on heat and hydration…

I have such a love-hate relationship with July. And mid to late summer events, for that matter. There’s no doubt that the start of actual summer-like weather makes training and triathlons easier in a lot of ways. It’s a pretty safe bet that from now until October, I will probably not have to worry about planning a training workout around rain or otherwise foul weather (I did say probably…).

Here in the Inland Northwest, we generally have 2-4 weeks of really, truly HOT weather. The number of times we break 100 degrees can usually be counted on one hand. But our hot weather has come early this year – a week ago, we jumped straight from 70 to 95 in a matter of two days and haven’t dipped below the mid 90s since. Not that I should complain. I’ve been more than ready for sunshine and blue skies for MONTHS. But I digress.

Most reasonable people spend these scorching days submerged in water – floating lazily in an inner tube down one of our rivers or on one of the many lakes. Me, I have the distinct (mis?)fortune of being in the midst of training for a summertime 70.3 Those of you doing the same or something similar know that when these hot days come, we must spend the time acclimating ourselves. Because lord knows, come race day, it’ll be 95 degrees out and we’ll have no choice but to deal with it. Better to give our bodies the chance to get used to it.

Saturday was a scorcher and that is an understatement. Seriously. And from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. I was out in it. During the nearly 3 hours I spent on the bike, I was thankful that I had remembered to apply sunscreen on my arms and face. But I still got a mild sunburn on the side of my thighs, adding to my rockin’ bike shorts tan lines. Note to self: remember to apply sunscreen before the race and stash at transition area for “just in case”.

I’m working on fine tuning my on-the-bike nutrition and always have to make a conscious effort to eat, eat, eat when I’m on the bike. Note to self: make sure that whatever you bring to refuel is tolerable when it’s warmed up! Some gels are really pretty gross when they’re warmed to 90 degrees… but some are ok – apple cinnamon flavored Hammer Gels taste like warm apple pie! And espresso flavored GUs also seem pretty normal at 90 degrees… I guess because coffee is often served warm so the temperature matches the flavor. Or something.

Bicycle water bottle

Bicycle water bottle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And then of course there’s the issue of hydration. As you all know, the hotter it is, the more you sweat, the more you need to replenish – both fluids and electrolytes. On hot training days, I really have to make sure I’m carrying enough water. Or that I have a plan for refilling often enough. I drink quite a bit cause I’m a big sweater… so I need to have quite a bit of water on hand or a lot of planned water stops. The problem with carrying it all is, of course, making sure you have enough water bottle holders on your bike (or you could carry a Camelbak or some sort of hydration pack) and also that the water will heat up the longer that you’re out. The other day when I was out, I was definitely drinking really warm water, which makes me not really want to drink it. Race day is generally a different story with water stations, but it’s definitely something to think about. Note to self – try this: freeze some water bottles the night before the race. Stash them at transition and pull them out at T1 and T2 (depending on how hot and how long the race is).  And also, find some better insulated water bottles. Pronto.

photo from: guysandgoodhealth.com

Post bike/post run, basically as soon as I stopped moving, sweat just poured off of me. How the heck was I going to cool down? The last late July race I did, I jumped back into the lake following the run and sat until I could get my core temperature back to normal. Fortunately, there was a river alongside the trail I was riding and running on, so immediately after I finished running, off came the shoes, the tunes and the sunglasses and into the river I went. I sat and I floated and I cooled off. No better way in the world to do it. Note to self: pack a cooler with a post workout water bottle! And only work out near cool rivers and lakes!

Just a few things to think about…after this weekend and also after today’s toasty midday run, I’m reminded that hydration issues can definitely derail my race day. So as much as I’d prefer to skip the midday 90+ degree workouts, practicing and adjusting my race day strategies and hydration has to be part of the training plan. For a few more weeks, anyway.Do you have any special tricks for dealing with the summer heat?

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on eating and training and eating and racing

Today’s workout was a 3:30 bike ride. I was starting to get just a smidge hungry and I knew that it was going to be a long ride, so  I packed up some energy gels, some bars and a whole bunch of water and hit the road. Everything was good, munched on a few bars, sucked down a couple of gels en route and cruised.

Until mile 36.

I thought I was keeping up on staying hydrated and refueling electrolytes, carbs, etc. And then I totally, totally bonked. It was a good reminder to practice more – that is, practice eating and hydrating while on the move to replace what I’m burning and sweating out. You, too, should incorporate refueling into your training program. And here’s why:

  • The cardinal rule of race day? Don’t try anything new. This goes for food and drink. If you’re planning to take advantage of the food and drinks provided on the course, and especially if you’re planning on relying solely on them, you should try them out  in advance.
  • How does it taste? Do you like the flavor? For gels and chews: What’s the consistency like? Do you like it? If you don’t like it, this is good to know ahead of time. Race day, you’ll need to consume the gel and obviously this is easier to do if it doesn’t prompt a gag reflex. If you plan on And how do you manage when the gel or fluid is warm?
  • Then there is actually practicing the act of opening and eating – for example, if you’re on your bike – can you open the package it comes in without falling or crashing? Can you eat on the run (or bike)? If not, pre-open the packages. If you’re eating chomps or chews or bars, are they too big for you to chew and keep moving? Cut them in advance so they’re more manageable on race day.
  • How does your stomach feel? It can be a delicate balance. You don’t want to eat too much because your body can only digest so much while you’re on the move. And while biking, hunched over, this can be a challenge. But you also need make sure you get enough to keep fueled.
  • How are you planning on carrying everything? Do you have the right gear? A bento box for your bike? Some kind of race belt for the run? Are you used to carrying it?

If you’re looking for more:

Competitor Magazine has an article on race day fueling here: http://running.competitor.com/2012/03/nutrition/race-fueling-made-simple_8633/1

Active.com also has a useful article here: http://www.active.com/running/Articles/Fueling_for_peak_marathon_performance.htm

And of course, Runners’ World has a whole slew of articles on hydration and refueling here: http://www.runnersworld.com/topic/0,7122,s6-242-302-0-0,00.html

 

Happy training and here’s to no more bonking!

Race recap: sprint tri #1

6:30 a.m., hubby’s alarm goes off.

6:39ish – hubby’s alarm goes off again. SNOOZE. C’mon!

6:48ish – hubby’s alarm goes off and he rolls out of bed to start getting ready. I roll over and doze off again.

7:00ish – my alarm goes off, and I finally get up. Swimsuit under sweats and a beanie. Sandals, no socks. Old swim team habit.

7:20ish – start loading up all of the gear we’d packed up the night before (so as not to forget anything as I’m wont to do early in the a.m.)

7:27ish – eat a PB&J I had prepared the night before. Force feeding myself is always part of race day. I need to fuel, my stomach, full of nerves and not much of a first thing in the a.m. eater anyways, never agrees with me and my brain’s awareness of the fact that I will need my energy before too long. Thus, the force feeding.

7:35ish – jump in the car…and take off. Surprisingly, no “turn around, I forgot ________!”

7:55ish – arrive at event parking. Hubby glances at temperature gauge (clearly a mistake). It reads 47. Push hubby out of the car into the cold. Quickly close the door as to keep all of the cold air out there. Hunker down in the passenger seat as he makes faces at me… just kidding, I didn’t lock him out of the car in the cold.

8:05ish – bikes off of the car, pump up the tires, port gear to transition area. Wish for a sherpa or a horse or a wagon or something. (Ok, ok, I’m being dramatic. It’s not that far, but still…)

8:12ish – arrive at transition area at the same time as all other athletes. 33 minutes till pre-race meeting, announcements and instructions. Wander through transition looking for the “just right” bike rack to suit our needs. Begin unloading all the gear with fingers crossed that we didn’t forget anything crucial.

8:25ish – Gear’s unpacked, bike’s on the rack. Off to find volunteers with ginormous permanent markers who will write race numbers on your left bicep and your age on your left calf. (More on that later)

8:25ish – On the hunt for a portapotty… preferably a clean one, without any significant lines. Success, relatively quickly. Good news. It’s a quick stop. Bump into someone else I know, she sporting booties. Man, in hindsight that seems like SUCH a good idea… too late now. We exchange well wishes and head back to the transition area.

8:35ish – People are beginning to squirm into their wetsuits. Some people are even in the water. Hmmmm. Maybe time to start thinking about that… then someone stops by to say hi. We chat for a few minutes about – what else – the water temperature and we swap suggestions on how to brace for the cold. Oh heck, there’s no big secret. Ya just gotta get in. Lots of whispering of numbers – all seem to be in the low 50s. Are they talking temperature?! Someone mentions peeing. Sure. A nice temporary warmth.

8:40ish – ok, wetsuit time. I hope it still fits… squirm squirm squirm… there’s no good way to do this. Zip and stretch. No body glide used this time… I don’t remember if I should have used it or not so here’s hoping not!

8:45ish – time for a Gu. Espresso flavored. Wash it down with water. Race director (or maybe it’s just the announcer guy) is talking constantly now. Who knows what he’s saying. I think he’s calling the white caps to the beach to start – hubby’s in the first wave.

8:52ish – walk with hubby down to the water’s edge. He puts on a brave smile, gives me a kiss and jumps in, prepared to meet his maker, from the looks of his face.

9:00 – white caps are off to the races, including hubby. I don’t see him bailing for shore right away so I take that as a good sign. So far so good.

9:09ish, or maybe 9:12ish – Lots of folks in full wetsuits. Plenty of people with booties and neoprene swim caps. And a couple in straight up speedos and nothing else. I see two girls in bikini tops and briefs – certifiably crazy, all of them. I jump into the lake to get ready for my own wave start… Holy $@%#!*$^! New personal goal  for today – break world record for ½ mile swim. Get out as quickly as possible! I already can’t feel my feet and my hands. My chest is constricted and I’m trying so hard not to hyperventilate.

The Swim (.5 miles):
Too soon, I hear “GO!” and we’re off. I quickly find my way towards the outside of the group, desperately trying to control and calm my breathing while avoiding a foot, fist or elbow to the face. The downside to swedish goggles is that if I take a hit to the goggles, I’ll probably need stitches. At least it’ll give me a good excuse to get out of the water early…

Soon I find myself with just 2 pink caps in sight – one right next to me and one just in front of me. We’re quickly catching the silver caps, then the red, and a few hundred yards out from pulling into the beach, some of the white cap stragglers.

Transition 1:
I hear people yelling at me as I’m running out of the water towards the transition-

“Way to go!”, “Watch your step!”, and “#2!” Huh, could I have been the 2nd pink cap out of the water? I realize it may be possible. That means lots of people will be passing me now that we’re on dry land again. Being a fast swimmer isn’t all its cut out to be…

Pulling off my wetsuit  was easy enough. It was the small actions- putting on socks and shoes  – the things that required numb, frozen fingers to work that I had a hard time managing. It was a slow transition for me. Or at least it sure felt that way…

The Bike (14.4 miles):
Here’s where I realized I’ve definitely been training for an endurance distance race. 14.4 miles should be a walk in the park. I came hauling out of the gates, clipped in and quickly chugging along at 20 mph (fast for me). And I soon realize that it’s going to be a long ride if I run out of gas too quickly.

Here’s where you realize just how awful it is to have your age on your left calf… suddenly, everyone’s a target, including you. I was distinctly aware of the fact that the person in front of me for a good part of the bike was 21 – a full ten years younger than me and by gosh, I was out to prove that slightly older (more seasoned and wiser) is better (and definitely faster) than her . And on the flip side, I’m equally brutally aware of the fact that the 56 year old who just passed both me and the 21 year old like we were both standing still is older than the two of us put together. Yes, I will win my age group when I’m that old, I think to myself. You know, I’ll be retired and there won’t be anything else to worry about.

I think I held it pretty close to a 17 mph pace overall (I’m still waiting for the official results to be posted). But let me tell you, am I ever having some serious biking attitude issues. Anyway, since my bike’s been hurtin’ me for the past few weeks,I’ve been avoiding it like the plague. Not a good strategy. And it’s given me SUCH as negative attitude about biking. Yikes. So I finally went out and got a professional bike fit. Moving things around made me realize that the biking I’ve been doing has been on muscle groups ever-so-slightly different than the ones I was using during the race. Eep.

Headwinds a couple of times really made me groan to myself about how awful biking is. See what I mean? And that 21 year old was still just in front of me. I kept pace, knowing I would catch her at the end…

More headwinds, some less than fabulous pavement, but all in all relatively uneventful. I have GOT to fix my attitude! Now, buckle down and take that 21 year old! (You’ll be pleased to know I got her in the last 2 miles and improved my lead over her in the run portion as well, finishing several minutes in from of her.)

Transition 2:
Good, pretty quick. Jacket off, pull-on sleeves on. Quick swig of water and I’m off. Nothing much to say here.

The Run (5k or 3.1 miles):
I quickly realized 1) that I should have fueled more on the bike even though it was just a sprint distance. I could have used the fuel. And 2) my feet literally felt like bricks of ice. This is a strange sensation as you have no idea how your form is, how your foot is striking the pavement…plodding along.

The run is a comfortable place for me. I’ve spent a lot of time training for everything from 5Ks to a marathon, so I know what running feels like to me under all types of conditions and situations. While I’m not particularly fast, I think my experience is a strength for me come race day.

At mile marker 1, I stopped for water. I didn’t feel like I needed it, but I thought I probably hadn’t been drinking enough. I walked a few steps, drank some water, and started running again, only to have an immediate hammie cramp threat that lingered the entire run. This kept me from kicking it up a notch – not wanting to cramp and have to walk at all, I kept my pace quick, but under control.

I didn’t feel my feet until 2.5 miles into the run. They thawed slowly and strangely. But it was like magic when I finally did!

Hubby was at the finish line when I crossed, saw me come down the home stretch. I was happy to see he was smiling and that he didn’t succumb to the monsters of the deep during the swim. In fact, he was 4th in his age group without even trying.

And my final time was good enough for a 1st place age group finish.

All in all, a good race to get under our belts and a confidence booster for us both as we enter Week 13. Now all we have to do is keep training…

race day prep… warm up race #1

English: IronMan 70.3 Pucón 2009 (Start) Españ...

IronMan 70.3 Pucón 2009  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tomorrow’s the 1st race of the season… a “warm up” race that, as of this moment today promises to more chilly than anything. It’s been raining all day. Heck, it’s been raining all week. A week of wet, chilly runs and spin classes. Ugh. I don’t know what I was expecting. I may or may not have already mentioned that the vast majority of my races back in 2010 were in the cold or (and often AND) rain. Those race included multiple sprint tris, a half-Ironman distance triathlon and a full marathon run in the rain. Yes, it rained the ENTIRE 26.2 miles. Every last one of them.

Tomorrow’s tri is a brick workout in week 12 of the 70.3 training plan – we managed to time this first race perfectly. Except for the rain part. So, while the race tomorrow is just a .5 mile swim, a 14.4 mile bike and a 5K run, I will spend my evening steeling myself against the idea that I will be spending yet another few hours of my life submersed in water chillier than most normal people would tolerate, and then biking and running in 50-60 degree weather and into potentially driving, pouring rain. Hooray.

But I digress.

In the meantime, it’s prep time. Time to make sure I have all of my gear. Fortunately, the internet is chock-full of sample prep lists … what, oh what did we ever do before Google? Here’s my own preliminary version:

Swim / for the morning:

  • Warm clothes for setting up your transition area
  • Towel
  • Wetsuit
  • Swimsuit / tri suit
  • Goggles (plus an extra pair just in case)
  • Swim cap (including a neoprene cap to go under the race cap in case you’re swimming in water cold enough to freeze your noggin)
  • Baby powder for your swim cap
  • Timing chip
  • Watch
  • Body Glide, vaseline or other lube of choice – apply pre-swim and leave at transition area for shorter distances (may want to also include in bike to run transition bag if there are 2 separate transition areas)

Bike:

  • Bike
  • Bike Shoes
  • Socks
  • Bike Shorts
  • Sunglasses
  • Helmet
  • Water bottle / hydration
  • Race belt with bib # pre-attached
  • Arm warmers and leg warmers or Jacket and pants
  • Bike gloves

Run:

  • Running shoes
  • Hat or visor or headband
  • Socks
  • Water bottle

Other:

  • Snacks – bars, gels, chews, whatever you use for race day fuel (remember not to try anything new…)
  • Clothes for after the race
  • Advil or pain killers (depending on the length of the race and how prepared you are of course…less prepared=more pain killers)
  • Wet wipes – I usually have some of these or use a towel at transition that I dump water on and wipe my face off after I get off the bike. You know, to get all of the bugs off my face and outta my grill and all…

I fully expect I have forgotten something here. And I fully expect that even if I didn’t forget ANYTHING on this list, I will probably  forget something tomorrow. Hopefully it will be something really unimportant (though I’m not sure that on this list I’m willing to give up… baby powder, I guess.)

Anyway, recognizing this is the 1st race of the year and I’ve probably definitely forgotten how to do this, my other race day advice for myself and any other 1st race of the year individuals?

  • Give yourself enough time on race morning to do everything you need to do. Don’t forget to get up early enough to eat and let your stomach settle. What is that your mom always said about swimming after you ate?
  • You’ll probably have to park a little ways away and cart your stuff, so be prepared for that – bring a backpack or a gym bag or something (not like me, one of the first race I did, I just threw everything in the car and had to hand-carry it all in multiple trips back and forth from the car to the transition area. Not the recommended course of action).
  • Getting there early also means you’ll have plenty of time to set everything up so you can find it when you get out of the water and are running around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to minimize your transition time.
  • And of course, getting there early will also mean you’ll have time to squirm and wiggle your way into your wetsuit in a more relaxed fashion. You know, with some dignity. Like the rest of us. Ha.

Good luck, have fun, and happy racing everyone!

in the blink of an eye…

Yesterday we took advantage of the cool, but very pleasant weather, the Memorial Day holiday (day off) and a really fantabulous 70 mile long multi-use trail we have in the area that we had (remarkably) never used before. We were slated for a 3 hour bike ride this coming weekend (the end of week 11), but bumped it to yesterday because we had all the time in the world and who knows what the weekend would look like.

Along the way, we were graced by 3 moose and countless great blue herons in the river and marshes alongside the trail. It was quite easy to get distracted by the abundance of wildlife. And it would have made the time go by really quite quickly if it weren’t for a persistent headwind that kept us from really cruisin’.

We were making pretty good time despite the headwind. But our heads were on swivel sticks. Looking this way and that to glimpse all of the creatures we could see. And somewhere along the way, I decided to look down – at my shoulder, I think – and in that second, maybe two, I drove my bike right off the side of the trail into the soft gravel that grabbed my tire and threatened to take me down.

Now, I know what you’re thinking right now.  “Didn’t she just fall off of her bike not too long ago?”  I’m not going to justify that ridiculously inquiring line of thought with a straight answer (see answers here and here); suffice it to say I may or may not have some injuries that may or may not have originated from a certain incident approximately 5 weeks ago.

As is always the case when you’re falling off of your bike, it all happens in slow motion. Well, steering off of the trail happened in the blink of an eye, but what happened after that was Matrix-dodging bullets-slow.

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”

“Not…”

“a-”

“-gain…!”

“(insert self-scolding)”

“@#%$^%)*!”

“Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

Fortunately, in this particular instance, I was able to steer myself back onto the path and slow my bike to a stop. Rather gracefully considering the circumstances if I do say so myself.

And eventually, I was able to swallow my heart and put it back into its rightful place in my chest and get it to beat at a less frantic pace. Eventually.

Talk about a close call. I mean, really.

And I can hear you judging me – “GOOOOOOD-ness! Someone get that girl some training wheels!”  At this point, I can’t say I blame you. I will certainly not turn down training wheels. Elbow pads. A-D-D meds. Whatever would help. This is madness.

All I can say is this – please be careful out there. You may not have the same tenuous relationship with your bike as I do, but all it takes is the blink of an eye to steer off the trail, hit some gravel, or lose control and turn your training ride into a trip to the hospital or worse. I’ve had enough mishaps on my bike for a lifetime (or at least it feels that way with how things have gone lately). I think I might even start taking my own advice: Take ‘er nice and easy out there. Happy riding.

week 8 recap…


Day What I was supposed to do… What I actually did…
Monday Rest Rest? Meh, who needs it?
Thursday’s Bike 1:20
Tuesday Bike Short Hills (1 hour, 10 minutes total with 9×1 minute hill climbs) Wednesday’s run:
47 minutes with 9x:30 sprint set with 1 minute rest
Wednesday Swim (1625 yards)Run Speed Intervals (47 minutes with 9x:30 sprint set with 1 minute rest)  Lame-o Swim Attempt – ALMOST today’s yardage… 1500 yards
Thursday Foundation Bike 1:15 Swim:2x {50 free, 50 back, 50 breast, 50 fly}4×50 scull drill

5×300 (sight 1x per 25)

2×100 Cool down

Total 2300

 

Friday’s Foundation Run:  37 minute predator run

Friday Swim / Foundation Run + Strides set REST.
Ok. I’ll admit it, I guess I do need it.
Saturday Foundation Bike 1:45 Sunday’s Brick WorkoutBike 1:15
Run 30 minutes
Sunday Swim / Brick Workout Combine Tuesday’s hill workout with Saturday’s Foundation RideBike: 2 hours of hills, hills, HILLS!

week 6 recap…

Week 6 recap:

Day What I was supposed to do…

And what I actually did…

Monday REST Rested. Well, walked. I needed the fresh air. And I needed the rest. Walking was a good compromise.
Tuesday Bike 1:15 – with 10×1 min short Hills Swim: 2200 (in place of Wednesday’s swim)400 warmup2x300 (50 kick/100 swim/50 kick/100swim), :30 rest

3×200 pull, strong effort, :20R

3×150 (50free/50 choice/50free), :20R

100 cool down

Run: 45 min predator run (negative split)

Just flip-flopped the runs and did Friday’s workout.

Wednesday Run(50 min with 12x:30 sec intervals)

Swim (1950)

Strength training (Gotta fit it in somewhere. This week it ended up bumping a swim out, but c’est la vie!)Tuesday’s Bike workout: 10×1 min hill climbs, 2 minutes active recovery, 1:15 total
Thursday Bike 1:30 Swim: 2400 (in place of Friday’s swim)600 warm up6x50 (alternate 25 drill/25 swim and 25 kick/25 swim) with :15 rest

6×50 (25 sprint/25 easy) with :20 rest

2x{4×50 fast, :30 rest /200 pull}

2×150 (50 free/50 choice/50 free) on the 3:15

100 cool down

Friday Run 50 mins with 4x:20 strides with :40 sec recovery

Swim 2000

Run: 50 min, 12x:30 with 1:30 active recoveriesWednesday’s workout!
Saturday Brick – 1:15 bike/20 run Brick – 1:30 bike/ 20 runWhen I first hopped on the bike, I could tell my legs were tired from the previous day’s sprint workout but once I warmed up it was alright.The twenty minute run was alright – still feels funny to hop off the bike and try to run. My legs didn’t feel like bricks, per se, but it was a slower run for whatever reason.
Sunday Swim (1700)

Run 40

Bike 1:00. This was supposed to make up for the Thursday 1:30 ride, but we made it out to our turnaround faster than we thought and I was BEAT and sucking wind so we called it quits early and came home to eat crepes!

 

rewards (in the form of lemon berry ricotta crepes)…

One of the reasons we work out is so we can eat more, right? If you know me, you know I LOVE food and you know that I think that one of the great things about this many workouts a week is that I’m torching tons of calories. Which basically means I can eat almost anything I want and be (almost) totally justified in the irresponsibility of the indulgence. Awesome.

The trick is to a) not to eat more than I’m burning (and that is definitely a feat some days – I hate to pass up an opportunity to indulge!) and b) to replace those burned calories with things my body can use for fuel in the next day’s workout (i.e. protein and carbs and all that good stuff). It gets a little scientific for me, but I know that eating potato chips and Twix bars for meals will leave me feeling worn out big time in the next day’s workout. It’s not really worth it to be dragging over a bad decision. So we stick to the basics, a lot of super foods – fruits, veggies, salmon, black beans. Lots of salads. Stir frys. Mexican goops. And fortunately, we don’t usually have much of the “bad” stuff in our house anyways, so not much temptation.

But obviously it’s fun to reward yourself for sticking to your training, so I often do. And often these rewards are in the form of food. Not only that, but they commonly take the form of processed sugars. You know, cookies and the like.

Sundays are great for rewards like sleeping in. Waking up without an alarm clock. This particular Sunday also proved to be a great day for Lemon Berry Ricotta Crepes, which we had originally planned to have for breakfast but turned out to be a great dinner as well –

Here’s the recipe, which I adapted from a recipe for crepes that I found in our local paper and combined with a recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce from Two Peas & Their Pod (though I pretty much just used their blueberry sauce recipe and saved the pancakes part for another reward day…).

Ingredients:

For the Berry Sauce:
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups fresh or frozen berries
2-3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water

For the Ricotta Filling (you could probably cut this in half – we had a lot leftover):
2 cups ricotta cheese
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Crepes:
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
2 fluid ounces water
1 cup all purspose flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
Vegetable oil for the pan

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and cornstarch and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine berries (we used frozen mixed berries), sugar and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and stir in lemon juice and cornstarch mixture. Stir until the sauce thickens slightly. Cover to keep warm and set aside.

Combine ricotta, powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Refrigerate until ready to fill crepes. Refrigerate until ready to fill crepes.

Combine eggs, milk and water; mix well. Add flour and mix until just combined. While stirring, pour in melted butter. Mix well until smooth.

Heat ½ teaspoon of vegetable oil in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel, leaving a thin film of oil.

Pour a scant ¼ cup crepe batter into the skillet and tilt the pan until batter evenly covers the bottom of the pan. Cook crepe without moving until top surface is dry and edges start to brown, loosening it from the side of the pan with a spatula. Gently slide spatula under edge of crepe. Grasp with fingertips and flip crepe. Cook until second side is lightly spotted golden brown.

Fill each crepe with sweetened ricotta cheese and berries. Roll up and place seam side down on a plate. Top with a dollop of ricotta (and the recipe also suggests fresh mint leaves and fresh fruit. We weren’t classy enough for fresh mint, but we had strawberries!)

What’s great about having these for dinner is that you know you’ve either earned them. Or you haven’t. In our case, I figured that 8 workouts over the course of this past week called for a crepe-tacular, fruit and ricotta-filled breakfast/dinner.

Although now that I think about it, having these for breakfast would put some pressure on me to go get a workout in at some point during the day! Cheers!

side effects of training…

Holy heck. Boy, do nine workouts a week eat up your days and weeks quick. You run out of hours to do all of the little things that you used to do with your spare time. Like do laundry. Buy groceries. Cook. Do yard work. You know. Those things.

The other night, I got home late after a longer workout after work… and we had NO food. I mean seriously. Our fridge was a barren, empty desert. I tried to scavenge what I could, but ultimately determined I would need an emergency trip to the grocery store. Entirely too unprepared for a full-fledged grocery store visit (and too late and much too hungry to get prepared for one), I ran in and out for some apples, bananas and yogurt.  Enough for some semblance of a smoothie in the blender… it’ll get me through the night and hopefully the fruit, plus the can of soup I bought will get me through the next day too. And maybe then I’ll find some time to go to the grocery store for reals.

When I pulled into the driveway, I noticed (not for the first time, or even the second time) that with all of this sun and all this rain, our grass has been G-R-O-W-I-N-G. Shoot. Someone ought to mow that, I think to myself yet again. Later. Maybe this weekend I can fit it in between workouts and errands.

Back at home, I made an attempt at getting ready for the next day – workout clothes, lunch and snacks (apples and bananas – good thing I stopped for groceries!), post work workout clothes, bike, bike helmet, bike shoes, etc.

In addition to the post work workout, I had also worked out at lunch, so today (as with many days), out came two full sets of dank, stinky gym clothes from my bag and straight into a laundry basket full of stinky gym clothes. Oh geez. Someone should do something about that. Right? These days, clean clothes are a hot commodity ‘round these parts and it’s getting to be slim pickin’s; it’s been a week or maybe more since I poured some detergent on those bad boys and ran them through the wash. Sigh. Armful of clothes into the wash. Switch it on and hope to stay awake long enough to get things hung to dry.

I have a necklace my mom gave me that says SLEEP ● EAT ● SWIM ● BIKE ● RUN ● REPEAT. As it turns out, there are a few steps in between. Minor details. Call them all the “side effects” of training.

So, come tomorrow? I get to do it all again. Except I guess I’ll have just a little less laundry to do. Maybe we can get a maid. And a gardener. And maybe a cook.

Anyone??

bugs in my grill…

Today’s 2nd workout of the day was a biking one, one that involved hills. The workout called for 1 hour and 15 minutes on the bike, with a warm up / cool down and a hill climb set consisting of 10×1 minute climbs with 2 minutes active recovery in between.

I parked about 6 miles from a local hill that I knew from past experience was more than a 1 minute climb (especially early in the year when I’m a slow climber) and set to work. The 6 miles to the hill provided a nice, if a little too short, warm up. Then I turned into the crazy lady that set up the hill and turned around 3/4 of the way up like I gave up or something. Over and over and over again. I can just see the thought bubbles of passersby, “what a quitter, she was so close to the top!” It’s days like this when I feel like I need a shirt that advertises my workout. Yes, I’m only going 3/4 of the way up, but I’m also going up it 10 times. Stop judging me!  Ironically, but probably not surprisingly, I would totally judge someone I saw turning around without making it to the top. Pansy. But I digress…

There was something that I quickly remembered about me and biking hills. And biking in the spring. Ah. There are lots of bugs out right about now. And when I’m going up hills, I catch a lot of them. In my mouth. On my face. In my helmet. The harder and longer the hill, the more bugs I catch. Lovely little springtime surprises.

As I’m rounding out climb number 6 or 7, I pass this old guy who I had seen going the other way a few hills back. Like I say, he’s old. Square glasses, pot belly, white hair, bright yellow spandex jersey, not moving super fast. Now, I had waved to him the first time I saw him… this is standard fare for me, to greet other bikers and runners I see.  The first time I passed him, he just smiled. But the second time? The second time he opted to – no joke, I can’t make this stuff up – blow me a kiss.  Yeah, seriously. Like a little nod and a “hey baby” kiss.

What? Who does that? I KNOW!  I thought the same exact thing! And funnier (to me anyway) is that, by this point in time, my face is red and sweaty, and I’ve probably got who knows how many bugs stuck to my face, in my teeth. I spit a few out bugs along the way, so I can imagine that I’m looking pretty A-MAZING, not that I really care at that particular moment but it’s a great visual and added to the situation, it cracks me up all the more. Hot stuff ahead with bugs all up in her grill.

Oh boy, people are so very very awkward…

Being on a bike, I zoomed past in a jiffy (with a really? / what the heck?! look on my face) and within seconds was thankfully clear of any more weirdness, at least for the time being…