Monthly Archives: July 2013

Triathlon Nutrition Tips


  • Switch to Carbs
    • 85-95% of your diet should be carbohydrates
    • Especially after runs when muscles are “primed” for reloading


  • Don’t stuff yourself
  • Dinner should be small but full of carbs
  • Eat an early dinner so you have time to digest
  • Wake up hungry, not full from the night before


  • 3 hours before race example meals:
    • Bagel and yogurt
    • Sports drink and oatmeal
    • If a really early race:
      • Wake up 3 AM, eat and go back to bed



  • Consume 2L of water and a power gel type product every hour


  • Consume 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrates for each kilogram of bodyweight
    • A 130 pound female should consume 59-89 grams.
      • 59 for a 30 minute run
      • 89 for 3 hour bike ride
      • 30 minute post-activity best window for recovery
        • Should be a full meal with protein and carbs
        • Additional calories from fats should be eaten as well for a quality meal
        • Alternative option
          • Low-fat milk shake


                     Good Luck and Enjoy the Event!

Time for Tilly's Kids

So normally I’m not one to gush, but I can say that I am ready to do so over a Pass It Along program. Tilly’s Kids is easily one of the coolest, most fun, meaningful, and impactful programs I have been involved with, not just at PIA, but at any job I’ve ever held.
It started at a great location with a decent looking forecast: Swartswood State Park (love) and an overcast but warm July day. Then, the real party showed up: A bus full of children from Newark who had come, many for the first time, to meet their “buddies” for the afternoon, and enjoy a play day away from their urban environment in the exurbs of Sussex County.
The premise for the program is simple: take children out of their environment who otherwise might not have the opportunity to do so, show them how to have a fun time in a natural setting, and have teen volunteers help them along the way. However, the meaning of the program to the children and the impact on the volunteers (myself included) is complex, multifaceted, and deep.


Discovering the dead fish.

My first day was Wednesday. (Tilly’s Kids/Camp runs Weds-Thurs-Fri.) On Wednesday, I was sold; by Thursday, I couldn’t wait to see the kids again, and on Friday, I was sad I wouldn’t get to see the Tilly’s gang until the following week. “What makes the program so special?” you might ask. Well, if you have ever seen the expression on a child’s face when you tell them that a lake is made by nature; when you hear excited and half-terrified screams over a dead fish or a creepy crawly bug; or you see the wonder and happiness that fills a group of children who are seeing, doing, and experiencing new things like playing on a beach or swimming in a park, then maybe you would better understand.
A day with Tilly’s Kids passes in a blur of fun, sun, sand, swimming, playing, and learning. But I remember distinctly the feeling I got when my “buddies” snuck up and gave me a hug before they got on the bus to go back to Newark. (It was crazy awesome, if you were wondering.) It made me feel like I had accomplished something special.
If you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still plenty of opportunities to help and get involved. Between “camp” days in Byram, and “play” days at Swartswood State Park, there’s bound to be a day and location that is convenient for you. Your time and attention are the most valuable gifts you could give the program, and you’ll really make a difference in the lives of children who often face difficult circumstances.
We’d be glad to have you. And a Tilly’s kid will definitely be glad that people like you take the time to be their big-kid  “buddy.” I guarantee it.
Click here to check out our upcoming Tilly’s Kids dates!
Maren Morsch, AmeriCorps Program Associate

Under the Crepe Canopy

“Wow Maren, all this gardening talk has really given me a hankering for some locally grown foods!”  Well my dear readers, now that she has walked you through the growing process, I will guide you on a how-to for eating local while simultaneously continuing to support us at Pass It Along.

If you haven’t heard or seen for yourself, the Sparta Farmer’s Market has popped up for their third year.  Located at 65 Main St. by the Sparta Municipal Building, the SFM offers locally grown and made foods and products for your enjoyment.  And this Saturday, June 13th is a great day to go.

“Why?” you may ask.  Because your favorite youth volunteer and empowerment organization will be represented there from 9am-1pm.  And we have a LOT going on.  I mean, for starters, we’ll be at the Crepe Canopy.  That alone should be the selling point, but let me tell you a bit more.  First, you can pick up a crepe made by one of our regular volunteers, Lena Shugart, who will be using all the fresh, local ingredients that you’ve been craving.  While you’re eating, why not have some fun and support us at Pass It Along?  By making a small donation you can become a crafter of fine wares.  We’ll have a pinecone painting project you can do, which will leave you walking away with a bright flower that will last forever.  You can also create your own candleholder, perfect to brighten up your summer nights.  Not feeling creative?  You can become art yourself by getting your face painted.  All of these activities are great for all ages. 



But wait, there’s more!  Two more local artists will be under the Crepe Canopy.  Linda Finklestein will be there selling her home-painted shirts and caps for kids.  Rose Gong Monsier will also be selling her funky fabric market bags.  They make all of these goods, and each are unique.  Proceeds from your purchase will also go towards Pass It Along!


So come on out for a nice Second Saturday in the sun.  Get to know your local farmer’s market, foods, and crafts while all along support Pass It Along!  Hope to see you there!

-Kailey Denzer-Weiler, AmeriCorps Program Associate

A Lopping Good Time!

Considering all the things that high schoolers could be doing on a sweltering Monday morning during the summertime, chopping and lopping at invasive trees is probably not the first thing that you would think of.
However, that is just what our group of volunteers was doing this Monday in Johnsonburg. We met up at an elementary school near the Johnsonburg Preserve, and caravanned over to the spot where we’d be working for the morning. Scott, our instructor and host from The Nature Conservancy, was kind enough to tell us about the history of the property we were getting ready to work on, while outfitting us with gloves and loppers. Then, it was off to the enclosures to do some work.
An astute volunteer correctly assessed the situation right off the bat as we were walking to the fenced area where native tress had been planted to protect them from overbrowsing at the hands (or rather, the mouths) of the abundant deer population: “I saw a lot of ailanthus on the way over,” he said, to which Scott replied, “Bingo!” After a quick tutorial for those of us who were less capable of spotting the plant, or totally unaware of its presence, we learned an ailanthus “fun fact:” “Tear a leaf if you’re not sure,” said Scott after giving us the visual clues for us to check against to ensure we weren’t cutting the native trees. “The ailanthus leaves smell like rancid peanut butter.” (They really did!) And with that, we were off and lopping.
After two hours, we had cleaned up most of the enclosure, and Scott was finishing up the dirty work with the spot-treatment herbicide to ensure our efforts against the “Tree of Hell” were lasting ones. As the temperature kept rising and the sun stayed out, we opted to take a quick hike in the shade of the woods to learn some more about the property and other plants and animals that call the preserve home before we called it a day. As we took off from our post-lopping water break, we saw something I have been hoping to see since I began hiking in the Highlands of New Jersey – a bobcat. (Seriously.) Scott was leading the group when it caught the corner of his eye, and he turned and pointed, identifying it out loud like he couldn’t believe it, either. Although the sighting lasted about ten seconds, I’m sure the memory will stay with me forever…As it trotted away from us, it turned its beautiful head to assess the group, looking directly at us for a good five seconds before disappearing into the distant undergrowth. Talk about exhilarating! What better way to cultivate appreciation for preservation of public land in a volunteer than to guide them to an experience like that (especially after the sweaty, dirty work that the first half of they day entailed)?


Google approximation of what the bobcat probably looked like.

The hike lead us through understory that included a wild strawberry patch, unripe wineberries, a variety of fascinating parasitic plants (they lack chlorophyll and freeload off of the roots of plants around them, plus they look like little mini pinecones sitting on the forest floor), and a tree-climbing snake. To top off the hike, the destination point was a scenic overlook that tops a spring-fed shallow lake created from the collapse of an underground cave.
While I can’t promise that any of these things will be repeated during next week’s Nature Conservancy project, nor can I substantiate any of my claims with any photos (as I ill-advisedly left my cameraphone in the car)…I can promise that you will experience a keen sense of satisfaction, work up a tan and a sweat, and learn something along the way.
And hey, who knows. Maybe you’ll even get to see a bobcat (or equally cool characteristic megafauna)!
Till next week…
Maren Morsch, AmeriCorps Program Associate

Running Related Injuries and Pain

As an athletic trainer at The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey, I see many overuse injuries. Running to train for competitive events can lead to the development of these. Some of the most common running related overuse injuries are of the shin and outside of the thigh.

One of the most common injuries in runners are “shin splits.” Shin splits is the layman’s term for a painful condition that develops most commonly on the front, inner portion of the shin bone. This condition does not necessarily describe one specific injury but is more an umbrella term for a series of common injuries that can occur singularly, or together. Most commonly, shin splints refer to the micro-tearing of the muscle tissue that allows you to raise the front of your foot up, like if you wanted to put all of your weight on your heels. These muscle tissues attach to the inside of your shin and especially when training and running downhill, these muscles must be more active to control your foot from “slapping” the ground. Over time, without strengthening or with overuse, the muscle tissues begin to “tear” from the bone which creates micro-traumas that cause inflammation. This can cause dysfunction and pain when running and/or walking.

In my experience, Shin splits cannot always be completely prevented but they can be managed. The first step in caring for this condition is to ice as much as you can. At least for 20 minutes every 2 hours. This will control the inflammation along with the use of over the counter anti-inflammatories.  Just be sure to take the counter anti-inflammatories as directed on the bottle or as directed by a doctor. My favorite exercise to do for shin splints is “heel walks.” This is just as it sounds.  I have athletes stand, lift their forefoot off the ground and walk with all the weight on their heels. Proper footwear is also important. A supportive shoe gives the right cushioning which is translated up your lower leg. Also modify the routes you train on by trying to avoid hills and where possible run on softer, level ground.

                Iliotibial band syndrome is another common occurrence in the running athlete. The illiotibial band is located on the outer most part of your thigh. It runs from the hip to the shin and attaches to the knee where it assists in stabilizing that joint. Pain is most commonly felt on the outside aspect of the knee. This occurs from either inflammation or tightness of the IT band. IT band syndrome is caused from repetitive leg turning in during running which can result from worn-shoes, running downhill or from running in one direction around a track too much or just running too many miles in general. The turning in of the leg cause the band to rub against the bones on the outside of the knee which causes irritation. IT band syndrome is more common in women due to their hips being at different angles than men.

                When an athlete comes in complaining with symptoms of IT band syndrome, I tell them to cut back on their mileage for a few days since this will decrease the friction occurring at the knee. A proper warm up to lengthen the band is also important, such as walking for at least a quarter mile. Again, a proper pair of shoes is important. Running on flat, even ground will decrease undo stress to one leg. The side of the road is often tapered to allow for water/rain to drain off. 

Foam rolling is also great for this. Foam rolling is where you lay on a roll made of foam or other material that may or may not give a little in an effort to loosen up tiny “knots” in muscles.  This allows the muscles to be their natural healthy length, thus decreasing the friction on the band at the knee. Foam rollers are available at most sports and fitness stores and come in a variety of materials. Many fitness centers and gyms also have these readily available. You can seek instruction on how to use them by staff there. Cross training, like swimming will reduce the friction while still allowing you to maintain your cardiovascular level.

                If pain continues to worsen or if you are unsure of what is causing your pain seek the advice of a sports medicine professional. At The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey we will be glad to provide further guidance as to what you can do or if you may require further care under the supervision of a physician.

-John Meyer, ATC

The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey