Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Why I Love Training and Racing

I was finding it very hard to concentrate on work today.  That has been an all too often occurrence lately, though.  As I was driving to PetSmart on my lunch break, I realized why I was having a hard time concentrating at work and I remembered why I love running, triathlons, and just working out.  It was sooo beautiful outside.  There was a bird at the edge of a small man-made pond that was looking up to the sky with its wings wide open soaking up the sun.  Right then is when it hit.  I like working out and running and triathlons because I get to stop thinking and just do.  The bird wasn’t doing anything but enjoying the moment.  There are so many moments to enjoy when you’re training and racing.  You get to hang out with friends, accomplish new feats, see new sites… enjoy life.  That’s what so great about working out.  Sometimes it hurts.  But, it doesn’t last long and it always feels good when you’re done.  Even if you’re physically hurting, it’s usually because you just accomplished something huge.  And, in that case, you’re mentally on cloud 9.  I think that’s why it’s so hard for me to concentrate at work because I actually have to stop moving and focus.  Once I get focused, I’m only good for an hour or so until I have to get up. 


When I came back from lunch errands there were two turtles sitting at the edge of another little man-made pond just soaking up the sun.  It made my day a little more enjoyable.  I’m actually looking forward to my 7 mile run in the morning that includes 3 X 1 mile repeats @ a 6:43 min/mi pace.  I don’t know if that’s actually going to happen (a 6:43 pace), but I will give it a try.  I’ve been keeping it pretty low key since B2B with only 1 strength training workout, 3 runs (one was only 2 miles), and yoga.  So, I’m not sure how speedy I’m going to be.  But, I don’t care.  I’m just going to enjoy it, however it turns out!        

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Double Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

If you’ve ever been out to breakfast with me, this won’t come as a surprise, but I’m sort of in love with oatmeal. It’s such a simple food, and yet it is so delicious. While I could honestly eat plain oatmeal with a little Truvia and a lot of cinnamon every day and be perfectly content, I am always looking for new ways to enjoy this healthy breakfast staple. I went grocery shopping hungry after the gym yesterday (big mistake!), and these Hershey’s Cinnamon Chips magically jumped right off the shelf and into my cart. Once I got them home, I started wondering what to do with them since Cesar doesn’t like cinnamon (who in their right mind doesn’t like cinnamon??), and I certainly don’t need to eat an entire batch of cookies on my own. Then I remembered seeing a baked oatmeal recipe that included chocolate chips on Healthy Food For Living, and I realized that it would be easy to minimally modify it and have a yummy breakfast treat on hand for the next few days.

Double Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Double Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal

Recipe adapted from here
Makes 3 Servings

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp Ideal Brown Sweetener
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
6 packets Truvia
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp butter flavored extract
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice + enough unsweetened vanilla almond milk to make 1 1/2 cups
3 tbsp egg whites
1 tbsp Hershey’s Cinnamon Baking Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray three mini loaf pans with non-stick baking spray.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients with the exception of the cinnamon chips.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine. Stir in the cinnamon chips.

Pour into the prepared loaf pans. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the oatmeal appears set.

Double Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal 2

Nutrition Information per serving
Calories: 175
Fat: 4.7g
Carbohydrates: 22g
Protein: 6.8g
Calculated on

You can eat this warm or cold, topped with maple syrup or peanut butter, sprinkled with extra cinnamon chips…..the options are endless! My personal preference is to reheat it in the microwave, add some unsweetened almond milk, and sprinkle it with even more cinnamon.

If you need further proof of my love affair with oatmeal, check out my oatmeal board on Pinterest!

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Must Be Crazy

Last Monday night Rose gave me a call and said that she was contemplating doing the Vineman Full Distance in California.  Sonoma County specifically.  This has been a race that has been on my to-do list and I actually asked Rose and another friend, Sandy, last year to do the race with me this year.  It didn't work out then.  But, that's ok.  I got to do Beach 2 Battleship which was an excellent first full distance race to do.  I wasn't planning on doing any full distance races next year.  But, Vineman has a special of buy 1 entry, get the 2nd half off.  So, the entry fee would come out to about $281.  Super cheap for a full distance triathlon.  Rose will have a definitive answer by the end of the month.  At first I didn't think much of it.  But, as it gets closer to the end of the month, I keep hoping that she will decide to do Vineman.  I loved California and would love to go back.  I already got the ok from Daniel.  I'm already shopping around for training plans too.  Also, it would work out better because I was planning to do Vineman in 2014, but it is going to be around the same time as the World Cup and Daniel has already forewarned me not to plan anything in the summer time of 2014 (which I obviously had forgotten about since I was planning on doing Vineman then... ooops!).  Oh, and next year I turn 30.  My birthday is 6 days before the triathlon.  So, it would be a nice birthday present to go out to California again and race! 

I must be crazy, right?  It's barely a week after my first full tri and I'm already itching for the next one.    

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Life After Beach 2 Battleship

It's been a week now since Beach 2 Battleship.  I think I was good about taking it easy.  I did a 5 mile run with Daniel on Tuesday.  I mostly wanted to test out my new K-Swiss Blade Foot.  Here are the details from the website:

Product Details

Profile: A zero heel lift running shoe that promotes natural foot strike. 8.0oz, 226.79g
Midsole/Outsole: Blade-Foot zero lift cushioning.
Upper: A minimal and supportive lightweight upper constructed with Air Mesh.
And some photos:
I bought these mainly for strengthening my calves and feet since these are minimalist shoes.  I do not plan on wearing these for longer than 6 or 7 miles.  There is a pull tab on the back of the heel and on the tongue of the shoe.  These are supposed to be for quick transitions, but I think this is a half-assed attempt by K-Swiss.  If they seriously thought that anyone was going to use these in a triathlon then they would have put drainage holes on the bottom of the shoes like they did for the Kwicky QT2, Blade-Light Run, and Kwicky Blade Light. 
The website says that these shoes weight 8.0 oz, but I doubt that.  They are very light.  Road Runner Sports says that they weight 7.0 oz which is what I think they more closely weight.  I've tried shoes as light as 5 oz and they feel dangerous.  As in, I think I may hurt something in my knees, hips, or back dangerous.  There is definitely not enough support in them for me.  I may have to work gradually to work my way down to them, but for now I am happy running in my 8 oz Kwicky Blade Light shoes and using the Blade Foot Run as my minimalist.  I am in no hurry to work on the tiny muscle fibers in my calves and ankles that will cause more harm if they are injured than good if they are strengthened any more.  For the record, I love the Kwicky Blade Light.  I have 5 pairs and I lost 1 (I left it at a race :(  ).  I've used them in marathons and all my long distance triathlons.  They are light shoes with just enough support and cushion for me.  I am a neutral to slight underpronator, my foot rolls out.  If you don't know anything or very little about pronation, check out 'Pronation, Explained' from Runner's World magazine.
OK, so back to the review of the Kswiss Blade Foot Run.  I enjoyed them.  They were a little snug at first, but felt ok by the end of the run.  The laces are supposed to be 'stay tied' laces.  But, I will probably change them out for Yangz! or some other lacing system that doesn't require me to tie anything.  The shoes are supposed to keep your feel cool with a mesh upper.  But, the side is like a leather material.  So, I'm not sure how cool my feet will stay in hot weather.  I probably won't have a race to use them in until Gasparilla when I'll be doing the Beck's Light Challenge again.  I don't know if I'll use them for the 15K or not.  If it's cold, probably because I won't be sweating as much.  I'll give an update after I've used them in a race. 
As for the rest of my week, I didn't do much of anything except work, sleep, and eat, and eat, and eat.  Thursday night I did some strength training - squats, back extensions, calf raises, seated chest press, and seated rows.  Friday night I stuffed myself at dinner with Daniel, Sarah, and Cesar.  That was such a delicious meal at Fire Grill.  Saturday was a full day of shopping with Sarah and today was a pleasant run down Bayshore and breakfast at First Watch.  I felt good during the run today and it was perfect weather, aside from the head wind that felt like it was coming at us from both directions.  The only curious thing was that 2 of the 4 times that we stopped I got light headed.  My heart started pounding and my vision got a little blurry for about a minute.  It was strange, but it only happened when I stopped.  I was perfectly fine while running.  There was no labor in my breathing and my heart didn't feel like it was beating fast.  Although, I wasn't wearing my heart rate monitor so I don't know exactly. 
Tomorrow starts the beginning of regular visits back to the gym and 5 weeks of training for Las Vegas!  I'm not sure what the weight training it going to be.  I think I'm just going to wing it for next week and look for something specific to start the following week.  Here is the running schedule until Vegas:
Week 1:
Tuesday - 8 miles @ 8:33
Thursday - 7 miles; 3 X 1600 @ 6:43 w/ 800 jogs
Saturday or Sunday - 20 miles
Week 2:
Tuesday - 9 @ 8:31
Thursday - 7 miles; 5  @ 7:14
Week 3: 
Monday - 15 - 18 miles
Tuesday - 2 @ 8:30
Thursday - 6 miles; 3 X 1600 @ 6:41 w/ 800 jogs
Sunday - Miami R-n-R Half Marathon
Week 4:
Tuesday - 7 miles @ 8:29
Thursday (thanksgiving) - 20 miles
Saturday - 5 miles; 3 @ 7:04
Week 5:
Monday - 2 miles @ 8:28
Tuesday - 4 miles; 2 X 1600 @ 6:40 w/ 800 jogs
Thursday - 2 miles@ 8:28
Sunday - LAS VEGAS R-n-R!
Also, quick CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who participated in the Rev3 Tri in Sarasota, Miami 70.3 and Marine Corp. Marathon.  This was certainly a busy race weekend. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cherry Almond Cheesecake Mousse

This Peanut Butter Cheesecake Mousse from Cara’s Cravings has been one of my go-to snacks ever since I first came across the recipe. It’s a great way to get in some protein post-workout, and it works equally well as a bedtime snack. Sometimes I refrigerate it and eat it in mousse form; other times I freeze it and enjoy it more like an ice cream treat. I’ve used virtually every variety of peanut butter known to man while making it – my favorite version is made with Archer Farms Creamy Cinnamon Peanut Butter. The other day I was flipping through old issues of Clean Eating Magazine when I stumbled upon one of my favorite clean desserts – clafouti! Looking at the picture reminded me of how much I enjoy the cherry & almond combo, and I realized it would translate well into a protein treat.

mousse 2

Cherry Almond Cheesecake Mousse

Adapted from here
Makes 2 Servings

10 oz 2% fat cottage cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons cherry preserves (I used Smucker’s Sugar Free)
Truvia or sweetener of your choice, to taste (I like things really sweet, so I used 6 packets of Truvia)
1/4 tsp almond extract

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. 

Calories: 199
Fat: 10g
Carbohydrates: 16g
Protein: 14g
Calculated on

mousse 1

This turned out better than I anticipated. It was rich and smooth with a strong almond flavor, and the cherry preserves added a fruity lightness to the mousse. I love that it kept me full until lunch after an early morning high intensity gym session.

Speaking of the gym, here’s the quick interval workout I completed before meeting up with my boxing trainer for our weekly session.

I didn’t want to completely wear myself out before boxing, so I ran the sprints at 10 mph and recovered at 3 mph. Today’s cardio-heavy workout was a welcome change after three days of lifting heavy. This week has probably been the best week of training I’ve had in a while; I’m hoping the trend continues since there’s only a little more than a month left before we run Vegas!

Beach 2 Battleship 2012 Race Recap

The last 6 months of my life have been dedicated to preparing for October 20, 2012.  I have tracked my training on this blog for the last few months and now the big day has come and gone.  And, now you probably want a review of the race right?  OK, here you go…
Thursday 10/18
  • Left work at 1:00 and head to Charlotte, NC.  We stayed with friends, Adam and Tiffany, who joined us in Wilmington on Saturday.
  • 9:30 PM – arrived at Adam and Tiffany’s place.  The layout of their house is so cool and their kitchen is filled with all these hidden compartments and gadgets that make me want to cook and bake.  For people who don’t know, cooking and baking are not activities that I normally run to when I’m bored.  I actually have to plan when I’m going to cook or bake.  It’s never on a whim or because I have some extra time during the day.
  • 10:00 PM – ate 2 enormous slices of pepperoni and mushroom pizza.
  • 10:30 PM – took a shower and did pre-race shaving necessities.  My skin gets way too irritated if I shave the night before.  It needs that extra day to grow back a little.
  • 11:15 PM – went to bed with no alarm set.  The 48 hours before a race, so I’ve been told and I believe it’s true, is the most important night’s sleep for a race.  That’s why I went to bed with no alarm set.   
Friday 10/19
  • 7:45 AM – woke up.  Had no issues sleeping.  I even fell asleep with all the lights on and didn’t wake up with all the bed and floor creaking when Daniel came to bed around 1 AM.
  • 8:30 – had a cup of coffee and a slice of toast with crunchy peanut butter
  • 9:30 – left for Wilmington.  It is about 200 miles from Charlotte to Wilmington.  It took us about 3.5 hours.  There were so many stop lights in between, it was ridiculous.
  • 3:00 – PACKET PICK-UP.  This was relatively smooth.  You started by handing someone your ID, USAT card, if you have one, and medical waiver form.  They give you your packet with your shirt, a water bottle, and some flyers, an envelope with all the race stickers and your bib in it and your chip separately in a little envelope.  You move down a little and someone else puts a wristband on you.  Move down a little further and someone takes your chip, scans it to register it, and then sends you on your way.  Right past the packet pick-up is an information booth.
    • Thoughts on the expo – probably one of the smallest expos I’ve been to.  They had some nice visors, shirts, sweaters, and jackets with B2B on it, but it was all being held behind the counter.  So, you had to ask to see a size in order to get a closer look and feel and try it on if you wanted to.  There were really only about 3 or 4 places and the biggest one that had just about everything that you needed had a huge line.  I was going to get something, but didn’t feel like dealing with the line. 
  • 3:45 – made it back to the car to get my transition and special needs bags put together.  The only bag that I HAD to drop off at the convention center right then was my T2 bag.  But, I also had the option of dropping off everything else as well, i.e. T1, T2, and Bike Special Needs.  I decided to drop of my Bike Special Needs bag which consisted of an extra bottle of water with MiO Energy just in case I lost a bottle on the bike course.  I went sans Run Special Needs bag. 
    • In my bike-to-run bag (T2 bag) I had my K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Lights, my run belt with my bib attached and packed with 4 gels (2 Clif Espresso gels and 2 2nd Surge gels), 4 gels that I was going to stuff into the side pockets of my jersey, and my visor.  For the next time, I think I’m going to wrap the loose gels together with a band.  I wasted some time trying to pick them all out of the bag which I ended up just dumping on the floor anyway. 
  • 5:15 – at T1 for mandatory bike check-in.  Nothing else was required.  I could set up my bike and drop off my T1 bag in the morning.  The only thing I did was pump up my tires so I didn’t have to bring my pump in the morning. 
    • Looking at the picture, to the left of the Bike Start is where you come in from the swim.  You run up a little and grab your bag.  As you make a U-turn the changing tents are on your right.  For me, after grabbing my T1 bag and making at pit stop in the changing tent, all I needed to do was run towards the Bike Start to get my bike.  I couldn’t have been any closer to the bike start!

  • 6:30 – dinner time at Bento Box. Edamame and sushi.  The sushi was awesome!
  • 8:00 – 9:30 - made it back to the hotel, got my morning attire set out and my nutrition for the AM and bike together.  It was still a little early so Daniel and I had some ‘boom-chicky-boom-boom’ time.  Some people may not think that is such a great idea before a big race.  But, so far, I’ve had a PR marathon time that still stands and I pulled off a pretty good time on B2B.  I’ve had great races and set PRs without it, but I’ve never had a bad race with it.  So, that’s my two cents worth on the topic of having sex the night before a race.
    • I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wear my aero helmet or  not because I didn’t train with it at all.  I stopped using it because it made my neck hurt from the extra weight.  So, I opened the question up to my Facebook pals and these are some of the responses I got:
      • Russ – “Yes. Why would you not?” .. “ If you are going to have trouble keeping your head in aero then a regular helmet will work better.  An aero helmet can be a disadvantage if you can’t hold it”
      • JP – “Aero helmet… “
      • Thelma – “If you can’t keep the aero position (or there’s a strong crosswind), then it’s not worth it”
      • Wes – “Yes”
      • Rose – “Aero”
      • Paul – “Yes”         
    • Unfortunately, even after this I was still undecided.  So, I googled my question “Should you wear an aero helmet if you haven’t trained with it?”  The first thing that came up was ‘Triathlon Training: Comfort Begets Speed’ by Chris Camichael.  Really the whole section of aero vs vented helmet sealed the deal.  But, the last line was the deal breaker: “If temps are relatively moderate but it’s going to be windy, then the balance may tip more in favor of the aero helmet.”  I did not plan on being on the bike for longer than 6 hours and I did expect it to be cooler temps with some wind.  I went aero.  Read on to find out how it went!  
  • 9:30 – lights out for 5:00 AM wake up.

Saturday 10/20 – RACE DAY!!!
  • 5:00 AM – Woke up immediately.  I was ready to go in less than 30 minutes.  I grabbed my Bonk Breaker PB & J and started munching on that shortly after I brushed my teeth while I was getting dressed and getting my bottles set up for the bike.  I put everything else that I needed in a bag and headed out the door.  T1 was only a mile away so I decided to walk and let Daniel go back to sleep. 
  • 5:50 AM – made it to T1.  Put my helmet, shoes and socks on the ground by my bike.  Filled up my front water bottle with water and put my two other bottles with Infinit and MiO Energy in the back holders.  Walked over to T1 changing area and bag drop to drop off my T1 bag and ran in to Pete and Rose.  Finished up with the bikes, made a pit stop at the bathrooms, and then headed to the line for the shuttle to the Swim Start.
  • 6:30 AM - On the shuttle Rose and I ended up all the way in the back but were able to sit.  Standing in front of us were a couple, Allison and Kevin, that we started talking to.  This was their first full distance triathlon as well.  It just so happened that they were from Tampa as well.  Kevin has a bike store in downtown Tampa, City Bikes.  We chatted with them all the way to the Swim start and talked for a little while longer once we were off the shuttle.  About 15 minutes before go-time, Rose and I made our way to the water.  The sand was so cold my toes were turning blue.  I ended up getting in the water to warm up!  I didn’t get a chance to swim around, but the water felt warm so I wasn’t worried about needing time to catch my breath.
  • 7:30 AM – At this race they play Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ just as you are about to start the swim after the National Anthem.  The lyrics are pretty fitting for that moment.   --- Beginning lyrics of 'Lose Yourself’ ---
  • Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity
    To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment
    Would you capture it or just let it slip?
    His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
    There's vomit on his sweater already, mom's spaghetti
    He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,
    But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down,
    The whole crowd goes so loud
    He opens his mouth, but the words won't come out
    He's choking how, everybody's joking now
    The clock's run out, time's up over, bloah!
    Snap back to reality, Oh there goes gravity
    Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked
    He's so mad, but he won't give up that
    Easy, no
    He won't have it , he knows his whole back's to these ropes
    It don't matter, he's dope
    He knows that, but he's broke
    He's so stagnant, he knows
    When he goes back to his mobile home, that's when it's
    Back to the lab again, yo
    This whole rhapsody
    He better go capture this moment and hope it don't pass him …
  • About the swim:
    • Temperature – outside air was about 60, but the water was 72.  It felt great the entire swim.
    • The swim is point to point and takes place in an intercoastal waterway.  So, there is a current that pushes us in.  The current wasn’t as strong as the race directors were making it out to be, but it was there and it was certainly appreciated.
  • What I was wearing:
    • CW-X Compression Tri-shorts, Nike Sports bra, and my Kona Multisport tri top.  This was my main outfit and I did not change at all during the race.
    • I used my sleeveless Xterra Vortex wetsuit and had on my funky, multi-colored goggles by TYR.  
  • My experience during the swim:
    • I wished Rose good luck and we’re off. We positioned ourselves in the middle behind about 6 or 7 rows back to try and stay behind the super competitive guys. I took it kind of easy getting into the water and took a moment to look around for where I wanted to swim at. The first 5 – 7 minutes were the craziest. I got a little kick in the left cheek but wasn’t a big deal. I was just thankful that my goggles didn’t get knocked off. The only other major incident was some guy kept pulling on my feet and legs trying to pull me down or back. I’m not sure what he was trying to do. But, I eventually stopped swimming and turned around and looked at him, giving him a look like “what the heck are you doing? There is plenty of room for you to go around and it’s not like you’re coming out of this water in first place anyway”. I’m sure he knew exactly what I was thinking! LOL. He did stop, though. So, off I went for a pretty uneventful swim. I started on the left and ended up on the right. I’m not sure how I managed that, but that’s what happened. My armpits were starting to chafe and I knew I was going to be feeling that the rest of the day.
    • I really liked that there was a lot of room for everyone to spread out and just swim.  I didn’t have to sight too often because I tried to stay in the middle as much as possible and I knew as long as I had swimmers on either side of me I was ok.
    • I got a cramp in my right side about half way through.  I had to start breathing every 2 strokes so that I was only breathing on the side with the cramp.  This helped because my right side only hurt when I stretched my right arm out and breathed on the left.  I eased back into breathing every 3 strokes by breathing on 2, then on 3, then on 2, and so on until it didn’t hurt anymore when I stretched my right arm out and breathed on the left side.  It took a little over 1/4 mile to go away. 
    • Final time – 55:10, 25th overall female
  • After coming out of the water there are strippers there to  help you get out of your wetsuit.  Once out of your suit, you run a little ways to some fresh water showers that really weren’t that helpful.  They were appreciated, but the pressure was very low so were barely effective at getting all the salt water off.  I put my head under and tried to rinse off my armpits a little to help the burning from the chafing.  But, I gave up after about 30 seconds.  It’s about a 1/10 mile run on gravel to the actual T1 area.  This hurt my feet.  I know, after all the running and beating on my feet that I do, running on some gravel shouldn’t be a problem.  But, I definitely had to slow down because it hurt. 
  • Once I made it to my bag I ran to the changing tent, opened my bag and proceeded to put on my arm warmers, head band to cover my ears and my sunglasses.  The arm warmers were a time waster for sure.  I’m not really sure if I even needed them.  I didn’t feel super cold, but I never got over heated on the bike either.  Also, I was given a great idea by Miranda Lessie about putting a plastic bag in my jersey to cover my chest from the wind for the beginning part of the ride.  And, when I got hot, I could just take it out and throw it at an aid station.  So, this is what I did in place of changing my sports bra. 
  • All done with that, I ran to my bike, my on my socks and shoes, then my helmet.  As I was putting on my helmet I was saying to myself “please don’t let this be a mistake.  Keep your head up and stay aero”
  • Final time – 5:07, 14th overall female
  • About the bike course:
    • Weather - the temp was around 65 to start and ended around low 70s.  Sunny the whole way.  Some wind but manageable.
    • This is a one loop bike course that is very flat but with a few false flats.  The main thing to worry about on this course is wind.  Because I knew there was a good chance that there was going to be wind was one of the main reasons I decided to wear my aero helmet.
  • What I was wearing:
    • In addition to my main outfit, I was using my LG tri-lite bike shoes, Lazer Tardiz aero helmet, Boston Bill sunglasses, Road Runner Sports dri-fit socks, and arm-warmers.
  • My experience on the bike:
    • I took it easy for the first couple of miles to try and get out of the immediate area.  Plus, there were a lot of turns trying to get out on the main road.  I tried to keep a steady pace and kept telling myself to use the first 30 miles as a warm up and not to worry too much about speed.  Also, every few miles I had Aaron’s words of wisdom running through my head “stay within your box”.  At mile 20 there a girl was standing next to her bike and it looked like she had just fallen or had a flat.  I later saw road rash on her shoulder so I’m assuming she fell.  I passed her but she quickly got back on her bike and caught up to me.  We played cat and mouse for about a mile and then I told myself that it was too early for trying to push it.  So, I let her go and eased back in a steady pace.
    • Miles 51 to 62 were not very pleasant. The road was very bumpy and it was so hard to stay in a groove.
    • Starting around mile 60, I took a moment every 15 to 20 miles to sit up and stretch out my back.  I was doing a good job staying aero the whole time except for when I needed to reach back to grab my bottle.  Again, I remembered Aaron's words of advise to remember to stretch out my back every so often. 
    • Special needs bag was at mile 56 but I didn’t need my extra bottle.
    • The wind wasn’t bad.  It felt like a light cross-wind pretty much the whole time.  There was a short period between miles 60 and 65 that it felt like the wind was dead on head wind.  I just reminded myself to keep my head up and stay aero.  
    • At mile 70 I passed a girl who turned and sounded caught off guard that I was next to her.  This is the conversation:
      • Girl: “Oh, hey!”. 
      • Me:  “hi”
      • Girl: “They are handing out a lot of penalties today”.
      • Me: “ok.  Am I doing something wrong now?”  
      • Girl: ‘no’.
    • I was so confused by why she would say that.  I just kept on pedaling.  As I looked up, I saw a bright pink aero helmet.  This is the same aero helmet of the girl that fell at mile 20 that I let go after a couple of back and forth trading of lead.  A small smile crept across my face.  I didn’t rush to pass her, though.  I just stayed at my steady speed and figured if I was going to pass her, I would do it eventually.  I didn’t need to waste energy to make it happen 30 seconds faster.  I did eventually pass her and I stayed ahead of her all the way through T2.
    • As for the decision on going with the aero helmet.  It was a good one.  I only noticed my neck was stiff when I rolled my head around to stretch my neck around my 85.  I think it was more from overall fatigue and would have happened with the vented helmet too.  So, thanks to everyone for the peer pressue in wearing the aero helmet.  It worked out. 
  • Nutrition:
    • I kept all of my nutrition in my bento box on my bike.  I made sure to open all the packages and break everything in half that morning.  I ate a half of a Strawberry Honey Stinger almost immediately when I got on the bike, which was almost exactly 1 hour from the swim start time.  I had planned out to eat a half of a Clif Bar every 50 minutes and take a sip of the Infinit and MiO Energy mix every 10 minutes, but waiting 20 minutes after I ate the Clif bar.  Each bottle consisted of 2 scoops of Infinit and 3 squirts of MiO Energy.  This is the same strategy that I used for Augusta and it worked out perfectly.  I took a water bottle at every aid station, about every 15 – 20 miles, and filled up my front bottle.  I ended up eating 3 full Clif bars and the half of the Strawberry Honey Stinger.  Total calories including the drink mix was 1230 calories.
  • Final time – 5:27:58, 2nd overall female
  • Bike Splits from Garmin
  • I undid the velcro on my shoes and were ready to pull my feet out when I got to the dismount line.  I ran to the entrance of the convention center, handed my bike to a volunteer, and continued running along the wall to where I put my T2 bag.  I dumped everything out and put my helmet, sunglasses and head band in the bag.  I put my shoes and visor on with no problems.  I picked up my belt and was kind of regretting putting all the gels in the pack.  I tried to grab all the loose gels to put them in my jersey but my fingers were shaking from all the adrenaline.  I finally got the gels and the belt in place and put my bag back on the rack and started running to the Run Start.  One of the volunteers by the changing tent was trying to direct me into the changing tent, but then she realized I didn’t have my bag.  So, she asked me if I was part of a relay which confused me and I said no.  Then she asked where my bag was and I said it was still on the rack.  I guess I was supposed to bring it up to them.  I’m still not sure about that.  She asked me my number and then sent me on my way. 
  • Final time – 2:44, 2nd overall female
  • About the run course:
    • Weather - In the sun it felt around 75 degrees.  In the shade it felt just a few degrees cooler.  I didn't feel much wind.  It was sunny the entire time.
      • It did get cold as the sun was going down and really cold after it went down.  So, if you decide to do this race and you know you'll be out on the course for a while, pack extra clothes in your run bag to stay warm.
    • The run is 2 loops and mostly flat.  There is one steep incline that had to be climbed twice for the full, once at mile 4 and again at mile 13.5.  There was a small incline that had to be tackled 4 times, once at mile 8, 11, 18, and 22.
  • What I was wearing:
    • In addition to my main tri outfit, I was using my Nike lite visor, Fitness fuel belt, and yellow K-Swiss Kwicky Blade Lights
  • My experience on the run:
    • I felt good coming off of the bike and had to remind myself to scale it back and take it easy.  The sun was out so it was a little warm.  Not as warm as in Florida.  I was about .25 miles into the run when I realized I still had my arm warmers on.  I was frustrated by that because I didn’t feel like fidgeting with them to get them off and then trying them in a knot and finding somewhere on me to hold them.  I could have just thrown them away, but I hate throwing good clothes away on a course.  I just pulled them down to my forearms and tried to roll them up a bit off my wrists.  My main goal was to not walk if at all possible.  
    • I didn’t have any issues until after climbing that first big hill right around mile 3.  After climbing the hill, my calves tightened up and were screaming at me, threatening to cramp up at any second.  I was pleading with them the rest of the run to please, not cramp up.  I’ve never had anything cramp up during a race.  I’ve had a side stitch a couple of times, but that’s it.  I slowed my pace down and just tried to stay around 9 min/mi.  I was able to do stick with this almost the whole run.  After each gu, which I took about every 3 miles, I sped up for a little bit but that would only last about a mile. 
    • Unfortunately, around mile 5 or 6 the girl I passed on the bike passed me on the run and I was not even attempting to stay with her.  Kudos to her though.  So, I just tried to stay positive and kept running.  There was an aid station about every mile and for the first half of the race I was able to lightly jog through the aid stations.  On the second loop I walked through all the aid stations.
    • Every mile I was just thinking about getting to the next mile and trying not to think about how many miles I had left.  Until I reached mile 17.  After Sarah's first marathon, she said she was so happy when she finally within single digit miles to the finish.  That's what I was thinking at this point and started counting the miles down. 
    • I became best friends with mile 18 and 19.  Mile 18 is where I had to hit the port-o-let FAST!  I was thinking to myself “Mile 18, where are you?  I need to use the bathroom!  You’ll be my best friend”.  I made it and felt sooo much better.  Even my legs felt better for a short period of time.  Yes, this was my first bathroom break the entire race.  I was just ready to get the rest of the run over with at this point and that’s when I started begging mile 19 to hurry up.   
    • I made it to mile 22 and had to stop at the bathroom again.  At mile 24.5 my calves had finally had enough and my right calf went into full cramp mode.  I stopped, bent over, cursed “F*&^!”, stood back up and walked a minute until the cramp subsided enough to start running again.  With a little over a mile left, 2 girls with grey wristbands (signaling they were doing the full) passed me.  My heart sank just a little.  Really?  With less than a mile left I’m getting dropped two places?  Sad smile.  I picked my head back up and told myself “you’ll still get 5th overall.  That’s pretty darn good and you’re going to beat your ‘I can only do this time with perfect conditions’ time even if you walk the last mile”.  I just kept running and prayed that no one else passed me.  I made it down the steep hill and rounded the corner and headed down the chute.  I made it!  I was done!  And, surprisingly, my marathon time for this race is not my worst marathon time, which currently stands at 4:06. 
    • Waiting for me at the finish line were Pete, Daniel, Tiffany, and Adam.  They were all standing there with huge smiles and I was so excited to see them.  I grabbed a slice of cheese pizza and a oatmeal cream pie and gobbled them down along with a bottle of water.  Oatmeal cream pies are so good!  The next hour was spent sitting down and every so often lying down on the ground with my feet up in the air for a minute or so to let the blood run back down from my feet.  During this hour, Daniel and Adam picked up all my gear for me.  Afterward we left for the hotel and dropped Pete off at his car. 
    • What’s really impressive is that my heart rate never went above 176 bpm.  This is a comfortable pace for me, between 165 and 180.  When I get above 180 that’s when I’m really working hard and won’t be able to sustain that level for too much longer. 
  • Nutrition:
    • As I said before, I had a gu gel about every 3 miles.  Starting at about mile 13 I started taking an orange every other stop.  I had three cups of cola.  The first one was on accident because I just grabbed whatever was in the volunteers hand thinking it was water.  But, it was a pleasant surprise.  This is something new for me.  I never tried it but I like the cold carbonation.  I think it was supposed to be flat, but I liked that it was carbonated.  I took one cup of chicken broth around mile 20.  At this aid station I finally took note of the volunteers handing out salt tablets.  I contemplated taking one and said ‘no, you’ve never tried it before, don’t do it now’.  I think that was a mistake.  I think I could have prevented the cramp at mile 24.5 if I would have taken it.  But, oh well.  I’ll try it next time.  I ended up taking 7 gels for a total of 700 calories.
  • Final time – 4:02:50, 9th overall female
  • Run splits from Garmin

What Would I Do Differently
One thing that I would do differently is drink a half bottle of Gatorade the night before and about a half a bottle the morning of the race. This is one thing that I normally do and for whatever reason I didn’t this time. I even bought a bottle on the way and never opened it. I think this is part of the reason I cramped up on the run.
For the last few weeks of my training I changed it up a bit and did long runs on Saturday and a long bike on Sunday with a short 2 or 3 mile brick run afterward.  I think this was a mistake.  For me, I like going into a long run on tired legs for training.  It’s better training for me mentally and I think it works better physically.  So, in future training, I’m going to stick with a long ride on Saturday and gradually build on the brick run, and do a long run on Sunday.  I think maybe once a month switching the order is ok to shock my body to the different training.
Overall Assessment of the Race
The race was well organized and fairly easy with a few challenges along the way.  I’m definitely glad that I chose this to be my first.  Not everyone was a fan of the Heed that they were passing out, but I didn’t train with Heed so I didn’t take any of it.  The weather was great. 
The swim went by fast and gave me a chance to experience a mass wave start but with a smaller group so it was a lot less intimidating. 
The bike was uneventful.  Which is a good thing.  There was a little bit of head wind to fight and the bumpy road was annoying.  But, it’s hard to get perfect wind direction and pavement for 112 miles. 
I would have enjoyed some overcast or a little cooler weather on the run, but it could have been worse.  It was still cool, it was just that the sun was out.  A lot of the run was shaded, though.  So, there really isn’t much to complain about. 

Final Rankings
It turns out that I placed 3rd overall for females with a final time of 10:32:40.  I guess one of the girls that passed me was on her first lap and was just having a good run.  The other girl received a 6:00 penalty on the bike for overtaking which put her final time 5 minutes behind me.

Awards and Goodies

Celebratory Meals
Dinner:  Ham and Turkey club sandwich with goat cheese, french fries, and a Blue Agave beer by Blue Moon (not pictured)


Breakfast:  French toast made with cinnamon vanilla egg batter, topped with caramelized walnuts, bananas, and rum syrup, with a side of cheese grits that weren’t very cheesy.


Don’t even get me started on what I’ve had since then.  I haven’t told myself no to anything since Saturday.  Yeah, I gotta nip that in the butt pretty quickly before it gets out of hand.

There are a lot of people that helped me achieve this goal.  I first have to thank Daniel for being such an awesome and supportive boyfriend.  Without him I never would have had the time to make all the training I did and I wouldn’t have been as motivated during training and happy to be racing if he wasn’t supportive of it.

Thank you friends and family for all your support and encouragement. 

For helping me improve so much on the bike, I have to give a huge thank you to Aaron and Tamara.  I also have to thank Dave Homan for introducing me to Aaron and asking him to add me to his weekly email distribution.  Thank you Allen for welcoming to the group and helping me fix my bike. 
Fred, you helped me improve greatly on my transition from bike to run.  All those Wednesday morning brick runs paid off!

Sarah, you know you are the backbone to keeping me on track with my running.  You did all the crazy ‘sandwich’ training sessions when you could have just been like “nah, I think I’m going to go home and wait for you to get done”.  You came out with me in the middle of the summer, before the sun came up, and with 100% humidity to do long runs.  So, thank you very much!

I’d also like to mention the New Tampa Tri Club and Tampa TRI.  Thanks for setting up all the open water swim sessions and runs out at Clearwater.  I’ve met a lot of new people and everyone seems great.  I’m looking forward to future training sessions for marathon season and for next year’s tri season and getting to know and hang out with everyone.     

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Practicing Gratitude & Simple Pleasures

I have a Type A personality. I’m very goal oriented, I’m always thinking about the next thing on my to-do list, and I have a hard time relaxing. This has served me well in many areas of my life, but lately I’ve realized that being so rigid and focused all the time also causes me a lot of unnecessary stress. I’ve been consciously working on reducing my stress level, and one of the techniques I’ve employed is practicing gratitude. Knowing that I have less than a year left here in Tampa before we move to Cleveland for my husband’s fellowship has made me recognize the importance of being present in each moment, and taking note of both the large and small things that make me happy helps me to focus on the here and now.

So, what has been making me smile lately?

This candle.
It smells fantastic without being overpowering, and I love the soft crackling sound the wick makes as it burns. It’s perfect for the slightly cooler fall evenings we are finally enjoying in Florida.

Planters Brittle Nut Medley. Sadly, this stuff only seems to be available during the holidays. After discovering how much I loved it last year, I bought the last four containers at my Target, and I’ve been slowly eating them all year. I finally felt like it was close enough to Christmas for it to be safe to break into my last canister. This is by no means a healthy trail mix, but it is delicious, and I treat myself to a little handful each night.

Peanut Butter. ‘Nuff said.

Funny Thanks Ecard: Dear Peanut Butter, Thank you for existing.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is back with new episodes! To say this show is inappropriate is putting it mildly, but it makes me laugh so very much.

The Las Vegas Rock’n’Roll Marathon posted a picture of the finisher medal on its Facebook page. It glows in the dark! I can’t wait to earn this one.


Time to get some rest; I’m training back and biceps with my trainers tomorrow, and I am sure they will put me through the ringer!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sweet Tooth Saturday – Brownie Cookies

Oh Saturday, how I love you! Weekends are always great, but there are some work weeks that really make me feel like I have earned a couple of days away from the world of mortgage banking, and this was definitely one of them. I kicked off the weekend with a great sweat session in Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park in downtown Tampa. The weather was gorgeous, and my trainers put us through a fun but challenging hour long full body HIIT workout.

After getting home and cleaning myself up, I started browsing though my thousands of saved recipes to decide what sweet treat to whip up this week. The fact that there are still a couple of vanilla cupcakes left in the house from last weekend was a clue that I better revert to baking with chocolate this week. I saw these rich and fudgy Brownie Cookies on Annie’s Eats, and the short ingredient list and the whole “brownies but in a cookie” concept had me sold.

Soft & Delicious Brownie Cookies

These cookies were a breeze to throw together. I cut Annie’s recipe in half, and my only modification was to keep the amount of chocolate chips indicated in the full recipe. There’s no such thing as too much chocolate in this family! The most difficult part of the process was having the patience to wait for the cookies to completely cool before removing them from the cookie sheet. This is an important step because the cookies are very soft and they will fall apart if they are still warm when you try to move them.

Brownies....but in cookie form!
The cookies baked up beautifully – moist, chewy, and loaded with chocolate goodness. I love their crinkly appearance!

cookies 3

The only thing I will change next time I make these is to use a darker chocolate. I didn’t want to go to the grocery store, so I used what I had in the house - a mixture of Lindt A Touch of Sea Salt dark chocolate and Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Chips. The cookies were very sweet, and while that is not a complaint, I think we might enjoy them more if they had the more complex flavor of a deeper chocolate.

The rest of our Saturday was spent enjoying time with some adorable pugs, stalking Maria’s progress on the Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Race, and going to see Argo. I loved Argo. Even though I knew how the story ended before the movie began, I was still on edge for the entire two hours. Ben Affleck is a talented man!

And I can’t end this post without talking a little bit about Maria’s amazing results from yesterday. That woman is nothing short of amazing. She has worked so hard for the last few months to train for this race, and I had no doubt she was 100% ready to conquer the distance. That being said, anyone who races regularly knows that sometimes things just don’t come together on race day despite the best and most thorough training, so I was still a tad bit anxious for her. I am so, so, SO thrilled for her and her remarkable accomplishment, and I can’t wait hear all about the race!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beach 2 Battleship Race Week

T-minus 2 days and 10 hours!  You know what makes getting ready for a big race easier?  Uber cool friends (i.e. Sarah Gudmundson) that help you get last minute nutrition, makes you a card to wish you luck, and pumpkin goodness.


The pumpkin goodness is the Clif Bar Spiced Pumpkin Pie.  I can’t wait to dig into that one! 

This week has been going smoothly.  I’ve been trying to keep what I eat simple. 

Monday’s and today’s breakfast was the Hot Banana Breakfast Quinoa with 1 scoop of peanut butter and a handful of nuts and peanut butter and chocolate chip mix, as well as 4 or 5 pumpkin spiced marshmallows.  I know, I kind of killed the healthiness with the marshmallows and pb and chocolate chip mix.  But, it makes it so much more yummy.  Tuesday I had a large protein shake from Beneficial Health and Nutrition… a little cafĂ© inside of LA Fitness.   

I’ve been eating 4 oz turkey veggie burgers from Fresh Market with a side of vegetables for lunch and 4 oz salmon burgers with veggies for dinner.  Monday is the only exception where I had spicy crab meat sushi made with brown rice.

As for my workouts, I did one last strength training session Monday morning and ran 2 miles @ 8:27 min/mi.  I know, it’s a lot, but I managed  Smile.  LOL.  Monday night I did yoga, Tuesday was an AM swim and a PM spin class.  Wednesday morning I ran 4 miles.  The run consisted of a .75 warm up, 2 – 1 mile repeats @ 6:39 min/mi with .5 mile jog after each mile, concluding with a .25 mile walk.  I finished up with an easy 30 minutes on the stationary bike and some abs.  Another yoga class ended the night. 

Daniel and I will be leaving tomorrow afternoon for NC.  I’m supposed to do another 2 mile run, but I may wait until Friday.

I don’t think I will be posting anything until Monday.  So, if anyone wants to track me, here is the link and my bib # is 269.  *NOTE: Nothing is going to show up until I cross the first mat coming out of the swim.  So, until then, it’s going to say that no participant exists.      

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Muffins

I had my weekly personal training session this morning. It never ceases to amaze me that even after 3.5 years of consistent training with my trainers, they are still able to come up with new ways to torture me (Who am I kidding?? I love every second of it!) each week. Today was chest day; we went heavy weight/low reps. In honor of hitting a new PR for the chest press, I came home and made myself a special treat. I used Jamie Eason’s Chocolate Protein Bars as a base and made a few minor modifications, replacing some of the oat flour with a mix of peanut flour & almond meal, switching up the flavor of the protein powder, and adding a bit of buttermilk to help tenderize the muffins.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Muffins

Adapted from here
Makes 10 Muffins

3/4 cup oat flour
2 tbsp peanut flour
2 tbsp almond meal
1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I used MRM 100% All Natural Whey in Dutch Chocolate)
1 scoop chocolate peanut butter protein powder (Dymatize Elite Gourmet Chocolate Peanut Butter)
10 packets Truvia
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup liquid egg whites
7 oz banana mixed berry flavored baby food
4 oz water
1 tbsp low fat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin; I find it’s best to either use silicone bakeware or foil cupcake liners with the white paper insert removed when baking with protein powder.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Mix wet ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together. Do not over mix.
Spoon muffin batter into prepared muffin tin.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes in preheated oven. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin comes out almost clean; a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick are okay.

Calories: 66
Fat: 1g
Carbohydrates: 9g
Protein: 6g
Calculated on

These are good plain, but they are even better topped with peanut butter. But then again, what ISN’T better with peanut butter??

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pretty in Pink 15k Recap Numero Dos

Race #2 of the fall is in the books. Maria already provided an awesome recap of all the race particulars, so I don’t need to rehash all of that stuff, but I want to add my two cents about the experience. This was the first race I have run put on by Premier Racing Institute, and I was impressed. As much as I love running the big races, I also like supporting the smaller, local races as well, and this one was a lot of fun. I definitely got the feeling that they put on races with the runners in mind rather than with the sole focus of making a bunch of money. They are putting on a half marathon on November 4th, and based on yesterday, I am thisclose to signing up.

Yesterday was a new PR for me at the 15k distance! I finished in 1:12:09 (7:48 pace), which was about 2 minutes faster than my previous PR and was good enough for 1st in my age group and 24th overall. While I’m really happy with the results, I am less than happy with how I got there. Maria and I started off slowly because the course was narrow and there were a lot of runners to navigate around in the first mile. We were able to speed up around mile 2, and things went well for the next few miles. However, things quit going according to plan for me a little past halfway through the race. I don’t think I did a good job of hydrating at the first few water stops, and by mile 6, I was not feeling well at all. At that point, I started walking through all of the aid stations and making sure I was getting in a decent amount of H2O, but the damage was already done, and my pace definitely took a hit. I wish I could say it was abnormal for me to get slower as a race progresses, but for some reason, the marathon is the only distance where I have been able to do decent job of running negative splits. Oh well, live and learn, right??

Yesterday’s excitement did not end with the race. After we ate breakfast, Maria and I dropped into Fresh Market to pick up some groceries, and after months of searching in every grocery store I have visited in multiple states, I finally found this little bit of heaven in a jar. It is every bit as good as I had imagined it might be…maybe even better.


Sigh. I’m never going to give up my dream of a world where scientists have managed to make celery taste just like peanut butter.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pretty in Pink 15K Recap

This race is put on by Premier Racing Institute and you can do it alone or as a series.  The series starts with a 5K in August, then is a 10K in September, 15K in October and a Half marathon in November.  Each race offers a 5K along with the longer distance as well.  So, it’s great to bring friends and family looking to join in on the fun but not have to do a longer distance.  I would highly recommend any of the races in the series as well as the series itself to anyone new or not to running.  The races are reasonably priced, well organized, offer great swag, and American Running Company in Dunedin usually offers some good deals during packet pickup.  Also, the races are fairly small so you have a better chance of placing in your age group and you don’t feel as intimidated since so many of the people there are participating for the experience and not so much for cut-throat competition. 

I did this race 3 years ago as my first 15K and a prep for my first half marathon, The Women’s Half Marathon, in St. Petersburg, FL.  It’s nice to have a comparison race on the same course to see any improvements you’ve made.  I have certainly improved.  When I did this race three years ago, then known as the Ace of Hearts, my race time was 1:25:37.  My race time today was 1:11:01.  My pace dropped from 9:11 to 7:37.  I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this is a huge ego boost for me.    

I went into the race just wanting to run it at a feel good pace.  I was able to keep this until about mile 3.  This is not a flat course.  There is one trail overpass that you cross 4 times and there are a few quick “hills”.  They are not hills by any means.  But, for people in Florida they are.  The overpass is like a mountain to us and inclines and declines taking longer than 5 seconds to get up and down are “hills”.  If you’re Floridian or have lived in Florida for a while, you’re laughing with us.  If you’re not, you’re laughing at us.  That’s ok.  We know. 

Between mile 4 and 6 were pretty flat so I was able to pick up some time during this period.  After mile 6, I told myself to just keep going because I only had 3 miles left.  I did slow down a bit, but more to a tempo pace. 

This race did have good support. They held off the start of the race for 10 minutes so that everyone could get through the bathroom line, they put an extra 12 pack of Cottonelle toilet paper outside of the port-o-lets, there was a bathroom stop at mile 1.5 and 7.5 and there were water stops just about every mile.  The longest break between stops was 1.75 miles.  They had chipped timing, nice shirts and functional awards.  I’ve mentioned this before.  But, I love races that give unconventional awards.  Functional awards are the best kinds though.  This is a smaller race, so only overall and age group winners received an award.  But, they had a raffle for giveaways and they have a program that you can demo Newton Running shoes. 


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sweet Tooth Saturday – Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Perfect would be the only word to describe today. I’m racing tomorrow, and I always take the day prior to a race off from the gym, so I was able to sleep in this morning. Turns out that 6:30 AM constitutes sleeping in for me these days, but any day I don’t have to wake up to my alarm is a good day. The weather here is finally starting to cool down a bit, so I am took advantage of the breezy, upper 60s weather and took my pugs on the first long(ish) walk of the fall. We meandered around the neighborhood for a good 45 minutes, and when we got home, I decided they deserved a special breakfast.


It’s hard to tell, but in the spirit of Halloween, I used a bat shaped cookie cutter to cut a hole in some bread and then fried an egg in the hole. I think Phoebe and Chloe were fans. Being the smart pugs they are, they both devoured the egg first and then started working on the bread when they finished the good stuff.

pug 2
Pug 1

This afternoon, Maria, Cesar, and I went to check out Tampa Bay Veg Fest. We headed straight for the Gone Bananas food truck. It was a long line, but it was totally worth it. I got Strawberry Banana Whip with raspberries and blueberries. It was light and fresh and sweet and delicious. Maria got banana whip with peanut butter, graham crackers, and chocolate covered pretzels.

maria banana whip

We wandered around for awhile, looking at the various exhibitors and enjoying all the vegetarian and vegan samples. I tried oat milk for the first time – yum! The most exciting part of the afternoon was coming upon Simply Bars. I have read about these on other blogs and have been dying to try them, but they aren’t found in any retail locations here in Tampa. I was able to sample every last flavor today, and I came home with 9 bars and 6 bags of the new protein chips.

When we got home, it was time to whip up something sweet for my sweetie. I bought this stainless steel pastry bag a few weeks ago, and I’ve been itching to put it to use, so I chose these Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting from Glorious Treats

So, were they perfect, as the name indicates??  I can’t say that I’ve baked many vanilla cakes from scratch (I grew up in a house where chocolate cakes were the norm and married a chocolate cake loving husband), but I don’t think I need to go in search of any other recipes. The cupcakes were very easy to make, although I did have to make a special trip to the grocery store for cake flour. They turned out light and airy with just the perfect amount of vanilla flavor. I went with a chocolate frosting to make Cesar happy. Next time I make these, I will choose a vanilla frosting, as I think I would enjoy them more if the chocolate from the frosting wasn't competing with the flavor of the cupcake.


Although I am sad this wonderful day is coming to an end, I am excited to get up and run tomorrow morning. Time to put together a play list!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Healthy Addiction

My training for Beach 2 Battleship is coming to an end.  I’m loving the tapering period.  I have two sessions of yoga planned for next week to replace strength training.  My swim, bike, and run sessions are so short, relatively speaking, that I’m finding myself wondering what workouts I can fit in to fill the extra time without affecting my tapering.  A couple of days ago I was feeling a little down when I would think about what I was going to do if I wasn’t training.  But, thankfully I have a good relationship with myself.  We talked it over and decided that this doesn’t mean the end.  This is only the season finale.  I have other races to look forward to and better than that, I have other things outside of training for a full distance triathlon to look forward to.  Like spending more time with Daniel and friends, reading a book, or watching a movie.  In fact, I’m taking advantage of Daniel going to Brews by the Bay and watching Dirty Dancing.  Sarah and I bought a Groupon for Ballet Barre fitness training classes.  I can’t wait use that. 

So, oddly enough, I was talking with Pete from A-Train this morning as I was on my way for my AM swim.  We got to talking about Ironman (WTC) races and how expensive they are.  Currently, they’re around $625 for the full distance if you get in with early registration.  Then Pete said, “well, at least it’s a healthy addiction”.  Triathlons and races ARE healthy addictions.  I could be spending close to $100 a night every weekend to go out and drink and eat or I could sign up for a race and train for it, forcing myself eat healthier and be physically healthy.  And, I’ll be honest.  Like most girls, I worry about my weight.  I worry about how tight my shirts and pants are.  I worry about things jiggling and my arms looking fat in a tank top.  These are things that I can relax a little bit with when I’m not spending my weekends drinking the night away and ending it with stuffing my face with food until I’m ready to pass out.  Just as a quick disclaimer, I like drinking.  I like beer, wine, and mixed cocktails.  But, I like the way I feel better after 4 or 5 hours of training than I do after 2 or 3 hours of drinking.  So, as long as I can keep a balance between training/racing and the other parts of my life that make me who I am and make me happy then I’m going stick with my healthy addiction.                 

Healthy (Health) – “Health is the level of functional or metabolic efficiency of a living being. In humans, it is the general condition of a person's mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain (as in "good health" or "healthy").[1] The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity…”

(Behavioral) Addiction – “[…] sometimes referred to as impulse control disorders, are increasingly recognized as treatable forms of addictions.[13] The type of behaviors which some people have identified as being addictive include gambling, food, sex, viewing of pornography, use of computers, playing video games, use of the internet, work, exercise, spiritual obsession (as opposed to religious devotion), cutting, and shopping.”

Addictive Behavior – “Typically an individual becomes dependent or addicted to a substance to alleviate the pain and agony deriving from certain emotions. The phenomenon occurs subsequent to the first trial where the individual derives some pleasure which increases with additional usage. Continual usage leads to psychological strengthening which ultimately leads to psychological dependence or physical addiction.”