Funky Town

I started this blog so that I could share my experiences, good and bad, with the sport of triathlon.  Primarily, I want to help others learn by sharing my own mistakes and my strategies for overcoming psychological, as well as more practical, obstacles.  In order to be true to the purpose of this blog, I think I should share that I am in a complete funk at the moment.  I will share hilarious details about my resulting bratiness at a later date as I’m trying to minimize my time on the computer this evening after having spend several hours grading papers (oh the life of a graduate student).  The funk began yesterday morning and I thought I had kicked it to the curb but… this morning I managed to convince my coach, through brat-tastic behavior, that completing my speed workout was not in my best interest… and then I proceeded to cry while running with him.  FYI – even at slow paces it is super hard to breath adequately, cry and run simultaneously! 🙂

I thought that what I needed was a killer workout to get me back on track but I think I may actually need some additional rest of the psychological kind so I’m about to indulge in some comfort food (brown rice noodles and a homemade veggie sauce but it’s usually reserved for pre-endurance workout dinners) and some Netflix before heading to bed early.  Oh, and there will be herbal tea and aromatherapy candles and probably a decent amount of prayer.  Wish me luck and I will keep you posted on my Funky Town travels! 🙂  <—- At least I can still bring myself to use a happy emoticon. 😀

Whirlwind of Weeks!

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks!

So, there have been several new developments in my athletic life and they occurred in such short succession that I’m just going to squish them into one blog post.  I mean, multiple blog posts about only a two week period of my life?  Ain’t nobody got time fo dat!

First up, the Crossfit Unparalleled adventure:

Okay, so, my weight training had become rather blah.  I wasn’t showing as much improvement and I’ve been rather bored with the routine.  I talked to Dai about this and had decided to go to a couple of strength classes at the rec centers to see if that gave my strength training the jolt that it needed.  Before I could attend one of the rec center classes, I was invited to attend a Crossfit Unparalleled workout.  I had a number of concerns about both the classes at the rec center and the Crossfit classes, primarily that I would somehow overdo it or injure myself in a way that would be detrimental to my ability to compete in triathlon.  The awesometastic thing about Crossfit Unparalleled was that Dawn, the owner, took the time to discuss these concerns with me and assure me that they had my best interest in mind.  So…

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My very first Crossfit session and my first attempt at kettle bell swings!  (Totally ackward pic, right!? haha) Can you say “sore glutes”?

Thus far, I LOVE IT!  I also hate it a little bit but I think that you’re supposed to feel that way. 😉  Am I now a Crossfit promoter/supporter?  Not exactly.  I am a huge fan of Crossfit Unparalleled because I trust the coaches at this gym.  They have been ever-present to make sure that I’m using proper form and the right amount of weight.  They’ve held me back when I was going to push myself too hard and they are all very encouraging.  I’m sure that there are many other gyms (both Crossfit and otherwise) with similar characteristics but now that I’ve participated in several Crossfit workouts, I can see a lot of potential for injury and burnout if there isn’t adequate oversight.  I think that my participation in two weekly Crossfit Unparalleled sessions is going to be an invaluable addition to my training and I encourage anyone interested in similar training to ensure that they find a gym with the same high quality coaching and safety standards.  I’m very excited to have joined this training community!

Next up, remember that whole Grassroots Sponsorship thingy?  Well, I THOUGHT that I had been passed over by CycleOps, which was understandable given my limited triathlon experience.  I’m VERY excited to report that I was mistaken.  A week ago, today, I received notification that I have been accepted into the CycleOps Grassroots Sponsorship program!  I’ve signed the contract and am just waiting for confirmation that I have completed the paperwork to their satisfaction but I will soon be representing their fantastic training and racing products!  It’s only a grassroots sponsorship/scholarship but it’s an excellent start and I’m honored to have been selected.  Woot!  Thank you, CycleOps!

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For those of you with some extra cash and a desire to get faster, check out the this power package deal that CycleOps is currently running!

And then there was the 14k… and I had no idea what kind of performance to expect from myself.  In addition to being unsure of what kind of pace I could reasonably pull off, I wasn’t certain how the 20-30 mph wind gusts were going to play into my race.  In an effort to be somewhat conservative, I set off to hold my first mile or so at a 7:30 pace.  Apparently, that felt too conservative because my slowest miles were around a 7:24 pace.  I was able to tuck in behind groups of people or tall men (thanks, guys!) to get a decent draft through much of the race.  I felt a few women on my heels toward the last few miles so I forced myself into a harder gear, even though I wasn’t certain that I had it in me.  That’s when I turned off the “think” and just did it.  I held off a few chicas and I passed a few more, which was exhilarating!  The last two miles were essentially straight into the wind and, wouldn’t you know it, all of my tall guys suddenly slowed down.  I had to either work solo to hold the pace or sacrifice my speed to keep drafting.  Since there were only 2ish miles left, I didn’t see any point in conserving energy so I just dug in and leaned into the wind.  I saw Coach Dai Roberts right toward the end and he shouted some encouragement to see me through to the finish line.  I was very happy with my race!!!  Hours later, I was even happier to discover that I had placed in the top 3 in my age group!  This is a rather large race and I wasn’t expecting to have even the slightest shot at AG placing!  Last year, I finished 30-something in my age group, 156 female overall and had an average pace of 8:14.  This year, I was top three in my age group, 22 female overall and I averaged a 7:15 pace.  UNREAL!  I’m looking forward to triathlon season even more, now, and I am so very grateful for all of the support, encouragement and wisdom that I have received from the Dai Roberts Group.  My coach and his team have taken me further than I had ever dreamed possible… and we’re just getting started!  Thanks, Dai Roberts Group!!!!!

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It was a windy day… as is evidenced by the fact that I look a bit like Pippi Longstockings.  Haha

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It was excellent to have my HRR pal, Julie, join me for a good portion of the race!  She didn’t think she was going to pull off 7:30s but she had to have been in the 7:20s the whole time. 😀  She definitely gave me an extra push for the majority of the miles! Thanks, Julie!

And on top of all of this, I got to spend a lot of time on Skype with my bestest friend this week!  It was sooooo good to be able to talk to my husband and SEE him.  Yay technology!  I’m sad that he can’t be here in person for all of these events but I know he’s still with me in spirit.  He’s also doing an amazing job of staying fit and healthy while he’s deployed and I’m both proud of him and inspired by his determination!

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I love me some technology!  Yay for Skype dates!  Come home soon, Justin!

Keep it clean, people!

As of Sunday, my best friend has officially been defending your freedom for two weeks.  My (and therefore “our”) diet has continued to evolve over the last few years and I thought that, while I’m only cooking for one, I would try to step things up a notch in healthy-ville.  So, for the last few weeks I have made a significant effort to eat much less processed food (except for the comfort food like year-old Cadbury eggs and such that I used to fill the hole in my heart).  In the last two weeks, I’ve lost three pounds.  I was a bit surprised because I have actually been consuming more calories than prior to my clean(er) eating efforts.  My training has picked up, too, so it’s difficult to say whether or not this was a direct effect of the diet change.  My sleeping has improved, though, and I have cut down to only one cup of coffee on most days without feeling huge slumps in energy… and that’s saying a lot because I’ve had some long and active days in the last few weeks.  I’ll keep you posted on my adventures in clean(er) eating but at the very least, I feel better about what I’m eating.

I’ve also found this super delicious and clean recipe for homemade granola – way better than store bought.  I don’t think I can ever go back to store bought granola!  This recipe can be made Paleo and Gluten free and it is naturally Vegan, in case those things are important to you.  Here goes!

Super Yummy and High Calorie but Clean Granola

Base Ingredients:

1 cup oats

1 cup flax seed meal

1 cup almond meal

2 tbsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp cinnamon

1/2 cup agave nectar

1 cup melted coconut oil

Add-ins:

Whatever you like!  I use nuts (cashews, almond pieces, walnuts) but you can also use dried fruits.  Just be careful with dried fruit because many of them have added sugars and sulfates when they are store bought.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 270 degrees

Combine coconut oil, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl from which you can easily pour.

Gradually stir in the oats, flax seed meal and almond meal into a large bowl, pouring and stirring in a little bit of the wet ingredients at a time.  Once all of these ingredients are combined and well mixed in the large bowl, add in your add-ins!

Scoop the mixture onto a baking sheet or baking pan and smoosh so that it is relatively flat.  Place in the oven for 20 minutes.  After that time, remove from the oven and stir granola, then smoosh back down and return to the oven.  Bake for another 10 to 20 minutes before stirring and smooshing again.  I usually end up baking the granola for about 50 minutes, give or take.  Just be sure to monitor so that it doesn’t burn.  You’ll know it’s ready when it has begun to clump and dry out.

To make this gluten free, you can either use gluten-free oats or replace the oats with an equivalent amount of flax seed and/or almond meal.

To make Paleo (according to the original recipe that inspired this) leave out the oats and replace with flax seed and/or almond meal.  I *think* that makes it paleo but I’m not an expert.

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Here is a close up of my granola (made without the oats) on top of some blended fruit with chia seeds and blueberries on top. 🙂  This is one of my favorite ways to eat it but I frequently just eat it by itself!

Warning:  This recipe is both delicious AND really high calorie.  Eat with care!

Enjoy the recipe! I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Next time, I will talk more about my experience with Crossfit at Crossfit Unparalleled!  I know that Crossfit is often a controversial topic so I’m going to share how I think it will help me become a better triathlete and how I will be trying to avoid the potential pitfalls of Crossfit that make so many people cringe when I say that I am using this as a means of strength training.  haha 🙂

Happy Monday and Happy training!