September 10, 2014

Tips from Coach Terra Castro!

Tips from Coach Terra Castro
As I mentioned several times before, I had the best coach throughout my training process. Terra Castro offered me tons of great advice to help me get back into my fitness game. I picked Terra's brain to get some health and fitness tips I thought might help my readers.

Gluten Free Betsy: What advice do you have for someone who is just getting back into fitness, has a lot of weight to lose, or has trouble with joint pain, etc.?

Terra Castro: Set a realistic GOAL; define what motivates and inspires you. POST THAT GOAL and make an inspiration board that has key words, cool pictures, etc. that you can put somewhere you will see daily to remind you of what you are working for.  BREAK THE GOAL INTO SMALL PIECES - FOCUS ON PROCESS not end result and you will get there. Tackle one day at a time.

GFB:  I know we chatted about this in my sessions, but what foods do you recommend for pre and post workout fuel? (gluten free, of course)  

TC: An hour before a workout I love peanut butter on a gluten free bagel. I'll have Clif Shot BLOKS if it's right before a workout. Post workout, a LUNA protein bar or smoothie with protein in it.

GFB:  What tips or advice to you have for staying active in the fall/winter when all we want to do is stay in and hit up our Netflix queue?

TC: Join a gym with fun classes, group up with friends and hit up a Zumba class or spin class.  Get out of your comfort zone and have fun!  It will help erase the weary snow blues.

GFB:  You told me you don't do gluten, dairy, and a bunch of other allergens, do you want to share your story?  

TC: I found out I was allergic to gluten, dairy, eggs, etc. when I was away at ITU Triathlon World Championship 2000 in Perth Australia. I was getting really sick on that trip from the hotel food and had a poor race. Something wasn't right in my gut.  I went to get blood work and the doctor found my allergies. Six weeks after eliminating those foods, I was back to feeling rested, strong and focused. The allergens affect my fatigue levels and cause extreme bloating and weight gain.  My immune system had to rebuild, but I am grateful to have found out early in my career what was going on. It is common in endurance racing due to the stress we put on our gut/body.

GFB:  What are some good ways to stay motivated?  

TC: GOALS!  Have accountability partners or hire a coach to help you lay out a plan. Sign up for a race so it gets you out the door to run when you don't feel up to it.

GFB:  What fitness tools are essential in your life? (This could be anything from a website, heart rate monitor, shoe, app, etc.)  

TC: I use to coach my athletes or Google docs, my Garmin Forerunner 220 in purple for my training, Saucony Kinvara 5 and Saucony A6.

Such great advice, eh? The advantage of setting a fitness goal is that is seriously works. If I didn't commit to the race she helped me train for, I wouldn't have done the work that got me in slightly better shape. I still have a long way to go, so it looks like I need to set another goal. To keep these legs runnin', I decided to get totally Chicago and sign up for the 2014 Ditka Dash. Let's do this!

Have a question for Terra that I didn't ask? Hit her up on Twitter @terracastro 

Have you set a fall fitness goal? Share it below and let's motivate each other!

September 2, 2014

Magnificent Mile Chicago 5K is DONE! Let's Have a LUNA Bar to Celebrate!

We did it! Me and Tahnee after the race.

Well everyone, I did it. I ran a 5K this past weekend. During the few hours of the event I probably felt every single emotion ever.  I never really felt that runner's high everyone raves about, but I definitely felt a lot of things. I felt nervous, excited, happy, determined, tired, inspired, defeated, empowered, blessed, sore, and grateful. Phew, right?

I was nervous that I would do horribly. That I wouldn't be able to complete the race. That I would let myself, my coach, and Team LUNA Chix down. Luckily that didn't happen.

I was happy, because I was in beautiful downtown Chicago running along the Mag Mile. It couldn't have been a prettier day and the skyline was breath-taking, as always.

I was determined to finish. I didn't care if it took me forever or if I was dead last - I just wanted to finish.

Like that capless Jawbone UP?
Am I the only one who loses the caps constantly?

Tired...oh so tired. I woke up at 4am to get ready and catch a ride downtown. Normally I'm dead to the world at that hour.

I was inspired by all of the ladies who came out to run. Women of all ages, body types, and speed were representing. Knowing I was not the only one who wasn't a track star eased my nerves. Don't even get me stared on the marathon runners...those women are amazing!

About halfway through the race, my lungs were on fire. My legs felt fine, but the humidity was soaring and it was hard for me to get catch my breath. I slowed down and walked a bit. I felt defeated, because I really wanted to run the entire course. I didn't worry about it too much and I walked/ran the last 1.25 miles of the race.

I'm a music lover and I need my jams to get my through my workouts. I made an insanely awesome (and super long) playlist for the race and threw it on shuffle. When one of my favorite songs came on, I felt incredibly empowered. If I was in my walk/run part of the race, I definitely picked up the pace and started running again. This jam always gets me going...

As much as I just wanted to reach the finish line, I felt incredibly blessed to be doing what I was doing right at that very minute. Blessed that I am healthy enough to be a part of that race and that my body can run. Hooray, legs!

Free stretching?! YES, PLEASE!!
All of these people were awesome! THANK YOU!

Sore...after the race my legs and feet were definitely sore. Thankfully, the wonderful physical therapists from Accelerated Physical Therapy were there to stretch our legs.  And it was glorious.

I couldn't be more grateful for all of the support I've received from so many people. My family, my friends, my coach, and all of the wonderful ladies at LUNA who made this all possible for me. I would have never had the courage or motivation to sign up for anything involved with running if it weren't for them.

When picking up my race packet I met Ashley from LUNA who was so sweet!
(my hair though...yikes!)

Probably one of the best parts of the race was when my friend, Tahnee, came back for me after she finished. She ran me through the final quarter of a mile and as tired and feeling like I was going to die, she encouraged me the entire way and wouldn't let me give up or slow down. I'm so grateful to have done this race with her and her mom! There is a beautiful picture of her running with me, but I cannot justify spending $25 on one photo and can't post it here due to copyright reasons, but here it is if you care to see how fabulous T was to help me finish. Bless her heart.

Not only did I finish, but I didn't finish last! :)

If you haven't heard, LUNA recently released two new protein bar flavors, Chocolate Coconut Almond and Lemon Vanilla. LUNA protein bars are gluten free, contain 12 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, are high in calcium and folic acid, and provide a good source of iron and vitamin D.

They are great for post-workout fuel or a snack between meals. They've been my saving grace after my training sessions and I honestly can't chose which flavor I prefer since they are both so good!