Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Food I'm Eating

Thought it would be fun to put a little collection of some foods that I'm having a good time eating.

Lunch is really hard for me.  I'm ok eating the same thing nearly every day, but its the planning ahead and making sure I can quickly grab something on my way out the door at 5 AM.  And make sure it is enough to fill me up.  Somedays, I think the latter issue is worse than the former.  I always have some sort of protein and lately (since buying the books Well Fed and Well Fed 2), I'm trying to add more in the way of veggie side dishes.  I'm also trying to figure out how to boost the calories of my lunches (so I don't want to eat my desk 2 hrs later) but to do that in a healthy (but nutritionally dense) way.

I'm also trying to make more things from scratch.  My latest kitchen triumph is making homemade mayo.  It sounds scary but it is really, amazingly easy.  The first batch, I ignored the warnings and used EVOO and yep, it was very olivey tasting.  I added a bunch of roasted garlic to it to mask the olive flavor, but it was a bit too much for me.  The second batch I used "light" olive oil.  (random side note: I'm irritated that Sprouts didn't carry this and I had to go to the big box grocery store that I really don't like and only go there when I'm desperate)  This batch had approximately zero flavor.  My most recent batch used a 1/2 cup of EVOO and the rest "light" olive oil and seemed to have a good balance.    Mayo recipe

I am addicted to the Todd Munn Chicken cakes in Well Fed 2, only I give them more of a meatloaf treatment instead of pan frying individual patties.  Less time on my feet and its less messy.  No recipe online (you need to buy the book) but they're little asian-curry-ginger chicken meatloafs of tastiness.

I've been experimenting with making my own "sausage".  Some have been good, some have been really, really dry.  I may go back to just getting the chicken brats from Sprouts.  They're $2.99/lb and already mixed up.  I can't make them for any cheaper on my own.

For sides, I've been doing a lot of cucumber things.  Asian cucumber salad (cukes, red onion, cilantro, rice vinegar, sesame oil, salt).  Well Fed also has a nice cucumber/vinegar/mayo salad.  I'm also trying to incorporate fresh fruit and avocado.

And this week I made a killer chicken salad that hits all the comfort food needs.  Its rotisserie chicken (Sprouts), celery, apple, salt/pepper, and mayo.  That's it.  And its super good.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I finally remembered how to swim!

My swimming this winter has been really, really, REALLY sucky.  Like "frustratingly what the hell happened?" sucky.

I think part of it was that I had a REALLY long tri season last year.  I was pretty focused from February to November, with the exception of a break in July after CDA.  Lots of yards, lots of fast sets, lots of swimming.  Probably the most swimming I've ever done in a year.

And then after my race in November I kept swimming but it was VERY lackluster.  The month after my race I just was putting time in the pool and not really trying to go fast.  December - February was spent trying to swim at my old pace but I was having issues with speed and more importantly, consistency.  I was hitting 1:50/100 meters swimming HARD and no matter what I did, my pace kept slipping slower and slower through sets.  Last year 1:50 was my cruise pace.  WTF?!?!

I've been trying to be very zen about this.  Just keep putting in the yards knowing that sooner or later, I'll remember how to swim.  Just play along, get the yard done and everything will be ok.  These are the things I'd tell myself when I would see a 1:55 on the clock.  I really was pretty good about not beating myself up over this, which is amazing, because a 1:55 is stupid slow for the efforts I was putting in.

I think in the beginning a good deal of this had to do with the fact that I was deeply fatigued from a long season of hard training.  It took me probably a good 2.5 months to get past that.  What's weird is that my run and bike were cruising along really well - I was improving.  But my swimming was going terribly.  Again, I was determined to be zen and just let things be.  (who am I?)  In all honestly, I probably checked out a bit mentally on swimming because I've been doing it for so long (10 years on a masters team) and I was maybe just a tiny bit burned out.

On Friday while I was in the pool, I finally had a bit of an epiphany.  I think that during my down time in November I quit kicking, probably because I was really tired and I just didn't feel like kicking.  Then that became a (very bad) habit and I simply forgot that I needed to kick.  Or I'd kick and get tired.  I was literally wearing my arms out with every 100.  No wonder I was getting slower with every 100 repeat!  I have strong legs - I should use them for swimming.  Duh!

Today was a really good test to see if I've solved my swimming issues.

500 warm up
25 x 100 free pace, broken up into 5 x 100 with 1 minute rest between each 5.
#1 and 2 were on a 2:05
#3 was on a 2:00
#4 was on a 1:55
#5 had the first 2 on a 2:10 (so a bit of a recovery swim) and then 3x100 at the fastest interval you can make

I'm really happy to report that I swam sets 1-4 on a very consistent 1:47/8 pace.  I kinda crashed and burned on the last one, hitting 1:50 on the 3 fast ones.  But I was really tired and had zero recovery time between each 100.  The super cool part is that I'm on week 3 of pretty hard (early season) workouts and yesterday's workouts (weights and a really hard bike) were killer.  And yet I killed this swim.  I nailed it to the wall and finally swam like my usual self.

What did I do differently?

  • KICK.  A nice, strong, steady 6 beat kick.  No just dragging my feet behind me, a real kick.
  • PAY ATTENTION.  I noticed that I'd forget what I was doing once in a while and almost frantically wave my arms trying to take strokes.  Those kind of strokes are worthless because you're just moving your arms and not actually grabbing any water.  I'd catch myself doing that (usually off the wall) and remind myself to chill out, stretch each stroke and grab the water.
  • ROTATE.  I knew I was swimming flat and my coach confirmed it.  I think I have a harder time rotating on my non-breathing side (who doesn't?) and I really focused on driving from my hips, reaching with my arm, and feeling the water/air on each side as I rotated.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My new favorite commuter mug

Will and I have been a bit cheap this year (or smart, depending on how you look at it) and are taking breakfast with us on our ski trips instead of stopping somewhere along the way.  This usually consists of either a protein bar or if I really am organized, a breakfast sandwich.  And coffee.  Definitely coffee.

Our commuter mugs are all at least 5 years old.  Will has poached been using the best in our collection leaving me with the remaining mugs, which all leak to varying degrees.  Leaky mugs are annoying.  I was getting frustrated and was even thinking of getting a new mug this year.  I mean, its no fun showing up anywhere with coffee dribbles on you!

Lo and behold, Gone for a Run offered up a commuter mug as part of my Ambassadorship!  Bingo!  I selected the 140.6 theme, so I can be a triathlon snob, even when I'm heading to the slopes.  (I'm not quite a tri-snob on the slopes but do keep meaning to get an M-Dot sticker for my helmet.)

I used my new mug last Friday on our way up to the slopes.  We left at 6:30 and coffee was *definitely* required.

somewhere along I-70....

  • I really like the size.  We have a Subaru which has *terrible* cupholders - they're tiny.  This mug fits no problem!
  • I like my coffee to stay HOT.  The mug seems to be well insulated.  The outside stayed nice and cool, which tells me that the heat is staying with my coffee, where it belongs!
  • The lid has a flip cap which seals really well.  So well that I had sealed it up on the mountain when I was done and it was pressurized when we returned to town.  I haven't actually done a proper seal test (ie hold it upside down) but I think it would do well.
  • The lid is a rubberized threaded gasket. NO LEAKS!  Yay!  I can drink coffee without fear of getting dribbles on me.  Hurray!
a little nicer photo.  Source: Gone for a Run
  • 15.2 ounces capacity
  • stainless steel
  • available in black, red, or blue
I think this mug would work really well in the summer with some frozen recovery drink as well.
I also thought about getting this design.  I like the trees.
Source: Gone for a Run
Price: $17.99
There are 30 designs, so odds are pretty good that you'll find a commuter mug that you'll love!

*disclaimer* Gone for a Run provided this commuter mug for me to use and review.  All opinions remain my own.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Snowman Stampede 10 Mile Race Report

This won't be a typical race report, mainly because I didn't really race it.

This was the 3rd race of the Winter Distance Series and the second 10 mile race I'd done in a month.  My training was going *awesome* and I was really hoping for a PR.  And then we went to New Orleans to see family, and my husband was sick the whole time, and then he gave me his cold.  Or rather, my body resisted pretty good until the day after I "raced" a 10 mile race.

I knew when I got to the race site that this wouldn't be a "race-race" as my lungs didn't feel great.  I scrapped the warm-up, as I usually have asthma issues when I stop running, even between a warm up and a longer run.  I just decided to treat this as a training run with a bunch of people. Instead I hung out with friends, which was nice.  Among the usual group of tri dorks, two of my high school friends were also racing. I found one, and then lost her at the start when I went to drop my gear bag.  I was a bit bummed but I normally don't run with people, so I was fine with running alone.
I ate SunRype during the run (strawberry Fruit Source).  So good!
It was pretty nice out so I wore shorts and a short-sleeved shirt (in February!  in Colorado!).  The race started and we went down a hill and around a corner and suddenly I was right behind my two friends.  Its so funny how that worked out.

We ran pretty easy and chatted the miles away, catching up on life.  It was actually really, really fun.  
Sadly, the photographer didn't realize we were friends and we didn't get a group shot...
At mile 8 I just gradually pulled away.  I don't know if I was in race mode or if they were getting tired, but I just somehow ended up going faster than they were.  I pushed a bit to the end, but nothing crazy.  

Finish time: 1:43:47
This was only 42 sec or 4 sec/mile than last month, which included an epic asthma attack at the finish and a really icky last 3 miles.  And the best part - this race felt EASY.  Confirmation that my training is heading in the right direction.

And then I got pretty sick for the next 5 days and didn't really train.  Oops.  But hey, at least I had a fun Saturday :)

Monday, March 03, 2014

February 2014 Training Totals

January was full of training.  February was full of skiing, trips, and then being sick.  

But the skiing was incredible.  Knee deep powder and face-wide smiles.  I also had a really awesome run in NOLA and a pretty good 10 mile race.  Since I was coming down with a cold, I didn't "race-race" it.  Instead, I ran with 2 of my friends from high school and chatted away 8 miles.  Then I upped the pace a bit for the last 2.  I ended up being only 42 sec slower overall (4 sec/mile) and I felt GREAT afterwards.  Unlike the last 10 mile race where I was dying for the last 3 miles and had an epic asthma attack at the finish.  Progress!

February 2014

Swim: 6h 35m - 17607.18 Yd
Bike: 12h 12m - 154 Mi
Run: 9h 11m 59s - 51.13 Mi
Skiing: 12h
Yoga: 1h

January 2014
Swim: 9h 15m - 26137.36 Yd
Bike: 10h 03m 11s - 131.59 Mi
Run: 14h 20m 35s - 75.87 Mi
Skiing: 7h
Yoga: 1h