Friday, April 29, 2011

rest day and WORRYING

Well hello rest day! First tri of the season in two days. Mostly trying not to think about it, cause I am upset/nervous about the possibility that my hip will not allow me to tackle the run the way I want to. I'm scared that either one of two scenarios will play out: 1. Around the second mile mark a stabbing pain will start in my hip that will shoot down my leg and make it nearly impossible to keep going. I've never walked on a run before in a race and although this is just a warm up race, I still will have trouble doing it. 2. My hip will hold up but my run fitness will be so lacking that I'll barely get across the finish line. ARRRGGHHHHHH

Ok, I can't continue speculating. Off to work. After I get a good glimpse of Kate M. and the royal wedding of course! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Race Week!

As usual, the beginning of the week seems to have flown by. Hard to believe that Wednesday is already almost over. My first race of the season is this Sunday! It's not a key race, more a warm-up and training race, especially given all my hip problems. We'll see how it holds up. Yesterday I slipped in a bit of running with my elliptical training. I stretched and foam rolled and iced after. I had no pain running (although I felt SUPER flat yesterday. I hope that it's just a sign I need this recovery week and not a sign that my run/elliptical fitness is not up to par). Today it doesn't hurt as much as it has post-running in the past, but it's a bit sore and tight. I've been on the roller and stretching already.

I had a recovery day swim today. Nice 1450 meters with some speed work thrown in to get the feel for race pace. I always go out much harder than I want to in the swim, but so far that hasn't hampered the rest of my performance, so I haven't tried tooooo hard to change the habit.

Anyway, today's short workout:

250 warm up easy
6X25 mixed drills, RI=10
4X100 moderate, RI=5
5X75 VO2 max, RI=30
275 c00l down easy

total 1450

Tomorrow I start training at a local bike shop because (dun du du duuunnn!) I got a summer part time job there! My research grant won't be in till fall, so I am gonna make some extra bucks, learn more about bikes etc. this summer! Stoked!! Post-training I'll go Tri-training (hehe) on the bike shop's group ride (assuming the weather cooperates).

Yay!! Then friday is my rest day, then Saturday a lil' easy swim-bike to get the blood flowing, then driving down the the packet pickup, THEN RACE ON SUNDAY! yayayayayayyayyyyyy

Alright, enough celebration for now. Back to my research!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Has triathlon made me (gasp! gulp!) high maintenance?

As I mentioned before, we spent this past weekend in our hometown visiting family and friends for my wife's birthday (and nominally Easter as well). An upsetting realization dawned on me over the course of this weekend's travels and activities that I needed to mull over and perhaps discuss. Eventually I brought this reoccurring thought up with my mother, as I have been at my parents the past few nights for Easter etc. She has set me straight a bit, but not completely quashed my fears.

First of all, my mother and I discussed the literal and societal definitions of the term "high maintenance." If you think of the term's literal meaning, rather than the connotations associated with it, I have always been relatively "high maintenance." I have had medical issues throughout my childhood and adult life that have necessitated extra thought go into my everyday existence. I am medically expensive, and I have many "special needs" associated with my environment in order to keep my asthma and allergies in check. (For instance, I can't really sleep in a house with cats, I cannot have feather pillows or comforters on my bed, I must have non-smoking hotel rooms and restaurant seating, etc) But my mother insisted in our conversation that in terms of the pejorative connotation associated with being "high maintenance", the attitude of being needy and picky and a diva, I did not fit the "high maintenance" bill. She says I was always pretty game about the whole thing.

In terms of lifestyle, and what is stereotypically associated with high maintenance females, I would definitely cringe at the idea of being labeled as such. I don't get my hair or nails done. I'm not into facials. I am not a fashionista, I have a limited heel collection (although I do have a large variety of workout gear) and my makeup stash is woefully under-stocked. I don't own a blow dryer and getting ready to leave the house and go into public usually involves a ponytail with a headband and mascara. If that. When not donning a sportsbra and running shorts, I'm a jeans and a tshirt kinda gal.

There is, of course, a point to all of this back story. It occurred to me this weekend, when I left the apartment carrying 4 different bags full of workout clothes and paraphernalia and attempting to steer my bicycle, again when I was reading the nutrition labels of various snacks at the highway rest stop, again while I was sitting in my in-laws kitchen having demanded (nicely but firmly) that my wife and her mother help me find the perfect fitness facility to accommodate my specific workout needs before any other activities commence that day, and yet again when my wife worried aloud to me that the pizza place at which the family wanted to celebrate her birthday dinner would not meet my nutritional demands, that triathlon has made me high maintenance.

Nobody complained. Nobody made a face when I told them I "HAD" to get on my bike before I could participate in the Easter festivities. My wife had no overtones of disdain in her voice when she brought up her family's restaurant choice and her concern that it would not be good enough for me (turns out, btw, they had excellent salads!). I don't know if someone, somewhere is thinking "God she's a pain in the ass!" when I visit (Sorry to my friend Becky who had to give up her bed to me this weekend and sleep on the couch with the cat!). But I realized with each demand how crazy I must seem. Complete nutcase!

At home in my own domain with my own time and my own schedule and my set routines and workout places, I am usually the only one affected by triathlon-related decisions. Well, that's not entirely true. My wife doesn't cook, or have time to shop, so she has to deal with my healthy food and snack selection, but she only complains a little and is mostly appreciative since she is also an athlete. But when I have to juggle my training schedule around at home, I can make it work. On the road, though, it seems to become everyone's problem.

So to my wonderful friends and family: Thank you for putting up with me and my triathlon lifestyle! Maybe it is self-important of me to think that what I do is even an issue to you, but thanks anyway! For the beds and clean sheets, for the forgone burger joints on lunch dates, for helping me call every fitness center in the tri-state area to find the one with the lowest guest rate and the correct training equipment. I will remind myself to always have a good attitude about it if things don't work out perfectly!

And thanks Mom for telling me you don't think I am the pejorative version of "high maintenance", even if I am a bit dramatic, and was always a medical handful...

Lastly: Happy Birthday Erin! You're the best and I promise to cook something totally unhealthy for your belated birthday dinner!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!!

This weekend has been spent in my wife's and my hometown, visiting friends and family for her birthday and Easter. We have had an amazing time, but unfortunately I left our apartment in a bit of a hurry and managed to forget many important things for our journey. For instance: remembered the bike, forgot my cycling shoes and helmet. Remembered my computer, forgot my charger. So I have been working out indoors all weekend, and have been unable to blog. I am currently at my parents house (just had a delicious Easter dinner) and am borrowing my mother's computer. (I love you Mom, but I can't stand your screen setup!! But you know this.)

So there is a lovely, long and entertaining blog entry planned for the near future. And there will be an opportunity for me to borrow a charger for my computer tomorrow. And all of this will be forthcoming.

Hip is feeling OK. First race of the season next weekend. Ta-ta for now, but more very soon!

Happy Easter and Happy training!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Weekly Recipe: ParmPlus Turkey Burgers

Today's recipe is one of my standards. One of my favorite things about it is that you can add and subtract ingredients pretty easily. The "Plus" in the recipe title refers to these add-ins. Personal fav add-ins: chopped spinach, scallions, leftover quinoa, or gorgonzola. When I made these last night, I added finely chopped red onion. It caramelized some while the burgers cooked, which added a really great, unexpected flavor. Try them any way you like! I didn't put any toppings on these burgers last night, but they can be dressed up with all the normal burger fixings. Last time I topped with sauteed mushrooms and swiss! mmmm!

ParmPlus Turkey Burgers

1 lb package ground turkey (93 or 99% fat free)
1 tablespoon plain, nonfat yogurt (for moist burgers, optional)
2 tbs soy sauce
3 or more tbs low fat, grated parmesan cheese
Add-in of choice!! (try chopped spinach or onions)
2 tsps Adobo seasoning, or seasoned salt
2 tsps Montreal chicken seasoning or favorite spice mixture
2 cloves minced garlic

If you are not using a grill, you will need:
1 or 1 tbs olive or vegetable oil

Mix all ingredients except olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Heat up grill, or heat olive oil in pan. Use hands to roll meat mixture into balls (a bit larger than a golf ball works for me) and then flatten into burger patties. Usually makes around 5 burgers. Pan fry on medium heat, or grill, until cooked through.

Prepare any desired fixin's or sides. I pan fry my burgers cause we have no grill, and it can take a while to cook through. I served steamed green beans and a grain mixture from Trader Joe's with my burgers last night. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Injury Update

A double update today! Yesterday after waking up and watching some of the Boston Marathon, I made my way over to the gym to test out the hip on the treadmill and elliptical. I got through my workout without pain, but it was sore walking around on it later in the day. (And I watched the end of the marathon when I got back. USA definitely represented this year!)

Early early this morning I had an appointment with a sports medicine guy. After manipulating and poking around, he told me he things my IT band is too tight and a bit inflamed. According to him, if I stretch it every day, the pain will go away.

I want him to be right. I really really do. I am also admittedly a bit skeptical. But if he is correct, hopefully I will be able to see improvement quickly! That would be the greatest thing ever, seriously. So I choose to be optimistic. Definitely can't hurt to try, anyway! He also said that running through the pain will make it more sore, but it won't make the condition any worse, so if I'm at my tri in two weeks (ack!) and it hurts while I'm running, I give myself permission to push through.

So basically, I want him to be right, cause if so that's really good news. It seems like a lot of pain for a tight IT band though...

Anyway, off to the pool! Gotta get my chlorine on!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Mental wall overcome, reward = homemade sushi!

Yesterday's workout could be defined by one word: torture. The workout itself was hard, but the tedium was the real torture. I mean it was a threshold effort hour and a half ride with high spin cadence, tough enough, but it was also on an indoor trainer, so it was constant and BORING. I mean wow. It was mentally much more challenging than physically. I hit a mental wall there for a bit and really had to convince myself not to just quit and workout outside today as a replacement. I had to finish what I started.

And I did!

It was good, too. I was proud of myself afterwords. My sister, Beth, and my friend Gilly showed up for another famed weekend of feasting yesterday afternoon. We had a sushi-making party last night and this morning we made crepes! Sushi is a mixed bag, health wise. Fresh veggies and fish are good. I normally try to avoid white rice, but we made the rolls ourselves and that somehow justified it to me. And the crepes this morning? Yeah we just deserved those. haha.

Left/Above: My wife Erin (she did that on purpose, so that's the pic she gets posted!) and my friend Gilly with our sushi feast!

Right: Sisters! Beth in blue, me in green. Yes the bikes are in our living room. That's Erin's blue mountain bike.

So I'm now trying to figure out today and the rest of next week, workout plan-wise. I may swim today, or rest today and workout tomorrow...but that might mean two swim days in a row...oh decisions... :) But now to make sure the taxes are completely finished and do some reading for my class!

Happy training!

Oh and the Boston Marathon is tomorrow! Go Kara Goucher!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Awesome group ride

Seriously great group ride. So much fun, and the right speed for me. There was a front group that went fast enough to keep my training buddy, Brad, entertained as well. So pumped about it. And we got back to the shop the ride started from and had a beer with the shop guys... Plus there is some other good news but it's only a possibility right now, so I am not going to divulge until it's a certainty...

And I only had two moments of terror on the ride, and neither had to do with traffic! One was a clip issue, but I got it unclipped at the last second and caught myself! hehe.

Anyway, it's late so more tomorrow, but def. a nice way to get my workout in today. yay!

Not the only one with hip issues...

Today is a big bike day for me, so I'll have more later. Hopefully this weather holds up cause it's fantastic at the moment...

Anyway, just saw this interview with Chrissie from triathlete mag. She has hip pain too! Probably for much better reason though. Also, she posted the fastest run time OVERALL at IM South Africa. Faster than the pro men. Wow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Swim Workout

The pool is pretty warm at my Y. Feels great when I get in, but after I start going hard, it's basically too warm. Definitely wouldn't be wetsuit legal! :)

250 warm up easy
6X25 mixed drills, RI=10secs
5X100 moderate, RI=5secs
6X75 VO2 Max, RI=45secs
3X50 kick, RI=15
250 cool down easy

Total = 1,750

Doesn't hurt my hip to pool run, which is nice to know (I think?). I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing actually. Hopefully I'll find out soon!

Stanley Cup playoffs start tonight! And a few races to watch online this weekend! yay!


Goodness gracious, the first half of the week always seems a bit crazy to me. Mostly because I am traveling around and taking care of many different things. It's not a bad thing though!

Anyway, it's been fun the last few days. Yesterday I got back home and got in a bike ride (sorry for those 3 people who called me and I ignored!). I went indoors because it was intermittent rain and the streets were pretty wet. Plus I had 3x5 minute hill climbs tucked in the middle, and I haven't found any 5 minute hills nearby, so inside was just easier. More boring of course, but that's what my audiobook is for! I am almost finished Room by Emma Donaghue and it's excellent.

Today is a swim day, so I'll be posting my workout a bit later. My workout buddy is finally back and meeting me at the pool today! Yay! In addition, I am going to try pool running for the first time. The goal here is to see if the pain I have in my hip is caused by motion or by impact. If it hurts to pool run, it's motion. If not, it's impact. (Thank you for the recommendation Mom. She read my blog. I still think that's funny).

But now to do some real work on my thesis research. More soon!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Yup, I actually sing!

Today is Monday, which means it's a rest day and a travel day for me. I drive back to my graduate school every Monday for class, and then go spend the evening in my hometown with my parents. While I am there I am probably going to bug my dad about my hip, but I still plan on seeing someone in sports medicine when I get back down here.

Since I'm not training today, I have something else for you. I got my first request for a post! KC asked me to post a video of me actually singing the National Anthem, and I think that's a pretty good idea! The only real video I have of the whole anthem is from a women's ice hockey game last year.

Unfortunately in the video I am behind the referees for the whole beginning. Eventually they will move out of the way and you'll see me, but for the most part you'll just have to listen and stare at the refs chewing gum. hehe. Here it is!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Inspired and my smile is back :)

Last night I stayed up till 1 am to watch the cannon go off at Ironman South Africa on the live footage at This morning I woke up in time to watch the finish. Kind of a nice way to do it, actually, since the live coverage mostly shows transition and that's kinda boring to watch for 8 hours...

Chrissy did it again! She not only won the women's race, but she broke her own world record and came in 8th overall. She is incredible. The best part though is watching the last of the age groupers finish as Chrissy puts their medals around their necks. It just astounds me and makes me so proud of this community. I want to do a race where Chrissy competes, and I wouldn't be unhappy to finish slowly if that meant she would be there to give me my medal. She's such an inspiration.

Also, did you know that on her website she has posted all of her drug test results? She has encouraged other athletes to do the same. I think it's an interesting idea and I support it.

Anyway, enough about Chrissie (I think my wife is gonna smack me if I mention her again...). I am still depressed about my hip but watching some Ironman definitely helped to brighten my spirits. I am injured often enough that I have started to develop coping mechanisms, and the largest of those is creating a plan. A plan to get me through, a plan to get to the next race, a plan to heal. It's hard balancing all three of those with so much of my pride resting on triathlon (not to mention time and money invested...).

The new plan is to skip my runs this week and add in an extra bike and extra swim day. This is a tough call for me to make, but it's necessary. I have less than a month till my first race, but the race is only a sprint. I can get through a 5k with relatively little run fitness, it just won't be my fastest time. It's not my key race (which is the Washington DC Tri on June 19th) so if I don't turn up a PR it's not the end of the world (keep tellin' myself that). SO a week off of running completely. That means no elliptical either. Just swimming and biking and strength (maybe I'll even have time for yoga!) AND seeing a doc.

Normally I just go to my dad, who's an orthopedic surgeon. But I think this time I need to go see someone, in an office, get something done about it, ya know? We'll see.

On top of all of that, today was a nice bike day. A bit colder than the weatherman promised, but not too bad. Got in a few little hills and had to deal with a bit of bike traffic in the park, but overall a good day. Still, wish I had met up with a group just to push my speed. I have trouble focusing on going hard when I'm out by myself. Hopefully I'll get that to happen this coming week with my extra bike day!

Staying positive! And GO CHRISSIE!!!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

IM South Africa

Despite being depressed, I am up watching the start of Ironman South Africa

Depressing injuries

I have to say that I'm super depressed today because my hip is still hurting me. I tried to run some, and it hurt. I tried to elliptical(cize?) and it hurt. I am so sick and tired of being injured. And my first tri of the season is less than a month away.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Lil' swim, Lil' Chrissie

Hey hey, tough lil' swim today! It was rainy and a bit chilly, so I kept it in the indoor pool. There was some speed work involved, and it really took it outta me today. I got out feeling kinda beat, but in a good way, you know?

250 easy warm up
6X26 mixed drills, RI=10
6X100 (25 ascending, 25 descending), RI=10
6X25 hard, RI=20
6X25 kick, RI=15
250 easy cool down

The ascending, descending thing is really difficult for me for some reason. I just can't quite gauge it, and it ends up taking more out of me then just going 25 hard and 25 easy. Fun stuff though! Next week I will hopefully not be alone in the pool (hint hint BRAD!) so that would be nice...

IM South Africa is this Sunday and Chrissy Wellington is making her SA debut! I'm pretty stoked and hope to watch it live on Gotta love Chrissie. So much talent and so much grace and poise. And that darned smile!!

No better hero in my book! Go, Chrissie, Go!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Workout Playlist: 5 songs of the week!

Hello there! First of all, I have an announcement to make. Today I officially signed up for my half in September. It's not part of the M-dot 70.3 series (read: MUCH CHEAPER!) but the distances are the same, and so is the butt kicking. yay!

Alright, other training news out of the way, I snuck a liiitttle bit of running into my workout today, just to test it out. My hip didn't bother me at all while I was running, but there were some twinges on the elliptical. Strange but true. It may be time to taper off that darned contraption. Thank goodness! Now the balancing act really starts, because if it begins to hurt on the elliptical, I have to stop doing that, but I don't wanna increase the running too quickly...AHHH! This stuff makes my head hurt. But I'll probably be thinking about it constantly for the rest of the evening anyway... Can't I just be well?

But on to happier things, let's talk music! If you didn't get your free music downloads last week, you should go do it today!

Also, check out my post about BPMs and other great websites, if you missed it:
chilly ride and RUNNING TUNES!

Now for my recommendations! Cracking into my iPod this week, I have 5 tunes for you, some of them new, some a bit older, all awesome.

Animal - Neon Trees --> HEAR IT!
My Best Theory - Jimmy Eat World --> HEAR IT!
Price Tag - Jessie J ft. B.o.B. --> HEAR IT!
F**kin' Perfect - P!NK --> HEAR IT!
I Don't Wanna Dance - Hey Monday --> HEAR IT!

Tomorrow I swim! Yay! Hopefully it will be nice out again and I'll use the outdoor pool!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Full Bike Story

Week day bike rides are a bit scary for me. The park where I ride is closed to traffic during the weekends so that cyclists and runners can have the roads, but on week days people use it as a short cut (although what all those people are doing on the road at 2 pm on a Wednesday I don't know! Maybe there is a correlation between unemployment rates and weekday afternoon traffic in the park?) So the traffic freaks me out a bit on my bike. I don't love getting buzzed by cars and I especially dislike the ones who think it's cute or even OK to honk as they pass. But the point is, I survived. I even managed to get in my hill repeats without too many traffic-induced complications. And when I finish a ride like this, I really have to stop and appreciate how far I have come.

Fair warning, it's time for a back story, because you may not really understand how far I have come without it. Anybody who read my little Nike blurb knows I wasn't much of an athlete as a child. When I was very little my father was into cycling to some extent, and I would ride in a seat on the back of his bike when we were down at the beach house. But at home I lived on a farm on a dirt road. I learned how to ride a bike at some point I guess, but I can probably count on my fingers the number of times the mountain bike I owned got ridden. You know that phrase "It's like riding a bicycle"? Well for me that phrase should be "It's like riding a horse." That is what I learned how to do at a young age and what I will never forget. When I decided to start doing full triathlons (not just the swim in a relay) I hadn't been on a bike in maybe 10 years. When I bought my road bike from a guy off Craig's list, I walked it around the corner before I test rode it cause I didn't want him to see me struggle. I literally had to sit down on the seat with both feet on the ground before I could start pedaling. I couldn't even stand up on the pedals when I started.

For me, little things have been huge milestones. First starting my bike without sitting on the seat. Then taking off one hand to signal turns. Then cages on my pedals. Then standing while coasting. Then drinking while riding. Then being clipped in. I took a nasty fall once while trying to take my right hand off the handle bars. Full confession? I'm STILL not very comfortable standing to pedal.

So the fact that today I can bike in traffic, clip and unclip when necessary, tackle hill repeats (mostly without standing...), keep up with (barely) a group ride, and log miles upon miles in the saddle...These are accomplishments I have to remember to celebrate. Go Jo!

This bike chain mark on my leg? I wear it with pride!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Weekly Recipe: Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce

Sounds snooty, but it's super easy and so so yummy! And salmon is very good for you, with high levels of omega 3s! I got the recipe originally from, but have modified it some, mostly because my fish doesn't cook as quickly as they say it will. I also make the sauce a bit more simple. Here it is!

Broiled Salmon with Mustard Dill Sauce

2 Salmon fillets (if you care about seafood sustainability, like I do, Pacific/Alaskan wild caught)
1 tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup of whole grain mustard
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
Splash of low fat milk
1 tablespoon fat free yogurt
Pinch of sugar

Rinse the salmon and pat dry. Place on baking sheet or pan, skin side down. Rub soy sauce on fillets and place in broiler, about 4 inches from flame. Broil until cooked through, about 10 minutes. If your salmon starts to get very cooked on the outside but not through, turn the oven onto 350 and bake till cooked through.

While salmon is cooking, mix together chopped dill, whole grain mustard, milk, yogurt and pinch of sugar in a small bowl. Once salmon is finished, plate and spread with mustard sauce. I like to serve my salmon with green beans or broccoli.

Like I said, super easy and super yummy. And very healthy.

Today was a swim day for me and I felt really great. I was a bit tired before I swam, but for some reason as soon as I hit the water I was energized. I felt like I could have kept going and going, and I pushed my "moderate" pace a little bit to see if I could. I really enjoyed the whole swim. It's a nice, unexpected reward for all the hard training I put in, to have a day that feels so good. I am still a bit worried with how little volume I am swimming in this program, but I am going to stick with it and see what happens. My first tri isn't too far away, and I should probably spend more energy worrying about my run. Hoping this hip injury will disappear quickly...

Monday, April 4, 2011

hotels and hockey

So in terms of my training, this past weekend held both good news and bad news. (This was also true about the hockey actually). The good news for me was that I was able to put a little bit of running back into each "run" workout. The bad news was that the gym at the hotel in Detroit had no elliptical, so I was forced to combo some running with some biking and some stairmaster. Very strange workout indeed.

Luckily they did have a stationary bike, so I put in a torturous hour and 15 minutes on there on Saturday, and I traded my long run day and rest day so that my "run" (aka 10 minute run and 4o minute elliptical) was today, back home at my gym.

I was really excited to do a little running. I will try my best to stick by the lesson I have learned and increase VERY SLOWLY. But I can't say it's easy...

Now for the hockey. I don't have any pictures of me sweating in the tiny hole of a hotel gym, so this one of my wife playing hockey will have to suffice. The team was awesome and played so well. They won three games and got kicked out in the quarterfinals due to a really awful call by a ref. They were seriously robbed, and I don't just say that as a biased fan. But it's ok, they had fun, and they played their hearts out. And I enjoyed it all. It did make me wish my races were sooner. I thrive on competition. I can't wait to get out there.

Adding to that feeling for me was the fact that Kona was being replayed on Universal Sports around lunchtime today. I recorded the program to watch in my free time later this week. Doesn't matter that I know what happens already, it's still so thrilling!

After the tournament my wife wanted to buy me hockey skates. We went to try them on, but I told her eventually that I'd rather she spent the money on a new saddle for my bike!! Here's hoping!

home again, home again

Safely home from Detroit with many stories and adventures to impart! Unfortunately I also have a lot of other things to catch up on, so I'll be telling those stories a little later tonight. But home! And it's beautiful outside! Training this week should be awesome!

More soon!