Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Winter Solstice

It has finally arrived! Take time to celebrate today because the days getting longer from here on out. I know I will be probably on my trainer for a couple more months dreaming of warm sun on my skin!

Monday, December 19, 2011


(notice my Dad is wearing his Packers XLV Superbowl Champions hat)

I came home Friday night after work and two workouts to open the door to a flashing orange light. It was my parents taking a picture of me screaming as they shouted Merry Christmas!

The surprises did not end there! We decided to open up mine and the boy's Christmas gifts the next morning since both of them really couldn't be mailed. My sister and my brother-in-law joined through Google+ hangout since they are hanging out in England for the next 3 years. The boy got a fancy plunge router and I unwrapped a power strip.

Yeah, I was confused...until they told me to follow them downstairs.

(holding the computer with my sister and brother-in-law on the other end)

The boy was in on it all and provided a couple measurements and a good hiding spot until the reveal! I definitely didn't put this on my Christmas list, but it has been something on my own to-do/honey-do list for the early spring.

A custom built lighted plant stand hand crafted by my Dad and inspired by my Mom. This has everything I could ever want and a way better job of me slopping something together. My Dad has some serious skills. Since moving from Maryland to Michigan the vegetable season got a whole lot shorter and this will help me get a great head start. I must start planning! Expect a post about all the fabulous vegetables I will be planting. My sister gave me a stainless steel compost pail too so I should be set for a full home grown organic garden this year.

I am so thankful for having awesome, thoughtful, smart, creative, and caring family.

Cookie Monster

I really need to start posting more about Triathlon and less about food, but I can't help it. Don't they say Nutrition is the 4th discipline. Well this might be able to be considered nutrition during an Ironman.

Last week I made some cookies for a party at work that turned out delicious. Enter smitten kitchen, one of my favorite blogs for simple recipes.

Thank you sister for your stand mixer! Let the baking begin!
I decided to make those peanut butter cookies with a twist replacing the chocolate chips with Reese's minis. Do you think I can contact Reese's for a sponsorship? Seriously, the new minis are the best! If you have not tried them go now!
They turned out delicious and irresistible. I made a double recipe to make sure I had enough since I was taking some to work. There are only 4 cookies left after 4 days! I think I am going to try the dark chocolate chips next time, because you can never go wrong with dark chocolate.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Speechless, thankful, and excited

I am not going to brag about being humble, because that just wouldn't be really humble of me, but I have never won anything or really had the chance to say, "Hey look at me I am cool!" Well I do now. It was announced late last week that I will be a member of the 2012 Revolution 3 Team. I had every intention writing this post immediately after I found out and then publishing it when I was announced. Although I had thoughts of excitement in my head it never made it to the computer with life/work getting in the way.

And for the humbleness...Now that I am here at the computer and still ever so pumped and really can't wait for 2012 to start I am finding some other things more interesting for me to post about and connect with my news. This year is going to be epic and change everything which was blatantly put by my coach. Yeah, I said it, a coach! I never thought I would come to this. He is the man that turned me on to Rev3. He recently won his first full distance Ironman triathlon and I thought this would be an appropriate time to introduce him. Yeah that is right, I said WON! Follow his blog here to find his Rev3 Ceder Point Race Report and to keep you mildly entertained. This man can get coke on demand from the back of an SUV. Amazing.

It is actually more of an informal agreement with a well-respected friend where I asked for some initial planning, general advice throughout the year, and 2 months of more detailed workouts and feedback leading up to my peak race. Mainly to keep me honest! I am excited to be able to bounce things off someone who is knowledgeable, leads by example, and awesome enough that he has two first names.

Time to resort the schedule and plan for some awesome Rev3 races around the country!

Monday, November 28, 2011

'Tao of Pooh' - Benjamin Hoff

I was first introduced to this book years ago when I was traveling to a race on the other side of the country. My friend who hosted us had it on his bookshelf and my travel/racing partner at the time snagged and read it throughout the weekend. He loved it and couldn't stop raving about it. I dismissed it, focused on the race, and never came back to it until these last two weeks.

I would hands down recommend this book to anyone. I knew little to nothing on Taoism besides a brief uninformative overview in one of my college courses. The book is intended as an introduction to the eastern belief system of Taoism for westerners in relation with the writings and characters of A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories.

Everything I took from this book I related it to my training and racing. I took a couple quotes from the book that I am going to hang on to and put in a place that I will consistently see.

"When you know and respect your Inner Nature, you know where you belong.
You also know where you don't belong."

I take from this that everything has it own place and function. Do not try to be something you are not and know your limitations.

The main problem with this great obsession for saving time is very simple: you can’t save time. You can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly.

I feel like I am pretty wise in the way I spend my time, but I need to practice the idea of that you can only spend it. I run around trying to save time and stress out when things are tight.

"If we add up all the rewards in our lives, we won't have very much. But if we add up the spaces between the rewards, we'll come up with quite a bit. And if we add up the rewards and the spaces, then we'll have everything - every minute of the time that we spent."

Most importantly this quote reminds me to cherish the spaces and the rewards will follow. So when I need to get up in a blizzard at 5:30 in the morning to go swim. To cherish the experience.

Read this book and I am sure you will walk away with your own quotes and takeaway. Up next, 'The Te of Piglet', also by Hoff.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


One way I keep balance in my life is by eating the "Best Pie in America". If you live near a Baker's Square it is a must. Two words: French Silk

Monday, November 14, 2011


One of my everyday mantra's is simply the word balance. It reminds me of something to keep me sane in life. Not everything will work according to plan and not everything will be perfect. It is important for me to find a balance in those things that don't with the ones that due.

I also find it is easy for me to find balance when I don't push myself to the limits. When I simplify my life and am at ease with the workload I can simply balance like I would balance on one foot.
But it is outside of my realm of capability to simple balance on one foot. I am someone who consistently pushes myself forward. I always have something more to strive for and a more difficult balance to obtain and hold.
It is my goal to strengthen myself to be able to achieve this stretched balance and hold. It takes practice and consistency and time and patience.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I have been turned to the dark side...and am now an addict.

Addicted to gadgets that is. In August, for my birthday, I received an awesome gift from an even more awesome person. I got the new Garmin 610. For a full in-depth review check out DC Rainmaker's review of this cool device as well as a bunch of others.

The main things I wanted out of a GPS watch was something that included heart rate and that wasn't big and bulky. That was a hard thing to find since I have the wrist of a 7 year old boy. This does the job.

Since tearing this bad boy out of the package I have purchased some additional accessories including the awesome wrist band in the picture which has made the fit even better. I also have purchased the bike sensor and bike mount. Since I tend to power my way up hills and I have never ridden with cadence before I think will benefit greatly.

Most recently I have added the Garmin foot pod to my Christmas list. Its going to be hard not to purchase it before then because once on I will be able to measure my running cadence as well. I am super excited. One of my main goals is to make my running form more efficient and I have been told that cadence is an extreme factor in this.

Some shop for shoes, some shop for purses; I shop for gadgets!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tomatoes and peppers oh my!

I started with this....

and finished with this...
and those are only the peppers I froze. More pictures to come on the winter stock up of tomatoes. They are ripening in a paper bag and a cardboard box.

Hot mess!

Since about late June my body has been going through some ups and downs. Every day I daydream through assumptions about what is going on inside my body. The list below is the range of symptoms and conditions I have self-diagnosed with. Recently my physical therapist has confirmed that I have an anatomical leg length discrepancy of ¼ inch to 1 cm. By the look on her face when she told me this, I realized I was outside her normal zone.

Medial gastrocnemii tear or strain on right and left leg (calf strain)
Posterior compartment syndrome
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction
Anterior pelvic tilt
Anterior pelvic rotation right side
Anatomical leg length discrepancy right leg
Functional leg length discrepancy right leg
Rib subluxation left side (1-2)
Pes planus right foot
Twisted sacrum

Our assumption is that everything else is related to this little birth defect; that and trying to do too much to quick. Really need to fix that!

Main hindering thing right now is when I go for a run my calves, more so my right, locks up and hits me with extricating pain, enough to not be able to put any pressure on during or afterward. At least it was because I haven’t ran for a little over a week. I have been doing physical therapy with a new therapist and am going to get some deep tissues massages over the next month. Apparently my muscles are on lockdown and don’t want to loosen up. After my functional (muscular) discrepancy goes away I will be fitted for a heel lift in my right show. I am aiming to get ease back into running on Friday. Fingers crossed. My plans to for a successful recovery include strengthening my butt and lower extremities with tedious exercises, resetting the muscle memory part of my brain, and get back into running slowly.

If anyone has any wisdom or suggestions on these symptoms and injuries I would be gracious for your thoughts. I always feel like I am a hot mess when I am not completely back into shape. Once I get to the level of fit and strength I would have these minor hiccups. Getting there is key.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Get inspired!

This last weekend we were doing some major construction on the house, tearing down ceilings and replacing joists. Some dirty dirty work. Despite being exhausted from the weekend and continuing to wrap up some of the odds and ends from the project I have been making some good tasting meals. I am in no way a baker. My sister has got those skills, follow her blog here and get excited for some up and coming posts from England. I am a cooker. I love tossing things together, merging recipes, and not measuring.

Including the last post of chicken noodle soup, I made some butternut squash muffins (fat-free and they were good! Trust me I am all about the fat), butternut squash stew, and apples over pork. It worked out that we had enough miscellaneous items in the house to whip up some great quick dinners. Thank goodness for my back-stock of homemade chicken stock which I used in the soup and stew.

One of my training goals going forward is to eat better. Two ways I intend to execute this is by signing up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in the spring in addition to my home garden. Having more vegetables around will definitely make me cook with them more and I feel like my diet can never have too many vegetables. The other execution will be making small quick meals on the fly. I know once the training increases my time will decrease but it is just as important to make sure I am putting the goods into the tank. I think having the right backup of ingredients and spices is key to making some delicious and healthy meals. Recipe recommendations are always welcome.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chicken Noodle Soup & Cornbread

An example out what you can make in 30 mins with already cooked and cut chicken and some frozen chicken stock. Turned out great and was perfect for a chilly evening.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mmm mmm chicken!

Sometime in the last year in browsing cooking recipes I picked up the idea of roasting a whole chicken. Every time I do I realize simple, efficient, healthy, cheap, and yummy it is. All I do is buy a whole chicken from the grocery which is usually $4, but can be found cheaper when on sale. If I freeze it, I take it out the day before I am going to make it to defrost. Rinse it, pat it dry with paper towel, remove the stuff (neck, heart, livers, etc.) inside (save), lay it on a baking sheet (with tinfoil over it), butter and season it (salt, pepper, garlic salt, celery salt, thyme, onion powder, etc.), and bake it in the oven. Last night I put it in and went downstairs to ride the trainer. Usually takes about 1-1.5 hours to fully cook. I came upstairs to a warm house and great smells. I let it sit for a while to prevent it from drying out and then comes the tricky part.

I watch this video every time if I am serving the chicken for others, otherwise I will just pick all the chicken off the bone if I know I am going to use it for a casserole or lunch meat.

I set aside the chicken I am going to use for dinner that night and put the rest in a tupperware to use throughout the week for sandwiches, soups, casseroles, or just chicken. Anything that is left including the uncooked insides I saved, spare bones, fat, skin, and the chicken love juice left on the tinfoil I put in a separate container, cool, and freeze. I use this later to make chicken stock which I will post up once I make my next batch.

You will notice all my cooking will circle around simplicity, efficiency, healthy, cheap, and deliciousness. I tend to look up a couple recipes take what I like from each and wing it, but there are tons of recipes out there for roasted chicken. I forgot to get a picture of my delicious creation from last night, but I am sure your mouth is already watering.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Back at it!

I love wiping the slate clean and starting fresh. That's what I am doing with my training and with my blog. At the same time! Today I only have one person following my blog and I am hoping to spread the love and make it grow over the next year.

To start I inserted a picture of what 2012 will look like in regards to my training goals. So if I seem to have fallen off the face of the earth just look back to this original post and you will know where to find me.

I will be signing up next month for Ironman Arizona which will be the race I am looking to lay the hammer down. After seasons of sickness, injury, and balancing life and monie$ with triathlon I think I have learned enjoy to tackle this season head on and kill it. Let's hope we can keep the excitement up through those peaks.