Author Archive

LXM Pro Tour: View from the Sideline

I played in a college showcase game at last weekend’s LXM Pro Tour, but there was lots of other stuff going on that Saturday, including a instructional youth clinic, a professional exhibition game and a concert by Carolina Liar. Here’s a short video I made from my view on the sidelines of the pro game.

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Thursday workout tip (on a Friday!)

I wanted to apologize to all of the loyal fans who love our Thursday workout tips, I had an emergency issue come up this week that needed tending to. That being said, even if it’s late, I wanted to bring all of you a weekly tip. This week’s workout tip is… medicine balls!

That's right! (Appropriated via Creative Commons)

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the countless abdominal exercises that can be done with medicine balls (I’m equally sure many of you have tried them). But there is so much more to medicine balls! Lucky for us, you can add medicine balls to pretty much any bodyweight exercise to increase your workload. Doing pushups? Place your hands on a pair of medicine balls to increase balance, stabilizer activation and the work on your pectorals. Bodyweight squats? Quick, grab a medicine ball!

She's got the right idea (via Creative Commons)

But perhaps the best use of medicine balls is with plyometrics because of their lightweight and versatile nature. You know the padded multi-use room at the Rec Center on campus? Grab a medicine ball and throw it as hard as you can at the padded wall for 30 seconds. Rest and repeat for three sets. Try some box jumps or core exercises with the added resistance of a medicine ball and see your results skyrocket.

This is called a wood chopper— not only do you look great doing one, but your core muscles will thank you (via Creative Commons)

So next time you have a case of the old workout blues, grab a medicine ball, put on a smile and burn some calories.

My Saturday Morning at the Farmers’ Market

Braving the temperate weather and early-risers Saturday morning, I ventured downtown to Republic Square Park today to check out one of Austin’s farmers’ markets. No matter your location, farmers’ markets are a great way to sample local produce and get the freshest, tastiest ingredients onto your table. Using fresh, local food also reduces your exposure to preservatives and gives you greater control over your diet. In short, it’s a great idea! Austin also happens to have a great selection of local farmers who bring their products directly to consumers every Saturday morning.

I borrowed a friend, and her phone, so I could take pictures of some of the great produce at this week’s market. Forgive the poor photography, I make no claims of being a professional:

The artichokes looked great.

And:

...so did all the fresh herbs!

Aside from produce, local entrepreneurs bring all sorts of home necessities, including some meat and seafood for sale. There’s also a fair amount of vendors selling preprepared food for your culinary delight, and, being Austin, there’s usually good coffee and breakfast tacos around.

Lucky for us, there was also some entertainment on hand Saturday morning:

A local six-piece string band playing at the Republic Square Park farmer's market

There’s even dessert:

It tastes even better than it looks

If you’re nearby and have the inclination, check out next week’s farmers’ market, 9am at Republic Square Park!

Q&A with Amy Marsh

Austin’s own Amy Marsh placed first in the women’s division at last month’s Ironman China. Marsh, who moved to Texas from Minnesota in 2001, became a professional triathlete last year and has already won two full Ironmans. She is a member of the professional Team TBB but trains here in Austin when not competing around the world. Marsh talked with us on the phone this week to give us some more insight on her career, her future and the triathlon scene in town.

Austin triathlete Amy Marsh. Photo credit goes to Team TBB.

Actively Austin: You won the second Ironman race of your pro career about three weeks ago in China. Talk about what that was like.

Amy Marsh: My husband and I were in Asia for about six weeks training with an international triathlon team in Thailand. Originally we were planning to do a half-Ironman in Shanghai, but my coach [Swiss-based triathlon coach Brett Sutton] saw what good shape we were in and advised us to try the full Ironman. We had about two weeks notice beforehand, and then we went out there and raced— it was quite a surprise to win. The conditions were brutal. It was extremely hot over there and the wind on the bike was very strong—wow, it was intense. But afterwards I was very excited to win and definitely surprised.

AA: You were born in upstate New York, attended college in Minnesota and then moved to Austin in 2001— that’s quite a trip. What was it like coming to Texas and how’s the triathlon scene here?

AM: At the time, my parents had retired to Texas and my brother was going to grad school at UT. I came down here to start coaching a swim team in 2001 and I haven’t left since. Now that I’ve made it here, I won’t go back to the cold. The triathlon scene is great too. There are a lot of athletes that live in Austin. I usually swim at UT with the Masters group.  I also bike and run around Town Lake, but I mostly do that sort training on my own.

AA: Your husband, Brandon Marsh, finished ninth in the men’s division at Ironman China. What’s it like having a spouse who is also a triathlete?

AM: We train together. Our schedules aren’t exactly the same all the time, so we’ll have different workouts. But it’s kind of nice knowing that someone is going through the same kind of pain as you. We understand what the other one is going through. If one of us is having a bad day, the other one understands.

AA: And what is your training usually like?

AM: Before going to Asia, I would average about 18 to 20 hours a week between swimming, biking and running. In Thailand it was 25 to 30 hours a week in. Now that I’m back I’ll probably stick with 25 to 30 hours per week. The triathlon season is year round, but for North America it’s March through October, so I just kicked off my 2010 season and am looking forward to getting faster.

AA: So what are your immediate plans? When’s your next race?

AM: In two and a half weeks I’m going to go to New Orleans for a half Ironman. Then, two weeks after that, I’m doing another half ironman at Lake San Antonio in California— it’s called the Wildflower. After that I’m not sure. The last race of the season is the Ironman in Hawaii. It’s the biggest triathlon and the final race of the season for most triathletes. I hope to be a little bit faster by then. It’s hard to compare times because courses are so different, but the race in China was good preparation.

AA: So thinking about a return trip?

AM: Well, I don’t think so. Thailand was great, we loved it. It was my first time in China and I don’t know if I’ll go back. It was definitely an experience.

Biking to Work: Pt. II

In a previous post, I talked about the benefits of riding your bike to work/school as well as how to plan your route. However, an equally important aspect of being a cyclist is what to do with your bike once you reach your destination (especially if you’re commuting to campus).

Bike theft is big problem on the University of Texas campus (and in Austin in general, as the City is one of the worst when it comes to two-wheel thievery).

Don't end up like this guy

Luckily, the University offers some great tools to help you combat bike theft. Aside from registering your bike with Parking & Transportation Services, and using a high-grade lock, you can also rent a bicycle locker on campus if you so desire that level of security.

Bike lockers are a great way to store your ride while on campus

Bike lockers are available at the Brazos, Guadalupe, Manor, San Antonio, San Jacinto, Speedway and Trinity garages. It costs $50 per year to rent a locker, plus a $50 deposit for a key that you’ll get back at the end of your lease. If you’d like to get a locker or find out more, head over to the PTS main office at the Trinity Garage (@ the corner of Trinity and MLK) or simply email bicycle@utexas.edu.

Don’t forget that you can stop by ANY University garage and use a bike pump, free of charge— simply inquire at a garage’s teller window for one. There is ample space to ride and lock-up your bike around campus, so just remember to be smart and exercise good judgement when using and parking your ride.

Will out!

Thursday workout tip: Speed training

In the process of training for this year’s Cap 10K, I’ve been getting into some speed training with one of my running friends. Speed training is an important part of most runner’s training regimes, and it really complements anyone’s endurance training by making you a more complete athlete. It can also help with muscle imbalances in your quadriceps and glutes. In short, if you’re a runner and you don’t speed train right now, you should seriously consider it.

 

 

This guy probably speed trains.

Here’s a sample speed-training workout (thanks Karen!) that’s very simple and easy to remember when you’re out at the track:

  • Warm-up distance: 1 mile @ 50-60% full-speed
  • First circuit: 1 mile @ 80%, 1 mile @ 65%
  • Second circuit: 1 mile @ 90%, 1 mile @ 70%
  • Cool-down: 1 mile @ 50%

 

 

You can adjust the distances depending on your level of fitness (I’d recommend halving it to 0.5 miles each if you’re just starting out) and add multiple circuits if you want more of a challenge. One interesting twist is to make it a ladder circuit, where you build up to a max-speed circuit (95-100% for 1 mile, followed by 80% for 1 mile) and then slow back down until you reach the original 80%/65% circuit.

Speed training is just one element in a complete workout regime. Check in every week for a Thursday workout tip to round out your own training!

Keeping healthy on the road

Hello to our throngs of loyal fans. I’m on the road again, playing a trio of games with the Texas lacrosse team in Southern California. Santa Barbara is beautiful right now, the weather is perfect, but roadtrips mean lots of fast food and cramped conditions in multiple hotel rooms– not the most ideal conditions for anyone, let alone when trying to play a sport.

Aside from the nightly Aspirin, there are some other techniques that will keep you limber and healthy while on the road.

Introducing the muscle toothbrush:

Similar to foam rolling, muscle rolling compresses soft tissue and muscle fibers against the bones underneath and is categorized as a petrissage movement. You grasp the roller on both ends and move it laterally across your sore and cramped muscles, and the “muscle toothbrush” releases the built up lactic acid. The IT bands and calves get especially tight after a lacrosse game, and the toothbrush is a great way to speed up your recovery.

Kinesio tape is another tool used by professional atheletes, weekend runners and everyone in between.

It alleviates stress on the muscles by lifting and supporting the skin over which it is taped (you can see it in use two pictures above). I had never heard of kinesio tape before playing lacrosse at Texas, but this little-known tool can go a long way in supporting weak joints and helping rehabilitate injuries.

Going on the road can be an impediment to any training regime, but with a little resourcefulness and ingenuity you can go a long way in helping yourself out.