Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries

Yum! I am not the most practiced cook ever so this was my first time making sweet potato fries. They were fab!

(borrowed image)

Slice sweet potatoes with skin into fries.
Spray a cookie pan lightly with nonstick spray.
Toss fries in EVOO, sea salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
Cook at 425 degrees for 28 min., turning about halfway.

The above is my slightly modified version of Kath's recipe here: http://www.katheats.com/strip-yoga/


Monday - My legs were fairly sore from Sunday's run so I took it easy and just did 30 min. lifting at the gym. I got lightheaded while working out even though I'd eaten a cup of yogurt + almond butter + farmer's market granola + flax seeds + banana beforehand (and had steadily snacked before that). I think my body was still recovering from the six miles on Sunday (my longest so far) and needed more fuel than usual.

Tuesday - My left thigh has been slightly achy around the IT band off and on for a few weeks so I've been keeping an eye on it. It's still a tad sore today and my back is also sort of achy so I'm going to push my easy 2 miler to tomorrow.

Probably being overly cautious but the last thing I want to do is ignore pre-injury signs and then get an injury right before my last two races of the season. I'm going to err on the side of too much rest over the next few weeks and will probably need to relax my race performance expectations. It's all good, though.

However, I'm still hitting up swim practice tonight!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Better Running Through Walking

I wanted to share some information behind why I choose to use a one-minute walk break for every mile I run!

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/02/health/02well.html?_r=2&ref=health

"Better Running Through Walking

Published: June 1, 2009

"I am more couch potato than runner. But not long ago, I decided to get myself into shape to run in the New York City Marathon, on Nov. 1, just 152 days from now. (Not that I’m counting.)

To train for my first marathon, I’m using the “run-walk” method, popularized by the distance coach Jeff Galloway, a member of the 1972 Olympic team. When I mentioned this to a colleague who runs, she snickered — a common reaction among purists.

But after interviewing several people who have used the method, I’m convinced that those of us run-walking the marathon will have the last laugh.

Contrary to what you might think, the technique doesn’t mean walking when you’re tired; it means taking brief walk breaks when you’re not.

Depending on one’s fitness level, a walk-break runner might run for a minute and walk for a minute, whether on a 5-mile training run or the 26.2-mile course on race day. A more experienced runner might incorporate a one-minute walk break for every mile of running.

Taking these breaks makes marathon training less grueling and reduces the risk of injury, Mr. Galloway says, because it gives the muscles regular recovery time during a long run. Walk breaks are a way for older, less fit and overweight people to take part in a sport that would otherwise be off limits. But most surprising are the stories from veteran runners who say run-walk training has helped them post faster race times than ever.

One of them is Tim Deegan of Jacksonville, Fla., who had run 25 marathons when his wife, Donna Deegan, a popular local newscaster and cancer survivor, began organizing a marathon to raise money for breast cancer research. When Mr. Galloway volunteered to help with the race, Ms. Deegan asked her husband to take part in run-walk training to show support.

“The only reason I did this is because I love my wife,” said Mr. Deegan, 49. “To say I was a skeptic is to put it very nicely.”

But to his surprise, he began to enjoy running more, and he found that his body recovered more quickly from long runs. His times had been slowing — to about 3 hours 45 minutes, 15 minutes shy of qualifying for the Boston Marathon — but as he ran-walked his way through the Jacksonville Marathon, “I started thinking I might have a chance to qualify for Boston again.”

He did, posting a time of 3:28.

Nadine Rihani of Nashville ran her first marathon at age 61, taking walk breaks. Her running friends urged her to adopt more traditional training, and she was eventually sidelined by back and hip pain. So she resumed run-walk training, and in April, at age 70, she finished first in her age group in the Country Music Marathon, coming in at 6:05.

“My friends who were ‘serious’ runners said, ‘You don’t need to do those walk breaks,’ ” she said. “I found out the hard way I really did.”

Dave Desposato, a 46-year-old financial analyst, began run-walk training several years ago after excessive running resulted in an overuse injury. He finished this year’s Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City, Mich., in 3:31:42, cutting 12 minutes off his previous best.

“I run enough marathons now to see everybody totally collapsing at the end is very, very common,” he said. “You wish you could share your experience with them, but they have to be willing to listen first.”

Another unconventional element of walk-break training is the frequency — typically just three days a week, with two easy runs of 20 to 60 minutes each and a long run on the weekend. The walk breaks allow runners to build up their mileage without subjecting their bodies to the stress of daily running, Mr. Galloway said.

Many runners take their own version of walk breaks without thinking about it, he says: they slow down at water stations or reduce their pace when they tire. Scheduling walk breaks earlier in a run gives the athlete control over the race and a chance to finish stronger.

While I’m planning to use run-walk training to complete my first marathon, I’ve heard from many runners who adhere to a variety of training methods. So later this week, the Well blog will have a new feature: the Run Well marathon training tool, with which you can choose any of several coaches’ training plans and then track your progress.

Besides Mr. Galloway, plans are being offered by the marathoner Greg McMillan, who is renowned for his detailed training plans that help runners reach their time goals; the New York Flyers, the city’s largest running club, which incorporates local road races into its training; and Team for Kids, a New York Road Runners Foundation charity program that trains 5,000 adult runners around the world.

The Run Well series also gives you access to top running experts, advice from elite runners, reviews of running gadgets and regular doses of inspiration to get you race-ready.

So please join me, the coaches and other running enthusiasts every day at the Well blog, nytimes.com/well, during the next five months of training. For me, this is finally the year I’ll run a marathon. I hope it will be your year too."


Source: http://www.active.com/running/Articles/Strategic_walk_breaks_can_make_you_a_better_marathoner.htm

"Strategic walk breaks can make you a better marathoner

Credit: Allsport
As one who has run for more than four decades, I sometimes find it hard to admit, but our bodies weren't designed to run continuously for long distances such as a marathon.

Sure we can adapt, but we pay for it in extra fatigue and lose some of the enjoyment of running. But there's a better way to go the distance -- alternating walking and running from the start. Once you commit yourself to doing this, there's probably not a distance you can't cover.

When taken from the beginning of all long runs, walk breaks erase fatigue, speed recovery and reduce injury; but best of all, they bestow the endurance of the distance covered. In other words, a slow long run with walk breaks gives you the same distance conditioning as a fast run of the same distance.

On every long run, you should take a one- to two-minute walk break every two to eight minutes. If you're just beginning to run, you'll walk more than you'll run. Experienced marathoners will recover much faster from their long runs when they take one-minute walk breaks at least every eight minutes. The walk breaks can be done at a fast or easy pace, but the easier walking pace relaxes the legs better.

When running at your comfortable pace and incorporating walk breaks, a total beginner can expect to finish a marathon after training six months or less. Those who struggle to run their daily distance can increase by a mile with walk breaks and feel great afterward. Runners over age 40 who incorporate strategic walk breaks in certain runs reduce fatigue and injury, and many improve times.

Once we each find the ideal ratio for a given distance, walk breaks allow us to feel strong to the end and help us recover fast, while bestowing the same endurance we would have received if we ran continuously.

Most marathoners will record significantly faster times when they take walk breaks. Thousands of time/goal-oriented marathon veterans have improved by 10, 20 even 30 minutes and more by taking walk breaks early and often in their goal race. You can easily spot these folks in races -- they're the ones who are picking up speed during the last two to six miles when everyone else is slowing down.

Use your muscles in different ways

When a muscle group such as your primary running workhorse, the calf, is used continuously step by step, it fatigues relatively soon. Walk breaks give that main running muscle a chance to recover before it starts accumulating fatigue, thus reducing the damage to the muscle dramatically.

Walk breaks force you to slow down early in the run so that you don't start too fast. This reduction of the intensity of muscle use from the beginning conserves your energy, fluids and muscle capacity. The running muscles are able to make adaptations inside so that they can go farther with less fatigue.

When you run continuously without taking a break, the weak areas of your running muscles get overused and force you to slow down later afterward. How do they do this? It's called pain.

By shifting back and forth between walking and running, you distribute the workload among a variety of muscles and increase your overall performance capacity. For veteran marathoners, this is often the difference between achieving a time goal or not. Walk breaks will significantly speed up recovery because there is less damage to repair. Early walk breaks erase fatigue, and later breaks will reduce or eliminate overuse and muscle breakdown.

The earlier you walk, the better

You must start walk breaks before you feel any fatigue -- in the first mile -- for maximum benefit. If you wait until you feel the need to walk, you've already reduced your potential performance. Even waiting until the two-mile mark to take the first walk will reduce the resiliency you could regain from walking in the first mile.

If you feel self-conscious about walking early, carry an empty water bottle and pretend to drink as you walk. You can also blame me: Tell those who pass you that Jeff Galloway made you do it!

Would you like a discount? To put it in shopping terms, walk breaks give a discount from the pounding on legs and feet. If you walk often enough, start early enough and keep the pace slow enough, a five-mile run only leaves three miles of fatigue, and a 10-miler produces only five to seven miles of tiredness.

How walk breaks can help you speed up

A survey of veteran marathoners showed an average improvement of 13 minutes when they put walk breaks into their marathon, compared with running continuously under the same conditions. By saving the strength and efficiency of the running muscles through early walk breaks, you'll avoid the slowdown in the last six miles where most continuous runners lose their momentum. If you paced yourself conservatively and walked enough from the first mile, you'll amaze yourself as you pass people and pick up speed.

There's also a mental benefit -- breaking 26 miles into segments that you know you can do. Even sub-three-hour runners continue to take their walk breaks to the end.

One of them explains it this way: "Instead of thinking at 20 miles that I had six more gut-wrenching miles to go, I was saying to myself 'one more mile until my break'. Even when it was tough, I always felt that I could go one more mile."

A three-minute run/one-minute walk person told me that she got over the tough parts by saying "three more minutes."

Convinced? Then give it a try. For more information on this training program, visit www.runinjuryfree.com."


Source: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=50998

"Runners, On Your Mark, Get Set, Walk!

Walk for Your Life!

By Eric Sabo
WebMD Feature

Thrilled by the chance to run 26 miles, Karen Brown says that her first marathon ended in the agony of defeat: At mile 21, the 30-year-old high school English teacher had given all she had to give. So she ended up walking the last 5.2 miles, crossing the finish line far behind the pack, at 5 hours and 20 minutes.

"I was so tired," she says. "I let myself down."

To most runners, walking is a sure sign of failure, especially in the middle of a big race. But the way champion marathoner Jeff Galloway sees it, the only problem with Karen Brown's disappointing finish is that she didn't start walking soon enough.

"Our bodies are better designed for walking than running," says Galloway, who was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic marathon team. "If you alternate, you can recover quicker and finish faster."

Galloway is one of the sport's biggest fans of "walk breaks," a system that splits long-distance jaunts into several miles of running and short walks in between. At its heart, the program sounds embarrassingly similar to those infomercials that promise rock-hard abs with only a few minutes of exercise each day, but Galloway insists that walk breaks are no joke.

"This is how they did the first marathons in Greece," he says. Even today, you can see some of the leading African runners slow down when they get water. This pause, Galloway says, is just a hurried version of the same idea.

Learning to Walk

"Beginners need to take longer breaks," says Galloway. "But world-class athletes can benefit as well."

From his running camp outside of Atlanta, Galloway has attracted a legion of followers who have used his advice to walk and run their way to impressive marathon finishes. And with more and more people getting bit by the marathon bug, running experts agree that his methods are a good way to boost involvement in the sport.

"Marathons are pretty daunting," says Owen Anderson, founder and editor of Running Research News. "It takes some of the pressure off if you don't have to run the whole way."

Galloway says he first started using walk breaks intuitively as a way to get poorly conditioned runners into marathon shape. He eventually developed a more sophisticated program after hearing how ultradistance runners would walk part of the time in races that go on for 50-odd miles.

When you take walk breaks, Galloway explains, your legs use different muscles, allowing them to recover and remain strong for a long race. He compares the effects to bending a wire: Keep twisting it, and the wire breaks. Just bend it from time to time and the wire holds up longer.

Not Just for Amateurs

The ratio of walking to running depends on your own fitness level, but the basic principles at work are the same whatever level you're at.

"You need to start taking breaks at the beginning of the race," says Galloway. "This way you can erase fatigue progression before it's too late."

For newcomers to running, walk breaks have shown dramatic benefits. At the request of a Los Angeles radio station, Galloway spent six months getting some 250 couch potatoes ready for their first marathon.

"Only one didn't finish," he says.

But Galloway says that even highly conditioned athletes can benefit. Like their out-of-shape counterparts, elite runners can take walk breaks to ultimately run faster.

"I've had guys come up to me and say 'I hate to admit this, but the breaks worked,'" he recalls.

But What About Winning?

Despite Galloway's success stories with beginning marathoners, don't expect the lead finishing group to walk in tandem anytime soon.

"I think it's a great way to start training," say Jonathan Cane, who puts athletes through their paces at City Coach in New York. "But I'm not as convinced that accomplished runners will see faster times with walk breaks."

Adds Anderson: "When you're walking, you're obviously moving more slowly than running or jogging, and therefore it broadens your overall time."

A problem with walk breaks, some say, is that the rest your muscles get from walking will be cancelled out by the extra amount of energy you have to burn trying to catch up to those who passed you. This extra effort can quickly drain your body's store of glycogen -- the fuel it needs to keep running.

"Walking may give your muscles a chance to regroup a little bit, but the reason your muscles are becoming fatigued is because they are running out of glycogen," Anderson says. And taking a break, he adds, isn't going to change the fact that you still need to finish the race.

Galloway is undeterred. "You can speculate all you want, but this works big time," he says.

One convert is Vernon Walther, who handles circulation for Runners World magazine. As someone who typically runs marathons in just over 3 hours, Walther was looking for a way to break into the club of 2-hour finishers. Three years ago at a marathon in Philadelphia, he took a series of 30-second walk breaks during the race and ran full tilt at the end. His finishing time: 2 hours and 57 minutes.

"It was my best race," he says."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Thursday - Rest day

Friday - 30 min. lifting, 1 mile run. Decided to save my 6 miles for Sunday and just did a quick mile to burn some energy.

Saturday - 13 hour day working a wedding, about 11 hours of it on my feet vs. sitting & driving

Sunday - easy 6 miles with a 1 min. walk break after reach mile. Building that base!

Mile 1 - 10:22
Mile 2 - 10:31
Mile 3 - 10:49
Mile 4 - 11:05
Mile 5 - 10:51
Mile 6 - 10:39
Avg. pace - 10:43, 4 seconds off goal pace of 10:47

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Plugging along

Monday's 2 mile run after 30 min. lifting went fabulously.

Tuesday's 2750 yard swim went pretty well:

400 swim
2 * 200 on 3:10, kick/swim/drill/swim by 50

Main Set
2 * 300 pull on 4:10 - arms felt really good and solid
4 * 200 on 2:45, descend 1-4 - No descending on my part. Basically just worked my ass off to keep up.
6 * 100 on 1:25 hold all at moderate-fast pace

Cool Down
200 easy - I did 100.

Total: 3,000 yards....I miscounted once, sat out a couple of 50's, and only did 100 cool down to get to the meeting afterward in time so my overall distance was 2,750 yards.

I paced with M in the next lane over. She is a grad student and former swimmer for William & Mary. She's currently a member of our tri club and coaches the swim practices. She has a relaxed stroke, lightning flip turns, and a really good underwater pushoff every time. I managed to more or less keep up on most of the sets but took a couple of breathers to recharge and get back in the game. She complimented me several times on my pace so that felt good. I've never been a huge fan of freestyle and it's never been my strongest stroke relatively speaking (although given how infrequently I do the other strokes now maybe it is at the moment) but I'm working it out. I'm sure it would also help if I swam more than once a week!

Wednesday - My 10K plan says I was supposed to do a five mile tempo run last Wed. and a speedwork session this Wed. Because I skipped my main two runs last week due to back issues, I decided to be good to my legs and ease back in this week. Therefore, I skipped speedwork and instead did five easy miles yesterday. Four miles before it got dark and one mile after 30 min. strength-training on the indoor track. My legs were generally achy during and afterward, but after a solid sleep last night I am feeling fab today.

Thursday - I had originally planned to swim tonight as they're removing the lane lines to simulate an OWS, but I think I'm going to give my body a break and take the day off from exercise. I've got 6 miles and lifting to do tomorrow, a 12+ hour day on my feet at a wedding on Saturday, plus a bunch lined up for next week, so tonight I'm going to meet up with the girls for dinner and call it a day.


Update on my bike trainer - The CycleOps Mag trainer from Craigslist didn't work out, but I found an even better deal on a Kurt Kinetic trainer that a friend of mine is picking up for me tomorrow. I should get it mid next week. I'm excited as this brand is supposed to be top quality/performance and I'm getting it at a fantastic price. This time next week I should be all set up and hopefully cranking out the miles!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Three Weeks Out

I'm three weeks out from my second triathlon. Yay! Tentative schedule for this week barring sore body parts:

Monday - 30 min. weights, 2 mile easy run

Tuesday - 2500-3000 yard swim practice

Wednesday - 5 mile run (either easy or tempo), 30 min. weights

Thursday - probably rest as it's Girls' Night

Friday - 30 min. weights, easy 6 mile run

Saturday - wedding, on my feet for 12+ hours

Sunday - rest or easy bike ride; quick run-through of transitions at home

The weather for this tri will probably be remarkably cooler than the last one. Need to look into this and figure out what to wear.

I was looking at the girls in my age group signed up for this tri and some of them are FAST. Holy crap. Like regional leaders fast. I think my original "realistic" goal of placing in the top 15 of my age group is still reasonable. My "preferred" goal of placing in the top 7 of my age group is probably a little unreasonable. I will be happy to get top 10. My "holy crap" goal of top 3 is still that - holy crap and highly unlikely. But it's all good. It should be a cool experience to meet such fast girls and see how they race.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Garage, meet Dining Room Table.

I bought a gently used bike trainer on Craigslist. It's a CycleOps Mag Trainer plus climbing riser block and training DVD. I haven't gotten it yet but I'm excited about using it and building quads of steel.

Because I live in a small townhouse, my lovely dining room table, which I never use, will be relocating to the garage. That way I can do my riding in view of the TV and annoy D while he's playing video games. Home decor takes one for the team.

I really wanted a Kurt Kinetic Road Machine but those things are crazy! pricey so this will do for now. Maybe it'll be an option one day once I've proven to be a dedicated little triathlete.

It's been 4.5 days since I last exercised (with the exception of some WWS - walking while shopping) due to my back. I've handled it pretty well aside from eating a lot of pizza and dessert. The back is feeling much better now although my right leg still feels a bit off. We'll see how it does tomorrow. I'm not really sure how to ease back into my running training plan after missing one tempo run and one long run? I guess I'll try an easy 2 miles tomorrow and upper body weights at the gym and go from there. Tuesday will be swimming, which shouldn't be a problem.

Swim Workout

Great-looking swim workout from Team Whimsy:

"From USMS Swimmer Magazine, September/October Vol. 5, No. 5

500 Free breathe every 3/5 by 5, long push-offs on each turn
200 kick- no board streamline (50 on your side/50 on your back, repeat)
100 drill of choice

IM Set
1x300 IM
4x50 fly 1:05 swim strong with relaxed face
1x200 IM
4x50 back 1:05
1x100 IM

Freestyle Set
4x (3 x100 Free) swim each round at the same pace- no breaks. Keep focus on the black line and relax your back and shoulders. The challenge is, as the interval decreases , to maintain the pace without starting too slow.

Round 1: 1:40
Round 2: 1:35
Round 3: 1:30
Round 4: 1:25

Easy 100 Free

Hypoxic Set
12 Doughboy 25s-no breath- with 20 seconds rest. Breath control with relaxation. (The Yogis say fall down seven times, get up 8, so if you need to take a breath just start again)

4x50s easy"

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Ugh, I hit a hiccup in training this week.

It started during lifting on Wednesday morning. My lower back started to ache a little on the right side. I tried to stretch it out as soon as I noticed it and modified the rest of my time at the gym to work around it. Showered, went to work, didn't think anything more of it.

A couple of hours into work I realized the pain was getting worse. I couldn't sit comfortably and getting up from my seat hurt like a b*tch. I tried walking it out, stretching it out, icing it off and on all day. Late in the afternoon my right leg started to get partially numb and a little tingly if I sat in one place for very long. Since I was leaving town the next day with a four-hour drive each way I decided to see the Dr.

She said it's sacroiliac joint inflammation. Not overly serious in the grand scheme of things but it would put me off running for 1-2 weeks. UGH. She said I can basically run once the pain is gone. She's a runner herself so she gets it - said to contact her in a few days if it doesn't improve and she'll get me in to see a physical therapist to get me back in shape for my races. I should be able to swim and bike.

While I was gone on Thursday and Friday (a friend of mine is a PhD student and was going out of town for research; I tagged along for a break from work/routine), I did a good deal of walking. The pain has traveled now. It's less noticeable in my back and now more noticeable in my leg joints - hip, knee, ankle. My gait feels "off" when I walk and sends pain up the side of my ankle as if I'm stepping wrong.

Today I am listening to my husband and resting completely at home. I got plenty of sleep last night, will be icing all day, and sitting on my butt. This sucks. I am so antsy to get back to my training - I've missed two runs so far and I'm not even sure I should be biking or swimming right now - but will hopefully have better news in a day or two.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Checking in

I wasn't on fire last night at swim practice. Maybe that's what I get for not having swum in two weeks. I had some really nice, fluid moments but I also found myself fighting against the current for a lot of it. It's been a while since I shared a lane with more than four people or so and we were all going at a good clip and sloshing up the pool. It was a struggle to keep up and I even had some muscle fatigue. Kind of weird since I didn't have that at the last practice, which was harder. Oh well, it happens!

100 free
200 - 50 kick, 50 swim, 50 kick, 50 swim
150 free pull

Main Sets
2 * 100 free working on stroke count - I can't remember ever doing stroke counts in 12 years of swimming (maybe once or twice many years ago?) so I was surprised to learn something new! My comfortable stroke per length count was about 17-18. If I really stretched it out I was at 15-16.
2 * 150 working on stroke count - I was able to reduce stroke count on each 50 of the first 150 but struggled to stretch out enough while maintaining speed to reduce on the second 150. I've always had a slightly fast turnover.

2 * 200 free
5 * 150 free, last 50 easy....I sat out a 50
4 * 75 - 25 drill, 25 swim, 25 sprint

Cool Down
150 swim

Total swum: 2500 yards
Total comments on my suit: 2

Gotta say, the cut of the sushi suit leaves a bit to be desired. In the future I will stick with Dolfin Uglies as I find the cut to be generous and comfortable. This ClubSwim suit goes a bit high on the legs in the front and definitely shows some butt in the back. It also comes a bit low in the chest (not a huge issue for me as I don't have a lot there) and cuts in on the chest sides as well. The lower back cut is very flattering and the straps are comfortable but I did find myself pulling and tugging on the rest of the suit.


This morning I went to the gym for 30 min. strength training. I don't think I'm a morning weights person. I can do morning cardio and perform acceptably and feel good afterward but I felt like I lacked strength this morning. Evenings seem to be my ideal lifting period. I've had time to build up glycogen stores throughout the day and at that point I'm looking to seriously decompress after work. Lesson learned!

I also had my body fat % measured this morning. I do that every once in a while to basically make sure I'm not eating too much chocolate along with my veggies. I was down quite a bit in the three different areas measured (upper arm, abs, thigh), especially abs. In May I was measured at 23%. Today I was down to about 20.5%. Wow! I weigh the same as I did then and simply didn't expect such a drastic change. Must be all of my swimbikerun. I am officially (barely) in athletic range. W00t! I am happy at my current weight and I really don't work out to lose fat anymore (although additional firming up and muscle definition is always welcome and is basically the result of lost fat). However, it is a nice side effect of my efforts. :)

Looking forward to my tempo run tonight!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday Bruiseday

I just liked the way that sounds. I don't actually plan to cruise for a bruise today. That's tomorrow. Tonight's workout will be swim practice with the always-entertaining tri team followed by a meeting during which the coordinator has promised to make himself look awkward. Fun will be had by all!

Yesterday - 30 min. weights, easy 2 mile run, once again having trouble staying on pace:

Mile 1 - 10:03
Mile 2 - 10:51
Avg: 10:27, 20 seconds off goal pace of 10:47.

Avg. heart rate was perfectly consistent, though - 153 BPM. I like how my 150 bpm HR puts me at a 10-something pace while the pros can maintain a 150 HR and win an Ironman. :)

Today - 1 hr. swim practice feeling delicious in my sushi suit

Tomorrow - 30 min. heavy lower body weights, 5 mile tempo run...aka it's leg-killin' time

Thursday - Rest


I leave you with a haiku:

itchy red spot --
it appears mosquitoes like
evening bike rides too


Monday, September 14, 2009


A big shout out from this humble rookie to Miss Bree Wee of Hawaii for taking home the women's title at Lavaman this weekend. Her results from the website, only 10 seconds behind the overall winner of the race:

Swim - 21:29 Bike - 1:05:30 Run - 41:19 Total - 2:08:18

Damn! I love this woman. And of course she's got a mad killer crazy awesome stomach to boot. And that's after having a child!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hello, hello.

Training for the last week and a half (note: all runs include a 1 min. walk break after each mile):

Friday, 9/4 - 30 min. strength training

Saturday, 9/5 - easy 4 mile run... Not going to lie, this was rough. I did a poor job of hydrating/fueling beforehand, didn't bring anything with me, and went out during the heat of the day so by the time I was done, I felt light-headed and kind of sick. Went home and slowly rehydrated and ate. I kept a 10:46 avg. pace, right around the 10:53 my plan called for.

Mile 1 - 10:21
Mile 2 - 10:53
Mile 3 - 10:50
Mile 4 - 10:59

Sunday, 9/6 - Rest

Monday, 9/7 - easy 2 mile run in the morning, 30 min. strength training

Mile 1 - 10:11
Mile 2 - 10:55
Avg. pace - 10:33

Tuesday, 9/8 - Rest - The plan was to join up with the local tri team for swim practice but that afternoon I suddenly started feeling really nauseous, headachey, dehydrated, tired. So I skipped and took a nap. I'm thinking it may have been exhaustion even though I don't feel like my workouts are enough to wear me out so much. Bodies have a funny way of communicating with you.

Wednesday, 9/9 - 3 mile easy run in the morning (I needed the endorphins to get me through a lunchtime dentist appointment!), 30 min. strength training

Mile 1 - 10:21
Mile 2 - 1o:55
Mile 3 - 10:53
Avg. pace - 10:43

Thursday, 9/10 - Rest - Met with my event planning partner and a bride with an upcoming wedding to go over last-minute details. No time to work out. After Tuesday's episode, I decided extra rest this week was probably a good thing. I'm all for HTFU and was a card-carrying member as a teenage athlete but I'm trying to break that mindset now. I keep reading articles and books that emphasize a healthy balance of rest and easy training along with hard workouts in order to maximize results so I'm trying it out.

Friday, 9/11 - 30 min. strength training, 10 miles on the stationary bike. I've been feeling bad about how much I'm neglecting my bike. It was dark out so that's better than nothing, right? Holy crap, talk about sore sit bones.

Saturday, 9/12 -easy 5 mile run. This time I was sufficiently fueled and waited until the early evening to do my run so the weather was just perfect for running. I felt so good that I had a hard time holding back to keep the 10:53 pace my plan calls for. I felt like I could have gone a lot faster. I know it's important to build my aerobic fitness but I'm pumped that next week marks the beginning of faster paced runs!

Nutrition: I ate normally beforehand and had a GU (carbs) immediately afterward, then some sips of Powerade (carbs) when I got home followed by a meal replacement shake (some carbs, lot of protein). I was trying to reach a 2:1 ratio of carbs to proteins for post-workout recovery fuel. I'm out of my favorite powdered recovery shake but have reordered and it's on the way.

Mile 1 - 10:33
Mile 2 - 9:58
Mile 3 - 10:50
Mile 4 - 10:33
Mile 5 - 11:01
Avg. pace - 10:35

Sunday, 9/13 - 15.5 miles biked trying to keep an aerobic HR so my avg. speed was pretty low. Nutrition: low sugar granola bar & water during the ride as I felt my blood sugar dipping, then a mixture of carbs and protein via whatever I had on hand at home.


On an equipment front, my new sushi swimsuit arrived and it's pretty sweet. I can tell the quality of the suit (ClubSwim - mostly nylon) is a bit lower than the Dolfin Uglies suit I have, which is mostly polyester. However, for a super fun $21 practice suit, it's totally worth it! I can't wait to wear it this week.

My Xterra sale wetsuit also arrived and I really like it. I'm a little concerned about the neck tightness but I keep hearing that all wetsuits are like that and that it will ease up a bit in the water. I need to test this. In the meantime, I feel like a plastic superhero!


In biking news, I'm struggling a bit. Reasons:

- I am scared of cars.
- I suck at changing gears although I'm a little better after the short tutorial my friend gave me.
- I am not very fast - I don't think I have adequate leg power.
- I don't know what I don't know and I don't have anyone around on a regular basis to guide me. Most of my cycling friends are either WAY above me or have completely packed schedules.

Basically, I have no confidence in myself because I feel sort of like I'm floundering. I *hate* this feeling so I dread riding my bike. It shouldn't be that way.

I talked to D about it and came up with a couple of temporary solutions:

- I am going to buy a bike trainer for the winter. The #1 thing that stands in my way between riding and not riding is my fear of cars. The #2 thing is daylight/weather. I will be much more likely to ride my bike if I remove these two hurdles. I'm going to try to find a good used one.
- I will try to start attending one or two spinning classes per week at the gym after my races are over.
- I may hire a temporary cycling coach to give me some pointers and feedback on where I'm doing well and where I'm falling short.

As I get stronger and more comfortable on my bike, my confidence should increase. As my confidence grows, I will probably be more likely to seek out group rides and road riding again. I know a trainer is not a perfect substitute for road riding but, seriously, right now I think this is the best way to get me on the bike more often.

I realized today that the way I feel about biking is probably similar to how a lot of triathletes feel about swimming. I read about their struggles and breakdowns and fears and constant working, working, working to improve. This is how I feel about the bike right now. I am afraid I won't conquer it enough to get me to where I want to be.

However, on a positive note, my running is coming along really well. That 5 mile run I did yesterday was the farthest I've gone in 10 years. How about that! :) My fitness and breathing felt so good yesterday. I'm becoming better acquainted with the subtle signals my body gives when my HR reaches the high 160's. I'm learning how to tackle hills. The best part? My knees continue to feel awesome! I get a little bit of achiness in the last mile of these long Saturday runs but once I finish and walk they're fine. I keep hearing my physical therapist's words, "As long as the pain is at a 4 or less, go ahead and keep doing what you're doing." I'd say the pain is a 1, maybe a 2 max in that last half mile. I stretch and ice afterward and they're golden. LOVES IT!


On the racing front, I have officially signed up for the Richmond Sprint Tri. W00t! Can't wait. I finally bit the bullet after attempting to sign up for the Marine Corps Marathon 10K on Friday only to be denied. AGH. I was soo disappointed because I'd decided that would be the perfect venue for my first 10K. I'd been on the site the day before and it was open. Anyway, that lit the fire under me and I immediately got my spot at the tri before that sold out, too.

Crossing my fingers that a spot in the MCM 10K will open up soon. I would really, really like to run it. Otherwise I'll have to find another 10K that weekend.


I'm leaving you with this pretty souvenir from my 11 mile ride last week. Eat it up, roadies!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Yesterday's spaghetti squash dinner was tonight's leftovers and they were just as good.

I also made another batch of chocolate hazelnut bites because we've already eaten the entire other batch *blush*. In our defense it doesn't make a ton but, still, we did eat more than we should have. This time I'm trying it with homemade granola that I bought at the farmer's market this weekend. It is much less sweet than commercial granola, and also a bit softer, so I'm hoping it will create the particular taste and texture I'm looking for.

I'm well into my 10K training plan now and enjoying it, although having to keep to a fairly specific running schedule to allow for enough recovery time does make it a bit difficult to fit other exercising in. I shouldn't do heavy legs on a run day of more than 2 or 3 miles. I shouldn't do a long bike ride after a long run. I shouldn't bike and run on the same day. I shouldn't bike or run every single day. These are all self-imposed rules designed to protect my knees as they continue to heal. Along with all of that, I have friends and triathlon club members doing runs and rides of their own on which I would love to tag along, except it's almost impossible for my schedule and their plans to overlap just right.

Anyway, because of that, I find myself a bit restricted in exactly what I can do each day. And usually I find myself doing it alone. However, D has started doing some of my runs with me and that is really nice.

I haven't signed up for my next triathlon yet. It takes place on October 11. I'm sort of scared to make the commitment just in case something goes wrong in my 10K training and I tear up my knees. I am 4.5 weeks out from it and just realized that, if I'm going to switch over to clipless pedals anytime soon, it needs to be ASAP.

Here are some of my short-term goals. It's nerve-wracking putting these in writing instead of keeping them in my head but now that I've stated them I've gotta make them!

October Sprint Tri
Realistic goal: Place top 15 in my age group
Preferred goal: Place top 7 in my age group
Holy crap goal: Place top 3 in my age group

October 10K
Realistic goal: Break 56 min.
Preferred goal: Break 54 min.
Holy crap goal: Break 53 min.

December 5K
Realistic goal: Break 26:50
Preferred goal: Break 26:20
Holy crap goal: Break 26 min.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

More Food Talk

I have one more recipe to add to the pile. I used 99% lean ground turkey instead of sausage and used organic tomato sauce instead of tomatoes as D is not a fan of chunky tomato bits. I also added spinach and mushrooms and mixed the spaghetti squash in with everything else at the end. It was really good!


" Spaghetti Squash Supper Recipe
Spaghetti Squash Supper Recipe

Nutrition Facts

  • One serving:
  • (1 each)
  • Calories:
  • 269
  • Fat:
  • 11 g
  • Saturated Fat:
  • 4 g
  • Cholesterol:
  • 30 mg
  • Sodium:
  • 846 mg
  • Carbohydrate:
  • 31 g
  • Fiber:
  • 8 g
  • Protein:
  • 14 g

Spaghetti Squash Supper

This recipe is a deliciously different way to get your family to eat vegetables. It's a favorite summer meal at our house.—Joyce Hunsberger, Quakertown, Pennsylvania


TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.


  • 1 medium spaghetti squash (3 to 3-1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can (15-1/2 ounces) great northern beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) Italian stewed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese


Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds. Pierce skin with a fork or knife; place, cut side down, in a microwave-safe dish. Add the water; cover and microwave on high for 6-9 minutes or until squash is tender. Let stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown sausage until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add the onion, green pepper, zucchini and garlic. Cook uncovered, for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally; drain. Add the beans, tomatoes, Italian seasoning and salt. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Using a fork, scoop out the spaghetti squash strands; place in a serving dish. Top with sausage mixture. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Yield: 6 servings.


Yesterday I promised to follow up on the Amazing No-Cook Chocolate Hazelnut Bites. They were tasty last night after a couple of hours in the fridge but tonight I think they hit their prime. After about 24 hours of firming up yet softening the crunchy granola, they had a nice fudgey texture, which was ideal to me. So good! As someone who likes very rich chocolate (read: slightly more bitter, slightly less sweet), I found these to be a tad sweet. I wonder if using less sweetened granola next time will do the trick, or using slightly less than a jar of chocolate hazelnut butter. Regardless, D and I liked these a lot and will make them again.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Yummy Recipes

Here are some recipes I've tried recently that resulted in very happy stomachs:


D *loved* this one:


"The Best Vegetable Lasagna



  • 3 cups pasta sauce (like Classico Spicy Tomato and Pesto)
  • 16 ounces 2% cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 9 whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • Approximately 4 cups mixed vegetables (I used spinach, carrots, sundried tomatoes, and zucchini)

Preheat oven to 400*. Spray 11 X 8 glass casserole dish.

  1. Combine cottage and parmesan cheeses.
  2. Place 3 uncooked noodles in pan.
  3. Cover with 1 cup pasta sauce, 1/3 cheese mixture, 1/3 vegetables, and 1/3 mozzarella.
  4. Repeat 2 more times.
  5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake one hour.

Makes about 8 servings, ~350 kcal per serving."


This one seems a little weird at first glance but the end result is a terrific mixture of flavors. So easy, too!


"Dinner-In-A-Flash Salmon Pasta

This dish uses all pantry + freezer staples – and is ready in 10 minutes.


First we took a can of salmon (I buy Costco’s wild Alaskan kind) and heated it in the microwave with a cup or so of frozen peas and a handful of frozen spinach, capers (2 tbsp?), dill and kosher salt. NOTE: We thawed and drained the spinach/peas in a collander first!


Meanwhile we cooked some whole wheat pasta (Trader Joe’s) and softened Laughing Cow cheese wedges in our bowls.


And tossed it all together along with a topping of parmesan and red pepper flakes.




I just made these tonight.....I'll let you know how they turn out after they've been refrigerated a while but the raw version was delish.


"Amazing No Cook Chocolate Hazelnut Bites.


1 jar Futter’s Chocolate Haze (lnut Butter)

1 scoop of Amazing Grass Chocolate Meal Powder (can also use cocoa powder)

1 cup BearNaked Banana and Walnut Granola (can use any granola of your choice)

1/4 cup honey"



"Raw Whipped Cream


1 1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked 2 hrs
1/2 cup water
3 tbsp agave (or 2 dates)
1/2 vanilla bean (I threw the whole thing in my Vita; if you do this in a food processor, sub 1 tsp vanilla extract)

Blend all ingredients in your Vitamix until smooth and fluffy. To make this in a food processor, start by blending all ingredients, minus 1/4 cup water. Stop frequently to scrape the bowl. When the mixture is quite smooth, drizzle in the last 1/4 cup water till fluffy.


This stuff is so decadent, it’s hard to believe it’s plant-based. Scoop over fresh berries or fruit, and enjoy!



Plus an easy veggie pasta dish: http://www.katheats.com/me-the-boys/


Thursday, September 3, 2009


Sunday - 14 mile bike ride. I was not feeling it at all so the ride was long, hard, and weary. My average speed was sad.

Monday - 2 miles easy run in the morning, 30 min. weights in the evening

Tuesday - 2900 yards swimming - first practice of the year with the tri club and it was awesome! Love the pool we have access to, so nice. Followed that up with a tri club meeting and ice cream eating contest (although I had to leave before it ended).

300 warm-up
2 * 300...150 pull, 50 kick, 50 swim, 25 under water, 25 build
2 * 300 at a 1:30ish pace...I think we miscounted and only did 550
5 * 200 even speed at about 2:00
4 * 100 on 1:30....fast, slow, fast, slow
50 cool down, had to get to the meeting afterward

Total: 2900 yards, about an hour

Wednesday - Did my first ride ever with someone else and it was SO much better than riding alone. Holy crap. I learned so much more in less than an hour of riding with my friend than I have in weeks of riding on my own. Plus, we went faster. 11 miles total. Also 30 min. weights at the gym.

Thursday - 3 miles easy run on the track with D

I am sold on group rides now. It was so much easier and less scary to crank out a ride with someone else than it is alone.


People aren't kidding when they say triathlon is an expensive sport. I realize I don't *need* a lot of these toys but most of them really do help. And apparently roadies find it very important to look good even if you don't "ride good."

Current wish list:
clipless pedals & shoes
bike trainer
wetsuit (in process, still waiting to get the right size and 100% convince myself I'll use it)
bike jersey
running/biking tights for cold weather
compression socks
tri suit
sweatproof/shatterproof/slipproof sunglasses for riding and running
bike rack for car
bike stand for home

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I couldn't resist.

I couldn't resist. I've been looking for yummy sushi pajamas after (Geek Alert) Buffy wore them in "Goodbye Iowa," Season 4, so when I found this I knew it was a match made in chlorinated heaven. Source: Swimoutlet.com.