3/26/10

Worth the Wait

I've waited 2 1/2 months to write this blog and now I don't know what to say.
I'm speechless (or wordless). Nothing can describe the feeling of getting something new.........

especially when it is a new bike.

My typical off-season training (especially after my last LONG race) involves a lot of road biking. After Ironman Kentucky in Aug, I hung my tri-bike (Black Hawk) on the wall and my road bike and me did a lot of riding. I was ready to ride my Black Hawk towards the end of Jan (craving my aerobars) but unfortunately, my Black Hawk was sold a few days before X-mas. However, shortly after x-mas, Trek came out with the first ever Carbon WSD (women specific design) Tri bike.

Karel was super excited to get me on a Trek, considering that my small size (I'm 5 feet "short") is very hard to fit on a tri bike. My options are really small because I feel most comfortable with 700 wheels (rather than 650's). Therefore, I have to have a frame small enough for my size but a seat that will go down enough to let me reach the pedals.

Well, I let Karel do what he loves to do and find me a bike.
Since we were able to sell my Black Hawk for a great price, we decided to "go big or go home" and build a Project One.

Trek offers Project One bikes which are custom bikes, built just for you. You design the bike, the paint scheme (if you want a custom paint job, it is more money), the components, etc.

Karel and I picked out the custom paint job and I let Karel do the rest. The sad part....we waited and waited and waited for the bike to be built. Because the bikes are made in the US at the Trek factory (Wisconsin) and are hand built and hand painted, it takes a lot of time.

But finally....TriMarni came! How exciting, I even have my name on my bike.

Karel and I love the bike. For me, it fits perfectly. I love everything about it. Compared to my road bike, it turns really smoothly. It is a soft ride and the bike is just so comfortable for me. I absolutely love it and I can't believe it is mine.
Although biking is gradually becoming my favorite sport (I think I love all 3 sports - swim, bike, run equally) I never thought that I would have a bike like this. Since Karel is the true cyclist, I always felt as if he should get the "latest and greatest". I just love to train and race and to me, it doesn't really matter what I ride so long as it is safe and reliable....and it fits. I feel really lucky that Karel wants the best for me (especially when it comes to cycling) and I really appreciate all of his time and effort to build this bike for me (he built it in a few hours), fit me on it and add the last minute details on it.

I hope you enjoy TriMarni as much as I do!!
*if you have questions about the specifics of the bike or other Trek bikes, just leave a comment and I will ask my bike mechanic :)












3/25/10

Spinach fruit salad & Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

On Tuesday morning, after my 4 mile run, I was getting my bike ready for an intense 1 hour and 45 minute interval session (once again, thanks Karel for the killer bike set!) and a story on Good Morning America caught my attention.
Orthorexia - an eating disorder which afflicts those who have an over-the-top obsession with healthy food. In a junk-food obsessed nation, orthorexica are preoccupied with avoiding 'impure' foods and may become emaciated.
Here's the story:
Orthorexia
Although this is a recently new (or talked about) term, this condition probably does not affect the majority of our population. Just like other eating disorders (anorexia, binge eating, anorexia athletica, overeating, overexercise, night eating, bulemia and EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified) the percentage of people who are clinical diagnosed with x-eating disorder is very small. However, there are certainly many people out there who live their life undiagnosed with an eating disorder and just excuse unhealthy behaviors for "being healthy" or "being active".

According to the story/article, this obsessive-compulsive illness occurs in individuals who refuse to consume "impure" foods and lose dangerous amounts of weight.

Here's another article that my friend Jennifer Hutchison, R.D. posted on her blog.
This article really got me thinking.
On one hand, the media tells us over and over that we MUST READ FOOD LABELS in order to know what we are eating, how much we are eating and to limit ourselves from unhealthy food choices. Based on this article, kids are developing an unhealthy relationship with food because their parents are obsessed with making sure they eat only what would be considered uber-healthy.

Consider these statistics:
Found here
Source: Flegal, KM, Carroll, MD, Ogden, CL, Curtin, LR. Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults, 1999–2008. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2010; 235–241.
National Center for Health Statistics. Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Health, United States, 2008. Hyattsville, MD: Public Health Service. 2008.


*Over two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight (BMI 25-29.9) or obese.
All adults: 68 percent
Women: 64.1 percent
Men: 72.3 percent

*Over one-third of U.S. adults are obese(BMI >30)
All adults: 33.8 percent
Women: 35.5 percent
Men: 32.2 percent

*5.7 percent of U.S. adults are extremely obese (BMI >40)

Here's the fascinating one....
*Less than one-third of U.S. adults are at a healthy weight (BMI 18-24)
All adults: 31.6 percent
Women: 36.5 percent
Men: 26.6 percent

I feel our society, active individual or not, DOES have an unhealthy relationship with food. Despite the number of people overweight or obese in our nation, there is an overwhelming amount of information on "how to lose weight" but for some reason, it ISN'T WORKING.

And now, instead of news stations discussing in great detail the concerns of fast food options, restaurant portions, school lunch options and unregulated "diet" supplements, the news is coming out with an article telling people that if you "obsess" over your food you will get an eating disorder.

You know my #1 and #2 philosophy of eating healthy:
1) If you eat well most of the time you don't have to worry 'bout the rest of the time
2) Life is about consistency and balance

When it comes to living a life of activity and healthy eating, it is important to create healthy habits that can be continued no matter how old you are, no matter where you live/travel or what time in the year. Certainly, your life changes, as should your eating. However, by having a healthy relationship with food you are going to get so much more out of life.

Believe me, a healthy relationship with food doesn't happen overnight. Especially if you are an athlete, it can be hard to see food as fuel, alongside trying to maintain/lose weight, prevent disease/illness and feel satisfied throughout the day.
I'd love to hear your thoughts of healthy eating? Do you have a healthy relationship with food or are you working towards a healthier relationship with food?

To get you started with a healthier relationship with food, enjoy my latest creations.

Spinach fruit salad
In a large container:
Spinach
Strawberries (sliced)
Grapes (sliced)
Oranges (sliced)
Feta cheese
Sunflower seeds
Raisins
1-2 tbsp lime juice
*optional - hard boiled egg





Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
1 1/2 cups oats
1 banana (mashed)
1/4 cup chunky natural peanut butter
1/4 cup raisins (chopped)
3 tbsp skim milk
1-4 tbsp water (to help with softening the batter)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
2 tsp cinnamon
*Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Mix all ingredients together (I used a fork). Add 1 tbsp of water to help with stirring.
2. On a baking sheet lined with tinfoil (sprayed with a little nonstick spray), spoon 1 tbsp cookie batter onto foil and press to make a flat cookie (I used a little cooking spray on the palm of my hand to press each cookie).
3. Bake for 12-15 min. or until cookie edges are golden brown.
(These are delicious!)



3/24/10

Campy's Play date

If you are a regular to my blog, you probably know how much I love Campy. He has taught me to make the most out of my days (it saddens me that dogs don't live as long as humans) and to focus on Balance in my life.
Since adopting him in Oct 2008, I find I love him more and more everyday. Karel, who was never a huge dog lover (he's a cat-man) has developed a love for all dogs but most of all, he LOVES Campy! He said that Campy makes him less nervous at his races because Campy puts a smile on his face.
If you are new to my blog,
here's how we decided that we were ready for a dog
and how we ended up getting Campy

A few weeks ago, Campy found his sister (or so we think). Here's the story of how
Campy found his sister

I was super excited for Monday because Campy had a play date with his sister Xuxa and Xuxa's brother Charky. Special thanks to Sandy for letting us come over and enjoy a BIG backyard. Campy loves being off the leash!

What fun to see Campy run around and play. He LOVES to run!!! Considering that Campy is super fast, he really enjoys being chased :)





The resemblance is unbelievable!

3/23/10

Mushroom, swiss and tofu burger + Spinach, orange and feta salad

Reason #8 to be a vegetarian:

Hardee's 2/3 lb Monster Thickburger



As if 1/3 lb beef patty wasn't enough? When you order the 2/3 lb monster thickburger, not only do you get 2 1/3 lb charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef patties, 4 strips of bacon, 3 slices of American cheese and mayo on a sesame seed bun, but your order comes with:
1320 calories
850 calories from fat
95 grams of fat
35 grams of saturated fat
210 mg of cholesterol
3020 mg of sodium
46 g of carbohydrates
2 g of fiber
5 g of sugar
70 g of protein

Do you want to know the other 7 reasons to be a vegetarian?
1/3 lb original thickburger
1/3 lb cheeseburger
1/3 lb mushroom and swiss thickburger
1/3 lb bacon cheese thickburger
1/3 lb low carb thickburger
2/3 lb double thickburger
2/3 lb double bacon cheese thickburger

But since you are an athlete it's likely that you seek a healthy alternative to burgers. So, why not go with a salad and a Frappe at McDonald's? Sounds healthy, right?
Large Mocha Frappe



680 calories
250 calories from fat
28g fat
18g saturated fat
1g trans fat
80 mg cholesterol
200 mg sodium
96g carbohydrate
1 g fiber
87 g sugar
10 g protein

Premium southwest salad w/ grilled chicken

320 calories
9g fat
3g saturated fat
70 mg cholesterol
960 mg sodium
30 g carbs
6g fiber
11 g sugar
30 g protein

Don't forget the salad dressing....
Newman's own ranch dressing (2 oz)
170 calories
130 calories from fat
15g fat
2.5 g saturated fat
20 mg cholesterol
530 mg sodium
9g carb
4g sugar
1 g protein

I don't know how people expect to lose weight (let alone feel good) when eating/ordering out? Not only are the portions at restaurants too large for your own good, but just look at the added sodium and fat to make your food "oh-so desirable". Heaven forbid the food comes unsalted and you find your meal unappetizing.

I created my own burger last night, in honor of the Hardee's commercial I saw on TV. I hope your waist line and heart find enjoyment in my vegetarian burger.
Enjoy!

Mushroom, swiss and tofu burger
Serves 2
4 large mushrooms (Sliced)
1 clove garlic (chopped)
4 thin slices brick Swiss Cheese (or 2 slices deli Swiss cheese)
1 veggie burger
4 thick slices firm tofu
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp horseradish
2 x 100% whole wheat bagel (search for a bagel less than 250 calories)
or
2 x sandwich thins
(optional: Jalepenos)

1. Toast bagel or sandiwich thin
2. On a non-stick skillet w/ 1 tsp olive oil, cook garlic and mushrooms.
3. On same skillet, when mushrooms are golden brown, remove mushrooms and garlic and cook tofu until golden brown (use a spray or two of non-stick spray).
4. Cook veggie burger in microwave for 75 sec (remove from baggy).
5. After bagel or sandwich thin is toasted, place 1 slice cheese (or 1 thin slice cheese on each sandwich thin) on top side of bagel and microwave for 30 sec.
6. On other side of bagel or thin, spread horseradish sauce.
7. For open face sandwhich thin, place a few mushrooms and garlic on cheese and top with 2 slices tofu. Finish with 1/2 veggie burger (sliced into strips).
8. For bagel, place a few mushrooms and garlic on bottom of bagel and top with tofu and 1/2 veggie burger (sliced into strips). Add jalepenos if using them, and close with top of bagel.




Spinach, Orange and Feta salad
In a large Tupperware container:
2-3 cups Spinach
2-3 large roma tomatoes (sliced)
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 fresh chives (sliced)
8-10 baby carrots (chopped)
1 orange (sliced) + juice from orange
1 apple (sliced)
3 hard boiled eggs sliced (2 whites, 1 whole egg)
2-3 tbsp sunflower seeds
2-4 tbsp feta cheese (reduced fat)

Karel in action

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I'll be posting another blog today but in the mean time, how about a video to see the cyclist's in action?
Karel showed me this last night and it is awesome to see the race from a rider's perspective. Joel Chavez wears a video cam on his helmet for the races and he posted this video after Sugarloaf.

If you don't want to watch the whole video, you can scroll to:
3 minutes - climb up sugarloaf (Karel is #41 in blue and white on a blue and white Trek)
4 minutes and 56 seconds - break away
6 minutes - attack by Ivan Franco and another guy on a climb. Karel and Joel tried to respond but weren't able to catch them. This is where Karel wanted to quit...he said his legs were on fire after those attacks.

3/21/10

Sugarloaf Circuit - race report

5am up and at-'em.
I modified my typical weekend training (long bike + run & Long Run) so that I could watch Karel and his team at the Sugarloaf race. My #1 training goal this year - Quality over Quantity.
5:37am I was on the trainer for a 1 hour interval ride. Campy and Karel stayed cozy in bed.
6:50am I was out the door for a 9.3 mile run (1hr and 13 min). It was nice and cool out and I enjoyed seeing the sun poke out of the clouds during my run. I've been pretty tired this week due to my intense effort at the 15K last sat. so with a few modifications in my workouts this week, in addition to a few Hammer Endurance Amino's (1 a day Sat, Sun, Tues, Wed) I finally felt recovered/good for this workout.

After my run I quickly showered, ate 2 hard boiled egg whites, packed my goodies for the day (PB&J, peach, apple, trail mix, yogurt, banana, lots of water), and prepared my oatmeal concoction (for some reason, it was super scrumptious this morning) for the road.

8:45am Campy, Karel and I were off to Clermont, which is outside Orlando (2 hours and 45 minutes away from us in Jacksonville)
The drive was uneventful. Campy slept, I read a little and Karel and I talked about random stuff. I knew Karel had a lot on his mind with work and racing so I tried to avoid any cycling-talk. This race was a big race as far as competition and being a Florida Cup race (Karel is still in 1st place with his points) but most of all, it is a super tough race course.

Although Karel has raced here twice before (he was 2nd as a Cat 4 and 2nd as a Cat 3) I have never been and I was anxious to watch the race.
The race included a 11-12 mile (separate start and finish) circuit which included several big climbs and Sugarloaf Mountain. If you have ever climbed Sugarloaf, you know it as "THE" mountain of Florida. For most people (including myself) it only takes one time of climbing Sugarloaf to feel the burn...and to feel incredibly out of shape. Well, the Pro 1,2 guys + Cat 3 climbed Sugarloaf 6 times. Yep- 6 loops of rollers, steep climbs, fast descends and the mountain known as Sugarloaf.
The Sugarloaf climb (the actual "climbing part" is around .5 miles long, is the second highest point in Florida, is a 310 foot climb and averages around 12% grade (some say 17% but I'm not exactly sure-however, I know it is steep).
You can be the judge looking at the picture but let your legs decide once you battle your way up it (especially if you are from Florida and consider bridges "hill" work).


We arrived to the race parking lot around 11:45 (after a few potty stops) and met up with Jeff, Clint, James and Curtis (Karel's teammates on the Lindner Capital Advisor Elite Team). Campy, Karel and I walked to registration to pick up Karel's number and I let Karel do his thing while Campy and I walked around the open parking lot field.

Around 12:30 I filled up Karel's 3 bottles w/ his sport drink and walked Karel's spare wheels to the wheel truck w/ Campy (my two jobs at his races - nutrition and spare wheels). Campy and I walked around until 1pm (10 min. late for the start) and after the race rules were given to the HUGE field (at least 100 guys for Pro 1,2 + Cat 3) the guys were off.

Campy and I walked back to the car and drove 3 miles down the road to the finish.
Because the race wasn't difficult enough, the finish was at the very top of Sugarloaf. Nothing like a sprint finish after climbing.

Each 11-12 mile loop took around 25-30 min (Not sure exactly) so Campy and I killed time by walking around and chatting with people. There was another race going on (Masters 35+ and 45+ so that was entertaining to watch them as well). Campy met a few dogs but he wasn't being on his best behavior for the day. A bit barky and was in no mood to socialize with the big dogs. I really wish he wouldn't have such an attitude and I hope that one of these days he stops barking at bikes.
Well, at least he met a little friend and didn't seem to mind her at all.



When I saw Karel and the boys in the first loop, the field was still big but already, there were stragglers on the back. Come loop two, the field was smaller than before. I knew Karel was a bit tired going into this race but him and James were near the back and that wasn't typical for Karel.
Apparently (after hearing from Karel when the race was over) there was a crash before Sugarloaf and Karel dodged the crash by going into the grass. When he was swerving to miss the crash, his chain fell off and rather than switching gears to put it back on (sometimes if your chain falls off you can just change gears/rings to put it back one) he had to stop, get off his bike and put the chain back on the ring. James also dodged the crash so they had to work double time to get up Sugarloaf in order to still be in the race w/ the main pack.
By loop 3, Jeff and Curtis were nearing the front and Karel and James were in the middle. Karel told me that there were 2 breakaways by Z-motion (I think) and with several of the Z-motion riders in the chase group, no one wanted to catch the break. Since Karel's teammates were working for him in order for him to place as high as possible for this race (to get points for the Florida Cup Series) Jeff and Curtis did a MONSTER pull (let's call it a Time Trial effort) in order to "bridge the gap" (cycling term for bringing the main field to the breakaway group). Shortly after they bridged the gap, there was another attack and Jeff and Curtis did a huge pull to bring the field to the break. James has a lot of experience with racing so he was helping Karel respond to attacks and covering him in case there were any breaks.

By loop 4, the field was even smaller. In cycling, as opposed to triathlons, if you can't stay with the pack, then you done for the day. For Jeff, Curtis and James, they finished 4 loops and left the rest up to Karel. Karel's teammates did a lot of work out there to put Karel in a great position to possibly land in top-15 and it was awesome seeing the team work so well together.

When I saw Karel come through in loop 4 (2 laps to go) he was in a group of 6 or 7 and they were in a small breakaway. I was really excited for Karel and I was thinking he could possibly land on top-10 for this race (which would be amazing considering that this is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, races in the Florida Cup series). With Campy in the car for a quick minute, I stood at the feed zone in case Karel needed another bottle. He needed the bottle but because of the breakaway, there was no time to grab it.

I was really nervous for lap 5 (last lap) because I knew anything could have happened in the last 11 miles. When I saw the lead police car, I was anxious to see Karel (with only 1 lap to go). Bummer. There was an 8-man break and the chase group was at least 1 minute behind. Just a reminder, I was parked at the finish which is at the top of Sugarloaf. If you could only imagine how tired these guys were after 50+ miles of racing. Karel told me that in lap 4, when Karel was in the break, Ivan Franco (amazing Pro cyclist) was making several attacks. Karel and the other guys responded but after two attacks, Karel couldn't handle it anymore. The chase group ended up catching up with Karel's breakaway so I guess it was good that Karel could rest for a little (although there is really no resting on this challenging course).

So, when I saw Karel (not knowing then about the attacks) he looked beat just like everyone else. He was at least 20 back and the group of 8 in the front included some super strong guys. The front group was a good minute in front of the chase pack and I figured Karel would be shooting for a top 20-finish (or a sprint finish for the chase group).

After briefly talking with James, I came to the conclusion that regardless of how Karel finished, he really put a solid effort into this race and could not have done it without his teammates. Plus, with so many people dropping out, Karel should be happy that he could finish this race. Also, with a big race next weekend (Downtown Tampa Twilight Crit at 6:30pm) Karel has really felt the pressure of being in 1st place with his points. Also, with his 2 second place finishes 2 weeks ago, it's really tough, mentally, to go into races and to feel pressure to perform at the top of your game at every race. Karel handles his races really well so I guess I was just trying to make the most of this situation in case he ended up out of top 10 (which would be a first for this season).

When the announcer said that the lead vehicle was approaching I just waited for the big group to see if I could spot Karel. The announcer said that Ivan Franco was the winner and a job well done for his solo win. What an effort to finish the race alone. 2nd place was a young kid who just upgraded to Cat 3 (on Wed from Cat 4) so this was a shocker. What a bright future for this cycling superstar.
I could see the chase pack in the distance and it was surprisingly, fairly big. With Cat 3 and Pro's racing together, the next Pro and Cat 3 over the line would be racing for 2nd place.

Note to self: Always remember the first rule of cycling races "the race is never over 'til you cross the line".

With my camera in one hand and Campy in the other. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Here's Karel at the front of the group, sprinting for 2nd place.

UNBELIEVABLE!!!

Despite Karel sprinting, in what looked to be slow motion, I didn't even get a pic of him at the finish. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

Karel told me that he took a risk and kept his chain in the small chain ring while others switched to the big ring for the "sprint" finish. Although everyone (including Karel) had cramped muscles and expressed totally exhaustion on their faces, Karel felt as if he could put out whatever power he had left (which was hardly anything) better on the small ring, standing, than in the big gear (which is what he would typically sprint in to get out the most power possible).

All of a sudden I hear the announcer "Karel Sumbal wins the sprint for 2nd place".


Wow - after 2 hours and 24 minutes, 64 miles later (pretty impressive I must say), Karel landed a spot on the podium in the hardest race, thus far, in the season. Karel's teammates were SO excited for Karel, as were so many of the other riders. There were lots of congrats given to Karel and like the last race weekend, Karel couldn't believe it himself. Not like the last race weekend, he was in shock that he even finished the race. He said after lap 5 and the two attacks by Ivan Franco, he was a second away from quitting.

Congrats Karel for not giving up, for suffering through the pain and most of all, for having such a great team!