8/30/08

Day 1

Well, we arrived in Atlanta for the first crit around 6pm. Luckily, we both arrived with all our hair on our head. We always expect traffic but I guess Labor day + rush hour was not our idea of "typical" atlanta traffic. So, after an hour of moving about 2mph, and taking 45 min. to go about 9 miles....we finally made it in one piece. We just don't understand how people can sit in traffic, everyday. I'm sorry, no amount of money would be worth that. I would be so stressed coming home from (and going to) work everyday that I know my health, life with Karel and all extra-curricular activities would suffer. I guess Karel and I will tolerate a monthly trip to ATL for a nice change from flat Florida but we just dread the traffic!!!

Karel's race started at 7pm so after picking up his number he warmed up around the .89 loop course. The race was in an office park which made for a safe, but fast, rolling race.

The field was small but I'm sure it was hard for people to make it to a 7pm crit on a Fri night. However, Karel says a small field means more effort because you always have to respond to attacks and there will always be opportunities to bridge a gap.
There was a 2 man breakaway from the start and then another 4 man break. Karel worked really hard to bridge the gap to the 4-man group and with the help of another Pro 1,2 rider, the chase pack caught the 4-man group. The 2-man breakaway lapped the field with 3 laps to go so at that point, the race went down to 1 lap to go so that the lead guys would not have to do an extra lap. So, with 1 lap to go I had no idea what was going on because Karel was all over the place making the race really interesting. I am ready with my camera for Mr. Sprinter (AKA Karel, thank goodness someone in our relationship has fast-twitch fibers) and I see Karel sprinting to the line...with only 1 other guy. I do the math and figure out that Karel was 4th!

Actually, there is a small chance that Karel might be 3rd because we aren't sure if the guy in front of Karel was one of the 2-man breakaway. If that is true, then that one guy would have won the race (since he lapped the field and he beat Karel to the finish) and the other guy in the 2-man break would have been second. Then that puts KArel in third. However, if that guy who beat Karel to the finish was a guy in the chase pack, then Karel was 4th. Either way....Congrats to Karel for making for a great race after sitting in the car for 7 hours and trying to stay calm in traffic!

I'll post pics this afternoon....off to race #2.

8/28/08

Georgia

It's been a while but we are heading to GA tomorrow and not returning until mon evening.
Karel has 4 crits in 3 days...oh my!
Fri night through Sun (two races on sat) are part of the Atlanta Crit series in Atlanta/marietta, GA. Then on Monday we head to Marietta for the 100K classic. I will be running in the US10K classic about 30 minutes after Karel starts.

This should be a fun weekend for both of us and I'm sure I will have plenty of pics.

I'm wishing all those IMKY athletes the best of luck! Hopefully the weather will be nice and everyone will have a fun and safe race. Can't wait to watch on the computer on sunday to check up on everyone and hopefully on Mon I will get my spot for IMKY 2009!!! :)

8/26/08

Spicing up your recipes

Well, I'm back in school again. I was really enjoying my time off. Although I was a bit bored at times, having little to do one day is really a treat when you have to sit in class for 5 1/2 hours, two days a week. I'm taking two courses at Florida community college of jacksonville and after these classes I will only have two more pre-reqs to take for my dietetic program. I am taking microbiology and economics. Both classes have great teachers and I know micro will be tough. My micro class is 9:30-12:20 MW and economics is 12:30-1:45 MW. A tough schedule with back to back classes but I didn't want to make the 16 mile drive more than I needed.
So, to keep me occupied when I was enjoying my summer break I cooked a lot. Not much more than I would normally cook but I did a bit more baking than normal.

One of the best things about cooking is eating natural ingredients. I couldn't imagine popping a "meal" in a microwave and then pealing off the plastic and eating it out of a plastic container. Also, I can't think of a time in the last 6 years that I choose fast-food for dinner. The only time Karel and I eat fast-food is when we travel and the typical stop for us is Subway or the Publix grocery store Deli. Ok, after races we usually go to IHOP or Denny's but that is rarely, but the pancakes are well worth the wait. Eating out does not happen often for Karel and I but when we do go out to eat we always check on-line menus ahead of time to check for vegetarian and healthy options.

I think there is something great about having wholesome products in our fridge. I love cutting up my veggies, cooking them and then adding spices and sauces to change the taste of the veggies. I love mixing foods together and taking a recipe I see on TV and making it my own with foods that Karel and I enjoy.

Last Friday I made a vegetarian meat-loaf and it was really, really good. Sometimes I impress myself when I have no idea what I am going to make and then as I am chopping and cooking, it all seems to come together. When I make a meal, like the meat-loaf, I always have an idea of what ingredients I want to use. I always have a protein and carb. I rely on olive oil for my fat, when cooking veggies or I add cheese for a little extra flavor. What is so important to preparing meals is using what you have and buying what you need. There is never a time when I tell Karel we have no food or nothing to make. There are always veggies, eggs and some type of meat and bread in our place and from that, there can easily be a healthy and satisfying meal. However, there are no unhealthy foods in our place which cause us to snack before cooking or to have something unhealthy for dinner. My rule when cooking is to always have a veggie, a protein (meat or vegetarian) and some food which you enjoy. For me, I like bread so I might have 1/2 pita or a piece of bread. Or, maybe I'll make hashbrowns for my carb to go alongside an omelet. And I never start cooking or looking through the fridge until I have an idea of what foods I am going to use for a meal. Once I know what I think I will make, I then like to go to the computer (if I have time) to see some recipes for new ideas. Most of all, I know that meals should be healthy and appealing. There are little tricks, such as adding sauces, toppings and spices to a meal, which can make it taste like something familiar. For example, by adding tomato sauce and a little cheese to any veggie stir-fry you can make it taste like pizza and adding salsa to a salad or veggies you can make the meal taste like something from a mexican restaurant. Or, if you like pasta, you can cook a 1 portion of pasta and use that IN a recipe rather than make the pasta THE main meal.

Here is my vegetarian meat-loaf. I cooked 1/4 cup brown rice and 1/4 egg noodles in boiling water and when soft, I added that to a stir-fry of corn, mushrooms, 1 pizza veggie burger, veggie crumbles, canned tomatoes w/ chilis and salsa. I put it in a baking dish and cooked it for about 20 min. at 375-degrees. I topped it with a little mozzerella and parmesean. I didn't add any bread to this meal since it went very well with a nice salad on the side.



Another suggestion I have for cooking is to switch around your idea of what you are eating. Have a bowl of fruit with a topping of ice cream or have a bowl of cooked veggies w/ a topping of pasta. Use smaller plates for the entree meal and serve a salad w/ all meals. Use a coffee cup to eat cereal in the evening and have a smoothie w/ cereal rather than cereal w/ milk. Have an open face PB&J and add a side of yogurt rather than adding extra calories with two pieces of bread.
Karel is the one who created this meal that we eat about once a month. We rarely order pizza (we haven't ordered pizza since we moved in May) but we love pizza. I love thin crust and I love toppings. When Karel and I were getting to know each other back in 2006, he use to make me home-made pizza with fresh bread. He would dress it up with great toppings and it was so yummy since it was fresh. Now Karel buys a frozen pizza and when we are in the mood for pizza (we only keep 1 in our freezer and we usually have it on the weekend if we are both really exhausted from training) we "dress up" the pizza.
We add corn, mushrooms, veggie meat, sauce, onions, scallions, nuts, etc. You name it, we add it! There is still the idea of cooking, when spicing up our pizza because I still have to cut and chop our own toppings. Sometimes we do 1/2 the pizza meat (for Karel) but we still by a cheese pizza.



We usually look for a pizza with the least amount of calories but since all frozen pizza's are high in calories according to serving size, we pile on the toppings so that we don't have to eat a lot of the pizza. If you just buy a regular frozen pizza, I'm sure any hungry male triathlete/cyclist could devour that pizza all alone. Well, with a large side salad and a tall glass of water, you only need about 1 or 2 pieces of pizza to feel satisfied.


I hope you enjoyed some of my ideas for "spicing" up some familiar recipes. If you have any concerns about foods you enjoy but don't know how to "spice" them up, let me know and I'll do my best to make a new creation for you!

8/25/08

Hammerhead Olympic Triathlon Race Report

I'd like to say that my race day experience started on sunday morning but it actually started on sat. I was full on nerves all day long. Probably cause Karel was going to watch/support me at the race and because it has been tropical storming here for the past week. I guess my Type-A personality got the best of me and without a typical pre-race routine, or what I wanted to do before a race, I was a little uneasy about my prep during my taper for the race. Furthermore, with the floading, thunderstorms and rain that we have been experiencing, I didn't even know if I would have a race on sunday. Part of me wanted to get psyched for the race and visualize myself racing but I had to keep in mind that there may not be a race. I then didn't want to get myself depressed if the race was cancelled....and I lost my $95 to pay for a race that I wasn't doing. Oh the stress on saturday. I was just a little miserable to deal with that evening but Karel and I watched a movie and did a little shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond to pass the time.
I did get a good night sleep even though I woke up a few times on accident, yet still caught myself looking out the window. The alarm went off at 5am and the first thing I did, after looking out the window to see no rain (wheeww, relief!), was turn on the radar. "Karel, the race looks good."
The morning was a little silent for Karel and I as we were each doing our own things to get ready for my race. We left our place at 5:45am and off we went for our 40-mile drive to camp blanding.
I enjoyed my coffee w/ my typical pre-race breakfast of oatmeal, raisins, a little banana and a little PB (all combined). As usual I ate it in the car but found it stress-free to eat it in the passenger seat. Luckily, Karel new where we were going so I didn't even have to bring out my GPS on the way to the race venue.
I had heard great things about this race and the venue and I was really looking forward to the race. Now that the sun was rising and the clouds in the sky were rain-free, I felt like I could finally smile and enjoy the race.
After checking the race participant list several times, I knew winning the race wouldn't happen. I had to stay realistic about my lack of speed for a 10K run but I was staying positive about my ability to swim and bike fast. Plus, with Karel there I knew I would bike just a bit faster than I would without him being there to cheer me on.
After picking up my chip and getting body marked, I racked my bike and just chilled for about 40-min. Karel's boss/teammate/friend/team manager was racing the bike portion for a relay and it was just a hoot to see Jeff get body marked. He was totally against it and all he wanted to do was just ride a TT 40K bike route.
After going to the bathroom about 3 times (silly nerves), I headed to the water with Karel. I was really happy to have Karel with me because he does something that I just need before a race. He makes me laugh and smile. When I'm with Karel at his races I know he gets in the zone and that is what works for him. As for me, I remove my nerves by smiling for the camera, laughing and just talking to others.
After taking in a Hammer Gel 15-minutes before the start, it was time to head to the water for the swim start and after 2 waves of guys, it was time for my All Women Heat. Feeling lucky in my pink cap I went hard from the start. I know I won't ever win a race from the swim but I can build a nice lead heading out on the bike.
The swim went great and I felt really good. Although lacking in a few swim sessions every week for the last few months, I felt like I had enough endurance and speed to stay strong during the swim. After 5 bouys it was time to make the turn to swim straight to shore but unfortunantly the sun was right in my eyes. I was sure it was in everyone's eyes so I kept following the feet in front of me. Luckily, everyone was on course and I headed out of the water in 4th place.
Karel was right there by my bike and talking to me as I transitioned for my bike. He was such a good coach and told me to go get those girls and that I had a great swim.
The bike was 2-loops and it was fun. Just a few rollers but I kept my cadence steady and just switched my gears as I stayed in the big chain ring. I kept playing cat and mouse with a lady from Palm Harbor who recognized me as I passed her on an incline. With one 180-turn about mile 8 or 9 of the 12 mile loop I could spot the girls in front of me. I sat in 4th or 5th place for the entire bike and headed out to the run in the same position. Not only was the race a lot of fun but I kept seeing Karel at different parts of the course cheering and taking pictures. I think karel was spectating on his bike faster than others were riding but it was great to have him out there. When I got back from the bike I was really glad for my 1:11 bike ride. Of course with Karel at T2 I decided to have a little chat with him as I was putting on my shoes. He said I had a great bike ride and that I was in 4th or 5th place. I told him that I didn't think I could run these girls down but that I would run the best I could.
I headed out on the run and although the heat hit me on the bike, the run was a bit hot. What did surprise me on the run was that the course was not flat. The run course (all new to me that morning) was up and down for the entire 10K. Not only rollers but a few climbs at each turn around. It was a fun course to keep each mile very interesting but the aid stations seemed like a century away to get to. Each aid station had ice water and I dumped the ice down my Zoot bra top and it really did the trick to keep me cool. I had gatorade at aid station 3 and 5 and that was the first time I had gatorade since May. Luckily, I stayed well-hydrated during the bike and since I knew it would be a hot run, I relied on my HIM hydration strategy of drinking every 15-minutes. Whereas in a sprint distance tri I would maybe make it through 1/2 a bottle of my amino acid's I decided on using 1 scoop amino vital + a little less than a scoop of the amino acids for this olympic distance. For any longer of a race than an OD I would only use HEED + amino's. For a "sprint" type race or one that requires max-out efforts like this race, I needed my brain to be just as energized as my body.
So, as far as the run I didn't use any gels but made sure I had as much fluid as I could get in during the run. I ended up only passing one girl on the run and got passed by two girls.
I think the only thing that saved me during my run was getting in tune with my body. I knew 6-miles would not go quickly and with a challenging course, I needed to stay focused on my running. Although I know my speed is just not where it needs to be to be a speedster in the oympic distance tri-scene, I do know that I have endurance and a lot of slow-twitch fibers. If I can find a comfortable pace I know I can sustain it. I found my ryhthm at mile 3 of the run and by mile 4 I was picking up the pace. I made quick looks at my watch to make sure I would come in at mile goal time of 2:25. Focusing on my run stride, breathing and form really helped me stay focused during the run and before I knew it I was seeing the crowd and the finish line. And of course..there was Karel!
This was a great race and I was really glad of my PR of 3 minutes. This was my 4th Olympic distance triathlon and a race that I really thought I didn't like. A sprint distance is fast enough for me but double the distance and it is a whole new, painful race. Give me a day to keep my body in motion for swim/bike/run and I will be a happy camper. Well, I did like this challenge and I would be up for doing another Olympic distance tri in my triathlon career :)

Thanks for everyone for my nice reply's on my blog. I appreciate your enthusiasm for me racing and it makes it a lot more fun to write a race report when I can hear that I have some sort of speed in these legs. And a big thanks to Karel for being at my race. And after 2 1/2 hours of watching me race, Karel needed to relieve himself from being inside for a week straight and then watching me race....so he bike the 40-miles home as I waited for the awards :)

Upcoming goals: Run faster!
*October 4th- Marine Corps 1/2 marathon in Jacksonville
*Dec 21st- Jacksonville Marathon

Enjoy the pics!








Karel's bike



Karel's bike in the spotlight...again



Another pic of Karel's bike






I told Karel he shouldn't touch me cause I was all sweaty and gross so he gave me the two-finger hug.

8/24/08

Race Result

http://www.altavistasports.com/results/2008results/hammerheadolympictriathlon082408.html

Race report (w/ pics) to come!

Hammerhead Olympic Distance Triathlon
Finish time:2:25:41
Swim: 24:06
T1:1:49
Bike:1:11:20
T2:0:53
Run:47:35

PR by 3 minutes!!!
2nd age group (25-29)
30th overall
6th overall female