Thursday, December 28, 2006

Early Morning Weight

I'm fascinated by The Weight Room.

Fascinated and fearful, in a way.

I go and spend time there, but I never really feel at home. I show up in the wee early hours, when I would assume that other people serious about their health and training show up, and I feel like less of an 'insider' than I would at a convention for evangelical political pundits in a presidential election year. Fearful that the moment I open my mouth or make one concerted move, I will instantaneously be discovered as an outsider and the floor will magically open up, swallow me whole, and drop me along side the New Jersey turnpike, dazed, confused, and feeling a little slimy.

I had a session with a trainer way back when I started this whole triathlon training trip and it was definitely a smart move. Realizing that I had zero idea of what machines to use and how often or, well, how...I buckled down and dropped the c-note for an hour with someone who did. She's also a triathlete, and a serious one at that. I told her my plans and she put me to work. I learned a solid circuit of exercises both on the nautilus machines (in the safe know, the one with the treadmills and other familiar machines) and in The Weight Room.

I kind of felt like a fool -- an interloper or sorts. Clearly I was getting a lesson on the basics, so I was basically a beginner. I swallowed my pride and went with it and the process payed off. Over the following months I slowly became more comfortable using the free weights freely. I got used to switching out using a machine during recovery. I even figured out where to look in a room full of mirrors and buff guys without completely embarrassing myself. (Com. On. A room full of mirrors and we're NOT supposed to look? Good grief!) I began to recognize the regulars as I became a regular myself.

And, luckily, the floor never opened up and swallowed me whole. I managed to avoid the Jersey roadside and was all that much stronger for the process. Yeah. The definition in my arms alone was worth it. And, recently, we all know that I've been religiously adhering to the cheese steak diet, so I'm ever so slightly less buff than before. And when I say "ever so slightly," I really mean "shockingly." No worries, the New Year is here.

And, now that the New Year IS here, I've been working on my training plan. Finances have dictated that I need to wait until later in January to purchase my TrainingPeaks plan of choice, so I'm pulling together my own prep month plan based on an amalgamation of the bazillion books and mags I've been reading recently.

But, the weight lifting portion of the plan has forced some self-education. Last year -- when I participated and didn't compete -- the basic circuit was just fine. Any strength gain was a bonus. I was going up from the bottom, you know. But this year is different. I want my time down in the bowels of the Y -- in the dreaded Weight Room -- to be really beneficial. Well spent. So, in this process, I found a great site that y'all may be interested in visiting: I've been hanging out on the Exercise and Muscle Directory section to familiarize myself with any number of variations of hip abductor exercises and what the heck the difference is between an adductor and abductor.

I found it really informative and helpful. Maybe you will, too!

And, I'm pleased to say that I've landed on a set of exercises that I think will really payoff. Yes, make me sore in an unholy and evil way. Yes, I will walk for the first week ever so slightly bent over and grunting along the way. But, bring on the high protein/low fat diet and let's tear some muscle tissue. Booyah!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I'm It

I've been tagged! This is my first tagging, so I'm kind of tickled by the whole idea. Thanks JohnnyTri! Here's my entry into the Blog Book Tag...

What to do...

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Tag three more folks.

Being that I work in a counseling center for families and individuals, you would imagine the there are a BUNCH o' psychological books around. But, I stuck to the task and grabbed the one physically the closest to me -- Self Analysis, by Karen Horney, MD. It was published in 1942, which is particularly interesting when you consider the history of analysis, psychoanalysis, and its rise and decline in popularity in professional circles. The first readers of this edition would have likely been contemporaries of Freud (albeit geographically distant) and lived in a world unfettered and unaided by psychiatric medications. The book must have been donated to our center, since it's inscribed to "Elizabeth Anthony, from D.G., Christmas 1944." How very interesting...

p. 123, from "The Analyst's Share in the Psychoanalytic Process"

Like everyone else, the analyst will observe general qualities in the patient's behavior, such as aloofness, warmth, rigidity, spontaneity, defiance, compliance, suspicion, confidence, assertiveness, timidity, ruthlessness, sensitivity. In the mere process of listening to the patient he will, without direct effort, gain many general impressions: whether the patient is able to let himself go or is tense and constrained; whether he talks in a systematic, controlled fashion or is jumpy and scattered; whether he presents abstract generalities or concrete details; whether he is circumstantial or to the point; whether he talks spontaneously or leaves the initiative to the analyst; whether he is conventional or expresses what he really thinks and feels.

In his more specific observations the analyst learns, first, from what the patient tells him about his experiences, past and present, his relationships with himself and others, his plans, his wishes, his fears, his thoughts.

Not bad for a random few sentences out of a random book.

LBTEPA, Spokane Al, and Donald -- consider yourselves TAGGED!

(oh, this is fun!)

I could not have said it better myself

Sunshine, you hit the proverbial nail right on the head. May we all find this in the coming year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oh, and don't forget... register for the GYGO Virtual Tri-Geek Challenge! A fabulous way to start the new year doing exactly what most of us will be up to all year long (swim, bike, run, rinse, repeat comes to mind...).

I, myself, have already checked that the Y is open. So, I'll be joining all of the New Years resoluters (It's a word!)* with some splashing around in the water, drying off on the bike, and shvitzing my way through three miles on the dreaded mill.

But symbolism goes a long way, people, and I'm DOWN with the symbolism of this event.

So. Go. Register. Pick whatever distance you want and have FUN with it!!

Kick the year off on the right foot. Or fin. Or whatever.

* okay, not really

Monday, December 18, 2006


da da daaa daaaah
da da dadada
dada da daaa
dada da da da ...

Okay, enough annoying 80s songs to get stuck in your head on an early Monday morning.

Going on a little hiatus from the blog-o-li-cious scene for the holidays. The next week is ridiculously full, which I should count my lucky stars for, but it seems a little overwhelming right now. So much time needs to be spent gathering glorious gifts and wrapping them for all my loved ones. Visiters are coming into town (yeah Lil'Sis!!!!!) and Mighty M and I will be traveling around the area making sure everyone we love knows it. I'm looking forward to the hours my sister, Dad, and I will spend around the tree and by the fire. Plus, this year is all that much fuller with M's family who is, thankfully, also local. (Whew.) We get to share gifts with a 2 year old niece who never stops chatting and I always want to stow away in the car with us when we leave, and her baby sister who is just a nugget of cuteness. And hopefully in between we can steal some time to ourselves for our first Christmas together.

So, I'm going on a little blog vacation, but will be back soon. And you guys should, too. Spend time away from the computer if you can -- and away from training for that matter -- and gather those you care about around you. Be well, travel safely, and take advantage of the time together.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Morning musing

Less then three weeks until Ironman training begins, and a thought occured to me last night that, while not original or even all that insightful, calmed some of my worries of lost ability.

Achievements that take many days, weeks, months, or years are not undone in less time. The achievement itself may seem tenuous and vulnerable, but when it was hard won and based on honest effort, those impressions of vulnerability are your own perception, not the reality.

Just thought I wanted to share that with you this morning.

In other news, I have solved the website issue (try...the hosting company forgot to actually purchase the domain!) and have picked my training plan for Once the holiday crush is over I'll get that purchased and uploaded for all to see. And, yes Jeremy, I still do owe a race report on the marathon. I guess I'll have to actually make this one funny, since it's so late! Thanks for keeping me honest...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ode to Edamame

I'm not even done eating this dinner and I have to post its crazy quick and easy recipe. Thanks to the NHL and M's penchant for naps, I'm on my own for dinner tonight. Here's what came of rather slim pickin's in the fridge. The edamame are the key -- they're so naturally flavorful and ridiculously packed with protein (not to mention the soy benefits). Don't skimp on the butter. A pat won't kill you and it really brings out the flavor.*

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1-1/2 cups fresh green beans, halved
1/4 cup water
salt, pepper

2 cups cooked brown rice

Saute the frozen edamame in butter and oil combination for 5 minutes on medium heat. (Beware of adding any frozen food to hot oil -- the sputtering can really hurt! Start everything together in the pan if you love the skin on your arms!)

Add the green beans and toss to coat. Season with salt to taste. Add the water and cover, simmering on medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender. Remove lid and cook for 3 more minutes to cook off any remaining water. Season with ground pepper and salt. Serve over brown rice.

Serves: 2 regular people or 1 hungry triathlete

Yup, that simple. But it's really wonderful on taste. Really.

I'd show a picture, but now it's all gone.


* Why butter AND oil? The oil allows the dish to cook at a higher heat, but protects the butter from, literally, burning. So you get the great butter taste and the ability to cook the beans at a relatively high temperature for a short period of time. This works really well with steaks, but you already know my issues with beef.

Friday, December 08, 2006

J'hello Fitness

Last night Mighty M and I had sinful food for dinner. Sinful, delicious, horribly fattening food for dinner.

And it was joyous.

Cheese steaks with fried onions and mushrooms. Mmmm.

So all is good and then, later on before we went to sleep, M asks me the following evil question:

"So, how many more days until you can't have any more cheese steaks?"


Evil, evil man.

But, of course, he's right! * Yeah, um, that would be something like 23 days 6 hours and 18 minutes. And a handful of seconds. In training I wouldn't dream of an evening of random gluttony with zero nutritional value on a Thursday night. No -- I would be patient and wait for great celebration or meaningful milestone to take on the fat, salt, and calories with a smile on my face. Nope, random gluttony won't be in the cards. (And, seriously, Thursday is a long run day so I wouldn't even have TIME for the darned thing!)

My Ironman training begins at the very moment millions of others across this world (give or take a time zone or two) are making bold promises of changed lifestyles. At the crack of midnight, I'll be shifting gears to early morning departures for the gym, bleary eyed plunges into the never-quite-warm-enough waters of the Y pool in the dark hours, and Saturdays spent slamming a brick rather than snuggling a boyfriend.

I'm definitely looking forward to it all, but for a nice period of time I've grown accustomed to rolling out of bed at 8:00 each morning and spending laundry time on my delicates rather than my dirty gear.

There is one thing that I certainly miss -- my fit body. I've never been "Iron Fit," even when working out regularly. (Although, I am very curious to see the changes Iron training will have on my bottom line, so to speak!) Somehow my genetics seem to be my limiter in the hot bod category of triathlons, but I certainly hold my own, albeit in a curvy way. Less Rosie and more Selma Hayek. Kind of.

Anyway, the lack of purposeful activity and the influx of sinful, sinful dinners has left me not so Iron Fit. Perhaps more like Tin Fit. Or Jello Fit.


Jello Fit.

Now, I'm not going to give up those 23 days and whatever minutes. I'm enjoying having no fitness master for now. But he's looming -- right at the edge of my view. Waiting for the clock to strike, the ball to slide down, and for me to join the rest of the world in shifting gears. Literally.

So, bring it on on the first. But in the mean time, can you please pass the popcorn? Thanks, you're the best.

* Yes, sweetheart, right just like the shoes at the mall. Just. Like. The shoes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Training Plans and Online Help

Not the most creative title, I know.

Give me a break -- busy week, but wanted to get this out there.


Ironayla recently posted about a topic that has been on my mind quite a bit recently and is actually tri-related. (GASP -- could it be!?! Is she actually blogging about tri-related stuff and not her Christmas tree??) How do you find a training plan that is detailed enough for your needs, but doesn't put you in the poor house or provide info you could get in other (namely, already purchased) sources, like books?

(That's a very convoluted question. Mr. Piligalli from elementary composition would not be pleased with that one.)

I pulled the trigger and signed up for the package that allows me to plan, track, and compile my training information in what seems to be a relatively easy format. If I can use it, any monkey locked in a room with a computer and a swizzle stick can, too. It has a number of added benefits (visually interesting and useful graphs and reports, fast loading pages, nutrition logs, and interfaces with Garmin/Polar/etc). Plus, I'm on the computer all the time -- morning, noon, and night -- so, that fits in well with my habits.

And, let's be serious, the closer I can get my training 'tools' to match my well ingrained habits (bad or otherwise), the less likely I'll sabotage myself from the get go.


Here's the big question now -- training plans. I've read Big Papa Joe Friel's books. And Wes Hobson, and what feels like a gadzillion other books. So I have a least a beginning base of understanding the process of periodization and how and when to peak. But where my understanding falls short is the minutia.

What drills do I do in the pool on the second swim of a Build Week 3. How do I get the most power out of my legs for a hilly IM, while having little understanding of wattage. Hours of training recommended for the second week of Base. In short -- how do I actually execute my training on a daily basis.

For those who actually know what they're doing (or, like Jeremy, have a personal Ironman Rockstar on speeddial) -- then read no further. has a massive library of sessions to choose from. If you know what you need to do, then just take a couple hours and plug it all in, and then it's gravy.

The rest of us? Read on...

So, my thought was to purchase a plan -- compatible with -- and then tweak it to match my planned A/B races. In fact, there used to be the perfect plan on the site (iron distance for beginners, specific for hilly races), but it was recently plucked away and replaced with other plans that are possibly too advanced for me and are 50% more expensive.

Btw, NOT a wise decision from the team up there at! When I could have had it for $80 last week and you now want $150?? Come. On. I know the value of the plan didn't magically what motivates me to shell out almost double for practically the same thing? (To be fair, the pricier option -- now the only option close to my ability and specific to my race -- is for intermediate level racers, not beginners.) But seriously. Remember that scene in Pretty Woman? Bad move, TP. Really bad move. Cause let me tell ya -- it's Christmas and I'm in the buying mood.

What do you use? Do you like it? Any ideas where a penny pinching triathlete can get a useful starting point to craft a IM season?

Monday, December 04, 2006

...and After...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

O' Tannenbaum

As the moments tick away from my last night of vacation, I feel warm and content inside as this little darling sits in our living room. She's slowly unfurling her boughs and will be dressed for the yule tide ball tomorrow night.

I'm happy to say that my vacation week was filled with absolutely nothing notable. And while nothing exceptional was accomplished (aside from finding a wonderful tree), I actually do feel like my tanks are topped off and I'm ready to take on what comes tomorrow. And Tuesday. And beyond.

So, I'm heading off to my oasis for some Sunday night fizzy water, my new Runner's World, and the knowledge that I can actually do nothing for a week and do it well.

Sleep well, all my bloggy buds. I'm out...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Feeling lonely?


I'm coming back soon. I know it's sad to be apart. Perhaps it will make the heart grow fonder.

But find warmth in the fact that I am doing many very interesting things here...very, very, interesting things. Namely with the charity website. And a little vacation mixed in. And some planning for 2007.

All very fun.

All of which will be reported.

In due time.

But, I have an afternoon at the office with much to do, and then more blogLove (which, I've heard is significantly better than FlavaFlavLove) later this week.

Just know you are missed. But not in a creepy way.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

For which to be thankful...

A warm home with a warm partner – my soft place to land.

My ever understanding and supportive family,
each member of whom adds something special
to my days in their own, unique way.

Waking up clear headed and with a clear conscience every single day.

M, who has made all the difference in
the world to my happiness and my life.

Doing my best at my work and choosing the best work to do.

Friends who know things without asking
and are there for me without question.

Finding personal balance in the journey towards lofty goals.

The health of my family and the time
I am allowed to spend in their company.

Physical health and personal tranquility.

The warm open arms of M’s family
and the prospect of knowing them better.


The prospect of my future, which now seems vast and limitless
– thanks to all of the above.

Monday, November 20, 2006

16 miles, but DNF

Okay, a quick update here before I craft a much longer, much funnier, and MUCH more detailed race report. I made it through 16 miles of the marathon yesterday before my left knee buckled under me and took me out of the race. I've had problems with my IT band since high school sports, so generally I do my special stretches (done) and carefully monitor my gait (done), but sometimes I'm missing some elusive part of the combination.

So, around mile 16 the mild aggravation had turned to sharp pain, so I stopped to stretch again. Took one step back onto the pavement and it wouldn't support weight. Aargh!! (And, nope, that wasn't the word going through my head!) I stretched, tried again, and pondered stopping. Then I did turn back and limped for a while, and decided to try again. (I'm not good with hearing 'no,' even if it comes from my body.) No joy. Second time was worse, so I had to call it a day. Nearly all of my relatives on my father's side have had various knee surgeries and/or replacements. My estimation yesterday was that those last 10 miles would not happen without risking finding myself in the OR. And I have no time for the OR in 2007. No time.

But, I have much to add to that story -- celebrity sightings, crowd favs, and porta-pottie musings -- so check back later.

For now, my achy 33 year old body is on the hunt for massive amounts of Advil, a bag of ice, and a pillow for elevation.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bringing Sexy Back

Went for a lunchtime walk today and I just couldn't resist just a smidge of new gear for Sunday. I know, I know...where'd that budget go, lil' lady? Don't worry, no binge shopping. Just a fuel belt and some GU. It's all good.

But here's my question. Is it possible for women to ever look sexy when wearing one of these? I mean, really. I just bought the four squeeze bottle version (considering the distance Sunday) which also includes one roo-pouch and I bought a *second* roo-pouch for my cell phone, too.

(Let's be honest here. There's a real possibility that I'll be DNF in West Philly. Ever been to West Philly? No? Trust me...I'll want my cell phone. You want me to want my cell phone.)

That's a LOT of stuff around my waist. And while I don't believe that runners or triathletes EVER need to look hot out there while racing, is it too much to ask to not look like I'm wearing an oversized innertube?

There are, of course, benefits to the set up. If, for example, I randomly *fell* into the Schuylkill River I would clearly float.

Of course, I would float face down because of bottle placement. But at least finding my body would be very, very easy.

It is also a chance to color coordinate my FLUID with my OUTFIT, but sadly my palate is limited to also include red, black, and a flirty dash of silver.

At minimum, a full fuel belt greatly aids the negative split factor, so long as you use the facilities often. And with these four bottles, plus heaps of caffeine, and an unholy amount of pre-race hydration...I'm going to need the facilities. And often.

But honestly guys.

There is a serious dork factor going on here, don't you think? This contraption will be going around one of my "problem areas," my "zone of contention." I'm what they (kindly) call an hourglass figure (at least to my face). So adding a four-bottle-ring-of-fashion-hell with two pieces of carry-on luggage attached converts me from an abstract version of Marilyn Monroe to the shape of a...well...a rectangle.

A vertically oriented rectangle. With arms and legs.

There you go, friends. Need to find Able on Sunday in the throngs of people? Look for the red, black, and silver coordinated, vertically oriented rectangle, with a whole lotta red, black, and silver fluid options.

I'll be right by the porta-potties.

Monday, November 06, 2006


My Mom was an amazing woman. Most moms are, I guess, from the perspective of their family and friends. But my Mom was the exception to most rules. She lived her life on her terms and taught her daughters and husband about bravery and integrity and compassion.

Mom used to run. I don’t remember how or why the activity started, but I remember Sunday afternoons not being able to locate her in the studio or the kitchen and realizing that she was watching a football game in the basement while jogging on her treadmill. And, if you knew my mother, a classical pianist with grace and poise to spare, you would see the humor in this scene.

She would run on the treadmill on bad days and outside on good days. She taught me to count telephone poles to measure miles. She never would claim to go far or fast – she was just pleased to be able to go. To move forward and do something for herself to help bolster her health. She was never a coordinated person, or even notably physically graceful. But she was tenacious in her core, quietly relentless in her commitment to all things – her career, her family, her friends. She taught my sister and me – and I would imagine, to some extent, my father – that you keep pushing and plodding, even when the effort appears to far overshadow the results.

You just keep doing.

Keep doing, because at some point you determined that the activity was valuable. So, even though right now it’s painful or inconvenient, you just keep doing. Trust yourself. Trust the effort. Trust the process.

Momentum was a tool that my mother used well.

She weathered a difficult childhood with her head bent and her eyes firmly fixed on her goals. She raised a family on the pendulous swing of momentum. She trained legions of talented pianists through the perpetual roll of lessons after lessons, year after year. She fought cancer with momentum. From surgery through recovery through remission through surgery through recovery – for 10 long years.

I guess at one point she learned that you just keep going. No matter what life throws at you.

You just keep going.


I spend a lot more time nowadays relating to that momentum. Mom passed away in 1997, at the young age of 51, with her oldest making a go at life in the big city and her little baby giving her best shot at her first semester of college. There is much that cancer stole from her and me – from us. So many discussions, so many moments of learning. She never saw the adult that I am now, yet she also was spared all the pain it took to get here.

And I am often reminded of this when I run. When I jog around the neighborhood, plodding forward in my own form of momentum. In some sense, I feel connected with her. Not her as a mother or a teacher, or even a patient or someone requiring care or compassion.

But her as a woman. A young woman with hopes and dreams. A young woman who still goes out for a jog, no matter how awkward she feels in the running clothes or how ungainly her gait is in the long shadow she casts down the sidewalk. She saw her imperfect figure in the store window reflection and I’m sure she was conscious of her slower pace. But it was her time, the moments when she owned the momentum, the roll, the perceivable push from behind. Those, I’m sure, were some of the rare moments she had left over after my sister and me, my father, her students, her charities, and her friends were done taking what we needed.

I bet they were magical.

And I find similar things in those moments, where work cannot reach and all of those other obligations are obliged to wait. I feel the hand on my back, gently pushing forward – not for speed, but rather for momentum. Urging. Follow the roll. Trust the motion. Enjoy the ride.

You only get one chance.

It is in those moments, I feel connected to my mother in a way we were never allowed in life. We were never granted those glances of knowing understanding. We were never allowed to find common ground as peers, as women, as mothers, or as wives.

But occasionally, I feel as if we do connect. And I know that the hand on the small of my back, urging me forward, is hers and she is right there beside me, jogging to our slow and steady pace.

Terms of Engagement

I’ve been thinking a lot about accomplishment recently.

At one point, a few months ago, I wrote something that has returned to in my thinking recently about why we do triathlons (or at least why I do), but also what failure and success is. Because that’s the rub of life, isn’t it? That in order to have achievement -- to be set apart by one’s decisions and deeds -- it is required that we first define success. And with that, of course, comes the concept of failure. A philosophical imperative, of sorts.

Back when I started training for triathlons, a very concerned and very loving family member who asked – “well, what if you fail?” His concern was that I would lose ground in a long battle for peace and confidence. Playing by the lofty and challenging goals of triathlons may be beyond my means. And the concern was not unfounded because, of course, where there is great reward, there is also great risk of loss. Triathlons are challenging and triathletes are exceptional.

And I had to chew on that concept for a while, turn it around in my head and look at it from all angles. What if I stopped training before my first race, out of laziness or prioritizing other goals ahead of triathlon? I had been lazy in the past, and I had been fickle with my hobbies and interests, too. What if I was too scared to start my first race? What if I could – or would – not finish? I can be terribly persuasive, and unfortunately that makes it much easier to talk myself out of things, as well as into things! What if I only did one race? And, more pointedly, what if I did not live up to my potential and sold my achievements short of my natural ability? What if I made excuses for my actions or sourced what (or who) determined my success in other events, limitations, or people?

This is a battle we wage every single day. For every meaningful decision, there is a complicated matrix of why and how that I believe helps build character and integrity. But the rules of the engagement are often not readily apparent and are fraught with definitions provided by others, rather than one’s self.

And what I have come to believe is that I define the rules of engagement in this endeavor. I decide what I am seeking and how I will accomplish this. I decide how far to go and what to prioritize below and above. I determine whether I have failed or succeeded. I measure my accomplishments and do so based on what I value.

I am terribly lucky for the sport of triathlon – and the people I have met through the sport – but, I must always remember that the race is not the end, it is only part of the endeavor.

And with this approach, I can’t go wrong.

It’s not always easy to remember this rule. It is so very easy to slip back into charting mileage based on the expectations of others, picking activities and races based out of pride or fear of shame, and imposing demands on my self inconsistent with my hopes. Those are behaviors of habit – a well ingrained habit, but certainly not the hardest one I have had to break. In fact, I’ve become rather adepts at breaking habits recently!

So, I have been thinking about this all over the last week. I have considered these ideas when tracking all those bloggy friends toeing the line in Florida, and when planning my own personal time. And, of course, with the marathon coming up in the near future, I have had thoughts of why, how, and how fast.

And I am growing comfortable in my relatively new approach. I am growing comfortable making this endeavor not about the expectations of others, but about my own joy, my own challenges, and my own successes. And that feels oh so much better than before. Because it is solid. Because I am solid.

And that, I know, is because I have set the terms of engagement. I act only upon my own behest, and achieve more because of this. I know what it means to succeed for me, and I know what it means to fail. And if I do either, I do it on my own terms.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


If a joy were in a bottle, sparkly, slippery, and dazzeling to the eye, I would sell that snake oil to any bidder. If just a small bottle would reset the askew and uncrook the crooked, I would market it to all and give it away at the holidays. I would drink it down unabashedly and selfishly soak up all its purposful restorative. I would package and parcel and send and share. I would tell all and invite many, I would bask and repeat, I would lead by example and draw by the hand.

I would go for a morning run . . . want to join me?

Monday, October 30, 2006


(This is just a parenthetical. It’s not actually a real post. I’m actually shamelessly hiding from my blog and its readers.

Hiding? From us? But, why?


Life has made, well, life a little complicated. Bore you with the details, I will not. But it involves a head cold and some bad karma from a couple of people around me. Result -- little training and not much tri-lovin.

Bad karma? Good grief…that sounds ominous. Bad, even. What's up?

Oh, it’s nothing big, really. You know how sometimes the world seems, um, conducive. And sometimes, a bit resistant. My world has been a little resistant recently. In a purse catching on door nob in mid step leading to spilled coffee and a broken nail kind of way. But with people rather than things.

But you can tell us about that! We’re just your imaginary-internet-friends. We don’t mind rants.

I know, I know. And thanks – I can always count on you guys. But, let’s just keep these to myself. If I have my druthers – and I almost always have my druthers – I’ll have good news to report soon and all these clouds and cobwebs will be cleared.

Cobwebs? Did she say cobwebs?

Of course, silly. A touch of the season, for effect. Literary nuance.

Someone should tell her that Halloween isn’t until tomorrow. I don’t think she knows. Do you think she remembered to turn her clocks back?

Of course I remembered to turn them back. Common guys, you know I can hear you! I’m TYPING you!

Okay, she’s getting a little crabby now. Maybe we should go.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Lunch Lady Blues

"Well yesterday's meatloaf is today's sloppy joes
And my breath reeks of tuna
And there's lots of black hairs coming out of my nose
In Lunchlady Land your dreams come true
Clouds made of carrots and peas
Mountains built of shepherds pie
And rivers made of macaroni and cheese
But don't forget to return your trays
And try to ignore my gum disease
No student can escape the magic of Lunchlady Land"
Adam Sandler gave me and my friends years and years of
pee-in-your-pants laughter over the stupidist of things.
I admit it. Slap the cuffs on me, I confess. His songs are addictive and his movies are infinitely quotable. In fact, there was an entire summer in college (Summer of 1994, to be precise) when quoting movies was our only form of dialog and Lunchlady Land was a constant refrain. It didn't matter to us that we were wandering the campus of an ivy league institution...fat maaaan in a
liiiiiitle cooaaaat yelled across the pristine campus lawns in no way, shape or form lost its humor on the trip. Still doesn't.

But "hoagies and grinders" aside, the topic of lunch has come up often for me. My coworkers and I winge often about the lack of good choices out there and how to pack a good lunch without (a) breaking the budget, and (b) making us cringe at the thought of eating it. We groan about the lack of variety and make faces at the prospect of frozen "cuisine," lean or not.

And I'm a cheapskate. A cheap, frugal, penny pinching, miserly, old coot who refuses to fork over the $9 for a Wawa sub and soy crisps every day. Have you ever done the math on that one?? Plus, the whole fitness/triathlon thing means that I need control, and lot of it -- over things like protein and carbs and frequency and portions.

A hungry, control-freak, cheapo.

Now, occasionally my daytime nutrition is dictated by how late I'm running in the morning or how tired I was the night before. Sometimes, I'm lucky to grab a yogurt drink, piece of fruit or breakfast bar on the way out. Othertimes, I wonder how I managed to pack in that last minute every single starch that wasn't nailed down in the kitchen.

But most of the time I get to it the night before. And sometimes, even, I get it right. Like today. And, just like those days you wear just the right outfit (if you care about those things) don't want to forget a winning combo. And maybe others (i.e., you crazy nuts who read this blog) may find some ideas there, too.

So, here's today's lunch.

  • Turkey sandwich on rye toast (lots of turkey, a little mustard, and bunches of pickles)
  • Yogurt (mmmmm)
  • Apple
  • Bag of raw green beans
  • Bag of baby carrots
  • handful of raw almonds, no salt
  • 1/2 cup edamame, shelled with a dash of salad dressing on them

For some people (hi Dad!), that sounds worse than Abu Ghraib torture. For me, that sounds like a way good choice when doing up the lunches last night.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Lessons Learned: NERRC 25K Tune-Up

Timing: For once, I was on time. Early, even. And that was excellent. A little thing, but it is nice to have time to wander and stretch, get my head together rather than worry. My usual M.O. – bad estimating the night before, leaving a bare minimum of time day of. But my success this weekend had a lot to do with my new discovery – Melotonin. More on that in a later post…likely requires a spotlight of its own.

Private stuff: Thank god for clean and warm public rest rooms. Nuff said.

Sherpas: I rarely have to do a long distance or big race without Mighty M and yesterday, I missed my sherpa. Where do I put my car key? What do I do with the tee-shirt? No camera? I was getting creative there for a little while and must acknowledge how much he does for me in those last 20 minutes before a race. He can’t be at them all, but he is definitely missed when he’s not there. Love ya, babe.

Nutrition/hydration: On a scale of 1-10, yesterday was about a 6. Needs important tweaking before the marathon, but I made it through. Here’s how it worked out.


  • One yogurt drink (90 calories) -- this settles my stomach and seems to help me digest a lot of the other…um…yucky race food.
  • One Go Lean bar (290 calories) -- hard to chew, but really digestible – starting to really love these
  • One 20 oz Wawa coffee -- um…duh
  • One Pepsid Complete -- the race day I forget this, is one very unhappy race day
  • One sports bottle water


  • Mile 5: One GU (110 calories)
  • Mile 9: One GU (110 calories)
  • Drinking: only water, only at stations (5 stations)

Obviously, there are some serious holes. I finished, but it could have been better. Lesson Learned? Bring own hydration. I hate to hang out at the stations and the GU made me all cottoned mouthed while running. (Or maybe that was all the yammering I was doing on the run.) Regardless, it’s worth having a small suitcase bouncing around on my bottom and looking like a mom-jeans-wearing-gear-freak, so that I can drink at will.

Lesson Learned? Don’t forget to “eat.” I had a third GU for the 12th mile. I still have that third GU for the 12th mile. At home, in my race food box. Not doin’ much good there.

Clothes: I have Mighty M to thank for this one. The morning was f-r-o-s-t-y, but the run was going to be long. He suggested a thin short sleeved tech shirt and a long sleeved cycling jersey over it. Right. On. Not only just right for temp, but also gave me the pockets I needed to carry nutrition. Excellent choice. Lesson Learned? Pockets good.

Pacing: I usually run alone. In fact, about 95% of the time it’s just me. But hooking up with Scott, and later Rick, yesterday made a huge difference in my pacing. I know I would not have pushed so hard on my own. It wasn’t so fast that I tapped early, but juuuuust right. Lesson Learned? Pacing partners are good partners. I’m reconsidering the pace groups for the marathon.

Gear: One goal for yesterday? Learn about my splits on this type of distance. Required gear? Yup…a watch. Did I bring one? You guess. Lesson Learned: Even short races benefit from a checklist. Make one. Follow it. (Bonehead)

Shoes: Aah, Asics. That’s what they should be called. Aah, Asics. Just adore my new shoes. I did get some blistering (one on the inside of my heel), but nowhere near as bad as before. These blisters were just from running in a good fit, for a long distance. I can manage this. And, glory be, I actually didn’t have (i) knee pain, or (ii) foot pain. Aah, Asics. I am fully converted. Lesson Learned? Be proactive with your equipment to avoid injury. It makes all the difference.

Race Report: NERRC 25K Marathon Tune-Up

First off – let me just say that this was a great experience. The weather was perfect, the run was challengingly successful, the race directors/volunteers were friendly, and I met some great people.

That, my friends, is a good race.

This little tune-up* was put on by the Northeast Roadrunners Club in Philadelphia, which I had never encountered before, but they do a good race. Nothing spectacular – just great long-sleeved tee-shirts for participants, clock timed, and a few water stops. Good stuff.

Now, I’m just going to assume (and we all know where that gets us!) that this little club requires sub-8 minute miles or some Kenyan bloodline to belong. Because all the other runners…um, crazy fast. Or, at least, crazy fast for me!

Buuuut…even with only a Scottish bloodline and a squatty stature, I am very excited for my time!

15.5 miles in

Not bad for someone who has that same pace as her 5K standard! (Now, of course, the training devil in me is saying, well, if you can run 15 miles at 10:30…then you can push more on the short distances…go, go, go!) Actually I have new friends and running buddies, Scott and Rick, to thank for this. Our paces just happened to jive and so we stuck together for the whole distance. And having Scott there to keep my pace not only up, but a little on the edge of pushing it, was excellent! I think we were both surprised at the results. Plus, he was really interesting to talk to and didn’t seem to mind all of my yammering. Sometimes I think I should wear a disclaimer that I talk a lot. Just to warn people. But Scott made the run shift from bearable to enjoyable. Hopefully we’ll run (ha!) into each other at the marathon next month. Thanks Scott!

And then there was Rick. Ah, Rick. Rick was our a silent companion for much of the morning, but we were later able to tap his knowledge of marathons (10 of them so far!) and distance running. He had such good advice to lend and was just great fun to have around, especially for that last few miles. Rick – if you ever get to read this – thanks so very much. I’m going to keep all of your encouragement in my back pocket during the marathon next month, pulling it out for those tough miles and reminding myself that if I can make it 15 miles like I did yesterday, then I can make it 26.2. You rock.

Sorry, guys, no pictures for this one. Mighty M was at home, sleeping in (which he hugely deserved), so I was sans sherpa. Which is a shame – it was really beautiful. The trees along Kelly and West River Drives were changing and the sun was bright. Just a wonderful crisp day. Anyone have suggestions for bringing along a camera, but not having it get all sweaty and messed up during a run?

Lastly, I did get a chance to thank one of the race directors for all of their hard work, but big kudos should go out to everyone involved in the NERRC. Thanks for coming out on such a cold morning so that we could get tuned-up and ready for next month!

Okay, I have a number of lessons learned on this one, so I’ll post them up later today. For now, I hope y’all had wonderful weekends!!

* Isn't it terribly fun to call a 25 K run at the crack of dawn on a Sunday a "little tune-up" -- so casual and relaxed like... ;)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Do they just grow'em like that in Wisconsin??

What is it about Wisconsin? I feel like every time I turn around, there's another triathlete I'm being introduced to or reading about from that fair state! And, yet again, here is a wicked cool (that's for you, Stu!) story about an 88-year old triathlete who clearly has been drinking the water up there.

I'm gobstopped.

(And I don't just say that because it's a fun word.* I really am.)

Check out her story and send a quick "get well" note to JohnnyTri, who posted about her through a DayQuil induced haze. Thanks JT!

*which, a quick Webster's search reveals is not, in fact, a word. Good grief.

MADISON, Wis. - Eighty-eight-year-old Mary Stroebe is a little beat up.

On a short bike ride outside her wooded home on the city’s west side, she somehow sliced open her calf. There’s a titanium rod in her left shin, a constant reminder of a skiing accident earlier this year.

But the bespectacled, silver-haired great-grandmother is still decked out in her riding gear — pink, purple and black shorts and shirt — and her day is just getting started. She’s got three weeks left to get ready for the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, named for the chain of gyms sponsoring the Minneapolis race.

The July 15th triathlon — a succession of swimming, biking and running that tests even the most hardened athletes’ wills and stamina — will be Stroebe’s 12th.

“I think I’m young so I act like it. I don’t realize how old I am,” she said Saturday. “I’m in good health and good shape. I’ve stayed active the whole time. Those are things that pay off.”

The retired school teacher grew up an athlete, playing intramural basketball, volleyball and field hockey at Lawrence University in Appleton. She spent three years in the U.S. Navy Waves during World War II, coding and decoding messages in Seattle as a lieutenant junior grade.

She began a lifelong love affair with downhill skiing in Seattle, and still teaches skiing at Devil’s Head Resort in Merrimac.

She entered her first triathlon in Beloit in 1993 at age 75, joining her son Bruce — who has competed in several triathlons himself — and her granddaughter in a three-generation team. Each one competed in one leg of the race.

“I just watched them and said that looks like fun,” she said. “I can do that.”

Not ready to hang it up
She entered her first triathlon on her own in 1995. She’s done 10 more since.

This past January, she broke her left leg after a snowboarder fell in front of her while she was skiing at Squaw Valley. Doctors inserted the rod in her leg and forbid her to compete in this year’s triathlon.

Nothing doing, said Stroebe.

She picked up her training again two months ago with the help of a personal trainer. Almost every day she spends up to three hours riding, biking or walking.

“Each year I think it’s my last,” she said. “Sometimes I think it’s time to hang it up. Then it comes and I think it’s fun to do it one more year.”

Monday, October 16, 2006

The News, The Progress, The Plan (II)

Happy Monday, y’all!

Firstly, thanks for all the happy birthday wishes from everyone on each of my birthdays! The good news is that birthday season has passed, leaving a few things in its wake but thankfully not reaching tornado impact at any one point. I have put the kibosh on any arbitrary birthday declarations until at least next October. Or maybe the summer. We’ll see.

With that said, it was so darned fun having my birthday again on Friday! Lots of tasty food was eaten, some celebratory DQ was shoveled, and much pj-wearing and movie-watching was accomplished. All smiles over here. All smiles. Thanks, M, you made it so very special.

In other news, I have my fabulous sister to thank for my very first IRONMAN GEAR!!! The very thoughtful rockstar that she is, managed to order some honest-to-goodness Ironman gear from the big island itself. Apparently, with growing concerns that my “themed” birthday presents (which graced my dining room table for a week, tempting me each time I passed!) wouldn't make it in time, Lil’Sis would call the poor guy at the store (noteably also his home) each day to see what was up with shipping. Um, but there is that pesky time difference. Needless to say, there is a very happy IM retailer in Hawaii who is very psyched that my birthday – part one, two, or whatever – is finally done. Although now he needs to start setting his alarm clock again….

Okay, focus.

Getting off track already…and it’s only Monday.

Very big news over the weekend, indeed. Thanks so much to all of the excellent advice and suggestions offered up by ShirleyPerly, Spokane Al, and D for my ongoing saga of blisters and knee/hip pain. The general consensus? Throw my New Balance shoes out the window of a speeding train in a foreign land as soon as humanly possible. No more NB for me. Apparently, my heel is too narrow and my pronation too, well, over for the beloved New Balance. Enter stage left, my new ride (which I somehow managed to put at the TOP of the post, instead of here...will I ever figure this out??)

This pair of gel-joy is (hopefully) the answer to my running dreams. A nice narrow heel cup, a legion of itty-biddy pronation midgets ushering my foot through the proper roll each time I land, and an insole even the Greeks would love for its architecturally sound support of my mid-foot, taking some of the strain off of my shins.

Ah, the joy of a good fit. I’ve mentioned before that a bad fit can ruin your day, and this bad fit had been ruining my past few months. Wa-flippin-hoo! BRING IT ON!!

The Progress

(cough, cough)

Okay, so...all bold-faced-large-font-fancy-color enthusiasm aside, segueing into the progress portion of this tome with the new shoes is, well, kind of apropos. Or, maybe apro-no, instead. Why? Check out the Buckeye bar, and you’ll see why.

Not. Much. Progress.

I know, I’m disappointed in me, too.

To be fair, running on the old ride would have just continued to exacerbate the problem and certain financial restraints dictated waiting for the new kicks until this weekend.

(That even smells like an excuse.)

What, you say?

The gym? Time in the pool? Maybe ride a little? Maybe even run IN the pool, like the big TGK? Sigh. I know – not a lot of progress. But never fear, dear reader(s). I have a good feeling about this week. A really, really good feeling. Stay tuned…I just may surprise us, after all.

The Plan

Here’s my thinking about this week. Run, run, and then run some more. Swim in between, for sake of my old joints creeking around. And then run.

Okay, well...maybe not that aggressive. I'm looking for some nice solid runs and a moderate pace early in the week. There is a marathon tune-up run on Sunday in Philly that I'm definitely doing -- a great chance to see how I'm doing on the fitness continuum and whether or not I risk falling completely appart on the Philly Marathon next month. I'm actually looking forward to the tune-up...a great chance to check on my nutrition tactics and pacing.

And, of course, there is the FearAsMotivator school of thought...that I completely subscribe to and wholeheartedly support.

And you know what? I can’t wait to get to runnin'. If I could slap the new shoes on right now and go out, I would be all over that! Patience, I guess, is a virtue. And moderation. But I have a good feeling about this week. A really, really good feeling.

Well, that’s all that is fit to report from here.

Be well!

Friday, October 13, 2006

For Immediate Release: Bithday Relocated, Retooled, and Redefined

Nope, didn't lose my birthday, per se. It did happen...technically.

But, I've decided to get a little creative about my birthday and hereby announce that TODAY is also my birthday. At least for this year.

I had a very nice day on Wednesday...don't get me wrong. It was a good day at work and I made it through until the end without falling down or messing anything (important) up or insulting any strangers. I even got beautiful flowers from my man AND cool gifts from Lil' Sis (more on those nuggets later).

But, it was kind of, um...blah.

Yup, just kind of...blah.

Mighty M was stuck at the office until way late. I had a box of mac & cheese for dinner. There wasn't really anything to watch on tv and I wasn't really in the mood to run. Just blah.


So -- knowing that a birthday is supposed to be FAN-FLIPPIN-TASTIC, I hereby announce that today is my birthday.


(or two)

(or whatever)

Why today?

Because it is a beautiful fall day out. Because I am rocking the house with my work productivity. Because I'm going for a run after work through crunchy fall leaves and under a bright blue sky. Because I'm having dinner with my sweetie at the Dilworthtown Inn tonight. Because I get to dress up like a purdy lady and be waited on by snobby waiters. Because tomorrow I head to the beach to play golf with my Dad (if I can convince him to join in the fun).

Just BECAUSE. Darnit!!

So, I wish all my blogging friends a phenominal weekend...because that's what I plan on having starting....


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Don't believe the hype

False Alarm.

It seems that within one lousy business day, Ironman North America has (i) opened up a lottery for two IM races, and (ii) immediately closed the lottery down.

Now that just ain't nice.

Sorry to all those who got their hopes up. Who knew that a press release from an international company would be so unreliable!? Ah, well. There are still 35 spots open in the IMmoo Charity Fund! (Well, that is if the website can be trusted...)

Train safe, be well...


I know -- I've just been a blogging queen these last few days!

Anyway, if you didn't make it into the entry for Ironman Wisconsin 2007 -- and I know many of you didn't because it was a total FIASCO! -- then check out this press release from IM North America. It seems they're hoping to bring a balance back to their karma with a little lottery love.

Monday, October 09, 2006

My basement is so NOT sick

You know how, when you're really sick, aaallll you want is to feel better but when you're on top of the world, you conveniently forget how much you have to be thankful for? Or, when things are so NOT going your way and even the littlest thing is frustrating all you want is for obstacles to move out of your way, but when the path is clear the memory of frustrations is out of your mind?

I just want to say that after all the crazy frustration that converting our basement into some semblance of a home gym, I just LOVE having it down there for me. Yeah, getting it cleaned out was a pain. And yeah, the night spent finding all the plugs and cords meant a missed LSD. And you never even heard about the issues with the television that couldn't go loud enough to be heard over the din of the dreadmill. I thought I was condemned to a winter of watching only foreign films.


But all is solved now. Yeah! Last night, after a long day of tons of errands and cleaning, I was able to get a quick 3 miles in while watching Cops. Quick and casual. Like the drive through of run training, but without the guilt. So nice. I love convenience! So, I just had to acknowledge that the basement does not have a runny nose or a hacking cough. Rather, it's a perfectly healthy, perfectly convenient, just plain perfect little spot for me to spend some time alone...with my running shoes, free weights, and my favorite officers of the law.

Now if only I had a bike trainer down there, too. And a pool.

I know, I know. But a girl can dream, right?

The News, the Progress, the Plan

Okay, so I always enjoy the Good, Bad, and Ugly reports of Bolder each week, but I don’t have the heart to totally rip him off, so I’m just going to kind of rip him off. Sorry, man. It's all about flattery.

My iteration – the News, the Progress, the Plan.

I hope that this won’t be hugely boring for my, er, three readers (including my family, who already start glazing over at the eyes when I talk about training!). But sometimes it’s helpful to recap – touch a little base, rock a little planning, set some goals. You know – what we triathletes do best.

The News

This week, I’m turning another year older (33). What year that is…I plan on keeping to myself (33). Let’s just say, that were I still a lover of the hops and barley, Heineken would be my flavor of the week (33). So, in honor of my not-so-graceful slide into an older chronological age (33), (but not yet a new age group!) I plan on paying tribute to my newfound fitness with lots of fun crosstraining and not as much concern about the numbers (33).

Because clearly, I’m beyond that.


And, btw, my sister is a total ROCKSTAR! She sent me a pile of gifts for my birthday. A PILE, I tell ya! She shouldn’t have sent anything more than, maybe, a card. But my sister doesn’t hang like that. She is the Martha Stewart of birthdays. Or, in her world, Birthweeks. Now all the purdy packages are sitting on my dining room table, looking tempting and sparkly for me each time I go past. Can’t wait for Wednesday!

More news. This weekend I spent a lovely day with my Dad, Aunt J, and Mighty M out at Chester County Day. This is a day when those in our beautiful county doing tours of the homes of the wealthy and antique-inclined. Voyerism at its best. For fun, there is a fox hunt in the morning, where you can talk to huntsmen (and women) about the history of the hunt and watch their stunning horses at work. A family tradition for us, and Mighty M got his first taste of what it’s like to be pent up in a car with inlaws for about 8 hours.

And he’s still alive, so he must be a keeper.

And lastly, I continue to move forward with IM Able, although progress is behind the scenes right now. Janus Charity Challenge…check. Found just the right company to host the site, so waiting for a little cash flow to set it up. And I will be meeting soon (hopefully this week) with Canine Partners for Life to talk about coordinating efforts. All very exciting!

The Progress

Last weeks goals were almost met, but I did fall short in some arenas. Long run – the ever illusive long run. I totally know that this is essential. But I wish that someone would tell my body that it has to get it together for one. Between blisters and knee pain, it’s always a crap shoot as to whether I can tolerate more than 6-9 miles. But, I’m tending to my minor issues like Florence Nightingale and being smart. Hopefully this week will bring much more success.

I do want to add some more strength work into the mix. My abbreviated upper body lifting last week (aka, at home with dumbbells) made it clear that I have lost some muscle mass during my post-season hiatus. Not a lot, but enough to notice. I blame it on the spinach ban.

The Plan

Okay, this week should look something like this…

PM – Long Run – shoot for 15 on 12:00

AM – Swim
500 w/u under 11:30
5x50 on 1:00
5x100 on 2:10
5x50 on 1:00
500 under 11:00
PM – Run – recovery, 3.1 miles
Strength – core ½ hour

Wednesday - BIRTHDAY!!! *
AM – sleep in
PM – Run – 6.2 miles (loop 1 on 31 min; loop 2 on 30 min)
Strength – 1 hour – core, lunges, upper body

AM – Swim
250 w/u
full recovery
cool down
PM – Bike – 2 hours (approx. 35 miles); L12 hills

AM – nothing
PM – Run – Intervals on Dreadmill (1-2-3-4-3-2-1)

One long bike (40 miles)
One long run (16 miles)
One session core (1/2 hour)

Total Swim: 5250 meters
Total Bike: approx 75 miles
Total Run: approx 45 miles (but that includes 2 LSDs)
Strength: 2 hours
* (33)

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Marinated London Broil Sandwiches

Note: I made this for the first time only a few weeks ago and loved it. The soy in the marinade did the trick in tenderizing the beef, leaving it buttery and delicious. We originally ate it with roasted potatoes and a veggie, but it was the sandwiches the day after that were fantastic. One recipe…lovin for a week.


½ cup soy sauce
¼ cup red wine vinegar
½ cup vegetable oil
Tbsp lemon juice
3 large shallots, chopped
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3-5 dashes hot sauce
healthy pinch ground pepper
3 springs fresh thyme (if you have it, otherwise 2 caps of dried)

Combine marinade with approximately 2 lb London broil cut. Marinade for at least 2 hours (DON’T SKIMP! Look at is as training for your dinner…the investment of time pays dividends).

Broil for 3-5 minutes per side. Allow to sit for 5 minutes prior to slicing, then slice on a bias against the grain. Assemble with your choice of:

Ciabatta bread
Stone ground horseradish mustard
Dill pickle slices
Cheddar block cheese, sliced

BEEF: It’s what’s for dinner

I’m sorry, but I love beef.

When I was in college and came home for the occasional visit, my Mom (bless her heart) would always make a point to make something special for her vegetarian daughter. A sweet and inclusive way of saying, “you and your fancy, liberal arts approach to nutrition…I understand and support you. Eat vegetables and be merry…around the table, with the rest of us, well, normal people.”

But, you see, I wasn’t a vegetarian.

At all.

Love her to bits, but Mom was convinced that since I actually loved to eat veggie on a daily basis, that I had given up beef. So, I would be faced with a delish – and very inclusive – dinner of greens and stewed tomatoes (mmm), but would be forced to watch my family nosh on hot, grill seared steaks.

It took a little while to convince Mom, but she finally got it. I’m a meathead. I couldn’t go a week without a steak. My perfect last meal? Medium rare filet, sautéed shiitaki mushrooms, roasted red bliss with rosemary, and steamed asparagus with lemon butter.




So it is only fair that were I to chose to end it all with beef, I should at least start it off with it, too. Every once and a while, I’m going to post my favorites of favorite recipes…and for me, that’s opening y’all up to a LOT of recipes. Cause I love to cook. Almost as much as I love to eat.

And that's a lot.

Monday, October 02, 2006

She's BAAAAACK in the saddle again....

(did ya miss me?)


What a weekend! I would think that I would be updating you on the miles of tread I milled, or the superspeedy cadence I achieved on some whacky descent.

But no.

Actually much of my weekend was triathlon free. Much needed attention was paid, instead, to all of those other facets of my life that were tugging at my shirt, yammering for a little lovin and a little TLC. So I did laundry. And I organized my personal finance files. I snuck in a trip to Weggies and a (frightening...omg it was so scary) trip to BJs.* I made a delicious – DELICIOUS – steak dinner with Mighty M to celebrate absolutely nothing. I napped. I spent QT with M. I bundled under blankets and watched stupid tv.

Okay, so it wasn’t all blissful being triathlon-free. I did feel a little guilty, too. And a tad bit antsy. What is it in our makeup that doesn’t allow for personal time, time away from training? That was the intent of this weekend, but it did lend to the ever so subtle undercurrent of guilt. Toto, we are definitely not in Kansas anymore!

So, I’ve decided that my casual approach to my ‘off season’ is over. Training begins again in full earnest. No joke. It’s time to get it ON! I mean, really, I'm going to Wisconsin in only a handful of months to GET MY GROOVE ON and I need to be ready. Plus, I do well with structure. Much better than I do without. I enjoy that accountability. I need a plan. I don’t do well without one.

So, in that spirit, here’s my plan for this week. It fits in like this:

~ continued running for marathon peak (Nov 19),
~ moderate cross training for both increased calorie burn and reduction of knee pain,
~ addition of core training for better running form.

How to get there:
Swim: 2000 meters
Bike: 60 minutes (approx. 20 miles)
Run: approx 35 miles, give or take
Strength: 1 hour core, 1/2 hour upper body


Plan of Attack

AM Nothing
PM 9.3 mile (3 loop) run – target 11:00 minute miles
½ hour core video

AM Swim – moderate pace, focus on form and breathing
500 warm up
ladder – 50, 100, 200, 300, 200, 100, 50
500 cool down
Total: 2000M

PM Run – recovery pace, 3.1 miles

AM Run – fartlek’s
10 minute warm up
1 – 2 – 3 – 2 – 1
10 minute cool down, stretching

PM upper body freeweights

AM Bike (gym) – 60 minutes @ L12, hills

PM Run – tempo (40 minutes)
½ hour core video


Off (Chester County Day!)

LSD – 15 miles – Marsh Creek or Rt. 52



* BJs...on a Saturday afternoon. What was I thinking? What in the world was I thinking? Kids...just keep your hands close to your body, don’t look anyone straight in the eye, and head down. You’re here for coffee, shaving cream, and paper towels. Absolutely no bose systems or DVD player for the basement. Absolutely not...hey...wait......PUT THAT DOWN!!!! Geesh.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mother, Wife, Survivor

As our weekends approach and the work weeks -- for most of us -- grind to a gumpy halt, please take a few moments to read this post by JL. He has taken the time to put his family's experience with breast cancer, tragic disappointment, and inspiring hope out there for us to share. And to honor their strength and perseverance, he has chosen to make his trip to IM Lake Placid next July about something bigger than just the finish line.

And you KNOW that gets me every time. Every. Single. Time.

So, take a second to read JL's story, and consider contributing towards his goals of honoring every day of his mother's triumph over cancer -- 4,673 of them.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Creative Energies...

I've taken a minor vaca from blogger land so I can work on my what-i-did-last-summer essay, or in other words, my Team Race Athlete manifesto. Surprise, surprise -- I'm not having a hard time finding the words I'm looking's trying to find the right words!

Anyway, I'm back on the blogging tip (so to speak) this weekend, when I can tell you all about my indoor running fiasco, my developing relationship with my alarm snooze button and my resistance to it "going to the next level," and reflections on gear or, more to the point, GearLust on a budget.

Be well, train safely, and would someone PLEASE call me tomorrow at 5:00 to make sure I'm not late for the gym!!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Tonight...I run...Run like the wind...

Tonight, this cranky 30-something with a mileage chip on her shoulder runs. And if I needed any reminding as to WHY I do this, I just need to take a look here. Because Athena Diaries is absolutely right about it all.

And, surprise, surprise. It has nothing to do with the numbers.

Enough is Enough

I feel compelled to write this down for a number of reasons. One – it has been bugging me a bunch. Two – (consequently) it has been bugging Mighty M a bunch. Three – I doubt I’m alone.

Last night I had big plans for a long, slow distance. I need one…desperately. With the Philly Marathon approaching in November, I need to be religious about these distances. Or at least vaguely religious about them.

But life intervened with long grocery lines and heavy traffic and missing plug adapters and missing running shorts and every LITTLE thing that would regularly be just annoying, but instantaneously converted into one BIG thing standing between me and my workout.


I stumbled through three frequently interrupted miles on the dreadmill and finally called it quits. Not because of pain. Not because of exhaustion. But because I had had it up to here and just had to pull the plug.

Three lousy miles.

And you DO hear the condescension in my typing! Three miles has become a happy quick workout on days when I’ve swum already or just want to get out but don’t need mileage. At one point very recently, it was a major physical effort for me – a major test of my progress. I appreciate that. I appreciate how far I have come and how nice it is to be physically able to simply put on some shoes and run three miles. I really do. But I have done that work. I have laid prostrate and breathless in front of the shin-splint infested mileage gods and begged for one more mile...just let me get through this without walking.

But it doesn’t feel like enough recently. I have been looking for more out of my training and last night that was mileage. I wanted that long run last night. I could taste it all day. It’s the only reason why I didn’t break down into tears when the six bottles of fizzy water that burst out of the one plastic bag the checkout girl thought would contain them spilled all over the floor. It’s the only reason why I rushed home and scurried around with plugs and outlets and pesky grounding adapters in order to use the dreadmill. It’s the only reason that I gave only a perfunctory listen to how Mighty M’s day went, rather than the full one it deserved.

What do we do when enough just doesn't feel like enough anymore??