Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Oh! The Places You Will Go...

A few months back, I was searching for a multi-purpose, all-occasion bag that would fit my always-on-the-go lifestyle as a mom to three active kids. I have since found a perfectly functional and fashionably ferosh Coach bag. However, this post is not about that bag. It is apropos to my complete roundabout about another bag.
It is indeed ironic that about a month after I disapproved of the ubiquitous Longchamp for reasons specified here, I got one as a gift – an exact replica of this one.

I have been using the bag for three weeks now; and let me just say that I am a convert.

The bag is nothing fancy to look at, but its beauty is, without doubt, the kind that grows on the owner. The longer I used it, I gradually began to appreciate it and gave it a second look as I became conscious that it remained as light as feather, notwithstanding the fact that I’ve put my entire house in.

I am now humbly made aware that the bag’s lightweight material, which I previously found “insufferable”, is what makes it so endearing to many, particularly to pack-rats like myself.

The adorable factor increases even more as I take it around with me and discover its chameleon-like versatility to fit in its surroundings.

Off to have a Japanese lunch with friends…

To a soccer tournament…
to the G-league swimming competition…

to a kiddie birthday party…. to pick-up kids from school... grocery shopping... practically, everywhere.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fast Forward Sunday

If you've had one of those days where your is day packed solid with activities to make your head numb, then you'd know how yesterday felt like for me. There was the Adidas run with gun-start for the 10k event scheduled at 6am, and J's all-day long soccer competition. Two very tiring and strenuous events, both under the glare of the unforgiving Manila sun.

There were times during the run that I felt my legs would give way or my lungs would explode if I didn't stop. In all sports that require hours of training to develop endurance, such as running or long-distance swimming, if your body tells you to stop - dont! Simple as that! The mind fully controls the body.

Having said that, let me clarify that I am so not talking about my own body. For the first 6k of the race, I kept on visualizing myself running all the way to the finish line. Repeating one mantra after another in my head, as I push myself forward. However, I am disappointingly sharing with you, that, yes, I did stop to walk in the middle of the 10k route.

On the upside, C and I are both happy making our PR's this time. We both beat our previous time by about 5 minutes. So that's something to celebrate for. I will be continuously training till the end of the year as there are a lot of good races coming up this Novemeber.

We did not have the luxury of time to look for friends to have the usual photo-op after the race, but it is a good thing we ran into Carole, who took the above photo. Otherwise, we would not have any picture to keep for posterity sake.

As soon as we crossed the finish line, flushed faces and sweaty bodies notwithstanding, we went straight to Nomads Sports Club in Paranaque to meet up with J. Her team won enough matches to qualify for the semi-finals. Observing that she has been consistently called on by the coach to be in the starting line-up in all the matches gave me a reason to smile inwardly. Money spent on all those training sessions did not go to waste, after all. :)

And so it came to be that they were up against one of the best girls' team in their age category. As J kicked the ball that scored the winning goal and made her team qualify for the finals, everyone gathered around her, jumping with joy and hugging her. Too bad, everyone was too busy cheering that no one was able to digitally capture that euphoric moment of victory.

We all know that winning is addicting; here's hoping that there will be more trophies and medals to come her way!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

King of the Road 2009

After taking a hiatus from running road races for about 2 months, I am looking forward to the Adidas run this Sunday, October 25, 2009. I have been doing my usual 3k runs, and I think that is sufficient enough to make me finish the 10K race still running... as opposed to panting and out of breath.

But what I am really happy about is the race singlet. This is the best that I have ever gotten. The fabric is soft and made from a dry-fit material to ensure that moisture is drawn out of the body for a comfortable and dry run.

race singlet for the men

race singlet for the women

I am sure I am going to wear it again after the race.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nutrition and The Young Athlete

With the kids all engaged in numerous activities and with J playing competitively for two sports, I have took it upon myself to research on the proper nutritional requirement for a young athlete.

Here are some guidelines that I found to be useful before, during and after training:
} Make sure kids arrive to practice well-fed. They should eat a meal that contains sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, 1-2 hours before the practice session or competition.
} During training, kids should be encouraged to take "water breaks" every 20-30 minutes even when the young athletes do not feel thirsty. Research studies have shown that providing a cooled and flavored beverage produces greater fluid consumption among children and helps prevent dehydration.

However, it is in my belief that while sports energy drinks taste good, the best source of hydration is still good old fashioned water. As stated here, kids do not need the additional sugar in their tiny active bodies.

I have found a natural alternative by making my own sports drink. I simply mix a few tablespoons of honey and a pinch of salt in a cup of warm water. Let the mixture dissolve well, and mix it with cold water and a couple handful of ice cubes. You can also follow the recipes here and here.

As you might expect, since honey is sweeter than table sugar, it also has more calories as well -- 22 per teaspoon compared to granulated sugar's 16 per teaspoon. However, it is healthier in that it is a natural form of sweetener; thus there are trivial amounts of minerals and vitamins in the bee product while white sugar has none.

} Let the kids eat carbohydrate and protein within the first 30 minutes after practice. Replacing carbohydrates that were used during training within 30 minutes is essential for repairing muscle tissue and preparing for the next athletic training period. This is perhaps the most important time to eat to maximize body recovery!

Just the other week, I made granola bars for my kids to enjoy.

It is relatively easy to make and is also nutritionally great just about any time of the day. The rolled oats provide an excellent source of fiber and are a good source of complex carbohydrates. The raisins, dried blueberries and dried cherries are a good energy source, and the almond, sunflower nuts, and wheatgerm provide protein. The flax seeds are a good source of omega3.

High-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, low-fat, and moderate-fiber. Granola offers more bang for the buck, so to speak.