runfreeforever

Live. Love. Run. It's what I do.

Are you hydrated??

As a runner, talking about pee is not taboo. My team shares bad running bathroom stories often because, hey, it happens to everyone! There’s that awkward time when you get walked in on when using a porta-potty…or when your coach almost walks in on you because you gotta go so bad that you can’t wait to use the women’s bathroom…or when you gotta go in the bushes and see another group of runners run by you and you hope they understand and that they didn’t see anything… or when you try to run into a church to use their facilities, and find yourself standing conspicuously in the doorway and the pastor invites you to join them but you can’t cuz you gotta finish your run…or when you accidentally go into the men’s side because you had to go so badly that you didn’t pay any attention to which bathroom you’re running into…I think you get the point. As runners, we all have those great bathroom stories to tell.
But your pee tells a story too. This chart or NCAA’s pee chart (here) help you read what your pee is telling you. Kinda like a palm reading. Except a pee reading. And it’s a lot more reliable. Your pee tells you how hydrated you are. If your pee is light straw-colored, you’re well hydrated and you are in a great position to perform well. But the darker it gets, the more dehydrated you are.
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Studies have shown that by the time you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. That means that your performance level is already decreased and you’re putting more stress on your body. You’re not doing yourself any favors by not drinking all day long, then downing a bottle or two of water between intervals. I’ve tried it. All you get is that lovely jiggling sloshing sound from your stomach while you run. It’s uncomfortable, annoying, and you still feel just as thirsty. Instead, keep a water bottle with you all day. If it’s in your hands or sitting on your desk or somewhere within reach, you’re more likely to drink more during the day. I’ll be honest – I can be really lazy sometimes. Really, who would want to get up to get a drink of water if you’re already comfy sitting on your couch?? Or if you’re at school and you’ve got a teacher in a bad mood or a test or a 2000 word essay to write and you can’t go out of the room to get a drink, then what do you do?? Or who would want to get off the computer while you’re blogging about water to go to the kitchen to get a drink?? The point is, if it’s in front of your face, you’ll remember to drink throughout the day so you don’t feel like passing out later on. And everyone, especially you (and the grouchy teacher), is happy.
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So keep a bottle of water on you. And look at your pee. Are you doing a good job and staying hydrated? Or do you need to make a stop by the drinking fountain before you go about your day? DO WHAT YOUR PEE SAYS. You will thank yourself later.
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Kashi Dark Mocha Almond bars…YUMMM

I found a new favorite granola bar!! The Kashi Dark Mocha Almond chewy granola bars are the best!

They are delicious! They have the perfect amount of sweetness, and they’re especially great for all you coffee lovers out there. But they’re great not only for your taste buds but they’re also good for you! Their number one ingredient is whole grains and they have four grams of fiber, which leaves you full for longer. They also have no high fructose corn syrup, or hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. They only have three and a half grams of fat, most of which are poly- or mono-unsaturated fats (the good-for-you fats that could help lower your cholesterol and improve heart health, and is found in nuts, avocados, olive oil, etc. To read more about poly- and mono-unsaturated fats, click here.)

Another plus to these tasty granola bars is their ratio of protein to carbs. these bars have six grams of protein and twenty-one grams of carbs, or between a 3:1 and 4:1 ratio. When you workout or run, especially for extended periods of time, it’s important to get both carbohydrates and protein back into your system within half an hour for proper recovery (to read more on proper recovery click here). The carbs are important to refuel your muscles’ glycogen stores so you are ready to go the next day. Protein is also important to help your muscles rebuild and repair torn muscle tissue. Both are extremely important to get your body working the best. From looking at various websites, somewhere between a 2:1 to 4:1 ratio of carbs-to-protein seems to be the rule of thumb. It may take some experimenting to see what works best for you and your body. These granola bars are right in that range though, so try them out!

When you eat Kashi’s Dark Mocha Almond granola bars, you will probably forget everything I just told you about their healthy qualities and get lost in coffee-chocolaty heaven. I’ve found them at Hy-vee and Target, and I would definitely recommend looking for a box in your own grocery store! Let me know if you love them as much as I do! ūüôā

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My love affair with Zio Johnos

I had Zio Johnos spaghetti for dinner tonight. Delicious.

Spaghetti is the go-to dish for many carbo-loading runners. The night before a big, long race or run, it’s common to eat a large carbohydrate-filled meal such as spaghetti,potatoes, bread, or rice. The idea is to refuel the body’s glycogen stores – the energy supply your body uses up when you run or exercise.¬† When your body’s glycogen stores are depleted, your body must use stored fat for energy. Converting fat into energy to be used by the body is much less efficient, takes more time, and leaves you feeling awful, like you can’t take another step. If you’ve ever heard of “hitting the wall” from long-distance runners such as half-marathoners, marathoners or ultra runners, this is what they’re talking about. However, if you eat the right amount of carbs before the big race, you can prepare your body to have the optimum amount of glycogen already available. Runners’ World, a magazine on running and fitness, wrote an article on carbo-loading the right way so you can get the best results.

My love for Zio Johnos spaghetti comes not only  from its delicious flavor, but all of the memories surrounding it. I love cross country, and I love my cross country team. Several times per year, we have a team dinner with Zio Johnos spaghetti the night before a meet. It was always so rewarding, fun, and relaxing to sit and eat our Zio Johnos together as a team, to know that we were done with another hard week of training, and that we had nothing left to worry about until tomorrow when we would race. Or on other occasions a few friends and I would stop by Zio Johnos to pick up some spaghetti after getting back home from a successful meet. We would celebrate as we crashed at someones house, tired, happy, and no longer hungry. Now that the season is over, eating this spaghetti gives me more than a satisfied stomach but sentimental memories of a successful season, great times with the team, and excitement for next season when I know we will make many more memories and share many more buckets of delicious spaghetti!

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Dear Michelle Obama, I’m Still Hungry

This weekend I got¬†this amazing¬†new headband that says “I run so I can eat” and I’ve been wearing it almost constantly since then! It describes my life!! I run. I eat. I go to school and sleep when possible, but basically I just eat and run and eat some more. If I didn’t run, I would get so fat because of how much I eat! But on the other hand, there’s no way I could run like I do without food to fuel me through the hard workouts. That’s why the new Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act that’s now being enforced in our schools makes me so upset.

Signed into law by the president in 2010 and encouraged by Michelle Obama, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 sets new regulations on school lunches, such as calling for¬†more fruits and vegetables to be served, skim and 1% milk, and¬†lower fat and sodium content.¬†¬†I appreciate this effort to have healthier lunches. I love my grapes and carrots, I prefer skim milk to 2%, and I try to eat less fat and empty calories whether I am at school or at home. But then the act also sets the required number of calories to be between 750 and 850 calories, and no more than 12 ounces of protein (meat or meat alternative) per week. While this may be just fine for your average non-athletic student, every student is not the same! We do not all need the same amount of calories!¬†I run cross country and when we have our 10 mile days, I’m burning 1000 extra calories at practice!¬†I need my calories to get me through it and the protein to help my muscles recover! I should not¬†be distracted in the middle of my run by my stomach¬†growling since I didn’t get¬†enough food at lunch!¬†What about our football players or swimmers or volleyball players?? I’m sorry Michelle Obama, but this plan isn’t cutting it. We are unique. Don’t you encourage diversity? All students¬†are not¬†one-size-fits-all, and that applies to every aspect of life, including my lunch.

A school in Kansas made this video parody of Fun’s song “We Are Young,” titled “We Are Hungry.”

I believe they speak for all of us. We are hungry. We need food to get us through practice. If they don’t feed us enough healthy food at school, we will have to find something else, and there’s a good chance that it won’t be as healthy. Yes, keep the whole grains, the fruit and veggies, and the skim milk. Just give us more so we can make it through all 10 miles this afternoon.

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