Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My newest gizmo ... a juicer

I bought a juicer!

Why did I get a juicer?

Well to be perfectly honest I have an affinity for kitchen gadgets. I like to have them and I like to buy them. I have a food processor,  several blenders (all for different specific things), a popcorn popper and a rice cooker and now a juicer.

Also it seems to me that some very fit and healthy people "juice" and so I thought I should find out more about it.

Step one ... buy a juicer. I got mine a Williams-Sonoma while my husband took my son to Johnny Rockets for a milk shake and fries. You could say we have a very diverse house when it comes to dietary nutrition ideas :-)

Step two realize that you have no idea what to do with said juicer. Luckily it came with a recipe book.

Step three make a juice loosely inspired by the recipe book because you don't actually have the right ingredients.

Here is juice #1 green apple, ginger, carrot, 1/2 lime
That's the juicer on the right Huron slow juicer. And yes that is more ginger than any one person should ever have in their home but I'm working through it actually.

With this juicer you have to cut up the fruits and veggies into smallish pieces.

it spits out the pulp you can see it there in front and the juice goes out the other side.

hmmm orange and frothy???

served cold over crushed ice. Result yummy, sweet and spicy from the ginger.

So my first attempt at a juice was pretty good. A friend had suggested the crushed ice and also to put ginger and mint into everything oh, and drink it as quickly as possible.

Then I found a website with 30 days of juicing. I didn't realize that it was in order leading from fruits to veggie juices and I jumped ahead to a very green juice.

Juice #2 = Green apple, ginger, 1/2 cucumber, 2 stalks of celery. 2 kale leaves and 1/2 lime.  It was very green and not good tasting at all. Salty and I actually didn't drink more than maybe 4 sips.  It was after this error that I realized that on the 30 day juicing list within the 30 days it leads you from fruit based juices into fruit and veggie and then veggie only juices. Well, I went back to the beginning because I clearly wasn't ready for veggie heavy juices.
look at all that kale ...
this is so green ... it took a total leap of faith to drink it and then ... well it was gross. Lesson learned a little kale and celery goes a long way.
A lot of juice recipes were from one spot, Reboot your Life.  So I went to check that site out directly. I actually did sit down and watch this movie although it didn't really resonate with me because I'm not trying to reboot or lose weight. It is a nice story though with some very unhealthy people finding a healthier lifestyle which is good. It also helped me to understand why I would continue juicing which I was quite honestly questioning. I mean if I eat fruit why would I juice. Especially since I don't actually ever drink juice normally since I saw it as empty calories. Some critics of juice point out that you don't get the healthy benefit of the fiber in the fruits and veggies which I agree is true.

They address this in the movie by saying basically you can put a lot more veggies into a juice than you would actually eat so you can increase your overall nutrient intake.

Back to the drawing board. Juice #3 I made with my kids. 2 grapefruits, 1 carrot, 1 green apple. The grapefruit overpowered everything and it just tasted like grapefruit juice.
it is fun to put stuff into the juicer especially in your pajamas. They loved seeing the pulp squeeze out of the juicer and squeeled "eeew, grosss, yuck"

since the kids helped me make it they were eager to try it even with the carrot in there. We put a lot of different things in for fun including kiwi. It was fun.
Juice #4 apple, peach, ginger, mint, spinach, 1 celery, strawberries, lime. Result green juice but sweet the mint and ginger is good.

These juices are filling. People on a juice fast use them to replace food but I am not considering fasting. I think that they do take the place of a snack especially since I tend to eat some of the chopped fruits and veggies as I prep the ingredients. Probably this is a better snack option than say the whoopie pie I ate a few minutes ago.
This may be the wrong picture because the ingredients don't seem to match my list but I remember that the strawberries came through with some pulp which gave the juice a different texture. They are better suited I think to smoothies.

It does take a leap of faith to drink something this color.
So this juice was bigger than the others because I was treating it like a snack - or a small meal than a drink. You can see that I had the full glass and then more in the pitcher. I shared it with my husband who humored me and drank it. He's a good sport. With all the fruits in them they are sweet and what's interesting is you can sort of feel yourself drinking them. I think it's the mint and ginger that does it but similar to how on a very hot day you can feel ice water go all the way into your stomach that's how it was to drink this juice. I can kind of feel it. Weird right?

Juice #5 Green apple, ginger, lemon, mint 1/2 beet, blueberries, carrot.  So beets are a hot item right now in endurance blogging type places. Some crazy folks are out there drinking straight beet juice and just raving about the benefits. Beets are definitely healthy but could I do it? Did I mention I hate beets?
I hate beets. Really I do. since I was a baby and I spit them out at my mom. This was going to be a challenge.

The 1/2 beet make it really really red. I could have used the whole beet but I was chicken.

I could smell the beet but interestingly I couldn't taste it. The flavor was masked by the apple, ginger, lemon and mint.

I managed to drink the whole thing.
So I made this beet juice on Saturday and I did ride 79 miles on the bike the next day and didn't run out of energy. Was it the juice or the indian food I had for dinner... or the milky way candy bar I ate at mile 40? We may never know.

In Closing
So there are some thoughts in closing. It takes some time to do this because you have to prep the veggies and then clean the juicer. This time might be reduced if I had gotten the Breville juicer which takes bigger pieces but the Huron people say more nutrients come through in their slow juicer and while I can't verify that it happens to be what I bought and luckily I don't mind chopping veggies.

Mondays juice. Much less kale and celery. Pineapple and apple to mask the taste.
The reason I personally will continue juice occasionally is to get some of the vitamins into me from these veggies that I normally don't eat  or eat much of like beets, kale, and sweet potatoes. Additionally, the ginger is supposed to be an anti-inflammatory helper and anything I can do to reduce inflammation is good.
This thing was like neon green and had sooo much froth which must be the pineapple. I couldn't taste the kale at all. Green apples work better than red apples for that in my opinion.

Depending on the ingredients the homemade juices can pack a calorie punch because they include all these fruits and veggies but I'm not on a diet so that's okay with me. In fact, I might look to do this after lunch when I normally get hungry and sleepy to help me avoid much worse snacks like all of my kids left over lunches or a milk shake. I also might consider this instead of a Gatorade when hydrating the day before a race.

And that's all my adventures so far in juicing.



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Triathlon Training Thursday - Countdown to Rev3 14 weeks

 I know you've been sitting at home thinking what will I do with my time now that there hasn't been a triathlon training Thursday blog post by Amy in weeks.

Or not ...

Either way it's back because I'm 14 weeks out from the next race and this helps keep my focus on my goals for training.

The Race = Rev3 Florida in Venice, Florida October 28th, 2012
My next race which actually probably could be called my A race for the year is Rev3 Florida. (sounds fierce, right ... "A" race ... like I have a serious plan or something - which I really don't).

This is a first time race in this location. I'm racing what they call the half rev which is a 70.3 distance. This will be my second race at this distance and so I have a time goal not just a completion goal.

The Big Hairy Ambitious Goal
Bite off more than you can chew and then chew it!

That goal is 5 hours and 30 minutes. Or 360 minutes. For some reason 360 minutes sounds shorter to me than 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Yikes.

I think that breaks down to a 30 minute swim, 3 hour bike, and 2 hour half-marathon.

That's ambitious since it will mean my fastest swim ever, a super focused bike split and did I mention I've only ever broken 2 hours once in a half-marathon and that half-marathon was not the third leg of a triathlon.

Oh right and my previous 70.3 was 6:55 so I'm hoping to trim a solid block of time off that result.

It's going to take some work to get there. Stay tuned to hear how I plan to pull this off over the next 14 weeks. No more goofing around - time to get to work. Actually I'm going to go get my toenails done but that's all part of the plan, trust me. Actually it's irrelevant to the plan but I have track tonight so I've got time at the moment and my toes are gnarly.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sprinteriffic races - Mpls tri and Key Biscayne Trilogy

Sunday I did the Key Biscayne Trilogy race and the week before I raced the Minneapolis Tri. This post is really a race report of the KB race but there is a fairly large part of comparison between the two.

I'm going to skip the preliminaries about getting to the race and stuff because well it was the same as all the other times.

Special Weather Excuse Section
However let me just say that the weather today was not spectacular. It rained off and on throughout the race. There was actually thunder over the water while we were lining up to start then a few minutes of hard rain while they started other waves and then (poof) the rain passed and I started my wave. The clouds did keep the temperature down to 84 and the humidity was well about 100% because it was raining (officially 80%).
This was the rain when I left the race.

Recap (.25s / 10mile b / 3.1 r)

Swim: horrific swim, seriously felt as though I had forgotten how to swim. Wished for water wings or a noodle. Just bad. 11:32 ... I know sooo sooo slow.  I'm really trying to figure out what happened. I seriously kept thinking in my head ... keep going silly you just swam this distance last week. Then I would do 8 strokes and feel like I was out of air again and my heart was bursting out of my chest. Bleh ...

Insert excuses here: there was a current against us and some surf from the weather. We had 10 mph winds so we had little waves. 

I would quite honestly put this as my worst race swim since 2 years ago with the first race swim. I was totally underprepared for that swim. Amazingly Sunday I was still 13th out of the water in my age group which is exactly the middle. How that's possible I can't quite grasp. 

I was very calm at the start. It was an in water start. The tide was out ... way out ... way way out. Seriously there were people standing up throughout the course. So, we waded into the water and then the guy yelled "go." I know totally lame ... where was the "beep machine?"
This is me coming out of the water in MPLS. In this swim I came up on 3 breasstroking gals and was able to just go around them. This logic failed me in Key Biscayne. I think the time trial start may have let me get going at my own pace. I "borrowed" this picture from brightroom.

I tried to get into the second row of women because I know there are faster girls than me and I don't  like to go out too fast. It didn't work. I took a step back and so did the people around me. So I started with the first wave of girls. I followed the feet in front of me until I passed them and I was fine for about 2 minutes and then I got boxed in behind somebody and there were also people on both sides and someone behind me. That did sort of mess with my swimming mojo. So I popped up and usually I can just see a space to go to for clear water but not today silver caps everywhere. In hindsight this is silly I should have just swam between the people but my mind didn't process that until, well, now.

I felt like everybody passed me when I popped up because I was boxed in but that isn't correct because my placement was 13/26. I was around 45th out of all the women and there were 2 waves. So now looking back a few days I am guessing maybe that I was closer to the front pack than I would have guessed. That would mean I went out way too fast.

One thing I was focusing on during this race was pushing even if I was uncomfortable because it's a short race. But it didn't work during the swim. I couldn't override the feeling of "must have more air!!!"

So, I did some breast stroking and that's no good for me. I feel like it makes my heart rate go up and doesn't help me catch my breath at all.

So frustrating. I have to admit that I'm 3 for 3 in not awesome race swims. Grrrr.....

Bike: 31:57 sometimes it is a little bit about the bike. I think I am simply just faster on this bike. This is a fast bike course - straight with one hill and I know the course by heart. It is also just 10 miles so my only challenge was to keep the speed up. I was almost exactly 1mph faster overall today than in Minneapolis. My average in MPLS was 17.7 and the average on Key Biscayne was 18.7 mph.
Me on the blue genie in Minneapolis. Can you see the missing bolt at the front? Luckily the bike held together. I hope there is a picture of me on the bike on KB because I might finally have an aero photo but I will say I was passing a group of slowpokes at the top of the bridge so most likely I won't have my own photo.

The weather was dicey today so the roads were wet. But since I had done my recent training in the rain in Clermont I was calm as a cucumber about that. I was aero like an aero fool. I even went down one side of the bridge in aero (and miraculously did not pee in my trishorts from fear). And no I did not hit my brakes either time going down hill.

There is a spot called bear cut (also sometimes called the "little" bridge which is a joke because it's like a 3 foot incline but it's where there is a break in the key and you can get big wind cutting between the 2 pieces of land.  Sunday we had big, huge, gusty wind there. When it hit my bike jumped about a foot to the side which was scary and I did come out of aero because I felt more in control and basically held on for dear life until I was past the tree line on the other side. 

What was fun for me today on the bike was that I passed a lot of people and was passed by only 6 people 5 of which were guys (so I expect them to kick my butt). Also fun I had the 4th fastest bike split in my AG. Progress!

One last thing about the bike. My goal was to have a 20mph average but I only got to 18.7. What is amazing to me about that is that I was at or above 20 every time I looked down during the race. Which I think means that simply the start out of transition, the climbs, the u-turn and the bear cut area were slower. Just a teeny bit pulls the average down super fast especially in a race this short. So that means to average 20 over the 10 miles I need to be hitting 22-23 for the straightaways. Yikes time to get back to work!

Run: 28:36 I felt faster this week and yet I had almost exactly the same time as in Minneapolis (28:38 in MPLS see almost exactly) This befuddles me.  However, this is my fastest 5k yet in a tri so that's good.
Running in Key Biscayne. Why is there apparently garbage on the run route...hmmm don't remember that because this is right at the stupid hairpin turn that goes to the finish line. Seriously add 30 feet in the parking lot and let us finish on the straightaway sillies. This photo was taken by a Hammerhead. Thanks guys!

There is one other thing about my run that befuddles me and it's this. Yesterday I biked 49 miles and then did a 20 minute transition run. During that 20 minutes my pace was 8:49 so why am I so much slower today after a much shorter bike?

I will say I feel sluggish on the run and I wonder if some of this is a strength issue. So, I am going to add strength training to my weekly routine. As a note I hate strength work. But I do think it will be helpful. 

Thoughts on the Trilogy races
Now that I've done so many cool races this race course is really kind of well just okay - mediocre even. Okay the swim is pretty spectacular on a beautiful beach but the run course is basically in a parking lot which is dumb.

I will say that the race production company Multirace appears to be really declining. I used to be their biggest fan so this is a change of heart for me. Today they changed the location for the start of the international distance swim and did a crappy job of letting racers know. A ton of people missed their start. Lame ... really lame. 

It also appeared to me that the race registration was down because there were about 20 empty bike racks. Sure enough there were only 419 participants today. A few years ago these races got 700+ people. That might not be because of the race production company but maybe with so much competition for races people are choosing other events.

But it has two huge things going for it.
  1. First, I know a lot of people racing so it's fun. 
  2. Second, it's the same course over and over so it's a good comparison for improvement which in the triathlon world can be really a challenge.
Goal Accomplished (miracles do happen!)
So my goal was to come in under 118 and I finished in 1:17:55. Goal achieved. Not exactly how I envisioned it but achieved nonetheless. I'll take it! I missed the swim goal by 3 minutes (ouch), missed the bike goal by 2 minutes but came in under the run goal by a minute and a half. The other time was cut out of transitions so that works.
That's Gabe on the right. I was clearly on the wrong side of the podium but you get the idea.

In other news almost all my training buddies podiumed today.  Gabe in his first full tri got 2nd in his age group. Benji got third in his AG which is a young super fast AG so that's really impressive. He totally wasn't expecting it and left without checking. And Janine also got first in her AG. Amazing. I train in fast company apparently.  So, I aspire to join their speedyness in the future.
I'm in this photo which I found on Facebook taken by another Hammerhead. Just proof that you never know who's taking your pictures. This is my training group. Diane is in front taking our picture from the front. And then the butts from left to right are Benji, Janine, Me in front you only can see my leg and hat, Gabe and Doug. Doug and I were the only ones in the training group who didn't podium. We were both 8th in our respective AGs.

Next up
The next big race is Rev3 in Sarasota 10/28/2012. My ambitious goal for this race is 5:30. That will be very fast for me so it's going to take some work and I will absolutely need to execute on the swim. More on this later because this post is really much too long already. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Ahem - racing tomorrow Key Biscayne Trilogy

The MO for this year has become the last minute registration and slightly underprepared entry to the races. Not sure if this is a good thing. So this is back to ground zero. Trilogy 2 was my first tri 2 years ago. (let's not speak of trilogy 1). The trilogy races are super sprints. S.25 / b 10 / r3.1 There is also a .25 run through the sand to t1. My time 2 years ago was 1:32:40 My time last year was 1:18:14 but it was a different course (marine stadium without the .25 run in the sand) My goal is to beat last years time even with the transition run in the sand. 8 minute swim , 6 minute t1, 30 minute bike, 3minute t2, 30 minute run = 77 minutes. That would be a boobies to the wall performance for me. So I might not make it. But we'll see. That will be a fast swim for me. No dawdling behind breastrokers or surf or current. And mostly it requires a 20mph bike split which includes the Powell bridge. If I can pull that off it will be amazing. I will have to raelly stay focused on the goal. A good test for Did I mention I biked 49 miles today? Oh well off to bed. Wish me luck.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Overcoming fears ... traveling with the bike

For an unknown reason since we began this triathlon thing the idea of traveling by plane with my bike has made me afraid.

And as it turns out that was unnecessary. Now to be honest for almost everybody traveling with a bike on a plain is probably unecessary. If you're going to a big event you can use TriBikeTransport. And if you're going to a local event you can just drive it like normal. But for me I like to race with my brother in Minnesota once a year (so that he can royally dust the field with me but I have fun anyway).

Last year was the first time I decided I wanted to do this. Turned out it was also my first Olympic distance event as well. In the end I chickened out and rented a bike. The upside of that was that I discovered the greatest tri shop in all the world (or at least Florida and Minnesota). The downside was that I was still really intimidated to ship my bike.

But no more! I have conquered my fear. This year I did it and I'm hear to say it really isn't a big deal at all. So if you're out there being afraid of this ... get out your allen wrench and get busy :-)
Meet the bike box.

Here's what I did. First, my local tri-club has bike boxes you can borrow. I don't own one although if you travel very much you might as well get your own. So I started by picking up the empty box from my buddy Ben who had just brought it back from France (it's a well-traveled box).

I then did what any nervous girl would do. I sat in my garage looking at the box and the bike and watched you-tube videos until I felt confident. This bike box is from Thule and as it happens they make a video specific to this box.

Then I got down to business. I packed my road bike simply because even though I wanted to show off my new fancy tri bike. My husband pointed out (correctly) that I would be sad if it got broken. Silly lawyers always being so logical.

So, here's what you need: a ziploc, some bubble wrap, tape (I used electrical tape) and your allen wrenches

There's only a few things to do actually. First, mark with a sharpie and/or tape where your handlebars are and where your seat is. Next make sure the bike is in both the little front gear and the little back gear. Then here's what you do.

Take off your pedals, take off your seat, take off your handlebars and redo the bolts. Then deflate and remove your tires. Put the spindles in the ziploc. Put your tires in the box. Then put the hard plastic in, then put the foam on.

here's a helpful tip for the pedals - you always turn toward the back wheel. This way you don't strip the threads in the crank. I was super nervous about going the wrong way but just remember - to the back tire for both pedals. 

Then  set the frame in gently. Put the handlebars toward the front. Then start taping and wrapping. Wrap the rear derailer and secure the chain to the frame. Wrap pretty much everything with bubble wrap.
here's just the frame in the box

Then put all your other stuff into the box. Put the other foam on top and close it up. Voila.
Here it is mostly packed up.

So, that's it. Repeat in reverse when you unpack it. :-)
Here it is when it came back. There is plenty of space in here and it's already oversize so extra stuff is okay. So In here are the bike shoes, running shoes, helmet. water bottle, tool bag, wetsuit, helmet and even bug spray and Body Glide.

I actually was traveling just me and my kiddos and I was nervous about lugging the box and the suitcases solo so I shipped the box out  but then coming back I just brought it on the plane. It was no big deal to put it on the plane. There is a fee and it is a good idea to know what the fee is when you go because so few people travel with bikes that the attendants at the counter may not know what to charge you. I flew Delta. Delta considers bikes their own thing so as long as it's in a rigid box they didn't even weigh it.

As a closing note there are 2 things that didn't go perfectly. First, there was a bolt missing on from the handlebar setup when I arrived in Minnesota. Just missing, not in the box couldn't find it. I had 3 out of four and it held up during the trip. I meant to get to the bike store to get the extra but it didn't happen. Lesson here - next time I'll have an extra of these but also make sure that you have time to get to a store before the race in case anything goes wrong. The next thing is actually also related to visiting a bike store. You are supposed to have a little peg thing between the fork on the bike front and back to keep the spacing. These also come from bike stores. I didn't have this but since it's an aluminum bike I wasn't too worried and nothing went wrong. But if I was shipping a carbon bike I'd have been more careful.



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lifetime MPLS Sprint Triathlon

As part of our family vacation my brother and I raced the Minneapolis Triathlon. They shorten in to MPLS in the logo. It's part of the Race to the Toyota Cup which means a couple of things. First, the race I did earlier this year, Nautica is a part of this series. Next, there are lots of pros racing and lastly it's a big race 3000 racers.

I had fun with this race which was my goal. I think I had equal or better performance to my last sprint which was a year ago. I have to crunch the numbers to be sure because the courses are never the same. I did think I'd be able to run faster so I'm not sure why that didn't happen.

My little brother had more specific goals and I don't know if he met all of them but he did do something pretty amazing. He had the fastest swim time in the sprint race. Yup fastest out if 800 racers. I know, holy crap he's fast.

So, I liked this race. The course was pretty. It was really well managed and the medals and shirts were cool. There was plenty of food after and a beer tent. Plus, I love racing with my brother and his wife is the super spouse making sure even my crew was there in time to cheer. I would do it again, in fact I think any of the races in this series would be great to do.

I even met someone I knew in transition. This was wild. I'm in Minneapolis where I've never lived. I look up and a girl says hey we went to college together. Sure enough we were both in the same sorority at KU. What a crazy world.

If you do one of these races just know that parking might be a hassle. So far this has been true for both of the races in the series that I've done. It's been okay for me as the racer but for my hubby in Miami Beach with the kids it was tough and for the whole crew yesterday in Minneapolis (2 spouses and 5 kids with one stroller and 4 signs) it was a trial. I'm not sure what would have made that better maybe a second stroller or a wagon or maybe it was just gonna be tough going. They did really well even though there were some cranks along the way. Oreos helped for 10-15 seconds.

More details and pics later but there ya have it!

Friday, July 13, 2012

I've got my fingernails all clipped and ready for the wetsuit

Tomorrow I'm racing the MPLS Triathlon with my brother. I love racing with my brother.

We're both doing the sprint. Which seems very relaxing given all the long course stuff we've been up to lately.

It's been unseasonably warm here in Minnesota - well unseasonably is the wrong word because it is summer and it does get really hot here (hotter than Miami) - but I think it's been hotter than earlier normal this year maybe. So the water is super warm but people are still speculating that there's a chance for wet suits tomorrow. I think probably not but I thought that in Miami for Nautica too and was I ever wrong. So the wet suit is in the bag - and as mentioned my fingernails are cut short.

I shipped my road bike up for this race and put it together myself. So the number one hope is that it doesn't come apart unexpectedly. Aaack that would be stressful. Other than that here are the goals.

Swim - 400 yards time trial start. That's a first for me 9 minutes.
Bike 15 miles - 50 minutes I think that's 18 mph. I'm not sure how realistic that is given the road bike and the large crowd and the rolling terrain but I'm going to give it a shot.
Run 3.1 miles. Okay I ran 13.1 miles at 8:55 per mile do faster than that is my goal- sub 27 I think.

So 9+50+27+4 (for transitions)= 91 minutes total.

Now let it be said that I'm over tapered for this which is another way of saying I've not hit very many workouts in the last two weeks. Which could result in not hitting these goals - and I'll live with that. But best to try and miss than not try at all. And now I'm off to bed bc this race starts early.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Shhhhh.... I'm on vacation

Why would I blog while I'm on vacation? Good question.

I'm just occupying myself while my girl kiddo catches up with her smurf game.

I'm with the kiddos on vacation in Minneapolis. I actually found a little house to rent on the lake down the street from his house. Which is proving so far to be a great improvement over our previous vacation lodging - the Mystic Lake Casino. My kids love hotels but they "love" this.

At the moment we're burning the vacation candle at both ends. The days are long here the sun is up at 6 AM and so is my daughter. The sun then stays up until around 10PM luckily she passes out closer to 9. Still she doesn't know it but she's probably really tired. I am mentally prepping for a massive meltdown.

On the good side we've done a lot if cool stuff. Played with the cousins (x100), swam in the lake, caught and released 2 little fishes, gone on the boat, tubed behind the boat, swam some more, saw some birds, made a fire and some s'mores, had a BBQ, and I've already probably forgotten some stuff.

You know what's not on this list? Workouts ... Oops. Actually yesterday's workout was to swim in the lake with the kids. I did that for hours. Thx coach Frank!

Today I'm going to see if I can somehow squeeze in a run. Tomorrow the bike should arrive. (imagine dramatic music here).