on confidence builders…

We all need them. Confidence builders. Building blocks for our egos to stand upon. Things to make us climb over our doubts when they persist. Kick them to the curb. Tell them stupid, good for nuthin’ what-ifs and mebbe I can’ts and what-if-i-can’ts to go find a home somewhere else.

You know, I’ve been doubting a bit lately. I think it is a natural stage of training, I guess. You’re on a path that you hope leads you to success – the finish line in this case – a 24 week journey in which everything and anything could go wrong. It’s natural to think that, maybe, perhaps, you’re not doing quite enough. But week by week, workout by workout, you build your strength and endurance and your mental strength and stamina alongside it.

Last weekend, I passed one minor hurdle and gave myself another ego building block: I took a short bike ride up the first hill of the Ironman CdA course. It was only a 17 mile ride, but it was enough to know I made it up the first long hill. And that was good. Good to know I can do it. Good to know my indoor training rides and (thus far) relatively short outdoor rides have done enough  to make it that far at least once.

Now I know that 16 miles is hardly anything when you think the entire course is 112 miles. It’s peanuts, really. But I did feel better. And I think its important to remember and record these things – to celebrate the little things – especially in times of doubt!

This weekend, I was able to add more building blocks for my feeble mental game to stand upon and they couldn’t have come at a better time. Hubby and I were able to ride 52 miles on Sunday – the bulk of which was on the actual course. So now we’ve seen ALL the hills on the course and we’ve been at the top of them. And I was able to do that just 18 hours or so after I ran 10 miles. Again, that may not seem like much. But I ran 12 tonight and it was easier than I anticipated.

So right now? Right now I feel pretty good about things. And I think I’m gonna try to stay on top of that positivity wave just as long as I can make it last!

Top ‘o’ the hill!

Bring on Week 13!

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analyze this…

Last summer, the last triathlon of the year, we were super late on race morning. We had a drive ahead of us and we forgot to get gas the night before. I had a work event that kept us out late the night before and we were in a hotel. It was morning before we realized we had forgotten we would need to grab breakfast. Oh, and have I mentioned before that I am not a morning person?

It was the most unprepared I have ever been for any race. We barely made it in time and when we did finally arrive, we had registration issues to resolve (of course!), and a timing guy to track down, not to mention getting ready for the actual race. We scrambled to find space to throw our bikes and could hear the race director giving the last minute instructions as we threw all of our gear on the ground and were shimmying into our wetsuits and we ran to the start line and pulling on our swim caps and goggles at the very very last second. The race went surprisingly ok… but those were, by far, the worst transitions I have EVER had. And hopefully the worst I will ever have again.

What is the point of this story, you ask? Well, the other night I had a dream. An Ironman dream. About race morning, to be more specific. And in my dream, I was horribly HORRIBLY unprepared. I didn’t know where to rack my bike. I didn’t know what to check in. I couldn’t find my race number. I didn’t know where the course went. I was TOTALLY unprepared.

Dream analyze that…!

You don’t need to be a psychologist.

I woke up with the most AWFUL sinking feeling in my gut. It took me all morning to shake it. Truly.

Suffice it to say, I think that right now, in Week 12 (already!), I’m feeling just a little behind the 8 ball. I know people who are consistently riding 5 hours at a time and I’m just getting up to 3:30. People are talking about doing century rides and running marathons and I’m just now up to a half marathon distance. I still need to dial in my gear – what I’m going to bike in and run in. How I’m going to stay warm in water that will very likely be in the low 60s.

And I’m tired. Oh so tired. Always so very tireZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

Ugh. Its hard not to feel behind. Its hard not to doubt.

I guess the good news here is that I have time. Twelve more weeks to get up to speed on the course, the rules, how the day might go, what could go wrong (and what could go right!), to test the gear, do trial runs, to put in the work and have faith that my efforts will get me there.

And race morning chaos? Well. I guess I have 12 weeks to plan for that too!

shrimp soooooooup…

You are what you eat. We’ve all heard it. And look. I’m not proud of it, but it happens every year. I get busy and my diet goes down the pooper. And when that happens, my training struggles.

Likely I don’t have the energy because snacking on cheese and crackers and a handful of peanut M&Ms for “lunch” doesn’t exactly give you strength and lasting energy for sustained efforts such as those required for Ironman training (probably why I’ve been having a rough training week, don’tcha think?!).

Adding to that is the overwhelming feeling that working out this much should (and nearly always does) mean I can eat whatever I damn please. So I do. Is that usually a well balanced, nutrient filled meal? Not unless you count a reuben and tater tots as well balanced…Sluggish runs, here we come!

photo from ebruli, flickr

photo from ebruli, flickr

The ongoing struggle in our household is having quick, easy and healthy meals (and the ingredients needed on hand) and the foresight to plan ahead, making grocery lists and go to the store. This year, I swore I’d do better. The jury’s still out but this week was pretty much a FAIL, with the exception of last night.

Here’s a newly discovered favorite that we’ve adapted to make even faster and even easier and it was a lovely feast that becomes yummier and yummier as the leftovers sit beckoning in the fridge:

Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Soup 

  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 – 1 whole large white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup celery, chopped
  • 2-3+ minced chipotle chiles, canned in adobo sauce (the recipe calls for 1 tbsp but we can’t get enough of the smoky, spicy wonderfulness of these chiles!)
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 8 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 (15-ounce) can great northern beans or white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added fire-roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 24+ ounces peeled and deveined medium shrimp (if you get cooked shrimp, you only need to add the shrimp and cook till warm)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • tortilla chips
  • avocados

Preparation

1. Heat a very large soup pot / stock pot over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and saute onion and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 6 minutes or until celery is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Add broth, beans, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover and cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shrimp; cook 2 minutes or until shrimp are done (or heated through if you used pre-cooked).

2. Remove from heat; stir in lime juice. Garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips and avocado, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings (about 1 3/4 cups soup)

(Sorry for no photo – I was so hungry last night I forgot to snap one before I dug in and scarfed it down! Adapted from Cooking Light – they have a lovely photo you can ogle)

music to motivate…

Week 10. I’ll admit I’ve been dragging more than a little bit this week. Feeling a little rough around the edges. Feeling a little less than motivated. I have literally been forcing myself to just. go. workout. Must. go. workout. Makes for a long week.

This morning, I had a running date with some girlfriends who are training for their 1st half marathon this fall. Every Saturday we meet for a handful of miles and once upon a time, we used to meet at 9 a.m. It keeps moving up – earlier and earlier. This week was the first week of 7:30 a.m. and feeling unmotivated and drained as I have felt this week, I was tempted to bail. But the great thing about meeting up with people is that it really does keep you accountable. So I drug myself out of bed. It took every bit of my willpower to shove the covers aside and put my feet on the ground.

I gave myself just enough time to get dressed and run out the door. In the car on the way, I put a good trusty stand-by song on – it always picks me up and gets me ready to roll.


I’m hoping with some sleep this weekend, next week will be a little better. But just in case, what gets you moving when you are short in the motivation department?

being chased by a lion…

Earlier this week, as I do so many times in a week, I was doing a bike ride after work. On the trainer. Indoors. Booooo.

To help pass the time (and give me some change in ‘scenery’), I had the TV set to Animal Planet or Discovery Channel or something along those lines and a funny thing happened. I realized that every time they showed a chase scene with a predator chasing their prey, I sped up. Not intentionally, but it happened. The best I can figure is that 1) the music usually was a little more driving (due to the urgency of the situation) and 2) I was trying to get away from the lion, ahhhhhhh! Conveniently, it mixed up my sprint workout nicely.

Next time you’re stuck in your basement on the trainer, check it out. Be the warthog and RUN PUMBA, RUN!

no failure in trying…

I ran across this the other day – it comes from a Tedx event in Spokane, WA last year. I found it at a time when I’ll admit I’m fretting (just a smidge, and against my best efforts) about the possibility of failure. What if I put all of this time and effort into training for Ironman and I fail to finish it?

Dr. Bliss is a very impressive lady with a good reminder for me as I walk along this road to Ironman, and for all of us, for that matter – “We should try the things we think we cannot do because that’s where we’ll find the reward.”

There will be much to learn throughout the course of my Ironman journey. Without trying, we’ll never know what we’re capable of doing. And if at first you don’t succeed? Learn, adapt, and of course, try, try again.

mmmmmm, cheeseburger…

Last week, after a 2 hour 30 minute brick (that was preceded earlier in the day by a run with some girlfriends), I had SUCH a hankering for a cheeseburger. With bacon. Jalapenos. Maybe some BBQ sauce. Tater tots. Oh man, I’m hungry just thinking about it.

My wonderful hubby had gone to the grocery store just a day earlier though and picked up some salmon, spinach, black beans, tomatoes… you know, super foods. Healthy stuff. Boy is he responsible.

I remember finishing the workout and laughing: Ho-boy, he’s crazy if he thinks I’m eating grilled salmon tonight!

But then I remembered this recipe from Rachel Ray’s “365: NO REPEATS” cookbook and thought, what the heck. Healthy isn’t going to hurt this once (and also I had grand visions of sneaking out for a  midnight hamburger snack in the middle of the night, waking the hubby and running out for the least healthy thing you could possibly eat in the middle of the night…you know, as a reward for working out and also as a reward for eating healthy, haha).

Anyway, this is a yummy one and a good healthy standby (especially when compared to, say, a bacon cheeseburger!) so I thought I’d share it here in case you need some food inspiration some night in the near future.

 

Lime and Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Corn and Black Bean Salar

 

Honey Glazed Salmon with Warm Corn and Black Bean Salad: 

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 + tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 tsp ground cumin

3 tbsp honey

1 tsp chili powder

24 oz salmon fillet (s)

1 red bell pepper, chopped

10-15 oz (fresh, canned or defrosted frozen) corn

1/2 cup stock

15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

3 tbsp chopped cilantro

6 cups baby spinach

2 limes (or lime juice)

 

In a shallow dish, combine juice of 1 lime, honey, and chili powder and mix well. Coat the salmon in the mixture thoroughly and then cook it in a skillet with 2 tbsp olive oil, 3-4 minutes on each side or until the salmon is just cooked through. (I think next time I might try to marinate the salmon in the mixture and then broil it).

In another skillet, pre-heat 2 tbsp olive oil and cook the onions, garlic, red pepper flakes and cumin. Cook for 3 minutes and don’t forget to stir occasionally.  Add the bell peppers and corn and cook for 1-2 minutes to soften peppers. Add stock and cook for an addition 2 minutes. Add black beans and cook until the beans are warm. Remove from heat and add juice of one lime, cilantro and spinach. Toss to wilt spinach.

Serve salmon on top of a bed of warm bean and corn salad.

Enjoy!

(adapted from 365:No Repeats, Rachel Ray)

 

 

 

spring is in your…nose?

Hello springtime! My wish for Phil to declare winter to be over came true, at least by the looks of things. When temperatures hit the high 40s and low 50s and snow and ice has melted off the trails and roadways, folks round here declare it the start of outdoor biking season.

Round here, that officially happened over this past weekend. That’s right. All of us poor schmucks who have been relegated to indoor trainers and spin classes since November hit the roads (covered head to toe in the warmest gear we could find from beanies and ear warmers to gloves and wind breakers jackets and tights and toe warmers) to dodge the gravel and sand left on the roads by the plows and again feel the (cold) wind on our faces and blowing through our hair. But oh! To be going somewhere after months of pedaling in place!

early spring biking

One cautionary note on riding outdoors – the bugs have also realized spring is coming. They’re not out in droves yet, but enough so that when you sniff (cause it’s cold and your nose is running), you’ll likely catch at least one in your schnozz, maybe more.

Happy springtime everyone!

(PS – I know, now that’s I’ve said all of this, we’ll get snow and cold again and for that, I’m sorry!)