Jason Bahamundi

Jason Bahamundi

I grew up in New York and lived there for 34 years until I got divorced and moved 1600 miles to my new home in Texas.  I love New York and miss it but that does not mean that Texas hasn’t been great to me because it has.  It was here that I discovered endurance sports and specifically the sport of triathlon.  Triathlon has given me new life through all the challenges it presents.  I no longer look at life the same way and I can say that is in part due to my endeavor into this sport.

In less than two weeks I will be at the starting line of the Coldwater Rumble 100 in Goodyear, Arizona. This will be my third attempt at completing a 100 mile ultra trail run and if successful will also be the third belt buckle I collect. Since many friends and colleagues know that I run 100 mile races they also know that I train for them and have begun asking me questions about the race. Maybe the fact that the date is just around the corner is what has sparked this interest but either way answering these questions helps frame my mind for the task that is coming up.

One of the first questions I am asked is:

How Do You Manage To Run For 100 Miles?

It is a fair question especially when you consider the majority of the people asking are not long-distance runners. The folks that are asking the question typically state: I get tired just driving 100 miles so how do you do it.

My answer is simple: I want it.

My answer is complex: I want it so I will do everything I can to make it happen.

The second answer is the key to being successful at running these distances and that means having as strong a mental game as you do physical game. When I am training for 100 milers I will have weeks that are planned out for 50 miles and others that are planned out for 85 miles. Both weeks I approach the same and that is to make the difficult so that I get stronger mentally. The 50 mile week will have more speedwork and the 85 mile week will just be a bear to wake up the next day after having just run 15 miles.

By being stronger mentally I can accomplish any task set out before me. At Lake Martin 100 in 2014 the elements were against the athletes. It had rained for a week prior to the race and the course was nothing more than a mud pit that you had to slosh your way through. I battled the course and the elements to finish in just under 28 hours. It ranked as the hardest race I had completed to date and still holds that title. That race taught me that I can do anything and is something I fall back on quite a bit.

Make your training harder than the race and develop the mental strength to be able to fall back on when the going gets tough.

Tips:

  • Run without headphones for 2-3 hours and just listen to your thoughts, breathing, nature.
  • Run in the evening and then early the next morning on a Saturday/Sunday or Sunday/Monday.

Is Your Approach To A 100 Mile Race Different Than A Marathon?

Without a doubt the approach to a 100 mile race is different. If you think about it, the 100 mile race is essentially 4 marathons and if you approach it as if it is the same then you are doomed before it starts but that does not mean that you cannot take concepts from the marathon approach and apply them to the ultra race distance.

When I register for a 50k, 50 mile or 100 mile race I look at the course and the aid stations. I want to know the distance between the aid stations as well as how many loops the course is. By taking this information in I can process a strategy that will allow me to get from point A to point B and only focus on that one segment.

Knowing this information also allows me to establish a nutrition plan. How much liquid I will need in my hydration pack? How many FlapJacked pancakes or Mighty Muffins will I need at base station? What will I eat at each aid station? Having the answers to these questions before the race starts allows me to focus on the execution of a plan versus wondering what is going to unfold.

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What Is Recovery Like?

This is probably the most difficult question to answer. After each ultra race my recovery has looked somewhat different. After Lake Martin it became a quick focus on getting all the calories into my system that I could handle. After Rocky Raccoon it was about sitting down and allowing my body to rest and that included taking a nap.

Taking an umbrella approach to recovery from a 100 mile race the focus is on getting hydration and calories into my system. I will drink water, without forcing it, while eating simple foods. If I am able to get mashed potatoes I am thrilled because they do not require any chewing and just swallowing (remember it is the middle of the night and you are exhausted.)

After sleeping for a few hours I will start to focus on walking and getting blood flowing through my legs while wearing compression gear. Simultaneously I am looking for healthy fats, lean protein and complex carbs which is typically egg sandwich(es) and waffles/pancakes. I do not want to eat until I am bloated and try to keep the calorie consumption even without peaks and valleys.

The other part of recovery that is important is to go for walks and not runs for the next couple of days. Keeping the blood flowing allows the body to recover much faster than if you were to just lay down all day.

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On January 23rd in Goodyear, Arizona the goal will be to complete the race in 22-23 hours while having a good time with friends. Laughter is always a big help for me mentally and being surrounded by people of a like mind will help with that.

Tuesday, 01 December 2015 18:08

Vegan Recipe: Overcome Illness Stew

The last month has been full speed ahead with racing Ironman Florida (race report here) and then Wild Hare 50 (race report here) two weeks later and registered for Isle Du Bois 52k two weeks post Wild Hare 50 had run my body into the ground. Endurance events take a lot out of you both physically and mentally and your immune system is shot.

I learned this first hand Saturday into Sunday of this past week. I was feeling sluggish on Saturday but managed to do some running around (in the rain) with my wife but by the end of the day it had become full blown - leave me the F alone. I got in bed with a tremendous pain in my face around my sinuses and knew I had a sinus infection. I woke up every 1h20m and had difficulty going back to sleep. When I woke up Sunday I planted myself on the couch and did nothing but neti pot and try to watch football.

The Giants-Redskins game made me not feel any better as that was possibly one of the worst games I can remember watching. Just horrible football. I went to bed Sunday night hoping to sleep through the night but that did not happen until midnight when I got finally got 6 straight hours. When I woke up I felt much better. Less achy in my muscles and less pain in my face. The illness started to turn but not wanting to take any chances I kept up the fluids, vitamin C and when dinner rolled around I wanted nothing but a hearty stew.

I decided on the drive home that the stew would include rice, beans, mushrooms, onions and leafy greens. All of these are high in micro-nutrients but also included complex carbs, protein and healthy fat. I did stop myself from adding additional ingredients as I kept to the keep it simple stupid method.

When I woke up this morning I felt better than I had in the past 48 hours and believe that I am on the other side of the illness. Now the stew is not the only reason because the neti pot is the main helper here but the soup is sure to help battle illness as well as warming you up during these cold winter months. The recipe below is super simple, takes no time and tastes great. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015 20:42

Wild Hare 50 Ultra Trail Run Race Report

Wild Hare 50, the ultra trail run that was to take place a month after Ironman Maryland and be the kick start to my ultra trail running season......SUPPOSED TO BE.

Wild Hare 50, the ultra trail run that took place two weeks after Ironman Florida and be the kick start to my ultra trail running season with a BOOM......ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

The fact that I am writing an ultra trail run race report so soon after an Ironman race report seems extremely odd but gives me a lot of satisfaction about what I can do and what I can expect when I race Coldwater Rumble 100 in January.

On Friday, November 13th I drove from Dallas to Round Top and it was an uneventful ride. I got to the rental house around the same time as my friends Jeff and Elizabeth who were also going to be racing the 50 miler. This was going to be Elizabeth's first attempt at this distance but coming off her win at Little Rocky 50k I was not worried about her covering the course.

When we walked through the doors of the house I was mezmerized. This house seemed like something off the screen of the HGTV channel. It was perfect in every way. I was very excited that another endurance race weekend was going to be spent with friends and in a terrific house.

As we moved around the house we decided to start packing our gear for Saturday. As we were chatting the conversation turned to what time we needed to wake up because of the drive to the start. When Jeff said we needed to wake up at 3am I nearly broke down in tears. I had a tantrum because it was only two weeks prior that I woke up at 3am to try and stuff calories and coffee down my face and could not process having to do it again. After a few minutes I got over it because the rest of the crew showed up and we were now into preparing for dinner.

When the alarm went off at 3:02am I climbed out of bed and got dressed and into the kitchen to try and swallow rice cakes, peanut butter, banana and coffee. At 3:45am we jumped into the car and drove to the race sight. The feeling at an ultra is completely different than the feeling at an Ironman. With Ironman comes a load of nerves and energy from 2,500 people that an ultra does not have. Wild Hare 50 had about 80 people registered. There were others there for the 50k and 25k but since their races did not start until 6am and 7am, respectively, the amount of people was not at full capacity.

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About 5 minutes before the start we made it to the barn to prepare to race. The idea was to run together since this was Elizabeth and Greg's first 50 miler while Jeff and I were there to collect Texas Trail series points and racing was not at the top of the list. Countdown gets to zero and the first steps are taken. The course is designed to be six (6) 7.8 miles loops with a 3.2 mile loop to end the race.

The weather had been really nice so we expected a runnable trail but that ended quickly as we found ourselves running through mud and at one point through a puddle that was knee to hip deep. After we finished a portion of the trail we were directed left and seemed to be running the same trail again. As a matter of fact we were running the same trail and confusion set in. Anger then set in after we ran through the puddle a second time. With that loop finished we hit an aid station and realized we did the smaller loop first and now were on our way to the remaining 7.8 mile loops.

The first two loops presented challenges in the form of darkness as well as loose footing but since three of us (Greg broke away toward the end of loop 1) were together and having a good time it made the running go by fast. The course presents a handful of variables that can be challenging. There is a lot of single-track running, open field running, very deep descents, short vertical ascents and a lot of switchbacks.

When we were done with the first two loops I thought to myself that I need to treat this like a 5k in the mental sense. In a 5k we are extremely euphoric about the first mile and go out too hard, then hate the second mile and when the third mile comes we just want to be done and find a kick. This was going to be my mental state for the 6 loops where 2 loops would be a 'mile' in the 5k sense. During loop 3 I found myself getting ahead of Jeff and Elizabeth and both told me to go ahead. I hung with them but by the end of loop 4 I was still feeling very strong and pulled away. Now I was running loops 5 and 6 on my own. This is where the mental challenge picks up.

To combat this scenario I treated the last two loops as if they were 4x4 mile runs. Only focus on the 4 miles and get aid station to aid station. I grabbed two Oreos, Gatorade and Coke and off I went. About halfway through the first 4 mile loop I saw a friend of mine (Chris Oles) running on a switchback above me and noted the time. When I ran past that same spot I realized I was 6 minutes behind him and on this course that meant approximately 0.5 to 0.75 mi behind. I took it as a challenge to catch him and I ran harder. I also kept in mind that I wanted to break 10 hours on this course on this day.

As I finished loop 5 I noticed the time on the clock read 8:10:51 and I knew I had 1 hour and 50 minutes to cover the nearly 8 mile loop. If my math was right I had 110 minutes for 8 miles which was approximetly 14:00/mi. I could do this I thought. As I was going to grab Oreos, Gatorade,  and Coke I saw Greg. I told him that we could break 10 hours and he responded.......I just want this over with. I headed out hoping he would latch himself to my hip.

When I went around the pond and headed to an uphill into the wind section I saw Greg behind and thought that he was going to stay with me. After a few miles into the woods I no longer heard Greg's footsteps and knew I was truly on my own. About a mile after that I saw Chris and took note of the time. I ran to that same point and was now 3 minutes behind him. If I could push I could catch him I thought and so I started running a bit harder. Simultaneously I noticed Greg on a few switchbacks and thought he was about 4-6 minutes behind me which meant he was not letting off the gas as much as he had earlier and I was really happy that he was going to finish strong.

As I got closer to pine needles I knew I was only about 0.5 miles shy of the finish line and that this race was over. What I did not know was how long I was on the course because my watch died around the 45 mile mark and I also had no clue where Chris was. This last section of pine needles has some twists and turns through the woods but then drops you off by a camping section where participants and spectators are and they were cheering for me as I finished.

Loop 5 Of Wild Hare 50 To Start

I looked up from the ground and through the barn to see the time of 9:44 and a smiling Chris. I did not have the juice to catch him but I did break 10 hours. Chris ran a masterful race and considering he just ran the Cactus Rose 100 three weeks prior I told him how unbelievable his run was and gave him all the kudos in the world. His response: I was not going to let an Ironman catch me on the trails. This told me he knew exactly where I was just like I knew exactly where he was.

After walking around to our drop bags and gathering my clothes I picked up my phone. I had a message from Karen and she was yelling into the phone that I finshed 10th overall and 3rd in my age group. I could not have been happier with the results considering that I raced an Ironman two weeks prior. Knowing that I could break 10 hours on a trail with 3,000 feet of elevation without proper trianing, recovery and taper gave me confidence that a sub 24 hour race in the desert at Coldwater Rumble was certainly possible.

Finish Results - Wild Hare 50

Congrats to Chris on a masterful trail season. Congrats to Greg and Elizabeth on their first 50 mile finishes. Congrats to my buddy Jeff who makes these long and pain enducing races fun. Our group also included Annie and Caroline who ran the 25k and Jim who did his best to support us and keep us updated on the Notre Dame-Boston College game as most of us were fading into unconsciousness.

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Wild Hare 50 Group Next Day Before Eating At Royer's

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 16:41

Ironman Florida 2015 Race Report

Ironman Florida (IMFL) was not the race I was supposed to finish but it was the race that I did finish. I had registered for Ironman Maryland and traveled up to the race site in early October only to have the race cancelled thanks to Hurricane Juaquin. This cancellation caused an additional 6 weeks of training and anxiety.

WTC informed us that they would send out an email after the rescheduled date of October 17th with an opportunity to choose a race to attend. Ironman Florida was going to be my choice because of all the FW Tri Club teammates that would be racing. My application was accepted and in the email was told I would be receiving a final registration email.

Weeks went by without the email and finally on Thursday October 29th I told Karen that if I did not have an email by 8am I was not going to race and would instead run the Little Rocky 50k Trail Race I had already registered for. At 9am on Thursday I received the email and immediately replied and was in. That night we made travel arrangements and before I knew it we were flying to Panama City Beach.

PRE-RACE

On the Thursday before the race our crew went for a practice swim in our wetsuits and the water felt great. After that we hit the road for a one hour ride and then a 2 mile run. It was on the run that I could feel the heat and humidity and knew that staying hydrated was going to be the key to the race.

The next day, Friday, we went to the practice swim and I jumped in the Gulf or Mexico without a wetsuit and had my ass handed to me by the current and breakers. Immediately my anxiety level went up and if the reports of wetsuit optional were correct then I was going to wear a wetsuit. Having raced Ironman Texas in 2011 and 2012 without a wetsuit I had no need to prove to anybody that I could do it. Couple that with the fact that I am not close to claiming a podium and/or Kona slot then I really had no reason to not wear a wetsuit.

RACE DAY

When the alarm went off at 3am I woke up full of excitement knowing that race day had finally arrived. It had been a long training journey, both physically and mentally, and I was ready. After a quick breakfast of coffee, toast, peanut butter and bananas we jumped in the car to make the 10 minute drive to the shuttle that would take us to the race start.

As I walked into transition I saw the President of our club and he told us that our race results would be posted in the overall but not age group and that the points we accumulated would count toward the TriClub Program. Once I heard that the idea to wear a wetsuit was cemented as I had a thought that if the water looked calm I would race wihtout it.

After putting water bottles on my bike and additional nutrition in my transition bags I went and chatted with team members. Hanging out with them took a lot of the nerves that comes with a race start away. We took the obligatory pre-race photos and made our way down to the beach. Clad in my wetsuit and looking at the water I knew that wearing one, for me, was the absolute correct decision.

SWIMIronman Florida Swim

Ironman Florida is a rolling start and we got loaded into the corral and nobody tried to find the right spot to start in. It was a mass start without the wading. As I walked toward the water and jumped in my body said to me: it's go time. I tried to swim but consistently hit somebody or was hit by somebody. My anxiety kept creeping up and up and up. I started to breaststroke until I could calm down but that never really happened during the first portion of the swim.

At one point I found a floating mattress and swam towards it and hung on. I took my goggles off and cleaned them but this was nothing more than a delay tactic. Once I felt my heart rate slow down I started swimming again. My goal was to swim buoy to buoy and at each buoy I would breaststroke to try and regain my composure. This worked great and I got to the first turn buoy where my competitive side kicked in, anxiety lowered and it was game on. From that first turn buoy to the finish of the first loop there were no issues. I got out of the water and saw 44:xx on my watch and thought I would be in line for a 1:30 swim which is right where I normally am.

As I went through the arch I saw that the beach was non-existent but thought I should run down and jump in the water where the start was but noticed everybody getting in the water right away and volunteers pointing to the water. HOLY SH*T what a bad idea that was. At 5'7" and 145 pounds I got smashed by every wave coming ashore and it took what seemed like forever to finally make it to the buoy line. Had I been a kid on a summer vacation that would have been awesome but as an athlete just trying to get the swim overwith that was a tough scenario to face.

At the buoys I swam with no issues at all. Barely touched a few feet and was barely touched the rest of the way. Once I reached the breakers it was like body surfing until the last wave just smashed me from behind and knocked my goggles up and over my head. I was able to have one strap stay on my head and flip them back into position to finish the swim. I checked my watch and saw 1:35 and could not figure out how the second loop took 51 minutes when I swam the entire time with no issues then realized that the diagnol took all that extra time to fight through.

 

BIKE

IMFL Bike Start

In and out of transition in about 8 minutes I was running out and handed my bike. Time to pedal for 112 miles while staying composed to not push too hard. As I exited the bike out arch I saw Karen and my buddy Dog Bait yelling and off I went.

My goal for the bike portion was to ride at the high end of my IM watt range which is 135w-155w. If I stayed composed and did not chase anybody I would set myself up for a really good run. I passed my teammate Julie (Jell-O) at Mile 10 and felt very comfortable with where I was. The wind was blowing in our faces but it was light and I never felt like I was exerting too much energy.

All throughout the ride my 5 mile splits were anywhere from 14:30 to 16:00 and I knew I was staying steady but after 60 miles I realized I had not urinated once. I tried multiple times after that but I had nothing. I changed my hydration strategy from every 5 miles to every 2.5 miles and I still did not have an urge to pee. This was starting to cause some concern about how I would perform on the run but all I could do was keep drinking.

Around Mile 70 I hooked up with another athlete and we played the game of passing and being passed all the way through to the end. Along the way I passed another teammate at Mile 90 and he looked good. Still worried about my hydration I looked at my shorts and did not see any salt stains so I just kept on trucking.

As we were about to enter the main street back to T2 we were stopped by the police because an ambulance was screaming down the highway. There were 4 of us just stopped waiting. While the wait was short it was odd and now the four of us were all bunched up and all at the same level so it looked like we were drafting off of each other the entire time.

A referee pulled up on us and not wanting to get a penalty I hauled ass and pulled away from the other athletes. As I rounded the bend in the road I slipped my feet out of my shoes and dismounted. Handed my bike and my helmet to the volunteer and into the changing tent I went.

RUN

Ironman Florida Run

A hat, a race belt and some nutrition and off I was onto the run course. In my hand was my bike computer because while on the bike my watch beeped low battery. Not wanting to be without technology I quickly took my computer off my bike and hit the reset button and then start button as I left transition.

For 5 years the one major goal I had for Ironman was to break 4 hours at the marathon. I have been close with 4:09, 4:06, 4:06 and 4:02 but wasn't sure that IMFL was going to be the day because of the 6 week break between peak traning for Ironman Maryland and the start of this race. Just run became the mantra but my legs felt trashed right from the start.

I saw Karen around the 1.5 mile mark and had already laid down 8:15/mi paces. When I saw her she yelled to me: SUB-4......You Got This. I went past her and a few moments later thought: F*CK NO I do not. It was humid beyond belief and the run was hard already. My next split showed 8:5x and I told myself that Endurance Nation says to give 6 miles to the course at :30/mi slower than goal pace and thought: OK you are right where you need to be.

This is when the pity party for myself started. My legs hurt, I was drinking a lot but still did not have the urge to pee and dehydration worry set in. I kept running but the walk breaks at the aid stations felt as if they took forever. When I reached the turn around point in St Anthony's park my watch beeped agin with low battery. F*CK ME. Now what? Pity party kept going and walk breaks took longer and mile splits were in the 10:xx range. I was in a total funk and practically threw in the towel on the idea of breaking four hours.

As I was entering the aid station return in St Anthony's I looked at my watch and it was a black screen. I did not want to take my bike computer out because I was afraid what I might see. I decided it was time for a new strategy:

  • Run 2 miles or to the aid station after 2 miles
  • Pick up water, gatorade and coke then start running again
  • Repeat to yourself: How bad do you want this? Are you willing to suffer for your goals? Are you capable of reaching your goals?

If the answer to that last question was affirmative then keep moving but if it was not then the immediate response would be Susan Manville's words to me at every Ironman race I have done: Man The Fuck Up. Those four words would get me going again.

Around Mile 9 I saw Marni Sumbal and she asked me how I was feeling. Told I had not pee'd, was not sweating and had the chills. I could not tell what my heart rate and I was not happy. She told me to take walk breaks when needed and drink coke/gatorade and tell myself that this was not how I was going to finish the race but only a part of the race.

That little pep talk helped and I was off and running again but this time with sheer determination that I was not going to give up. I got to the end of loop 1 and people were yelling at me that I looked good and had a good pace. I reminded myself that I only had 13 miles to go and to keep moving.

I felt my pace pick up and my strides were purposeful. My aid station stops were very brief and I was passing people left and right. I kept repeating my questions and the Man The Fuck Up mantra. Before I knew it caught up to the President of the club and passed him then another teammate at mile 23 who I did not think I would catch.

My legs were in total pain but I blocked it out because I wanted to break 4 hours but I also had zero clue as to what my time was. As I ran past the last row of spectators and heard positive reinforcement words my pace picked up even more. I turned the corner and another athlete was there and he said to me: Great job. I told him the same, fist bumped him but I was well beyond running past him by the time I yelled out the words. I reached the finisher's chute and lights glared and the spectators hung over the barricades with hands outstretched. I smiled as big as I ever had knowing I just ran the IM marathon of my life.

I crossed the finish line and saw Karen and she yelled you did it. I had no idea what she was talking about because I needed to go to the med tent because I was worried about dehydration.

While sitting in the med tent area I asked her about my run split and the volunteer next to her pulled up my time and told me 3:58 and I yelled, fist pumped and was elated to have finally joined the sub-4 club.

Ironman Florida Finish

CONCLUSION

My overall time at Ironman Florida was 11:27 which puts it as the second fastest IM I have raced. The sub-4 marathon and fastest bike split rank it right at the very top of overall experiences and overall happiness in regards to performance.

Ironman Florida, while considered a terrific race for a first timer, is HARD. It is flat and can be fast but the swim with the current and breakers is tough. Beyond that is the fact that you are going to spend 95% of your time in the aero position and using only one group of muscles because there is no climbing trashes your legs. There is no reprieve on the run either. There is zero shade and with no elevation change you are again only using one group of muscles to power yourself over the 26.2 miles.

VIP and FinisherVIP (Karen), Goat (Jeff) and Myself

Thank you for reading, for your support and encouraging words. This race does not end the way it does without you. Thank you.

Tuesday, 03 November 2015 20:32

Vegan Recipe: Tempeh Fajita Burrito

Recently I started a burrito kick and it has taken on a life of its own. It is at the point where I am now trying to get #BurritoWednesday trending since it seems that all the other days are taken not to mention the sheer ridiculousness of these hashtags. Also, please do not get me started on National Coffee Day or National Chocolate Day or National Non-GMO Gluten Free Sugar Free Fat Free Peanut Butter Day.

The internet is a wonderful thing to have at our finger tips but some days I have to laugh at how days pick up momentum and thus why I am pushing hard for everybody to join me on #BurritoWednesday. Truth be told I eat a burrito 4-5 times per week because of how convenient they are to make. Take your favorite dish and wrap it up and eat it with one hand. What is better than that? Go ahead and think about it.......I will wait. Told you that you cannot come up with something.

The burrito and the waffle are my all time favorites and maybe I can create a thin waffle to wrap up other foods in and have the first #BurritoWednesday with a #WaffleBurrito.  Stay tuned but until then here is a recipe for a vegan tempeh fajita burrito that is sure to please.

If you decide to make this meal be sure to hashtag it with #BurritoWednesday and let's get this absurd movement rolling along

Back when I was eating meat I could be found at the nearest bar or in my kitchen devouring wings by the dozens.  Yes, dozens. An afternoon watching football could easily consist of 50 wings, beer and an apple pie to finish the day.  When I made the lifestyle decision to become a vegetarian the one thing I missed the most was chicken wings on a Saturday or Sunday in the fall. That went away fairly fast when I began to use tempeh in my homemade buffalo sauce. As time has gone on I decided that anything and everything could get tossed into the buffalo sauce.

This weekend, that is exactly what happened. I started with the thought of using garbanzo beans but soon enough crunchy cauliflower would go well.  Wait, that is not enough let's toss in some Brussels sprouts. Do you have a crunchy texture that stands out? No, you do now in the form of shredded red cabbage.  How can I cut the spice without blue cheese?  How about some fatty avocado. Alright, we got it all so let's start the cooking.

Wednesday, 07 October 2015 13:45

Recipe: Freekeh and Brussels Sprouts Salad

Karen and I have been using Hello Fresh for a few weeks now as a way to make time for each other during hectic work and training schedules. The recipes they provide are terrific and easy to make. The Freekah Sald has become one of our favorites and is one that has been made three times now.

If you are unfamiliar with freekah then I suggest you get familiar with it and this recipe is a great way to use the grain. Freekeh has a slightly smoke and nutty flavor that seems pronounced in this dish. Probably because it is paired with the acidity from a Fuji Apple and the creamy/crunchy fat from the walnuts. Of course, Brussels Sprouts cannot be ignored because well.......Brussels Sprout.

This recipe is great for vegans but also for those carnivores that are trying to follow a Meatless Monday ritual.

 

By now you have heard that Ironman Maryland was cancelled. My social media feed was filled with sympathy and encouraging words about the training that went into this race along with the disappointment of not being able to leverage the fitness that was accumulated in the days, weeks and months prior.

Having seen events like the NYC marathon and IM Lake Tahoe cancelled I wondered how I would feel if it happened to me. Unfortunately I am now able to know the answer to that and my feelings may surprise you.

Since 2011 I have raced 4 Ironman events and my fifth was going to be my best yet. I created my training program to put me in peak physical and mental condition for October 3rd. I had put times into my notes section of my iPhone but did not share them with anybody as I was about to unleash a fury that I have never had when racing Ironman. This time around I was going to push my envelope closer to the edge.

After I landed at BWI airport I noticed that the weather was not pretty and I wondered if the race would be held as I know this area can flood very easily since it is right on the Chesapeake Bay. About an hour into the drive I received a text message from the President of the FWTti Club I am a member of.

The text simply said: I assume you have heard about the race by now.  It was somewhat ominous but being that I was driving I could not respond or check my phone for other news. When Karen asked to stop so she could get a sandwich I found out about the cancellation.

Monday, 21 September 2015 14:22

Recipe: Deconstructed Pasta Carbonara

Some days getting into the kitchen and chopping, dicing, mincing and everything else that comes with making a meal is relaxing and allows me to exercise my creative gifts. Other days I want to get into and out of the kitchen faster than Andy Potts swim a half-ironman distance of 1.2 miles (which was 24 minutes at the 2015 version of Timberman). The reality is that my weekday evenings are my sanctuary to put my feet up and relax so the long cooking days are Saturday and Sunday. Thursday has also become a day in the kitchen as Karen and I have been cooking together on those days.

But, the last thing I want to do after riding the trainer for an hour and running for 15-30 minutes then showering is to start prepping at 7:30pm. I know a lot of people do meal prep and I am all for it but it does not work for me. I listen to my body and eat what I have a craving for and that has a tendency to change on an hourly basis during training. If I had 5 tuppware containers in my fridge already prepped I know that 3 out of the 5 days I would not eat the food because I just did not want to eat that on that day.

This is where keeping it simple and keeping it easy comes into play. One of my favorite dishes is pasta carbonara (vegetarian without the bacon of course.) The creaminess of the egg along with the crunchy texture of the bread crumbs. Add in garlic (OR COURSE!!!!) and some spice in the form of red pepper flakes and the dish as as easy as it is tasty.

The recipe below is for a pasta carbonara but it removes the technical aspect of getting the eggs into the pan without it turning into a scrambled egg and ruining the dish before you had a chance to taste it.

After you have had the opportunity to make this dish I would appreciate your feedback on the ease, complexity, taste, etc. Thanks.

 

Monday, 14 September 2015 16:20

Recipe: Puerto Rico In A Burrito

I have a tendency to go through waves of eating. By this I mean that I will put my hooks into a certain type of food and not let go for a long time. A lot of the correspondence I have received in the past year has revolved around making waffles. I am still a waffle fiend but as times change and tastes change so do the meals that I prepare.

I also love to make things easy in the kitchen. I do not have a lot of time during the week to create elaborate dishes and so I try to keep my cooking to 30 minutes or so. Sometimes that involves prepping before hand (not often) or making a breakfast meal (happens a lot) or knowing how long it will take to make a dish and not wasting time when I walk through the door from work.

Since my desire for a particular meal can change in a heartbeat knowing what I have in my pantry and fridge is vital to getting into, cooking and out of the kitchen as quick as possible. That is no different with this recipe for Puerto Rico In A Burrito.

Back to putting my hooks into a particular type of meal. Lately, I have loved rolling burritos and putting anything and everything into them. From the simple Cobb Salad Burrito to Buffalo Cauliflower Burrito to this burrito there is nothing easier to eat than a burrito.

As a kid rice and beans was a staple of our diet becaus Puerto Ricans serve it with practically every meal and yes that includes breakfast. When I thought of a rice and beans burrito I also decided that plantains, the way my father loved them, had to get thrown in along with some peppers and onions.

What came out of my kitchen was better than I had imagined. Give this recipe a try and let me know if Puerto Rico In A Burrito is a keeper for your menu.

 

 

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