Archive for January, 2012

What do you eat before you run?

What do you eat after you run?

Do you have a tried and true method for race day eating success or do you just wing it?

What I love about my dietetic program is that I’m learning the science of food.  Now eating isn’t so much guess work, but the result of a scientific equation to provide my body the energy it needs in different circumstances.
I wasn’t always this sure in my food choices.  When training for my first marathon in 2008 I gained 8 pounds.  I also ate peanut butter M & M’s and Gatorade for a pre-race meal.  Good stuff! 🙂

Yeah- I was a little bigger in 08. That’s the difference high intensity weight training and good nutrition makes! And avoiding bags of peanut M&M’s! And yes that really was my race number.

Here’s the science and the generally accepted pre/post workout food recommendations. Just in case you’re a nerd like me and wanted to know!

– Carbohydrates

  • They’re good. Mr. Atkins kinda cast them in a bad light, but in terms of performance they are your bestest friend!  
  • Your body uses carbs for energy during prolonged exercise and carbs require less oxygen to burn than protein or fat.  Less oxygen to burn = more oxygen to breathe! 

– Pre-exercise

  • A high carb meal pre-exercise will maintain blood glucose and maximize glycogen stores in your muscles.
  • The meal should be moderate in protein, low in fat, and low in fiber. Why? Well the fiber one should be easy to figure out (hello port-a-potty)…for the fat…fat  takes longer to digest.  If you’re digesting fat, your body can’t commit all it’s resources/energy to helping you run better.
  • The amount (in grams) of carbs you should eat depends on how far out you are from the start of your event.  I like to use the hour rule:
    • If you event is in 1 hour: 1 gram of carbs per kilogram of body weight.  To determine your weight in kg divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 For me that’s 130/2.2 = 59.1kg. So that’s 59.1g or carbs or 236 calories from carbs. 1.25 cups of cereal has about 27g and a banana has 19g. Add a swig of Gatorade and I should be good to go!
    • If your event is in 2 hours: 2g of carbs per kg
    • If your event is in 3 hours: 3g of carbs per kg
    • If you event is in 4 hours: 4g of carbs per kg
  • Test your pre-run meal.  Everyone’s stomach is different so find what works for you.
Kyle’s pre race meal

– During the race

  • If your event is over an hour your body will need not only water but food to fuel you!  
  • A good rule of thumb is 30-60g of carbohydrates during exercise.  This can easily come from sports drinks, chews, or gu’s.
  • Be aware that fruit alone might not be your best mid-race choice.  Fructose (the sugar in fruit) isn’t as quickly absorbed.
– Post- race
  • You did it!  Now eat!  If it’s a race you finished I’m sure you’re off to celebrate with a “cheat” meal…I know I do! 
    • If it’s a training run, however you might want to me more strict with your post race meal.  Post run/workout meals are vital, because that’s what helps refuel and repair your muscles for your next workout.
  • 30-45 minutes is the window in which you need to eat!
  • Aim to repair with 0.5g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight.  For me that’s about 30g of carbs.  A little more then a banana.
  • Protein is also key here to muscle recovery so aim for 10-20g after endurance training.
  • It’s often said to recover in a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein and chocolate milk is a great example of a perfect post workout food.
Would we call that a good post race food? It has carbs!

– Fatigue

  • If you’re feeling exhausted during training/races here are some nutrition related causes of fatigue to look into:  insufficient calories, insufficient carbs, iron-deficiency, or dehydration.
For my race on Sunday I had my traditional race breakfast of a whole wheat bagel with 1T of peanut butter, coffee, and a banana.  I could also have had 1 cup of Kashi + 1/2 cup of chex + raisins. Both set well with my stomach. I’ll also have some honey and a sports drink 30 minutes before the event.

Once you’re fueled then it’s all on your and your training to have a great race!

What’s your favorite pre-race meal?

Kyle’s typical post race cheat meal

Love and glucose, 
Carissa & Kyle


Clearwater Half Marathon

Posted: January 22, 2012 in races

Ah where to start.  After finishing the Clearwater Half Marathon, my 5th half marathon, I felt so many emotions. Pride, for one, for pushing through the physically hardest race I’ve ever done.  On the other hand I felt disappointment and embarrassment about how slow my race was.

Slowest half = my hardest half.

I originally wanted to call this post, “How to NOT PR a race“. Here’s why…
How to not PR a race: 
1. Pick a race labeled the “toughest half marathon in Florida”. 4 long, high bridge climbs.

2. Sprain your ankle 24 days before the race.
3. Spend 3 days on crutches and only manage only a 2,3, and 5 mile run before your half.
4. Run your first 4 miles faster than you’ve trained.

Add those 4 things together and at mile 5 things get ugly.  Chills, goosebumps, inability to feel hands….and a burning desire to quit set in.
But let’s start at the beginning…

I set out to PR this race.  I plotted out a training plan that included long runs, tempo runs, and repeat 800’s.  I had high hopes.  My ankle injury derailed me, however I still had hope for a good run.

On race day, Kyle’s sister, Kelsey, and I woke up at 515am.  We wanted plenty of time to eat, use the bathroom, and warm up before the 705 start.

Am I an elite runner or a jet plane?

I had a whole wheat bagel with PB, coffee, and a banana for breakfast.  I had 2 power bar pre-workout bites and some honey.
I felt like I had to go to the bathroom right before the race, so I got in line….a very long line.  I didn’t want to have to go on the course so I waited…for 20 minutes!! That’s crazy!
I made it to the start with 1 minute to go and was off!

Miles 1-4 felt great.  I had good speed and my ankle wasn’t bothering me.  I kept speed up the first bridge and made time going down.

Mile 1- 8:54
Mile 2- 8:20
Mile 3- 8:52
Mile 4- 10:13
I knew that I was going too fast.  I kept trying to “slow down” but I’d find myself at 8:45 pace again.  I needed to maintain 9:09 to reach my goal. I know the dangers of going out too fast, but I did it anyway. And I paid for it.
I came to the second bridge climb and gave myself a walk break going up it then I ran the way down.
I slowed to get Gatorade at an aid station around 4.5 and when I tried to run again I instantly felt awful. I couldn’t breath, I had chills, and I honestly couldn’t feel my hands.  It was so weird.  It felt like they were asleep.
Mile 5- 10:03
Mile 6- 11:10
I let myself walk for a minute or so to try and recover.  I started running again and I was “gassed”. I agreed with myself that I would run at a slower pace and allow myself a walk break every 1/2 mile. 
It didn’t help.  By mile 6 I felt horrible. I was exhausted and not even halfway done.  I seriously thought about quitting. I didn’t know how I could go farther then I had already run feeling this bad.  I could blame it on my ankle or on my lack of training….I could quit.
Mile 7 – 10:52

Yeah right? Quit! I’m not a quitter.  If I quit I couldn’t enjoy my post race cheat meals!
I couldn’t imagine having to tell all those cheering for me that I didn’t finish. Sure I could’ve said that my ankle hurt, but it didn’t.  My body just wasn’t prepared for what I was asking it to do.
I pressed on.  I had no strategy.  I’d run a little then walk.  I don’t know which one was harder. It all hurt. 
Kelsey passed me on her way back. She was close to mile 9 and I was just past 7.  I screamed to her to tell Kyle that things were going bad and I was going to be much later then anticipated.

Kelsey finishing – 1:35

At this point I was just so so so mad at myself.  My brain wasn’t remembering that I hadn’t run this far in a month because I was injured.  All I could think was that here I was, “failing to do what I set out to.” I was crawling along and being passed left and right and I simply couldn’t go any faster.
Mile 8 – 11:42
Around mile 9.4 I turned my Garmin off.  I didn’t want to see just how ugly things were getting.  In hindsight this was another bad idea.  I think if I knew my overall time I could’ve structured a run/walk plan and tried to finish better.
I barely made it across the third bridge.  I was walking at an 18 min pace.  Are you kidding me? My hands were on top of my head and I was just a zombie.

At mile 10 I passed our hotel.  Again I had a burning desire to quit.  I could go inside, get a key, lie in bed and cry.  Oh how I wanted to. I couldn’t fathom how slow I was going and how long it was going to take me to finish.  It was depressing.
Somehow I trudged on.  I’d walk, I’d run, and I kept beating myself up mentally.
My first 4 miles took 36 minutes…my last 4 took over an hour!!!
Somehow I managed over the final bridge and finished.  I don’t even want to tell you but it was in 2:25.  The slowest half marathon I’ve ever run.
I saw Kyle and the beautiful/hilarious poster he made me and I just broke down in tears. I was covered in goosebumps, dizzy, and defeated.

Isn’t Kyle a good poster maker?
My great cheerleader!

Kyle’s sister, Kelsey, also said this was the hardest race she’s ever done physically and mentally.  She finished in 1:35 and took second in her age group.

Our posters!

The moral of this story? I don’t know that yet.  
I don’t have some glaring revelation about how this race will make me stronger or how I can run faster.  But I didn’t quit.  I finished.  When every part of me wanted to stop and cry.  I finished.

What wisdom I can offer you is this: 
Don’t try to PR on a clearly difficult race AND don’t start too fast. Oh – and finish!

Love and a snails pace,
Carissa & Kyle

It was an ugly half-marathon

Posted: January 22, 2012 in races

It was an ugly half-marathon…but I did it…..and by did it…I mean finished it.
And today THAT was an accomplishment!

Yes, I need new running sunglasses.  I’m so hip!

Full recap tomorrow!

Thanks everyone for the supportive messages and tweets!

Love and a near death experience,
Carissa & Kyle

The definition of success

Posted: January 21, 2012 in football, motivation

This post is brought to you by Kyle! Yeah!
Kyle loves working out, football, and motivational videos on YouTube. True story.
This particular video comes from LSU. Yes, the same team that had a perfect regular NCAA football season only to lose an offensively embarrassing National Championship game to Alabama.
This video is for 2012.  They’re already moving forward and focused on success.

Don’t let failure, setbacks, or anything hold you down.

What is success to you? What does it take to succeed?

Remember – if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect anyone else to?

Here’s to getting back up.
Love and the will to succeed,
Carissa & Kyle

Healthy Enchilada Casserole

Posted: January 20, 2012 in recipes

Technically it’s called chilaquiles casserole…but thinking in terms of blogging and SEO I didn’t know how well “chilaquiles” would google! Are ya with me?

Before we get down to the recipe can I please point out that it’s Friday and I’m still sore from the filthy fifty workout on Monday!  I did run 5 miles and lift today but I am not back to 100%.  That workout is NASTY!

Tonight I had my first ever meeting with the Orlando Dietetic Association.  ODA is a branch of the Florida Dietetic Association which is a branch of the Academy of  Nutrition and Dietetics formerly the American Dietetic Association. They meet twice monthly so I thought it was a good thing to get on board now with the great group of dietitians. 
They talked about traditional meeting things, we had a healthy dinner buffet style (that I didn’t photograph), and we heard a wildly intelligent speaker.  
Her name was Rikki Keen and she’s a MS, RD, CSSD, CSUS. Lots of initials = genius! She’s a sports dietitian who lives in Alaska and works at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports too.  She talked about supplements and science for optimal performance.  She made a lot of great points that I’ll recap soon, but I want to point out that she was passionate about the benefits of a drink called FRS and the quercetin in it. 

Apparently Tim Tebow likes it too. 

On the radar for tomorrow is a lot of studying for my upcoming LifeCycle nutrition final and a bike ride to get my legs ready for the half marathon Sunday.

And finally..gosh I was wordy today…the recipe!  
This is basically a deconstructed enchilada.  I think it’s easier to make and like my lasagna it makes great leftovers.  You could use a green or red sauce and sneak in as many veggies as you like! This recipe is originally adapted from Eating Well.

Healthy Enchilada Casserole:


  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 1 package chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 2 19-ounce cans black beans, rinsed
  • 1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 cups corn, frozen (thawed) or fresh
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 package Goya Sazon seasoning (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 corn tortillas, quartered
  • 1 19-ounce can mild red or green enchilada sauce
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese (optional)


    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.
    2. Use poached or crock-pot cooked chicken breasts. Shred chicken.
    3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in zucchini, beans, tomatoes, corn, cumin, Goya, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are heated through, about 3 minutes.
    4. Scatter half the tortilla pieces in the pan. Top with half the vegetable mixture, half the enchilada sauce and half the cheese. Repeat with one more layer of tortillas, vegetables, sauce and cheese. Cover with foil.
    5. Bake the casserole for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole is bubbling around the edges and the cheese is melted, about 10 minutes more.
    And now my friends…time for me to hit the books!  Make it a great one!
    Have you ever tried or heard about FRS?
    Love and calculating calories needs,

    Carissa & Kyle

But I CAN run

Posted: January 19, 2012 in race training

I have a half marathon on Sunday. Win.
I sprained my ankle 3 weeks ago and have only ran 8 miles since then. Fail.
I was training hard to PR. Win.
My endurance and speed dropped since my injury. Fail.

I went out on a 5 mile run on Tuesday to lightly test my ankle and give my legs some energy for the race on Sunday.  My ankle didn’t hurt except for a little bit at mile 4.  That’s a good thing.  

The bad thing was that my endurance just wasn’t there.  I was trying to push and “go fast” but 3 out of the 5 miles were above the pace I would need to reach my half marathon goal time.
When I run my thoughts are all over the place.  I’m in my head counting pace and calculating speeds.  I’d be thrilled on the fast miles and then feel defeated on the long ones.  
By the end mile 5 the reality that I probably wouldn’t make my goal time set in.  I know there’s race day adrenaline, but the race has 4 steep bridge climbs people. FOUR!
Truly I was bummed for about a half mile, but then I found a new perspective.  I may not run as fast as I wanted to on Sunday, but I CAN run! I can physically power myself over 13.1+ miles with my legs.  My injury helped me see what a beautiful thing that was.  It was so frustrating to be sitting in the airport in a wheelchair waiting for someone to come push me.  It felt so helpless…but today I can run.  And I think that’s a gift.

Kyle and some of his clients after a 5k

The injury was definitely disappointing and it’s the first one I’ve had in many years (besides my neck which is more chronic then acute). There are other races. Do I want to have to re-do all those nasty repeat 800’s I did?  No. But I will.  And I’ll hate them all over again. But then I’ll remember how good it feels to run and that I can run. 

Kyle’s client Rafael finishing another half marathon!

Mark my words – someday I’ll finish a half marathon with a 1 in front of my time instead of a 2.  

2011 Half – 2:06

Will it be Sunday? Will it be this year? Who knows. But as long as I can run I’ll be fighting and that is something worth feeling good about.

Love and inclines,
Carissa & Kyle

It’s my 26th What I Ate Wednesday!  Thanks for reading.
Call it the stalker in me, but I like reading what people eat. It makes me feel normal when they eat mini meals all day like me and I’m always finding new ideas from my fellow WIAW-ers.

What do you like about the WIAW party?

It’s been a while since I gave you a traditional food log so here goes. This is a normal day of eating for me…so let’s get started.

815am – Whole wheat bagel + natural PB + coffee with loads of cream (my indulgence)

10am – Low sodium v8

1115am – Kashi Go Lean + Honey Nut Chex + almond milk

125pm – yummy apple

230pm – Lindsay’s Curried Tuna Salad.

  Tuna + Chobani Greek yogurt + avocado + curry powder. 2 slices of Udi’s gluten free bread, grapes, and snow peas

5pm – post run banana

715pm – Pulled crock pot BBQ chicken.

No bun for me – carb free dinner!

  I put the chicken breasts in the crock pot with chicken broth to cook and then I shredded them.  I topped them with Sauer’s BBQ sauce.  Sauer’s is a sauce I grew up with in Virginia.

Minnie approves

 It’s cider based, so it has much less sugar then traditional BBQ sauce (3g). My mom ordered it online and she gave me a bottle over Christmas.  Aren’t Moms the best?  I also had roasted broccoli and a few of Kyle’s asparagus with sliced cucumber in rice wine vinegar. 

Overall I’m happy with the amount of veggies I had today and I felt full all day long.

Are you a BBQ sauce fan? What kind do you like?

Love and lip-smacking good,
Carissa & Kyle

ps- I’m thinking of moving to a self-hosted blog and thinking of hiring a designer to help with that.  I’d appreciate any thoughts/feedback on that idea. Thanks! 

I’m kinda mad at you Paula Deen. And whether it brings controversy I need to talk about it.
If you’re out of the loop ya’ll here’s a look at Paula’s latest dish:
Paula Deen revealed today that she has Type 2 Diabetes and that she has had that diagnosis for 3 years.  She recently came out with this revelation at the same time she announced her endorsement with a Danish company that makes a diabetes medication.


Here’s where I stand:  
Paula, I am sorry that you have type 2 diabetes.  I know that must be a strain and a concern to you and your family. 
I don’t want to point fingers at your butter-laden food (it’s clearly a big contributor) or to your status as an overweight woman over 45.  There are 23 million Americans with Type 2 Diabetes, so clearly prevention isn’t easy.


Here’s why I’m mad:
You’ve known about this for three years and in that time you hid the diagnosis and kept plugging away at your Southern Charm and devilishly decadent foods.  Only NOW that there’s an endorsement on the table do you finally pipe up about your disease. An endorsement for medication…medication for a disease that is largely manageable and even reversible with DIET AND EXERCISE!

Paula you are a celebrity, food icon, and mentor to many.  Do you realize what an impact you could have made if you would’ve stood up three years ago and said, “I made poor dietary choices and I have type 2 diabetes. I’m going to face it with diet and exercise.  I’m going to change my diet, my eating habits, and my health.  Who wants to join me America?
Can you imagine the fire you would’ve lit under an overweight society’s butt?  
It could’ve been magical.
Picture women in the grocery store saying, “I never thought I could cut out Mac ‘n cheese and buttered rolls, but if Paula can then I can.  She was the queen of fattening food!”
See Paula…you could’ve made a difference. A huge, gigantic difference.
But you hid. You continued to push the same foods that gave you this disease and now you’re promoting the easy way out.  And…I’m mad.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes please put them in contact with a certified diabetes educator.  

Help show them that a healthy diet with loads of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fiber can CHANGE THEIR LIFE! Educate them that exercise can increase the insulin sensitivity of their cells making medication less needed.  Be a positive influence.  Be a catalyst. Because somebody has to.

Did you know that yearly type 2 diabetes causes more deaths then breast cancer and AIDS combined? 

Love and a little fire, 
Carissa & Kyle

The Filthy Fifty Workout

Posted: January 17, 2012 in salads, workouts

Kyle created a killer workout today! I encourage you to give this one a try when you need a fitness kick in the bottom! It is physically and mentally tough.

Before we get to the sweat, here’s a look at the weekly Monday salad. This month’s issue of Cooking Light magazine has “25 healthy chicken recipes“. Since I am frequently guilty of tearing out recipes and never, ever making them I decided to take a different approach.  I’m going to work through all the Cooking Light chicken recipes in order. What do you think?
That way I’ll have to make them all even if they’re out of my comfort zone.
I only have one on deck this week since I was on the plane last night when I did my menu planning. And I’ve already changed this one up a bit….is that allowed?  Well it’s my challenge so I guess so.

Tonight’s recipe is a Chicken Club Sandwich turned into a chicken club salad.
Chicken chunks, avocado, tomato, turkey bacon, cucumber, spinach, and a homemade dijon mustard viniagrette.  I was really sad Target didn’t have arugula today, because I was craving a peppery salad. However this one turned out great and the mustardy dressing really gave it a sandwich feel.  Scouts honor!

Why are salads with avocado awesome????
I also got to practice one of my personal resolutions – to make more dresssings from scratch.  It’s not hard and I know I save so much sugar and money by doing so. I used a recipe I found online at whole foods and mixed:
– 2T Dijon Mustard
– 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
– 2/3 c EVOO
– Salt and pepper and a pinch of Splenda

Delish and preservative free!

And now onto to the ugly, dirty, downright, filthy 50 workout~ here’s how to tackle it:
-You have 50 of each exercise.
– You have 4 tries to get to 50.
– Pick a weight that is heavy after 10-20 reps.  (If you can get through 50 on the first try it WASN’T heavy enough!)
– Get as many as you can on the first round and rest for 30 seconds.
– Get as many as you can on the second round and rest for 20 seconds.
– Get as many as you can on the third round and rest for 10 seconds.
– When you get to 50 you can stop.
– If it takes you 4 tries then move on to the next exercise.

For example~ on my squats….I did 25.  Rest 30 seconds.  Did 14 (numbers 25 – 39). Rest 20 seconds. Did 11 (numbers 39-50). Does that make sense?

Now you’re ready to tackle the filthy 50!

The Filthy 50 How To
Filthy 50 Exercises
You have 50 of each exercise.
Barbell Squat
You have 4 tries to get 50.
Lat Pulldown Machine
Pick a weight that feels heavy after 10-20 reps.
Leg Press Machine
Your rest progressively decreases – 30 seconds after the 1st attempt, 20 seconds after the 2nd, 10 seconds after the 3rd
Cable Row
When you reach 50 reps you stop.
Tricep Dips
Cable Bicep Curls
Roman Chair Leg Raises

Good luck! It can be a killer so if you have any questions let me know! It’s a very mental workout so try to tackle as much as you can in the first set.
Leg press- go heavy! You can always drop the weight in your second set.
I had wobbly legs in Target today!
Love and great glutes,

Carissa & Kyle

Disney Marathon Video Blog

Posted: January 16, 2012 in races, video, vlog
I made a VLOG aka video blog!  Considering my 4 years of college as a Radio/TV Broadcaster…I’d say there’s room for improvement in future Vlog’s….but I had fun making it.

This Vlog gives you about a 3-minute glimpse into portions for the Disney Marathon weekend.  Let me know if you enjoy it and I can plan future Vlog’s with better video production!

Thank you also for the great response to my Walt Disney World Marathon announcer post! It was fun writing and “meeting” so many of you that ran the race.

Who’s running the Tinkerbell Half or the Princess Half?

Love and the rule of thirds,
Carissa & Kyle

If you’re just catching up for the weekend check out: