Monday, December 30, 2013

Entertaining, Running, Indulging, Biking, Recovering: my last two weekends in described in gerands

If memory serves gerands is the word for words ending in -ing so there are 5 gerunds to describe my weekend.

File that under the heading of things you probably don't care about very much.

13 & 12 Weeks until the Rome Marathon, my husband's birthday and of course, Christmas
Last weekend was my first 20-mile run and also my husbands birthday ... and my husband's family was visiting for the weekend so you know that's not an potential training obstacle or anything. Sheesh.

Luckily this weekend was only 14 miles. Seems like a walk in the park these days. In between was a little thing known as Christmas.

Entertaining - 
Last weekend
Grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousin arrived last Friday morning for the weekend. Friday was school party day so my kiddos went to school anyway.
Suess inspired hair at the school holiday party.

Did I mention that a crazy rash sent me to Urgent Care with my daughter Thursday night ... that didn't get in the way of anything ... really. I find out on the way that many other kids in her class have also had a rash and an administrator was even in to check it out. Oh really ... nobody shared this with the parents. What is it? A few hours, a few doctors later diagnosis probably a harmless rash causing virus but just in case it's some horrible virus have some steroids and expect a call from the health department for follow up tomorrow. Sheesh. Stress level totally low. I'm kidding here, you can see that, right? So 2 kiddo parties, two pointed discussions with school administrators that they really need to communicate when a crazy rash causing virus is moving through the classes and arriving family ... plus hydrating for a 20-mile run. What could possibly go wrong?
This was the rash ... not a lot of fun actually.

This weekend
Luckily no house guests and a much shorter run. On the complicated side my son had his first semi-serious reaction to a nut in a food on Christmas eve afternoon. He's been freaking out every time he eats since then and he's been ultra clingy.  I was so turned around by all the holiday chaos that when I got the notice for the Saturday run I was totally confused.

Running 20 miles last week and 14 miles this week
I'm up way way way too early 4:25 I think. My husband hears the alarm and says, that's your alarm. Luckily I'm out of the way before he tries to nudge me awake which when he's asleep is a solid smack from him that means turn that f-ing alarm off! Normally such an early wake up sends him to another room to sleep but the house is full so we're together.

We have a pretty large group to run 20 miles. 6 people. I've always said this is when you find out who your real training buddies are at a 5 am training run. Moreso in the rain and holiday season. Luckily we had no rain ... we had heat. We aren't having winter apparently this year so it was about 75-77 and muggy to start.

To be honest there wasn't a whole lot of pep in my step at the start even. Off we went keeping it a very moderate pace.
This isn't key biscayne ... it's my driveway. It was this morning but still pretty flipping awesome sky.

The sun came up over Key Biscayne as we topped the bridge - it was spectacular. I love that. There were also boats going in and out so their lights were twinkling. It was great. Shortly after that we hit the turn around and headed back. Shortly after that I ran totally out of gas. I stayed with my group till about 10k to go. Then I let my training buddy go on ahead. I had a stomach cramp which rarely happens. And then with about 4 miles to go I got pretty cranky. I lost my smile and everything. I was pretty overheated which I realized when I took my hat off in frustration and immediately felt the heat escape. I was also probably behind on water and calories but I had an upset stomach so it was a bad pairing. I trudged crankily on.
gratuitous photo of holiday lights. Tis the season.

With probably 2 miles to go I saw a friend who offered me a ride back. I declined. As soon as he drove off I was kicking myself. But luckily about 1/2 mile later I cheered up and just slowly jogged the rest. I felt pretty craptastic at the finish. Usually the end of a 20 mile training run is kind of euphoric because you feel pretty proud of yourself. But not for me this time. I had brought a recovery shake because I knew I would have a long day. Not surprisingly I felt much much much better when I finished that.

The 14 mile run this weekend was much less eventful. Same hot muggy weather but no bonking! Thank goodness.

So lets see cookies, birthday bbqs, dinners out, wine, beer, more cookies ... it's totally out of control.
This was a present for my husband actually but isn't it adorable. Mini chocolate bottles filled with liquor. The holiday season of indulgence all wrapped up in a box.

Quite honestly I feel like I never need to eat or drink again which is why I had mallomars for lunch. Oops.  There will be dinner and champagne on NYE but other than that I want to get clean and lean and organized.

Hey a girl can dream.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Oh lawdy ... that was rough ... must swim more often

Triathlon Training Thursday -
Quick update from the pool.

I went to the pool were I floundered for an hour. There were words like "descending" and "fast"used to describe parts of the set ... I interpreted it all as "survive" and "just keep swimming." My ankles are locked into runner position and the coach did tell me to have floppy feet - like the hokey pokey. It took me 100 yards to sing enough of the hokey pokey to realize he meant "shake it all about."
This is not my kid. My kids never wore these silly things. But I might need them in my next race.
It is imperative that I swim more often than once every other week.

That is all.
Now, back to your regular programming or gift wrapping. I for one am on the hunt for holiday pjs that my kids want and I meant to order weeks ago...weeks. I think holiday pjs are silly. Or perhaps I have a case of the holiday bah humbugs.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Live Ultimate Half-Marathon race report

Saturday morning I ran a half-marathon. The Live Ultimate half-marathon. What ... I didn't tell you? Don't take it personally turns out I didn't tell my husband or kids either. I came home with the medal and they were like, "What you ran a race today? We had no idea!"

I didn't do a race preview because it was really just a catered training run for us. In fact on my schedule the coach had put 2:20 for the time so I wasn't really taking it seriously at all as a race. So this report is more about the event than my performance.

The run was on South Beach and that's a great place for a running event. It was a different course than the other half marathon I've run on South Beach (13.1 Rock and Roll). There were no bridges but lots of turns and about 2 miles on the sand (yuck ... more on that later).

There were lots of events happening all at the same time. A half-marathon, a 10k, a 5k and a kids run all on the same morning. I actually had several mommy-friends running the half and the 10k which was really fun. I had registered with a coupon a while back so my registration wasn't too expensive which is always nice.

Packet Pickup
Packet pickup was available either in Davie or at the National Hotel on south Beach depending on which pre-event information you read. They weren't really consistant or clear with pre-race info. It's a first time half but I do think they had the 10k last year. I elected to pick up my packet before the race because it wasn't worth a trip to either Davie or South Beach which would take quite a lot of time. In my opinion the only time it's good to drive from the burbs to South Beach is before 9:30 am otherwise the traffic and parking stink :-)

When we got to the race site it was super windy. Windy enough that it felt like it was lightly raining but it was actually spray off the nearby ocean. I was pretty happy we weren't supposed to be swimming. Packet Pickup was a little delayed but otherwise uneventful. The shirt is cute. It's a t-shirt not a tech shirt which is nice and they have girl shirts - also nice.

The race
Shortly before the race I cleared up that I was allowed to run ... I didn't need to hit 2:20 but I knew I wasn't going to hit a pr or anything. I hadn't hydrated nearly enough and I had brought nutrition for a training run - not a race. I take in more calories at a higher effort.

This race was a good size. There were a few hundred people for the half. Nice and small. We lined up and it was 1.2.3 go. Nicole and Carl scooted off right away. I stayed with Benji for a few minutes because he was adjusting his tunes and then he motored off too. I held a comfortably fast pace for me for a few miles which was kind of surprising in a nice way actually. Then the 2 hour pacer pulled away. It was sad to see him go but I knew I wasn't ready for a 2hr effort today.

The course was marked but not all that well. The mile 2 marker said mile 4 ... oops. They could have used some more signs. But I had no trouble following the group ahead of me. There was only water on the course and also no nutrition. That's probably not the best thing for a longer race but I had brought my own gu so I was fine.

Around Mile 8 the course goes onto the beach for about a mile. That totally stunk. It was soft sand and running in soft sand is really hard. I was pretty tired so I was okay with slowing down though. Then it comes back onto the path and up past the lifeguard office and down to Monty's on Alton Road that was nice. Then back around and back onto the sand ... stinks even more the second time. Heading back onto the sand a bunch of people went the wrong way because it wasn't well marked at all. And I have a friend who made a wrong turn and only ended up with 10 miles.

I walked a bunch on the sand because it's just not worth the effort (or the turned ankle). I had slowed down a bunch and actually was fairly nauseated at this point which was kindof weird. I was ready to be finished. So we got back onto the path and I just gutted out the last third of a mile. I didn't go fast or anything but I jogged when I wanted to walk ... or stop.  At this point we were all mixed in with 10kers and maybe even 5kers all walkers really ... that's always a challenge but the race was small so it wasn't a big deal. If it grows that will be a thing having to dodge walkers in the second half but I didn't have an issue.

There were lots of people at the finish but they weren't cheering for anyone. That was odd. But there were two dolphin cheerleaders there too they cheered... that was more odd but in a sweet way. Time 2:11. Not a pr but I'll take it.

The medal is good. They were handing out electrolyte water and chocolate zico coconut water at the finish. I like coconut water but not chocolate and it wasn't cold so that was a bummer.

Once all of our group had finished and we had sufficiently complained about running on the sand we stumbled off to find some food. Then I learned that Ultimate Live is a drink company. They make tea drinks. I dutifully sampled each of these and I'll say they are pretty delicious. My favorites were the Blood orange flavor, the lemon and the mint.

It might sound strange but I find sweetened tea to be a pretty good fit for endurance exercise. It's very calm on the stomach and the sugar is always good. They had other food from whole foods but it had a long line so I skipped it and headed home.

I would only do this race again if they removed the part of the course that's on the sand. Beautiful but not really any fun.

More practical stuff I learned during the race
So I didn't do a race nutrition plan for this. I was super casual about hydration before and only brought two gus. I did notice that and I am looking forward to seeing if I can hold a quicker pace longer in February with a better plan. Also I need a new hand held bottle for during the race. The one I have leaks constantly and I'm totally over it.

In other news there are 14 weeks until the Rome Marathon. 
For anyone who cares ... that's nobody... this is the Marathon Monday post it's just a day late. Yesterday was delayed with a visit to the post office to mail gifts. I can just about work the words "Rome Marathon" into every conversation which is pretty fun. Training is going well. I am either running 18 or 20 miles this weekend. Yikes! And I'm totally overwhelmed with the whole get ready for Christmas thing!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sporty girls how often do you wash your hair?

Unofficially this is the triathlon training thursday post but quite honestly I'm just squeezing in minimal training between holiday cookie baking and attending holiday parties. I'm officially at my "winter weight" and sporting "fat pants." It's a tad depressing but soon these parties have to end and I'll be back to business in no time.

In the meantime let's talk about hair.
For my 40th birthday I put a little purple in my otherwise simple hair. That was fun. Especially funny my husband (Mr. Observant) didn't notice for days. Days...multiple days.

I'll admit that periodically I spend a kings ransom having my hair colored at a local salon. It's idiocy at it's best because when I'm training I'm in the pool 2-3 times a week which rapidly destroys my hair. But that's not the point. It's not my idiocy that I want to talk about.

I saw Hunger Games Monday night with some girlfriends and the subject of hair washing came up. My stylist always tells me I should be washing my hair every other day and I patiently explain, no can do compadre because I'm a sweat hog ... plus there's the whole swimming pool thing that she wishes I didn't do (so we rarely mention it). But clearly after chlorine the hair needs washing.

Back to the convo with the girlfriends. All very sporty girls. Turns out we were split between those who wash daily and those who don't.  I was shocked that some actually can pull off the whole skip a day of hair washing even with a workout. I was impressed. I should add these girls always look better than me.

So I tried it one day this week. The upside is that I was suuuuuper excited the next day to wash my hair because I felt like a pig. That is the only upside. I was feeling slimy and itchy the second day. I have no idea how folks do it. Perhaps there is a trick I don't know?

So, how often do you wash your hair if you're working out every day? Inquiring minds want to know. (those would be me ... the inquiring minds).

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My holiday shopping list

So I'm not sure why I'll put this here. But I guess I was inspired by reading the RunnersWorld 30 gifts under $30 that had only one thing I'd want on it. Seriously who comes up with these things.

So here's a list of things that I might want for the winter holidays. It's a little funny to put here because my predominant gift buyer (read:husband) doesn't read my blog. It's okay I'll print this one out for him.

So here goes things Amy wants:

1. Bike box by Alan I have of course been known to travel with my bike. I use a borrowed bike Thule box from my triathlon club. It works great and is only $10 to rent each time. But when last in Europe for Ironman France (why yes I can still work that into every conversation, thx) this was the box all over the place and it's much better. Why? Because it just is. In fact my kids actually wanted me to buy one before we came home. If they were sold at the expo my husband (chief box lugger) would have probably bought one. Actually mostly because it rolls on 4 wheels standing up so it's not heavy to deal with. Also you can open it without taking the whole thing apart which is handy if you are freaking out in the airport trying to remember if you packed your cycling shoes or whatever. However, it's a fortune and so I don't own one. And I'll admit since I use one twice a year ... it's not worth the expense. Still it's pretty awesome. I'll take pink.

2. Zensah compression socks.  Honestly, who wouldn't be faster in a pair of pink argyle socks, right? Interesting Zensah fact. This company is based in Miami and yet I don't think any store by me stocks these socks. Weird, right?

3. Splish Suit. Okay so you have to know somebody really well to know what size swim suit they wear but these are really cute. I'm buying one for myself for the holidays because they are too cute.

4. Coeur Sports Triathlon Suit I really wish triathlon apparel weren't so stinkin expensive. But it is and this stuff is super cute. So I should have more of it in my closet.

5. Nike running hats. This is the only thing that Nike makes that I wear without issue. I go through these things like water. Also I cannot have too many of them.

6. Re-string it. This is genius I think. It was the one thing I found on the runnersworld list. This gizmo is much improved from my method of safety pin and the pinch and pull method. These guys deserve to make all the millions.

7. A car with a built in shower? The rav4 is too small for my family but if you haven't seen this car well ... it's cool in a funny kind of way. I think an RV is more my speed. We recently had a "smell incident" in the family car which means we're sort of in the market for a car. Sort of. But the Rav4 isn't on the list.

8. New Camera. I'm in the market for a new camera. Which is good news because I like to shop for cameras. I'm super picky about cameras so it would actually be a really tough gift but it's on my list.

9. This shirt. Seriously I think funny gifts are great. This would also be a pretty funny coffee cup.

10.  Or this mug. I probably wouldn't wear this on a shirt because it's kind of mean to those who are proud of what they've done and running is hard work at any distance. But honestly as somebody who's done the Ironman it's kind of funny. So coffee cup or shirt to wear to an expo (maybe if I was feeling churlish).

Oh and the ultimate stocking stuffer? I'm thinking of getting this for my husband but I'm not sure if he'll think I'm giving him a hard time. I just think it's funny. I found it on cafe press (of course).

And that's all. I'm super lucky that I get gifts and I'm really thankful everything in my life so please know that this list is really just for fun since it's the gifting time of year.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Marathon Monday - 15 weeks until Maratona di Roma

This week of training was fairly uneventful.

It was a recovery week so the mileage was pretty normal. My runs have shifted from HR 1 to trying to hit a pace most of the time which can be a little stressful for me. It's mental. Once I decide I'm going to do it ... it's usually okay but I get nervous before I'm started.

Let me be clear these are not fast paces just fast for me. For example I had 7 miles at 10:35 pace. Not fast but I still get nervous beforehand.

New Stuff
I got new shoes. I loved my old shoes - Adidas Adizero. So it's been updated with their new boost technology. Ahhh why do shoe companies go and do this? You fall in love with a shoe and then they change it. Boo.

I resisted ... hopeful that my regular shoe would appear back in the store. Eventually I finally admitted to myself it probably wasn't going to happen and I embraced the change and bought the new shoe. I do love the colors.
These are the adizero boost running. Apparently they have the adizero plain according to the website but it wasn't at my store.

The other change is that the toe box is a little wider. Which should be a good thing except I did get a blister from my run on Saturday. It's on the toe next to my pinky toe ... weird, right. So, we'll see if I fall in love with these like the older ones.

Packing on the holiday pounds (gasp!)
I am pretty lucky that I can usually eat whatever I want without much adverse effects. This is of course because I am pretty active. I did battle with losing weight after I had both my kids but once they started sleeping through the night and my training came back the weight came off.

On the other hand ... I am vertically challenged (read: short) so it doesn't take many pounds to make a big difference in how my clothes fit.

And as much as I hate to admit it ... I'm getting older and everyone says this makes it harder to keep the weight off.

So, last week I noticed that my clothes were tighter than they should be. And my least favorite muffin top was appearing on top of my running shorts. I think I have added about 5 extra pounds. Grrrr. That is so un-fun!

I started watching what I was eating. Not surprising I was eating lots of treats, too much sweets which are just all over this time of year and too much bread and pasta, eating out way way way too much and probably too much of everything. So I'm committed to trying to eat clean this week. :-)

Recipe to share

I made carrot soup. Yummy and easy. Find the recipe here.

Race news
You need a medical certificate to run in the Rome Marathon. It has to be stamped by the doctor so I've been back and forth with the guys in Rome and my doctor to get a version that works. I hope that this latest form works. So annoying but unavoidable.

Coming up I'll be running the Ultimate Live Half marathon this weekend. Just as a training run not a race but still it should be fun.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Triathlon Training Thursday

The big news is I am back in the pool as of today.

I have not swum regularly I think in about 8 weeks. I could go back and check in training peaks but I really am afraid to know that it was actually more weeks. It's been a very long time. It started because I was sick for 3-weeks and continued because I am a lazy slacker enjoying the off-season.

Many people can take a long time off from swimming and come back without much issue. Those people are not me. For me coming back to swimming can be super unpleasant. If I'm not properly conditioned I get nauseated in the pool. And since barfing on the pool deck makes one an unpopular lane mate I really try to avoid it. 

I also hate not being able to do the regular set with the group. Well dislike is a better description.

Today I was a few seconds late to practice because it took me forever to get ready since I haven't been in lightyears. And traffic was a mess which is saying a lot since its a whopping two minute drive from my house. Plus there is construction by the pool and so I had to park farther away. No big deal because it meant I did my own super relaxed warm up. Didn't drown.

Then - of course - it's an IM set. Why why why do I always come back on these days? I am not an advanced swimmer - butterfly is not in my bag of tricks. So IM sets are hard for me and I feel like the ugly step-kid who forgot her homework. But today I just did my own thing during this part and it was fine. Then we did some sprinting stuff which was hard but okay and I even did a few sprints off the blocks which I think is fun. I cut it short after an hour (about 2000 yards perhaps less I didn't count) and felt pretty good. Next week I'll do the whole set :-) promise.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Marathon Monday - 16 weeks until Maratona di Roma

I'm running the Rome Marathon - Maratona di Roma in March. I think it's 16 weeks away. So we're back to a countdown!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving to one and all.
We run the Tropical Park Turkey Trot 5k as a family every year. We've done it together for probably 4 years. It's officially a tradition. This year my daughter ran the whole thing with me. She actually did the whole thing last year too but with my husband. This year we went a little faster. It was Stone girls versus Stone Boys. Since it was a race - of course - Jack took off light a lightening bolt at the start.

Stone Girls ... the winners. That's my husband photo bombing in the background.
He's small so he's able to get through the crowd easily. He didn't even slow down to high-five the turkey! So Dylan and I followed him and then at about a mile we made him wait for his dad. He was bummed he kept saying, "he's too slow!!" I'm sure my husband loved that (not!) Either way my daughter and I went on and finished the race in 36 minutes which I thought was pretty good for a 10 year old. She walked some but not much. I would encourage her to run again after about 10 seconds but she set the pace and whenever she wanted to walk we walked. She didn't probably love me pushing her a little bit during the race but she beat all her girlfriends which she was very excited about and in the end she was glad I did gently push her. 
He loves the kids trot. He said after, "there were a lot of really fast kids!"

The boys cheated and cut the course. Stinkers. Jack went on to do the Kids trot which he loves. It was a good morning.

Marathon Training
To get ready for the marathon I ran 16 miles on Saturday. I was a little nervous to go so long since my 14 mile treadmill run had been somewhat short. No idea how much since i was clueless for the distance. Plus with the travel and Thanksgiving stuff. I didn't have what I consider enough miles during the week. I'm a fan of the Daniels formula of your long run should only be 1/3 of your total mileage so if you run 16 miles in your long run your weekly total should be at least 48 miles. My total was 35.5.
It was a beautiful morning run. Cool the whole way. This was halfway.

Oh and I went to a masters swimming holiday party. They let me in although I haven't been swimming in weeks, weeks (enough weeks that I think I could say months ... eeek). No pictures of that.

I wore my France jersey which I love. I may wear it for every ride until it wears out. Except the shorts they are sugoi and the seam digs into my sit bones. Ouch. But looking cute can sometimes be painful as fashionable girls like me know. hee hee I'm not fashionable at all.
Then Sunday I did a 50 mile bike ride. After 16 mile run it's supposed to be an easy ride. Well some was easy and then some was not so easy. We got caught up in a speedy group on the way back and I held on for a while and then not so much. But it was a beautiful day and I had a great time. Don't worry my group did wait for me and we regrouped and came home together. All was good.

Lastly I leave you with a photo that came across my twitter of a triathlete with a pretty good sense of humor seen on the IMCozumel course this weekend. 
I don't know who he is but I think it's pretty funny. Also I love that you can see where the suit sleeves end because of his tattoo sleeves on his actual arms.
Have a great week? If you trotted with your family share your story here in the comments for fun!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hats off to those who are hardcore enough to train on a treadmill

I spent the weekend in Minnesota with family.

I did my long(ish) run on a treadmill. I was supposed to run 14 miles. I don't think I did that much although I can't be sure. I did complete 2 whole hours on the treadmill and really ... that was enough. Enough for perhaps forever.

An entire suitcase of coats. Packed and ready to go. Also hats and gloves.
Seriously ... my hat's off to people who train for marathons on treadmills. It's mentally really challenging for me.
Preparing to face the cold in my new winter coat.

The forecast was so cold that I didn't even pack for running outside. I did have a brief moment when I was walking from the car to the hotel where I thought I should have but then the wind blew and I was freezing and I knew I could never do it.

This was the temp outside when I started. Brrrrrrrrr.

This is the torture chamber.
 The weather inside the workout room was actually steamy. In fact after 3 miles I stopped. I thought I paused but in fact I had to start the machine fresh so let's say stopped. I inspected the thermostat and it was set at 74 which with heat is hot. Why is that 74 in air conditioning freezing... but with heat roasting hot. I adjusted the thermostat figured out how to turn on the tv and started again.

It was so steamy and I was alone that I did something I never do. I decided to run without my shirt. I shut the blinds so as to not create an awkward moment between myself and a hapless traveler walking to their car outside. Then of course 2 minutes later a guy came to workout in the hotel. Oh embarrassing but I just kept going complete with belly jiggle. Tee hee. Sorry anonymous guy in the gym for having to put up with my belly jiggle.

I stopped a few more times during what totalled up to be 2 hours. Once because the treadmill stopped (they only go an hour) once because my kids came in to "help." and once because I was unable to figure out what I had done on my phone and the music had stopped. It all became very confusing. But I'm pretty sure I made it 2 hours. I can't rely on either the watch or the treadmill to account for that though because of the watches inability to travel and then the fact that I kept stopping the treadmill.

This was the reward. We'll take one giant donut please. Oh and a bunch of other sweets too. This is at Mello-Glaze in Minneapolis which is clearly the best bakery ever. Thanks to Devon Palmer for showing us the light.
My watch doesn't travel well. It took 20 minutes to power up in Minnesota. 20 minutes to power up back in Miami and then it said it would take 1 hour to transfer data. Of course at the end of that hour ... transfer failed. Oh me oh my I wonder why I use this thing sometimes.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

If it looks like a treat and it tastes like a treat then clearly it's a healthy recovery drink? ...wait what?

The alternate title to this post could be - why I will never be sponsored by Chocolate Milk. That's a shame because I know a few people on the team and they are great. Plus I would love to have somebody else pay a registration fee or two.

I'm a skeptic
If something seems to good to be true it probably is. It's my nature to challenge things that don't sound like they can/should be true. I then went on to study journalism which while it's hard to imagine by today's press I was taught to basically question everything.

I don't believe chocolate milk is a health food.
Gasp! What is this blasphemy!

If you watch any sports show including the recent broadcast of the Ironman World Championships you'll hear that chocolate milk is scientifically proven to be the best recovery drink out there. But I for one am not a believer.

Now, I'm not a doctor, not even a Phd, I'm not a trainer, I'm not a nutritionist I'm not an elite athlete. But in my house chocolate milk is a treat. It's a dessert.
I have this on my mind because in the last month I've had this discussion with a personal trainer, a coach and even a friend who is a Phd candidate in exercise physiology and all of them started by saying they thought it was a good recovery drink. This in my opinion is some serious brainwashing.

I don't often do research for a blog post but when I do my kids think it's delicious.
To make my point I bought some things that are nutritionally similar to chocolate milk. Take a look:

170 calories, 11 sugars, 2 protein, Milano cookies not known as health food.

160 calories, 60 from fat, 14 sugars, 1 protein Oreo cookies ... not known as health food.

170 calories, 45 from fat, 23 grams of sugar, 8 grams of protein ... chocolate milk a healthy food?
This is my favorite. Chocolate ice cream which is of course very similar to chocolate milk but find me anyone saying a chocolate milk shake is healthy. 140 calories, 16 sugars, 7 grams of fat and 3 grams of protein.

But there's science!
I used to work in a software company and we sponsored various speakers. One of the speakers had a saying which was,  "if you beat up numbers long enough you can get them to show anything. " His point was related to stock investing that you should look closely before letting somebody handle your hard-earned money (good advice) but it works well here too. Just because somebody says there is science doesn't mean that there's good science behind it. In fact because I'm a sceptic the more people quote science the more I doubt them. But that's because I'm a debbie doubter.

The main study behind chocolate milk being good for recovery was performed on 9 cyclists and showed that Gatorade was more effective as chocolate milk in recovery. Gatorade has no protein so I'm not sure where the legend of the marvelous 4:1 ratio came from but I think that's snake oil too.

Now as a person who once took a statistics class I would personally toss this whole thing out because there were only 9 participants. But I'm not a statistician either so read it yourself and do what you want with it.

For fun you can google chocolate milk myth - you'll find many articles better written than mine. 

But you need a recovery drink? Right?
For me I usually fuel with real food. I'm very lucky that I can usually come home and eat a meal and so that's what I do.

Today I'm actually trying a recovery drink (because I had one at home to try). Also my kitchen is kind of empty. I'll let you know what I think some other time. I will say this it is sadly not quite as delicious as chocolate milk or chocolate ice cream.
It is plenty sweet but not as yummy as chocolate milk.

Infint - 300 calories, 0 fat, 22 sugars, 15grams of protein. mixed with about 20 ounces of water.

So in the end... do what you want. But if you try and tell me that chocolate milk is health food I may cackle wildly and suggest we go to Dairy Queen for a blizzard instead.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Harriet Anderson - that's who motivates me this Monday

Like many people I watched the NBC coverage of the Ironman World Championships in Kona this Saturday.

After a busy day I made it home just in time for it to start and I watched it with my daughter. My son who was walking with his cub scouts joined us about 1/2 way through.

The most motivational part for me was hearing the story of Harriet Anderson.

I guess she's a bit of an iconic fixture on the west coast for endurance events since I found an article on Athleta dating from 2009 about her. I think she was 78 this year when she finished.

My daughter is 10. She said during the coverage, "that's older than grandma." It is but just.

Her Grandma - my mother-in-law is active for her age. But a vigorous outing is shopping at the mall. She's currently cruising in Europe which is great. She would be wowed to hear about what Harriet Anderson did this October. I know I was. I won't have to tell her because I'm sure my daughter will.

She finished just before all the cutoffs and this is apparently her 22nd or 23rd trip to Kona. It's wildly impressive. But for me the most impressive thing was that she fell on the bike and kept going to finish. As I said before she's 78.

Why is the fall so impressive? Because, I think most 78-year old women are worrying about tripping in there homes and being too frail to get up with a broken hip if they trip on an uneven surface and Harriet fell on the bike and kept on going. Her bones are still apparently plenty strong to keep going. She is doing something right!

I definitely want to be like Harriet when I'm 78.
The quote is from Fireman Rob (who also inspires me) and this is my kids finishing my first half-iron with me. Immediately after finishing my son stole my water because he was so thirsty (from spectating and running .1 mile [smirk]) I do hope hope are inspired to do attempt hard things throughout their life. In other news my daughter now refuses to wear this shirt which cracks me up.

I know endurance sports are not for everyone but I love them and I hope to be out there chugging along at that age I really do.

And with that I'm off to do my 8-mile recovery run. In other news ... you might be training for a marathon if you say ridiculous things like 8-mile recovery run.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Me and Joe ... Trader Joe's that is

I may have a grocery disability. I am seriously stumped when it comes to shopping in unfamiliar stores.
Trader Joe's Welcome to the psuedo - tropics.

I also have buffet anxiety which is why I never go to buffets and quite possibly why I haven't ever been on a cruise ship. But I digress.

The new Trader Joe's opened in Miami. It is 1 mile from my house. 1 mile. Sooooo close I could bike there except they haven't put up a bike parking spot ... I'm hoping there's a yet in there but I actually have no idea.
Not good - lentils are good for soup and burgers not so much chips

When they opened it was a zoo. Parking was a nightmare ... towed cars, news stories you name it. So I waited a while till the hubbaloo died down. But when my tri-friend Nick came all the way from a different county recently to go there I figured it was probably safe for me to make my 1 mile journey. :-)

I knew it would take me a loop to get my feel for the place. So I did an exploratory loop and discovered that ... it's not that big.

I was mainly there to get something for us for dinner. That was the plan.

On the second loop I found the main departments and sampled some Turkey Pot Pie. It was yummy. Then on the third loop my brain finally kicked in and I was able to make some choices.
after I found this on my 3rd loop I was a little happier

The people who work there are nice. The wine section is enormous the beer section tiny. But I think it will all be okay :-)

Apparently I have to go back and get cookie butter. Wish me luck.

And in the category of 1st world problems. This is how my cleaning lady puts my kitchen floormat back after cleaning. I tell her every week,  "please put it in front of the sink," and every week she shoves it over in the corner. Drives me batty. Then again she does clean it and therefore I'm being a whiny baby.
seriously doesn't this look "off"  grrrr....

Monday, November 11, 2013

Looking for a smaller 5k and 10k in Miami ... where did they all go?

I'm in my second week of marathon training.

My marathon training program has all this "lingo" and stuff like HR1 -which means Heart Rate zone 1. And then it has speedwork which is in terms of 5kpace and 10k pace and Tempo runs which refer to Marathon Pace and Half Marathon pace.

So, here's the conundrum. I know my HR zones. I know my recent marathon pace and half-marathon pace. But the last time I did a stand alone 5k or 10k was a very long time ago.

A few weeks ago I started thinking that I wanted to run a 5k and 10k just to get an idea of my time for acurate pacing. And I think it would be fun. I wanted to run the Waterford 5k but my son had a soccer game at the same time. It happens. It looks like that was a fun event. Footworks puts on a good race :-)

Where are all the races?
Since I couldn't do Waterford I looked for others. But you know what ... there really aren't many or any that I can find. It could be that my searching skills are craptastic. I checked which used to have a massive list of nearby races but now seems to just have their own races. I also checked which had the next race as the Miami marathon. I have since learned that the Key Biscayne Lighthouse race was Sunday ... not sure why I didn't find that on my radar. This is why I think it might be where I'm looking. I did find that Irun has a 5k and 10 k the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. I'll probably do that since it's next.

Also I should add I don't really want a color race, a glow race or a mud race. Just a road race, thanks.

Are there any small races anymore?
And here's my next issue. Ideally I'd like to find two not-massive races.   I know camraderie, fellowship among racers are big these days and that's good because all of the races I found are giant. The Turkey Trot for example which I am signed up for thank you very much is 5,000 racers. It's not always fun to race with 5,000 of your closest friends. Also it's something we'll do as a family running together so it won't really be my race and so it doesn't achieve my goal of figuring out my pace.

Why would I want a small race? Well because it's easier to find your own space to run for one. And two it's more about head-head competition. There is an anonymity about racing with 5, 10 or 15 thousand runners. You're really running by yourself. But with a few hundred racers you quickly know who your competition is and you can race - head to head the them. Actually now that I write it down it's really all about having space to run. I don't love weaving around other folks the whole time. I'm not going to win or anything but I like to not feel like I'm going to trip if I go faster than a slow walk. I would like to race with say 200-500 of my running friends. When I started racing in Florida there were 5ks all the time all over. A few big races and lots of little races. Now I can't seem to find any small races.

Why a race?
Well of course, I can just go run my own 5k. But that's not really the same is it? When you run competing with somebody you push yourself a little harder. That's part of what makes it fun. 

So help me out here. Where are there more small races friends? Where are the runs listed these days for South Florida? Have the small runs gone underground or have I just lost my searching mojo?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

10 isn't a magic number

Today I ran 6 miles. It was great.

I've been running more this week than in the recent past. All my runs this week were zone 1 which is very slow but today I just ran. Not breaking any speed barriers mind you but also no annoying beeping when my heart rate went up.

I used to try to keep my long runs above 10 miles. I did this because it was sort of a training threshold. If I can run 10 miles then I'm still in good shape kind of thought. So I would always try for 10 even if it hurt unless I really hadn't been running at all.

One of my training buddies ran 10 today - he said the last 2 were tough. I ran 6 and felt good the whole way. I wasn't feeling guilty or anything about needing more miles. I could have run 10 - that's true. I guess I know now that I can probably almost always go out and do 10 slow miles. But the magic is gone. Today I did 6. No pressure for more - which was very nice.

Next week will be more after all there's a marathon coming up. So I'm just going to enjoy my six and move on.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Apparently I require making payment to be tortured ... I mean strength training

This post is hugely overdue. I keep meaning to take photos to go with this post but even with all my photographic training (and I do have a lot) I cannot apparently remember to take photos at 6 am when being put through my strength training paces.

The Tri-gospel according to Amy:

Actually according to urban legend it is gospel according to decathlete Bruce Jenner (Back before he married a Kardashian and therefore was worth listening to). Swim with swimmers, run with runners, Cycle with cyclists, strength train with strong people ... maybe.

From ESPN here is the quote attributed to Bruce Jenner.

The secret to Jenner’s success was his preparation. In the 1970s, most decathletes trained with other decathletes. Bruce Jenner, however, trained with some of the world’s best athletes in each of the 10 decathlon events. "If you train with a decathlon man," Jenner told Dave Anderson of The New York Times in 1976, "you can’t visualize that you can do much better. But if you throw the discus with Mac Wilkins or throw the shot with Al Feuerbach, then they’re 20 feet ahead of me. You learn much more that way."

Fitness Together
I met with a trainer from Fitness Together last several Friday's ago. I was referred by my friend Cristina, better known as TriathlonMami. She loves them. They love her.

I met with the owner. He's nice and smart and approximately the size of a semi-truck (which is a good thing when shopping for a strength trainer, in my opinion). Then is a team of trainers you actually work with I met with Brian. He's from Ohio - we talked about roller coasters. They are good guys. But neither one of them are triathletes. It was a good workout. I was sore for maybe 2 days.

So did I sign up. Not immediately. Here were my concerns.

First this program is very expensive even with the TriathlonMami discount. 

The pro of personal training is: you have an appointment and you show up and they put you through the paces and if you do what they say you get stronger.

The con of personal training is: it's not priced to do forever. It's very expensive and when you have a one year plan. It just doesn't make sense. Unless you are very wealthy (which I am not).

So for one week I said, I'll do it myself. And you know what ... I didn't. It's just too easy to put it off.

The inner conflict
But I will say this Personal Training works. I used a personal trainer like this after I had each of my kids.  But that was a temporary thing 3 months once or twice a week with the goal of get skinnier. My plan now is two strength workouts a week for a year to get faster at Ironman Chattanooga (and anything in between).

Then I got an email saying I found you a partner so it will be half-price. And I grabbed it. I had my first session a few Monday's ago at 6 am. The trainer is a woman named Gabby. I now have 3 Gabe's in my life. Geez that's a lot.

Now I've been going twice a week since I started. I can't tell if I'm any stronger than when I started. I have learned that I don't know how to jump rope. I am not good at slamming the huge weighted ball (apparently I need more anger). I'm not terribly coordinated when it comes to exercises that are across my body (think left knee to right elbow), oh and today I almost dropped a bar which was quite exciting for everyone around.

But I've been going - I have the appointment and I've been going so I hope that's good.  My only open question is when you choose your plan for strength training is it important that your trainer understand endurance sports? I have a big maybe for this. In endurance sports we not only need strong muscles but we do a lot of thinking about what's called the power to weight ratio which means mainly that you want to be strong but light and lean all at the same time. Also since what I do is a series of super repetitive actions my strength routine should definitely be designed to strenghten the muscles I use and the supporting muscle groups to reduce the chance of injury. I'm not totally sure that this is the way my strength routine is being designed at the moment.

But I'm not very strong at all now so one month of general strength training is not going to hurt me at all. We'll see where I go from there.

Monday, November 4, 2013

And so begins marathon training

October was a full month of kleenex, cake, candy and wine
I feel like October (through this past weekend) was a non-stop birthday party and endless series of drinking events (with a side order of drippy noses and a cough). But that's over and now it's time to train for a marathon in March.

This is my son and his friend on Halloween at school but it's also kind of how I think we all feel after such a busy month!

Thank goodness
I  had a great month and I'm thankful for my great family and great friends but I am ready to get back to going to bed at 8 (and not because I'm sick) and just having an uneventful month.

I have not been in a pool in 3 weeks because of the cold. But this past weekend the kids had a swim meet. My daughter swam 50 Fly which we both agree I wouldn't even begin to complete and she also swam 100 free in 1:40 which isn't even close to winning the race but is just about as fast as I can go. That's nuts. I'm very proud of her. 
We write her events on her arm. 

Perfection at a swim meet
Each of my kids made every event and was not disqualified for any illegal turns. Neither of my kids cried. Okay well Dyl started with a few tears from being nervous before the 200 free but that's it. This for me is perfection as a swim mom. Well hopefully next time - no tears at all.

No more Tears
My kids and I are both exhausted. Last night after 2 days of swimming and a party we had to do my daughters science experiment. She was so exhausted she cried. Full crying. When she spilled some water. I think that we as a family have discovered our limit. Early bedtimes for all of us all week.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The funny thing about early morning workouts.

I'm at the end of my second week of having a cold. So not much of a training update.

I think I must still look very healthy when I'm sick because people don't seem to notice until I get really sick.  I get sick usually twice a year. Once in the spring-summer once in the fall winter. Usually it's a cold that works its way through in a few days. Last year I got the flu and ended up in bad shape. I don't recommend racing with the flu. Just take my word for it on that ... no need to try it yourself.

But back to this cold - the cold that never ends. I have hit the point where it's in my chest. I have a horrible sounding cough that appears every few hours in an embarrassing coughing attack. So I'm thinking I'm just about healed :-) 

Week one I was pretty sure I was going to kick it. I was hydrating and using herbal remedies and every day I was confident was the last day of the cold.

One of the herbal remedies I tried. Sadly it did not work as well as I had hoped. Bummer.

Then on Thursday I got up and did my strength workout. And came home and realized ... I am really sick. Why did I get up and work out. Well because I didn't realize I was sick. I've done this about 4 times. 2 of those were races. I've learned that if you get up early and just get to the workout sometimes you don't realize you're not well until you are already finished working out. It's a little nuts.

Anyway when I got home. I laid down. I didn't even shower. Emailed my doctor. Drove the kids to school. Came home. Called my doctor (to follow up with the email) and only got up once to pick up the kids from school. My husband was working from home that day. But he hadn't noticed that I was immobile in bed all day. When I asked him if he could pick up the kids he was finishing something up. So I didn't push it. I was feeling so craptastic at that point that I was crying from discomfort in the carpool line and I emailed my husband, "I am really sick."

Now, why would I have to email my husband that I was sick? Well because apparently even when I think I'm certainly about to croak from whatever my ailment is he thinks I'm fine. He never realizes that I feel so craptastic and so I have learned that I have to really clearly tell him. The most ridiculous example of this was last year when I got the flu which resulted in me fainting and having to be carted off by the EMTs to the hospital for fluids. The EMT told him I needed to go to the hospital and he still didn't quite get it. I was totally in a fog but I remember him saying, well what if she doesn't go? Could she just rest and drink fluids? I was so weak I couldn't stand on my own and he still didn't get it. Luckily for me the EMT realized he was insane and put on her tough face and said, "no, she needs to go to the hospital." He's not always terribly observant. He's many other wonderful things.

So, I emailed him that I was sick and he paid attention immediately because this weekend was "birthday weekend." He followed up with my doctor who also subscribes to the Amy isn't so sick that she needs attention philosophy. I clearly need to be more obvious with my symptoms. Although I do think lying in bed all day is pretty obvious. Then he filled my prescription came home and gave me my deadline that I needed to be better by Friday night because we had plans. Seriously, this is my husband. Is this not the weirdest thing ever?

I wasn't better but I did go out Friday and Saturday because after all it was birthday weekend.  Over 3 days (Friday, Saturday, Sunday we went to a combined 5 birthday parties and had homemade cake Sunday night).
My daughters home-made cake from yesterday. Tomorrow is my birthday. Many more candles. Probably not a home made cake - but storebought is fine with me. In other news has anybody else noticed that one tub of icing doesn't cover a whole 2-layer cake anymore? So annoying mostly because I always forget to buy 2.

And I guess it's no surprise ... I'm not better yet. Perhaps going out instead of resting is not the quickest way to heal. But then again it was birthday weekend? What's a girl to do?

Monday, October 21, 2013

October means ... head colds, birthday parties and candy

This past week was a blur. I have had a head cold which was severe enough to keep me out of the pool but not so severe as to send me to the doctor. Everybody but my husband has it ... which is funny because he is Mister Head Cold.

Also, this weekend was my daughter's birthday party. She is turning 10. So I spent the week running errands and getting stuff ready. Amazingly you can get a lot of stuff done while your kids are in school if you don't try to squeeze in a 2-hour workout. Go figure. I know ... I too was shocked.

I had a zip line installed. That only took me approximately a year. I move slowly.

It was a hit at the party. But we installed it just over their heads at the start. This is on purpose so they can't do it without an adult but my husband was less than thrilled to stand there for 2 hours pushing girls on the zip line. He kept stepping away and they would come get him to do it again. :-) He hates birthday parties but he won't say no when the kids ask.
So I spent the whole day and night Saturday being totally devoted to my daughter and her friends. After the party she had 4 friends sleep over. Sleep ... right. Actually I shut them down for the night at 11 with the threat of putting them into different rooms. So we did all get some sleep.

And you know what? This birthday party stuff is just exhausting. I was in bed last night just after the kids. zzzzz. Well sort of. My cold has reached the point where I can't lie down without coughing. But eventually the fatigue did overtake the hacking with the help of some nyquil.  I think I got a reasonable amount of sleep.

My birthday is next week I think. I am turning ... dum dum dum the big 40. So that's pretty exciting. My husband and my kids are planning something and I'm not privy to the details. I just hope it's not chuck-e-cheese.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Saturday I won my age group in a very small open water swim.

It is fun to win.

It was a mile swim hosted by the Miami Beach Lifeguards. They call it the Beach Bum Mile. It was a spectacular morning. The swim was really well organized. The water was fantastic. The sun was rising as we started. Honestly it was a great experience start to finish.

At several points I asked myself why in the world do I ever swim in that murky water out on Key Biscayne :-)

There were about 50 people total. Like I said - small group. But there was more than one person in my age group so it's a legit first place win :-) I'll take it! 

Here we are before the start.

Plus, did I mention it is fun to win.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Funny

I have a friend who did an open water swim this morning. I didn't.

She touched some mystery object with her hand and proceded to swim the next 25 yards at olympic record pace. It's something I know I've done when something touches me in the water.

I was looking for funny things to tease her about that online and I found this. Not related to open water or touching mystery things but simply pretty funny.

Worst Olympic Swim Trials | Swimming Humor

Sorry I couldn't figure out how to embed it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Veggie Share Adventures

Why yes I am a part of a veggie share - aren't you?

Just kidding. Veggie shares aren't a perfect fit for everyone but it works for us. In part it works because I enjoy trying new things. (In part it works because we have guinea pigs and go through a lot of lettuce) in the try new things column for example today we tried mamey also apparently called sapote.

Not being familiar with mamey I had to google how you even eat the darn thing. My daughter thought that was funny and she was also convinced I did it wrong. She might be right I just sort of sliced it open and accidentally sliced the seed in half - oops.

We all tried it but sadly mamey wasn't an instant winner in our house. But luckily my housekeeper was there to advise. She's from Nicaragua and is much more familiar with all tropical produce. She declared our mamey not-ripe. There was more to her explanation. It was in Spanish .I think she said it needs to ripen on the tree for 10 more days. But to be honest I could have misunderstood.

Oh well, I would try it again if it shows up in the bag. Maybe I would go straight to smoothie or milkshake though.

Monday, October 7, 2013

halloween dessert sort of success

I found this  idea for candy corn pudding pops the other day.

I was inspired so I tried them. 

We learned along the way that I am the only one in the house who likes vanilla pudding. The kids loved making the pudding pops but didn't like eating them.

The recipe actually calls for white chocolate for the bottom layer. That would have been better but the only one they had at my grocery store was sugar free and I was pretty sure that would be gross.  So I used all vanilla. I have 2 extra boxes of vanilla instant pudding if anyone needs or wants :-)

Also our first batch was a failure because we used the Zoku quick pop maker and the pudding didn't make it to the bottom before it froze.
Made in a regular Popsicle mold overnight in the freezer. I ate it while writing this post.

Rejected by the kiddos for being untasty and ugly. The first rejector is pictured here. The younger rejector tried a few bites and then said, "no thanks"

Thursday, October 3, 2013

One year from now - Ironman Chattanooga

I just realized - well yesterday actually - that one year from this past weekend I will be toeing the line at Ironman Chattanooga.


Having one Ironman under my belt I am of course now an expert. Just kidding.

With a year to plan there is one thing I want to do a little better. My first goal for Ironman Chattanooga is to get stronger. Not like weight lifting stronger. Endurance stronger.

Here's a thing about me - I never ever ever ever ever do weight training. Unless somebody says ... oh today you should life weights with me. That's the only time. But I know (intellectually, academically speaking) that incorporating strength training into my routine will be helpful.

At home or at the Gym?
I have oodles of equipment at home for this. I do not actually need to go to a gym to do this. I do know from experience that I will do this if I have to if I pay an assertive trainer to make me do it. I learned this because I had a trainer help me lose the baby weight after my kiddos were born. But I actually would prefer not to do that if I can avoid it just because I want to. But we'll see because maybe I need a trainer every so often to keep me on track. Hmmmmmmm... things to think about.

I need to do some research and make a plan.

To get started I'm meeting with a trainer for a free session. So I'll be back with an update soon.

Question for you guys!
In the meantime here's a question for readership (do I have readership?) What strength exercises do you recommend for long distance triathletes?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Call me the Mad Hatter

Because I was Late Late Late

Total Bummer
Long story short  - I overslept for the triathlon I was supposed to race on Sunday morning.

Now I could say it was user error I set the alarm for afternoon but nope it was correct. I have once of these fancy alarm clocks that will keep sounding for I think 15 minutes and it will keep getting louder. When it's at it's loudest I can hear it all the way through the other side of the house. So I didn't just oversleep I OVERSLEPT. 
 This is my son getting ready to swim 25 yds backstroke. He swam 3 25s and one 100 freestyle. It was a few hours of swimming cuteness. 

It was a lesson in humility because I have to admit to myself that I simply cannot do everything. We had a very long long day on Saturday with a kid swim meet and birthday party plus bike check in. I went to bed exhausted at 10 pm. And apparently it came together that my little old body just could not get up at 3:45 on Sunday morning. This is not a feel sorry for me thing though because I know plenty of people who ran 18 or 20 miles on Saturday then worked at their jobs and they still made the race. I just didn't.
My daughter ready to swim. She swam 50 free, 50 back and 50 breast plus 100 IM.

What happens when you oversleep?
Well in a smaller race I could have just bagged the day and relaxed. But because Escape has mandatory bike check the day before I had to speed down there to get my bike back.  So I did get to watch the race and cheer for my friends. It was a fun day.

Then I got my unused bike and headed home. Not the result I had wanted but it is what it is.