Friday, July 11, 2014

New Challenges: Swim Team

As you know, I am training for my 1st 70.3 half Ironman in October. Looking back on my sprint triathlon I did last May, the biggest challenge for me was the open water swim. I just didn't feel like natural in the water.

Which is funny. Because I am "the water girl". I could spend all day in the water. This was the case as a child, and I never really outgrew that.

I have a few friends who are on the Masters Swim team, and have brought me to a few workouts. The aquatic center is right by my house.....

And let me tell you about this Aquatic Center. It is the "Taj Mahal" of swimming pools. Our city spent big bucks to have the best aquatic center in the city (it's one of the best in the state). The water is perfect. Best part? -- surrounded by mountains!

And it's only 4 miles from my house!
So after trying out a few practices, I am hooked! So Monday is my 1st official practice on the Oro Valley Masters' Team: "The Flying Fish".
It's Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 5am-6am. All interval training and drills with very knowledgeable coaches! It is unreal how much these swimming workouts get my heart rate up!
What's the best part?:
The workouts absolutely kick my a$$. However, I get out of that pool - and nothing hurts. There are no blisters on my feet or sore muscles. No overheating. No GI issues. I feel taller, stronger, and just so healthy after swim practice.
Another perk? (this is kind of dorky...)
I'm living a dream that I never got growing up. I was never a jock. Let me repeat. I was never a jock. I hated exercise - because sports made me feel like a slow, awkward, lame goat. But at Masters' swim - I'm not the slow one. And if I am the last to hit the wall? -- My coach just simply gives me advice on what to do next time. (instead of the approach of high school sports, where they humiliate you in front of the group or ignore you because you're not worth their energy)
It's an investment in my health - and I think it will make me a stronger runner!
My joints will thank me when I'm 50.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kitchen Musings: Pesto Turkey Burgers

Our kitchen has been active lately with several new recipes.

My favorite thing that is a'brewin' is our prickly pear infused liquors! But there will be a post to come on that soon. I'm pretty stoked about it, though! We are actually harvesting plump, juicy, red prickly pears from our cactus, and infusing them in mason jars w/ vodka and agave nectar.....

More to come that!

Over the weekend, I tried to make comfort food for my husband who went on night shift starting the 4th of July. Right now our schedule couldn't be more opposite. He wakes up as I go to bed. But that's okay - we still live in the same household, and this schedule is temporary!

A few of my comfort creations were:

  • Salted Puppy Chow (sea salt, pretzels, puppy chow, #crack) - I made 2 big batches of this. One which I brought to the 4th of July party I went to, the other I sent with Ryan to work.
  • Crockpot lasagna - super easy, super delicious! Why have I never tried making lasagna in a crockpot before? (being last summer I lived in a hotel and cooked everything in a crockpot)
  • Pesto Turkey Burgers - my random creation tonight, which I will share. My basil plant is producing like crazy, so I'm using it a lot so it keeps producing!
  • ground turkey (I used 93%/7%) 1 lb
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 2 Tbsp balsalmic vinegar
  • 1 handful spinach (1/4 cup?)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Mozzarella cheese slices
  1. Finely chop up the spinach & basil leaves. Stir it with onion, garlic, egg, vinegar, & olive oil.
  2. Mix in the ground turkey. Still well.
  3. Form into patties. (My secret is to try to make a "well" in the middle)
  4. Spray hot grill with olive oil to prevent sticking.
  5. Evenly grill both sides.
  6. Add slices of mozzarella - allow to melt.
  7. Serve on a bun or a bed of spinach if you don't have any buns! ;) Goes really well with sliced tomatoes!
....And I completely forgot to take any photos of this one! Which is a bummer, because it looked pretty cool!

The more interesting the burger, the more I like it! I find it impossible to just make a plain burger these days. It has to have spinach, basil, or feta in it! So much more flavor!

What's your favorite way to have a burger?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tire Woes

I've owned my bike for about 1.5 years. I have avoided learning how to change a tire like the plague. My strategy has been, "If I get a flat, I'll just call a friend." or "If I get a flat, I'll just run home (barefoot?)"

The idea of changing the inner tube of a tire just seemed like this impossible feat - and a skill I am not interested in learning.

It all kind of relates to my disdain for the sport of "road biking". In order to go road biking, my routine is:
  • check tires
  • air up tires to 90 psi
  • get my helmet out
  • get my cycling shoes out (which you can only wear cycling - they have funny clips on the bottoms)

  • make sure my "bike bag" is all set with the appropriate tools, tubes, drivers license (in case I get hit by a car and end up in the trauma center & need to be identified.....Just kidding, Mom!)
  • Then I have to load it onto my bike rack.
  • Make sure it's bungee corded down.
  • Drive it to a meeting spot, unload, cycling shoes on......
  • Blah!
If I want to go for a run: Clothes on. Shoes on. Out the door.

If I want to swim: suit on, swim cap, goggles, drive to pool.

But last week, I found a staple in my back tire, and faced reality that "changing a tire" would need to be added to my resume of skills.

I live with a very handy husband, who would be willing to change my tire. However, he was not his helpful, usual self in this situation. He told me, "You need to learn how to do this. I'm not doing it for you." #toughlove

I whimpered a little, making brazen statements such as, "But I'm too pretty change my own tire." or "Lance doesn't have to change his own tires!"

Needless to say 45 minutes I was covered in grease, I had 3 broken nails, but I had a fixed tire!!

Let me just tell you, the French man in my you-tube video must have paused the video and cut out all the grunting, nail-breaking, sweat, and tears. He made it look effortless! And he even kept saying "See? It's simple!"

It was not simple. No passe'. Pulling off the chain from the tire, removing that outer all sucks. But now I know if this were to happen in a race - I wouldn't be utterly screwed!

Or maybe I really am just too pretty to change a tire.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Road to 70.3: Week 2

Another week of training is in the books! My training posts may bore my apologies in advance.

This week was a good reality check for me. Tuesday morning I had the most obstacle-filled run ever. It was almost like one of those "obstacle races". Minus the mud. But it reminded me that I am not some natural born, iron-woman. It reminded me that I need to take things in stride, and listen to my body.

5 am - 82 degrees F

Mile 2 - Intense cramping in my stomach that almost had me in fetal position on the side of the road.

Mile 2-3 - Desperately trying to catch back up with the group.

Mile 3 - Wheezing. Didn't take my inhaler. Cannot get air. Keep pushing. Cursing at the palo verde trees I'm allergic to.

Mile 6 - Raw, rubbing, pain in my foot. Blister.

Mile 6-8 - Hobbling with an ugly gait, almost in tears because blister is so bad.

Mile 8 - Finished! Shoe full of blood. Ran it in a sub 8 min/mile pace, miraculously!

2 hours later - Nauseated, calves cramping, calf made a "popping sensation". I assumed my triathlon training was over.

Needless to say, after Tuesday's run - I focused the rest of my week on foam rolling and low-impact exercise! This was actually really good for me, because it forced me to stay off the road and in the pool!

I also experienced my first flat tire on my bike. Which still lies deflated in our garage. More to come later on my complex with changing a bike tire. So here are a few lessons I was reminded of this week:

  • Wear good socks.
  • If something is painful, don't alter your gait so you can "finish it out"
  • Drink water.
  • Take in electrolytes
  • Check your bike tires the night before!
  • Learn how to change a tire if you're going to sign up for a 60 mile bike race.
And here is my week in workouts:

  • Monday: Weight trained arms in the morning. Swam for 1 mile in the evening.
  • Tuesday: Ran 8 miles (Foam rolled and iced in the evening.)
  • Wednesday: Swam (1800m) drills in the morning.
  • Thursday: Weigh trained chest & back for 30 minutes, and did a 45 min spin class in morning
  • Friday: Brick workout - 1850 m swim. 28 mile bike. (with a staple in my tire....)
  • Saturday: Ran 6 miles (1st run back since the "calf popping incident" and I felt great!)
  • Sunday: supposed-to-be Rest Day. However, we got an amazing monsoon Saturday night, and a group of friends were going to run Sabino Canyon. I couldn't resist. We don't get a lot of rainy days here. So ran 6 miles of insane hills (aka, up a mountain) 

I have to say I'm really enjoying this training, and am starting to fall in love with swimming!