Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Mind Control

You can so anything you put your mind to. If you want something, you have to be willing to fight for it. Battle your own mind and the desire to give up. It's a never ending battle with giving up out there on the trails, and when you get past that and accomplish something like a run or a triathlon, you come out a stronger, different person knowing you can overcome your own mind. Remember your mind will quit before you do. 

I'm starting to repeat myself, but I find it important to reassure you readers that you can do it, if you want to. You can do anything you want to do. And this can lead to bigger things out there in life. 


Monday, December 23, 2013

Familia

While training, you're constantly thinking about diet, training schedule, routine, sleep. You're thinking about the race or whatever it is you're training for. One thing overlooked that is extremely important to not only your training, but your life as a whole is the support from your loved ones. This sport, this life can be very lonely and so I find it just as important if not more important as your morning run, the food you put in your body, the amount of recovery time you give your body. I've found my support. And my support makes my journey so much bigger, so much easier knowing that there's someone out there who supports me in training, my journey of self improvement. A family that tri's together stays together. Thank you.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Yes You Can

Remember this, your mind will quit before your body. The best most effective motivational tool you can ever have is saying to yourself "I can do this." This isn't just in the run, bike or swim, but anywhere in your life. This feeling of accomplishment, overcoming say a 10 mile run that you never once thought you could do will have you thinking "huh, I bet I could go further." Use that train of thought to overcome whatever life has to throw at you.  

My marathon pace has me at just under 3:10 which means I can qualify for the Boston marathon. To hold that medal would be such a big honor. But again, it's not about time or distance, it's about the experience and what you learn from said experience.  

This is what attracts me to the sport. It's a catalyst to bigger things in life.  

Monday, December 16, 2013

Within

Purchasing the best equipment money can buy won't make you a better athlete. Your mind is the best tool there is. It'll either make you or break you. It'll push you to go harder or make you quit. Strengthening your mental edge will help you perform at such a higher level both out there running, biking or swimming and in life as a whole. So urge you to hold off on the newest Nike shoes and fancy GPS watch. Calm down on the compression pants and crazy expensive runners jacket. Focus on you. Find that power within, the power money can't buy.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Harness That Energy

Part of being human is that we all get sad or depressed. It's a monkey wrench in any training routine. Very quickly, you'll find yourself wanting to stay in bed, sleeping or playing video games, anything but doing the one thing you know very well could cleanse yourself of anything negative. Self improvement isn't an overnight fix nor will anyone do it for you. Only you can change you. The hardest part is taking that first step. Now I've written about this subject before and I'm sure I'll post about it again because I feel it's very important for people out there to know that you're not alone in this.

I was talking to my HTC(Hood To Coast) teammate, Mary, about this sort of thing recently over a cup of coffee. On the course or running or whatever it is you're doing, you are alone in your thoughts. No music, nothing. This allows you to think and sometimes dwell on anything and everything going on in your head at that given moment. Your mind will try and talk you out of whatever it is you're doing. This is where you can thrive and push through this barrier. Trust me, nothing feels better than overcoming said barrier and looking back at your achievement. It's such an amazing feeling. Fact is, your mind will quit before your body does.

Point to this post is that no matter what's going on in your life, keep in mind millions are going through similar if not worse situations. You have the power to overcome it, just know you're not alone. Harness that negativity and use it to your advantage. Constantly move forward, never looking back at what could have been. You can do this, trust me! That negativity is fuel to your goal of self improvement and should only make you TRI harder. Remember, NEVER GIVE UP!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Go Vegan!

"Murder, you call war!" Morning Again were some awesome vegan hardcore pioneers. Think Slayer meets hardcore with some At The Gates thrown in there. Great motivational music for training.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Team Green Tri Suit

It's official. My Team Green tri suit finally arrived. Oceanside IM70.3 in March with a marathon before hand, representing The Official Team Green.

My Bad

Sorry for the lack of updates. I've been busy training, working and being with my kids. I'll get to an update soon. There's lots to talk about.

Vegan Mark

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pre Workout: My Experience

Short post

An often looked over part of my exercise has always been the pre-workout meal. Waking up and getting to the gym, or running or whatever exercise I plan on doing, I tend to forget to eat. What I notice is that my body and mood doesn't want to be there. It's almost like I'm already talking myself out of my workout. My thinking is, "I don't have time to prepare anything so I'm just going to drink some water and go run." Horrible idea.

Now mind you, I'm no doctor or nutritionist, but this is what has worked for me:

My strongest workouts have come after consuming a handful of fruit, usually in smoothie form, about an hour before my workout. Very simple smoothie could consist of berries, banana and water with a little lemon. Trust me, it's good! Also, slamming a pint of lemon squeezed into water helps me hydrate and boost my energy level. If I have time, I'll make quinoa oatmeal with frozen blueberries to cool down the temperature of the quinoa oatmeal. I'll also eat a handful of almonds or cashews. A very tasty snack. I've noticed that sometimes, I'll eat to much, upsetting my stomach so I've been able to in a sense eyeball my smoothies and blend just enough to power me through whatever exercise I'm doing.

What I recommend people to do is DON'T neglect your pre-workout meal. Play around with easy to make meals, perhaps preparing them the night before if you're strapped for time. Take that extra few moments to eat your breakfast because you're not going to be happy working out on an empty stomach, trust me.

Here's a video from Vega that I found to be so helpful. Brendan Brazier has so many great tips. Give it a watch!

And please visit Team Green and check out their compassionate line of gear!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tri On a Budget

Every sport has an expensive "getting started" phase. Triathlons are no different. I'm hoping to calm the nerves some on. I don't have all the answers, but here are some things to think about.

You've decided you want to do your first triathlon and you're freaking out because you don't have the bike everyone else is riding! Calm down! Unless you're going to be the next Peter Jacobs, you shouldn't worry about what bike you're riding. Trust me, crossing the finish line on your first race is all you should worry about, and having fun while doing so. Triathlon specific bikes can run you anywhere from $1000-more than $5000 new. I've saw bikes of all kinds at the Sprint I did back in July. People were just happy to be there, so should you. This is what you do, go down to the local bike shop, surf craigslist and find a suitable bike for what you need. I've seen some pretty damn good used bikes on there and you should have no trouble finding something to propel you through this portion of the race.

I recommend reading the rules and regulations usatriathlon.org regarding the use of wetsuits. It's confusing, but I've been told and follow "if the water is above 78 degrees, you can't use wetsuits."

A new wetsuit will run you anywhere from $100 to $500 and beyond new. I recommend going to a shop, getting fitted which takes about 30 minutes, and then renting a suit. Renting a suit will only cost you about $30 to $40 and I believe you'll have that suit for a few days. No keep in mind, you don't need a suit to do a triathlon. Depending on the temperature of the water, you may not even want one. I could imagine a warm lake or body of water would make swimming just in your tri suit would be way better than a wetsuit. Scope out the projected water temp and course to find out if you even need one.

Bike shorts, tri suits....You don't NEED them. They'll make the ride a little more comfortable on your tokhes. So the fact that you don't NEED this, I'm going to skip it. We're talking about triathlons on a budget and unless you're made of money, you might want to think about cutting corners. Heck, wear never nude shorts!(Arrested Development reference)

Rules require you to wear a helmet during the bike portion of the race. Don't go crazy and buy one of those aero helmets. Again, this sport might not be what you thought it was. Then again, you should already be wearing your helmet if you're riding a bike out on the street! Ok, I'm guilty..... I've seen people wearing their skateboard helmets, so you're not going to need to spend more than $25 for a helmet. It really depends on the coverage of your head and what you want to protect. Personally, I find skateboard helmets protect better all around, but you're going to sacrifice wind resistance. Yes, you can buy time with being more aerodynamic. Think about your priorities here, are you there for time or are you there for the experience?

People often neglect a good pair of running shoes opting for a inexpensive alternative. Let me tell you, you don't want to be running whatever length in your slip on vans. You're shins and knees are going to hate you. Running is such a high impact portion of the race that you should seriously consider getting a nice pair of running shoes. I bought a $130 pair of shoes for $75. It's possible, you just have to shop for deals. Don't setting on a pair that have great color or whatever. This is what you do....Go to the local running store or whatever place that sells a good variety of running shoes. Try on a few pair and walk around like you're buying new shoes. Don't forget the brand and size you like and then order them through whatever site you find the best deal. I feel this is one of the more important investments you're going to make, aside from your dieting which I have been covering through my blog so I'm not going to touch on here. Fact of the matter is, take care of your body and wearing GOOD running shoes and practicing proper technique will help.

I hope to continue on this subject. I was waking up and thought about saving money and being able to do these races on a limited budget. For beginners(myself included), you are subject to people trying to sell you things you don't need. Always do your research.

Active Gear Up requires a membership fee, but can save you money. Their deals are amazing and they're not just a triathlon store. You'll find a plethora of outdoor activity deals. If you love the outdoors like I do, you'll see that a $60 yearly membership is worth it.

Check out Team Green!!!!

If you've been reading my blog, you'll notice I have a bad case of ADHD and often times ramble, not fully explaining myself. Here's the thing, when I get excited about a subject I start to just go full speed and...at times I have so much on my mind that I don't finish a topic. So please, bare with me and we'll get through this together! I have a passion for the sport and hope to inspire others to give it a TRI!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Here's Your Motivation: Giving back!

Motivation is found in many different forms. Something as simple as waking up and seeing a note you left yourself can motivate you to achieve things you didn't think possible. Listening to Rich Roll's podcast #33 with Roni Selig, wearing a shirt that reminds you to never give up. It's important to keep a positive outlook on life and continue fighting what ever it is you're dealing with. What really gets me going is people who give back without thinking about it. People who continually see the good in people and want to help anyone and everyone. These are the true heroes of this world.

Emz is going to run from 9/12/13 until 9/13/13, on a treadmill. Here's a quote on the charity run from Ikuna Apparel: "On September 12-13, 2013 Emily Toia will run the equivalent of 4 marathons in 24 hours on a treadmill. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness about worldwide illiteracy and to raise funds to support nonprofit, EFFECT International in opening two new schools in India and help 1,400 children to receive an education." An act of kindness like this is what really motivates me to improve on my training, my personal life, and my professional life(though I hardly call working at a grocery store a white collar profession haha).

I'm not very good with words and translating my thoughts into them, but I'm grateful there are people out there like Emz who are willing to give back. So please, everyone click HERE and order your shirt. It'll help reach the fundraising goal. Let's all back Emz on this intense run. And remember to smile at anyone and everyone. You never know, it may brighten their day just enough to continue on.

Visit these links:

Ikuna Apparel

Official Team Green

RUNEMZ

Vega

Effect International

Rally.org(I think this is where they will be hosting a live feed/stream. If anyone knows of a stream, please let me know. I'd love to link to it!)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Vegan On A Budget aka Broke Vegan

Lets face it, we're not made of money so at times, more often than not, our diet takes a hit. Reaching for that pack of top ramen, 8 for $1 seems to make for a money saving dish. Problem is, you can save money and eat healthy, delicious meals at the same time. You just have to plan out for and make a bunch of whatever you're making. Oh, before I forget, you're going to have to like or get used to eating left overs, sorry.

With being a single dad, working 40 hours a week, seeing my kids that are an hour and a half away, I have to plan my meals accordingly. I don't have the luxury of going out to eat for every meal and can't buy all the faux meats and fun vegan goodies supermarkets have to offer. Besides, my dietary goal is to eliminate all that processed garbage anyways and eat a more plant based diet.

Planning my meals couldn't be easier and saving money while doing it is even less of a chore. I'll make chili, Vega's cashew mac n cheese, salads, rice, beans, and so much more. Seriously though, make friends with a crock pot! All you do is throw a bunch of stuff in a pot, turn it on and walk away. A few hours later, it's done.

I'm going to get you started with a simple, delicious chili recipe I came up with. I've shared it through my instagram page and send emails out all the time for people wanting this recipe. It's really really good and easy to make. So here we go!

Lentil and Quinoa Chipotle Chili

1/2 cup letils

1/2 cup quinoa

4 cups veggie broth

2 tbs coconut oil

1 yellow onion(small to medium diced)

2 celery stalks(chopped)

3 cloves of garlic(chopped)

1 carrot(diced)

1 can of fire roasted tomato

1 7oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce(or you can use fresh chipotle peppers)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp chipotle chili powder

1 tsp cumin

2 bay leaves

1 tsp smoked paprika

Salt and pepper to taste

Instead of the celery, carrot and onion, I used Trader Joe's Mirepoix mix which is those ingredients all diced and ready to go.

In a large pot, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add your celery, carrot, and onion and saute for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the celery and onion become translucent. Add the garlic saute for another 3 minutes then add the cinnamon, chipotle powder and cumin. Stir together. Add your veggie broth, bay leafs and canned fire roasted tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add your lentils and quinoa. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes(until the quinoa and lentils are finished cooking). In a blender, add your canned chipotle peppers and about a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of the brother from your pot. Blend and then add back to your pot of chili. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and you're done!

I find that chili tastes better the following day and reheating. This allows the flavors to blend together. You can always make this with more heat, I just wanted something mellow and not overly spicy today. Let me know what you think of it. This is a great protein packed post-workout meal. I don't use beans because I try and stay traditional with my chili and the original chili was made without beans, all meat.

I plan on sharing more vegan on a budget meal ideas so if you have any questions or requests, let me know. I find that taking a day out of the week and possibly meal planning helps save money. With my IM70.3 race coming up in March, I am forced to eat very clean and be aware of what I'm putting in my body. That and not having much money requires me to make smart choices when it comes to diet. I'm not perfect by any means, but I'm going to reach my goals and hopefully inspire others to make smart healthy choices along the way. This is my journey, this is my life. I love you all.

Please visit Official Team Green. Without them, my dream of being an IronMan wouldn't have happened so soon. Thanks Team Green!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Care 2 Tri

This morning, while running on the treadmill at the gym, I was surprised to see REV3 on the tv. Great inspiration, considering what my goal is. Instead of taking breaks, I ran through all my road blocks and was able to finish my run very strong, but before finishing I was blessed with an even bigger inspirational story. Everyone, please go and check out Care 2 Tri.

Here's what they do taken directly from their website: "Our mission is simple: We help those that are often treated differently because of their physical disabilities. We promote these individuals in our community and also include them in opportunities that mainstream society does not. Our motto is, “We all have disabilities; however, some people’s are not physical”. It is not right to treat differently-abled people as outcasts because their disabilities are visible. We are part of a movement that is larger than any one person, but we feel it needs to start somewhere. We hope to leave an imprint on society that encourages all to treat differently-abled individuals as people, because that’s what they are."

The smile on everyone's faces, swimming, biking, running and most importantly crossing that finish line was so surreal. People, this is what the world needs more of, people willing to help others. This is why I love this sport. Sure, it's a very individual sport, but it doesn't have to be. We can still help our fellow man and provide the same experience we feel to those who may have a harder time achieving the feeling. The statement from Care 2 Tri is pretty simple, and I fully intend on donating and supporting their mission.

That's inspiration to be a better human being.

Care To Tri

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What Ironman Means To Me

It wasn't long ago that I completed my first sprint triathlon. My time wasn't the best, but I finished. Completing the race was my main focus, my main goal. The feeling I had after crossing the finish line was one of the most incredible sense of accomplishments I've ever experienced. A couple days later, my life took a turn, it was thrown upside down. Those close to me know what I'm talking about. I went into a downward spiral, confused and emotionally drained. Though I still battle my very own thoughts of "what ifs" and so on, I have found solidarity. I'm still looking for some stability in life, but I'll get there.

The sport of triathlon is an awakening of sorts, a life changing experience. Keep in mind, I'm speaking from my own experiences. I feel apart of something much bigger than swimming, running and biking. This community of athletes come together and put their lives through hell, coming out different than they were before. Constantly battling with the thought of giving up when your body says no, but something in your head MUST say "don't give up, you can do this." It's a very mentally cleansing experience.

Team Green posted basically something saying "anyone wishing to do the San Diego IM 70.3..." they will sponsor and get into the race. The thought crossed my mind and it quickly left. There's no way I would even be ready, but then I saw it wasn't until March. The day leading up to this was rough. I kept going in and out of my own thoughts, fighting back tears, missing my kids. Then I realized what attracted me to the sport and thought, "I can do this, I WANT to do this." I emailed or replied to the post and they said "you're in."

What this means to me is a chance to cleanse myself of all negativity in my life and prove to myself that I can overcome anything. I want to climb to the top of the mountain and remain whole, yelling "I can do anything." I want that feeling of accomplishment back in my life. So San Diego IM 70.3 is my goal, my challenge. Everything else going on in my life, as hard as it is, will fuel me to accomplish something that a week ago I never truly thought I'd do so soon, but I am and I will. This is my turning point, my new focus to get my mind mentally prepared to take on any challenge life sends my way.

Thank you so much, Team Green, for giving me this opportunity. You have no idea what this means to me, thank you. I am honored to be representing you guys at this race. Thank you everyone who reads this post and has helped me get inspired to do this. I will have every single one of you on my shoulder, motivating me to push through the tough times and continue on. I won't ever give up. I aim to inspire others hoping they will feel what I've felt.

Here's a link to Team Green, the people helping make this dream a reality. Please visit the site and support such a wonderful company.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Educated Decisions

You MUST stay hydrated, any doctor, dietitian, anyone will tell you that. Here's the kicker, people think "Oh, I'm drinking a ton of water. Well, good, sort of. What they have the possibility of doing is flushing their bodies of electrolytes. This is where cramping and muscle fatigue comes in. In order to stay hydrated and maintain a good balance, you must consume foods rich in minerals that carry an electric charge.

I think it's crucial that people begin to pay attention to what they put in their bodies, it'll save your life. The facts are out there. I can almost guarantee that the people buying meat from a grocery store don't know what they're putting in their bodies other than it being chicken or beef(or any other meat for that matter). Is it organically raised, hormone free? Do you even care if it is or isn't? Where does the meat come from? Free range(do you even know what free range is?)? Same is true for those consuming fruits and vegetables. Where does it come from? Is it gmo or organically grown? Pesticide free?

It's so important, but most people don't want to put forth the extra effort and research their food so staying naive about it and blind to what's going on is how they deal with it. For years, you're told to live this way, eat this eat that. But what if it was all a lie? What if dairy is horrible(which it is) for you? Do you give it up or do you continue on consuming something that could quite possibly end up killing you?

By no means do I expect everyone to be vegan, I'm just thinking out loud. People will do what they feel is right for them or they'll do what they want to do, but I hope....and this is something I've been firm on....I hope people educate themselves and are able to make smart decisions/choices when it comes to what they put into their bodies. Right when I stopped eating processed foods and became vegan all over again, I lost 20 lbs pretty much right away. I had more sustained energy and was mentally stronger.

I'd love nothing more than to have everyone in the world to be vegan, putting an end to the senseless murdering of innocent animals, but I'm also not one to force my opinions and views onto anyone who doesn't want to listen. Please leave me comments or concerns and lets talk about this. I'm open to everyone's views on the subject and hope that over time we can take this discussion and inspire each other to make smarter decisions in life as a whole.

Some helpful links:

Foods Containing Electrolytes

My Vega Blog

And please visit my sponsor Team Green