Sunday, 11 September 2011 13:23

Mental Means As Much As Physical

I have always believed that the mental aspect of training is just as important as the physical part of training, but I did not always get it.  I used to dread getting on the trainer because I just knew it was going to be endless hours of pedaling and going nowhere and it just didn't seem to mean too much.  I had the same belief of the treadmill and even swimming endless laps. It wasn't until one day I spoke with Jeff, Big Daddy, Jon and Patrick that I realized that it was all about embracing the suck or pain.  I fought through the mental hurdle that the treadmill was just boring or that the trainer was a death trap.  Once I did that I got faster on the bike and started to enjoy the treadmill for short speed work where I was forced to hold a pace or fly off the back. This mental breakthrough coincided with my mindset of envisioning a race.  I go through a race in my mind by thinking of the pace I want to set in each discipline and how each will be attacked.  Will I go out hard and taper off to be strong for the next discipline?  Will I ease into it and then negative split that portion of the race?  Did I need to conserve my energy all for the run because it is all uphill?  As you can see getting out there and pushing your body is not the only part of training.  You have to train yourself mentally and be prepared to go the extra mile. A while ago I found this article titled 5 Mental Race Day Tactics to Turn You Into A Triathlon Ninja.  (click here for full article) Here are the 5 points that the article made and my thoughts about each point: Are you a triathlon ninja? Do you want to be one? Triathlon Ninja Race Day Mental Tactic #1: Break Up. While your subconscious mind can grasp the concept continuously swimming, cycling and running from point A to point B, or even of traversing 140.6 miles in a single day, your conscious mind (the part that actually dictates your race day decisions) is easily distracted. For a triathlon ninja, this distraction can be a good thing, because you can feed your conscious mind tiny intermediate goals to break things up. Rather than having to making it to the finish line, you convince your body to make it to the next buoy, the next telephone pole, or the next aid station. I personally divide most triathlons into much more than 3 separate events (swim, bike, run) and instead typically categorize 6-12 separate “sections” of the race on paper, then study that paper going into the race. I have always envisioned a race in pieces and parts.  You gain confidence as you go past a certain marker that you set for yourself.  I also do not say to myself that I have 14 miles to go, instead I say that I just did 75% of the ride or 42 miles.  Accentuate the positive and not think about what is left.  If you think about what is left then you start to think about how tired you are.  By saying you just did 42 miles you will typically say that the next 14 will be a breeze and believe in yourselfe. Triathlon Ninja Race Day Mental Tactic #2: Dig Deep. There’s very little you’ll experience in a race that you haven’t already experienced in training. You just have to remember to dig deep enough during the race to call on those times in training when you headed out the door to run in torrential rain, rode your bike 30 miles on half-inflated tires, or finished off 1500 meters of a swim while resisting the compelling urge to rush to the bathroom and take a dump. During a race, the slight discomfort that we put up with in training can sometimes mentally or physically derail us. So when the going gets tough, think back to the hardest part of your training, including somehow getting your heart rate near maximum at 5am in the morning, and draw on those episodes during the race. This is the embrace the suck/pain part of training that you apply to the race.  We all know that at some point the race is going to hurt, whether it be a sprint or Ironman.  There is going to be something that makes us think, even for a moment, that continuing is going to be impossible but if you remember that time during training when the 3am alarm went off and you went out and ran 15 miles you can get through that next part of the race. [caption id="attachment_3939" align="alignright" width="172" caption="It takes more than the physical"]heart_soul_mind_strength_ironman[/caption] Triathlon Ninja Race Day Mental Tactic #3: Ask Why A triathlon ninja knows their motivation for doing triathlons. Regardless of what your motivation is, you need to identify it and know why you do triathlon. Then, when you’re riding up the steepest hill of the race, ready to fall off your bike and puke, you can remember that the whole reason you’re doing this is so that you look sexy for your tropical vacation in 2 weeks. Or whatever motivates your ninja heart. I race to get better.  I race to be an example.  I race to inspire and motivate.  I race to see my wife at the finish line.  I give Karen my wedding ring before every race and it is my goal to get to the finish line as fast as I can so that I can get my wedding ring back.  You have your reason for doing a triathlon, don't forget it when the going gets tough. Triathlon Ninja Race Day Mental Tactic #4: Harness Energy You’ve probably seen the video game or movie where the superhuman being clutches two hands to their chest, creates a giant ball of fiery energy then releases the burning orb into a crowd of fierce opponents, dispersing the enemy like rag dolls. A triathlon ninja has those same superpowers. When you go running up the beach from the swim, harness the energy of the screaming crowds. Feel it. Use it. When you ride through the aid station, feel the positive energy emanating from the generous volunteers, and use that too. And as you run, try to smile. This smiling strategy helps significantly– because people smile right back at you and cheer you on (whereas nobody really claps much for the triathlete who looks like they’re on Planet Hell). I don't think I need to go into the always smile any further since that is my motto but let's talk about it for one second.  Besides the fact that people will smile back, think about what your competitors think as you are right there with them and your smiling (even if it is fake.)  They are thinking to themselves 'how in the world are they smiling when this just sucks.'  Well as you pass them you gain confidence and you continue to build that up and then your smile turns genuine.  What happens after that is that you pass through a photo section and your race pictures look great as opposed to the beginnings of death. Triathlon Ninja Race Day Mental Tactic #5: See Success Close your eyes. Can you imagine the feel of the water in your hand during the swim, the air blowing by your cheeks on the bike, and the slap of your foot against the pavement on the run? The best athletes on the planet regularly engage in visualization, in which they close their eyes and imagine everything happening perfectly. This takes practice and imagination, but your mind can be trained to visualize powerfully. Visualizing success is the first key to success.  If you believe that you can't do it, then you probably can't and your already defeated before the gun goes off.  I think about this when people tell me how nervous they are of the open water swim start.  If you are that nervous then it is going to be worse for you then for the person who says to themselves it is 200 meters out of a 1.2 mile swim or 2.4 mile swim and I can get through this.  Visualize success and it will come. So what do you think? Can you be a triathlon ninja? You bet you can. Remember... I think I can be a triathlon ninja and I will keep training my mind as well as my body!

What are your mental tips and tricks to get through a triathlon? marathon?

Published in Race
Friday, 05 August 2011 17:02

Not Just Talking About It

Shape_Up_America_LogoI am no longer just talking about fighting obesity in America I am doing something about it.  What am I doing about it you are asking?  Or you are saying to yourself, yes I know you are contacting at least 2 companies/organizations/persons of influence a day until obesity gets the attention it deserves and you would be partly correct. I undertook that task and sent twitter messages to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.  I sent emails to Texas Sen. Hutchinson as well as an organization in King County Washington, but it was another contact I made that has made this possible. I contacted Shape Up America asking them if there was anything I could do to help raise awareness about the obesity epidemic in America.  Like my previous contacts I was not expecting to get a response right away and if I did it would be the form letter similar to ones I had already received. This time was different.  I received an email from Shape Ups VP of Operations Pat Fuchs, RD that was so personable I felt an immediate connection to her.  Her email ended with the statement that if I wanted to discuss further to email back with a time and phone number I was available.  After emailing back (almost immediately) I got another in response asking if I was available for a phone call and sure I was. During our phone call Pat and I discussed a whole host of ways to work together and we ended the call with setting up another phone call with the Alex Colcord, the technology director of Shape Up America. That conversation took place last night and we hammered out a number of details that is going to make this an epic relationship.  Before I give you the details on our relationship I want to lay out for you what Shape Up America is all about.  This is directly from their website: The purpose of Shape Up America! is to educate the public on the importance of the achievement and maintenance of a healthy body weight through the adoption of increased physical activity and healthy eating. Our mission is based on the scientific evidence that obesity is not just an appearance problem; it is a condition that can lead to serious disease. Obesity is associated with five of the ten leading causes of death and disability in the United States — heart disease, some forms of cancer, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and hypertension (high blood pressure). By clearly defining obesity as a major public health issue, Shape Up America! is conducting a broad-based education initiative to encourage sensible eating and increased physical activity in all individuals and a modest weight loss in overweight individuals that can be maintained over time. With the ultimate goal of stimulating behavior change, Shape Up America! is focusing on redefining weight management by encouraging increased physical activity and healthy eating for all Americans. Shape Up America! encourages small lifestyle changes that provide immediate health dividends, such as lower blood cholesterol levels. Additional benefits include increased independence, productivity, and reduced demands for health care services. Accordingly, the key messages are designed to promote increased physical activity and improvements in dietary intake that prevent weight gain or produce weight loss and weight maintenance. Shape Up America! is committed to disseminating these messages to men, women, and children of all ages, regardless of their ethnicity or socioeconomic status. Could that mission have been a better match for what I wrote about in this post and this post?  I was thrilled during my conversation with Pat and Alex that we were going to be able to work together. So now you want to know how we are going to work together and I will no longer keep you in suspense. My goal is to raise $20,000 for Shape Up America between now and May 19, 2012 which is the day of Ironman Texas.  Through my racing of triathlon (70.3 Longhorn October, 70.3 Puerto Rico March, 140.6 Ironman Texas May) I will be covering a total of 281.2 miles between October 2011 and May 2012 and I hope that people will be willing to donate $.05 (5 cents) for each mile I race which totals out to $14.  If 1,428 people donate $14 I will have raised $20,000 for Shape Up America and the education of America on the impact of obesity on our society.  Essentially I have 9 months to convince 1,428 people that donating approximately $1.50 per month will benefit our society. I am so excited to be racing on behalf of this 501(C)(3) non-profit organization and hope that you will help me spread the word about this undertaking. In the next few days I will have the link to where donations can be made and it will be a dedicated page on my site under the Angels and Ninjas header at the top of the site.


Below is the link to the donation page where you can help fight obesity in America
Thank you for donating.  This is a great cause and I am proud to be partnered with Shape Up America and helping change America's waist size.
Published in Race
Monday, 18 July 2011 13:31

Common Mistakes Made By Triathletes

I have been holding off on writing this post for a week and was going to use this space today to write about my race from yesterday but since the final results have not been posted I am holding off on the race report.  I am trying to calculate what my error cost me in terms of time  and possible ranking.  Since there is a correlation between my mistake and these common mistakes it was just the perfect time to post this. The original article was posted on in and written by Joe Friel.  You can see the entire article [HERE]

1. Poor ability to pace properly

Almost all triathletes start the bike leg of the race at much too high an intensity and then fade as the race progresses. They start the run on tired legs and generally have a poor race (except for the first 5K of the bike). The fix: Athletes must learn to negative split races. This starts with workouts. Intervals must be done with the easiest first and then progressively get harder. Steady state/tempo workouts must start under control and gradually get faster to finish strong. Athletes must learn to be patient in workouts and apply that to their races while ignoring what is going on around them. I have seen this first hand and experienced it as well.  No matter how many times I tell myself to negative split the race I always go out way to hard on the run.  The run is what got me into endurance sports and it is what I am best at so when the time to run hits I am shot out of a cannon and always seem to pay for it in the end.  Just not smart race tactics and something I need to be better at especially when Ironman rolls around in May.  Start off slower and finish stronger is going to be my new mantra.

2. Too many hard days

Going into workouts tired means poor performance and little change in fitness. The fix: To go truly hard in a workout, you must be ready. As the hard workouts get harder, the easy workouts must get easier. This means that the overall quality of training improves. And in turn, faster race times occur. You have read through this blog enough times to know that I have a coach.  Having her schedule my workouts for me allows me to not have to think about these things.  I have quite a bit going on in my life and being able to not have to think about how hard I should go saves me because I know I would be one of those athletes that presses the gas pedal and never lets up and then wonders why I don't recover well or that a workout just wasn't what I wanted it to be.  I have even gone so far as to really back off on those slow easy days.  I used to run 8:30/mile on those slow easy days and now I am closer to 9:30/mile and I think this has saved my legs to go harder in races than I ever have before.

3. Not enough base

Athletes tend to start the high intensity training much too soon in the season. If one is to make a mistake in training, make it on the side of developing too much aerobic endurance. The fix: Lots and lots of zone two and three training. The athletes I coach spend nearly 80 percent of their seasons training primarily in these two zones. When I first started with Claudia and the training called for Zone 2 paces I thought to myself....this is ridiculous as I am practically walking.  What I failed to do was combine efficiency with my running.  Now I can run an 8:30/mile pace and have my heart rate in upper Z2.  This is not just from training but also because I have become more efficient with my stride.  The same can be said for my cycling.  A few months ago I would be in the 135 bpm range and going 16 mph on the  trainer.  Now I can be 140 bpm and going close to 20 mph.  I learned how to be efficient in my pedal strokes so it takes me less energy but I go faster.  It is amazing when these things start to click.

4. Haphazard training

At best, most triathletes have vague ideas of what they are trying to accomplish in training. For the most part, they are hoping something magical happens and somehow have a good race. The fix: You must have a purpose for every workout. That purpose should be aerobic endurance, muscular force, muscular endurance, anaerobic endurance, speed skills or recovery. The higher one’s goals, the more important this becomes. Whenever I look at my training schedule I always ask what is the point of this session.  Am I supposed to recover from the previous hard workout?  Am I going hard to build my lactate threshold or am I backing off to build my aerobic capacity.  If there is a training session that I don't understand the point of it I will ask my coach.  This allows me to take the right mind-set into that days training and helps me get the most out of it.

5. Set goals much too high

People think that shooting for the stars means if they fall short they will still make it to the moon. It doesn’t work that way. In fact, this does just the opposite. If the goal is obviously out of reach there is no motivation to even try for it. It just becomes wishing and hoping. The fix: Goals must be just barely out of reach to be effective. I am a huge believer in setting my goals just out of reach so that I push myself to get there.  The majority of us are Type A personalities so we will not stop until we get there.  I have a goal for my first Ironman and I'm sure as we get closer and closer I will adjust that time based on training and my confidence in my abilities at that time.  When I first set a goal for IMCA I thought I just want to finish, then it became I want to go under 6 hours.  Then I narrowed it down to 5:39 (I finished in 5:42.)  I am racing 70.3 Longhorn in October and my goal is to beat 5:30 so I am looking at 5:29 and as my season progresses I may change that further down to a time that would seem to be just out of reach for me but that is the point.  Set the goal so that you are slightly uncomfortable in attaining it and amazing things will happen.

6. Too much emphasis on weekly miles

For the advanced triathlete, the key to race success is appropriate intensity, not how much weekly volume is generated. The fix: If your goal is to run a sub-40-minute 10K off the bike in an Olympic distance, then the key determiner of success will be how much sub-40 pace work is done—not how many miles run in a week. You may have noticed that I have stopped posting my miles from my training as often as I used to.  I will write a post every now and again about it but I have gotten to the point that the # of miles doesn't matter as much as the quality of those miles.  I am more focused on how hard I go in those tempo runs, or interval training on the bike.  What are my splits during my swim?  For me I know I am capable of finishing a 70.3 race and so it is now about being faster at that distance while also preparing my body to go 140.6. Joe Friel is an elite-certified USA Triathlon and USA Cycling coach and holds a master’s degree in exercise science. Friel is the author of 10 books on training for endurance athletes including the popular and best-selling Training Bible book series. You can learn more at [caption id="attachment_3188" align="alignright" width="481" caption="Negative split your next race"]negative_split_racing_pacing[/caption]

Have You Made These Mistakes?

Do You Learn From Your Mistakes And Apply Them To The Next Race Or Training Session?

Published in Train
Sunday, 10 July 2011 12:48

Open Water Swim Tips

[caption id="attachment_3061" align="alignright" width="179" caption="Emerging From The Water At Toyota Us Open Championships 2010"]open-water-swimming-tips-tricks[/caption] There are a handful of races coming up and we will soon be entering into the fall race season and that means it is time to discuss open water swimming.  We all have a fear of the open water when we first get into the sport.  It could be the fact that there is no line to follow and no line to follow means we don't know where the bottom is.  There is the fact that the start of an open water swim could be like fighting Mike Tyson in his prime, or from Hangover, with fists and feet flying everywhere.  It might be that we breathe to one side and that we won't be able to spot the buoy because that is not the side we breathe to. Does this describe some of your fears of the open water as you enter into your race or maybe why you have not started to race triathlon?  I am not sure it matters how many races in the open water you do that fear will always be there, but that fear doesn't have to paralyze you.  You can use that fear and turn it into something that helps carry you through the water instead of sinking you in the water. Quick tale of my first open water swim race.  I lined up on the beach to the left away from everybody and also behind everybody.  I figured we were swimming clockwise so I was in great position.  The gun goes off and instead of holding back like I planned I gunned it into the water.  I ran hard and dove in and swam so hard you would have thought I had a motor.  Then I was gassed and I was not at the first buoy and from my right came about 400 other swimmers.  Oh no, this is not good.  I swam and swam as best I could.  I finally had  to flip over onto my back.  I backstroked and was being passed by everybody and then even by people in the next wave and the wave after that.  I wanted to grab that kayak but he looked to far away.  At this point I said to myself.....'Jason just finish the swim and then hit the bike and run'  I did just that....all on my back until I felt close enough to swim in.  My time for 500m in my first open water swim?  14+ minutes.  I was the 2nd to last person in my age group out of the water but I ran to the bike and pedaled and then transitioned to the run and ran my tail off.  I wound up finishing in the top 1/2 of my age group because I did not give up.  To this day I remember that experience and I will not let it deter me but instead I allow it to motivate me. Next weekend I am heading back to that race and I am somewhat nervous.  This time I am doing the Olympic distance and not the sprint but I am concerned about the beach start and running in and getting going.  Where do I line up?  Should I hold back and then go?  The answers to those questions is starting to come into clarity.  I am lining up on the right and right in the front and I am going to haul in the water.  I am going to try to get in the 2:30s for this Olympic race and that means that I need to swim in the 26-28 minute range for 1500 meters.  I just swam 31 minutes at CapTexTri so I know I can do this time and I am going to do it.  I am not allowing my fear to slow me down but instead to motivate and speed me through the water. We all have our stories, but here are some tips from an article that I found that discusses their Top 10 Open Water Swimming Tip for Triathlon.  The article was featured in and this article was written by Article by: Alan Kipping-Ruane - TriGuy Multisport Coaching, LLC - and can be found [HERE] ===================== Open Water Race Day Secrets That The Pros Won’t Tell You Sitting down to think about some great race day tips for new triathletes seems easy, but thinking about pre-race rituals and strategies I use made me realize the many things on race day that have become automatic. Below I have outlined some race day secrets, in the hope that it makes your transition to the open water much easier! [caption id="attachment_3055" align="alignright" width="100" caption="Exiting the open water after 1.2 miles at 70.3 Ironman California"]Ironman-California-Open-Water-Swim-Exit[/caption] 1. Get Rid Of Your Fear And Just Do It If you aren’t sure what your fear is in swimming, then why have fear at all? I’m terrified sometimes by swimming in the ocean by myself so I try to avoid that when possible, but when it comes time to racing my mind goes blank and I focus on racing and nothing else. When you race, there are kayaks, lifeguards, and boats that will help you, but if the unknown strikes fear in you, focus on something positive and/or something funny to make light of your situation. Changing your thought patterns externally and internally could create the performance you were looking for. 2. Start Away From The Group Being color blind makes it very difficult for me to sight in the water, but I drift right. When racing, I will start all the way on the left and in the front because drifting right will let me head straight towards a buoy while passing everyone. Figure out how you drift and start on the opposite side. If you’re a weak swimmer, start in the back. It will be easier for you to draft and have a better idea which way the current is pushing you. 3. Have 2 Pairs Of Goggles – 1 Black & 1 Clear Early morning races mean that you might have the sun in your face when starting or finishing your swim. Having a dark colored type of goggle will give you a chance to protect your eyes and allow you to see. However, with a clear goggle, you can wear them on a cloudy day and still see.  Along with having two pairs of goggles, they are the one thing you don’t want to find out race day morning they were stepped on or have the strap broken.  Along with goggles I want to add my next point   4. No Need For Full Face Goggles You see alot of triathletes use the Navy Seal type full face goggle which almost looks like a scuba mask. The argument for them is that you can see more around you, but why would you want to? If you’re only concentrating on the people around you, your stroke starts to suffer and your hips will drop. My second reason; since the mask is connected throughout, if it starts to leak the whole goggle leaks and can affect both eyes where as having a pair that separates the eyes will only affect one eye it’s alot easier to clear the water out and go. If you can’t stop then you still have 1 eye to see out of. 5.  Wear a full sleeve wetsuit when possible There is always a huge debate that wearing a sleeveless wetsuit can be better for swimming since it doesn’t restrict your arms. Newer wetsuit “Technology” has begun to emerge allowing a bigger range of use for your arms. The only thing that might stop this from happening is you not putting your wetsuit on correctly. Get a full wetsuit, which will make you a bit more buoyant and faster in the water, learn how to correctly put it on and take it off. My recommended wetsuit brands are 2XU and Xterra. [caption id="attachment_3059" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Pier 121 Marina - Greg and I practice our open water swimming"]Open-Water-Swimming-Practice[/caption] 6. Pacing yourself, well almost… Just like the run or bike, you don’t want to burn yourself out that you can’t get to transition. You have either gone to fast or you used up too much energy in the swim.  Solution? Pace yourself, well almost…. Swimming doesn’t really affect your legs as much, but it does affect your aerobic system. You can take bigger risks in the swim by going a tad faster and surging compared to running or biking. Remember, don’t go too hard where you dig yourself in a hole. Stay with someone who is slightly faster and you will guarantee a PR in your next race. 7. Warm-up and Get Ready Warming up is great, but not all races allow it, or if they do you can’t go in the water because the lifeguards aren’t on duty yet. For an early season race with cold water you want to get your body acclimated to the temperature. As with all triathlons, warming up your arms and lungs will get you ready, have less fear of being in the water, and help you go full gas from the start of the race. 8. Get a coach You can always hire me, but getting a local coach is a must to excel in swimming. Having someone help you with your stroke can be an invaluable asset to your arsenal of triathlon tools for race day. The better your technique is, the faster you are and the more efficient you become. Easier said then done right?… 9.  Practice, Practice, Practice Practicing skills, technique, and speed is still at the core of everything. If don’t put the time in at the pool, how can you expect a great result at a race? Practice not only in the water, but with a wetsuit, and sprinting out of the water to simulate T1. The more time in the water now, will help establish fitness that you can’t erase in the future. 10. Race My last tip for you is to race. Getting faster in the water, getting comfortable and everything I said above is great advice, but the more you race the better you become.  There is no way an Olympic triathlete only races a few times in their career to get where they are. They consistently practiced, prepared, and raced. They had failures and just as much success. Building on things you learn when you race can get you to that next level you might be seeking. Beginners should look for indoor pool swims to start out, then migrate to a lake or river, and then to the ocean. Find a race you like, train with your friends and race to have fun. Don’t let your training partners or anyone else make you second guess your training. If you follow these rules, you’ll see benefits not only for this year, but will build fitness and strength for the future. Just remember, having a coach will help you through all of these steps and more. ==================== I could not agree more with these 10 points but the ones that stick out the most to me are numbers 9 and 10.  When I started in triathlon I was swimming 1 to 2 times per week.  I managed do swim a 37 minutes 1500m Olympic in October 2010. I was thrilled with this time but back in May I swam a 31 minutes 1500m Olympic.  I am now looking to go sub-30. This is a result of swimming up to 4 times per week now.  I am not only swimming four times but each set has a purpose.  It may be speed, it may be aerobic but either way there is a purpose.  On Friday I had a great session that included both fast swimming and aerobic long swimming.  I loved every minute of it and can't wait to do it again. Not only am I racing more, but my races are open water races and I love them.  I can get the feel of the competition and the white wash and how to control my breathing and my emotions.  So racing more is just like practicing more and it is all beneficial.

Any Tips For Open Water Swimming?

How Have You Handled Open Water Swimming?

Published in Train
If you don't know Colleen then I'm not sure you have spent more than 5 minutes on Twitter or the Blog World looking for awesomely cool triathlon athletes. She is always there with a joke and great laughs and she is an incredible triathlete.  I mean incredible.  She is part of the Trash Talk Thursday (Tuesday, Wednesday as well but we seem to take vacation on Friday to Monday) Crew on Twitter.  She is the one we call Elektra and she recently raced Rev3 Knoxville and this is her race report. By the way she also is a member of Team Trakkers and a member of Team Golden Warriors.  I'm not sure which is more prestigious. Take a look at her race report then visit her site and follow it.  She can be found at Irondiva


It's all about perspective.  I learned that this weekend.  If you live in a hilly area, this course is awesome.  If you live in central Ohio, this course is brutal (but still awesome).  If you train all winter in a warm place where you can swim and bike and run outside, it's not too early for a half Ironman.  If you live in Central Ohio and Mother Nature hates you,  it's going to be a bit of a struggle.  If you think about how lucky you are to have the ability to move your body 70.3 miles, you'll love every minute of it, no matter how slow, hard, and hilly the day is!

We got to Knoxville on Friday, checked into out hotel (which was located right at the finish line and perfect), checked into the race, walked around the finish line area and finally met up with teammates.  It was so fun to finally put faces with names and I'll always laugh about us twitter and facebook stalking people as they walked by in their lime green visors, trying to figure out who everyone was.  A lot of  "hi, I'm Colleen... aka Irondiva or @CBKingery. :)  We ended up grabbing a great Mexican dinner on Friday night with a bunch of the team and Tom's teammates.  Lots of laughs!
Saturday was super busy.  We met in the morning for the practice swim.  Holy crap - the water was cold.  And yet, I freaked a little.  Again, about perspective.  I've been swimming in a pool which is probably 82 degrees or so.  Tom's two teammates are from California and thought the 62 degree water of the Tennessee River wasn't too bad.  I couldn't feel my feet, hands or face.  But it was fine.  The TYR Hurricane Cat 5 wetsuit was AWESOME and I'm not just saying that because they are a sponsor.  The thing freaking rocks... flexible, no chaffing, kept me floating and warm! :)  Two thumbs up.
After the practice swim, I showered, busted out my "I pee on my bike" shirt (thanks Triathlon Rocks!) and grabbed some grub before volunteering at the registration tent for a few hours.  People loved my shirt - some took pictures, some asked if I really do that, others just said "best shirt we've ever seen" (btw, if you want one, you can contact Triathlon Rocks and tell them I sent you - they'll give you a special deal!  Their website should be up shortly, but they are on twitter @TriathlonRocks).
After volunteering, I got my bike to check, realized my brakes were rubbing something fierce that I couldn't fix, totally freaked out and luckily the great people at the mechanic tent took care of Papa Smurf and made it better.  I love my Kestrel to death, but the breaks are a little funky and I changed my wheels out which weren't working real well with the set up.  They got my bike done by 7:15 (bike check in closed at 6) but I was still able to get it in there, all settled and ready. Quick bite to eat with Tom's team and I was ready to crash! I slept well the night before the race, but had been on my feet WAY more than I wanted on Saturday and woke up Sunday a little groggy and sleepy.  And nervous.  Did I mention that?  Holy nerves. Tom, his team, my twin Kristin and I walked to transition and got everything set up.  It was chilly in the morning and all I could think about was how cold the water was going to be.  My stomach was flip flopping.  I found Tom and we walked out of transition and the tears started.  I just felt like I was in over my head with this race.  He assured me that I was fine and to remember that I'm not racing it.  This isn't a course that suited me well - we don't have the terrain around Columbus to get us fully prepared for the climbs, and it's early in the season.  I knew I wanted to treat it as a training day and just get through it. We got our wetsuits on and made our way to the swim start.  It's an in water start and all of the half women started together in pink caps.  Tom was in our wave too because he changed to the aqua bike so I smiled when the man on the mic yelled "the party has started now that the women are in the water".  The women and Tom. :)  He was loving it... Swim - I positioned myself in the back of the pack.  Tom didn't think I needed to be that far back, but felt like I was going to panic.  There were a lot of pink caps in front of me and the water was cold (although it felt warmer than the practice swim).  The horn sounded and I panicked.  Full on "oh my God, I'm going to die" panic.  Called that one.  As the pink caps swam off, I did a quick pep talk.  I can do this.  I swim all the time.  Head in a go.  Maybe a minute later, I was totally calm, swimming in a body free bit of water and passing some pink caps, then some yellow (the wave before).  The turn out seemed to be 5 miles away and there was not the help of the current that I was hoping for.  I felt like I was in the water forever, and that was fine.  I got out in 48 minutes.  Shoot... that was really slow.  I later learned that the course was long and on average, people were 5-6 minutes longer than usual.  Made me feel better, but I'm still slow. T1pokey for some reason and didn't get out real quick.  I think it was like 2:30. HA! Bike - Remember how I said Tom was going to bike with me.  Yeah, that lasted about .05 miles! :)  This course was a dream for him (he was in the top 5% of the bike overall).  I just got comfortable and knew it would be tough.  I didn't however think it would be that tough (Wes, you warned me and I will forever listen to you!).  Again, perspective... when you don't bike any hills, it felt like I was climbing mountains.  The course was beautiful and I really have to tip my hat to REV3.  The volunteers were amazing and I loved having police AND volunteers at ever intersection.  I used my small ring a lot.  I just rode comfortable.  I ate when I needed. Drank myEFS Grape (love that stuff)  Yes, I peed on my bike.  I think I averaged like 17.2mph and I was thrilled with that.   It might have been my slowest half bike at 3:15, but I was happy with it.
T2- I got to transition and Tom was finished with his race and waiting.  Kristin's bike was the only one in my rack at this point (she rocked her race btw getting 2nd in our age group and I am so excited for her).  I guess others struggled with the course too.  I couldn't for the life of me get my belt on right.  And I think I yelled at Tom to not take pictures of me trying to get my shoes on.  Yelled hi to Meredith and Dave and got on my way. Run - Again, I just wanted to take this run comfortably.  I turned my watch off.  I didn't care what pace I was running.  My legs felt a little sluggish, but I was happy.  The first couple of miles were flat and went by quickly, but I knew I was running a very slow comfortable pace.  I got to maybe mile 3.5 and the climbs started.  Short and steep.  Mile 4 had a huge climb.  Miles 5-8 were up and down.  I never thought "I want to be done" but I knew that I was running a very slow pace.  It felt right that day...  I saw some teammates and cheered them on.  I talked to people, thanked the volunteers and police.  Running to the finish line was amazing.
I finished in 6:19:xx. That's slow for me.  But it was a great race - I was comfortable, happy, enjoying it.  I didn't care about being fast, what my pace was, where I was in the pack.  I just moved forward.  A teammate told me to repeat "I eat pain for breakfast" when it hurt and I added "I eat hills for lunch" which kept me smiling. I ended up 5th in my age group out of 20.  Not too shabby for a training day.  Trakkers rocked - I'm so honored to be racing with my teammates who are pure rock stars... a few podiums, a few big PR's! So I'm home now and sick as a dog.  Sunday night I started to feel crappy with a sore throat and itchy eyes.  Yesterday was all out cold.  Last night I slept 11 hours, got up, ate breakfast and went back to bed for another 4.5 hours.  And I could shut my eyes now and probably sleep till morning.  My body is run down.  Oh... and for all of you asking about Tom's Achilles.  We don't know what's wrong.  It started bothering him 2 weeks ago.  No distinctive pop.  Lots of swelling and absolutely no way he could run.  Not a ton of pain, but went to the ART tent on Saturday before the race and they wouldn't touch it.  They said that there was a visible ridge which made them think rupture.  YIKES.  He raced the aqua bike Sunday (and came in 2nd out of 8!) and it felt fine, but he couldn't walk the rest of the evening.  It's probably two times the size it should be and we have an appointment with a sports med doctor on Thursday.  I'll keep you updated! REV3 does things right.  From check in, to the volunteers, the race and the finish line party, everything was top notch. I honestly felt this was one of the most organized races I've ever done.  All of the little nuisances that usually bother me at races weren't there.  This is a top notch race and I'm hoping to be back next year.  But, I'm going to have to find some hills this time around!
Published in Race Reports
Sunday, 17 April 2011 20:23

The Mentalist (Repost)

This morning I got a text from Allison of Just Tri and Finish and it said:  Swim is Cancelled!  Argh!  This comes on the heels of a tweet she sent out yesterday regarding a plane hitting the bike course in New Orleans. My response to her for both was:  You cannot control these things so don't waste energy and focus on what you can control. So this morning while out for my run I thought about the tweet and how we have a lot of hurdles to clear in terms of the mental aspect of training/racing.  Once I read her text I remembered that I wrote a post a little while back regarding this mental aspect. We will always run into obstacles, but it is how we clear them that will define us as competitors and racers. Here is that post: =================================== For any and all of you doing any type of training, whether it is a 5K or an Iron-distance event the hardest part of the training is the mental game.  The mind is usually ready to quit way before the body and thus it becomes a matter of fighting that mindset.  You are struggling up a hill and the mind says quit and walk, but you don't.  You are coughing up a lung because you just swallowed a gallon of water in the pool and the mind says quit but you don't.  The wind is howling and practically blowing you backwards on your bike and the mind says quit but you don't. Welcome to the 4th part of training for a triathlon.  You will get in the water at 5am, you will be in the saddle for 3 hours, you will run intervals and tempos and in each one of those instances you are training your mind.  You are fighting back those quit words and can't words.  You CAN and you WILL do it.  You will erase those thoughts of doubt and push on.  Maybe not the fastest day you ever had, but you still did it and that is the accomplishment you take away.  You just beat your mind and now you have something stored in your memory bank for the next time it is hard. This happened to me this morning.  I had an epic training day yesterday (click here to read about it.)  This morning that alarm went off at 4:18a as usual and I just lay there.  I could not move.  My mind told me to sleep in and I started re-arranging my day all over the place.  Finally I said you have got to do this.  You need to get going.  Out of bed and into the kitchen for some toast and coffee.  Sat on the couch to enjoy it and practically fell asleep again.  Up and out the door and in the water. I had every excuse in the book to not do the complete swim.  Come back later.  Do only half.  You name it and I came up with it.  Finally I said to myself if you get the swim done you can go home and sleep for an hour.  There was my carrot and what I think is the best way to get through these types of sessions.  Small goals.  Break it down for yourself into something manageable and you will get through it all. I managed to have a great swim session.  It was a ladder down starting from 600y and had fast sets of 25 in between.  For example, swim 600y (:50 RI) then 6x25 fast with (:20 RI) then 500y (:50 RI) then 5x25 and so on all the way down to 100y.  The 600 and 500 were slightly slower than 2:00/100y.  But then I set my small goal and wound up swimming faster and faster even though the yards were piling up.  My final 100y swim was done in 1:53 which is awesome for me and left me with a feeling of OH YEAH!!!!!  I self high-fived myself and swung that arm around and patted myself on the back. That mental game was there.  I played it, set my attack procedure and won.  I beat the mind.  I came home and crashed for an hour.  Woke up and crushed some work that needed to be done.  Cranked out this post and onto lunch and a meeting.  I am picking up steam and all because I won today.  I beat the mind and am closing in on my degree as a Mentalist.  I will not be stopped today.  The momentum is there and when I get home from my meeting I will hit the gym for strength and then the trainer for a one hour ride.  Let's do this!
Are you enrolling in The School for the Mentalist today?
Published in Race
[caption id="attachment_1671" align="alignleft" width="223" caption="This guy will not pass me."][/caption] I wrote my race report and posted it earlier this week, but it has taken me some time to come down from the highs and lows and truly evaluate my performance. I am my harshest critic and so I have a tendency to not appreciate the ability and talent and performance.  It was with this  theory that I have decided to sit back for a week and try to understand what I did right and what I did wrong.  Wrong may not be the best way to phrase this so let's say what I can improve upon. I believe that self-reflection is the best way to understand where you started and where you finished.  It also gives you time to be truly free of the emotion and to put together a game plan for the next training session and plan the next race accordingly. PRE-RACE NUTRITION / HYDRATION: I believe that my nutrition was  spot on heading into the race.  I ate properly and did not change anything other than adding a 1/2 sandwich of almond butter and jelly the night before.  I was nervous and my favorite sandwich helped ease my nerves and get me to sleep fairly easily.  The morning of the race I ate the same type of breakfast I had been eating prior to long rides on the weekend and at the same time interval before the start so that my body was prepared to process the carbs to give me energy when the starting whistle went off. My hydration could use help.  Coach had given me a hydration plan and being lazy or excited I did not print it out and neglected getting in the carb solution she prescribed on the day of the flight or on race morning.  Getting that hydration in may have helped me on the run and that will be one item that I truly focus on when I head to the next 70.3 event. I did my best in San Diego to avoid eating or actually over-eating due to the excitement on Friday (the day before the race) but I know I ate a few things that I normally would not eat.  This included a vegan pumpkin cookie.  Yes, I would eat that but not the day before the race.  This might be nit-picky but I need to focus my consumption of calories to avoid any issues during the race. SWIM I put my goal time at 40 minutes based on my training and wound up swimming 40 minutes and 37 seconds.  I am very proud of this as swimming was the one discipline that I was terrible at.  It was also the reason I wound up hiring a coach. As my swim improved so did my confidence but the swim did not truly improve until I started swimming with Greg Larsen (Twitter: @tri2live)  I think the issue of swimming on my own is that while competitive with myself when there is a carrot to chase and push me I perform better.  The next step in improving my swim is to join a master's swim class.  This will help me exponentially I believe. I also need to know that I have to push myself in the water and have the confidence that if I exhaust myself that I exhaust myself.  I do this on the run and always complete the run, so I need to apply this theory to the swim.  Swim hard and my body will automatically slow down as I get tired. BIKE Again I hit my goal time.  I was looking at 3 hours on the bike and wound up riding 3 hours and 6 minutes.  I averaged 18 mph which is what my training had me at.  The bike being the longest component of any triathlon is where I can make up the most time I believe.  Going from 18 mph to 19 mph or 20 mph is a significant increase and will help my times tremendously. [caption id="attachment_1673" align="alignright" width="250" caption="The medal was nice, but this was the reward for racing."][/caption] Putting in an effort to produce a 19 mph bike speed would save me 9 minutes.  A 20 mph bike speed would save me 18 minutes.  I know this is a big leap but I also know that there are ways to improve that involve both training and equipment. In my training I have to embrace the trainer in those times when getting outside is not possible.  If I need to get on the spin bike at the gym I need to crank up the tension and know that it is going to hurt and that my speed may be affected but it will help my endurance and leg strength.  I have to be more cognizant of the time on the trainer as that will help me the most I believe.  Now, the trainer is no substitute for riding outside and when I do get outside I need to make sure that my routes are varied and include hill climbing.  Just like running doing hill repeats will help my overall speed. As for equipment there is the opportunity to buy an aero helmet as that will be the cheapest way to gain speed.  I borrowed 404s for this race and if I can continue to do so I will.  If I need to rent the wheels for a race I will do that until I can afford to buy my own set. RUN [caption id="attachment_1675" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Heading down the finisher's shoot"][/caption] My goal time was 1:40 and I ran a 1:48.  I am very hard on myself for this time and I don't know why.  A 1:48 half-marathon back in November would have been a PR.  Today I am disappointed with it.  I felt like I struggled in the last half of this run and I have pinpointed it to the fact that I was not properly hydrated from the bike. On the bike I consumed 660 calories through PowerBars but I only drank about 5-10 ounces of hydration in the form of Accelerade.  This needs to be increased as I had salt caked on my legs when I finished.  There is sodium in Accelerade that would have helped keep me hydrated and fresher for the second half of the run. With my training I believe that the run is my strength.  I give it my all each and every time I run and don't hold back.  Sometimes to my detriment I'm sure but I love running and I love finding that next gear. Dialing in the hydration on the bike I believe will help me the most on the run. POST RACE [caption id="attachment_1676" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Look at all the liquid in the SpeedFil"][/caption] Immediately after the race in the athletes tent I grabbed everything in sight.  Not a great way to recover.  I should have stuck to some oatmeal peanut butter cookies (of which I am perfecting a recipe now so that I am prepared for Austion 70.3.)  I believe that the nutrition in a couple of oatmeal peanut butter cookies combined with HoneyMilk will help me recover within those first 30 mintues. After those 30 minutes are up and I head out to a restaurant I won't be as hungry and won't consume an entire pizza, although I will have pizza.  That is my food for recovery. Learning from this experience I will be able to control my caloric intake on the Sunday and Monday after the race.  This past week I have eaten as if it were my last meal before a 50 year prison sentence.  There hasn't been a cookie or extra serving that has slipped past me.  It took me two days to get back to my very controlled caloric intake and I feel so much better now than on Sunday or Monday.   I know there will be those who say that I am crazy for evaluating my performance this way, but I believe that I have made a lifestyle commitment with triathlon and I want to continually improve.  Improvement may come in the form of a few seconds but it is improvement.  I believe in being better the next day than in the current day so that I am always moving forward.  This type of evaluation will help me do that. In case you want to know I finished 147 out of 434 M35-39 racers.  On the swim I was 213 and finished 147th so that shows that I improved with each leg and that I am the proudest of.  As other racers were getting weak I was getting stronger.  That I will hang my hat on and know that all of my endurance training paid off and now it is about focusing on speed, which will come with hard work and determination (two areas I am not lacking in.)  

Jason Bahamundi

2476 38 Lewisville TX USA Marketing
40:37 3:06:37 1:48:41 5:42:17 836 147
TOTAL SWIM 1.2 mi. (40:37) 2:08/100m 1289 213
BIKE SPLIT 1: 24.45 mi 24.45 mi (1:11:22) 20.56 mph
BIKE SPLIT 2: 56 mi 31.55 mi (1:55:15) 16.43 mph
TOTAL BIKE 56 mi. (3:06:37) 18.00 mph
RUN SPLIT 1: 3.275 mi 3.275 mi (26:20) 8:02/mi
RUN SPLIT 2: 6.55 mi 3.275 mi (25:06) 7:39/mi
RUN SPLIT 3: 9.825 mi 3.275 mi (27:45) 8:28/mi
RUN SPLIT 4: 13.1 mi 3.275 mi. (29:30) 9:00/mi
TOTAL RUN 13.1 mi. (1:48:41) 8:17/mi 836   147
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 1:39
Published in Train
Saturday, 02 April 2011 17:47

Triathlon Angels or NINJAs

By the time you read this post I will be on the course of 70.3 California.  I am not sure where I will be but I do know that I will have a host of Angels and Ninjas with me all along the way.  What am I talking about you just asked yourself and I am going to explain this to you. While triathlon is an individual sport I did not get to race day on my own.  I have surrounded myself with a team.  A team of like minded individuals who are competitive but willing to lend you a hand, a shoulder or an ear so that you can get better (I only hope I have reciprocated.) This team has been 'assembled' over the course of this past year.  It was back on May 10, 2010 that I registered for this race and at that time my only teammate was my wife.  She supported my decision to enter this race, and knew that it was going to be a year of training.  From there the team started to take shape and one by one they have all been instrumental in getting me through my training and will be on my shoulders during the race and for that I thank them. Because I believe that you give credit where credit is due I am going to showcase my team to you and while I know there are so many more that have inspired, motivated, believed and encouraged along the way I apologize for leaving you out.   Team Captain - Karen:  My wife.  My soulmate.  My Daily Inspiration to be better on a daily basis. Team Coach - Coach C:  The sessions that you created and laid out on a daily and weekly basis are invaluable.  The text message exchanges while on the trainer will always be remembered.  The moments we were able to spend together were tremendous learning experiences.  Thank You. Swim Team - Jon - SwimCycloRun; Jeff - Dangle The Carrot; Greg Larsen Bike Team - KC - 140point6miles....of awesome!; Big Daddy Diesel; Patrick - The Road; Craig - Let's Do This Again Run Team - Beth - SUAR; Emily - EMZ; Jen - From Fat to Finish; Amanda - MissZippy Inspiration and Motivation Team - Jen - Miles, Muscles, and Mommyhood; Matt Beal; Allison - Just Tri and Finish; Shannon - IronTexasMommy Humor and Laughter Team - Adena - Need A Goal; Mandy - Caratunk Girl   This is truly a great team that has been assembled and will be with me each stroke, pedal and step along the way. And I have gotten a lot of questions about my goal time.  So I am finally letting the cat out of the bag and it plays right to my bib #. My bib # is 2476.  If you take these numbers and do some math you will come up with my goal time in minutes. 2 x4 =8 x7 = 56 x 6 = 336 / 60 = 5:36 minutes.  That is my goal time and I am going to use all of you to get there.
Published in Train
Thursday, 31 March 2011 19:35

The Athlete's Plate - March 31, 2011



The Athlete's Plate has the pleasure this week of creating a menu for Amanda from Runninghood.  I had not been to Amanda's site before and when Nora nominated her I was excited to be able to go to another blogger's site and learn.

First few things I noticed about Amanda is that she is fast.  Don't believe me?  How about marathon times of 3:32 (Boston) and 3:22 (Napa Valley)!!!  That is some serious speed.  I also noticed that she is a mother of 3, and is currently sitting on 66 posts in 2010 and 66 posts in 2011 on her blog.

I went through her site looking for tidbits of information.  Items to lead me to being able to design a menu around her life.  I found some great information to be able to design a healthy menu for her.

Amanda, I hope you enjoy this menu as it was a lot of fun to find out more about you and your family.  I hope I made it so that you can create the meals with three kids and a husband.


Breakfast - Bear Naked (Lady) Granola, Greek Yogurt and Fruit

[caption id="attachment_1579" align="alignright" width="207" caption="Great way to start the day"][/caption] Ingredients: 1/4c bear naked peak protein granola, 1/4c strawberries, 1/4c raspberries, 1/4c blueberries, 1 medium banana (chopped), 1 container of greek yogurt Servings: 1 Nutritional Information: 435 calories, 7g Fat, 76g Carbs, 9g Fiber, 21g Protein Directions:

  1. Put 1/2 of the granola on the bottom of your bowl.
  2. Add in 1/2 the fruit and 1/2 the container of greek yogurt
  3. Add in the other 1/2 of the greek yogurt and top with remaining fruit
  4. Top off with remainder of granola.

This will allow you to get granola in every spoonful so that you can enjoy the crunchy texture combined with the smooth feel of the yogurt.  

  [caption id="attachment_1580" align="alignright" width="205" caption="Spinach adds a lot of nutrients to your smoothie"][/caption] AM Snack - Live Passionately Protein Shake

Indgredients: 1 medium banana, 1/4c frozen strawberries, 1/4c frozen blueberries, 1/4c frozen blackberries, 1/4c pineapple chuncks, 1/2c spinach, 1 scoop whey protein Servings: 1 Nutritional Information: 334 calories, 0.3g Fat, 44g Carbs, 5g Fiber, 28g Protein Directions:

  1. Place all items in a blender and whip until smooth.
  2. Pour into a glass and feel your body getting healthier with each sip.


Lunch - Kinesiotaping Kabobs

[caption id="attachment_1577" align="aligncenter" width="390" caption="Terrific taste in the middle of the day"][/caption]


Ingredients: 2 60z packages of tempeh (cubed), 2 yellow squash (1/2" rounds), 1 yellow onion (1/2" pieces), 1c cherry tomatoes, 1/2c baby portobella mushrooms (quartered), 1/4c tamarind paste, 2tbs soy sauce, 2tbs agave nectar, 2tbs olive oil, 1tsp dried oregano, a few dashed of your favorite hot sauce, skewers Servings: 6 Nutritional Information: 404 calories, 20g Fat, 42g Carbs, 11g Fiber, 21g Protein Directions:

  1. Soak skewers in water for at least 30 minutes.  This will prevent burning.
  2. In a large bowl add tempeh, squash, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms.
  3. In a separate bowl combine tamarind paste, soy sauce, agave nectar, olive oil, dried oregano and hot sauce.  Stir until paste disolves.
  4. Pour marinade over tempeh and vegetables and set in refrigerator for 30 minutes to an hour.  The longer the better.
  5. Remove tempeh and vegetables and begin creating kabobs by alternating tempeh and vegetables.
  6. Heat up grill pan or go outdoors to grill to a medium-high heat.
  7. Place skewers on grill and cook for 10-15 minutes turning every 3 minutes.
  8. Serve with marinade as dipping sauce


PM Snack - Fairy Magic Fig Bars

[caption id="attachment_1578" align="aligncenter" width="390" caption="Better than store bought"][/caption]


Ingredients: 2 60z pkgs dried figs, 1/2c Earth Balance Buttery Spread, 2 small eggs (for vegan use 1 flax egg), 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2c brown sugar, 1/2c turbinado, 1/2tsp baking soda, 2c brown rice flour, 1/2c soy flour Servings: 24 Nutritional Information (per serving - Have 2): 409 calories, 12g Fat, 69g Carbs, 4g Fiber, 9g Protein Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375*
  2. Place figs in food processor and grind until fine.
  3. In a pot place ground figs, 1c water, 1/4c brown sugar, 1tbsp flour and bring to a boil until clear.  Set aside to cool.
  4. Cream butter and sugars.
  5. Add in eggs, flour and baking soda (sifted together) and vanilla
  6. Combine ingredients until a dough if formed and cut in half.
  7. Spray 9x13 inch baking pan with canola oil.
  8. Roll out half the dough into baking pan.
  9. Spread fig filling over dough.
  10. Roll out other half of dough and place on top.
  11. Place pan in oven and bake until dough turns golden brown (approximately 10 minutes)
  12. Remove from oven and flip out of baking pan onto wire rack to cool.
  13. Once cool cut into bars.


  [caption id="attachment_1581" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Just like rice and beans only better"][/caption] Dinner: Boston Qualifier Quinoa and Black Beans

(recipe courtesy of

1 cup quinoa, rinsed, 1 can of petite cut diced tomatoes 2tbs extra virgin olive oil, 9 cloves garlic, chopped, 2 jalapeños, chopped (for an extra kick save the seeds), 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed), 2 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp mineral sea salt, 1 tsp black pepper, ¼ cup fresh oregano, ¼ cup fresh cilantro, ½ cup queso fresco (optional), 1 avocado, dicedServings: 6 Nutritional Information: 392 calories, 15g Fat, 52g Carbs, 11g Fiber, 16g Protein.


  1. Bring a pot of water and quinoa to boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain in a fine metal colander.
  2. Bring 2-3 inches of water to boil. Place quinoa in colander over the water. Place a clean kitchen cloth over the pot and cover with a lid. (Make sure the cloth is not so large as to cause a fire hazard) Steam for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain tomatoes, retaining juices. Add enough water to juices so that you have one cup of liquid.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and jalapeno, cook for 30 seconds. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Add black beans, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds and add in tomato liquid. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, cilantro and quinoa and cook for 7 minutes.
  5. Serve with diced avocados and queso fresco

  Nutritional Information for the menu: 1975 Calories, 54g Fat, 284g Carbs, 40g Fiber, 93g Protein Nutritional Breakdown for Endurance Athletes: 57% Carbs, 19% Protein, 24% Fat   Amanda, please upload pictures of the dishes that you create to our Facebook page so that we can see the creations from other kitchens.  Your last task is to nominate another blogger for next week's Athlete's Plate menu.

Published in Athlete's Plate
[caption id="attachment_1443" align="alignleft" width="236" caption="E is for Electrolytes"][/caption] I have recently finished the book The Runner's Diet and it was chock full of information regarding carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Or to use one term:  macro-nutrients.  There were chapters dedicated to these macro-nutrients and rightfully so as most people seem intent on focusing on these three, but as an endurance athlete there is more to being prepared than consuming a balanced diet of 55%-60% carbs, 15% protein and 20%-25% fat. There are electrolytes to worry about.  What is an electrolyte?  Electrolytes are the bodies salt which will help maintain fluid balance in your organ systems.  They are important in maintaining the integrity and function of your body.  Your next question is what are the normal names by which I might know what an electrolyte is?  The answer to that question is sodium, potassium and magnesium. There have been discussions, that I found online, about the need for electrolytes  and there are many interesting questions and points. Too much or too little? What is right for you? Are there dangers to watch out for? These are all valid; but the answers varied.  Endurance sports results in a lot of sweating which obviously results in a salt loss as well as water loss.  Your body does have an automatic process by which it balances salt and water concentrations.  Similar to water consumption guidelines, there is no hard and fast rule for replacing electrolytes.  Replacing electrolytes will vary depending on the climate you are in (hot temperatures are different than cold temperatures for water loss) as well as the intensity of the activity. From what I gathered there is no need to replace electrolytes immediately if the exercise lasts less than 3-4 hours.  Since most of us will be on the course for a half-iron distance, and certainly Iron distance race longer than 4 hours electrolyte replacement becomes an issue.  So how do you replace or avoid having to replace a lot of your electrolytes?  I read this on and it made a lot of sense to me:   A plan to avoid the problems First of all, you can reduce your tendency to lose sodium by what you do when not training or competing. You can reduce the amount of sodium in your daily food. That will increase the level of aldosterone so that your body retains sodium better. Choose less salty foods. Use Morton Lite Salt in your salt shaker. That will reduce sodium and increase your potassium intake ( as will eating fruits and vegetables ). If you expect to compete in the heat, get heat acclimated as soon as possible. That will reduce your sweat rate under hot conditions. While you train, stay cool so that your sweat rate is lower. Wear light clothes, keep your jersey wet, and/or put ice on your neck. To satisfy your needs in a hot event you can take sodium in different forms. The simplest is table salt (a pinch per hour ). If an aid station has salt and boiled potatoes, you can dip a potato into the salt before eating it. V-8 and tomato juice are also good sources.Consume supplemental salt or electrolytes during the event. Most sports drinks have sodium levels that are fine for shorter distances, but inadequate for longer distances. Most gel products have insignificant amounts of sodium. You can use an electrolyte replacement supplement, but check the sodium content. Some riders take salt tablet such as Thermotabs. Some athletes use Stamina Electrolyte Tablets but those are not a good source of sodium or potassium (they are a good source of calcium and magnesium ). Some athletes use SUCCEED! Buffer/Electrolyte Caps that are formulated specifically for ultradistance athletes such as cyclists, triathletes and runners to supply sodium, buffers and sufficient amounts of potassium. As always, you need to drink. Don't wait until you are thirsty; the human thirst mechanism is too slow and inaccurate. As the adage goes: Eat before hunger, drink before thirst. When you finish a long training ride or event, you will usually have a deficit of water, calories and sodium. You will have a much smoother recovery if you replace all of those promptly. Soon after finishing, you can take an electrolyte supplement, 200 calories of carbohydrates and drink water until you are no longer thirsty, and are urinating again. In the days that follow, you will probably find that you have more energy and fewer aches and pains if you have promptly replaced water, carbohydrates and sodium after your long ride. [caption id="attachment_1441" align="alignright" width="248" caption="Water or Gatorade?"][/caption] And while it made sense to me I don't enjoy Gatorade because of its taste.  There are other reasons as well but in the end taste trumps all and I don't like how it tastes.  I use Accelerade from Pacific Health Labs on the bike.  It has the proven ration of 4:1 Carbohydrates to Protein and it also contains 180mg (8% of your daily value) and 55mg of Potassium (2% of your daily need.)  It contains only 60 calories per scoop in 12 fluid ounces.  Very good numbers especially when you compare it to Gatorade, which has 275mg of sodium in 150 calories for a 20-ounce bottle. You could eat a mini dill pickle and get 290mg of sodium with only 5 calories, but try eating that on the bike after you've been riding for 2+ hours.  Want some celery on the bike?  Well, it does have 100mg of sodium in only 20 calories but again the thought of pulling that out of your bento box just doesn't add up. I will gladly consume the Accelerade and the PowerBar Harvest bars that I have been training with.  I am consuming 1 PowerBar harvest bar every hour by cutting it into 4 pieces and eating every 15 minutes.  They have approximately 220 calories per bar so that meets my needs, and include 150mg of sodium and 240mg of potassium.  During my training I have not had any hunger pains running off the bike so I know that this works for me and I will not be changing it this close to race day.  

What do you drink or eat to replenish your electrolytes?  Did you know a banana has 422mg of potassium, but only 1mg of sodium?

Published in Train
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