Sports Nutrition

How to tackle a Snow Day

How to tackle a Snow Day

February 9th started out like most post birthdays, and basically like every day. Wake up Cooper for breakfast cereal with whole milk. Does anyone drink the other stuff anymore? Kept an eye out for the impending Snowmageddon and saw a beautiful sunrise. Took Cooper to daycare and headed out to Quarry Road Recreation area in Waterville. If you are a local and have not checked this place out, I highly recommend it. Over 15k of trails, from rolling hills to steep climbs, and flat track for those speed work outs – truly all you need to train with the added bonus of not being on pavement. In the winter it is groomed for cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Truly amazing. I strapped on my snowshoes, looking for an hour long run. As the miles passed, I could see the fast approaching dark gray clouds, and the sun was gone as I headed home to get ready for work. After returning home I showered and got ready, and I swear it took me less than 15 minutes, and when I came outside, snow had not just begun falling, full whiteout conditions had set in. I went to work, tackling a few staffing items and preparing Intramurals for the evening with the assumption that Thomas College would close at noon, and it did. I ate my usual lunch of blended yogurt and other goodies (see my other blog posts for recipe), texted with Mandy and headed home around 12:30 p.m., parked the truck in the garage, and shoveled a path for Cooper and Mandy to the garage for their arrival home shortly after. We all huddled together on the couch with the propane fire stove on, for that extra warmth we all like. We settled in for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the occasional running of a 5-year-old who refused to wear anything but his underwear. As the movie ended, Mandy and I had decided on burgers and macaroni and cheese for dinner.  This would not be your normal macaroni and cheese though.  Two cups of cheddar and half and half in the cast iron skillet and roasted veggies for good measure, the macaroni and cheese was ready.  See recipe. Then came the fun, with Mandy grilling in the snowstorm  and many posts on social media of snow Burpees AKA Snurpees. Cooper and I set out for some of our own. Of course I did them in shorts and a T-shirt, it was cold.   After that we settled down for dinner (photo) an epic game of Uno which as usual I lost. One last check of the weather and deciding to wait until the morning to snow blow, we got Cooper cleaned up and ready for bed (still in his undies), read him some Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and off to bed he went.  Now to relax and crash as 5:15a.m. snow blowing will come early.  Could not think of a better way to approach a snow day, got my work out in, cuddled with my family, ate great food, and got to be a crazy monkey in the snow with Cooper.  Makes for a happy...

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New Year, New Goals…Looking Forward to 2017

New Year, New Goals…Looking Forward to 2017

By Ashley Sears, Esq., sponsored athlete of the Maine Dairy Promotion Board’s Moo Squad. As 2016 comes to a close, we all begin to reflect on the past year’s events and look forward to the coming year. The year undoubtedly had its share of highs and lows for us all and was a year of many changes, both in our personal lives and for the nation as a whole. We set out our goals from the previous year with the hopes of accomplishing them in twelve months. Whether we met all of our proposed goals or not, we can all be thankful for our family, friends, and animals, careers, our health, and the opportunity to have another year to work towards the goals we have not yet achieved. It was a memorable year for me in many respects, but also a year that included the loss of loved ones, challenges, and change. I got engaged in May to a fellow cow-loving guy, ran my first trail race, trademarked my first program, performed pro bono legal work, and learned how to fish for the first time! All of these moments were memorable and special to me in different ways. At the same time, my dog Spirit passed away after spending more than two-thirds of my life with him, fellow friends and family lost loved ones, and the challenge of budgeting, financing, and planning a wedding in another state has become a part of daily conversations. Each of these moments/events has taught me something about myself though, and as an optimist, I’ve been able to find good in each situation. These events and memories have also helped to shape my goals for the coming year. Here are my top 5 goals for the New Year: 1.) Celebrate and appreciate my family, friends, and four-legged friends more. It’s easy to take for granted the great family, friends, and pets/livestock that we have in our lives. It’s also easy to forget that life can change at any moment and we may not have gotten to say or do what we wanted to before we had the chance. Moving to Maine from Massachusetts has made me appreciate my family, friends, and livestock to a greater degree. While I’m only a three hour drive away, a phone call every few days with my family or a picture sent of our dogs or cows makes me appreciate the little things. It also makes the time that much more special when I am home and getting to see friends I don’t see as often, helping with chores at the barn, or getting to cuddle with a furry, feisty pug. 2.) Train for my second marathon. I ran my first marathon in May of 2014 and found it exciting, exhausting, and exhilarating all at the same time. I overcame calf cramps and dehydration at mile 18 to finish, but did not meet my time goal. I loved the process and goal-setting of training for the race. I also learned that I was a lot tougher than I thought I was and to push myself beyond my self-imposed limits. I want to feel those emotions again and reach my time goal, while training smarter. 3.) Enjoy the process of wedding planning. If there’s anything you should know about me, it’s that I’m a planner. From my meals for the week to what I’m going to wear to work, I like to plan. Getting engaged in May, Nick and I set a wedding date of October 2017 because Fall in New England is amazing. Plenty of time to plan and...

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Family traditions

Family traditions

By Jennifer Stevens Jones, Moo Squad sponsored athlete Family traditions help shape our memories, and also help shape our futures. People have traditions in their day to day life, but holidays are typically the most memorable traditions. Some holiday traditions continue from generation to generation, but often traditions have to change to fit different phases of life. Our family is currently trying to find the holiday traditions that fit our life right now. With two small children, we are trying to combine family traditions and determine which ones we want to carry on with our girls.  Over the last couple of years, the holidays seem to revolve around family and lots of food. Don’t get me wrong, the food is amazing and the company is great, but I have been trying to find a way to make the holidays include some type of physical activity or time outside together. Last Thanksgiving, my sisters and I started one tradition that I hope to carry on year after year; a Thanksgiving morning 5k.  There is a local 5k, The Greely Hockey 5k in Cumberland, that holds a 5k every year (this was the 9th annual) on Thanksgiving morning.  We held Thanksgiving at our house last year, so we put the turkey in the oven before the race and finished everything else when we got back. We all felt like it was a great start to the morning, and really made us feel better as we prepared to eat more food than we actually needed. This Thanksgiving (last week), we were traveling to our parent’s dairy farm (about a 1 hour – 15 mins away), but I still wanted to keep the tradition going, so Keith, Cami, Lauren, and I all ran the 5k as a family.  We bundled the girls up, but it wasn’t actually that bad out for us.   While Keith doesn’t really enjoy running (i.e. – he hates it), he was a champ, and pushed both girls in the double stroller! Keith finished a couple of minutes ahead of me, so I decided to ‘grab’ the girls have them finish with me.  I tried to get Cami to run the last little bit of the race with me, but she was not impressed with that idea (as you can see in the pictures).   After we finished, we headed north to enjoy the day with our family. I am hoping that we continue to run a 5k on Thanksgiving Day, and with any luck I can get Keith, Cami, or Lauren to join me every year…maybe they will finish with a smile one day too. J...

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A short Talk and lessons learned

A short Talk and lessons learned

After a fast day of racing at Fenway Park, I was drinking my chocolate milk and walking back to my hotel with a teammate Miles, and we were discussing performance and the ups and downs of a season. It was a brief conversation maybe 5-8 minutes. However, Miles said something that I had heard before but somehow forgot.  To paraphrase he said “I started OCR because it was fun and then got good at it.  Then I started to worry about results and not fun. Once I started worrying about fun again my performance improved.” I am not saying I do not enjoy every race and opportunity, because I do. However, results were certainly on my mind more than they needed to be. Results will take care of themselves and are often the result of previous work. So, when you are racing/running enjoy it, take in the moment, be aware of your surroundings and what amazing place you might be in. This, for some reason, stuck with me as I got ready to race again on Sunday. As we started out the 3.5 miles race at a full sprint I was giggling to myself a little thinking, “this is going to hurt a little, but boy is going to be fun”.  Well it was more fun, and I was able to run a full minute faster than the previous day. You may be able to claim this improvement was from knowing the course or many other factors.  I think it is simply that my mind set was on fun and not results. A few other lessons I learned in my 2016 OCR racing season: • Triathlons are fun and made up of a very cool group of people. • The OCR community is amazing and like a family. • I enjoy pushing others to try OCR and succeed just as much if not more than my own races. • Minimizing nights away from the Family is very important to me! • Don’t save energy in a race you don’t what is coming next, just run hard until you can’t. • The benefits and power of chocolate milk is not lost on the world of OCR. • Countless times I witness all levels of athletes go for a Chocolate Milk after a race before anything else. • Cow print pants are a phenomenon! • I had more conversation about Milk and Dairy because random people from Texas to Maine would comment on the pants. • Lastly I would say that traveling across the US and down the East Coast was an amazing opportunity to compete against the best that OCR has to offer.  And yes, a boy from Maine can hold his own just fine. This whirl wind of a year could not have been possible without the support of the Maine Dairy Council; I cannot thank everyone enough. I am excited for a few months away from racing… and already looking at 2017...

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Living a healthy and active lifestyle on the road

Living a healthy and active lifestyle on the road

Often times, a job description will include the line “other duties as required”, and we are faced with tasks and assignments that differ from our daily work. In my role as the Marketing Specialist for the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, my work involves program development, conferences/trainings, and grant and contract writing. In addition, I had the opportunity to manage the Maine Building at the Big E in West Springfield, Mass., last month. While not a typical assignment, I was anxious and excited for the challenge as I have attended the Big E for the past 26 of the last 27 years! (The Big E is also known as Eastern States Exposition.)   In preparing for my 22 days at “New England’s Largest Fair,” I packed several snack items, including fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, milk, juice, protein powders and bars, and yogurt. I also planned to make trips to the grocery store during my stay to replenish my fresh produce supply. I checked out the fitness center on the hotel website before I left and found they had a treadmill, stationary bike, elliptical, and weight training equipment…everything I would need to start my day with a good sweat session! Food purchased, gym and work clothes packed, and my itinerary finalized, I loaded up my car and made the trip south to my favorite fair. After four days of set-up before the fair opened, I realized that good walking shoes, plenty of water, and Vitamin C would be part of my survival pack. With most days numbering 12+ hours and several interactions with vendors, customers, and fair staff, my immune system started revolting against me after the first two weeks. By week three, I had a cold and felt run down, but I continued with my normal schedule. Early bedtimes, lots of fruit, juice and Vitamin C, and a few rest days from hitting the hotel gym, I was back and feeling healthy within a few days. I didn’t want my Big E experience to end on a low note, so taking care of myself and my health were at the top of my priorities. If I had been living on fair food the whole time, it might have been a different ending to my trip. With many people now having jobs that require significant travel time, there’s always a way to find healthier eating options and 30 minutes of exercise. Pack a lunch and snacks, stop at the grocery store and stock your hotel fridge for extended stays, walk in the morning or at night, do body weight exercises in your hotel room if no gym is available, and get plenty of sleep. Not only will your body thank you for treating it well, but your customers/clients, employer, and family and friends will also be thankful that you are feeling at the top of your game. The biggest takeaway from my time at the Big E is that putting your health first should always be most important. I worked throughout the fair to eat a balanced diet (a lot of small meals or snacks for energy) and to continually incorporate exercise into my days. I would often walk 3-4 miles a day at the fair, after my 30-40 minutes of morning exercise. I had the occasional fair food (kettle korn being my favorite treat) and took rest days when I felt like my body needed them. By the end, I felt rested, relaxed, and back to being 100percent.  It was an incredible learning experience and resulted in many new friendships, management training, and a lifetime of memories!...

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Milk, Melanoma and Miles

Milk, Melanoma and Miles

Being a runner means so much to me! Being proud of all of my accomplishments, staying healthy and fit, training and putting in the miles, and taking in good nutrition like my favorite post run drink – chocolate milk! This blog is going to to focus on prevention and a risk as a runner. There’s a hundred risks we take everyday that we don’t even think about that could be potentially bad or harmful for health. One of mine was my skin. Going for runs with a tank top and shorts at around 9:30 a.m. and getting back around 10:15 a.m. That can’t be a risk. Yes, it is. That is when the sun is at its peak of UV rays. From 10-4 is when the sun is at its highest UV rays, which increases your risk of cancer. Another bad habit I had was not always applying sunscreen. Always use a sun screen! Add it to your daily routine (just like brushing your teeth). And sunscreen with zinc holds up better to sweat. And last but not least – a hat! A simple hat could protect you scalp from a burn (which could increase your risk of skin cancer). Why am I talking about all this prevention and sun? What does that have to do with drinking chocolate milk and the Moo Squad?! Well, I was all ready and trained up to be a part of the yearly Somerset Sports and Fitness – Lake George Sprint Triathlon with all my Moo Squad teammates and spread the word about the benefits of recovering with chocolate milk. This didn’t get to happen. Shortly before the race, I got a call from the dermatologist to tell me the moles I had on my back were melanoma! I had found a few months ago after coming in from a run. Melanoma!!? The skin cancer that people my age die from? What?! She wanted me to get in as soon as possible for surgery. So I did, and I couldn’t get my incisions wet for two weeks. So, I missed my triathlon. More than anything, I still had unanswered questions. Had it spread to my lymph system? Would I have to have chemotherapy or treatments? Surgery went great. Every doctor commented on how healthy I was as far as my lungs and heart and weight. After surgery I had to go to many different doctors – eye doctor, women’s health doctor (gynecologist), cancer doctor. The cancer didn’t spread to my lymph system! It was a stage 1! All I have to do now is follow up with a dermatologist every 3 months for skin checks and use sunscreen and all my sun protection clothing when I am outside! And sunglasses! This all started with ME and a run and finding a new mole. Check yourself and be smart about your...

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