Archive for June, 2013

One Month
June 13, 2013

One Month.

4 weeks.

30 days.

720 hours.

43,200 minutes.

There’s a lot of “time” in a month.  Temporal time, yes.  Actual time?

4 weekends.

2-3 really long brick workouts.

2-3 really long runs.

3-4 track workouts.

8-12 swim workouts.

7-8 bike rides.

4-5 mid-distance runs.

2-3 strength training sessions.

22+ 5am (or earlier) wake up calls.

2 weeks of taper.

1 long car ride to the middle of Indiana.

As of today, I am officially one month out from my first Half Ironman.  On the morning of July 13, I will be lining up along the shore of a lake outside Muncie, Indiana.  Once my group is called, I’ll swim 1.2miles, run to transition, then hop on my bike and pedal for 56miles.  After dropping my bike back off at transition, I’ll throw on my running shoes and run a half marathon before finally crossing a finish line.  My goal is to finish.  Over the past 6 months I have put in the training and have faith in my coach, my training, and my body to get me there.  But I still have one more month.  One month of training left.  One month of doubts.  One month of excitement.  One month of fears.  One month of confidence building.  A lot can happen in a month.  A lot can happen over the course of the day on July 13.  But I’m willing to do everything in my power to get myself to the finish line.

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Portable Protein
June 10, 2013

I’m in the heaviest load of my training for my first Half Ironman.  I make a lot of jokes about training and eating, but I love food.  No seriously I really love food.  Partly why I exercise so much is so I can eat all the delicious things the world of gastronomy has to offer.  But the cycle is vicious, because when I train at these extraordinarily high volumes (burning twice my daily caloric intake in one workout at times!) I find myself needing to eat extraordinarily high volumes as well.  Seriously, you might be appalled at the tonnage of food this petite redhead can put away.  Often triathletes are accused of “hoovering” their food, it’s not pretty.

All jokes aside, I do need to make sure I’m getting enough calories, especially protein for muscles and sustained energy, throughout the day to get me through to the next workout.  I started making these “Egg Muffins” a couple years ago when I was working a flex schedule, arriving at the office at 6:30am, working 10-11 hours, and running or working out at lunch.  I needed something that would give me enough calories to get through the long morning.  I’ve become addicted since then.  They’re very easy to make, don’t require a lot of special ingredients, portable, and very satisfying.  Best part, you make 1-2 weeks worth in advance!  I pack them in my lunch and eat them at work, or as a quick protein snack on the go any other time!

Egg Muffins
(see notes below)

1 muffin tin
10 eggs
milk
salt and pepper to taste
“mixers” (any veggies or meats will do)
Cheese mixers (whatever you have on hand)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Crack eggs in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Add milk or whatever you usually add to scrambled eggs.  Whisk eggs thoroughly.  Add mixers.   Add cheese mixers if you like.  Mix well.  Grease muffin cups if they are not nonstick.  Pour or ladle eggs into muffin cups about 2/3 full.  Top with extra mixers or cheese mixers.

Bake 25-30min.  The muffins will puff up as you bake them.  When time is up and they appear to be puffed, turn off the oven.  But leave the muffins in the oven to cool down with the oven!! If you take them out and let them cool at room temperature, they will sink in the middle.  Once cooled enough to handle the tin, remove from oven and allow to cool before storing.

To reheat: Microwave for 30-60 seconds depending on microwave strength.

mushrooms, spinach, monterey jack

mushrooms, spinach, monterey jack

NOTES:

Storage:  Muffins can be stored in containers or sandwich bags in fridge for 1-2 weeks.  They can be frozen for quite a good bit of time too.  I do recommend allowing them to thoroughly cool before freezing to avoid any frozen condensation and allowing to thaw before reheating to prevent extra moisture.

Muffin tins:  I prefer the oversized tin with 6 cups instead of 12 for larger muffins.  But when I’m not in heavy training, I use the 12 smaller ones instead.

Eggs:  I pick 10 eggs because it’s not quite 2 eggs per each muffin (it’s actually 1 2/3), but any amount will do.  Decide how much or little protein you want and go crazy!

Mixers:  Don’t over think this.  I take stock of whatever I have in my fridge/pantry that needs to be used.  I love mushrooms so I usually cut up mushrooms very small and add them.  If I have spinach on hand I add that for the potassium, just tear it up into tiny pieces.  The key is adding everything finely chopped so it distributes evenly.  Fresh herbs from the garden are lovely in the summer, or any other kind of seasoning you like.  You can also forego mixers and go natural.  I like regular egg muffins too.  Also, sometimes I wait to add the mixers until after I’ve put the egg mixture into the tins.  There is no wrong way to do this!

Cheese mixers:  I just check what I have on hand in the fridge. Then I sprinkle, cut up, grate, dollop whatever cheese or combination of cheeses I want into the mixture/tins.  I like to sprinkle some kind of shredded or grated cheese over the top of the muffins so it bakes in on top.  Parmesan or regular shredded mozzarella or cheddar is great for this.  But also like to cut up chunks of other cheeses like havarti into the eggs.  A nice herby goat cheese chevre bakes up lovely too!

Not the prettiest food, but so delicious.

Not the prettiest food, but so delicious.

 

Dickson Endurance Tri
June 5, 2013

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I raced the Dickson Endurance Triathlon last month.  It was my first tri of the season.  It was also the longest and hardest tri I’ve ever done. It is a really long race (between an Olympic and Half Ironman distance tri), and it’s really early in the season for that distance race, which means a lot of training has been done indoors or in the cold. It’s also a very difficult course with lots of steep and long hills.  It’s a newer race and it falls in between 2 popular local/regional races, so it’s not a huge race, or most people do the shorter, less challenging course sprint race.

Ready to race.

Ready to race?

I got 3rd Overall female! Out of 4. And 4th place was actually Masters Overall winner. So yay, overall podium finish, even it was last place.  I knew it was going to be a small race with only 7 women officially signed up and I was the only one in my age group.  But only 4 of us showed up.

Warm up done.

Warm up done.

Pre-race: I stayed at my mom’s house because she lives only a couple miles away and it’s about an hour drive from my house.  So I saved some time in the morning (and more potty breaks), and I also got to spend Mother’s Day with her.  I arrived at the race site early and with plenty of time to get set up in a good spot in transition, get body marked, and warm up on the bike and run.  I even had time to pour myself into my wetsuit and get in a warmup swim before they started the race.

New dance craze called "The Wetsuit Squeeze"

New dance craze: “The Wetsuit Squeeze”

Swim (1 mile- 34:15):
Water temp had dropped to about 68 degrees from the rain.  But it actually felt perfect, was warmer than the air temp, and much warmer than the local lake I where had been practicing.  I wore my wetsuit, and I also wore an extra cap under the cap they gave us, partly to conserve heat, but also I hate latex caps that pull my hair.  After they sent off the sprint racers, they did a wave of all men, then after 3 minutes, they sent the 4 of us off.

And then there 4. Also, totally swimming beyond rope!

And then there 4. Totally swimming beyond rope!

I really wish they had just done one wave for this race, and included us with the men.  That was a really lonely swim.  I had nobody to draft off of and any men I caught up to or passed were having trouble so I couldn’t swim with them.

Swimming at my own risk.

Swimming at my own risk, just like the sign says.

It was also a 2 loop swim.  I feel like I had to work extra hard for this swim without any help from drafting and even though the wetsuit helps with floating and speed, my left arm started getting tired from pulling that neoprene.

Wish you could really see the hill climbing back to transition.

Wish you could really see the hill climbing back to transition.

Then coming out of the water was the longest steepest hill I’ve ever seen that I had to run up to transition.  In a wetsuit.  I thought I’d never get back up there.  And I thought my inner thighs were going to stick together from the neoprene.

T1. Wetsuit off, get on bike.

T1. Wetsuit off, get on bike.

Bike (38 miles-2:24:27):
So this is where I went through several stages of grief.

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I knew coming out of the swim I was in 3rd among women, but about 6 miles into the bike, the 4th woman passed me and was long gone!  It’s a 2.5 loops course around the outside of the park.  As I finished the first loop, I heard the cop directing traffic say into his radio “Last 2 on the Endurance race.”  I freaked out.  I knew I was near the back, but I couldn’t believe I was so far behind and that many people had passed me already.  It was a really lonely bike ride for a while, because it’s a small race over a long distance and I was near the back.  Then I started getting really sad; I couldn’t believe I’d be the last to cross the finish.  I still had a hilly 9.3 miles to run once I got off the bike.  Then I got really mad that I was finishing this race alone, and at about 1/2 way through the second loop I started seeing some of the bikers ahead of me.  I could tell they were starting to struggle on the uphills.  I was mad, I wanted to catch them.  I’d get close as they went up hills (I’m a strong climber because I’m light), but lose them on downhills. Finally on the last 1/2 loop, we started climbing the longest hill of the race for the third time.  I could see 3 bikes not far ahead of me and I knew I could take them.  One by one I picked them off, including the 4th place woman at mile 30 who had left me behind 24 miles ago!  Yay!  I wasn’t last place anymore.  I played leap frog with this one older guy (how all of my races have been going lately) for the last 5-10 miles.  As I was riding back into transition (including the worst hill climb of the day) I realized I was beyond last place.

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Run (15k-1:27:56):
I got back to transition and took off on the run.

I don't look too happy.

I don’t look too happy.

This was going to be the hardest part, even though the run is my strongest leg, this course was brutal even without having swam and biked right before.  As I was running, I saw people still coming in on the bike.  I was SO far away from being last place.  I was relieved.

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I held off on taking water and a gel on the run as my stomach was still sloshing around a bit after the bike.  I finally got some Nuun from my handheld at the halfway point and eventually got a salt packet and a gel.  The cups of water they had at the abundant water stop tables was freezing cold and felt great as I poured them on my head a couple times.  I ran as much as I could, but still had to walk several hills.  I was exhausted and some of those hills were just easier to walk because you could get a longer stride instead of the death shuffle running your toes into the grade of the hill.  I chicked a lot more guys on the run.  Every single person in this was race was so incredibly nice and positive!  Everyone said a “good job” or “looking good” or “way to go” to each other.  Every single time.  I love this!  No guys getting their man-panties in a wad that I chicked them.  The last brutal hill back into finish was a killer.  I ran as much as I possibly could but walked quite a bit.  Around 7.5 miles I was ready to be done. I didn’t want to carry my handheld water bottle, in fact I didn’t want anything touching me at all. Over stimulus anyone?  I was so happy to run in towards that finish, and get my chocolate milk and a Coke out of my car, my post-race treats!

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Total: 4:30:56 – 3rd Overall
Pretty sweet haul too.  Every finisher got a technical race shirt, a pretty nice medal (printed on both sides), and a pair of socks.  But I also got a nice plaque, giant tub of drink mix, and the coolest coffee mug complete with its own stirring spoon for my podium finish!

swagdickson

Back of the medal. And I definitely plan to make some hot chocolate in that mug!

Back of the medal. And I definitely plan to make some hot chocolate in that mug!

My biggest hurdle with this race was getting in the distance both physically and mentally, as well as testing and managing my nutrition without bonking or hurling.  I got through both!  I listened to my body and took in fuel/fluids when I needed and more importantly backed off when I needed to.  This was my big temperature gauge for the Half Ironman in Muncie in July. It was a shorter distance and better weather (perfect weather actually!), but it was a much more difficult course.  Now all I have to do is just add on some mileage and some hot weather coping skills and I’m ready for the flat courses in Muncie next month!