Friday, July 31, 2009

One Week Out

One week out. Mentally I'm ready and excited. :) Physically I'm most unsure about the run at this point. I'm ready for the swim. With the bike I don't really know what I don't know so I'll do my best and get through it. I have a small past in running from a couple of years in high school track and general running in sports but haven't done much in a while and not a lot for this race due to my knees. I'm up to W4D1 of the C25K plan. It's going as well as it can for someone running slowly and comfortably. Just don't know how I'll pace against people who are probably strong in the run. I know, it's my first tri so I shouldn't worry about it but I'm just treating this like any other competition where I hope to do well.

Anyway, it should be fun. Looking forward to meeting new people, getting my splits, and having something to work with for future training (in what, who knows).

After several failed attempts at finding a suitable, cheaper alternative to a Garmin, I finally bit the bullet and ordered a 305 this week. It should arrive on Monday. It won't be much help for this race but oh well. :)

Tomorrow I'm co-coordinating a wedding so I'll be on my feet all day. Sunday I still plan to do my long bike ride. I'll take it easy. Just want to get some distance in there and practice riding without padded bike shorts or gloves and work on moving dismounts.

This week's workouts were pretty close to plan:

Monday: 2400 yd. swim
Tuesday: W3D3 C25K run with girlfriend
Wednesday: 30 min. weights, 2 mile bike, 1 mile run.....intended to do 4-5 miles of bike sprints but it started pouring so I put my bike away and did a quick run/walk in the rain
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 30 min. weights, W4D1 C25K run (approx. 2 miles not including WU/CD)
Saturday: Wedding tomorrow, tons of walking
Sunday: Long, easy bike ride planned

Reminder to self: Get a race belt unless they're providing one?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Two Weeks Out

Last week's exercise ended up being close to plan:

Sun: Rest
Mon: 2200 yard swim at Masters practice followed by approx. 1.5 mile hard run
Tues: Rest
Wed: 30 min. full body weights, 30 min. bike sprints (approx. 4 miles)
Thurs: Rest - Girls' Night, w00t
Fri: 30 min. full body weights
Sat: 600 swim, T1, 12 mile bike, T2, 2 mile run/walk
Sunday: Rest

The mock tri on Saturday went really well despite some serious hills on the bike. My run felt fantastic, especially after a walk break early on. Loving the elastic laces. Need to work on speed and play with nutrition a bit but otherwise I feel good for the race.

This week's plan:

Monday: 2400 yard swim, fast sets at practice
Tuesday: C25K run/walk
Wednesday: 30 min. full body weights, 30 min. bike sprints
Thursday: Rest or C25K run/walk
Friday: 30 min. full body weights
Saturday: Rest (Doing a wedding)
Sunday: Long bike ride

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Three Weeks Out

I'm three weeks out from the race. I sent in my check and registration last week. I've practiced T1 and T2 in my head a couple of times so while I haven't done it physically, I have a better idea of what I will and won't need. I bought elastic laces on Friday and laced myself up today so I will practice biking and running in these over the next couple of weeks.

My tentative exercise plan for this next week is below. My knees are feeling 90% good but I want them feeling 100% good before I work them hard this week. Therefore, I'm starting off with a swim or bike:

Saturday (yesterday) - Rest

Sunday (today) - Rest

Monday - I'll either do a bike ride or the advanced swim practice avoiding extensive breaststroke for a hard but low-impact workout. If knees are feeling good, I will do a timed fast 2 mile run afterward to get an idea of where I stand pace-wise (walking for 30 seconds every 3 or 5 minutes if necessary). It should also simulate running at the end of a hard race. If the knees are not feeling excellent, skip run.

Tuesday - Fast 2 mile run (walking for 30 sec. every 3 or 5 minutes if necessary) if I didn't run Monday. Otherwise rest.

Wednesday - Whole-body weights followed by intervals on bike.

Thursday - C25K run/walk easy pace. If knees are feeling good, do speed intervals instead. It's Girls' Night, though, so I may end up taking this evening off. If so, push run to Friday.

Friday - Whole-body weights, run if I didn't run Thursday.

Saturday - Simulated race using equipment I plan to use race day. Emphasis will be on the bike ride - Brief swim, T1, 10-14 mile bike ride, T2, brief run. Practice using sports drink on the bike. Also practice changing a flat tire after the ride in case I screw something up.

Sunday - Rest

Equipment-wise, I don't think I will need anything for the race other than what I have now. I will wear a swim suit underneath everything. I'll add shorts and a tank top during T1. I'll wear sunglasses for the bike but not for the run. May add a hat for the run. I'd ideally like to use only sports drinks during the bike so I won't have to deal with packaging, digestion, or getting nutrition during T2. I should have something available at T2, though, just in case I don't use the drink on the bike. I'm pretty sure I will need some sort of fuel between the bike and run.

T1: Pull off goggles and cap, pat down dry including feet, shorts on, top on, socks on, shoes on, sunglasses on, helmet on, go.

T2: Rack bike, helmet off, sunglasses off, hat on?, nutrition?, go.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Banana Soft Serve

Banana Soft Serve

You'll need:
3 frozen, peeled bananas cut into chunks

Place chunks of banana into food processor.
Blend for several minutes, stopping to scrape occasionally.
Once the mixture is fully blended and has taken on a soft, fluffy texture, serve!

Add chocolate sauce :) or other toppings as you like. Next time I'll try sliced strawberries. Place leftover mixture in the fridge temporarily while serving to avoid "melting."

This is so simple yet such a nice, nutritious, 100% natural, lactose-free treat for a warm summer day. It's something you can feel good about feeding to the kiddos. This recipe makes enough for about 3 of these bowls:

Exercise this week.

My exercise this week:

Monday: Biked 14 miles pushing it pretty hard in some spots.
Tuesday: Swim practice with J. 1 hr, approx. 1500 m.
Wednesday: Week 3, Day 2 of the C25K program outside, 30 min. weights
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Week 3, Day 3 inside track, 30 min. weights
Saturday & Sunday: Resting my knees.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

I came across this article today on Runner's World - a little old but still true - and had to post it because it describes me and my self-inflicted overuse injuries so well. I thought others might also be able to relate. I've highlighted in green what I find particularly relevant. Nutrition-wise I think I do well enough and my lungs and heart feel terrific. However, I definitely push my body and, according to this article (and the tendons in my knees), it is probably too much too often for my age. It's time to start using some self control.

Running Through The Ages


You have a high capacity for work and recovery, but you will also discover that life is demanding and can get in the way of training.

By Dimity McDowell
Image by Roger Erickson

PUBLISHED 02/08/2008

Inherently stronger and faster than a teenager, you likely run because you love it--and you're good at it. Not because one of your teammates is cute, which is why Nick Symmonds, 24, a world-class 800-speedster in Eugene, Oregon, got started. "People typically race their best from their early 20s to their early 30s, when they have a high capacity for work and for recovery," says coach Greg McMillan. Still, challenges can emerge: Graduation can send athletes into a tailspin, as former Harvard steeplechase star Rosalinda Castaneda discovered. She moved to San Francisco and started working as a blood-transfusion specialist to prepare for med school. "My hours were all over the place, and I couldn't train consistently," says the 24-year-old. "It was a shock to my body, which was used to running on a set schedule for eight years."

Your Strengths

You're on top of the physiological world. Around age 24, not only are your bones as dense as they'll get, but you're as muscular as you'll ever be (having attained the maximum number of fibers per muscle). Enjoy it--and shed your shirt during workouts without a second thought--because in your 30s, you'll start to lose muscle mass (about four percent per decade). "Age-related muscle loss is obligatory and can't be stopped with exercise, but it can be slowed," says exercise scientist Steven Hawkins, Ph.D. "Runners also start with a higher level of muscle quality than sedentary people, so there's a much longer way to fall." You can impress competitors with a killer kick at the end of a 5-K--even if you haven't been doing speedwork. Your fast-twitch muscle fibers, used for quick bursts, are most plentiful in your 20s, and yourVO2 max is also at its peak. Even though both will decline, runners have a massive advantage because our baselines are so much higher than the average person's. "A fit 70-year-old has the same capacity to move oxygen around the body as an unfit 40-year-old," says internist and longevity expert Walter Bortz, M.D.

Your Weaknesses

You may start to feel twinges in your knees toward the end of your 20s. Cartilage, the gel-like, shock-absorbing substance that lines the ends of your bones, can become frayed as your 30th birthday looms. Adding insult to injury, chondrocytes, the cartilage cells in charge of repair, also decrease in number with age. You'll likely do some self-inflicted damage before you figure out how to balance the demands of real life with running. "Young, unsupervised athletes usually don't get enough sleep, hydration, or adequate nutrition," says Bradley Young, Ph.D., sports psychologist in the school of human kinetics at the University of Ottawa. "At some point, usually the fourth or fifth year out of college, you realize that you can't stay up until 2 a.m. and belt out an eight-mile tempo run the next morning. You eventually learn to self-regulate--or you become a post-university running casualty."

Exercise Rx

Your most important training tool this decade? Self-control. Cardiovascularly, you're a rock star, but your musculoskeletal system can't always keep up with your heart and your lungs. "The demands and impact of running are too intense on your joints and muscles to complete tough workout after tough workout without getting injured," says McMillan, who recommends you take at least one easy day between hard runs and incorporate no-impact cross-training activities into your routine.

Nutrition Rx

"Runners in their 20s tend to either eat poorly or eat just to get by; they don't make the connection between food and performance," says Lisa Dorfman, R.D., a sports nutritionist in Miami. When you're running, you want your body to tap into easily accessible carbs for fuel, not drain your protein stores. "Not only does protein aid in muscle repair, it also contributes to your immune system, the upkeep of your hair and skin, managing your hormones and water balance." So what you eat before, during, and after a run should all be part of your training plan. Before any run that's going to exceed an hour, eat about 40 grams of carbs (one cup of sports drink and half a banana or energy bar). If you're going longer than 90 minutes, restock your carbs every hour with 16 ounces of energy drink or with a gel and water. And within 60 minutes of finishing your run, jump-start your recovery with a carb-and-protein snack (chocolate milk and a bagel, or a smoothie).

The runner pictured above is Nick Symmonds 24 Eugene, Oregon
Running since: age 13
Résumé: Seven-time NCAA Division III champion, 800 and 1500 meters; 800 meters in 1:44.54 (at 23); indoor mile in 3:56 (at 23)
What I've learned: "Last year, I traveled and raced too much. I was exhausted and couldn't perform well. It showed me what is too much for my body. This year, my season will be less ambitious so I can be my best when it counts."
What works for me: "I never lost an 800-meter race in college. After graduation, I dropped my PR by almost three seconds. I attribute it to better competition. If somebody is in front of me, I can easily find an extra gear."

Go back to Running Through the Ages main page.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


My new swim suit arrived today! This is the first racing suit I've bought since probably 2001ish. I'm trying to shed my old habit of doubling up on worn-out suits for practice to create drag and get more use out of them. I have been informed that it's very passe. The two suits I have left in good shape no longer fit me because I have (barely) developed hips since I bought them many moons ago.

I'm really pleased with the cut and construction of this suit. The material is a polyester mix and the seams seem solid. The legs aren't cut extremely high as some suits are, it fits nicely around the mid-section, nicely around the back and butt (no wedgies), and flatters what boobage I have. One thing I will note is that the sizing is a little small as is often the case with racing suits. According to their sizing chart, I should be wearing a 30 or 32, but I ordered a 34 and it just fits (which is good, it will stretch out over time). I wouldn't go any smaller.

I haven't had a Dolfin suit before but I'm happy with it so far. Especially for less than $30! We'll just have to see how it performs in the pool.

Excuse the tiredness...this is after work and a trip to the gym.

Dolfin Uglies, you may have just become my new friend.

Lean 'N Mean Turkey Chili

This is one of D's favorite dishes right now. I made it last night and had leftovers for lunch today.

Lean 'N Mean Turkey Chili

1 lb. 99% lean ground turkey, thawed
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes
several handfuls fresh baby spinach
generous sprinkling of pine nuts
3/4 cup all natural tomato sauce (more if you like a soupier chili)
minced garlic
extra virgin olive oil
1 packet of McCormick's 30% Less Sodium Chili Seasoning Mix

Heat a couple of glugs of EVOO in a deep sauce pan over medium heat.
Add garlic to your liking. Cook briefly but don't let it turn brown.
Add thawed ground turkey, breaking it up, and cook until almost all pink is gone. Add a tiny bit of water if things are looking dry.
Mix in seasoning mix, both sets of beans, diced tomatoes, pine nuts, about 3/4 cup tomato sauce (add more for a soupier chili), spinach.
Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 5-8 minutes. Sometimes I add water during this step to reduce viscosity.
Once everything is heated through and the spinach is fully wilted, turn off the heat and serve. Enjoy!

Makes 4-6 large servings. More if you aren't a pig like we are.

Ten Minute Tasty Asparagus and Brown Rice Recipe

I discovered this recipe several weeks ago when Googling for a healthy 10-minute dinner recipe. I have since made it twice with my own adjustments and I completely love it. It is a bit comfort food-y and the chickpeas and almonds add really nice texture. The leftovers are great, too. My changes are in red.

Ten Minute Tasty Asparagus and Brown Rice Recipe

"I made this with brown rice, but you could certainly substitute other grains. I suspect quinoa or millet would make nice substitutes (or even a short whole-grain pasta?). As I mentioned above, seeking out the pre-cooked brown rice in the freezer section helps shave quite a lot of time in this recipe. But feel free to go from scratch with your favorite rice. Use two cans of chickpeas/garbanzo beans if you love them like I do - one can if you're only a general enthusiast ;)...

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 or 2 14-ounce cans of chickpeas, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
3 cups pre-cooked brown rice (I use 10-minute brown rice)
1 cup almond slivers, toasted
fine grain sea salt

Tahini Dressing:
1 garlic clove, smashed and chopped
1/4 cup tahini (I use plain hummus to save $)
zest of one lemon (omitted)
scant 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons hot water
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

If you're using frozen rice (did I just say that?), heat it on its own in a pot or per package instructions.

Make the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini, lemon zest and juice, and olive oil. Add the hot water to thin a bit and then the salt. Set aside.

Add a couple glugs of olive oil (roughly 3 tablespoons) to a big skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl the oil around to coat the pan, then add the chickpeas and sprinkling of salt. Let the beans saute there for a couple minutes (I like to try to get some crusty color on them). Be careful, they seem to hiss and pop more then other beans over high heat. Add the garlic and onions. Stir for a minute. Stir in the asparagus with another pinch or two of salt, cover with a lid for a minute or two to steam - just until the asparagus brightens and softens up just a bit. Uncover and stir in the rice and almond slivers, reserving a few almonds for garnish. Taste and add more salt if needed (likely). Serve family-style in a big bowl drizzled with a few tablespoons of the tahini dressing, let each person add more dressing to their tastes.

Serves 4-6."

The Ubiquitous Green Monster

Green Monster Shake - my version

1 cup organic skim milk
several handfuls of fresh spinach
1 or 2 large spoonfuls of natural peanut butter
1/2 scoop of vanilla protein powder (sometimes I skip this)
1 banana
several ice cubes

Combine & blend.

Pre-blend (and pre-protein powder and ice cubes)



I am training for a triathlon and I am so. excited.

I did a couple of Ironkids triathlons as a child back when I swam. I have vague but fun memories of them. I remember waiting for one of the swims to start - there were hundreds of kids just sitting there on the pool deck. I remember swimming and then getting out to head for T1. I remember getting a little torn up during one of the T1's and gashing my leg a bit. I remember being on the bike and nervously hoping I was going the right way. Ha. And then I remember heading out for the run on some grassy hills and looping around a building, then heading into the finish line where my parents stood, cheering. I also remember being super pumped about the free stuff they gave us, including sponges that looked like pieces of bread (one of the sponsors was a bread company). I don't think I ever placed, but I finished them and had fun in the process.

Anyway, after I started getting back into shape last winter, I somehow got an itch to do triathlons and it hasn't gone away. My patellar tendinitis has certainly affected my racing plans this year but about a week and a half ago I found a super sprint tri that I should be able to complete without pain or reinjuring myself. Plus, I just want to get my first adult tri under my belt already.

So...the race is on August 9. It's a 400 m. zigzag pool swim, 8 mile bike, 1.8 mile run. I wanted something very light on the run for my knees' sakes.

To get ramped back up into running at a pace safe for my knees, I'm doing the Couch To 5K Program. I'm currently on Week 3, Day 2. I won't be finished with the program before race day but as long as my knees are feeling good, I should be able to knock out 1.8 miles with mostly running at a good pace.

To prepare for the bike, I've been biking whenever I can. I think this will be the key to getting a good time. I am not a great biker - just bought my road bike in April - but I'm trying. I've been doing rides for a couple of months now and trying to slowly increase my distance. I did 14 miles on Monday and rode up every hill on the path, quads burning, lungs heaving, bike computer reading 5-8 mph.

I'm a little rusty on distances but I think I'm ready for the swim. I'd like to increase my strength and speed a bit for the sake of my pride as a former swimmer who used to do this faster, but if I had to do it now I'd be okay. Right now I'm clocking in at 5:45 for a normal 400 m. I'm thinking everyone's times will be slightly slower at the tri due to zigzagging and no flip turns but it should seed me well enough.

Therefore, most of my focus will be on the bike and possibly the run.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Happy Shoes.

I once asked my husband, D, for a user name that was simple but described me well. After a couple of seconds of thought, he said, "Happy Shoes." According to him, I am a pleasant (or at least I try to be on my good days, ha), generally happy person who loves shoes.

I felt this was a suitable name for my health and fitness blog also as my shoes and feet are happiest when they are exercising.

They are second happiest when they're wearing Cole Haans, but that's another story. :)


While this is not my first foray into blogging, it is my latest and hopefully longest venture.

I've started this blog to journal my fitness and health journey. I realize I am one among many to do this so I won't guarantee that this is anything new to you. But hopefully it will help or inspire someone.