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3 time U.S. National Champion, Milena Glusac, shares her insights into the world of running!

 

 

Nov 22
2013

In Search of the Perfect Paella

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It’s 7:00 pm July 16th, I’m in Barcelona. I’m hungry and I am in search of a tapas restaurant. I’m walking down a camino across from my hotel, certain I will find the spot that the hotel concierge recommended to me. Ahhhh...indeed there it is. Food bliss awaits my tum tum and a cava sangria to cool me off from this 90 degree heat. I joyfully skip into the authentic Spanish culinary hide away and I greet the waiter with an authentic, “Como esta?” in my best Catalonian accent. He didn’t seem so impressed as he responded abruptly, “Estamos cerrados! Regrese a las ocho.” Ouch...not only did the sharp words he recited send my dreams of paella south, but he reminded me that I was in a country where most people don’t even think about going out the door for dinner until nine o’clock. “Ok Milena, hay otro plane,” I told myself calmly and set out to create another game plan. Evidently I needed to eat and eat soon before hypoglycemia set me into a sugar low of epic proportions. What were my chances of finding something that was open and serving more than just a strong espresso? We were about to find out.

I hurried back to the hotel and pleaded with the concierge to put on her best thinking cap and try to recommend an eatery that would be open. The minutes were ticking by as I started to sweat profusely and come close to forgetting how to spell my own name. She mapped out directions to another spot. I quickly grabbed the highlighter outlined route she handed me and ran out the door. “Take an immediate left then another left in two blocks...easy Milena you can do that!” I reassured myself as I darted between native Spaniards leisurely strolling down the sidewalk. Within minutes I found myself completely turned around and with no food in sight my odds of feasting on manchego cheese and olives were fading at warp speed. Time to stop and ask for help. I spotted an open coffee spot with 4-5 guys sitting out front, enjoying a Barcelona evening of cafe, galletas and conversation. As I approached them I noticed a car pull into an empty parking spot. A second glance revealed a “Swim, Bike, Run” sticker on the left rear bumper. The driver got out. I don’t know if it was the shaved legs, lean arms or Ironman Miami shirt that gave it away, but I knew immediately I was amongst friends.

Any triathlete knows where to eat…it is a world-wide phenomena and I was about to bet the house that my newfound Spanish co-hart would surely know a place where I could feast. “Es un triathlete?” I asked him as I approached. “Si, por supuesto,” he replied. We carried on the niceties in Spanish until he broke into perfect English mid-sentence. Guillermo was President of Mad Dogs Barcelona Tri and studied business in the States. Triathlon was his passion and he had helped create quite a following of the sport in Spain. Not only did we share in common numerous friends of the sport but also a love for great food, and my prediction was spot on. He left me with his business card, an invitation back to Barcelona to watch their local race and the name of a restaurant just around the corner that served kick-ass paella and stellar sangria. As I crossed the street I thought about how the love of multisport brings people together world-wide. I was thankful for my new-found friend and thankful that triathletes know how to eat! Bon appetit!



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Mar 31
2013

My First Time

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You are seated comfortably in front of your 52 inch plasma TV...remote in one hand, iPhone in other with the maps app pointed to nearest Domino’s delivery location.  Strategically pinpointed so you can have a hot and fresh 16 inch pepperoni with extra cheese at your door in thirty minutes or less.  You’ve heard about this triathlon thing.  The only problem is it kinda throws a wrench into your Monday through Friday happy hour plan.  And your weekends...yeah kinda full, between NBA, NHL, NCAA and NFL.  Hell even WNBA is in the mix.  Don’t forget the PGA, LPGA, UFC and the PBA. Between all those consonants and vowels your schedule is chalk full.  Yep, really no time for the PTA and don’t even mention the USTA.  I mean seriously, how can you be expected to swim, bike and run with a schedule like that.  You have Fritos to keep stocked in the cupboard, Miller Lite’s to be put on ice and your infamous “Man Chili” to start making in the slow cooker.  Life is busy my friend. 

But you kind of have this little voice in your mind that says, “I’d be pretty hot if those extra thirty pounds found their way to another host party.  And perhaps that cute little assistant in cube eight would actually acknowledge me and say ‘thank you’ as I leave her Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte Half Caff on her desk every frickin morning.”  “Hmmmmm...maybe this swim, bike, run thing has some validity.  But where do I start?” you ask in a Little Cesar’s haze?  Well here are my top three picks for turnin that toosh into a force to be reckoned with.  It is spring after all.  So bust out that speedo and get ready for a new you.   

Remember, the world wide web is still the best place to go shopping, so to speak.  You know nothing about triathlon but you want to learn.  Time to Google, Bing and become the search engine ho your mama would be proud of.  It’s amazing what information you can learn just by doing your own research.  Don’t know what a Cervelo is...Google it!  Want the perfect fitting wetsuit that you can resell once you lose those bothersome extra pounds that hound you like your ex’s over-paid attorney?  Don’t know which race is beginner friendly...Yahoo baby!  www. is your best friend right now. 

  1. Your local triathlon club has almost all the answers you need.  Don’t forget, everyone that is in this club was a “Tri Virgin” at one point as well.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to your local club for answers.  Even better, pay the $60 annual membership fee and be ready to embrace a whole new circle of friends and experiences.  Participating in triathlon is just that, taking part.  When you do, you open your world to an entire new circle of friends who enjoy the same activities as you do.  Be prepared to meet some really cool people.  So what!...they get off on riding hundreds of miles on bikes that cost more than most cars do!  Everyone has their issues, but these folks will be some of the best friends you can find in your lifetime.  Look past the dedication and intensity and you will see the camaraderie that will last decades. 

  2. Visit your local multi-sport store.  The employees here will be able to steer you away from Doritos and towards products that will actually fuel your training needs.  They too were beginners at one point, so let down your walls and let these friendly folks introduce you to the tools you will need to make that 70.3 in Cabo much easier!  Get ready for a lot of info and don’t hesitate to go back multiple times with more questions.  Whether it’s about your goggles fogging up in the pool or your brakes acting a little temperamental on the your downhills, these well-trained tri specialists will assist you and get you back into the pool or on the road faster than anyone! 

All in all, the sport of Triathlon is meant to be fun and grueling.  I won’t sugar coat the grueling part.  After all, you are the one that knew what you were signing up for when you traded your Pringles for a pair of Newton’s and a Tyr Cap!  But the process can be more rewarding than you ever thought once you get into the groove of the “inner Tri circle.”  Once you make that first call to your nearest bike store or look up the closest open swim hours at your community center, you won’t go back.  And the good news is there are many amazing people along the way you will meet that want to help you.  Just be ready to meet some really cool people who talk in the metric system, weird web addresses and foreign apparel lines.  That’s ok, we are all from somewhere so get ready for a global experience.  And honestly, if you don’t lose those thirty pounds, who says you are “too big for your frame?!?!”  Isn’t life and triathlon really a matter of experience.  Happy training and enjoy! 

 



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Oct 17
2012

My Opinion On Kona From Afar

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I have yet to do a triathlon. I have run some marathons and won a few US national titles. But that my friend, is a far cry from what just took place Saturday on the big island of Hawaii. I would need to throw a 2.4 mile swim and a 112 mile bike ride in front of that marathon. Yeah, I don’t think my neon green pool noodle would be allowed in the warm waters at Kailua Pier for the start of the swim. My pink beach cruiser would definitely not fare so well along the sweltering roads of the Kona Coast. I think I got the run thing down, but the Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway deserves much more respect than any of the roads in New York, London or Chicago.

Ok, you didn’t ask for it, but here it is anyway...my unprofessional opinion of the Ironman World Championships from afar. I’ve narrowed my picks down to three-three reasons why this is the baddest ass race on the planet.

1.)  Any competition that kicks off race weekend with the annual “under pants run” is a race that has it going on. The “run” started in 1997 with just three people daring to bare it all down to their tightie whities. The idea for the fun run started because locals were in shock when they saw these ultra-fit athletes take the small town of Kona by storm weeks before the race. These super athletes would live, train and eat in their super speedos and the people of Kona were more than happy to hang ten in their long board shorts, trying to figure out why the garment of choice was smaller than the size of a pineapple. I say go for it. Strip down to your best undies, whether it’s Hanes, Fruit of the Loom or some sexy version of something Victoria’s Secret, strut your stuff and shake what your mama gave ya. After all, you aren’t going to want to do any shaking of anything once you finish the extreme endurance challenge the big island is ready to dish out.

2.)  Any race whose inception began with just 15 people and the directions for the race printed on three sheets of paper with the final sheet reading, “Swim 2.4 miles! Bike 112 miles! Run 26.2 miles! Brag for the rest of your life!” is definitely something worth being a part of. I mean, seriously think about the Ironman pioneers back on February 18th, 1978. They had no idea that 24 years later, the race would grow to 1,800 athletes who would spend hours upon hours training and hoping to qualify for the event. I mean if I were one of those 15 people and got those instructions I would’ve been “Ummmm, excuse me but along what portion of the race do they serve peel and eat shrimp and where is my fruity cocktail with the little umbrella? I thought I came to Hawaii for vacation.” The triathlon trailblazers get high-fives from me for being some of the baddest ass daring endurance demigods known to man. For real, they were climbing the hills of Kona on Schwinn ten-speeds! You rock guys!

3.)  Any endurance event where the race get-up per competitor gets into ten digits is really bad to the bone. Ok so we have already confirmed that my pink beach cruiser is better suited for the San Diego boardwalk on a sunny Sunday afternoon as my transportation home after a few mimosas than the lava fields of Kona. I love my single gear buddy but you gotta take a look at what these athletes in Hawaii are riding. Seriously one of these Cervelo P5’s...I think it cost more than my 2009 Jetta (and I even got the upgraded rims and cold weather package)! And that’s just the bike! There are wheels and saddles and GPS units and running shoes and compression shorts. Even the special shoe laces that will set you back $6.95 per pair. Does State Farm sell insurance for all this! So the fact that any triathlete walking the streets of Kona during the second weekend of October is sporting the A-list gear to get the job done, makes the Ironman World Championships the baddest ass endurance event on the planet in my mind.

So that’s my opinion from afar on Kona. I haven’t been there, haven’t done it. And I hope to hell I don’t lose a bet that makes me change that previous sentence. What these athletes do is truly amazing and I think I’d be much better suited sipping my fruity little cocktail with the umbrella in it and cheering on the toughest athletes on the planet as they come down Ali’i Drive. Fruity little cocktails are bad ass aren’t they?



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May 09
2012

The Run Leg

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You all know the feeling...five miles left of the run portion of your 70.3. Your legs are still screaming from the bike leg. You can’t seem to get to the next aid station fast enough so you can down some electrolytes and attempt to restart your engine. All you can really think about is how are you going to possibly get through the miles ahead. Suddenly the beer garden is a distant, very distant, fantasy. So, when the run is at its toughest, how can you make the best of it so you can achieve your triathlon goal? How can you get to the finish so you will actually want to do another race? What tools can you add to your arsenal so that your run becomes your shining glory? Go ahead, grab your water bottle, take a few hits of hydration and get ready for some ideas you probably never thought of before.

Tip 1-Drink early and often. Ok I know you are already adept at doing this post-race with a few of your favorite friends named Stella, Heineken and Bud. But when it comes to race day the key to making the last leg of the triathlon a success is to keep the muscles hydrated throughout the entire race. This means as soon as you clip your shoes into the pedals, you reach for your water bottle and intake 4-6 oz of electrolytes. Even if you are doing “just a sprint triathlon,” your carburetor needs to be cooled down.

Tip 2-Consider a lactic acid buffer. You know the feeling well. The inevitable burning, cramping and sensation that you are carrying more than any SUV zipping down Interstate 5 could ever handle. Yes, your friend and mine, lactic acid, loves to make that cameo appearance on your stage. And usually it is right at the time where you think the beer garden is actually a feasible part of the rest of your day. And there goes that thought as your only focus now is on the intense throbbing that your stubborn friend delivers with such sarcasm. I have good news though. Don’t dismiss the thoughts of an ice cold one just yet. There are some great lactic acid buffers on the market now and the best one out there is something called Beta-Alanine. It helps the body cope with the lactic acid load so that you can actually walk past the medical tent and straight to the Corona tent. So where can you get it? One of the best products that contains it right now is something I just don’t train without. It is called Tri-Phase Pre-Workout Endurance Formula by Vitalyte Sports Nutrition. Consume it 30 minutes prior to a workout or during the last 15 minutes of your ride before you transition and you will sincerely feel so much better during the run-less fatigue, less burning and much more endurance. Give it shot and let me know what you think!

Tip 3- Don’t forget the foreplay. For mature audiences only so here goes. Yes, it does count what happens before the big...run. In fact, it matters what happens before the bike, the swim, the day before the race and the week before the race. The run is just the culmination of your training, racing, pacing, sleeping, stressing, resting and eating. Read those again. All the “ing” things matter a whole lot.

First training. You must must must train for the run. You may think “oh I put in so much cardio between my swim and my bike that I don’t need to put in as many miles.” Ummm, wrong. Big wrong. Running is impact. That’s the big difference. You need to teach your body how to handle that impact. By adding one long run a week (or increasing the distance of that long run if you are already doing one) you will greatly increase your ability to race a stronger run leg.

Second, racing. Take a look at your race schedule. Are your racing too much? Too little? Both under-racing and over-racing can have a negative impact on your run leg.

Pacing. So very important. Are you going out too hard on the bike and coming into the transition already spent? Are you not pushing it hard enough on the bike so you feel extra pressure in your run to make up for a weaker previous leg? Take a look at all the factors that play into your run pacing.

Sleeping. Oh yes we know it is vital. But did you know that over-sleeping can be a sign of imbalance? Look for changes in your sleeping pattern. Sometimes over-sleeping can be a sign of over-training or over-racing or of being stressed by other factors in your life.

Ugghhh, stressing. It’s everywhere. Bosses, deadlines, mother-in-laws, long lines at In-N-Out when your blood sugar is about to plummet. Un-frickin-avoidable! Good news...it’s actually how you respond to the stress that is the vital element in the stress response. So you can control that part. It’s life. Unavoidables happen. Be happy for the things you have. The old “look for the silver lining” definitely applies here. We were designed to cope. So find a healthy way to cope and a healthy way to appraise the situation and then re-evaluate.

Resting...there’s a big difference between sleep and rest. Rest are those periods of down-time where you put on your iPod and it’s just you and some smooth jazz. It’s those blocks of time in your training where you set aside time where there are no races and your training is light or even non-existent for a period. The body must regenerate and it does it only through rest. So try to include some mini-breaks during your day. Give yourself some time at night to unwind before bed. And for God’s sake please take some time off during the season!

Eating. We love it! And as athlete’s we all know it is the gateway to PR’s or the key to crashing if it’s not applied the right way. The best nutritional guidelines to follow are pretty easy. Eat to train. Don’t train to eat. Protein needs to be plentiful and low-fat. Greens, greens, greens galore and please try to buy organic as much as possible. It’s better for you and for the environment. And those carbs...low-glycemic and rationed out equally during the day for sustained energy.

Try these tips for a while and see how your run leg goes at your next tri. I bet you will enjoy it a lot more than before and it will make your third transition much more fun!



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Feb 24
2012

Welcome Spring!

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You open your pantry door and the contents resemble aisles 18 and 19 of your local Vons Market.  You know those aisles.  The aisles of temptation.  The ones that house chips of all varieties: Doritos, both ranch and original, Sour Cream Pringles, Wavy Lays, and of course your old go-to, Cheetos.  The aisles that have helped you ride the waves of bad breakups with boyfriends, your father’s third marriage and multiple class reunions.  The aisles that always offer consistency even when everything else seems like an endless tornado of chaos.  You know exactly that the Double-Stuf Oreo’s are always fully stocked and sit reliably next to the Chips Ahoy.  Why couldn’t your date on Thursday night be this trustworthy right?  Seriously, Nilla Wafers are never an hour late and you don’t have to pick up the tab for them because their debit card was declined.  So as we bid adieu to winter and welcome in the sun of spring, I want to offer you some straight-up nutrition advice and talk about creating some realistic expectations for the new season.  I’m not going to insist you go on a radical juice cleanse for 35 days and will lose a pound per day.  I’m just going to help you look past the chaos and get a little clarity on what is part of healthy, balanced lifestyle.  Who knows, in the process you might just learn to skip past aisles 18 and 19, decline the call from Mr. Unreliable and welcome in a new thought process that affords your best interest.  Because after all, you do deserve better.       

The biggest mistake that most women make when setting goals for the new year is that they set unrealistic expectations for themselves.  Hence, when the goal isn’t reached and disappointment sets in, they revert back to their old habits and tend to stay there longer than before without trying to set new goals.  They forget to readjust.  Why we women tend to set unrealistic goals for ourselves is, in my opinion, part of our modern-world feminine syndrome.  Women by nature are care takers and want to make everything right for everyone which tends to drive us to overdo.  We over-book, over-schedule, over-promise and over-commit to a fault.  Sure I can be the perfect wife, mother, soccer mom, employee and/or boss and oh by the way I will have a phenomenal roast done for dinner that will put Martha Stewart’s culinary talents to shame.  All while volunteering to bring snacks for the Girl Scout outing on Saturday just right after I drive the entire junior varsity water polo team to their weekend tournament and I write the budget report due at work.  I’m such a great mom.  I’m exhausted and think I have my right contact in my left eye because I was in such a hurry this morning but who cares, I am getting it all done right?  Plus, to further the syndrome, women in our modern, fast paced society now have the social capacity to run billion dollar companies and hold equal status to men in business.  So, the modern woman paradigm really encompasses all facets of life from motherhood, to bread winner, to care taker, to confidant.  The woman’s perceived role has jumped from 45mph to 125mph over the past two decades.  So how can a modern woman who has so many responsibilities still take care of herself, her diet, her nutrition and her personal exercise goals?

The first thing to remember is to prioritize.  That means prioritize yourself and your health.  Once you put yourself as a priority you will be making less trips to the store for granola bars and oranges to bring to the Saturday game and more trips to the gym.  Also, once your health is a priority your waltz’s down the aisles of temptation won’t seem like the escape they used to be.  Instead you will take more joy in spending more time on the perimeter of the store picking up lean protein and organic produce.  The less stressed you are the less likely you will be to rely on the old standby’s of sugar and carbohydrate-rich sweets.  So a pretty simple goal, prioritize yourself and your health.

The second key to building a healthy you is to simplify.  Let’s face it, we live in a fast-paced world that can seem pretty complicated with all the downloads to do, software updates to get done and instant messaging to keep up with.  But when it comes to nutrition, keeping it simple still works best.  Build the core of your diet around whole, nutrient-dense foods.  This includes whole grains such as brown rice, millet and quinoa, and fresh fruits and veggies in their natural state and lean protein.  The less packaging the better and the fresher the better.  If you can get your produce from a local farmers market you are guaranteed that the time it took to get that food from farm to your table is a lot less than it took to fly it from South America, get it through customs, truck it down from Los Angeles and deliver it to your chain supermarket.  Hence, you will be getting a greater nutritional yield from what you are eating.  As you are simplifying your diet and keeping it low in fat, low in sugar and moderate in carbohydrates, don’t forget to simplify your life in general.  The appointments that you “have to” make...well take a second look at them and see how important they really are.  Take inventory of the things that are really creating the biggest stress in your life.  Is it financial, is it a relationship, or is it lack of time for yourself?  Try to come up with a realistic plan on how to resolve the situation.  Sometimes we avoid confronting a stressful aspect of our life because we are able to “deal with it” via coping methods we have put in place.  But staying stuck in a destructive pattern is also stressful.  So by dealing with it head on and staying steady in dealing with it a little bit at a time will eventually bring you to a better and healthy place that is free from dysfunction.

Lastly, re-committing to the realistic goals and priorities you have made for yourself will ensure that you reach your desired outcome.  Frustration only happens when a goal is thwarted, so by setting goals that are within your reach, simplifying your approach to achieving them and then re-committing to your desire, you will avoid the stress, frustration and disappointment that comes when you push for too much too fast.  Forget about rivaling Martha Stewart and hang up your angel wings for the winter.  You will lose that twenty pounds for good if you do it steadily and still allow for the occasional cha cha through the Twinkie zone.  Just as long as it is occasional and you don’t over-extend your stay, you will be on the way to your ideal self in no time.  And believe me, next time you open up your pantry door and see that Chester Cheetah and Fred Flintstone have been replaced by brown rice bags and boxes of Kashi you are going to be much happier because you can fit into that sexy plum purple dress that you are planning to wear out on Friday with the fun, sexy and reliable guy you met while perusing through the Fuji apples at Whole Foods.  Best wishes in creating those realistic expectations, and look for my next blog about increasing endurance during your training and decreasing fatigue.

 



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Sep 03
2011

Train Your Brain!

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It’s the end of your long run, you are cranky because you are hungry and if your lips smack on one more gel you might just permanently go on strike from this distance stuff. Not to mention your muscles feel like they have just each personally been introduced to a Japanese Sumo wrestler (and not in a nice way). Plus if you have to listen to your training partner talk about his mother-in-law’s gallbladder surgery one more time you might just sprint straight into the bay that borders the bike path you are running on and make a quick get away before he get’s to the part about the “stones.”

You have officially “Had It!” You can not take any MORE. You are having a long-distance running “Falling Down” and just like Michael Douglas jumped out of his heat packed car in the middle of a traffic jam, you kick off your shoes and lay down right in the middle of the crowded path until you are heard! You run marathons because you like the challenge and you love the fitness that comes along with the training. You have to admit at first you actually enjoyed the training but now you are done! Finito! Cooked! Finished! Terminado! Race day can’t come fast enough because you are sick and tired of putting in all these long runs and miles and you can’t take any more. So what the heck are you supposed to do at this point? You are a month away from the race and you don’t want to cave in but seriously at this point a cyclist is about to blow a tire trying to swerve around your tired, fatigued and over-worked body that is sprawled out on the concrete.

We know your body is tired but did YOU know that it is actually your brain that is tired! Yep you heard me your brain! See your brain has to relay and process thousands of nervous responses each day and did you know that your brain uses one fifth of all the energy you consume from food? So the more you think or the more you focus when you are training the more energy your brain needs. We all know that when we train our working muscles require a lot of fuel and blood flow and because our brains are stored in a tight skeletal area there isn’t a lot of blood flow to begin with so when we exert ourselves physically we actually become tired because our brain is not getting as much blood flow. Plus, the brain can’t store a lot of energy so now you are focusing intensely during a hard race or workout and your working muscles are taking up a lot of the available blood flow. No wonder you have a brain falling down. You feel wiped out and bored because literally you aren’t getting the blood flow and energy your working brain needs.

So what can we do to help y’all with this and prevent another tantrum in front of the entire cycling and running community and prevent you from making that long swim in your running shoes just to escape the horrific “gallbladder” story so eloquently told by your former training buddy? First, eat to fuel your brain. Yep this means lots of good brain food. No you don’t have to down raw oysters or travel to the Himalayas to personally gather a brain boosting root that only grows at 20,000 feet. Nah modern dietary science has made it much easier. Just jump in your Prius and drive to the nearest Whole Foods or health food store and get yourself some DHA. Docosahexaenoic Acid is an Omega 3 fatty acid and is a major component of brain phospholipids. In other words, it makes up the majority of the fat in your brain. The stuff that helps conduct neural impulses and cushions your cells. Basically the material that helps you transmit all your responses faster! It’s like insulation for your telephone wires-without it your wires wouldn’t conduct the signals through the lines!

Amino acids-Yep the brain loves these building blocks of protein. Readily absorbable sources include cottage cheese, whey protein, low-fat cheese and turkey! Did you know that most of your neurotransmitters (those lovely little chemicals in our brains responsible for mood and focus and motivation) are made from amino acids! So gobble down your protein people and eat your way to happiness-literally! After all you will be in a much better mood and able to handle maybe one more “mother-in-law” story from your training partner!

Lastly, but certainly not least, good old happiness can certainly boost your brain chemistry! DId you know that laughter has the ability to increase oxygenation at a cellular and organ level! Yep a good old belly laugh can bring better circulation and stimulate the production of serotonin (a brain neurotransmitter that helps to elevate mood)! So next time instead of rolling your eyes and looking for the nearest body of water when you training partner starts in on one of his “famous” stories, just laugh instead and you will be increasing you oxygenation, working your abdominal muscles and elevating your mood. By the end of the run you will be feeling much better and less frustrated and even leave with more toned abs! How can you beat that?

So in all, train your brain for success and you will be on your way to a much better relationship with your running self. You will be happier, run longer and definitely enjoy the journey a lot more. So get out there, laugh and for God’s sake put an end to those embarrassing tantrums. You know no one likes a cry baby!



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Jun 09
2011

Youʼre Committed

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I’m standing in a Triathlon store with what seems like twenty brands of bike frames staring at me and vying for my undivided attention.  Not just staring but glaring at me...you know the glare.  The kind your girlfriend gives you if you even look at another girl who walks by.  The “Oh no you don’t” piercing blow that let’s you know you will be sleeping in the “other room” (a.k.a. the couch).  I’m feeling slightly uncomfortable at this point never mind the headache which is a result of the over-whelming choices that are coming at me from every wall.  Bike helmets, fuel belts, bike shoes, wetsuits, running shoes, laces, gel packs....agghhhhh make it stop.  Ok Milena take a deep breath and gather yourself.

I step outside for some clarity.  I wish I was in France then it would be acceptable to have a glass of wine in the middle of the day or better yet I wish I was in the land of my heritage, Montenegro, because then it would be acceptable to have a shot of plum brandy in the middle of the day and God knows I need it after the mental over-load I just experienced.  I mean really, how can I make a freakin decision.  No, no what I really need to do is put on my big girl pants, suck it up, walk back inside with chin up and chi chi’s out, get some straight answers and make a committed decision.

I need to use my intelligent interrogating abilities and question the sales guy until he needs a shot of plum brandy too.  And when I mean question I mean I want precise answers.  No maybe’s or sort of’s or that indecisive lingo that only really means “You will be returning this in the next 30 days because you will be so unhappy with the product but I hope you hold onto it for 31 days because that means I get to keep my commission .”  No way pal, I’m keepin this conversation real and just the facts and if you can’t give them to me I will find someone who can or read every triathlon magazine I can get me hands on until I get it right.

Yep only taken me 35 years and a few “boyfriends” that “really really loved me” but didn’t want to “rush into anything” to learn the difference between commitment and the promise ring that really only means “I want to put my mark on you so no one else can have you while I go have fun.”  I’m not falling for that two year mistake again.  Give me some true information on your products so I can make a committed decision and get the heck out of here.

I have been committed to my training for over twenty years but I am just beginning to appreciate the true sacrifices I have made.  You know the ones I am talking about...not going to your niece’s graduation because you can’t afford to be stiff from a three hour car ride and even think about racing the next morning and then you were known as “the only one” in the family that wasn’t there.  Or perhaps when you decided to spend your vacation money on an Ironman entry instead of flying to Cabo with the guys.  They never let you forget the girls you missed out on.

Well I have two things to say to all the finger pointers and guilt makers who are possibly making you question your commitment to “The Tri.” 1) Who has the beer belly in the pool pictures from the “Guys Cabo Trip.” and 2) Who’s tattoo doesn’t have stretch marks in it. 

Point made!

So I leave the tri store empty handed.  Couldn’t get the straight answers I needed but I know my commitment to my fitness and my spirit will not compromise so I head home, open a great bottle of red, sit on my front porch with laptop fired up.  www.finishline-multisport.com.  I start reading and get the straight talk I’ve been looking for.

Be committed to yourself!  (And yes this does mean I am going to do a Tri in the future.)



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Apr 03
2011

Sport is to Play!

Posted by Milena Glusac in Untagged 



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After two decades of running experience and thirty plus years of sports experience I have finally (yes finally!) realized how "training" and my life have this intricate relationship that requires each other for survival. I contemplated what I wanted to write my first article about for Finish Line Multi-Sport...sure it could have been about how tempo runs are the cornerstone workout for any 10k training program or how ice baths and all other sorts of "recovery" regimes can mitigate post-workout fatigue or even give you a step by step "warm-up" protocol you must and I mean must incorporate into your training plan...but really I mean seriously, you can use one of the bigillion search engines out there to pool together hundreds of articles for you to peruse during your "free" time-you know that space that is allotted just for you to do anything your heart desires, but only right after you stand in line at Trader Joes with containers of chocolate covered raisins and bags of frozen saffron rice that you just might need you know "in case", cleverly contemplate how you are going to avoid calling back the guy who helped you change your flat road-bike tire during your Sunday ride and now wants to meet for coffee to "catch up," or plan your day for your upcoming cousin's birthday-you know the "itinerary" which includes what time to arrive so you don't look rude for coming too late and be talked about behind your back and not too early so you are the one that winds up helping Uncle Eddie with the bar-b-que and you come home smelling like a smoked side of beef and you have to douse yourself in a bath of tomato juice just to get the oak charred scent of New York strip out of your pores.

But alas I am setting you free to read any one of those articles your Sherlock Holmes alter ego desires and I am going to make this one easy for you. It may not even have been anything you thought about being an important part of you training but give it a chance. It might seem a bit opposite to everything you have been told but it works and if it doesn't, well feel free to email me and we can discuss it over a vodka and cranberry.

So how do training and life interact? The two are like a couple that scream and fight at each other then make up and are inseparable only until one gets irritated about some ridiculous petty office drama and takes it out on the other when they get home. The fight ensues-round 57 week 82-it's resolved after some pouting and silent treatment and a few martinis later. All is happy in the home until someone forgets to empty the recycling from under the sink and there is a conga line of ants from here to Katmandu and they are all engaged in celebratory dance fueled by the sugar they just ingested from the empty Coke bottle. Round 58 week 83.

My point (yes there is one) is that no matter how hard we try to create a utopian training environment it AINT gonna happen. Life happens. There is stress. There is tension. Oh believe me I tried to make a "Brave New World" of training. You might have heard some of these phrases or even quoted them yourself. "Nothing is going to interfere with my training." "You have to be dedicated to your own goals." Or one of my personal favorites, "My training comes first." Admit it you have read the inspirational books, underlined and highlighted and sent more pens to the mortuary than Bugsy Siegel sent gang members to the morgue. You are Office Depots favorite customer!

Put down the BIC and listen. Your best training happens. It is not planned it is not forced, pushed, calculated, calibrated, contemplated, charted, plotted, logged or mapped. It dances with your life and follows the same ebb and flow that the tides do. The moon dictates this ebb and flow. Your lifestyle is your moon. Lifestyle encompasses everything you are involved in from your kids soccer team to your work to your partners work. Life is not escapable but your "training" can be your "escape." Let it be. Don't put parameters or quotas on it. If you can't make it to your Thursday night swim because your child had parent/teacher night at school, don't stress yourself over it. Swim at your lunch hour instead. Your swimming, biking and running are meant to be enjoyable experiences. You get to meet great people and learn a lot about yourself in the process. After all, it is during those long Sunday runs where you exchange stories and laugh...you know the one about the guy who got accidentally locked in the Porta-Potty. You form bonds with your fellow training partners and the Tuesday night track workout almost becomes a support session. Maybe you learned how to cope with a difficult situation because someone in the group had been through the same thing.

Training and life are both a process. There are going to be some difficult patches and some amazing moments. Don't make it harder on yourself by missing the point of sport. Sport is to play. And don't miss the amazing moments because you were to busy "trying to get the best out of yourself." Sport is to play. And definitely don't be so consumed by your training that you miss out on the opportunity to play with you child, your dog or jump up and down on the bed and build a blanket fort with your partner. Life is to play.

 

 



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