So, starting this jam-packed blog off with a bang should be easy since I've got some truly remarkable news. I'm joining forces with Jon Noland and Tribal Multi-sport. You might be asking, what the heck does that mean? It means Jon and I are going to blend our training philosophies to create super-mega athletes. Okay, that might be a little extreme but just know, we're kind of a big deal. The overall goal is to add value to each athletes experience. You can check our mission statement and program at Tribalmulti-sport.com. Officially, the website will be 100% operational 1 January but I wanted to give those who read my blog a sneak peek. I couldn't be more excited to be accepted into this stellar network of athletes. Training on my own all the time has been dull and I definitely benefit from having a positive energy around me! Super Pumped!
Holiday Weight Gain? Don't stress!
I'm not sure how everyone tackles the holiday season in relation to food and drink but I'll give you a glimpse of a stress free method I currently practice. As a striving top-level athlete, I'm continuously thinking of performance and if you ask me, nutrition is most definitely linked into my plan. It's probably a "Top 3" priority. That being said, I don't have any races for awhile and this is the time of year to accept a few healthy pounds. My goal was to finally get to 160 lbs by December, which I managed to do in a very healthy manner. I think it took be about 5 months to lose the 3 or 4 pounds I had set my sights on. Now that I've reached my goal, it'll be easy to get back there once the training volume increases. Since then, I've been allowing more sweets and treats into my diet, never stressing about a moment of indulgence. Despite the previous statement, don't for a second think that I've been lowering the level of "quality" food I eat. If I decide to eat something a little on the sweeter side, I'll bake or make it myself. That way I can closely monitor every quality ingredient I enjoy, knowing that the bar is still set high. To be blunt, you wouldn't catch me with a store bought pie, snickers or fatty fudge sundae. I LOVE FOOD but I also know that everything adds up and being "mindful" now will, will pay off later. If I feel like eating more sweets, why wouldn't I keep the quality high? Why wouldn't I want to be involved in it's creation? Why settle for garbage ingredients you can't even pronounce? My point is this, be passionate about your food and it doesn't matter if you eat meat, diary, gluten, soy or wood chips...set a high standard for what you'll allow into your body. Remember you're a finely tuned machine and you need high octane fuel!! Enjoy the off-season, gain a few pounds and spend time with those who have been neglected due to high training volume :)
Tri Key West Race Report
First off, you cannot beat the weather. While the rest of the U.S was hitting some cold weather, we had the pleasure of some tropical vibes and limited clothing! The long drive was well worth it, especially since I was able to make the journey with a fellow athlete, Brett Hendricks!
This race is a little late in the season to really "care" about but it's always fun to do it. Since the past month or so has been super relaxed, I wanted to hit the race with cruise control set to "moderate". With that in mind, I'll briefly take you through where I was mentally and what went into the race prep.
- Prep- We arrived mid-day, ate some awesome squash, enjoy the beautiful view and enjoyed the full belly (a little too full) of treats. Breakfast was at 4:30am and consisted of a banana and almond butter, followed by some coffee blended with avocado, ghee and coconut oil (for real). I always get in my breakfast AT LEAST 2 hours prior to "go time". This race actually had a "Pro/Elite" field and I was pretty pumped to see a few names I recognized from last year! The competition would still be there and I was pumped to see how I would perform on limited preparation.
- Swim- Well, this is where I first noticed I was lacking comfort at "race pace". I quickly slacked off into a pace I could maintain without totally de-railing. I ended up 3rd out of the water with a high 22 min time. Not stellar by any means, but good enough for the day. The warm water and awesome sunrise set a perfect stage.
- Bike- I've accepted that when I race this course, my chances of death increase 20 to 30%. With tight corners, two way traffic, police marshaling cars in front of you and sudden course changes....you have to really be on your toes. I was a little slower than last year but was still happy to ride down the 1st place swimmer (from Aruba). We entered T2 like a couple of buddies and he quickly applied some speed to which I mentally replied "PSH.......whatever". With a jovial attitude, I pressed forward, sweating like one of those Corona bottles in a beach commercial.
-Run- So 1st place dude from Aruba pretty much went out too fast and blew up by mile 3 (Mentally I thought, "AHA"), which meant my effort was enough to pass and hold him off. I quickly accepted a top 2 position when I was run down by the stud behind me...but then he also blew up with 2 miles left. I thought, well I might as well see what I have left, taking full advantage of his misfortune. At the end of the day, it all worked out and I was able to walk away with nice win. A steady pace won the race!
All in all, I couldn't be more proud to have been part of this event. It's not because I won but because 2 of my athletes raced along with me. Brett Hendricks, despite coming off a hip injury, smashed his AG and took the win in the Sprint. Lannie Marsh, taking on her first Olympic Triathlon, took 3rd to some very fast women in her AG. I have to say, watching these two succeed and having been part of their journey was incredible and solidifies why I love being a coach. For the love of sport and the company of extraordinary people, I'll continue to thrive with this lifestyle!
For the most part, Turkey day leads me to consume close to 10,000 calories within a 4 hour period. Last year, I ate myself into a nap, with drink still in hand. This year I'm taking a different approach. Don't get me wrong, on any given day I'm about 2 decisions away from being a glutton. BUT the difference is, these days I don't crave the same foods. Oddly enough, once you learn to prepare delicious meals with veggies, you learn to season them in a way that makes your mouth water. That being said, this year there is a definite plan when it comes to holiday eating. Believe it or not, you don't have to overeat on horrible carbs and heavy foods. As a matter of fact, if you're an athlete and care about your performance, it's smart to hold back a bit, even if that means not going back for 5th's or 6th's. The damage you've done in one day of heavy eating can throw off your system for a week or so, meaning you'll have to do a lot of catching up. That also doesn't account for thanksgiving breakfast and all the turkey you'll be eating AFTER thanksgiving Also, being able to control yourself on such a "glutinous" occasion will give you piece of mind. OKAY, so I'm pretty sure if nothing else we'll all still overeat just a little...I mean if food is hanging out on the counter, someone has to eat it, right? Make some small changes!
HAVE A PLAN!
My plan is this:
- I know I'll probably be presented with some challenges. Mounds of heavy carbs, meats and gravies will be staring me in the face at every opportunity. SOOO I've decided to prepare the healthiest version of the foods I love.
(everything is homemade too)
- Veggie Loaf (replaces turkey)
- Cranberry sauce with dates and maple syrup (definitely not from a can)
- Sweet Potato/Cauliflower mash w/ coconut milk
- Mushroom gravy
- Gluten free stuffing
- Roasted root vegetables
- Fresh salad with homemade carrot, ginger dressing
- Almost raw, frozen pumpkin pie
I get it, totally different than what I've crammed into my mouth in previous years. The difference is, if I happen to over eat on some of the items above, the penalty is not nearly as severe. By cutting back on the heavy salts, canned products, fatty oils, mayo, butter, processed sugars and refined carbs. Also, I shop for my ingredients locally so I know where they came from and will have that piece of mind. I find it odd that we blindly neglect the thought process when it involves food. With the "instant gratification" fairy on your shoulder, it's hard to remember that there are consiquences to your dietary decisions. IF anyone is interested in how they can make some healthy decisions on Turkey Day...please get ahold of me and I'll steer you in the right direction. Also, I credit a lot of my eating ideas to Rich Roll. Check out his website and blog if you get a chance. The pictures below will take you to a few recipes.
Last blog post, I put out a giveaway. I'd like to announce that by luck of the draw, Brady Price will receive a brand new pair of Maui Jim glasses and a new pair of Asics shoes. His response to the "challenge" was spot on and very inspiring. It's important to know your "why" and stick to it when you're tired or don't feel like training. Read below for some inspiration and then take 5 minutes to answer it for yourself.
- Why are endurance sports the driving force in your life and what are your goals for next season?
"Being a triathlete has changed my entire perspective on life, and how I approach each day. I remember when having a house was important, when my car was a status symbol, when eating was for pleasure only, when I worried what people thought of my clothing, and when I wanted to conquer the business world. Then I was introduced to endurance sports! My house is now just a place to sleep, shower and safely store my gear! My car gets me to the trail so I can train, and holds all my dirty shoes and bike tools. Food is now fuel, and recovery, and cheat days are more rewarding than ever! The clothes I wear are race shirts, and I sport them proudly, even at work! Endurance sports introduced me to life, and instead of waking up to work, and working to pay bills, and paying bills for what society says is “how life should be!” I wake up motivated to train, to better educated myself, to push the boundaries of what I thought impossible, only to realize impossible is just the beginning if you are willing to push past it. We are capable of so much, and I learn more about myself each time I toe the line. Life is about living, and this sport has helped me define that."
My goals for next season!
· To take full advantage of my first official “off-season” as an athlete.
· To get back on my mountain bike, road bike, and enjoy some social riding with friends since I isolated myself during the past 5 months.
· To work on my short game, and have some fun at the Clermont Sprint Series.
· To tackle more 70.3 races, and continue working on my long game.
· To continue working on my diet, and maybe trying out the Paleo thing.
· To work on my mental toughness, so I can one day compete in a Full Iron Distance. (hopefully in 2015)
Not being able to run has given me the *spark* again. I was super bummed to miss the Turkey Trot but I've spent over 200 miles this week on the bike trying to stay active. Watching everyone else run has been revealing and torturing but also inspiring. Once I get back to it I'll put some more "love" into my morning run. It's nothing short of beautiful when the entire town I live in is full of runners/cyclists every single morning. Sadly, I've spent more time in my bib shorts and less time in my Knivara 3's. Literally, I think I cleaned the house yesterday wearing ONLY bib shorts.
After a deliciously flavorful week, it's time to get back to normal! This means tons of veggies, wholesome carbs and a balanced amount of protein (lots of homemade pizza). Speaking of back to normal, my knee is definitely not there yet. I'm going to try some natural antioxidant supplements to see if I can prevent further damage and heal a little faster (more to come on that). Anyhow, I'll be ending the week with a breakfast, dinner...Sweet Potato Pancakes!? Also, I think a 5k swim/aqua jog session will be good enough to end on a high note for the weekend. Everyone else got to enjoy a long run in the trails while I ate enjoyed my coffee and scone!