Sunday, May 31, 2015

Awesome Sauce...a recipe

Here's my recipe for awesome sauce.  We throw this on grilled or raw veggies or wrap it up in turkey for a quick, healthy snack.  It's whole30/paleo compliant as well, but don't let that deter's AWESOME!!

Do a "quick" soak of 2c raw cashews.  Put the cashews in a bowl, cover with water and microwave for 3 minutes.  This is quicker than an overnight soak and achieves the same goal.

In your blender put:
2 large cloves garlic
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (don't like spicy? reduce the number of peppers)
2tsp red wine vinegar
juice off one lemon
drained cashews
chicken/veg stock to taste- you will need at least 3/4 of a cup.  After that it's preference for consistency.  I tend to use at least a cup.

Blend!  scoop into an airtight container and use within the week.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Woodlands Y'all

To say that I am happy about punching my 6th ticket to Kona this past Saturday would be an understatement.  As triathletes trying for Kona, you don't get many opportunities to qualify...if one race goes to poo, you can't (usually) do one next week as a do-over.  So the anxiety leading up to a race is reasonable.  I knew that I had put in the work, had given up more wine than ever before, run faster than before, done more mobility work than before to make sure that my ever so slightly aging body was ready for the day, done more X...but you can only control what you can control, and after Wildflower a few weeks ago, I thought I had "allergies".  An ear ache, chest tightness, etc.  Allergies turned out to be "you may be sick".  Thanks Doc.  I ended up taking vitamin C in massive doses, zinc'ing it up and trying my VERY best the week of the race to get better and get rid of the yuck that had crept into my body before the gun went off on Saturday morning.

Pia and I in our Roka's
I flew into the Woodlands with Pia on Thursday for a Saturday race...maybe not my best laid plan as from the moment we landed, time went into speed mode and just raced the expo to pick up packets and say hi to friends, grocery store so that I could make salty balls for race day, get to the friends house, pack bags, practice swim and before you knew it, it was Friday night and time to go to bed!  If you haven't done a course before and can afford the extra day, I would go in on a Wednesday for a Saturday race just to give yourself that extra bit of wiggle room.

It had been raining in The Woodlands for the past few weeks, but as race day approached, the chances of rain kept going down and I had a feeling that as usual, race day would BRING her glory and the sun would come out and with all of the rain, the humidity would be off the charts.  Maybe I'd make an excellent weather girl?  This is exactly what happened as part way through the swim, the clouds parted and gave way to what was the start of a brutally hot and windy day in Texas.

Pre-swim nutrition: Bottle of Osmo mango, serving of Pre-Load, two eggs scrambled into cold rice (didn't want to raise my core temp on an already hot morning), liquid aminos on top and an iced latte.  One banana right before the start. ~800kcals (should have had some PB in hind sight to get this close to 1k)

Swim: 1:03:38 or 1:38/100m
Coeur Gals at the Practice swim
A Roka Sandwich
This swim is almost exactly what I swam in 2012 here.  A freshwater swim in 81* water means no wet suit and no added buoyancy...good for those of us that grew up as swimmers.  I also think that non wet suit swims are good in hot weather...the last thing you want to do is swim in a wet suit in barely legal water in sunny/80* outside temp and arrive in T1 already dehydrated. This was my first time in a rolling start.  I had a bit of concern that there could be gals that seeded themselves further back (meaning I wouldn't be able to really know where I was at in the race), but then I also thought if anyone thought they were in contention for either the AG win or the amateur title, there would be no way they would put themselves anywhere other than the front.  I put myself in the :55-1:00 category knowing that I might be a bit slower, but it would be nice to draft as much as possible.  All around me there were green caps...not many of us ladies! It was a MOST pleasant start, I wasn't run over much at all and I chose perfectly with a fresh pair of Roka F1's in light amber that I may have had to panic order so that I had the best tint for race day. The Viper Pro swim skin from Roka is also stellar and they have updated it with a break away zipper this year which makes it SO easy to rip off as you are hustling through T1.

Bike: 5:20:56...good enough for fastest in the AG (let's not talk about the fact that it was the 11th best bike split for the AG women)
This bike LOVES to ride
After hustling through what could have been a mud wrestling pit of T1, (don't search for funny videos...) I made it onto my bike and headed out for a fun day in the sun.  Just me, my thoughts and an entire batch of salty balls to get through before it was time to run ;)  The beginning of the bike course in TX typically has a tailwind and we did start off pretty quickly, but also pretty early on, the wind started.  Coupled with the fact that I could feel the heat immediately, I knew it was going to be a pretty spectacular day in terms of blow ups.  I made my way to the front of the AG race and was riding comfortably.  A few gals (and a ton of guys) came by me like I was a toddler riding a bike for the first time.  I told myself "either I am riding like a toddler, or these gals are making some pretty bad decisions".  Let's stick to my race and see how it plays out.  Every 15 minutes I have an alarm that goes off queuing me that it is time for a salty ball (70kcals/ball).  when I didn't' feel like eating, I would tell myself that the food tasted like winning, the food tasted like Kona and that if I wanted to do either of those things, I had better get that ball DOWN the hatch.  I rolled them in a bit more salt than usual and that was a good move! The aid stations were only every 10ISH miles and in weather like that, they should be like they are in Kona, every 7.  I was pouring water over me at every stop, adding cold water to my bottle and was ELATED when I arrived at the special needs stop and found my foil wrapped bottle of Osmo still slushy.  There is NOTHING like an ice cold drink at mile 70 of an Ironman.  When the wind really picked up it got a little frustrating as the drafting would seem to increase as well.  People just seem to gravitate towards others in order to shield themselves from the wind.  I kept telling myself that to focus on others is to waste energy, but that didn't stop me from getting a bit frustrated.  At one point a pro gal I had passed was right behind me so I looked at her and she apologized and then came around me as if to offer me a break...uh, no thanks chick, I don't want no penalty.  It got a bit ugly for me towards the end of the bike and I found myself yelling at the wind that I "LOVED" it and then in turn making loud grunting noises...does anyone else do this?  Good friends know exactly how this sounds. Good thing not many people were around...they might get the incorrect picture that I am a bit strange ;) I got off of the bike in 2nd position and told myself it was time to run!

Run 3:38:15/ 8:18/mile and 6th fastest amateur run

TX budgy smuggler cheer boys!
What do you say about a disappointing run that saw you go from leading the overall amateur race to landing as the 5th best amateur and 2nd in your AG?  I struggle to (audibly) say I'm "disappointed", as I feel like that may come off as ungrateful.  2nd in my AG and 5th overall IS good, and I get that.  But I wanted more from myself and I wanted to win. With the run training I have been doing, I felt like on the right day, this could be a possibility.  So I am a bit disappointed.  Not a go throw a pity party or even really wonder "what" I could have done better, but just a bit like damn...what happened those last 5 miles that I just couldn't hang on?  I try not to make excuses as I simply was not THE best on the day, but I am hoping that I get to blame a small amount of this run on the fact that I had been sick and am still not over it.  I can do that, right?

In the lead...for now
I always throw a bit of a party as you hit the run as you know the only thing that can let you down from here on out, is your body.  No more opportunity for a mechanical, no one to possibly kick your goggles off and drown you...nope, all you have left is 26.2 (don't for get the .2) miles on your feet, and for some reason, that seems like the most controllable portion of the race to me.

 I exited T2 with a half bottle full of a mixture of pre load and osmo active to top off the salts for the rest of the day.  I won't drink the on course nutrition so get all of my salt from pre-load the night before/morning of and then in T2. It all started off OK enough...the first mile is always brutal for me. But I've learned to just take that one easy and build into it as the legs will come around.  The course is not at all hilly, but very quickly I felt myself really feeling the ever so slight nonexistent inclines that are on the course.  I didn't have Mark there with me, so had to be really on myself to take coke, ice, water at each aid station.  I definitely slowed/walked a bit at most of the aid stations so that I ensured I got all of the nutrition I needed.  I didn't want to be in such a hustle that I skipped calories cause who can eat and run at the same time?...ROOKIE.  The run in Texas is just awesome...three laps of crazy spectators cheering for you!  Definitely needed when you are in the hurt locker!  I was focusing so much that I couldn't even high five people :(  It was good to have team mates Heidi and Kelly on the course and to have Jordan helping me out with where I was at in the race.  Thank you ladies!  The wind continued onto the run course from the bike and at one point along the canal it was like you hit a WALL of wind...I would try to find the biggest guy I could to tuck behind for that portion of the run!  I headed into the last lap of the run and with about 6 miles to go was like, quads have never felt like this...what is this terrible feeling?  Time to start popping my glucose tabs and hope that the finish line magically appears!  Glucose tabs are like pixie sticks in solid form...and so tasty late in the marathon and offer a quick hit of sugar...who knew they weren't only for diabetics?  Thank you Stacy for that tip!  I got passed in the last 4 miles by 3 of the 4 women who would finish in front of me (the 4th started later).  Kudos to those fleet feeted fast and all cheered me on as they passed- fast AND good sports!  Love this sport for just that reason! hawt!
I hit the line in 10:10 and nabbed a spot to Kona.  Quickly hit the massage tent to try to undo some of the damage done by the 26 miles on pavement and then went in search of the biggest milkshake I could find!

Thanks for all of the cheers throughout the day! Thank you to my husband, Mark, for guiding me to my 6th Kona qualification.
Podium girls!
Thanks to all of the people that got me to the start line in such good shape such that all I had to do was go out and execute my plan.  I can't say enough how grateful I am for people in my life that make this sport a possibility for me.  I've built so many friendships through triathlon over the past decade, and I can't imagine where my life would be with out all of these wonderful people!

See you in a few weeks at Escape from Alcatraz!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wildflower 2015, dusting off the rust

California has my heart
Central California, camping and 2000 of your closest friends...sounds perfect, right?  And somehow I hadn't been to Wildflower since 2011.  Being two weeks out from Ironman Texas, I hadn't wanted to take on the long course race, so opted for the Olympic (can these Ironman legs go fast?) distance race. I'd never done the oly here and was excited to knock out two miles from the swim to T1 and then to only have to run 4 miles after the bike!

The plan was to drive down with Kayla and her hubby, she would race Saturday (crushed it and got 4th in her AG), I would race Sunday while they went wine tasting (insert sad, sad pandas here- they taste and I race?!) and then they would pick me up on the way home from Paso.  There was a clan of Coeur Sports gals racing and as soon as we pulled into the camp area (which is massive) we immediately pulled in right next to their site.  We must all know the best place to camp!

We set up shop, got a chicken kebab (one of WAY too many that I would eat over the weekend) and put Kayla to bed for her pre-race beauty rest.  I rode around the course on Saturday, had an awesome time cheering for folks, and watching the pro race unfold over the last mile of the race.  I've never seen the kind of pain on a face that I saw Saturday on a few competitors guy (Thomas Gerlach I think?) could see 4th ahead and was gritting his teeth like something could just tell he was going to catch 4th or kill himself falling down the steep Lynch Hill on the way to the finish. It was awesome and inspiring.  The women were EQUALLY impressive with Heather Jackson leading the charge and Liz Lyles eating up real estate and eventually taking the W at the line. And they say women's sports aren't as interesting...

I had the bike prepped and stuff laid out, although I think my 9:55AM start was the latest race I've ever started and was excited for my leisurely sleep in time of 6AM on race day....Why up so early? For one, we were camping and once it gets light, you're up and two, the last shuttle to the swim start left at 8:30...leaving me plenty of time to solve the worlds problems before my waive went off.

Pre Race nutrition: not normal but what I had at camp...2 bananas, 2 packets of peanut butter, 1 bite size Bonk Breaker, large coffee on way to swim start and some Osmo to sip on. ~900kcals from about 7-9:30AM

We woke up to thick as pea soup fog, which left me scrambling to dig out a pair of amber Roka F1's from the bottom of my bag (bright as ever the day before for the long course race).  The fog eventually lifted since my wave went off at lunch time and I thankfully also had a pair of the grey mirrored goggles that were PERFECT for the job.  A fresh pair of goggles on race day gets me so fog! I had talked with Mark the night before and he asked me if I was ready to race...even though this is prep for Texas, I believe that if you go out onto a race course, you RACE...there is no such thing as "training through a race" or "taking it easy" for me on race day.  You pin on a number and you respect the course and do your very best. He told me that if at ANY time I felt comfortable, to push harder.  And that's what I did all day long.  I led out our group on the swim.  One gal tried to come with me, but I felt like I lost her pretty quickly.  I sighted well and exited the water in 22min, which was a 1:29/100m pace...Tim (coach at Stanford Masters), hope I did you proud!   I will attribute the speedy swim to my brand new Maverick Pro which not only made me fast, but also left me with ZERO neck chaffing.  #forthewin

Up a MASSIVE hill and onto the trails for a 2.2 mile run to our bikes.  This was a great way to spike the HR and get yourself ready to climb Lynch Hill- to those I passed while making dying animal noises, my apologies! I kept telling myself to not let anyone pass me (we were the next to last wave) and to keep pushing!  Soon enough we were onto the bikes and out into the hills of Central California!

I had ridden the course on Friday and Saturday and knew we were all in for a, can't find your groove, up and down, chip seal kind of ride with a potential headwind on the way home.  All of that came true, but I thought I would be able to cover the 24 miles in 1:20 or just under.  I've been riding the new Enve 4.5's and LOVE them for hills and windier courses. I hit the turn-around after 41 minutes and knew I would need to do a bit more pressing to make it home quickly.  The racers at Wildflower are amazing, so many of the folks that I passed had words of encouragement and were just so kind.  I know that I am serious on the course as well, but sometimes it's nice to still be friendly and not just so uber competitive that we can't get our heads out of our rears!...Your interactions with others on the course don't have to be matched by your inner dialog mantra of "kill, kill, kill!!".  I managed to keep the goal of not getting passed and had passed a fair amount of women so was hoping as we went into the run that my bike and I had begun to be in contention of the AG win.

Bike Nutrition: 2 bottles of Osmo and 1 bite size Bonk Breaker PB and Choc Chip ~275kcals

Team Coeur!
Only 4 mi to go, it can't be THAT hard, right?!!! Uh, wrong...ever done the long course at Wildflower?  Due to the course modifications that have to be made since the swim to T1 transition removes 2 miles from your end run, the olympic run goes straight up Beach Hill.  A gem of a 1 mile climb that had me taking teeny, tiny, count to 10 walk breaks :(  Olympics are so hard for me to get into that right mindset of "it's over before you know it so you must RUN the uphills HARD".  But before you knew it, I was running at the top of Lynch Hill and ready to give my quads a proper beat down with the steep mile downhill that remained between me and the finish line.

I crossed the line as the 2nd amateur and 1st in my AG.  I hadn't been excited about the race before it started, but once I hit the swim, I was PUMPED to be out there's been 7 months since Kona, how does that happen?  Now it's less than two week until Ironman Texas and time to put myself into the bubble of hand sanitizer, staying away from all sick people and a final two weeks of wine deprivation.  The last of which is truly sad as a wine club shipment JUST arrived.  Alas, it'll have to wait until post Texas!

Thanks to my training partners and best friends, they make getting the miles in FUN.  Thanks to Mark for coaching me through it all and to my sponsors for making sure all I have to do is show up and race!