11/24/07

Thanksgiving Weekend

Dinner was absolutely yummy! I know a lot of people feel that Thanksgiving is an unhealthy holiday but we have so many vegetarian entrees that I don't think our meal could ever be unhealthy. My mom's friend Carol made me the best Zucchini boats w/ almonds, veggies and other things inside. They were really really good and the presentation was awesome! My dad always makes me stuffing outside the bird (yes-we do have a turkey and roast for the carnivores) and my mom makes her great sweet potato casserole w/ marshmallow's on top. Actually, she makes it a lot and it is a great way to prepare sweet potatoes for a crowd. Carol also made a roasted pepper, corn and onion salad which was great. MY mom's friend Linda made super fluffy mashed potatoes and I know my dad, Karel and Carlos (my good friend who races w/ me) loved those potatoes. Linda's hubby Jack made homemade pumpkin pie and I enjoyed the crust which is my favorite part of pie. I also put together a fruit salad from the leftover fruit from my pizza. With my grandparents, brother, mom and dad, Karel and my parent's friends at our Thanksgiving dinner, I believe this was one of the best Thanksgiving's ever. A few stories from my dad and a couple jokes by Carlos, Aaron and Karel-I really enjoyed myself this Thanksgiving. Karel and I arrived at my parents house around 3:30 and we had a quick stop at Starbucks to keep us going during the day. Nuts and chex mix kept our tummy's satisfied at my parent's house and my brother and Carlos enjoyed some football on my Dad's big TV. It is just outright cruel for me to be in a house with so much yummy food and I have to wait for that stupid bird to be done cooking. Hehe. Karel and I also made a quick stop to the Astrab's house to say hi to our good friends Anthony, John, Rose and her hubby John. Karel loved his Thanksgiving and he thinks that this is the best American holiday! (Coming from a Czech, I think he is strictly speaking about the food and not the pilgrims)
Friday Karel and I lifted at the Y (which was completely dead at 6am) and we took advantage of the empty gym by doing circuits. Karel shocked me when he said he would swim with me and he suprised me when he jumped in the water and started swimming like a pro. He said his shoulder hurt a bit from his crash last May but other than having to rest every couple laps, he said he felt ok in the water. He always amazes me!
Friday afternoon I met my family in Tarpon Springs at the sponge docks and we walked around and checked out the shops for a bit. I did experience Black friday for about 45 min. but I was in and out with only 3 things that I bought. This morning I went for a great 65 mile ride and this time I sat in the back and enjoyed the draft for most of the ride. Karel convinced me to just take it easy and work on my skills. This part of the season is important for working on my spinning so I keep my chain in the small ring during all my rides. Although I left the house with Karel, we only rode with each other for a few miles until he took off for a few intervals. Since this is his recovery week he only had to do an hour and a half and we decided to leave together in the morning since i wanted to get in a warm-up before I met the group at 8. I was a little surprised when I was riding with the group and all of a sudden I felt a push on my back. Karel to the rescue when I get dropped from the group!!
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the rest of the weekend.

11/23/07

Thanksgiving Morning-Afternoon





The best way to start Thanksgiving day is with some sort of exercise. I feel strongly about getting a good workout in before the "big" meal and it's usually a Turkey Trot. I remember my first TT, which was in 2003 and I convinced my dad and brother to do it with me. I had just started running and it was raining that morning. Since i was in Lexington, Ky at the time, the weather was cold and it was a chilly morning. My family that was in town thought we were crazy and I guess since that run, I've always been considered "crazy" with my choice of activies (specifically the distance). I planned on doing the group ride with some of the gearlink guys but I jumped on bike before the ride in order to check out the scene at the St.pete times turkey trot. Seriously, you'd think people were walking to the stadium of the superbowl because there were SO many people! Since i was on my bike riding on the road, there was no way I'd be able to spot anyone but I did hear a shout from a familiar voice "NICE BLUE!" It was my friend Hunter yelling at me from his car. Always nice to see (or hear) familiar voices. I headed to the CVS on tampa rd. to meet the guys and there ended up being around 12 guys (and me) for the ride. Karel was there and it was nice to actually ride in a group w/ him. Since i had already ridden 15 miles I was hoping that the rest of the ride would be easy. Well, it was easy for the guys but my drafting and riding in a group skills need to be remembered. I felt really powerless on my bike and because it was super windy I was working extremely hard during the ride. Karel said he would ride home with me if I wanted to cut the ride short but I wanted to hang out in the back and just keep going. I was thankful that I was riding with nice guys because they all understand that I'm always trying to work my hardest to stay on someone's wheel. I took a couple pulls but they didn't last long. Karel jumped in the back with me and gave me lots of helpful pointers. I really appreciate when he takes the time to help me with my cycling. I know it is no fun for him seeing his power drop to nothing to draft in the back with me but I learn so much from him. I finally made it back home w/ Karel and i ended up with 63 miles for my easy ride. You better believe that I was making my smoothie as soon as I returned home and right after a shower we started cooking for thanksgiving.
On my menu was fruit pizza and croissant rolls w/ jelly. Karel did the rolls and I did my famous fruit pizza. My pizza is always a hit and I make it all the time for family functions. The pizza is SO easy to make and this year I made 2 alternatives to my traditional fruit pizza. All you do is take sugar cookie dough and press it on a non-stick cooking sheet. 1 roll is usually good for 8-10 people. You then get 1 packaged of fat-free soft cream cheese (not in the container) for each roll of dough. I add powdered sugar to the cream chese and I meausre by taste but it is usually no more than 1/4 cup. I take a mixer to combine the cream cheese and powdered sugar. You first bake the sugar cookie for around 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees. Once the cookie cools (be sure to wait at least 15 min. for it to cool to prevent the cream cheese from making holes in the dough) you can spread the cream cheese/powdered sugar mixture on the cookie and that is the hard part of the pizza. Next comes the fruit and you can pick any kind you want. I made 3 different pizzas this year. My traditional fruit pizza had FF cream cheese w/ splenda brown sugar (2 tbsp) and a dash cinnamon. Depending on the season I try to use apples, bananas, cherries, kiwis, pinnaple, pears, strawberry's and peaches. This year I got a mango to go with the other fruit for a tropical pizza (I used strawberry fat-free cream cheese instead of the regular) and I also made a chocolate lovers pizza w/ chocolate instant powder jello pudding to the cream cheese. I'm sure you can use different spreads but I try to make this pizza as "healthy" as possible. It is soooo good!
Well, now that I'm super hungry for some leftover fruit pizza I'm going to grab me a bit of my pizza and I'll give my thanksgiving dinner recap in a bit.

11/21/07

Thanksgiving Holiday

I am super excited for Thanksgiving. One of my most favorite holidays! Not only is it a great time to spend with family and friends but there is great food and lots of it! I always start my Thanksgiving Thursday with a Turkey Trot but this year I won't be running. I am happy to say that in about a week I will start running again. I feel 99% and I've been walking a lot on the treadmill. I bump up the incline and I have no limp in my leg. Although it took a while, I can finally feel good about my Kona race and I'm looking forward to next season. Swimming is going GREAT and I'm feeling really strong in the water. Cycling is great as well and I plan on doing lots of it this weekend. Later this afternoon I'll be going on a group ride with the Gearlink guys and having dinner with my grandparents, karel and parents afterwards. My bro comes in this evening. I know Karel rode this morning but I am not sure what his plans are for the evening. Although I am a big planner, when it comes to our training schedules we just give each other a call right before we are about to train. You can never predict how you will feel in the evening so we don't really know what time we will start or finish training. It seems to work well in our relationship but sometimes I get worried cause Karel often feels good and doesn't come home when I think he will be home. As for me, I'm too Type-A to not know exactly what time I will leave and come home and I have everything planned before and after training. Oh-just a funny thing I just thought of. This past weekend on sunday Karel got a PB&J sandwich at an aid station and when I saw him after the Horrible Hundred he told me the following "Did you go to the aid station with the PB&J?" I said "yes but I just refilled my bottles with fluids". He said "Those sandwiches were SO good. They had a the REAL jelly and REAL PB". I just laughed. The real stuff, huh? I guess my sugar-free/low sugar/organic food isn't good enough. We both laughed but Karel knows I am ok with things in moderation and we both enjoy a little saturated fat every now and then. Karel will get a kick out of me saying that cause he likes to call me after his long rides and let me know he is enjoying ice cream which is loaded with trans fat and saturated fat. What a goof. Hehe
So anyways, tomorrow Karel and I will be going for a long ride together. This morning I taught spin for an hour (usually 45 min class) and I worked them hard! I'm really looking forward to riding with Karel tomorrow. Just hope he doesn't mind going slow with me :) I have a feeling we will meet up with other people so I will just sit on someone's wheel and think about how many carbs I will indulge in later that afternoon. For a vegetarian like me, I just love the sweet potatoes and vegetarian stuffing. YUM. And I am making a fruit pizza for desert. Ever had one? I will share my recipe and pics of it on the blog tomorrow. It is so good and it is a must at all social functions!
Enjoy the day and start bumping up the exercising. Remember not to overeat tomorrow and enjoy a little of everything. There are always leftovers and with all those great carbs, you should have plenty of great workouts on fri-sun. Eat small snacks and meals during the day on thurs and don't starve yourself. Have some type of protein with all meals and snacks tomorrow so that your blood sugar doesn't go out of control at your thanksgiving meal. The protein will also keep you satisfied throughout the day. I recommend a small bowl of oatmeal in the morning (Especially if you are training), follow your 2+ hr workout with a 200-250 calorie smoothie with whey protein, fruit and yogurt (if you are doing a turkey trot or something short) have a glass of skim milk after the race or a 40-60 calorie yogurt. After the smoothie, start cooking or hanging out with the family. Be active and stay on your feet. 1-2 hours after the smoothie, have some egg whites, cottage cheese and veggies. Drinking coffee is fine by me and choose flavored water to help curb cravings when you are cooking. Chew gum as you are cooking or waiting around the house for the food. Depending on when you are having dinner, drink plenty of water during the day and keep fresh veggies and cut up fruit available for snacking during the afternoon. Nuts are great for snacking but be sure to portion control in less than 100 calorie portions. Drink plenty of water during the day and enjoy your meal!

11/19/07

Horrible Hundred (75) Event report





Friday morning I visited Judy at the WTC. Ever now and then she has an Iron Girl project for me and of course I am always excited to help her out. I got interested in Ironman because of my internship with the WTC in 2005. Now I am close with everyone at the WTC (world triathlon corp) and I just love Judy at Iron Girl! I have lots of registration papers to enter into Active but although it seems tedious I love helping out. Saturday morning was cold. BURRR I felt so good on my bike but it was a bit chilly around 6:45am when I got on my bike. Ear warmers, arm warmers, shirt under the jersey and pants. I felt great until the first hour when I was hot and ready to de-cloth. Typical Florida riding in these first "winter" months. Karel had a 3 hour ride to do and I did a big loop which gave me 45 miles. It didn't take my long to get use to my new Blue and I absolutely love it! I couldn't wait to bring it to Clermont with me.
After breakfast and entering more athletes into Active.com for Iron Girl Tempe, I packed a bag and headed to Gearlink to pick up Karel at the store. Around 4:30 we headed on the road to Mount Dora and after 1 starbucks stop and 1 bathroom/stretch stop we arrived (without getting lost! Obviously because Karel was driving) at Mike's house. Mike Baleno is one of my good friends from Davie when I was going to grad school. Mike and Carlos were my two good friends and we were inseperable. All the races we were together and we just loved hanging out. Mike and Carlos have a good friend Bryan S. who is now part of the Triathlon club and I just love hanging out with those guys at races. I think my guy friends LOVE Karel more than I do so it is always a fun time seeing those guys and Karel talk about bikes and cycling. Mike cooked us a great vegetarian friendly dinner and we all just enjoyed the evening talking. I felt bad for Karel cause most of the talk was "triathlon" oriented :) We had a good night sleep since we didn't have to wake up until 6am and at 7am we headed to Clermont for the Horrible Hundred. This event was a first time thing for me and I was super excited to have a carbon road bike to use for all the big climbs. I decided to do the 72 mile ride and Karel was doing the 100 mile ride. We both covered the same climbs and wow were these BIG climbs. Nothing new for karel since one of his races covers Sugarloaf mountain 6 times!!!! but I was a little tired from all the climbs during this event. If you ever have the chance to do a cycling event (especially a challenging one or one that raises money for a charity) I would absolutely suggest taking up that opportunity. To have support on the course and aid stations stocked with goodies (PB and J, brownies, cookies, bananas, drinks, etc.) it is worth the cost. I was always riding with people and during the first 50 miles I was really feeling confident with my climbing. Around mile 45 or 50 I met a guy (scott) who knew Karel (I think everyone who races knows Karel-the white pinarello or blue colnago kinda give him away. Oh and the czech accent!). Scott Graham and I rode together for the rest of the ride and I was so happy to have a buddy to get me through the last couple of climbs. The course was marked well but the climbs were really tough. Sugarloaf was all that it is lived up to be and it is kinda long but steep. I had a lot of zig-zagging on the road to help me get up but I made it up the climb. Actually, I made it up all the climbs. Some were better than others and I was forced to get out of my saddle to climb my way up, but I did it! The event was very challenging and after I arrived back at Waterfront park with 75 miles on my computer, my finishing time for the event was 4:36. Not too bad to average 17 mph but i was just having a great time in the beautiful weather! About 25 min. later guess who shows up...yep, karel had 105 miles in 4:59. hummm....jealous or bitter? hehe-he said he was riding with the front pack of guys for 70 miles and he had to get a water bottle filled so he was forced to break off and stop at an aid station. He didn't want to push hard during this event so he was happy about his ride. We got cleaned up and headed home and enjoyed a late lunch/early dinner at Outback. YUM!!! My favorite place. We usually devour a couple loafs of bread when we go to outback after cycling events. Of couse it is always outback for me before my tri's.
what a great way to end my weekend. If karel and I could, we'd be out on our bikes, somewhere new, every weekend. Of course we would love to move to Georgia or out west somewhere but for now we are saving up if we ever do get serious about a move (oh-job offers would be nice as well).
I hope everyone had a great weekend! Take advantage of the Thansgiving Holiday and enjoy some exercise with all those carbs that you'll be eating! And if family is coming in town, enjoy your time in the outdoors being active (I guess walking in the mall on black friday counts as exercise :)