Friday, December 20, 2013

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Anyone who knows me knows that Friday nights used to be are "Pizza and vino Friday's!!"...but as I move toward keeping the diet less and less processed foods and truly no gluten except for special occasions, pizza has needed to be replaced and sourced with different ingredients.  Enter cauliflower crust....not that you can really call this "crust" as it is not chewy, stretchy, gluteny deliciousness...but it IS an awesome way to get in some cruciferous veggies and an EXCELLENT vehicle for cheese and other veggies! 

So I have been experimenting with this recipe and usually it is not really pizza, but more of something that falls apart as soon as I try to remove it from the baking sheet and while tasty, is kind of a pile of mush...

So here is what I did last night that seems to have helped but really, it's not pizza, so use your imagination OK? the crust situation.

Step 1: Open your fave bottle of red wine, turn oven to pre-heat to 350

Step 2: Take one medium head of cauliflower, throw it in your food processor and blend that thing up until it's the consistency of rice.  Take this mess and throw it in the microwave for 3-5 minutes to steam it a bit.

Step 3: Mix in not but 2 eggs and a half cup (or more) of mozzarella cheese.  This is your crust.

Step 4: Spread mixture onto a greased baking sheet and make thin...maybe 1/4 inch thick only so it can have a fighting chance at becoming crust like and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden brown...this sometimes takes longer.

Step 5: This is the chose your own adventure portion of the evening...take whatever veggies you have in your fridge, top with those, cheese, tomato sauce or pesto if you're feeling spicy and bake for another 15 minutes until the cheeses is golden.

Enjoy!!!  And id you get it to stick together better, please let me know...I think that more cheese and potentially even a third egg could do the trick...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fun thoughts on Kona 2 weeks later...

The Kohala's 
I've been doing a lot of thinking on Kona, and wanted to throw out some bullet point style thoughts on this years trip to the island how much it means to me.  There were multiple times this year where I was impressed by the behavior or other athletes.  At the beginning of the race week, the air felt a bit tense with athlete nerves, but out on the course, it was a different story. For those not in the triathlon lifestyle, they often ask "what do you POSSIBLY think about for 10 hours...excuse me, that's 9 hours 58 thank you very much! ?"  So I wanted to give some answers about all of the fun things I don't think about during Kona.  "Hailey, did you see your rocks out on the course?  Uhhh, nope, all I saw was a white line for 112 miles".

This visit to Kona marked my one year anniversary of Operation: just say NO to Diet Coke, or any artificial sweeteners.  Pressured into it last year on the Thursday before race day by Mark and my family, I went cold turkey and haven't looked back.  I now have a loving relationship with my local Peet's barista and whole milk lattes.

Celebrating the Sub-10
While in Kona, I didn't take an indoor shower once.  I DID shower, but in an outside shower for 14 days...I am now plotting how to get Mark to install one at our house for summertime use.  There is NOTHING like the feeling of fresh ocean air while showering.  I may be drooling about going back already!

The day before the race, I got a call from my sister and she told me to ask myself during the race "what can I do today/right now to be my best".  I made that my mantra and really kept repeating it to myself...especially in those last three miles when it was critical that I ran as hard as possible to break the 10 hour mark.  

MacGuyver Manning
Every year when I hit the Energy Lab, I tell myself that I have to hunt someone down at this point and pass someone.  This year this part of the course was where you had to be tough as nails, as it became a 10 mile stretch with no spectators...what was that about?  Although, my crafty husband managed to take an "alternate" route and found his way onto the closed section of the Queen K run course.  All of the sudden, he goes "beep beep!".  Instant smile time.  Never underestimate the ability of Mark Manning to become MacGuyver.

I usually thrive in the first 10 miles of the run along Alii, I love all of the spectators and it's not usually too hot for me.  This year I was far from thriving.  I had to walk a few times and Mark wondered not aloud thankfully if I was going to finish the race.  It is here that an older guy told me that this is "as hard as it gets, this is the worst section" and that I needed to run.  Thank you sir, you helped me break 10 hours.  

Hi buddy!
Honu.  Man do I LOVE these things.  Look for some new ink to be on my body soon.  That old tattoo of the Chinese symbol from college is going to get covered up with a more meaningful tattoo. I am going to try to find a tattoo artist form the Big Island locally to do the work.

Hawaii Dreaming

I left Hawaii just two weeks ago and it is already finding me in my dreams.  Does it do this to you too?  Not dreaming about the race, just dreaming of the peace that I feel when I am there.  The ability to disconnect from work, and visit with my  super support team, best friends and family every year has become one of my highlights each year.

Cauliflower pizza crust, not bad!

Off season eating.  I usually find myself gagging for an almost binge worthy period of eating...lots of vino, carbs and ice cream.  I allow myself to go completely off the wagon. I've been gluten light (let's say 90/10) since 2010 and have recently begun a shift towards a higher fat and lower carb diet (not during races though and will increase carbs as needed for high training/race weeks).  This year after Kona, I didn't feel that urge as much for all of the sugary items like Dairy Queen...but there has still been wine.  It's been interesting to see how the body changes year after year and that you start to crave these items less.  Although it was a tad disappointing that my DQ didn't taste as awesome as I had hoped...what is WRONG with me?!!

Swelling.  Swelling continues to be an issue for me and I could feel it start on the bike.  When I went to put on those stupid, never gonna wear them again wings for sun protection, I could barely get them over my wrists.  When I crossed the finish line they took me to the med tent as I was indeed pretty swollen.  They ended up ripping my beloved wings.  I'll continue to work with pal Stacy on this one to see what we can do to limit the bloat.
I didn't watch TV or listen to the radio for the entire trip either.  I am not a big TV watcher in the first place as there just isn't' that much time in the day.  But I do like the Biggest loser and sometimes turn on the TV just to be in the background...It was nice to not even turn one on and I didn't even miss it...although I also had NO idea on what was happening outside of the Big Island...ignorance is bliss right?

So now it's time to relax, have fun exercising and focus on some strength before gearing up for Ironman Los Cabos next Spring!

Awesome saying found at coffee shop in Hawi

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Salty Balls!

Many of you have emailed and asked for the secret recipe for the infamously named Salty Balls that I used as my bike nutrition in Kona this year.  These were developed by friend and AMAZING mad scientist, Stacy Sims of Osmo Nutrition.  This woman knows her stuff and then some, and we as women are lucky to have her in our corner changing the nutrition scene for women.

Stacy advocates REAL nutrition, even though I kept telling her that I have done Kona and been successful on ONLY gels in the past.  She says that you may feel OK on only gels but that you will perform better if you stay the hell away from them.  So, tested in Vineman and put to the ultimate test in Kona these balls were prepped by uber sherpas, Robyn and Kebby.

The balls were the only thing I ate on the bike along with Active Hydration in Mango and one bottle of Coke.....mmmmm, coke!

Here's the recipe...let me know if you love it!

Salty Balls:
Makes 10 balls, ~140kcal/ball

1/2 cup nutbutter (peanut or almond, natural kind)
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup whey protein isolate ( I had Muscle Milk Chocolate powder on hand, OSMO Active recovery would be bomber too)
1/2 cup dry oatmeal or 2/3 cup Perky's Rice Crisps- I went with the crisps
1/4 cup shredded coconut (Stacy used raisins but knows I love coconut so tailored for me)

Pop the PB and rice syrup in the microwave for about 30 seconds so that they are melty and able to be combined well.  Then combine all ingredients.  If you need a bit more holding power (we did), add more protein powder.
Then add a sprinkle-ly of salt on top.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

66 Seconds to Spare

A Medal the size of your head!
Kona 2013 is in the books, and it was a day that I won't soon ever forget.  For those skimming and looking at pics, here's the short recap. Arrived in Kona the Saturday before race day, had a great time prepping and then managed to break 10 hours in an Ironman for the first time ever, on one of the toughest courses on the circuit.  Landed in 8th place in the AG and while it wasn't the podium spot I was dreaming of, I am OVER THE MOON with the day and having broke 10 hours.

Finally found my rocks!
I came to Kona a week early this year, having a few extra vacation days to spare and can't believe I ever came "so late" on Wednesday's in previous years.  Being out here a week early and staying outside of town with friends at Hualalai was amazing.  I got to do almost my entire taper here on the island in the heat and spent the other days catching up with friends and some of my super support crew!  Who wouldn't prefer to taper off of the Kona pier vs. your normal masters pool?  Although that being said, Stanford masters is a pretty spectacular pool with an awesome coach.

My family and Mark arrived Wednesday and we moved into town to stay with 2 other couples, neither of whom were racing.  Instead of partying it up, they took care of me as if it were their own race.  They cooked for me, braided my hair for me (it was in tact even after the race!), went everywhere on my schedule and then cheered for me ALL day long on race day.  Who does that, and what did I do to deserve such an amazing support crew?  I tried to make a small piece of it up to them by making breakfast ok they may have still assisted but I tried on Sunday after the race.  There may be some wine gifting in order!  I'm secretly hoping Robyn and Brian will sign up for a 100 miler so I can crew/pace them for a change!

Team Betty at the Underpants Run

Pre-Race fun included the underpants run.  It is for a good cause, and it can't be missed!  This year I was lucky to be invited onto the Betty Designs team and man did we have some HOT looking gals, guys and kits!  Thank you Kristen!! Other pre race fun included lots of good food! Thursday night we went to dinner at the TYR house and the Compex House....I swear I only had one dinner!  We also got treated to breakfast at the Muscle Milk House Friday before the race...maybe it was the pancakes and bacon!!!

Pre-Race with coach/hubby/SUPER Sherpa Mark
Race day arrived and I have always thought and professed out loud that I think you are full of horse poo if you tell me you sleep well race eve.  So here I sit, telling you that I actually was able to quiet my mind and sleep for about 5 hours straight on race eve...after that though, I tossed and turned as per usual.  I think having done all of my race visualization on previous nights helped as I did none of that race eve and instead just counted sheep until I fell asleep.

Race morning we were all up at 4:30, I was eating, sun screening and getting my hair did!  Robyn could seriously make money with her skillz.  If I don't have braids, I would likely have to cut hair out after each race with the amount of knots that would work themselves into my hair.  Soon enough it was off to the start and to prep my bike and kiss everyone farewell.

Pre race meal:  Osmo Pre-Load, water/Cytomax, rice with egg mixed in (think fried rice) and a banana. Total kcal's 900.  Best to start off with a well topped off tank!

TYR Swim: 1:01:38  previous best in 2012 1:04:51
Can't you see me? 
First of all, THANK YOU Tim from Stanford masters...I was able to send him a note on my PR and am thankful it was a non wetsuit swim as he considers all wetsuit legal swims, non swims and the times don't count.  This time was LEGIT.  I started WAY left, further left than even my usual here in Hawaii after having 2 consecutive years of being beat to a pulp by my German male brethren.  I told myself to go hard for the first 400 meters to get clear water and on good feet.  Check!  I rounded the turn for home in just over 28 minutes.  I thought, HOLY SMOKE!!!  I may break an hour for the first time ever in an Ironman and IN Kona!  The swim is usually slower on the way home and this year was no different.  I was on feet, but felt like I should have been going faster but couldn't really escape so I just sat in and waited it out.  I had the most clear, non violent swim of my ironman joke.  I only got hit once and it was 3/4 of the way through the swim, and completely unnecessary.  The start was beautiful and I had clear water and great swim buddies most of the way. Highlight of the swim?  Looking down and seeing a honu after I rounded the turn for home.  I took it as a good omen, as those guys are my fave!!!

Argon18/Smith Optics Bike: 5:16:31  previous best 2011 5:21:48
Cause if you ain't smiling, you ain't having FUN!
Quickly into T1 and I had the great fortune of having my cousin (who was volunteering) be my changing tent idea how that actually happened that she was free at the exact moment I ran into the tent, but it was great to have someone I know and love send me off onto the bike.  I had heard that it was supposed to be a calm day with relatively little wind, but I hadn't allowed myself to actually believe it...I kept waiting for those cross winds to start!  The first 20 miles were impossibly clustered, but after that it was easier to ride your own race and chose if you were going to draft or is always frustrating to see women atop the podium that you saw tucked in with men, but there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, so I don't let it take any of my energy. The wind was at our backs all the way to Hawi.  This day truly flew by and I couldn't believe that we were already at the turn around!  I also kept telling myself that if it was this wonderful on the way out, the last 30 miles on the Queen K were going to be a bit rough...and indeed they were!  Coming through Kawaihae is kind of your first slow down.  Thankfully Mark and Jenny were there to cheer us on.  My best strategy for those last 30 miles is to continue to execute your nutrition to avoid low spots.  On the way back, I saw super supporters in Puako as well who had made signs for me and this was a TOTAL pick me up!  Sonja passed me somewhere along this stretch and made sure I was OK....yep! just battling the head wind that I knew was coming! Rolling into town you get all of he cheers again and it was time to get off my bike and run.

Total bike nutrition: 7 salty balls (150kcal each), 5 bottles active mango, 1 bottle coke, half bottle perform and water!  1650kcals/314 average per hour

keep the feet, just keep the feet
Coeur Run: 3:35:23  previous best 2011 3:33:14  I had felt awesome pretty much all day from the swim through the and of the bike.  I got off the bike and had that first wobbly leg feeling as I was running through transition.  Who made the run around the pier like a mile?!!  It was forever on the green astroturf and then finally into the change tent.  I grabbed some nutrition, my Garmin, a bottle of Pre Load to top of my salt and my white wings in the hopes of not getting too burnt.  Those things are SO hard to get on and I had already started to swell a bit so it felt like it was cutting off my circulation on my wrists.  I don't think I'll wear this again (at least not this type)...I only need protection on my shoulders and back and having it go all the way down the arms is unnecessary and it takes a lot of work to make sure they stay wet enough each mile to keep you "cool". Home made mod coming up! The first 10 miles along Alii were ROUGH...I walked a few times and was just hot and pooped.  I saw Mark and my family and all just kept telling me to keep chugging.  I got cooled off a bit and by the time I shuffled up Palani, I was in a better groove.  I had allowed myself to do the math just a bit at mile 16 on the way into the energy lab.  If I had 10 miles to go, and xx time...I MAY be able to squeak in under 10 hours.  This is where I also tell myself to not get overly excited as 10 miles is still a LONG way to go and ANYTHING can happen, so keep your head together please Hailey.  Into and out of the energy lab we went.  It was particularly barren this year as they stopped spectators from the 13 mile point, so we were without any spectators/family support for 10 miles.  Don't know what that was about, but it STUNK and there was no warning that it was going to be like that.  At about mile 20 I found the guy in the picture with me and for some reason, once I got on his feet, he picked up the pace just a tad.  I could hang on, but every once in a while he would try to add a bit more speed and I would fall of the back.  He would turn around and slow up for me to get back on his feet.  I muttered a thank you and he said he wasn't having his day so he was happy to help.  What a guy! After about 3 miles, I slowed at an aid station and he must have felt the finish line calling as that was the last I saw of him (he finished about a minute ahead of me).
How Badly do you want it?

With 3.2 miles to go I had 26 minutes.  That's not a lot of time after your body has already pushed for 9:30 and it wasn't all downhill.  Mark told me I needed to run hard and get this done.  I have never had to push so hard to achieve a goal.  As I was running with a little over a mile to go, I saw Kebby and desperately asked if I was going to make it.  She told me I had plenty of time, but MAN did that last beautiful mile along Alii take FOREVER!  I am usually able to soak it all in and high five everyone, but I HAD to get to the finish line before 10:00.  I looked up and saw that it was going to happen and I was going to even have time to spare!  I don't normally do much at the finish line, but I was SO excited that I did as much of a jump as I could muster.

Total Run nutrition: 1 banana, 1 gel (mile 24), loads of coke, few cups of perform, glucose tabs, 1 bag of Cytomax Energy Drops 450 in known kcal's, the rest in coke- estimate 150/hour so roughly 250/hour

Super Support crew...only missing my dad!
Day is done.
After the finish, I had swollen quite a bit so they took me to the med tent just to make sure all was good.  I had gained 2lbs over the course of the day which they say isn't too bad.  I asked if I could go and find my family and with that i broke free from the med tent and went to find my crew!  They all did SO much over the day and I needed every ounce of theer cheers to get me through the day successfully.

After the race it's time to enjoy some down time and fun activities!  I have been wanting to go Manta Ray diving for years, and I tell Mark each year we are here, we are going to go.  Finally I made the reservations this year and if you have the opportunity, it is beyond spectacular...they come within inches of you and you can see inside their mouths, and it is unreal.
Upside Down Manta!

Now for the THANK YOU's!  To all of my family and friends, the support offered on a daily basis is incredible.  Not all of my friends are triathletes, but they still get behind me and only tell me I'm crazy occasionally.  Thank you Lance and Argon18 for the best bike, Smith Optics for awesome sunnies, Coeur Sports for the best chaffing, Muscle Milk for keeping me recovered, Osmo for keeping me hydrated and dialed in with my nutrition plan, TYR sports for goods that take me to new PR's, and Compex for keeping me recovered after key sessions.

Now it's time for the off season!  See you all soon!

Girls Twitter meet up!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Ka Ka Ka Kona!!

Morning light 
Kona came early this year.  Sounds familiar right?  Not Christmas, Kona!  Turns out we're not taking any time off around the typical holidays in the next few months which left me with some extra vacation days.  Hmmm, what to do with those days?  Yes, I think I'll spend them in Hawaii!  I boarded a plane on Saturday and whoosh, arrived in the land of hot, delicious, wet Hawaiian air.  I don't know if it's my Mid-Western roots, but MAN do I love me some sunshine and humidity.  Something about it just feels right.  My hair goes all crazy (lion hair to Mark), the moist air fills my lungs, and from ear to ear, I smile.  I asked Mark the other day if everyone who comes here has the same feeling of connectedness with the island, and he says that likely, I'm not alone on this one.  There is something about this least once a year when I am here, I am overcome with a sense of very raw emotion and the feeling that this is a very special place for me.

Swim Course action & latte with Dad
This year was supposed to be EXTRA special as in addition to my usual SUPER support crew of my husband, mom, stepdad, aunt, cousin, and Kebby, my dad (who is in a wheelchair 95% of his time) was going to make the LONG, HARD journey from Ohio to Kona to watch me race for the very first time.  I was pumped...nervous that he would be vulnerable out here out of his element, but excited that he would get to see the madness that is the Hawaii ironman.  I got a call Friday that my dad had had to undergo surgery and as of today he's still shacked up in the hospital.  So since he won't be here, I showed him the island via face time.  We had a latte together this morning, albeit my settings were a bit nicer than his...needless to say, he'll be Ironmanlive stalking this Saturday.  I told him I'd have to try to qualify for 2014 so we could try again...

The Queen and all her beauty
Mark doesn't arrive until later this week, so I've had the good fortune of staying out of town with friends  Jordan, her husband Rich, and our friend Eric.  The boys built the bikes yesterday and somehow all we had to do to avoid that chore was go to the grocery store and shop for food.  Any day of the week, I'll shop over put a bike together.  Thanks boys!!  We got back, Eric was nice enough to roll with me for my ride along the Queen K and just like that, I felt at home!  We went to town this morning to swim and then I hit the Queen K by myself for a little ride.  It was windier than yesterday and on the way home I had that thought of ohhhh, yes, I've been here before...I know this lonely stretch of road, time to start to prepare for the solitude of race day!

Another day done
Kona is my favorite race of the year for so many reasons.  Maybe highest on that list is that I get to spend time with friends who I may only see here every year.  This race serves as a culmination of your entire season and is a massive CELEBRATION for all that we've accomplished this year.  Do I have some big, scary goals?  You had better believe it.  But rain or shine, after next Saturday, the off season is upon me, another year of being healthy, happy and doing what I LOVE is wrapped up and I have another week on an island in the Pacific.  Life is indeed incredibly good (with the exception of Dad in the hospital, which effing BLOWS).

The rest of this week, I get to hang with sponsors, friends and family and then race my buns off on Saturday!  OHH and I get to be an honorary Betty for the Under Pants Run on Thursday...YES please!!! A big thank you to my family for all of their support this year and to Argon18 for putting me on the fastest, sexiest bike in town, Muscle Milk for rebuilding both my iron stores and my muscles, Compex for shaking my muscles recovered, Coeur for the most styling kits evah, Smith Optics for keeping the sun out of my eyes, Osmo Nutrition and Stacy Sims for keeping me salt tab and gel free (and truly so much more), and TYR for keeping me fast in the water.

Monday, August 26, 2013

6 Weeks and Counting

Is it possible that Kona is just 7 short weeks away?  And that I leave in just under 6?!  Well, yes it is my friends. How does it happen each year that that I am so totally shocked that the end of the season is almost here?!  Kona marks the end of my season and the start of an off season that I look forward to each year. How could you not get excited about an off season that starts with a week of vegging out on an island in the Pacific? But before I start dreaming of lava flows and honu....
High above the Golden Gate Bridge

Being forced to take time off due to low iron back in late June/July made me super sad and maybe even a little OK a lot depressed.  There was a lot of poor me, and "what will I ever do if I can't race" thoughts. Sitting on the couch and eating bon bons just isn't my thing for more than a day and it had better be when I want it to be...not dictated by some low iron non-sense! Thank GOODNESS that  situation seems to have remedied itself with heaps of added iron to my daily regimen.  Mark tells people when they ask how I got my iron back up that I've done it by eating half a cow a day.  Poor guy doesn't eat any meat other than chicken, so the smell of me cooking beef frequently and him not complaining, must mean he really loves me!

So with iron back on track, what's been happening?  Lots of training, lots of eating, lots of recovery and not much social time unless you are also a triathlete/cyclist, or willing to come over and hang out before the hour of 8:30!  I think for the most part, that for a MASSIVE chunk of the season, I maintain a very healthy maybe too robust at times balance of being social, drinking vino and making time for friends and family.  But almost like clockwork, my brain senses that Kona is near and I all of the sudden go into "ohhh, salad DOES look better than pizza for dinner!" mode.  I start to focus even more on recovery...committing myself to 3+ times a week in  front of the TV with my fave Cytosport BCAA cocktail  (1 scoop Sour Grape amino mixed with a fruit punch nuuninstead of the usual glass of wine, stretching, rolling, compressing/icing and shaking my legs recovered with my Compex while watching the Daily Show with Mark.  I'm starting to see a bit more muscle here, and a bit more power there.

LA is NOT ugly....and it's HOT!
But this past weekend, was a BIT more of a fun adventure than normal.  Sister From Another Mother, Kebby, launched Coeur Sports recently.  I have been on the team almost since its inception and when Kebby decided to launch her own company focusing on women in motion, I knew that I HAD to be a part of it.  So going forward, I am a Coeur girl and hope that you all will try the new gear out, as I think you'll find it easy to love and there will be products for ALL of your triathlon needs, including apres training! So this past Saturday, I got my rear up and out the door by 6:15 for 90 miles of biking, followed up by an awesome brick run before BFF Jess came over with an SOS latte and we headed to the airport to go to LA to celebrate Coeur!  I got to see LA, run in a canyon and hang out with amazing friends while brainstorming ideas.

Canyon Running
I may have had to buy new sunnies
This upcoming weekend, I have my very first mini "training camp" planned at the very exciting location house!  I'm taking full advantage of the three day weekend and adding an extra day.  I plan to swim,bike and run myself stronger and hope to recruit enough friends to join me so that it's also FUN. Strangely, I'm looking forward to the monotony of sleep, train, eat, recover, REPEAT for a few days.  The house has been cleaned in anticipation of my completely neglecting it during this period and I will have food delivery on tap and good neighbors to feed me and not laugh too hard when I show up in my compression pants with ice attached.  They see crazy going by at 6:15 on a Saturday while feeding their babies and offer to bring Dairy Queen over to replace all of the kcal's I've burned...OK salad is good, but I still need my DQ!!

I was so inspired by friends racing their hearts out over the weekend and also a quote from a coach that I read the other day along the lines of making sure that we're not just working out.  Each session has to count and you need to be asking yourself, if you are working out, or ACTUALLY trying to make yourself better.

For the next 7 weeks, I am going to try, each day to make myself better.

What about you?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Top "Gots to have its" of the season

No, I promise, this isn't a list of the hot goods from Vogue for fall 2013, but in my opinion the following goodies SHOULD be in Triathlete magazines "what we love right now" section.  These are the items right now as I build towards Kona that are my go-to's, what I use day in and day any of these make your list?  What are YOUR must have's?

Matchy Matchy Kit and Sunnies
Peeper Protectors, Sunnies...whatever you call them, these are a critical piece of gear not only so you don't squint and get wrinkles duh, vanity always is the most important reason but these bad boys also protect your eyes from flying debris, low branches and if you have the right pair, they make you look good out on the race course.  My of the moment pair are my Smith Pivlock V90 in Sea Glass...they may match my kit and that is a BONUS!

Just say NO to salt tabs...with OSMO Pre-Load! Friend and wicked smart Dr. Stacy Sims is the brains behind this amazing product that will keep you hydrated in hot weather.  Los Cabos where I won the AG and was 2nd OA Amateur?  Powered by Pre-Load for bottle the night before and then another in the morning before a hot long race or hot, long anything...ride, run, day at the beach sipping marg's...  Speaking of marg's, pre-load IS salt after all so don't expect it to taste like coke. This stuff will keep you hydrated without the normal post race swell that is brought on by salt tabs and the like...I love me a 5lb weight gain and all, but who likes to remember ANOTHER thing to do while racing?

Tasty Treats
While we're on the topic of nutrition- I've been trying to stick with more whole food while on the bike, specifically in racing.  During training, I rarely eat sports nutrition products.  Gotta save up my appetite for the race!  Enter Barnana, portable heard me right, these dried, organic, non-GMO bananas are soft and chewy and sweet. This company is awesome to support as they are owned by fellow triathletes!  Packed with potassium, this is perfect on the fly nutrition.  They're also great for 5:20AM need to eat SOMETHING, but who is going to get up earlier than necessary to make breakfast?  Not this girl. I also keep a pack in my car/purse at all times as you never know when Hangry-time will strike.

THE iron team
While I've been dealing with low iron, there have been two nutritional go to's in my arsenal.  Muscle Milk and spirulina.  Yes, one may be manufactured and one from the depths of the Kona sea, but BOTH have half of my daily iron needs covered.  What, you say?  Muscle Milk helps me to pump my iron?  Indeed it does.  My smoothie of choice: 2 scoops of Muscle Milk Light Chocolate powder mixed with 1 tsp. spirulina, 1 c. frozen strawberries, one frozen banana and a cup of H2O.  Blend and viola!  Instant Iron recovery shake.

Stop: Recovery Time...Ever sit on the couch with bags of peas on your legs or in an ice bath, wishing you could do the dishes/laundry/cook dinner WHILE you were icing your gams after a long day at the office of SBR?  I was lucky this season to receive goodies from 110% Playharder.  These guys make life easy...compression?  Check! Slots for ice integrated into these compression garments? Double check!!  My fave, is the aptly named, "clutch" tight.  You can put ice on your lower back/calves/hamstrings...any part of your leg that may be screaming for mercy can be icily compressed into submission.

A Bevy of TYR bags to stash my goodies
OK, let's talk gear storage.  Unless you work from home, chances are, you need to take gear to/from work and keep it in your car for that evening run or morning swim session.  At any given moment, you can find at least one, but usually two of the TYR Alliance Backpacks in my car brimming with gear/clothes for work&dinner/snacks/water name it and this bag fits it, and has many secret little pockets for coffee money to hide so it doesn't get stolen from the women's locker room while you're out staring at the black line for the better part of 90 minutes!  It also has mesh side pockets for wet gear storage after masters so you don't have to worry about drying of your cap and goggles but I do cause I'm SUPER Type A.

Give me my bike back!
Take it to the hills.  I live in Northern California, and if you've ever been here, you know that it ain't flat.  So while I may be in LOVE with my Argon E118 for racing and long flat rides, my daily go to, my husband isn't embarrassed to be seen with a tri-geek, can climb mountains like a billy goat bike, is the Argon18 Gallium Pro.  This bike is so light and comfortable that it was stolen by my husband this past weekend for his uphill time trial.  Time to upgrade buddy...Thankfully, my bike has been returned to me and all is right in my bike love world.  I love to feel as stable as possible training wheels to prevent tipping over ever would be awesome and this bike takes stability to another level, up and down the mountain I go smiling all the way.

I have been living in these team kits for the better part of three years.  They keep me from needing to "double bag" my girls, keep my thighs chafe free, and my undercarriage as happy as possible over the journey of 140.6 miles.

Friends, Family, and Sponsors.  This list of people deserves their own post.  They train with me, keep me sane and support me in an enormous way and that makes my world a pretty awesome place to be.  So to all of you, I am grateful!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Whoops! A little race called Vineman...

So, about three weeks ago, I published this little gem about how I had been diagnosed with low iron and how I was so bummed.  And I was.  It had been recommended that I take it easy and pull out of Vineman. But then, I adopted the most type A plan to supplementing (iron in the AM with an EmergenC- no calcium for 2 hours, liquid iron at night with another EmergenC- again no calcium 2 hours before, eating plenty of beef, and drinking my Muscle Milk which has 40% of my daily iron in it...didn't know that one, did ya?!) and three weeks later had my iron checked just not at all coincidentally before Vineman to see how my body had been dealing with the iron supplements.  Turns out, like a BOSS.  My iron went from 10ng/ml to 31 ng/ml in 3 weeks, placing my in the "normal range".  Not what some sports folk think it best, in the 50's, but I am higher than a lot of other females. AND it's only been three weeks.  So hopefully it continues to go up and then I can maybe supplement only 1x daily so this whole thing stops messing with my morning latte bliss.

Side note:  Did NONE of us know that this was a possibility with all of our long distance running/training?  I feel like there is so much fear placed into people about supplementing with iron, and maybe that is a good fear to have if you are not an athlete running a marathon+/week in distance.  But for those of us hammering our bodies day in and day out, asking it to perform, we are physically breaking our red blood cells when we run and then sweating them out.  Always check with your Dr, but it seems like a no brainer that most women endurance athletes should at least have their numbers checked periodically to ensure that they are getting enough iron. Seems like since I became more aware of low iron and talking with my fellow ladies of the Social Sphere, it is SO common and sounds like a lot of you supplement.  Making a mental note to pay more attention to things that don't currently directly affect me but could.

So after speaking with a friend/sports nutrition/expert who cautioned me against racing and also speaking with a sports orthopedist, who said that as long as I felt OK, and my iron had come back up, that I wasn't really going to do any damage (but i'm getting my iron stores check tonight anyways).  Who's answer did I take?  The one I paid $200 for of course!  However, the friend who told me to not race and focus on Kona has also been helping me on nutrition and I was able to implement our new strategy and that was a about a calm tummy...more on that later. So she HAS to be happy with me for racing right?!!  Otherwise we would have gone into Kona with a never been tested nutrition plan.  I can rationalize wit the BEST of them.

My wave went off so late I got to see BFF Jess!
With all of this in mind, I knew that it would not be a fast, PR, guns ablaze kind of day.  And I told myself that if at any time I wanted to pull out if I was feeling bad that was also shame here in doing what feels best to your body.  And I knew that I had to be OK with whatever result happened on the day and told myself that that was the only was I could race.  That mental preparation really helped when I saw gals going past me who I can normally keep up with.  I knew I couldn't push that pace and that was OK. And I felt flat all day (16 minutes flatter than LY apparently), but not like in Texas where I felt awful and didn't know what was going on. My HR monitor didn't work on the bike, but it was in a normal range for racing on the run and I figured as long as it stayed there then I would keep running.  And at a certain point, you have to finish, cause if you run 6 miles, you have to get back to the transition area to pick up our bike, so may as well cross the finish line :)

Night before race nutrition:  OSMO Pre-Load to get my sodium stores up and ready for the heat of racing.

Pre swim nutrition: Chia/coconut granola, Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut peanut butter, banana, OSMO Pre-load  Approx 900 kcal's

Swim: 6th AG 29:08 vs LY: 28:26
So Shallow you could run...or swim!
For the first time, there were 2 waves at Vineman for the women 30-34, so coming out of the water in 4th with my wave I knew there would be a few more gals who  had swum faster in the wave ahead and were now 6+ minutes (time between waves) up the road.  I went out with the eventual winner of the amateur race Sarah C, but quickly lost her as that flat feeling came across and she is a SUPER swimmer.  It was so shallow this year that SO many people were walking, but again, walking in water is NEVER as fast as's a RACE people!

Bike Nutrition: 2 Tram Bars -just found these things and they are ridic! OSMO Active Hydration, total kcal's: 800

Bike: 2:41:34  VS LY 2:30:16
Compact (me) vs all you can bring T1
Where all of my time would be lost from LY.  This is where I began to implement my new MONEY nutrition plan.  Only solid food was allowed from now until the run and even then I had to try to keep real food in the picture and only go to my beloved energy chews towards the end of the race.  The bike was, as always beautiful but starting in the 3rd to last wave meant there was a LOT of passing to do.  And while this makes you feel like a hero, "I'm CRUSHING this bike" tends to run through your head way too often, it also means that you have to be even more aware than normal about what others are doing and how others are riding.  I know I've heard others talk before about having a faster age group wave right after the pros, and I think this would be a great idea.  It would allow those that are a bit more aggressive to get out there and do their thing and I think it could offer a better racing experience for all athletes.  Back to racing, the sun came out right as I was thinking, jeeze, I'm still cold, where's that sun?!!  POOF, it came out, but thankfully not like last year.  We got a real treat with the weather this year and it only got into the 80's.  Off the bike, and try to see if I had any run legs available for use...

Run Nutrition: cup of Gatorade/cup of water to dilute the Gatorade and not have any tummy issues, a few cups of coke towards the end, half banana, half nectarine, water, 1 pack of Cytomax Energy chews on the back half of the run.  Total kcal's  400

Run: 1:41:31  VS LY 1:38:06
I hit the run and immediately was running with a guy who was keeping a good pace.  I must have been annoying to be right on his hip for those first few miles...he picked it up and dropped me, but I found him at mile 12 and said hello to my long lost friend.  I was not feeling my competitive juices flowing and was just running plodding along saying hello to friends and then it happened...around mile 8 I saw two girls who had passed me at mile 48 of the bike and I have raced against one of the gals before and knew that I usually can run I started to catch her and then saw another gal up the took me until mile 11 to catch her and she forced me to run two 7:20's in a row (not normally a big ask but it was on Sunday) to get a comfortable gap.  But then, a gal passed me int he last .25 mile of the race, and beat me by 12 seconds...DOH!  But again that's OK...I should not have been racing on Sunday...I was under orders to participate and see how it went.  Hard to quash that competitive spirit right?

I ended up 9th in the AG and 19th amateur female.  It's hard not to compare myself to last year as that time would have garnered me the 2nd OA position as well as 2nd in the AG.  I'm keeping that in perspective and focusing on the last big goal for the season and that is Kona.  Hopefully I got some fitness at Vineman this past weekend and enjoyed racing with friends from all over the country that I don't get to see that often.

Thanks to all of you who have reached out to offer stories of  low iron and your solutions and support, I truly appreciate it.  Makes me not feel alone in this at all!!

Through the fog and into the Sun!