Friday, November 12, 2010

4 Update: Blog Facelift Completed!


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Hello there fellow runners,

Good news! I figured out a way to upgrade the code on this blog without upgrading the template itself. So that means that Google followers won't have to resubscribe. The blog upgrade is finally done. Yay!

BTW, I haven't forgotten about Meb's interview transcript. I've been incredibly busy, as I'm trying to meet a deadline for the cookbook that I'm currently writing. And so the interview post has currently taken a backseat to my other projects. I promise that I will, in fact, get to it as soon as things calm down a bit. In the meanwhile, you're welcome to watch the interview on my YouTube channel. It's been split up into two videos, as YouTube has a 15 minute limit per video post.

I plan to write up a transcript, include some background info & thoughts, & also post pictures of Meb & Jared completing the marathon. So, something to look forward to in the near future. :)

As for the cookbook project, here are some details, if you missed the earlier post I wrote on this blog: As I've mentioned before on this blog, the cookbook is going to include over 250 all-original, healthy gourmet recipes & is specifically geared towards endurance athletes & other healthy-minded individuals. Further information about the upcoming cookbook can be found here on this blog & also at Cooking with Corey.

Several people have told me that a lot of the existing cookbooks geared towards runners aren't as diverse or as interesting as they could be, so I'm attempting to rectify that. I believe that healthy cooking & eating should be a fun & exciting experience, & also enhance our training as well as our lives in general. Healthy, fresh food can taste really amazing & I'm out to prove it!

Happy Trails,
-C

Friday, September 24, 2010

1 Complete Facelift Planned For This Blog


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Yes, Meb's interview is forthcoming, I promise..... :-D  In the meantime, I'd like to inform you of some upcoming changes planned for this blog. First of all, this blog's getting a much-needed facelift.

As you may or may not have noticed, several of my other blogs, including "Cooking with Corey" & "Underage Knitter," have already received a facelift, & one by one, I've been slowly getting around to updating the look & feel, as well as condensing the front page content, of each blog that I write. As you can imagine, this is a very time-consuming process, one which takes a lot of tweaking & reimplementation of various CSS & HTML code that unfortunately doesn't transfer over at the same time the blog is transferred & overhauled. For those who are into the technical details, that basically means that I'm upgrading to the latest version of Blogger, which has a lot of new features & improvements over the older versions. No worries, the URL will stay the same.

Please note: For those of you following in Google Followers, you'll need to resubscribe in the Google Friend Connect Followers widget (after the blog upgrade has been completed), as the Google Follower's widget is tied to the Blogger's numerical blog ID & not to the URL. Please pardon this inconvenience, as there's way to transfer this piece of the blog over to the new one.

Overall, I hope that you'll find these upcoming changes to be useful, as they will not only improve the appearance of this blog, but also make it more functional.

The exact date & time of this switchover hasn't yet been determined, but the blog facelift IS imminent. Just thought you'd like to know.....

Happy trails,
Corey

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

0 Interview with Elite Athlete & Olympic Silver Medalist, Meb Keflezighi


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As promised, below is the interview I did with Meb Keflezighi yesterday, after he'd done a training run with Jared Fogle for the upcoming NYC Marathon.

The interview was posted on YouTube, in 2 parts:





I'll be posting a transcript of the interview as well as a full description of the experience as soon as I get the chance.....



Friday, September 17, 2010

1 Upcoming Interview with Elite Runner, Meb Kelfezighi


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Got anything you've always wanted to ask elite athlete, Olympic silver medalist, & defending champion of the ING New York City Marathon (@INGNYCMarathon), Meb Kelfezighi (@runmeb)? Well, now's your chance! Send me your questions & I'll try to fit them in during the interview.

Seems I'll be interviewing him this Tuesday. :)

Meb is helping Jared (of "Subway" fame) train for the marathon this November and the two will take to the streets of NYC this upcoming Tuesday for a prep run.....

Quite coincidentally, we happened to see Meb race at the 2009 USATF Cross-Country Championships (@usatrack_field) when Erik & I volunteered for this event; we were RRCA race monitors & had front row seats! It was a pretty amazing event to witness. Of course, Meb won all of his events, and if I recall correctly, it was by quite a large margin too. :)

And now I'm interviewing him. Wild. I almost can't believe it. Will someone pinch me, please?! I am so pumped for this interview!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

0 Interview with Blaine Moore of "Run To Win"


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Below is a transcript of the recent interview I conducted with Blaine Moore, who is an RRCA-certified running coach at the Maine Running Company in Portland, Maine. He's also the author of Marathons Don't Have to Hurt -- How to Prepare For (and Recover From) Your Next Marathon, and has just started a new running magazine, Run To Win Magazine. A runner since age 11, Blaine's running career has thus far spanned a total of 19 years. He competes competitively regularly in distances ranging from 5 to 50 miles and is just as often seen helping out behind the scenes at local races.  He offers regular running advice and tips on his website, Run to Win, & can also be found on Twitter, @RunToWin, and on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/RunToWin & http://www.facebook.com/RunningTips.

Blaine, and his wife Erin.

Corey: Hello, Blaine. It's great to catch up with you again. I've got lots of questions for you, so let's jump right in. :)

Blaine: Thanks, Corey, I'm looking forward to this chat.

Corey: How did you get into running? Who first introduced you to the sport, if anyone? Who were some of your early running mentors?

Blaine: I've been running as long as I can remember. When I was a kid I used to go out and run in the road that went out behind our house, and would just cut through the woods to come back into our yard.

Officially, I first started running in middle school on the cross country team. My middle school cross-country coach, Mrs. Heffernan, just did a wonderful job of introducing the sport to young people and got hooked on it right from the get go. It was a great introduction when I had to start running on an organized team.

My first road race was actually after my first cross country season when I was in 7th grade. I ran the Manchester Road Race in Connecticut, which was just a lot of fun and that got me into the sport outside of just the regular school running seasons.

Some of my early mentors would have to be Mrs. Heffernan and my high school coach, Mark Logan. They just did a great job of teaching me the fundamentals and helping me to learn a safe and effective way to get into the sport, and certainly did a good job of getting me hooked on it.

Corey: Why do you run? What aspect of the sport do you most enjoy?

Blaine: I run just because it's part of my lifestyle. It's kind of got an addictive quality to it. If I don't go out to run, I just don't feel as well after a couple of days.

But one of the biggest parts of the sport is just that I love competing. Competing not just against myself, but I also just love to compete against other people. I like to put myself on the line and see how well I can run against my competition on any given day.

One of the best parts of competition is that everything is black and white when you're on the same line, running the same course, and facing the same weather. It doesn't matter necessarily how fast or how far you're running, just "Can you can run faster than the guy next to you?" My priorities are changing a little as I get older and I've started running some of the longer distances like 50k and 50 miles, but as Joan Benoit Samuelson once told me, "The track is like a stopwatch and it doesn't lie. But then you get old enough that you can't read the watch."

Corey: What drives you to compete? What does "running to win" mean to you, personally?

Blaine: I've always been competitive in everything that I've done. Whether it's my school work or sports like basketball or wrestling, it's just something that's a  part of who I am. Even in something like board games or card games, I just always want to win.

To me, running to win means that I'm always going out there, I'm putting my best on the line, and I'm seeing how fast and how far I can drive myself. A good day is day when I find myself at the starting line and I get to the finish line before anybody else. If that isn't the end result, then hopefully I made the other guy work for it, and drove myself to a new standard on the clock. I almost prefer losing a close race then winning a time trial.  (Unless there's money or notoriety on the line, of course, in which case I'll take the win with a healthy margin if I can manage it.)

Corey: How would you describe your overall running philosophy? Has it changed considerably from when you first began running, and if so, how?

Blaine: There are a lot of different motivations that people can have to run. Some people run for health or to lose weight. Other people just like the social aspects. And those are certainly big benefits that I enjoy.

But the big thing for me has always been the competition aspect. That's just been one of the biggest motivations for me to get out there. I like being able to test yourself against how you ran in the past, and how you can run against everybody in your community. With some of the bigger races, I love how you can run against people across the country or across the world. It's just fascinating to me.

Now as I've gotten older I've found that I like pushing my limits and running further and further. This isn't to say that I'm enjoying things that others can't do because most people are certainly capable of doing the same feats that I've done. I've found it's just more interesting to do things that other people won't necessarily choose to go out and do.

For example, some of my favorite races involved running for 50 miles out in the desert, or racing 50 kilometers on a 2 mile stretch of road in 97 degree heat. Those kind of things I actually enjoy doing. I find them fun, just running for hours on end. In early 2011 I'm planning on running my first 100 mile race.

The biggest thing anyone can do is just to get out there and make sure that you enjoy whatever activity you are taking part in and to find whatever your motivations are. Once you find what they are, latch on to them and run with it.

Corey: What's the most valuable piece of running advice you've ever received from someone? How has this insight helped you & your running?

Blaine: I think the biggest piece of of advice that I've ever gotten is probably from my high school cross-country coach who taught me "fat old man pace." Not that he was particularly fat or particularly old, but that was what he jokingly used to call when he would lead the run to make sure that we all ran slow enough in the day before a big meet. He would keep our pace down to a reasonable level.

I think it took me a long time to really latch on to what that really meant, and how important that is for your overall training. I certainly had a few instances in college where I've realized that I was training at a little bit too high of a level and running too hard or too fast all the time. But after graduation I've just found that the more easy running that you do and the more you concentrate on having quality workouts where you need them, the better that you're going to run and the better you're going to perform on race day, and the less likely you are that you're going to get injured. And it's made a big difference just on how much I've been enjoying things, and how well I've been running.

Corey: How many years have you been coaching? In that time, what is one of the most valuable lessons you've learned as a coach?

Blaine: I started coaching about 4 or 5 years ago, just in terms of helping out some friends and starting to really branch out and pay attention to more than just my own personal training or my immediate teammates. However, in terms of taking a more active role and officially become a coach, it's been two and a half years since I got my coaching certification through the RRCA. That's when I started coaching at the Maine Running Company and working with John Rogers, Michael Gaige, and all the other great people at the store. So most of my experience has been in the last two and a half years, when I've been working with a lot of people at once.

I think one of the biggest lessons that I've learned as a coach is just how much the little goals could really matter. It's a great feeling, and one of the most rewarding parts of being a coach, when you can greet your runners behind the finish line and they've met a time goal or finished their first race at that distance or had a certain experience that they've been looking for. But no matter what somebody's goal is, you just really need to help them define what it is that's important to them so that you don't just focus on what your goals as a coach necessarily are. Success is much easier to find when you find something that they're going to be motivated by and will actually work towards and be able to achieve.

Corey: There's clearly a large repository of information & advice available on the internet for new & beginner-level runners. So, do you have any sage words of wisdom specifically geared towards (more) experienced runners?

Blaine: I think the biggest piece of advice that I can give to more experienced runners is to not close your mind and always be open to learning something new. It doesn't matter if you are talking with somebody that's just started running in the past year and is just learning things for the first time. There's always something new that you can learn.

I've found that to be true time and again whether I'm talking to somebody that's a lot faster than I am or that's just finished their first marathon. There's always something I can take away from what they're doing that I can possibly apply to my running or to some of the athletes that I coach, and making it better. Whether it's something in training or something to help recovery or some race tactic that is perfect for a specific race course, they just might have something that has never even occurred to me that can be really beneficial.

With that said, you want to take almost everything that you hear with a grain of salt, because what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.  Running is such an individual sport, but it's still worth experimenting and seeing what you can learn.

You also need to be proactive and share what you know as well. The sport gets better by making everybody around it better. Don't worry about giving away your secrets, because they're just going to pull you into an even better run than what you might have done if you were out there by yourself.

Always keep an open mind and be willing to keep finding what that next thing is going to be that will work for you.

Corey: What do you generally like to think about or focus upon while you're running or racing? Do you tend to think mostly about running or do you let your mind wander to other topics?  Is your inner running "dialogue" mostly a conscious process for you?

Blaine: It depends upon the type of workout that I'm in. If I'm out on an easy run, then my mind will wander from one thing to the next and it's where I kind of let my creative juices flow, I guess. If I have some problem that I'm working on, it's almost always solved just in the subconscious as I'm running along. I just putting enough attention forward to make sure I'm not getting hit by a car again or tripping over a curb or rock or root.

If I'm doing a workout or if I'm racing, then I'm usually pretty focused on the moment and on what I'm doing. I'm paying attention to my body and how it's responding to the workout or to the pace. If it's in a race, then I'm paying attention to my competition and I'm looking for where can I put in a 10 second surge, or if somebody is coming up behind me, or what do I need to do to be able to catch that person up ahead, or who can I work with or who can I draft off of, what's going to improve my position in this race.

For the most part, it's just seeing how close to the red line I can get without going over and have the best performance that I can. The faster I'm running the more focused that I get. Sometimes in a marathon I might get a little chatty early on but in shorter races it's more along the lines of this is how I feel at any given moment, and what do I need to watch out for, and what can I do to improve how I'm running at the moment.

Corey: Do consider yourself an externally or internally motivated runner, or a little bit of both?

Blaine: I would have to say I'm a little bit of both. Most of my motivation is definitely internal, and I would say it's geared more towards that. I usually don't have a lot of trouble getting out the door, and times that I do have trouble getting out the door it's usually because I've been over-training and I'm just in a need of a rest day.

That said, I love reading about some of the ultra marathoners or the people who are trying to raise awareness for their various non-profits, and some of the lengths to which they'll go. I enjoy watching some of these international runners as they have been breaking so many world and national records lately. I find a lot of that motivating and that gets me up, to want to get out and get running as well.

Corey: There's been a lot of hub-bub about barefoot running over the past few years. What's your personal take on the concept & practice?

Blaine: I've been barefoot running since I was in high school. I've always done barefoot striders as part of my cool downs from speed workouts,  and I've noticed that my own health generally is in direct proportion to how much of that sort of thing that I've been doing.

About 2 or 3 years ago I started building up a lot more barefoot running than what I had been doing. I started running without shoes altogether on occasion and my normal training shoes went from built up trainers to racing flats for every day use. Then "Born to Run" came out and that just turned barefoot running right into a fad, so you see a lot more people doing it and it's become more socially acceptable, I guess. I've definitely ramped up the amount of barefoot running that I've been doing since the book came out and have tried doing a little racing that way.

I think that barefoot running is something that can benefit most people whether they're runners or not, but you have to take it into consideration how strong your feet are, and how long it's going to take you to get into a level of fitness that you're actually capable of running barefoot.

A lot of people run way too far, way too fast, way too often. They try doing way too much, way too soon, and they wind up getting injured. I'm guilty of this as well. What you really need to do is a very minimal amount of running barefoot. Try and go barefoot as often as you can outside of your running to build up some strength. If it takes even a year just to be able to get up to running 3 miles at a time comfortably, that's fine. Take as much time as you need, and don't risk getting hurt.

When it comes to minimal footwear, or “natural” footwear as the running shoe industry would prefer to call it, then minimal racing flats and training shoes are definitely good to work towards. If you have a choice between two pairs of shoes that are equally comfortable, you'd probably be better off going with the more minimal pair.

However, you have to be careful if you're going to try to use something like the Vibram Five Fingers or huarache running sandals. If you don't have the strength to really support running barefoot, then you're going to think you can run a lot further and run a lot faster than you really should be going, and that's really where I think most of the injuries have been coming from.

Running in these shoes will take away some of the sensations you get from running on the ground without actually giving back the sort of feedback that you need from barefooting, and also without the cushioning that you get from your regular running shoes.

So, to sum all that up, don't rush into barefoot running and make sure that you progress intelligently in your training if you want the benefits of regular barefoot running without the injuries that come from not being strong enough to sustain it.

Corey: What's next on the horizon for you? Can you tell me about some of the projects you're currently working on? For example, you're launching a new running magazine. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Blaine: Yeah! The running magazine is turning out to quite a bit of work, but it's gonna be good. We've got a good team working on it. The magazine is going to be focused on more of the tips and strategies that you can use in your running and less of the sensationalistic fluff, such as “this week we'll tell you how to train for a 10K, and this week we'll tell you how to train to lose 10 pounds.”

You probably know the type of headlines that I'm talking about that people try to sell their magazines with from the stands. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but there's room in the market for more of an actionable type of article rather than purely motivational fluff that has no real information. I don't need to focus solely on selling some copies of the magazine to try and get people running in the first place. The magazine will be geared more towards the people that are already starting to workout and that are racing and want to stay injury free and want to race better.

I've definitely got some good ideas about how we can provide a new format that just isn't really being utilized by the traditional publishing houses. We'll be more flexible and more responsive to what people actually want.

Corey: You work a full-time IT job, coach, publish a weekly newsletter, write books, blog, & still find time to train very intensively for major endurance events. Plus, you participate in many other activities, & are now starting up your very own running magazine. Did I miss anything? ;) That's an awful lot of plates to keep spinning in the air at once. How do you manage to fit it all in and still have time for a personal life?

Blaine: Well, after I got married it was pretty easy to balance everything. My wife had just started law school so I was able to spend a lot of my spare time in the evenings and mornings just working on the coaching and the "Run toWin" business, which worked out pretty well while she was studying.

Now that she's gotten out of law school it's been definitely a lot more difficult to juggle everything in the air at once. I found that if I put my personal life and my time with my family first, then everything else just kind of falls into place.

It just takes some organization and fitting in a few minutes here and there and making sure that what I do is done effectively, rather than just spending all my time on tasks that don't actually push things forward and get things done.

Corey: You and I have both been blogging about running for a while now. If memory serves correctly, I believe we "met" at Steve Speir's blog, Run Bulldog Run, and then started following each other's blogs. I think that was sometime in mid-2007, around the same time that both of us first began blogging. It's now 3 years later. How has your blog developed or been transformed since you first began posting there? In what ways do you think other social media like Twitter & Facebook have altered the landscape of running? What are some of your observations about how the online running world has changed over the past few years?

Blaine: I started the blog back in 2005. I originally had wanted to use the RunToWin.com domain for training log software, but I found that when I got home from work I was tired of sitting in front of a computer all day and programming. Instead, I decided that I would put a blog up just to have something on the domain, so that it wasn't just sitting there idle.

It started out pretty random and rambling but I quickly got back into the writing mode. As I've built an audience and as the whole blogosphere and the internet kind of evolved over the last six years, there's been a huge transformation. All of the social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have really brought people together and made everything so much more accessible.

It's hard to imagine what it was like before. You now have instant race results and all these great race reports, you are able to make all these friends all across the country that you can then run into while you're visiting a city anywhere in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world. It's really changed the whole social aspect of how running works.

The new social atmosphere makes it a lot easier for people who aren't as easily self-motivated to keep getting out the door and to keep training even if they don't have regular training partners that they could run with everyday. Now, you can always catch up with people on Facebook, Twitter, or forums, and if you run with iPods, there are dozens of podcasts available to keep you company during your workout. There wasn't anything like this 10 years ago.

Corey: Blaine, thank you for taking the time to do this interview.... It's been a sincere pleasure. Best wishes for a successful running season!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

2 Blogs Galore....


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I'm posting this for the readers of this blog who might not be aware of some of my other blogs. :)

Since healthy eating goes hand-in-hand with exercise, I'd like to introduce you to two of my recipe & nutrition-related blogs, which serve as the companions to this one.

First, there's the healthy gourmet recipe blog, Cooking with Coreyand its accompanying Facebook page & Twitter account, @chefpenguin. This blog features all-original recipes created by yours truly. There are also several useful articles about (general) nutrition & healthy eating strategies, as well as product & restaurant reviews, kitchen tips, & information about various cooking techniques, etc. The site also features the latest updates about my upcoming cookbook geared towards endurance athletes & other health-minded individuals....

I also started a group blog a few months ago called Cook. Eat. Drink. Blog. Run., which also has a corresponding Facebook page & Twitter account, @cedbr. Of course, this particular blog is geared towards runners interested in preparing meals & snacks with nutrition & athletic performance in mind. This recipe collective features health-centric, pescetarian recipes created by a circle of runner friends. Currently, we have over 21 recipe contributors!

If you happen to be a runner pal of ours -- either IRL or through Twitter or Facebook -- & would like to join us, please send me your email address via one of the following methods:
  • Twitter: DM your email address to @cedbr, @chefpenguin, or @cyberpenguin (depending on which account is following you back ;) ). Please do NOT tweet your request as a general reply, or I may not see it.
  • Facebook: Email me on Facebook.
  • Blog Web Form: Email me via my blogs using the corresponding web forms. This can be done via this blog or Cook. Eat. Drink. Blog. Run.
  • Email: If you already happen to know my email address, you can just send the request there.
  • Blog Comments: Or, alternatively, you can just post a comment on Cook. Eat. Drink. Blog. Run..

Once your request has been received, processed & validated, you'll receive a blog invitation, which will be sent to the email address you specified in your initial request. All you have to do is accept the invite & you're ready to go. (Those of you who don't have Blogger accounts can either login with your existing email address or create a Google account.) To get started, simply login & post away!

I hope that you will find both of these blogs to be fun & informative. They're packed with lots of tasty & nutritious recipes & other useful information, so you're looking for meal ideas -- whether they be for breakfast, lunch, &/or dinner -- look no further. :)

While this running blog primarily focuses on sports nutrition, meal choices, & eating strategies as they pertain to running performance & overall health, these other two blogs will hopefully help you to "fill in the missing pieces," in your quest to lead a full & healthy lifestyle. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2 A Useful Resource For Local Area Runners: RacePacket.com


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Thought I'd pass on a local resource I just discovered called RacePacket.com. The website is self-described as follows:

"This is the Washington/Baltimore metro area's electronic guide to running and racing. We are dedicated to serving the needs of you the athlete. Please browse these race entry forms, print one or all of them if you want to enter a race. Your support by using RacePacket.com forms makes this service possible. Please visit and support our sponsors...."

I noticed that the site aggregates listings for local area racing events, track meet records, running programs, & more. You can also sign up for races via this site as well.

It's really great have a useful running resource like this, which is specifically geared towards runners located in the Greater Washington DC (MD-VA-DC) area. Hope you find this information useful as well!

-C

Monday, August 23, 2010

0 Connect with Me at My New Public Facebook Page


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After much consideration, I've decided to switch over to a public Facebook page for all public & business-related exchanges and revert my Facebook account back to private usage. Since Facebook doesn't allow simultaneous personal and public/business-related accounts, it seemed that the best alternative was to set up the aforementioned structure.

With over 2500+ Facebook friends & about 50 new friend requests a week, content management was becoming a bit unwieldy. I was honestly feeling a bit overwhelmed by the daily mass influx of Facebook email, status updates, newsfeeds, application/group/page/event invites, friend requests, etc. So, understandably, I just had to scale back the account to already-established, solid connections, which include both long-standing IRL & online friends (i.e., especially fellow blogger pals & runners I've met through Twitter and DailyMile, as well as acquaintances who have regularly interacted with me on Facebook over a significant length of time). So, long-standing friends & acquaintances, please rest assured that there will be no change in our status.

I hope that people will understand & not take these changes personally, as I do enjoy interacting with runners, both online & in-person. People are welcome to interact with me on Twitter (@cyberpenguin) and DailyMile.

Details regarding the switchover can be found below:

Corey L. Irwin I've just converted over to a public Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Corey-Irwin/141320305904294?ref=ts -- People who don't know me very well but would like to stay connected can friend me there instead. My current Facebook account will be used primarily for people with whom I've established long-standing personal connections. So, please don't take any unfriending personally. Thanks!

This page will contain updates/articles from all my blogs, plus pertinent information from the @coachpenguin & @rockitrunning Twitter news feeds, both of which contain original content not found in the aforementioned blogs.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

8 Are You Drinking Enough Water Throughout The Day? -- Some Helpful Tips For Keeping Track Of Your Daily Fluid Intake


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As most people surely know, hydration is important, and it can sometimes be tricky to achieve the proper balance -- to drink the right amount of water -- for both fitness and daily living.

It's really important to hydrate all throughout the day, and not just before a workout. The body needs time to properly absorb and process water in order for one's water consumption to be truly useful & effective for workouts.

So, how can you tell if you're hydrating properly? For the answer to that question & more, please see the article I wrote last summer entitled, "Summer Running Tips: The Whys & Hows of Hydration, & A Review of Various Hydration Systems." You'll find a boatload of useful information, advice, & resources there.

Additionally, most endurance athletes have come to realize -- usually from the lessons of past experience! -- what too much or too little water can do to them, both during their training & in their everyday life. With proper hydration (& fueling!), timing is everything. Not enough water, & we often don't feel very well & tend to "run out of steam" during our workouts. A bit too much water before or during a workout, and well, we all know what happens there. :) It's especially important to know your sweat rate during long distance runs or long cycling trips without facilities along the trail route. ;)

Also, in the extreme, there are serious consequences to drinking too much (water intoxication & its most common resultant condition, hyponatremia) or too little water (dehydration).

So, how can you keep track of your water intake? And what's the easiest way to do this? Well, I have a few solutions for you. First, I'll tell you what I use, and you can see if that'd work for you.... Then, I'll also list some additional tools & resources.

For one, you can use a physical tool for water tracking: Erik got us these brilliant little fluid intake trackers a while ago, called F.I.T. for short, & I've found them to be really useful for tracking daily water consumption. I like to use the clip on a refillable water bottle that I carry around with me all day. :)

If you'd like to spend a bit more money, you can get a high tech version of this concept, in which the tracker is actually built into the bottle unit itself (Pretty cool, eh?!), called the Sportsline HydraCoach. Here's a product review, if you'd like to read more about it.

You can also track your daily water intake at various online fitness and nutrition logs. (There are also various software applications on the market to do this, but I prefer using an online method because it can be accessed on the go for immediate recording, which helps to ensure that I do it!) Or, if you want to go the "old school" route, you can track your intake via a spreadsheet application like Excel or Google Docs (which is handy, again, because it's in an online format) or one of those printable daily fluid intake logs.

Here are some articles & other resources you might find helpful in your quest to properly hydrate:
How to Drink More Water Every Day (From wikiHow; tips for increasing your daily water consumption)
How to Calculate your Body's Fluid Needs (From eHow; quick overview of basic calculation)
Tri to Drink! (PDF) (TriSmarter's detailed sports-medicine article on fluid intake calculation)
Recommended Daily Water Intake (From MyFoodDiary.com)
Hazards of Hydration: Choose Your Plastic Water Bottles Carefully (From Balanced Living)

Hope you found the above tips & suggestions to be useful!

Happy Hydrating ;),
-C

Sunday, June 6, 2010

2 The Chili Challenge - No, It's Not A Cook-off, It's a Triathlon :)


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I won't reiterate what I already shared on @DailyMile, but it looks like my plans have changed course yet again. Due to some earlier ankle problems while doing my running & walking intervals with Lily, my parents' cute but rather feisty 55 lb. bulldog -- who doesn't exactly walk or run in a straight line & gives zero warning when she's about to bolt after any & all moving objects :) --  I'd decided to cycle for the time being until the situation has improved.

The problem really wasn't my running sneakers -- they are practically new with little mileage on them; plus I've been using the same brand/model for years without incident. And believe me, I've had enough gait analyses done to know I'm in the right pair of shoes. :) Rather, it was the effect of trying to simultaneously run while reigning in a bully beastie whose density & center of gravity have given her the clear steering advantage. ;) Now I'm pretty strong, granted, but all the same, I'm not in the same condition I was several months ago; and, while I could keep her from running in the wrong direction, my lack of fitness clearly contributed to the ankle situation as well. I'd previously run & walked with Lily before without any issues, so I think that a little bit of time (and a lot of exercise) is bound to rectify that situation. :)

Anyhow, after returning home from my trip, a few occurrences and activities got me thinking about a new idea. First of all, my dad gave me his former hybrid bike, which is practically brand new and hadn't been used much, so that gave me a way to keep exercising & also properly align & strengthen the ankles without putting any direct weight on them.

Yesterday, Erik just took my bike into the shop to buy a tube for the front tire. (Right before I was leaving to come home, my dad & I discovered that it'd had a tiny puncture in it after we'd pumped both tires with air. Cyclists know the drill: You pump the tire with air and then, a day later, the air not-so-mysteriously goes of the tire. ;) )

Second, we'd just recently gone on a kayaking trip and had had conversations with our river guides about triathlons with kayaking legs. :) I was the one who brought up the subject, and thankfully one of the guides just happened to be a triathlete, and gladly engaged me on the topic. He mentioned a few local area triathlons that incorporated kayaking, and then of course my interest was piqued....

And third, my dad is doing his first full triathlon this year. Last year, I'd asked him to join me for the Lewisburg Triathlon, as some of you might recall from earlier posts. We did that event as a relay team -- he did the biking, I did the running, & a third person did the swimming. It was lots of fun! And so, about six months ago or more, my dad started training for this year's event.

Looks like I got him hooked on triathlons. ;)

I was previously supposed to be his "backup" runner, just in case, (he's really not supposed to be running because of his knee situation), but now I think he's going to go ahead and do the whole thing. Thankfully, the running leg is only a 5K distance & thus far (fingers crossed!) his knees seem to be holding up OK. I'm hoping that all the training he's been doing for the various events in conjunction with each other -- particularly the biking & the swimming! -- will have helped to strengthen his knees in preparation for his tri. I think he's also been incorporating some weight lifting, so that ought to help as well.

It's been really inspiring to watch his training progress. He's really enjoying training for it quite a lot, and, as of late, has racked up an impressive number of successive PRs. He keeps getting faster by leaps and bounds. And most of all, he's been very surprised by the progress he's been making in the swimming portion of his training, which he didn't think would be his forte. As it turns out, he's actually a pretty decent swimmer. :) It's certainly nice to be pleasantly surprised like that. We really don't know what we can do until we do it, and sometimes it takes a bit of perseverance before we have our breakthrough moments. :)

He's told me that he's ready to do the event now, even though the event's not until late August, which is a good sign. Of course, I'll be visiting to cheer him on during his tri, along with my mother. We're both really proud of him for doing this. It just goes to show, it's never too late to "tri." :-D

So, considering all of the above & the title of this post, I think you can see where all of these ideas are leading -- As I mentioned earlier on Twitter & Facebook, I'm toying with the idea of doing my first full kayak-bike-run triathlon. :)

So, the new plan is to train accordingly. The tri I want to do, The Chili Challenge, is in October, and is a very manageable distance, so that should give me plenty of time to prepare.  (And hey, look, the event even has a penguin logo, so it must be fate. :) ) Also, I frankly need an event to train for right now to give me some extra focus and motivation to get back into the swing of things, until exercise becomes the same reflexive activity that it once was for me several months ago. Of course, it's really important to put the focus on how I am now as opposed to devoting too much time contemplating "then." The "then" of things is only helpful as it pertains to the fond memories I have of running in favorite places and the lessons I've learned while running there. :)

The good news is that the ankle situation has thankfully improved, and while I've not tested it yet with a run, it no longer hurts to walk. :) This means that I can now devote myself to all parts of the triathlon training. Yay!

So, first I'm going to cycle until my rear end is no longer sore. :) Hopefully, the ramping up stage to "zero posterior soreness" will only take a week or two. And now that the ankle appears to be OK, the cycling might have to be alternated with a bit of running, to let the soreness subside. Even with padded bike shorts and a comfort seat, I'm still anticipating some soreness. What can I say, past experience is a great predictor there. ;)

And since the tri I'd like to do has a kayaking leg, of course I'm also going to be training for that event as well. Thankfully, we have several bodies of water from which to choose -- lakes, rivers, etc. -- so it'll just be a matter of renting kayaks while I'm there. There are several places which rent kayaks inexpensively, and many are located right on the water, so that part will be fairly straightforward. Plus, I've asked Erik to train with me, for extra fun & motivational reinforcement; he's currently doing a separate training program (he's up to about 25 mpw in his Nike+ half marathon training program), but has agreed to join me on a few kayaking trips. :) On that note, if any friends would like to go kayaking with me on the weekends, please let me know! :-D

I'm really excited about the event. A friend and I are both considering doing it together. On that note, any friends who'd like to join in on the fun are welcome to do so. Just drop me a line or an email to let me know you'll be joining us.....It'd certainly be great to have the company & the camaraderie. :) The more the merrier.

Even if you don't race at the same pace, it's no matter, because it'll just be fun to be there together & bond at the event. Plus, after the race, we'll all be meeting up at the finish line & then going out to celebrate at someplace fun. :) I'll probably send out a Facebook event invitation after the details have been firmed up a bit.

As far as tri training programs go, I haven't yet decided upon exactly which program I'll be doing. There are some tri training programs listed under the "Running Resources" tab of this blog, but of course most of those are for swim-bike-run triathlons and not paddle-bike-swim. :) If anyone knows of a good training program that incorporates paddling, please let me know. Otherwise, I'll just keep searching for one, or take an existing program, & modify it for paddling.

Also, I'm wondering if there are any group training programs in the local DC area for these type of triathlons. Hmmmm. Got to research that as well. It'd be nice to have the motivation, structure, & support of a group setting, especially in my current state. :)

Anyhow, that's the latest. Stayed tuned for more triathlon training updates. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

3 Baby Steps


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The funny thing about doing something you are dreading is that, after you do it, it doesn't seem so bad after all. The mind can often exaggerate the consequences or the magnitude of the task at hand. Of course, the question that comes to mind after the fact is usually, "What was I making such a fuss about?" In hindsight, all of our worries about such a task seem to pale in comparison to the task itself.

The same could be said about committing certain thoughts to print, especially those we are reluctant to share.  The funny thing is that once we get them out there, they no longer have any power over us. We are liberated by the act of airing them. We own up to our situation and move on. In my own case, I'd had reservations about publicly addressing the situation with my running, as many people were still under the mistaken impression that I was still actively racing and training, and it pained me to tell people otherwise. Even though I'd had some initial reservations about sharing this news, I knew it was something I needed to do for several reasons.

Now that it's out there, I feel a strange sense of relief, and am once again finding the resolve to start over again. Towards that end, I'd like to send out my heartfelt thanks to those of you who've expressed your support after I broke the news. I was feeling a bit hesitant after I'd posted that particular update and it felt good to be bolstered by your uplifting and encouraging words.

As for the immediate future, my goals for the upcoming months are very modest, much more so than those of the previous two years. Then again, I find myself in a completely different situation than before, and a person can rarely gauge their goals from year to year with a "one size fits all" approach.

I'm currently visiting my parents; however, upon my return from this trip, I plan to start the C25K program yet again. While I've been here, I have been doing little bits of exercise here and there, dog walks interspersed with some running, yesterday's recent bike ride, and hopefully some more walk-run intervals and then a much-anticipated kayaking trip -- an all day family outing. I'm also going to help my parents do some landscaping around the house. Hopefully, all of these activities will help ease me back into a regular running routine.

My dad's going to do the Lewisburg Tri again this year, but this time has been training for the whole event -- swimming, biking, and running -- versus just the bike portion, which he did last year as part of our tri relay team. Even though he has been training for the running portion, he's not really supposed to be running anymore, due to the situation with his knees. And so, not surprisingly, he's reiterated several times how relieved he'd be if I'd do the running part. ;) I can take a not-so-subtle hint, so my latest goal is to train enough to be ready for the running leg/portion of the tri, a 5K course I'm already familiar with, having run it just last year. :) I'd really like to join him as a father-daughter team, as last year's event was lots of fun.

It's also nice to have a mini-goal to motivate. The tri will serve as my initial motivation to get the C25K program finished in time. If I start the program as soon as I return (i.e., sometime around June 1 or so), I should have plenty of time to build up to 5 miles of running and add a bit of speed work, in order to increase my stamina and speed just enough to "get through" the 5K with a respectable performance. ;) I'm not expecting super-fast times, but I'd like to build up enough fitness in the time allotted in order to do my best when August 21st rolls around. :)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

2 Jumpstart from a Change in Scenery.....


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I find that a change of scenery can often be highly useful for restarting one's exercise regime. I've used this technique several times. It's very helpful, especially from a mental perspective. The change of location, especially a brand new location, helps to "reset" the mind in terms of motivation and intentions, as there are either different associations with this location or in the latter case, none at all. Essentially, you wipe the slate clean, leaving any exercise-related "baggage" behind you. :)

In my own case, this new location is my parents' home. Of course, the primary reason for the visit is to see my parents, but it also happens to be great for other reasons, one of them being that there are several places to walk and run. Also, their bulldog, Lily, is a great "excuse" to go for walk-run intervals. :)

As I haven't been running in quite some time (i.e., it's been several months, not counting a "false start" week of walk/run intervals for the C25K program about a month ago), the walk-run intervals are a good way to "ease" back into running. The dog is up for the exercise most days. Sometimes she can be a bit stubborn getting down the hill, (which is in keeping with "bulldog nature" -- they are prone to stubbornness!), but once we get into it, she's fine. This is not too different from human behavior. Sometimes it takes an extra "jumpstart" to get out the door and get going, but once we're in the swing of the exercise, and the behavior starts to solidify into a regular routine, it gets easier with each run. :)

This is Lily's usual formation after our walk-run intervals. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

4 Thoughts About Running, Health, and Blogging


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It might seem like I've taken a major vacation from this blog, and that would probably be an accurate statement, particularly for those of you who were previously used to seeing content here on a more regular basis. Frankly, there's been a lot going on lately in my life, and some of that stuff I'm not really at liberty to discuss, save my recent cookbook project geared towards endurance athletes and their sports nutrition needs.

These things have taken center-stage for obvious reasons, and have currently overshadowed most of my other activities; they are the prime reason why I've had to put certain activities on hold for the time-being.

Also, as some of you already know, I do happen to maintain several blogs and participate in several IRL and online activities, which also necessarily cut into my available time. I also administer forums and participate in various organizations and committees. Plus, it's nice to unplug from it all sometimes and just live one's life. :) Blogging comes and goes in phases for me; there are some periods in which I have more time to devote to it than other periods. That's just the way life is. Furthermore, I'm not going to blog if I don't have anything substantial to say just for the sake of blogging. Fellow bloggers, you know what I'm talking about here. :-D

Nonetheless, friends and acquaintances have often asked me, "What's going on with you?" or "How's your running coming along?" and to be honest about it, I've been avoiding answering a lot of these questions. :) Of course, I know that the reason they are asking these questions is because they care, (and not because they are trying to be nosy), and am very happy that they do ask. Of course, I care about them too and about what's going on in their lives, should they be open to sharing this information with me. I do my best to respect other people's privacy and make an express point of not prying into people's affairs when I sense that they don't want to share something. I find that most people will likewise do the same.

It's just that things lately have been very difficult for me, and as a result, I don't really feel like sharing much with most people these days, aside from exchanging general pleasantries and light banter. I do feel a bit badly about it, as even some of my best friends have no idea what's been going on or why I've been reluctant to get together or participate in social events, because they know that I'm normally a very outgoing and extremely social person. There's no doubt about it; I live for social interaction. :) This is why it's really difficult for me even to blog about something like this; I kind of feel badly about posting things like this, precisely because I can't explain what's going on to others. I'm really not trying to be a tease. All the same, I feel like I should say something, as it probably seems like I've dropped off the face of the planet here and elsewhere (i.e., DailyMile, etc.).

This is why, at this juncture, I'm particularly very grateful for the existence of social media and online communication in general. I relish the opportunity to stay connected to friends and acquaintances, whether they be runners or not.

As some of you might recall from an earlier post, I've had some injury and illness issues that have affected my running. While the majority of these issues have cleared up, there are still some that haven't. As mentioned previously, what I'm dealing with is nothing life-threatening, but it is something serious that I need to figure out how to manage. As this is a private and highly personal topic, I don't really feel like I should have to justify my situation or explain what's going on with me. It's not done to be unfriendly, but rather, it's just not something I feel comfortable addressing or divulging in any sort of detail here, other than acknowledging the fact that something is and has been going on with me for the past several months.

What's also difficult is that people keep asking me about my running over and over again, because what little I have revealed is not something which sticks in their long-term memory. Of course, I don't harbor any ill feelings towards any of these individuals nor do I expect them to remember everything I've told them on previous occasions, as I perfectly understand that it's difficult to keep track of so many people's lives and activities -- I have trouble with this myself. However, on the other hand, it just keeps reminding me of my situation and how tongue-tied I feel about it. 

Since I so strongly identify with being a runner, and other people also strongly identify me as such, it's been really hard to say to them, "I'm not running or training for any upcoming events." In a strange way, I feel like I'm letting them down somehow, even more so than myself.

It probably also explains why I haven't been blogging much here about running as of late. Of course, it just reminds me of what I'm not doing at present, and that's been very painful to think about. I love to run a great deal, and yet, am not participating in this activity at present. Of course, it's certainly not due to laziness or a lack of motivation. The bottom line is that I need to first resolve some health-related issues before I can run again. Furthermore, even though I'm not currently running, I still feel like there's a runner inside of me who can't wait to get out there and run again.

Maybe some of you can relate to what I've been going through. Sure, it's easy to blog when things are going well -- we all want to share our joy regarding those experiences, but then it often becomes difficult to publicly express thoughts and sentiments when things have come to a standstill for one reason or another. To paraphrase Flora Thompson, the author of Lark Rise to Candleford, "Joyous occasions are meant to be shared with the world, whereas difficulties and sorrows are private affairs."

Please understand that I'm not actually talking about running itself, i.e., when it doesn't go well. That inevitably is going to happen sometimes, and is part of the natural, overall process of running. I also believe that our so-called "bad" or "less-than-perfect" running experiences have a great deal more to teach us than when things are going peachy keen. :) These runs are just as instrumental to our progress and learning as runners.

What I'm really referring to is when things to happen to us which are difficult to share with others for one reason or another.

Nonetheless, in several positive ways, social media outlets (particularly Twitter and Facebook), as well as my cookbook writing, have allowed me to stay connected to the running world. Even though I'm not able to participate in the activity or share stories of recent racing events or my training progress, I do enjoy asking about other people's experiences and hearing and reading about their running-related anecdotes.

It's for these reasons that I hope that you won't abandon me or this blog as I struggle to get back on track with my health and my running. I really do need your support. It's really vital, especially in terms of keeping up morale.

Thank you, friends for your understanding and moral support during this difficult time. I wish you well in your endeavors, and hope that you are doing well and having wonderful running (and life) experiences. :)

Cheers,
-C

Sunday, May 2, 2010

0 At Long Last, Here's the Guacamole Recipe


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Longtime readers of this blog might dimly recall that a while back I started a series here (i.e., in 2008) called "Simply Healthy Meals." I posted two, nutrition-centric recipes, and then decided it was probably better to save most of the cooking and recipe-related content for my "healthy gourmet" recipe blog.  After all, there's really no need to post duplicate recipes in both spots, as the recipe blog acts as a companion piece to this running blog. Both activities go hand in hand, and of course the recipe blog promotes and reinforces the same healthy values as this blog. :)

However, since I promised a while back that I'd post the guac recipe as a follow-up to the salsa recipe I'd already posted here, I'm going to fulfill that promise right now. See, I didn't forget. ;) However, in future, please visit Cooking with Corey to view the full scope of my original recipe collection. It's a large and diverse repository that's got something -- that is, a healthy and delicious something -- for everybody. :-D

The funny thing is that I'd already written up the preamble to this recipe that I'd specifically crafted for this blog, but then had gotten extremely busy with work-related activities, and became caught up in the "doing" of it all versus the "writing about it" part. :) (Well, I was still writing about my running, but the recipe-writing had slowed down a bit. ;) ) Bloggers, you know what I'm talking about. :) And then the recipe and its related introductory exposition just around sat in draft form, that is, until now. :)

As I was working on my cookbook project, and was creating various salsa recipes, I realized that it only made sense to post a guac recipe that'd go along with the salsa.  Then I remembered the promise I'd made here, and the guac post that had been forever hanging here out in the nether regions of blog purgatory. ;)

So, what I'm going to do is include the original excerpt of that preamble, i.e., the one which I'd intended to  post here, (which is very different from what I'd posted on the recipe blog), and then just provide a link to the guac recipe at the Cooking with Corey blog. Enjoy!
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When it comes to guacamole, I'm a purist. I don't want bits of tomato in there, or odd, non-traditional ingredients like grapes or pomegranate seeds mucking it all up. ;-)

First, there's clearly an issue of taste. And I mean that on two levels. LOL. If you need to mask the flavor of the avocado like that, then maybe you truly don't like the taste of it in the first place. ;)

I also take to task those recipes that add unnecessary, tastebud-clobbering, artery-clogging ingredients like mayo, oil, shredded cheese, sour cream, &/or cream cheese. (I'm particularly talking about the full-fat versions!) Heck, at that point, why not just toss in some "Cheez Whiz" & a bag of pork rinds & call it a day?! ;-)

To my mind, avocado has such a smooth, velvety texture; why the "bleep" would anyone want to add any of these unnecessary "silkeners"? It not only further "blandifies" the taste of the avocado into oblivion, but also adds a heck of a lot of needless fat to the recipe as well! If you eat the more fattening versions described above, you'll need to run a marathon before you eat it, because that's how many calories you are going to have to burn in order to stay slim. LOL.

On the other hand, don't expect this recipe to be a flavorless snoozefest either. Oh no. This guac recipe is not going to be some generic, grocery-store version of guacamole, thank you very much. :)

Of course, guacamole is a condiment, not a meal unto itself, and that's how it's meant to be used. Obviously, guac isn't meant to be eaten by itself. So, if you let the guac's flavor stay clean and simple, then it'll work better with the tableau of other, typically added ingredients -- the salsa, tortilla chips, olives, shredded cheese, and whatever else you'd like to add. (See? That stuff's not meant to be in the guac. LOL.) In terms of heat, let the "knock out punch" come from the salsa and not from the guac. After all, ingredients don't need to shout at 5 zillion decibels in order to be heard. Plus, if all of the ingredients are fighting each other for center stage, then it won't be long before your stomach will be screaming "¡Ay, caramba!" too. Hahahaha. Or, think of it this way: Too much pizazz and the stomach will be razzed. ;) If you keep the guac ingredients straightforward and simple, that way, the flavors work with one another, instead of against. Yes, when it comes to guac, it's better to employ the K.I.S.S. method of cooking. ;-)

And now onto the recipe..... As promised, here's the Recipe #105: Holy Guacamole! :) recipe. Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2 Work In Progress: A Healthy Gourmet Cookbook For Runners, or "Why It's Been Relatively Quiet Here Over the Past 6 Months :)"


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Wow, it's been exceptionally busy these past few months.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before here, but over the past several months, I've been writing a healthy gourmet cookbook geared towards runners/athletes and other health-minded individuals. I'm so excited about it!  Thankfully, the writing has been fairly fluid & is progressing at a rapid pace.

Cookbook writing (as with any major writing project) is an all-consuming activity. I've been joking with friends that I frequently dream of fruit & veg (& perhaps even the occasional, proverbial recipe card!) jumping over the fence instead of sheep. ;)

During this time, as you can probably imagine, it's been a real challenge to keep up with the many IRL & virtual activities in which I'm involved. That might also explain why there have been more healthy gourmet recipe posts than running-related posts as of late. ;) As the expression goes, "something had to give," but of course after I wrap up the cookbook, it'll once more be back to business-as-usual here at this blog. :)

The current plan is to create a well-rounded cookbook containing a minimum of 250 recipes (although at the rate I'm going, that number might be even larger by the time I'm through writing the book!).

Please note that every single recipe that appears in the cookbook must first go through a rigorous taste-testing process & be given the seal of approval by not only me (the chef & creator), but also my family, friends, & acquaintances, & in many cases -- thanks to many of you & your incredibly helpful & gracious feedback -- the general public at large. :) That means that as I create the recipes, I cook each & every single one of them. Now 250+ recipes, that's a lot of meals & hours of cooking (& a lot of effort too!). :)  I've been gradually working on this original recipe project since 2007. However, as of late 2009 & early 2010, the cookbook-writing has been ramped up to "full-speed ahead" status. Lately, new recipes have been just flying out of my head. I'm hoping to finish most of the recipe-writing & test-kitchen cooking over the next 6 months. Although a lot of nutrition specific-segments are contained within each recipe, I'd still like to write some segments dedicated to various general and sports nutrition topics, as well as some anecdotal writing, to add my own unique "flavor" to the cookbook, please pardon the pun. ;) While I've been published before (articles, poetry, short stories, essays, etc.), this is my first book per se, so it's hard to say exactly how long the entire process will take. Of course, I've made some projections based on my current rate of progress, & so far, I'm keeping to the established timetable. Over the past 3 months alone, I've created 42 new recipes, not to mention the 29 backdated new original recipes I created during that same time period to replace the ones from other (i.e., published) chefs that I'd removed once I'd decided to feature only "100% all-original recipes" on the recipe blog. :)
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The primary aim of the cookbook is to provide 100% original, nutritious recipes centered around fresh whole foods which are low in refined sugar & fat, but high in taste. :) I'd like to not only help people in their efforts to cook & eat healthfully, but also provide useful ways in which to re-conceptualize what this actually means. In other words, this is not a "lettuce & tofu only" type of cookbook. :) A major goal is to get people excited about cooking & eating healthfully in such a way that they enjoy the cooking process as much as the eating part. :)

A secondary goal of the cookbook is to introduce new dishes and cuisines that some individuals might not have had the opportunity to try before (particularly in their revamped healthier counterparts!)...that is, until now. :) Recipes will be as diverse as this wonderful planet on which we live, representative of as many different regional & (inter)national cuisines as possible. And of course, all of the various meal courses will be represented -- soups, salads, side dishes, entrĂ©es, desserts, snacks, beverages, breakfast foods, condiments, sauces, spice mixes, etc.

While the majority of recipes are straight-forward and easy to prepare, there are also a few recipes that speak to the ardent gourmet in all of us, & thus, are a bit more involved.  I'm considering creating a "Weekend Cooking Projects" section, & adding those recipes to that category. ;)

You might also even be surprised to know that the cookbook incorporates some ingredients which will probably not be appearing on a "dieter's checklist" any time soon, although they might very well appear on a list of "Super Foods." :) (Some examples: walnuts, eggs, avocados, & other nutritious foods that contain "healthy fats.")

As you have probably heard me intone many times before, I don't believe in diets & obsessive-compulsive calorie-counting. I believe in exercise & nutritious, moderate consumption, & in balancing the two so that it's possible to enjoy food & one's life and still maintain one's figure. :) And of course, balanced nutrition and proper portion sizes necessarily factor heavily into that equation as well. In keeping with this philosophy, the cookbook's recipes incorporate a balanced variety of fresh, whole foods, and sometimes some of these whole foods fall into the "use sparingly" category. :) For example, butter is typically used as an accent flavoring versus an overriding, full-fledged ingredient.  

In terms of the "healthy gourmet" concept, the cookbook also contains a lot of tips to show people how to enhance flavor without adding a lot of extra fat in the process. There are also some cool tips & tricks for sweetening recipes without using refined sugar. And of course, there are segments devoted to general nutrition, sports nutrition, & foods that are a runner's best friend. :)

The responses, thus far, to the cookbook's recipes (many of which have also been posted on the recipe blog) have been phenomenal. In particular, the feedback from the social media community has been exceptionally amazing & helpful, so thank you to all of you who have taste-tested recipes & have given me your input!  As it's still a work-in-progress, the cookbook has already been greatly enhanced by your commentary, and will surely be even better thanks to your efforts!

So thanks for generously sharing your cooking experiences with me, and with the rest of the social media community on the blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook, & elsewhere!

Have a great night!
-Corey (a.k.a. "Coach/Chef Cyberpenguin" :) )



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