Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Turtle Crawl

About 10 weeks ago I decided I needed to sign up for a race to spark my motivation so I registered for the Jekyll Island Turtle Crawl Sprint. I did my first ever triathlon on Jekyll Island years ago so I was looking forward to visiting the island again. We arrived at the race site just before 5PM Friday evening. I felt ridiculously unprepared but knew I needed to know where I was conditioning wise and just go through the motions of racing to get the cobwebs out. I picked up my packet then headed out for a little spin on my bike. I felt really good... I wasn't sure if that was a good or a bad thing.

I didn't sleep very well that night, but who does the night before a race anyway? First off, I was a fan of this race way before the race started! Parking was right next to the transition area and we had access to the swankiest bathrooms ever for a triathlon! The convention center is wonderful and they didn't seem to blink an eye about giving triathletes full access to the facilities. First class! Once I had transition all set up and warmed up I went into the convention center, made myself comfy on the floor, did some stretching and then leisurely put on my wetsuit.

Leading up to race day I'd been having some discomfort in my big toe joints and the walk down the beach to the swim start seemed to irritate them a bit. Nothing I could do but just do my best... if I couldn't run when it came time well, that's just how it was going to go down.

Being in the older age groups, I was starting in the last wave of the day which is actually fine with me as I enjoy having rabbits to chase out on the course. The conditions were perfect! The water was flat and a nice temperature. But the water was DARK. I guess it really has been a long time since I have done a race/open water swim because it did freak me out a little. I just had to keep my eyes shut tightly and focus on form and sighting. I'm not sure it was lack of conditioning or the uneasiness of open water swimming but the swim felt LONG!

I took my time in T1 just wanting to make sure I remembered everything I needed to do. If you haven't been to Jekyll, go. Seriously. The bike course was one loop around the island and it has so much natural beauty that it's almost hard to stay focused on the race. Anyway, I didn't feel awesome but certainly felt good for the amount of training in my legs. This is where it's helpful for me to start in the back. As a decent swimmer, if I'm starting in the front wave I get passed by a lot of people on the bike but starting in the last wave I actually get to pass a lot! On this day, not one single person passed me on the bike! I think it's interesting to talk to people about what they think about on the bike. I'm a totally left brained analytical geek. I spend a lot of the time calculating in my head 'if I keep up this pace, it should take me so many mintues to finish this course.' I guess it's a little game I play in my head. Anyway, I was pretty satisfied with my bike when I entered T2.

As I dismounted, one of the volunteers yelled to me that I was the second female and that the first female was just ahead. As I look down transition, I see female #1 and notice that she is 30-34 which means she started three minutes ahead of me. Um... seriously? Can't be right.

I am motivated now. Get my running shoes and race belt on and I'm off onto the run. Luckily my big toe joints are pain free. However, I can feel that my HR is through the roof! I try to keep a reasonable pace to get my HR under control but it doesn't work. The run is a struggle and I am just waiting to implode. The entire run I know that if I am challenged that I don't have anything extra to give. I think that thought alone keeps me in that red zone. I've never wanted to walk so badly on a run course EVER and never so happy to see a finish line (ok... i might have been happier at Vineman full). I am fairly certain that the run was significantly longer than a 5K but it's hard to judge these things when you feel really out of shape. At least I have a good idea of where I am now and it's clear that I have a LOT of work to do on my running!!

Matt, the best support crew ever, encourages me to do a little cool down run with him. I'm so fried and out of shape I struggle the entire 'cool down' run. Afterwards, we wander up to the results board. Holy moly... not only did I win overall but I won by like 7 minutes. I don't think it matters how many races you've won before, a win is always a really great feeling!

I really want to thank Georgia Mulitsport for a fantastic event and the Jekyll Island Convention Center for the amazing venue! View Complete Results

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Hellooo Vitamix!

I finally did it. I bought a Vitamix and it arrived yesterday! It's a little disturbing how excited I was to see it on the front porch when I got home from work. I immediately unpacked it and started thumbing through the recipe book that comes with it. One of the first things I wanted to try was Cashew Milk. I tried a number of times to make cashew milk in my old blender but it just couldn't get the consistency I desired (and I'm just too lazy to use a nut milk bag!). In my old blender, I would soak the raw cashews for at least two hours, more often longer, but it seemed that it still needed straining. Grrr. With the Vitamix no soaking necessary! If you're wondering why in the world a person would want to make cashew milk... here's just a few reasons why:
  1. Cashew milk is a great (and great tasting) alternative to regular milk
  2. Requires no straining like almond milk (well, with a Vitamix anyway)
  3. Cashew Cream is an amazing replacement for heavy cream (think hearty bisque soups) and can be used as a dairy replacement for many desserts (ice cream, icing, etc).
  4. Homemade milk/cream is WAY better than the store bought stuff. Try it once and it will be hard to go back. Seriously.

If you want to give cashew milk a try, here's how you do it.
Vitamix Version
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews
  • dash sweetener (optional)

High Powered Blender Version
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 cup raw, unsalted cashews soaked in cold water minimum 2 hours (overnight is best)
  • dash sweetener (optional)
Drain cashews and put in blender. Add 3 cups water and blend. Depending on your blender or desired consistency, you may want to add more water. For the smooth, non-pulp version you will need a nut milk bag - or a fine mesh strainer. Strain your blended milk. Enjoy.

Cashew Cream
Chef Tal Ronnen gives some good instructions for making cashew cream in both a Vitamix or a high powered blender.

Let me know ways you might use or have used cashew milk and/or cream!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

La Vuelta Day 1

Yes, I am just now posting... all that riding didn't leave much time to write about the adventure. The ride started promptly at 6AM (5AM EST) so we woke up at 4:30 (3:30 EST) and rode our bikes from the boat to the ride start with our backpacks. We dropped our bags at the luggage drop and were ready to go. It was required to have front and rear lights since each day starts in the dark. About two miles into the ride it started raining then all the sudden the rain was coming down sideways. Old San Juan in the dark with its cobblestone streets and potholes in a torrential downpour was quite a way to start. As one might imagine, there were a few casualties - one person went down right behind me. Even though it was a neutral pace we were all on high alert until we got to the first rest stop.

After the first stop riders break into 3 groups - A, B, and C. I signed up for the B group which would average 18 mph. The day was challenging complete with one big climb just before lunch, temperatures in the mid 90s, and a road closed to vehicular traffic due to a recent storm which also required us to stop multiple times, dismount, and carry our bikes over large piles of debris. I often felt that a cyclocross bike would have been more appropriate for this tour. At the bottom of one of the decents, apparently someone slowed down too quickly or the road narrowed and there was a pretty good crash right in front of me - I was very lucky to avoid it and also manage to not go over the side of the bridge. Yikes! After that crash, the group seemed to mellow out a bit and despite my back feeling a bit tweaked from avoiding the crash things were good until around mile 128 when I started cramping. Luckily there was a rest stop at mile 132. The first 5 miles after the stop were fine until the group started to pick up the pace and the cramping returned. Lucky me to have good friends like Jose and Savannah to pull me in the last 15 miles. We rolled into Ponce at 5PM dirty and totally exhausted but I was so happy to have the longest day behind me. 150ish miles done!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

San Juan Tour

Last night Sav, Jose, and I had pina coladas, rum & cokes, and mojitos then went and had dinner with Crissy, her siblings, and their families... tons of yummy homemade Puerto Rican food and wonderful people! We were perfectly fueled for our warm up 40 mile tour of San Juan.

This morning we left the yacht club on our bikes at 6 and rode a couple miles to Old San Juan for the tour ride start. The ride started on a steep uphill of cobblestones - YIKES! A few people went down on the cobbles in front of Jose and I so we quickly dismounted and walked our bikes up the hill on the sidewalk. Worst ride start ever but the rest of the tour was fine... slow and easy with multiple stops. After the ride our group had an amazing lunch in Old San Juan. Now we're all back at the boat relaxing and getting our stuff ready for our big day tomorrow. We'll be leaving the boat around 5:15 on our bikes to catch the 6:00 La Vuelta start!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Puerto Rico!

The trip started perfectly - Delta didn't charge me for my bike which saved me $150! More money for rum!! :) My plane arrived early into San Juan and by the time I walked to baggage pickup, my bike and my bags were already on the carousel - unbelievable! Crissy and Joe (Jose's parents) picked me up and we headed to the boat... home for the next week except for the two nights we'll be on the ride.

This morning Jose and Savannah introduced me to the self serve coffee machine in the club house - DELICIOUS cappuccino!! We then got our bikes unpacked and put together, went to breakfast, wandered around Old San Juan, and then went for a swim off the boat. Now it's a little bit of down time before we go sample a pina colada from the place where pina coladas were invented and then we're have dinner with Crissy's family - looking forward to a big Puerto Rican family dinner!! Tomorrow is our warm up ride - a bike tour of San Juan.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

La Vuelta

For the past few months I've been training for La Vuelta Puerto Rico. My friends Savannah and Jose talked me into this crazy adventure... 375 miles around Puerto Rico in 3 days! We'll see if I am still calling them friends after this weekend!! :) Anyway, the adventure starts today. I fly out for Puerto Rico this afternoon. Many of my friends have asked me to update them during the adventure so I am going to try to make daily posts (which may be more challenging than the ride!).

I've put in a bunch of miles so hopefully the suffering won't be horrible but I anticipate a pretty tough training week... luckily the training will be in warmer weather. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Say Hello to The Boot!

Hopefully "The Boot" will only be around a couple of weeks and it will get me over the hump so I can finally return to running. Back in February I tore my plantar fascia and after taking it easy a few months, then PT for a couple of months, and unsuccessfully trying to start running again a few times along the way, I am now limiting all weight bearing activities... walking included. Anyway, "The Boot" even made David Quick's photo essay of the final race of the Charleston Triathlon Sprint Series. Thanks DQ. :)

Despite "The Boot", I had a great time watching so many friends race. Sometimes this sport can burn you out a bit but right now I truly miss it. Congratulations to everyone that competed on Sunday!! I hope to be back out there with y'all next season!