hr and 35 min a Personal Record! I greeted some of the other runners I met out on the course and some friends who were crossing the finish line.

Friends

Finish

Finish

Dave Dunn was at the finish line to give me a hug and the volunteers cut the timing chip off my shoe and placed a medal around my neck. I received a beautiful trophy for 2nd place female and a very nice Saucony brand travel bag.

Award

Award

Post race

After Dave Dunn and the crew packed up the race site very quickly we headed to the post race party. Everyone drank, ate and talked about their great experience that day. There were many people that had never competed in a run race and several who posted personal records. Most importantly the race had brought the community together and helped many achieve goals beyond what they knew they could do.

Thank you Dave, Natalie and all who made Run Galesburg Run possible, for a great experience!

Krista and Natalie

Krista and Natalie

 

Krista Schultz
Founder, She Does Tri
Triathlon Coach, ENDURANCEWORKS

 

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Ann Nicocelli races Luray Triathlon

 

Update from Ann, brain aneurysm survivor:

It was wonderful seeing Krista, David, Brad Rex, Andrea Mathias and the whole She Does Tri group at the Luray Tri last weekend!! Congratulations to everyone involved for organizing such a great event! The camaraderie and support from the athletes and within the graduates of the She Does Tri camp was fabulous.

Racing at the Luray Tri this year was a gift. I had canceled my participation last year when my brain aneurysm was discovered a few weeks before the race. Coming back this year was a personal victory. I cannot say enough about the organization and quality of the race and the pre-race clinic. I attended the clinic and the information provided was great. Race day was beautiful – perfect weather!

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How to get “Fit”

Do you want to get fit?

Are you struggling to get into shape?

What ever it is you are trying to achieve making a change that will stick takes the same steps.

Here are 3 Simple Steps to get “Fit”

1. Determine a goal

What is it you want to achieve through fitness?  Weight loss, health, speed, all of the above?  What ever your goal may be start with one in mind, make it specific then write it down and pick a date so you can work backwards to develop your plan.  Make sure your goal is practical, enjoyable and achievable.  A coach can help you with determining appropriate goals, planning and workouts.

2. Find a workout partner

Pick one person  or a group you can depend on to be there with you when you workout and who has a similar fitness level and goals. Making a commitment to someone else other than ourselves can help motivate us to simply show up and get it done.

3. Make small changes in your nutrition

Dieting and working out do not mix well.  Naturally you will burn more calories when you increase your effort level but you also need the proper fuel. The key to achieving more energy, weight loss and speed from nutrition is to add in healthy choices such as plant based foods.  Fruits and veggies provide us with phytonutrients to protect our immune systems, fuel our engines and provide fiber to keep the heart healthy.  Eating healthier foods more often will teach us to avoid the processed, refined, trans fats and other prepacked and preserved choices that cause us gastrointestinal distress and ruin our metabolism.

If you can stick with small additions to your lifestyle such as going to one workout class a week and/or eating a salad every night for dinner then you are on the right track.  Avoid people who try and sabotage your healthy patterns by not being supportive.

Remember the 3 simple steps to get “fit” and after 21 days of some good habits you will have created a lifestyle change that you can build upon.

Have fun and be healthy!

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Ann Nicocelli Does Tri

The Day the Unexpected Happened

by Ann Nicocelli

Introduction

Ann Nicocelli

On July 16, 2010, just three months after joining the She Does Tri Camp, Ann Nicocelli discovered that she had a brain aneurysm during a visit to the emergency room. With this diagnosis, brain surgery was the only option for a cure.

Ann was an eager, enthusiastic camper when I met her at She Does Tri Camp. She was excited and determined to learn and achieve great things in the sport of triathlon. After learning about Ann’s brain aneurysm and her fight against this terrible fate I wanted to know more about how she was dealing with all the thoughts, feelings, and uncertainties that came along with brain surgery. Her story which is still unfolding can give us all courage as we struggle with finding the motivation to get up everyday and work hard toward our goals. Ann is kind enough to share her experience and perspective to help others who may also be dealing with a life threatening diagnosis or are struggling to exercise and accomplish a physical task. I am proud to call her a She Does Tri Camp graduate. We will hear more about Ann’s story as she continues on her journey and competes in the wonderful sport of triathlon.

In the attached article, Ann shares how her training, focus, and determination, brought her through her potentially fatal condition. She takes us through her trip to the emergency room and diagnosis, brain surgery, and recovery. She shares how triathlon training brought her through all elements of this challenge stronger and more centered – all the way to the planning for a half Ironman in 2011, just nine months after surgery.

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Weight Loss: More Than Just Cutting Calories

fast foodAlthough many people have good intentions to follow through with their New Year’s Resolutions a common pattern is to fail. In a 2007 study in the UK, which tracked more than 3,000 people attempting to achieve a range of resolutions, including losing weight, although 52% of participants were confident of success at the start, only 12% actually achieved their goal one year later. It is important to realize and understand your individual limitations, which need to be addressed in order to meet the demands of the commitment. As an example if you have trouble motivating yourself to go to the gym, you could find a workout partner to help hold you accountable.
However, limitations to being able to stick to a commitment may be more complex than simply finding a workout partner when it comes to eating right. Simply deciding to eat smaller quantities or fewer calories to lose weight or body fat may not be the answer for many who follow a pattern of failing to change your body composition. In order to make a lifestyle change Dr. Dietz, Director of Nutrition at the Center for Disease Control explains that we need to make environmental changes such as buying and preparing more foods to make changes in a family structure and reducing the less healthy foods in schools.

The “Meat” of the Obesity Problem: Dopamine

Brain

Brain

According to a recent article in the New York Times, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that Americans have reached their peak of obesity. Failure to follow reasonable eating habits and remain inactive has caused Americans to reach an all-time high for our overweight and obesity statics.
According to the Government the obesity rate should have been at only 15% by 2010 but obesity rates in America are at an all-time high with 34% of adults and 17% of children in America considered obese.
Although inactivity seems to be a problem, the foods we eat can be just as much if not the “MEAT” of the issue. It may not be enough for an overweight or obese individual to simply increase activity and decrease calories. Certain foods, like alcohol or drugs, can trigger a chemical response in particular individuals with a predisposition to overeating that can reinforce addictive behavior. Dr. Kessler, the author of The End of Overeating, describes certain fatty and sugar foods as hyperpalatable as compared to clean cooked vegetables. Fast foods, for example, can change brain chemistry and cause a neurological response which stimulates the pattern of overeating. Rich, sweet or fatty foods stimulate the brain to release dopamine which is a neurotransmitter associated with the pleasure center of the brain. Dr. Kessler believes food addicts may have certain characteristics such as lack of impulse control and inability to stop once they get started. Before you decide to eat at a fast food restaurant, or make a poor food choice, think about how it makes you feel and the unhealthy pattern it can create.

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Vickie Singer : Why She Will TRI

Her Photo describes her personality very well.  I know Vickie to be a very happy person who has much to be thankful for in her life.  My first contact with Vickie was via phone and she was interested in exercise testing to determine her training zones on the bike so she could build her fitness efficiently.  When I asked Vickie what her goal was she replied “To stay alive.”  I will not forget how that made me feel to hear those words from her.  When we met in person, Vickie’s presence alone brought a positive energy into the room.  Here is an interview with an amazing woman with a special kind of courage that I think will be contagious.

  1. What gave you the desire to do a triathlon and sign up for the She Does Tri camp?

For the past two years I have been on a mad tear to improve my level of fitness and overall health.  I have worked out for years, but have not been as committed or consistent as I should have been.  This summer I participated in the Livestrong Cycling Team Challenge with a dual purpose of raising money for cancer research and to provide me with a focus on better health and fitness.  In preparing for the Challenge, I hired Krista Schultz to conduct VO2 testing and provide guidance on how to be a better cyclist.  Armed with additional information about how my body functioned, I was able to increase mileage, stamina and speed.  While I don’t consider myself an athlete in the true sense of the word, I like challenges and activities that provide a positive focus.  A triathlon seems like a natural progression and provides more of an opportunity for cross training as opposed to one endurance sport.   She Does Tri camp appeals to me because it provides a non-treating environment filled with learning and the camaraderie of female peers.    Many people ask if I am intimidated by the thought of a tri – you better believe it!  This will be no easy accomplishment for me, especially the swim.  Perhaps I can wear water wings to buoy me though and of course I will be looking for Krista to show me the way!

  1. What things have you accomplished through training?

Self-confidence is the greatest gift I have received from training.  When I first started cycling about 5 years ago, I knew very little.  My bike fit was wrong, I fought the bike rather than learning to move with the bike, I did not know enough about my own exercise physiology to understand how to make it work for me.  Training with professionals helped me better understand my strengths and weaknesses, allowing more targeted improvement.  Training has been like drinking from a fire hose – tons of information, but not always knowing what to do with the knowledge.  Training with a coach is much more prescriptive and allows you to build knowledge slowly and perfect techniques rather than learning the wrong way and having to circle back to correct.

  1. What are some of your goals for this year with triathlon, fitness, etc.?

Most specifically all I want to do is finish the sprint triathlon.  It will be an enormous personal accomplishment.  In 2009 I was diagnosis with cancer, the very biggest surprise of my life.  Staying well is critical and often challenging.  Fitness allows me to use my energy in a very positive focused manner rather than focusing on the negative.   Additionally I hope to meet more like-minded people along the way and to benefit from their experiences and share some of my own.

  1. How does the training make you feel and what are some of the benefits to working toward a goal?

Empowered.  I am an A++ personality, but there is nothing like the high you get from accomplishing a goal.  Exercise is a fantastic drug. Training with a purpose is even better.

  1. How has your nutrition changed or how would you like it to change?

My nutrition plan has been the biggest change I have made.   I often skipped meals and was never properly hydrated. After returning from long rides, I would be flat out for a day – maybe even two, depending on the length of the ride.  Now I plan my meals, 5 – 6 small meals a day.  It is complicated, especially if you travel frequently.  Five to six meals a day feels like you are eating all the time, but I have learned that properly fueling your body makes a tremendous difference in my performance.   Eating properly has given me so many more benefits than I could imagine such as converting fat to muscle, mood booster, making me more alert and overall performance.  There is still plenty of room for improvement.

  1. What does your normal weekly workout schedule look like and how important is each different activity you are doing (e.g. swim, bike, run and lift)?

I tend to mix things up depending on my work and travel schedule.  I read a great deal about exercise and nutrition and seek advice from professionals.  My goal is to always incorporate 45 minutes of interval cardio training three times a week and lift three times a week.  Honestly some weeks are better than others.  Swimming lessons is my next skill to tackle.  An open water swim is intimidating, but I think with proper training I can be successful.    The other option is not really an option…sinking to the bottom of the lake.

  1. What would you tell women who are afraid to do a triathlon or triathlon camp?

If I can do this, so can you.  Again, I don’t consider myself an athlete, but rather an athlete “wanna be”.  I am a 49 year old, two-time cancer surviving, working wife and mother of three fantastic children (and three dogs).  I didn’t get serious about working out until after my cancer diagnosis. You do the math. I am not a young thing.  The positives of achieving a specific goal are motivational to me. When times get rough, I go to the gym and work on my goals.  Having cancer is scary – really scary but not being around to enjoy my family is more frightening. Through training and positive focus on my goals, I think I can beat the odds – at least that is the goal, right?

If you have anything else to add or have something different to write about please feel free.

Setting an example for my children is critical. I want them to be healthy, self-confident adults. Through my life’s experiences, I share what has worked and not worked with them – and others who are willing to listen to my rants.   My experiences offer valuable lessons.  It seems I have a positive impact on others. Many have shared that I have motivated them to achieve new personal and professional goals.  While I am not always sure of my own abilities and how my motivation of others really works, it is such an incredible high, that words cannot explain.  Inspiring others is an unintended thrill.

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Interview with She Does Tri Camper Millie Jackson

Millie Jackson is the Associate Dean for Collections at The University of Alabama Libraries. She has a Ph.D. in English.

Below is a photo of Millie followed by an interview where she candidly explains her motivation and desire to achieve her goals.  She is an inspiration to us and we look forward to having Millie join us at She Does Tri in April.  Enjoy Millie’s story and I hope you find her words as touching as I did.

* What gave you the desire to do a triathlon and sign up for the She Does Tri camp?

I have been working out again for about a year but my workouts didn’t become really serious or consistent until I began working with my current trainer, Sam Morgan. It was a hard year. Last Thanksgiving I fell and injured my left leg. I had two surgeries in March and it took a few months to recover.

The desire to do a triathlon came gradually over the summer. I’m a former runner and decided that I really wanted to be able to run again so that started it. I started running a little over the summer and set a goal of a 5K by December. Sam got me in the pool this summer initially to help with my knees. I started asking him questions about my stroke though so he started helping me improve. I have a lot of friends who ride with the Druid City Bicycle Club in Tuscaloosa who have encouraged me to start riding again. I recently purchased a new bike so I can join them. I did not realize that there were different distances for triathlons until one of my cousins completed her first triathlon this summer. When I looked at the sprint distance and realized that it wasn’t as long as I thought, I decided to set a goal of doing one in the next four years. After I talked to Sam about it, the time line shrank dramatically. I started looking for information on women and triathlons, which is how I found She Does Tri camp. I always seek support and community for the things I do and I thought that the camp sounded like a great opportunity. Krista answered my e-mails right away and has been really encouraging.

The other thing that made me start thinking about doing a triathlon was the half marathon my cousins registered for that is at the end of February. I was going to do the 5K but I didn’t really feel like being the only one up at 6 am on Saturday for it. After thinking about it further, I decided I would set a goal of doing the half marathon with the rest of them. I want to finish that race too. I know I may walk a good bit but just being able to think about doing it is an accomplishment since I could barely walk a block about four months ago.

· What things have you accomplished through training?

Lots since June! I am much stronger and can do so much more than I could at the beginning. I have lost 73 pounds so far and 53 inches total. Most of all I feel much better and I feel more confident. My knees do not hurt like they did when I was at a higher weight. This week Sam reminded me that the first time we worked together I was trying to do squats with a chair. He reminded me of this after we had spent an hour in the pool swimming laps and starting to work on flip turns.

* What are some of your goals for this year with triathlon, fitness, etc.?

I want to finish my first triathlon. I have two on the calendar for the summer of 2011 – one in May or June and one in August. Initially the open swim was the scariest part to me when I started thinking about doing the triathlon. The bike portion is what seems challenging me for the Luray Triathlon though since it is hilly and I live in a relatively flat place. I have completed two 5K’s this fall. When I started running again (slowly and not far), I decided I would set a goal of a 5K by December. That moved up to October because I decided I wanted to do the Komen 5K. I was happy to finish and I did run most of the first mile before I started walking. Then I registered for another one with my cousin who lives in Atlanta. I walked most of that one because the course was mainly up hill. I want to be able to run an entire 5K.

My main goal is to feel better and to be healthier. I want a regular fitness routine to be part of my life for the rest of my life.

* How does the training make you feel and what are some of the benefits to working toward a goal?

Training has made me feel great. I feel less stressed and I have a lot more energy. The real difference started when I started a consistent schedule and developed more accountability for what I am doing on days I don’t train with Sam. He gives me a schedule for four weeks that I keep track of and talk to him about. I do something at least 5 days a week. I look forward to my workouts. I like the challenges in my training program. Sam has been very encouraging and has motivated and challenged me. That has been very important.

There are many benefits. One is getting off my blood pressure medication. I have also discovered that I really can do things I never thought I could do.

About a month or so ago I began going to the Rec Center early in the morning on the days I work out by myself. I really like starting the day that way.

* How has your nutrition changed or how would you like it to change?

Absolutely! I’ve been following a fairly restricted diet (monitored by a doctor) and I have basically cut out sugar and bread. I don’t miss sugar as much as I thought I might. I always looked for sugar and caffeine when I was feeling stressed or tired or for no reason at all. I grew up with the “food as comfort and reward” mindset. It isn’t always easy but it’s worth it. I haven’t had caffeine in some time either.

* What does your normal weekly workout schedule look like and how important is each different activity you are doing (swim, bike, run and lift)?

So far my schedule has look something like this: Monday – walk/run and weights for upper body, Wednesday – stairs and push ups or swim, Friday – walk/run and weights lower body, Tuesday and Thursday – work with Sam. I’ve done a lot of cardio and strength training since June. In November my schedule is going to change to get ready for the half marathon and then the triathlon.

* What would you tell women who are afraid to do do a triathlon or triathlon camp?

I was in New York a few weeks ago for a meeting. I bought a t-shirt that says “Go for it: Life is not a dress rehearsal.” You have to do things that challenge you and that you want to do. Life is too short to be afraid to try.

* If you have anything else to add or have something different to write about please feel free.

I think my mental attitude has been really important. I’m willing to try pretty much anything that is thrown at me. I can’t always do it right away but I know I will be able to in a few weeks or a few months. I have tried not to say I want to do X by this date or I want to weigh X by this date. I’m trying to just let my training and weight loss progress. Obviously races have dates that are goals though. It doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated with myself from time to time because I can’t do something right away. That’s just part of who I am though.

Creating the calendar that David suggested in his webinar with dates of races, vacations, work travel and other things that might interrupt training has helped a lot. I can see how far apart each event is and how much time there is to prepare.

I turned 50 last January. I had wanted to lose 100 lbs before I turned 50. It didn’t happen because I didn’t really have a plan and I wasn’t being consistent with my training or eating. Now I expect to hit 100 lbs by my 51st birthday. I am continually surprised by what I am doing and what I am able to do because of adding a consistent training program to my life. It’s a vital part of my busy schedule.


Millie Jackson

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Ironman China Bitter Sweet

In 2008 I completed the Iron man in China on the beautiful island of Hakiou. The memories are bitter sweet both because it was a great experience and it was the beginning of a huge performance decline in my triathlon racing career.

An athlete I was coaching at the time of January 2008, Todd Crandall with Racing for recovery, motivated me to do the race. Todd was very excited about the opportunity to go to China to represent his cause. Since I was recovering from a month of having the flu and some relationship issues I was looking for something to both distract and motivate me. Todd sounded excited at the idea of me racing out there and helping him accomplish the new Iron man event.

Without the help and support of many wonderful clients, friends and co-workers the trip would have never been possible. A few big supporters were Missie & Carl Wakefield, Catherine & Bill Goodrum, Sherry Rubin and Angel Lopez. My brother Alex and sister Bridget were there to support me too as my friends Dave & Ryan auctioned off people, including myself and a co-worker Dave for personal training. Sherry did her part and walked around with a bucket wearing a low cut shirt collecting cash:) There are many more who contributed to my long Journey to China and donated & purchased from a silent auction. At the time I felt exhausted from the training in March which Joanna, my coach warned me about the quick ramp in training from late January to the race in early April. She explained that it would be tough since I had taken off for months, was recovering from a bad Flu and going from a very cold to an extremely hot climate.

The Layover

The trip to Haikou, China was long (about 32 hours of total travel time including a 6 hour layover in Beijing. When Todd and I arrived in Beijing after what it seemed like living on the airplane for days we sat on a bench to rest. Todd had trouble sleeping on the plane and even after taking melatonin and Tylenol PM he was extremely alert until he sat down in the airport. He asked me if I could watch the bikes while he took a nap and I agreed. What seemed like moments later I awoke abruptly sweating from the hot airport and Todd was shaking me saying “Wake up, some Chinese could have stole our bikes.” I wiped the droll from the side of my mouth and said sorry. He was half joking so we both laughed and just sat on the bench for a couple hours staring at all the Chinese walking by and not understanding anything they were saying. Finally we went to check in again for the flight to Haikou and accidentally switched passports. When we handed our passports to security they were not happy and must have thought we were playing a joke of some sort. One thing I learned in China is that the security does not have a sense of humor. We quickly switched passports and giggled to our selfs and went through the long security line.

Arrival in Haikou


Todd and I arrived in Haikou airport late at night and since he was set up with the travel agency through Ken Glah called Endurance sports travel a shuttle was awaiting to take us to the hotel. Ken provided an excellent all inclusive package for the stay in China and was nice enough to let me in on utilizing the shuttles, etc.

Todd’s friend Clay was also staying with him and the three of us shared a room which was again nice of them to let me crash. I slept on a couch in the corner which was fine except that none of us could sleep at night.

Clay and I both laughed because when Todd could not sleep he turned on the light in the room and skyped his family. All we could hear was, “SKYLAR, IS THAT YOU!” coming from Todd. He missed his family and his daughter Skylar was frequently awaiting his calls. Clay had a phone we could use and I was excited to be able to call David, my new boyfriend from back home to talk about all the exciting stuff that was happening. One of my best friends, Kristin Morrison set up this blog for me and I was excited to be getting funny messages like “Hey Krista, can you pick up a #11 for me , with fried rice and an egg roll while you are there”:)

Leading up to race day

Todd, Clay and I all had trouble sleeping at night and staying awake during the day. When Todd would go to sleep during the day Clay would say “Dude don’t do it, you will be up all night and we will all suffer for it.” Clay was right, when Todd was up so were we:)

The hotel was beautiful and the island reminded me of Hawaii with the palm trees and pretty scenery. Todd was interviewed a few times by the Iron man media about his racing for recovery business and I got to say a few words about working with him and being at the race. It was fun seeing the Chinese culture and they seemed to like American’s very much. Todd got plenty of stares because of his tattoos and the Chinese pointed at us as we walked around town.

One night a dinner Clay asked, “Do you ever get the feeling you are being watched?” We looked up and to my surprise the waitresses were staring directly at us and smiled as we looked back. They didn’t look away though which seemed odd. We soon discovered it was part of their culture to be attentive to the needs of their customers at all all times and staring was being respectful from their perspective. When we rode our bikes during the day we saw the Chinese hard at work in the fields and in town running the shops and looking busy. The traffic patterns were a little scary but there didn’t seem to be any accidents. The buses, taxi’s and cars would cut each off but there was an odd flow of smooth driving with all the swirving back and forth between lanes.

We were told not to eat local food for fear of getting sick before the race but Clay and I tried some interesting dishes so we could get the real experience. We managed not to get sick.

Clay had his race nutrition planned out. In addition to stacks of cheessticks, instant coffee & creamer and some other foods for daily snacking, Clay brought a TON of smuckers uncrustables. If you don’t know these are prepackaged frozen peanut butter & jelly sandwich that are made to be left out until they thaw and are ready for eating. The uncrustables were part of clays race nutrition and he was prepared to eat may of these sandwiches.

Typhoon

A few days before the race the hotel management put out warnings that a typhoon would be hitting the island. The windows were all secured and we were told to stay inside. Luckily we got some strong winds but the Typhoon did not directly hit us.

Race Day

We knew based on the weather reports race day would be hot but it was REALLY HOT! The heat index was above 100!!! The swim course was long because it was difficult to see the buoys and the water was rough and dark so many people swam off course. At one point I remember looking up and a group of swimmers were coming right at me. Some how I manged to exit the first lap of the swim very far from the turn around loop. I ended up running on the beach to get there so my timing chip would pick up properly. The 2nd loop was no better, I just cited off the shoreline which eventually got me home. I exited the water with Clay & Todd. I was happy to get out of the water and ready to bike. The bike course was AWESOME! It had hills, flats and scary parts in villages with rough roads and steep drop offs so you were forced to slow down and listen to the words of support from the villagers watching. They must have thought it was the Olympics because they were so excited! “You are beautiful, we love you,” They all screamed. I saw Clay on the bike and I was hoping to ride with him to have a friend around but we never linked up.

The longest marathon of my life!

When I excited the tent after about a 6hr bike ride I was not happy to run at all. The run course was all concrete so the shock on the body was brutal! My legs felt like lead and my body was tired. I saw a pro male laying under a tree on the run course getting water fed to him. It was hotter than ever and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so much pain and exhaustion. When they ran out of water on the course I thought I was going to keel over until I saw a heart warming site. Todd was moving along on the course surrounded by a group of Chinese children cheering for him. Todd was handing them water so they didn’t dehydrate. They were drawn in by his tattooed covered body and remained with him longer than many of the athletes racing. He was smiling and encouraged me to keep moving. I felt a surge of energy then I saw Clay and we exchanged cheers! I started to pass a girl and she walked so I asked if she wanted to run together. She was swelling so bad she had to get someone to cut her race bracelet off and she needed more salt tabs. I told her I would alert the next water station of this which made her very happy.

I was getting closer and the day was getting dimmer. I had 3 miles left to run through downtown which was an absolute THRILL. The Chinese were lined up for miles just like the people at Iron man Hawaii! They cheered and called the athletes beautiful and I felt my eyes tear up. The children were screaming and high fived us one by one. When I crossed the finish line the announcer was enthusiastic and I was in pain:)

Post race & Ceremony

I was happy to find Clay and Todd so we could ride the bus back to the hotel together. We scarfed down some pizza and headed back to transition. We ran into Olaf, David’s coach who won the race.

I went to the awards ceremony with Olaf and his father the next day. The ceremony began with a unique show. The locals were dressed up in dragon costumes acting out a fighting scene to loud, creative music that had a distinct beat. It was very entertaining and I had never seen anything like it before. Olaf was called up to give a speech which was heart warming. He thanked his father for support & love and the race for providing the event. I was called up to receive a trophy and Iron man Hawaii slot which was very rewarding. I passed up the Hawaii slot the prior year after winning my age group at Eagle man so on one end I thought it would be good to go back and I had 6 months to prepare but on the other end I had a gut feeling I should not take the spot because I was mentally, emotionally & physically exhausted. I should have listened to my gut because this was the beginning of hard times.  Even though the race preparation, travel and event zapped my energy I would not take back the great experience to see the Chinese culture and share in a special event with friends and many great athletes.

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2010 Elite/Professional Triathlete License Qualifications

Recently, I have had many people ask me, “What does it take to be a Professional Triathlete?”

For those aspiring to earn their Elite/Professional triathlete license, below are the qualifications directly from the USA Triathlon web site: HERE.

1. ELITE TRIATHLETE LICENSE:
This license is for athletes wishing to race as an elite in any USAT sanctioned event, at any distance (from sprint to ultra) and format (triathlons, duathlons, off road
events, winter events, etc.). This license costs $100 and expires December 31st of the year in which it was issued.

Qualification criteria: Any athlete who chooses to compete as an elite triathlete must meet at least one of the six (6) criteria listed below:

CRITERIA A: Finish within 8% of the winning elite time (on the same course as elites) in three USAT sanctioned events that offered an elite/pro prize purse.

CRITERIA B: Finish top-10 overall and within 8% of the winner’s time at ITU Age Group World Championships.

CRITERIA C: Finish top-10 overall in the amateur field at Ironman World Championships.

CRITERIA D: Finish top-5 overall and within 8% of the winner’s time at USAT Age Group National Championships.

CRITERIA E: Finish top-5 overall and within 8% of the winner’s time at USAT Collegiate National Championships.

CRITERIA F: Finish top-3 overall in the amateur field at an Elite Qualifying Race. The list of Elite Qualifying Races is determined by the AAC each year and published on USAT’s website. Please find this list below.

2010 Elite Qualifying Races:
All triathlons on US and Canadian soil that have a corresponding elite race in the same distance and format with $20,000 or more in elite prize money shall be Elite Qualifying Races. Please confirm prize purse amounts directly with race organizers.

In addition, the following races shall also be Elite Qualifying Races:

  • The Capital of Texas Triathlon
  • Memphis in May Triathlon
  • Philadelphia Triathlon
  • Wildflower Triathlon – Olympic Distance
  • Hy-Vee – Olympic Distance
  • Pacific Grove – Olympic Distance
  • Clermont Draft- Legal Sprint Triathlon/ USAT Development Race

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