Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween By The Numbers

209 Trick or Treaters

5 Jumbo Variety Packs of Candy
2 Packs Milky Way
2 Packs Reeces Mini Peanut Butter Cups

1 Roommate to the rescue with 4 packs of candy

2 Roommates dressed as doctors

0 Trick or Treaters that believed us when we said we weren't actually doctors

6 Police cars that passed the house

2 Alcoholic beverages consumed by me

1 Alcoholic beverages comsumed by doctor #2

1 Cutest costume ever: 5 month old dressed as a chili pepper

43 Pieces of candy consumed by roommate not in costume

1 Dog that was extremely socially frustrated

2 Pieces of candy to children ages 2-12

1 Pieces of candy given to children 0-2 or >12

1 Small piece of candy to all kids >12 AND >200 pounds

1 Child who burst into tears at sight of socially frustrated dog

3 Candles placed on our front porch because our light was burned out

4 Mom's who shamelessly brought bags for candy for themselves

2 Very exhausted roommates ready to crash at 8:45

1 Roommate ready to go out for the night

Monday, October 30, 2006

Random Thoughts Monday!

1. Halloween thoughts

I went to a Halloween party on Saturday night at DaisyDuc's house. I'm trying to be more smart with my money because of how expensive my triathlon hobby is, so I decided to resurrect an old costume. Unfortunately the only real costume I've bought was for a 1001 Arabian Nights theme party. So I was a belly dancer. DaisyDuc lives about 45-50 minutes East of my house. The weather was pretty crappy when I left my house, and unfortunately it got worse on my way out there. Rain turned into slush turned into snow. I think I saw 12 accidents in 10 minutes. It was a real nerve wracking experience. So I'm driving down there white knuckled and I'm thinking- How embarrassing would it be for me to spin out right now? Sheer skirt, sparkly halter top, high healed sandals, more make-up than anyone should be allowed to own, drowning in half gallon of glitter, freezing on the side of the highway.

Hi officer. See I hit this patch of ice...

I'm sure it would have been quite a story down at the precinct. Thankfully I made it there and back safely and had a really good time :)

In other Halloween news... I make a vow every year that next year I'll buy enough candy for the kids. Every year I think that I have enough. Every year I end up turning off my light and hiding because I ran out. Now, don't think I'm stingy. It's one of my favorite days of the year. There's nothing cuter than kids on Halloween. But I'm pretty sure that we get in excess of 150 kids every year. So this year I have them fooled. I bought 5 super duper bonus bags of candy. I have more than 300 pieces of candy. I can't possibly run out! (I say that every year)

2. Training thoughts

I found the best Saturday trainer entertainment - I finally was able to watch and entire Badger game! Since I am a huge football fan, especially all things Badger and Packer it was a great 2:15 on the trainer. It was unfortunate that they played such a trash first half, but the comeback kept me spinning hard to the end! GO BADGERS!

Sunday I had a great run. I had company this time and went down to the towpath to get off the Dreadmill. It's amazing how great and fast a run can feel when you are having good conversation! The weather was awesome, too. A little windy, but just being out in the sun with the trees turning colors and all of the people out walking their dogs was so refreshing. Hopefully there will be more long runs like this in the future. One can only handle so many treadmill miles!

3. Trainer!

I got my new trainer today! I bought it from Tom Demerly of BikeSport Michigan. He had a great deal on the Kurt Kinetic Trainer. I wish I lived in Michigan. His customer service is amazing. I ordered it on Saturday night and it was on my doorstep by Monday morning. If you ever need a bike or accessories and are in the area check them out! . I'll give out my review of my new toy soon because I have a 6am appointment with it tomorrow for 1:15.

4. Today's swim

I'm pretty sure that they drained the pool over the weekend and filled it with molasses. Bastards! Or maybe it could be that I ate like a pig and drank like a fish this weekend. Nah, must be the water.

5. Great new recipe for the protein seeking herbivores out there-

1 cup lentils
1 cup quinoa
1 can black beans
1 jar hot salsa
1 packet taco seasoning
5 cups water

Bring it all to a boil- cover and simmer until water is absorbed. Voila! 4 protein rich meals

Friday, October 27, 2006

Shameless Plug

Today was my friend Steve's last day in the lab for several months.

He went to get his PET scan the other day, and we were all disappointed to hear that the cancer has already spread locally, so he has Stage 2 lymphoma. Thankfully, outside of his Abdomen he is cancer free. I'm 100% sure that he will beat this, but it will be a tough 5 months for him. We were expecting him to be stage 1 which only necessitates 3 21 day rounds of chemo, but with stage 2 he is up to 6 full rounds. The thing that sucks the most for us is that because of the nature of our work he won't be able to come in at all during his treatment. Why? He will likely be neutropenic (have a low white blood cell count and lowered immune response). His lab works on Methicillin Resistant Staph aureus and Vancomycin resistant Enterococci, the lab across the hall studies Clostridium difficile, and we work on mult- drug resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, E. coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Just a recipe for disaster for the immune compromised. I told him that we have to get a teleconference line set up so that he can still eat lunch with us every day. We have also suggested that he get a part time job somewhere so that he doesn't go absolutely nuts sitting at home. I suggested he get a job at a running store. Keep him motivated to get back on the horse :)

I set up my Janus Charity Challenge page this week. All the proceeds go directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This is not through Team in Training, so none of the money goes towards my training or race fees. So if you'd like to donate just click here . You can donate in memory or in support of people that you know who have battled cancer. And it's tax deductable. :)

In other news

My training was great this week. My knee is quickly on its way to health and I am tolerating the increased training load pretty well. It will go up again next week. I think I'll be up to:

3 x 3500 yard swims (3:45 total probably)
2 x 50 minute runs (1:40 total)
1 x 90 minute run (1:30)
1 x 1:15 trainer ride (1:15)
1 x 2:15 trainer ride (2:15)
And weight training! (1:00)

So that's a 11:25 week. Fun stuff! Is it weird that I get excited when my volume goes up?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Philanthropic Parking Meter

A month ago when I was going to my car after swim practice the dreaded CSU parking police were writing up my car. Yes, we park without permits, but for crying out loud we are gone by 7:30 am. I am absolutly not going to pay $30 per month to PARK at master's. So I have been delegated to the parking meters in front of the building.

Here's the weird thing. Every morning there are 1 or 2 parking meters that have 2-4 hours of time on them. Since they don't ticket between 9pm and 7am I know that it is not "leftover" from the last car. Now you might just think that they are broken meters. But the thing is- they are different meters every time! So totally weird. So I have taken to getting to practice 20 minutes early (yes, that's 5:40am) to find the free meter.

Yeah, I'm that cheap.

But I'm also obnoxiously early to everything, so it works. I'm pretty much always the first one in the pool.

Speaking of swimming, If anyone has not seen the hilarious Slowtwitch thread on weird swimmers, you must click here

In other news I have 2 tidbits of excitement:

I think my knee is on the way to being healed! I have a great PT routine to do compliments of a new friend who is a physical therapist. In addition I have been doing leg raises and balancing leg curls for the hamstrings (thanks Kurtis!). I did my first brace free / pain free run today. I am ecstatic!

Secondly, I have made it through week 2 of my whole foods pland-based diet. It's going great. I feel fantasic and I've been having a blast cooking all new foods. I love a challenge :)

Tomorrow's my planned day off. I'm totally going to sleep in... until at least 6am!

Monday, October 23, 2006

This time it's for real!

It's not kidding. Not a warning shot. It's snowing.

October 23- first day that the white stuff accumulated on my lawn. Not a small amount, either. We're talking a solid inch of snow. Slippery driving this morning too because it snowed pretty heavily when I was walking the Mad dog this morning at 5am. I am a little disturbed about this. It seems that the years it snows early are the years it snows A LOT! Why do I care, you ask? Because I am doing one of the earliest Half IMs and full IMs of the year. And it's looking like I'm going to really have to make friends with the trainer. And possibly re-subscribe to netflix. I'm thinking of renting full series of TV shows. I don't watch TV, so I have a lot of catching up to do with the popular shows like 24 and Lost. Anything to make the trainer hours go by faster!

Training update: I had a great day on Saturday. We had our first club duathlon. I had initially thought I would race these, but I have come to the realization that I have an inibility to "take it easy" when at a race. So to save my poor knees I am going to be volunteering for these instead. What was my job on Saturday you ask:

I was the 1 mile turnaround cone for the run!

We had a great time out there and after the race the sun came out and we went for a beautiful 30 mile autumn bike ride. It was hilly enough to stay nice and warm and we had a good group that went out. I now realize it will probably be the last comfortable ride until somewhere in the vacinity of April. *sigh* Afterwards Jen and I went out to eat in Peninsula and it was very yummy. But for some reason I found it impossible to get full that day. I think the tapeworm's back...

Then Sunday I had a nice 75 minute run on the treadmill. It went as well as can be expected. My knee didn't hurt at all, which is a huge bonus of the treadmill. The downside is that it's boring as hell! But there was a John Grisham movie on in the gym which kept me occupied. It had Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd. I love both of them and was frankly amazed that I'd never seen it before.

Then this morning it was a 3100 yard swim and I'm ready to hit the hay because I'm back on the trainer in the morning to finish the movie I started last Tuesday. Fun stuff!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Happy To Be Alive Day

It was funny- this morning I had the greatest swim workout I think I have EVER had. I feel like I'm on top of the world. Then I read Eric's Training blog when I got into work. He said he was "really happy to be alive" yesterday. That totally summed up my morning. It was so out of place, too. I was out too late last night drinking wine with applicants to my graduate program, I slept like total crap last night with nightmares, and when I woke up it was cold, rainy and miserable. But I was just so happy to be awake and strong and ready to face the day.

The swim sets were awesome. Friday is sprint day, so we didn't do anything in the main set longer than 75 yards. And I felt like I was flying on top of the water. My 25's took me 15 seconds, 50's took me 30-35 seconds, and my 75's took me 1:00 to 1:05. This may not seem that smokin' to many of you, but I was feeling like Ian Thorpe. I also love Fridays because Jen comes to practice and I really enjoy talking to her. We have a lot in common and are facing similar challenges this year. I am so incredily fortunate to have made so many great friends this year.

I'm really looking forward to my weekend. Should be busy and a lot of fun. I have a 45 minute run tonight, a 2 hour ride tomorrow, and a 1:15 run on Sunday. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the Ole knee holds out on me!

Happy Friday everyone! Smile a lot today, and reflect on how fortunate we all are to be happy and healthy!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Training notes

Swimming is back in the short course pool. I have severely mixed feelings about that.

Pros of a 25 yard pool:
I feel super duper fast
We have a ton of lanes
fly seems more manageable when you can clearly see your destination

Constantly flip turning
3 people in a lane seems congested
Less like a traithlon swim than the 50m

I'll get used to it, but it just takes a few sessions. On the bright side I can now tell that I'm faster than I was in high school. We did sets of 50's (see my new awesome sidebar?) and they were mostly stroke. I had no problems with a sendoff of 1:00 and had a lot of rest time between them. I'm really curious what my 100 free time is going to be...

Running- today was one of my 2 "double practice" days this week. I've been trying to wear my knee brace since my patella's been bothering me. However, like clockwork I have to rip it off 20 minutes in because my IT band flares. Then 10 minutes later the pain subsides. Yes, yes I need to get in to see someone. But I'm broke, so I have to wait for my loan to come through. This sport is so expensive!

Life notes- Not much going on. I submitted another manuscript yesterday but don't have the highest hopes that it will make it. I also have some of my last experiments for my thesis on Monday. It will be a big relief when I can be done with the work. Then I just have to get the motivation to write my last big paper, my review, and my thesis. No worries, mate!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

HR training

I had my third Zone 2 run this morning, and it was awesome! Well, compared to the first at least. Let's look at the stats for my 45 minute runs:

First run: ave pace 12:15 per mile. I made it 3.35 miles
Second run: ave pace 11:30 per mile. I made it 3.94 miles
Today's run: ave pace 10:32 per mile. I made it 4.27 miles

This is working way faster than I had anticipated. I can totally handle my long runs at 10 min per mile or so. I was getting so scared that I was going to be stuck with 12:15. But somehow my heart is adapting to the low rate exercise and I am able to go much faster while maintaining 150 bpm. It' s nice to see results this quickly! In my line of work it is so rare.

I also started my strength training regimen today. I have been inspired to start building muscle by my body fat measuring scale. I would have never thought a 5'4" girl weighing 120 pounds could be 25% body fat. Geez. Time to get buff.

I just peeked at this week's schedule. I'm excited to see an additional 1:15 worth of running for this week. I was starting to feel like a slacker. Should be a good week of exercise with 9:15 plus strength training planned

In other news I did some housecleaning today. Not your everyday vaccuum and pick-up deal. No, I did the- clean behind and under the couches, throw out 3 garbage bags worth of trash, scare out all the spiders from the nooks and cranny's clean. Felt good. Then I took my dog, who has been more than even her own share of neurotic this week, for a long 2 mile walk. It is just the most spectacular fall day. I wanted to soak as much in as I could.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bike trainer and corn maze

Had a great Saturday! Started it out early since I went to bed at 9 (big loser). Got up at 6am and decided to tackle the one bi-annual chore that makes me hate the day I signed the mortgage on my house- put in the storm windows. I curse like a drunken sailor for an hour while the painful process is performed. See, the genious who built my house thought it would be a great idea to make every single window a different size. And since the house is 67 years old, the windows still have the storms and screens that have to be "swapped out". Add in the fact that all the windows, screens, and storms have been painted over/ shut about 3 dozen times and you have a really fun morning.

So, needless to say I had plenty of aggression to take out on the ole trainer this morning. Didn't know if I would be able to make it the full 2 hours, but it turned out to be easier than I thought. I put in a movie (Closer- seriously F*ed up movie by the way) and spun away the hours. Good stuff.

Then it was off to celebrate Espeed's birthday by getting lost in corn. Here's some pics:

Here's a pic of the beautiful Ohio valley in the fall

Corn Maze!

Cutest little girl ever!

Look at the package on this guy!

E-speed and me after the maze

E's wonderful cupcakes. They were so cute... and tasty!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Random Thoughts Friday!

1. I hate shoes. Jen and I got into a conversation this morning about shopping. We see these great outfits that are stylish and sexy and would love to buy them. Except neither of us can stand wearing those stylish and sexy high-healed shoes. There's nothing sexy about clogs.

2. I'm a scientist (in case you didn't know). I am easily influenced by sound scientific studies. In addition I have more than a small interest in nutrition and its links to disease. For this reason, it is a very bad idea that I bought the book The China Study . So, 4 chapters into the book I am in preparation for a vegan diet overhaul. I'm not going to be strict about it when I'm around friends or family (don't want to drive people too batty worrying about what to feed me), but I'm starting to learn how to cook vegetarian dishes. My dish of the day was Quinoa Tabbouleh . It's great. I also made vegetarian chili last night and have enough to feed an army. It's super tasty, but I think in the future a little beano may be in order....

3. I'm really starting to get used to this heart rate training. On only my second run, I increased my pace by :45 per mile and decreased my HR by more than 5 beats. Crazy. I just focused on my breathing the entire run and the HR came down like a charm. Pretty sweet.

4. Man, some things about winter really suck! I had a 2 hour bike ride with Jen scheduled for tomorrow morning and had to totally bail on her. I don't have the money to buy winter gear right now (see #5) and I just hate being cold. So the forecast of low 40's and rainy for the morning has me running to my trainer. So I have a 2 hour appointment with my trainer and a movie at 10 am tomorrow.

5. Car dealerships suck. I took in my car for it's "required" 30,000 mile tune-up (otherwise my 100,000 mile warranty is invalid). I walked out of there $400 poorer after a glorified oil change. Sons o' bitches! (as my mom would say)

6. Speaking of my Mom, she called me very excited tonight. Turns out, she was invited to a slot tournament the same weekend as my half marathon in Vegas. Result- a room at the Belagio for free. In her words: Hoity- friggin - Toity! I guess it's a nice place, huh?

7. And I saved the bad news for last. Steve got the diagnosis of B-cell lymphoma yesterday. They need to take another biopsy for flow cytometry to determine exactly what type and stage. So here is what I'm going to do about it- I am going to sign up for the Janus Charity Challenge for Ironman CdA to try to raise as much money as I can for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I told myself I wouldn't pick a charity to raise money for unless I had one that I was truly passionate about. Seeing a dear friend go through the battle with lymphoma will be more than enough for me.

And now, my friends- I have a date with my bed. I'm such a big loser going to bed at 9 on a Friday. But hey, I'm tired. I had a lot of nightmares this week and wasn't sleeping too well. I'll make up for it tonight

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Today I read a couple of blogs that have turned out to be very timely for my life. Eric had a blog about mountain biking and how it was the first step in getting into triathlon. In another blog, Jen talked about how she likes to live her life in the present and not think too far into the future. That's how I'll frame my Wednesday story.

Last summer I was really wanting to get back into triathlons (I had done one before)and was in pretty bad shape. Chris, my lab buddy talked me into doing an early season 5k and it got me excited about getting back into competition. After this, Chris and I decided to get our other lab buddy, Steve, into running as well. The three of us spend a lot of time together in lab talking and wasting time and taking online quizzes and talking about the History channel. Initially Steve was reluctant to start running. He's 38 and married to a wonderful wife with 2 adorable little kids and he teaches part time at the community college at night after work. He just didn't think he had the time. So I made it my personal quest to raz him enough to get him to at least try it. Being extremely competitive he didn't want to do a race until he thought he could do well. So we started going out at lunch to run every once in awhile. He quickly far exceeded my talent and within a month he was hooked. True running junkie.

Our history channed discussions soon turned into training talks and race strategy discussions and talk of gadgetry and shoes. And, um, Steve has gotten really, really good. It was really the support of my lab geek crew Chris and Steve that got me to pull the trigger on triathlon.

Steve has continued to train his butt off and has gotten his 5k time down to 19 minutes or so (down from his first 5k last year which was, I think 25 minutes). It has been inspiring to watch how great he has done. He was on his way to winning his age group in Cleveland's Road Race Series this year.

Until last week

Steve went to the hospital last week with abdominal pain. We were all pretty sure he had appendicitis. He found out this weekend that it's Cancer.

We spent this morning talking about it. The doctors are still not sure of what type of cancer it is, but from what I can make of it his prognosis is very good. They think it's either a carcinoid tumor (very rare endocrine tumor in his small intestine), or a non-Hodgkins lymphoma. But needless to say, Steve is very shaken about this. He's a healthy 38 year-old runner who is in the best shape of his life. The last thing he was expecting was to find out he has cancer.

So I guess what I take from this experience is that as fit as we all think that we are, you never really know what's in store for your health. Every day really is a gift. I, like Jen, try to live my life in the present. I don't know what I want to do with the rest of my life and it doesn't bother me one bit. What matters to me is how I'm living my life right now. And it helps to stand back every once in awhile to appreciate how incredibly fortunate I am that I am so very happy and healthy.

Obligatory training notes:

Pushed it too hard on Sunday and was pretty sore for my heart rate test. The bike test didn't really work b/c the HRM strap I was using wasn't tight enough and kept losing the signal during my 3 mile time trial. The highest reading we got was 180 and I'm sure my heart was north of 190. So we just went with the highest I had recorded it on my bike doing hill repeats in the past. Then on the run I wasn't able to push it above 193 (even thought that was my average for 3 miles of the run on Sunday). So I'm stuck in my same low zones. I'll be off tonight to do a zone 2 run. I am going to change the readout on my garmin so that I can only see heart rate and time. If I see how slow I'm going I'll get frustrated :)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Picture Monday!

Blogger has hated me lately and is finally letting me upload pics...

This was so pretty I had to make it bigger than the rest. This was our view when we were heading to relay point #1 at the marathon on Sunday

The fall colors are really looking beautiful

Fearless relay leader Jen and her husband Matt

Sprinting to the finish

Me and my roommate Colleen before going out on Friday

Matt showing me the way to bathroom with his "guns"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Last Race!

Today I ran my last race of the year (well, until December). I did the Akron Towpath marathon relay with Jen et. al. We were just out there for fun, and it was actually a blast. We had a great time racing from one relay checkpoint to the next to get there in time for the handoff. The only real challenge was the first handoff because the roads were closed. But Jen's great navigational skills had us in place with plenty of time to spare. I was really glad to see DaisyDuc who showed up to cheer on her friends and run a couple of legs with us. It's always great to have a speedster to pace you!

I have been doing a lot of IT band stretching thanks to Jen who has had similar problems lately. So I stretched last night and then three times before my run. I also did some easy jogging to warm up as I awaited Dave and Janet (DaisyDuc) to get back from their leg and hand off the chip. I wasn't sure how I was going to pace the run. I knew that my competitive spirit wasn't going to allow for 10 minute miles I probably should have run per my Ironman schedule. But since it's my last race I figured I'd let it all out. Janet and I ran together for the first couple miles, but then she started getting some stomach cramping. I would have slowed down, but my knee was feeling so darn well at the pace we were running I didn't want to jinx it by slowing down.

Running the anchor for a marathon relay is a lot of fun. I'm sure many people wanted to strangle me as I ran past them and tried to give out words of encouragement. People were struggling. But I was feeling fantastic. I don't think I've ever felt that great during a run. Could be for a couple of reasons- 1. I am well rested from an easy week 2. I have been off caffeine for 1.5 weeks now and had a Cliff bar with caffeine before I started. Gave me a little boost 3. It was just a damn nice day and the leaves were beautiful and the towpath was a perfect running surface. At any rate I absolutely loved the run. Here's how I did:

Distance 5.57 miles
Time 45:25
Avg pace: 8:08
Avg speed 7.4
Max speed 8.1
Calories burned 850
Avg Heart Rate 190
Max HR 196
Ascent 1344 feet

1) 8:01 Avg HR 183
2) 8:16 Avg HR 189
3) 8:09 Avg HR 190
4) 7:59 Avg HR 193
5) 8:20 (sunny and hot for this mile) Avg HR 193
5-5.57) 8:05 Avg HR 193

I don't think I'll see 8 minute miles again for months and months with Ironman training. *sigh*

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Tonight's Dinner.... Wow

You might want to try this at home:


Fresh bread and italian dip (My contribution):

Fresh bread (we had roasted garlic) cut into pieces with..

1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
sprig of Rosemary chopped
2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Constance's Salad (Colleen's contribution)

1 bag of baby spinach (we had to substitute romaine)
1/4- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 bag of dried cherries
1/2 small container of feta cheese

equal parts oil and balsamic vinegar (1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic smashed
1 tablespoon sugar You can add water if the balsamic is too strong.
Let the dressing sit for a couple hours in a tupperwared container (so you can shake it).
Serve over the salad. You can put chicken or salmon on the salad if you want a protein source.

Main course:

Chicken Pesto Spaghetti Squash:

Pesto: (Matt's contribution)

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 cup grated Parmesanio Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup Olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Half an avacado
small can of black olives

Place basil leaves in small batches in food processor and whip until well chopped (do about 3/4 cup at a time). Add about 1/3 the nuts and garlic, blend again.Add about 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese; Add avacado, blend; blend while slowly adding about 1/3 of the olive oil, stopping to scrape down sides of container. Add olives, blend. Process basil pesto it forms a thick smooth paste. Repeat until all ingredients are used, mix all batches together well. Basil pesto keeps in refrigerator one week, or freeze for a few months.

This was awesome to eat with bread- great idea to bring to a party...

To make the squash (My job)

Cut 2 squashes in half lengthwise and take out the seeds. Place cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for an hour (for a very large squash). Take out and using a fork, fluff the spaghetti like strings out of the meat of the squash.

For the chicken (Matt and I)

Cube 2 chicken breasts into 1 cm squares
Place in a bowl with corn starch. Just cover the chicken with the starch (this will make the chicken super tender)
Saute the chicken in the leftover dip (see above) until cooked.

Now place the spaghetti squash, chicken, and pesto in large pot and mix. If needed, heat on the stove.

Dessert (Colleen)

Wicked Hot Chocolate Mousse

4 large eggs, separated*
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons coffee liqueur
4 teaspoons Chili Oil, recipe follows
7 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Spicy Whipped Cream, recipe follows

Whisk the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar, butter, 1/4 cup of water, coffee liqueur, and chili oil in a large metal bowl to blend. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water); whisk constantly until the mixture is very thick and frothy, about 3 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.

Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites in another large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, beating until stiff and glossy peaks form. Remove the chocolate from over the water. Fold 1/3 of the meringue into the warm chocolate mixture to lighten, then fold in the remaining meringue.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 3 hours or overnight. Spoon the mousse into 6-ounce bowls. Top with spicy whipped cream and serve.

Chili Oil:
2 cups olive oil
4 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes

Combine the oil and crushed red pepper flakes in a heavy small saucepan. Cook over low heat until a thermometer inserted into the oil registers 180 degrees F, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Transfer the oil and pepper flakes to a 4-ounce bottle. Seal the lid. Refrigerate up to 1 month.

Spicy Whipped Cream: 1 cup heavy cream 1/4 cup granulated sugar Cocoa powder Ground cayenne pepper
With an electric mixer, whip cream gradually adding the sugar until soft peaks form. Top with a dusting of cocoa powder and a pinch of cayenne. Serve immediately.

I love roommate dinner nights!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Great swim day

I had a great swim practice this morning. It was my dream set with my favorite lane peeps (Except IronTriSteve , and I'm starting to forget what he looks like! he he). I love it when Jen comes. I can't friggin believe that she just learned to swim a couple years ago. Just seeing how much and how fast she has improved is a good motivator to get my butt in gear. So here is my dream set- cut down to my daily max (as per coach Angela's advice) of 2700 meters:

Warm up:
500 swim
200 pull
6 x 50 kick on 1:15 (or so... Lenny wanted to swim behind me because he says I kick faster than he swims so that had me high tailing it a bit)

Main set (2x):

5 x 100 pull on 2:00 Both times through I touched the wall at 1:35 the first 100 and then 1:40 for the others
4 x 50 on 1:15 odds easy (touched at :50) evens fast (touched at :40)
200 kick

Second time around I did 100 cool down instead of the kicking.

Then this afternoon I had Derm clinic, which is a welcome break from lab nerdery. Makes my legs a tad sore from all of the standing and walking, but it's totally worth it. I feel very in my element now in the clinic. I could get used to this Derm stuff I think...

And now it's out on the town! I'm about to go get all dolled up to go out and see what the single men of Cleveland are doing tonight. There's got to be at least one out there, right?

Catch ya'lls later. I've got a 2 hour ride with Jen tomorrow then I'm going to watch some football and cook something extra delicious for dinner. I'm gonna go gourmet- been awhile since I've had an evening to explore the kitchen. I'll share recipes, of course


Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The most painful run ever!

Ugh. I did my first run today with the new coach. We haven't tested my heart rate zones yet, so she gave me strict instructions to follow the average person's zones and stay in Zone 2. Well Zone 2 ends at 154 bpm. I've blogged about this before, but I am some sort of heart rate mutant. I figure I must be part bunny. My max heart rate on the run is somewhere north of 200 and 180 is a fairly comfortable jog for me. All it takes to get me to 150 is to think about maybe running. I knew it was going to be a frustrating run, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay a coach good money and then not listen to what she tells me. If she tells me to jump, I'll ask how high? If she tells me to sprint, see ya later! If she tells me to eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly... well then I'll think she's too good to be true. But if Angela tells me to keep my heart rate under 154, I'm doing it.

Oh, man was that the longest and most painful (emotionally, that is) run of my life! It was so frustrating. I was barely moving and I think that it actually was harder on my knees because I can't shuffle with very good form. All in all I averaged a whopping 12:15 per mile. I can't WAIT to get my real zones! I figure if it at least allows me to do my LSD at 11 minute miles it will be doable, 10 is more comfortable. We'll just have to see. My big date for HR testing in the 11th. Yay!

Tomorrow is my day off. I don't quite know what to do with myself. I'll probably clean the house and do some laundry in the morning. I'll still get up at 6 and can't get to the bank until 9, so I'll have 3 hours to putz. Something I excel at.

Have a nice night everyone. One quick question for the cyclists: I need to get an affordable trainer for the winter. Any suggestions on good models?

Training week 1

Very easy week to ease back into base building. I was instructed to do NO MORE than 3000 yards in the pool MWF, so I have been good at getting out at 2700 meters . This morning was a tough stroke workout that nearly killed me. Tuesday morning was a 60 minute trainer ride keeping my HR below 154. That was nice and easy, but my legs were still fatigued last night. That's the weird thing about the trainer. I am just as sore after 1 hour as I am after a 3 hour outdoor ride. No downhills on the trainer! So for the rest of the week it's a 40 minute easy run tonight, tomorrow OFF (gasp!), Friday swim, Saturday 1.5 hour ride, and the marathon relay on Sunday.

In other news:

I love training peaks! Angela uses this with all of her clients and I think it's great. Highly recommended program. It allows you to put in a ton of info about every day. Training, hours of sleep, stress level, HR, and you can upload your Garmin into it. Another great feature is the nutrition page. It catalgues your daily caloric needs (based on the training page) and then allows you to put in all your food for the day. Just about any food you can imagine is in their database. So at the end it lets you know how your carb/protein/fat distribution is. Very useful and informative.

Got a new cell phone. The roommate challenge is to get the most obnoxious ringtone you can find. Matt has a great 70's song (I can never remember the name, but it's awesome). My choice? When I get a call I get to hear Barry Manilow crooning Coca Cabana. But when you choose a stupid ringtone you have to be very careful about turning off the ringer at inappropriate times. My mom walked into a funeral without silencing her phone and it went off. Her song? The Chicken Dance.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Soup time!

I interrupt your regularly scheduled triathlon blog for some very important soup recipes.

Chili- serves 10 (I made this yesterday and put 4 servings in the fridge, 5 servings in the freezer, and one in my tummy- all in single servings ziploc containers to eat at a moments notice)

1.5 pounds lean ground beef or turkey
1 head celery diced
1 large onion chopped
2 large green peppers diced
3 cloves garlic diced
1 large can tomato puree
1 large can tomato chunks
1 normal sized can kidney beans
1 normal sized can black beans
1 normal sized can red beans
1 normal sized can corn
2 packets taco seasoning

This one's easy!

Brown the beef on the stovetop in a very large pot. Add everything and cook on high covered for around 30 minutes stirring often, then simmer until it tastes yummy (10 minutes to hours depending on your taste). Alternatively, brown the beef, then throw all the ingrediants in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-9 hours. Great to start in the morning and come home to a deliciously smelling house.

This is also very nutritious and low cal. Great if you're dieting

Butternut Squash Soup- Made this tonight. Makes 6 big bowls

2 big butternut squash, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 (49.5 fluid ounce) cans chicken broth
1 large sweet potato (or regular potato)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sherry wine
1/2 cup light soy milk (my recipe, or use half and half)
1/2 cup creme fraiche (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pour a thin layer of water in a baking dish, or a cookie sheet with sides. Place the squash halves cut side down on the dish. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a fork can easily pierce the flesh. Cool slightly, then remove the peel. Set aside.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for a few minutes, until tender. Pour the chicken broth into the pot. Add the potato, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until soft. Add the squash, and mash with the potatoes until chunks are small. Use an immersible hand blender to puree the soup, or transfer to a blender or food processor in batches, and puree until smooth. Return to the pot.
Season the soup with allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and pepper, then stir in the sherry and half-and-half cream (or soymilk). Heat through, but do not boil. Ladle into bowls, and top with a dollop of creme fraiche.

Also very nutritious and low cal. Very filling, too.

I love soup in the autumn!

The sun rises

Today is the first day of the rest of my life... or so they say. This morning at 5am my training for Ironman CdA began. As the sun rose when I was leaving practice at 7am I thought of how many sunrises I would see in the 264 days that remain before June 24th. I know they won't all be as beautiful and crisp as the one this morning. Some will be rainy and cold. Some windy, some hot. The 264 days that follow the 264 sunrises will probably be the most difficult, but definitely the most fulfilling of my life. I am going to push myself harder then ever before, go to bed tired, wake up sore. Spend long days writing my thesis and early mornings swimming, biking, and running. There will be days I doubt myself and wonder what the hell I'm doing. Other days will be filled with excitement and accomplishment. But in the end I know I'm going to look back at October 2nd and see how far I've come. How far I've grown and it will all be worth it