Wednesday, September 29, 2010

33 Things Update

I was just not feeling the treadmill tonight.  Hello elliptical!!  I had forgotten how much I like the elliptical.  It is nice not having a big race looming.  Although I'll need to sit down at some point and plan out my half marathon training now that I'm officially signed up for the Princess Half.  But let's see what I've been up to!

1.  Cook once a month - well I don't know if I'm making the once a month goal or not.  I should clarify that what I meant by this goal was to try a new recipe once a month...  Although it is probably about how often I cook! :)  But I did make Portabello Pizzas the other day.  And when I say the other day, it probably means several weeks ago...  Let's see, I think I snagged this recipe from Angela of Oh She Glows via Mushrooms Canada.  It called for vegan cheese, but I went for the real thing.

Easy Stuffed Portabella Pizza in a Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce

Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 10-12 minutes.
  • 8 Portabella mushrooms
  • 2 cups pizza sauce
  • Vegan Cashew Basil Cheese Sauce (substituted mozzarella)
  • 1/3 cup of each: red, green, orange pepper, diced
  • 1/3 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2-3 large basil leaves, finely diced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
Directions: Preheat oven by setting the broiler on low. Take a baking sheet and cover with a silicone non-stick baking mat or parchment paper for easy clean up. Make your Vegan Cashew Basil cheese sauce by using the recipe below. Set aside. Remove stems of Portabellas and gently rub Portabellas with a wet cloth to clean. Place Portabellas ‘belly’ side up on the baking sheet. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of pizza sauce into each Portabella. Now spoon about 2 teaspoons of Vegan Cashew basil Cheese Sauce on top of the pizza sauce.  Grab a cutting board and knife and chop the onion and pepper and then sprinkle onto Portabellas. Finally, shake on some red pepper flakes and sprinkle finely diced basil on top. Broil in the oven on the lowest temperature setting on the middle rack for about 10-12 minutes, watching closely as broiler temperatures vary. Serve immediately and enjoy! Serves 3-4.

10.  Go to a Sounders game - I like soccer (or football) generally.  But I love it during World Cup!!  I was excited when Seattle finally got an MLS team but never made it to a game.  Until now!  Jessica, Nilufer & I went to watch the Sounders against Real Salt Lake.  The game ended in a tie, but it was really fun.  And we've already got tickets to another game.

23.  Buy a Mac Book - my laptop died.  But instead of a PC, I made the switch to Mac!  We'll see how I like it.  Right now it is still in the box...

30.  Convince myself to try broccoli - All I remember about broccoli is hating it as a kid.  I would eat it first and quickly so I could move on to something else.  And while I've learned to like all sorts of other vegetables, broccoli is one that I just couldn't convince myself to give another shot.  Until now!  I went out with a couple of co-workers with the purpose of trying broccoli.  We went to Black Bottle so I could try their Broccoli Blasted dish.  And I must say I survived, and even liked it.  Broccoli probably will never be my favorite veggie, but I am no longer scared of it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dear Humidity

Hot yoga & I have an interesting relationship.  I wouldn't say I hate it, or actually maybe I would.  Yes, yes I would.  I do hate it.  Well, I hate it, but I love it.  And I keep going back.  And back.  And then back for even more.  The thing about hot yoga is it is never the same.  It can be good, bad, or just be.  And sometimes, like tonight, it is a combination of all three.  It started off great.  I had some trouble with dancer, but after I fell out and then almost fell, I got right back into it.  In fact, I was doing great through triangle (which is not my favorite pose).  Usually if I make it to triangle, I know I'm going to make it!  Tonight I made it through triangle and then pretty much melted into a puddle.  Although melted is maybe too nice of a word.  Splattered maybe?  It is interesting the talks I have with myself when I know I'm having a rough time.  The teacher was fairly good about opening the door (and I had my usual spot near the door).  Each time she opened the door, it was as if the slight breath of air was tangible and I was reaching out to snatch it from the sky and lather it on my body.  Finally we reached the end of class and I wrung out myself and my towel and stepped out of the hot room, expecting the cool evening air to rush up and greet me.  But as I stepped outside all I felt was the humidity hanging in the air.  No relief at all!  Just stickiness.  Hurry up & rain, why don't you?  But thank goodness for A/C! :)  My drive home was nice & cool!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

You Go Girl 10K

This race snuck up on me.  I picked up my packet on Saturday and woke up to rain on Sunday morning.  Isn't this reminiscent of last week?  I drove down to the start, parked, and used the bathroom before lining up in the starting chute.  They had pacers for those running the half, so I lined up close to the 2:40 pacer (as I have been running around a 12 minute mile lately).  Being a primarily girl race, there was lots of pink, sparkly headbands, and skirts.  I saw a dad running with his daughters.  A big cheer went up and we were off.  I must say, either I seeded myself too high, or people seeded themselves well because I really didn't need to dodge too many people and I don't think too many people had to run around me.

The race started out flat and then started to climb gradually, but not so gradually you didn't realize it was a hill.  Oh no, you knew it was a hill.  Towards the top someone said that this was the only hill and the rest of the course was fairly flat.  I liked hearing that!

But the joy over a fairly flat course only lasted so long.  In fact it lasted until the next hill.  So much for being flat!  I put my head down and focused on running up the hill, knowing there was a water stop at the top.  I walked through the water stop and then started up the next hill, turned the corner, and started up the next hill.  This is the opposite of a flat course!  I almost made it up this hill before I stopped to walk.  And I continued walking up the next hill. 

The seemingly unending hills finally ended and it was through a (by now) very muddy path in a park.  The path slowly dipped downward as we ran the perimeter of the park.  And what goes down, must come up.  It was a short, small hill when the 2:40 Pacer caught up to me.  I knew she was going to catch up to me at some point, but I was hoping it would have been a bit closer to the finish.  Now I just needed to keep her in sight.

After all those uphills, it was finally time for some downhills!!  The rest of course was basically downhill with a few flats thrown in.   

I finally caught back up to the 2:40 Pacer just before the 10K/Half split.  I told her "thank you" before heading down the 10K chute to the finish line!  Yay!!  I grabbed my post-race bagel & banana.  They had chocolate milk but it appeared to be only for those who ran the Half.  Now I am really craving chocolate milk!  I signed up for the complimentary massage and waited for my turn.  Even though it was a bit of a wait, it was worth it. 

And then it was time to head back to the car.  100+ stairs and a hill later, I reached my car.  Let me just say that was my least favorite part about this race.  My legs were crying by the time I reached the top of the stairs.  But on the bright side, it probably helped loosen me up!

Oh, my time!!  Thanks goes to the pacer!!  Keeping her in sight kept me motivated and I managed another PR - 1:14:42!  Woohoo!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday FAIL

A 33 Things update will be along shortly, but in the meantime, a funny.  And yes you can laugh!  As long as you are laughing with me and not at me! :)  I got up this morning and went to the gym to swim.  It had been a late-ish night at work previously (so I haven't yet watched Greys!) but I was fairly sure I had packed everything I needed in my gym bag.  (Cue the foreboding music.) 

My swim was fantastic!  I was feeling strong as I sliced through the water.  I finished and was in the shower when the thought crept into my mind.  I forgot to pack a bra, didn't I?  Oh snap!  I got back to my locker and checked the contents of my gym bag.  Nope, no bra.  It could have been worse, I could have forgotten pants (as I overheard someone else at the gym who had made the discovery she had forgotten pants).  Fortunately the gym is quite close to a Target and fortunately I had a coat with me.  And, even better, the first bra I looked at was my size.  Whew!!  Moral of the story - double check your gym bag before leaving the house, especially if you packed it when you were tired.

Five Senses Friday

Welcome back Five Senses!  It's been a little while.

  • Burn the Floor - it was like watching Dancing with the Stars....LIVE
  • Gardein Marinara - it's like a tofu/quinoa pizza pocket.  I'm excited to try their other products.
  • SORE!!  I can't tell you the last time I felt this sore.  Suffice it to say, it has been awhile...
  • Fresh waters lotion
Want more Five Senses?  Check out Abby Try Again!

Oh, and to try and knock off an item off of my 33 Things list, I will be attempting to taste broccoli tonight (hopefully, depending on if work cooperates and if I chicken out or not).  Speaking of which, it is probably time for a 33 Things update....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Groovy, baby!

Here I am, at the end of what turned out to be a longer than expected triathlon season.  I am happily saying goodbye to my bike for several months.  Shortly I will be turning my attention to Princess training!  I have officially signed up to once again run the Princess Half Marathon (February 27th!!!).

Before I get ahead of myself, how did my last triathlon go?  It went well!  There was cold, rain, and a course that was familiar, but not. 

Friday night it absolutely poured rain.  Oh boy...  Saturday morning brought gray clouds and a few sprinkles but then it burned off to reveal a pleasant day (except for the fact the Huskies got absolutely trounced, but we won't relive that).  That was until it started to absolutely pour once again.  My first thought Sunday morning as I awoke was, do I hear rain?  And I did, but once again it was sprinkles.  I was hopeful the weather would be similar to Saturday and it would burn off.  But not too much, just enough that the rain would go away!

This race is at the same site as the Seattle Danskin I did a few weeks ago.  However, on a much smaller scale.  Parking ended up being a bit of a cluster but I found parking and walked over to the transition area.  I set up my area and made my way down to the swim start (and was able to use the real bathroom!  I had forgotten there was one).  I was in wave #8 of 10.  As soon as I found out my wave was again towards the back, I immediately tried to quash the worries of being last.  After all it wasn't that long ago I started in the second to last wave and finished in no danger of being last. 

Brr, I slowly waded into the practice area for the swim.  It was cold!!  While there were a lot of wetsuits, there was a decent number of girls without wetsuits.  And just like that it was time!  We got our magic word of "groovy" and were off!  With the clouds, sighting was much easier this time.  It took a few strokes before I found my "groovy" rhythm.  I kept chasing different pairs of feet and tried to pass them one by one.

Out of the swim and on to the bike!  Note to self: don't go to kickboxing the day before a triathlon and do lots of lunges and squats.  My legs were not at their happiest.  I kept going hoping that once I settled in it would get a little easier and it did.  My personal nemesis on this course, the hill up to the freeway, loomed in front of me.  I dropped down into a lower gear and a lower gear and a lower gear until I was in the lowest gear possible and I still wasn't all the way up the hill.  I gritted my teeth and hung on to the top!  Woohoo!!  That is a first!  There was a huge smile on my face!

Once I hit the bike turn-around, I knew I was shortly going to see where I stood in the race.  I started counting people as we passed.  It wasn't until the middle of the bridge deck when I finally saw the police escort for the last biker.  I felt much better at that point that I wasn't going to finish last!

Run time!  I had my same goal of running the entire course and walking through the water stops.  I went through the first water stop and was soon praying for another water stop.  It came finally, after the 1 mile sign.  I kept plodding along, one foot after the other.  And then came the turn back into the park.  The finish line was a lot further up (than where it is for the Danskin) and we circled around before finally the finish line was in sight!  Yay!!

I had barely finished when the skies opened up and the rain started coming down.  I was so thankful I had made it before the rain started.

And there you have it.

Oh yes, my time.  Well I did improve slightly, again mainly due to a much smaller transition area.  But I'll take it!  Minute by minute, second by second I keep chipping away at my time.  Official time was 1:58:06.

Thanks for reading along through my summer of triathlons!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mambo Italiano

Tonight was my last bike ride before my last triathlon of the summer.  It took a little bit of convincing but I kept telling myself it was the LAST one!  And after Sunday I can put my bike away (and my goggles) until next year!  I knew I was I was cutting the daylight close, but I thought I might make it by the skin of my teeth.  So yeah, it was not the best bike outing I have ever had.  I was passed on a hill by a guy running.  Yes, I was huffing & puffing on a low gear and he ran by me like it was nothing.  I'm sure I'm made his day.  He's probably blogging about the fact he totally passed some chick on a bike!  Ha!  I did eventually pass him back but I kept expecting him to repass me at any point.  And then I rode through a swarm of bugs and I'm sure swallowed a few.  Bugs are good protein, right?  Ick!  I got to the other side of the bridge and realized I could see the moon and could barely see the setting sun.  Okay, this was going to be extremely close.  I made it back to my car on the wrong side of the sunset by a few minutes.  Done!

So what does this have to do with Italy?  Absolutely nothing...  But my upcoming trip to Italy is finally starting to take shape.  We'll be visiting the "Big Three" or Venice, Florence & Rome.  I love, love, love both Florence & Rome but I just tolerate Venice.  I think for a lot of people Venice is a place you either love or hate and for a long time I hated Venice.  All I remembered was the smell and the heat.  However I also remembered how much I really did love St. Mark's.  And then I did go back and realized as long as I didn't go in the summer, Venice is tolerable.  So now I'm going back again.  Jessica has never been & Nilufer has been once (about 10 years ago).  So we'll be doing a lot of the typical touristy stuff - Forum, Colosseum, David, Bridge of Sighs, etc.  We're starting to get more into the planning phase, which I love.  One of the days in Florence I'm hopeful we will take a side trip to Siena, which has been on my list of places to visit for awhile now.  If anyone has any tips or favorite places for Italy, please share! :) 

I will be dreaming of margherita pizza & gelato until we leave!  Someone once pointed out to me that margherita pizza is just cheese pizza, but it is oh so good.  Maybe it's being in Italy?  I don't know.  But I will be eating more than my fair share! :) 

And with that, I'm off to bed!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cottage Lake Triathlon & Iron Girl 5K

Do you ever have those moments and wonder just what on earth you were thinking?  This was one of those weekends where somehow I found myself once again signed up for 2 different events and wondering just how that happened. 

First up was Cottage Lake Tri on Saturday.  This was a super sprint distance, so not quite as long as what I normally do (which is a sprint distance).  My thinking was since I was going to go out and do a brick (bike/run) in preparation for next weekend's triathlon, might as well do a race.  Makes sense, right?  Well it did until my alarm went off.  Ugh!  I won't do a full on race report, just a few thoughts:
  • I started getting a little nervous when I realized pretty much everyone else was wearing a wetsuit.  The water was cold!!  I might need to think about getting a wetsuit...
  • I got off course on the swim but one of the course officials got me back on track.
  • The bike kicked my a$$!!  Lots of steep hills.  I lost it on one because I wasn't able to down shift quick enough.  On the second loop, I just barely hung on.
  • Best comment?  As we were running into transition after the bike, a woman turned to me and said "This is where we wish we had signed up as part of a relay!"  So true, so true!  Ha!  I had a smile on my face going into the run even though...
  • I was worn out by the run between the cold swim & the rough bike.  I had a stern talk with myself as I passed out of sight of the spectators (the perfect time to walk) - you just did this a week ago in brutal hot weather, you can keep running!
  • They had the best post race food ever - bread with nutella!!  I love nutella!  And a medal!  I love medals!
Next up was the Iron Girl 5K on Sunday.  I had wanted to do this race for several years but for whatever reason, it hasn't worked out until this year.  It was another early morning, which is currently taking its toll as I'm rushing through this before my eyes close.
  • I liked how they gave you a bag and let you pick out your own "swag".  I grabbed some tea, lotion and ointment.
  • There were 3,000 ish participants and even though they seeded us, I still had to run around and through (but hopefully not over) a lot of people.  It took a while to thin out, but it did.
  • I loved seeing the little girls running along side their moms.  And I was envious of one girl (maybe 7 or 8) who would run a few steps then do a cartwheel.  Oh to have that kind of energy! 
  • The medal was super cool!! 
  • After I picked up my bag from gear check, I turned around to see a familiar face.  But why was it familiar?  And then it hit me!  It was Zoe from Run Zoe Run!  I don't know when or how I started reading her blog.  So I went up to her and I think I introduced myself or I might have just babbled on...
  • I got home and the race emailed me my time!  And drum roll....36:20!  Another PR!

Nothing Can Stop Me, #409

As the days came ever closer to my WDW trip, I began to rethink the decision. Did I really want to go by myself? It is going to be so stinking hot, do I really want to race? Maybe I should have just bought tickets to Hawaii... But I had paid my money and I had put the training time in, so off I went!

I was on the “early” flight down, which meant I got in to Orlando in the early evening, enough time to head over to Epcot for some extra magic hours. I meandered my way over to the new Italian pizza restaurant, but they were full for the evening. So instead I rode a few rides and headed back to the hotel.

I took advantage of the early magic hours at Hollywood in hopes of reaching Toy Story before the line was outrageously long. Alas, that was not meant to be. I ended up fastpassing it for later in the afternoon (in the event I did end up back at Hollywood). Instead I headed over to Rockin’ Rollercoaster and discovered I am not so brave by myself, and definitely not brave when there aren’t other screamers on the ride. After some HSM, it was time to go check in for the race.

Race check-in went very smooth, I picked up my rental bike, got my chip and racked my bike. And since my race number was 409, I had the Beach Boys song stuck in my head most of the weekend. And I found out there were only 6 waves and I was in wave #5. Well if there was ever a race I was going to be last, it was going to be this one. Deep breath. Bring it on. Mickey can console me afterwards, along with Mickey ice cream. And, at least I will get over my irrational fear of being last. It isn’t being last per se, it is the fact that people will have to wait for me to finish last.

It seems as if there is always one aspect I am worrying about more than others. This time it was how to get to the race in the morning. I wasn’t staying at the host hotel, and supposedly there were no buses from the hotel I was staying at. Okay then, I will take a taxi. On my way back to my hotel to drop off my race packet, I noticed another girl with a race bag. In a very un-Emily like move, I went up to her and asked how she was getting the race site. Her husband was going to drop her off and just like that she asked if I wanted a ride. Yes, I would thank you very much. Yay!! We exchanged information and made a plan to meet up the next morning.

And then it was off to Animal Kingdom! I was having doubts about the Yeti, after the experience with Rockin’ Rollercoaster. Hmm... But then somehow I was in line. This time I was on with a lot of teenage girls, which meant a lot of screaming!! Whew! That made the ride a little less scary. If there is ever a good time to go on Kali River Rapids and get soaked, it would be this trip. It was H-O-T!!! Have I mentioned I don’t do heat? I was not the only one who had this idea and so I never did end up on the ride. The park was about to close and I walked toward the exit, trying to decide if I really wanted to go back to Hollywood to use my Toy Story fastpass, or if it was time to go back to the hotel. The hotel won out. The heat and humidity had taken its toll on me and I was ready to be done for the day. Besides, I had a race the next day!

There was a German family standing behind me in line for the bus back to the hotel. And I’m happy to say I could understand every couple of words! And their conversation was peppered with my favorite German word, genau. They were discussing where to eat breakfast – at the hotel or at Hollywood so they could fast pass Toy Story. And for those wondering how to say fastpass Toy Story in German? Fastpass Toy Story.

Early, early the next morning I awoke and got ready. I met my new friend Kimberly & her husband and we drove over to the race site. I prepared my transition area, made a few mental notes of where my bike was, used the real bathroom and then headed down to the water. I found a group of “royal” blue swim caps and stuck to them. They noticed me and welcomed me into their circle as we tried to calm our collective butterflies.

It was then our turn to head into the water. Our word? Sexy! That’s right, I am a sexy triathlete! The swim started off with the normal jockeying and jostling for position and soon I was in a rhythm. It wasn’t long before I felt like I was all by myself. Was I at the back of the pack already? Nope, not quite. The course is in the shape of a big semi-circle and I kept getting off course. And there were several times I felt I must be way off course and all by myself, but then a swimmer would pass by me. I was never so happy to have someone pass me! The shore came into sight and the swim was done.

I found my bike, threw on my gear and took off for what turned out to be an interesting bike ride, due to the bike I rented. My thought was, if I have to rent a bike, why not rent a bike I might want to get in the future? With that I forgot the cardinal rule of never try something new on race day (although I break this rule often since I like to wear new outfits). I ordered a road bike and the guy told me it was basically a triathlon bike. It was a nice bike, it just took me some time to figure out shifting – I figured out how to shift up pretty quick, but had trouble shifting down so I just stayed in that higher gear for a lot of the race until I did finally figure out the down shift. And the handlebars... I’m not sure I’m a fan of the aero position. And the seat was a normal seat, not my nice gel seat, so saying it was slightly uncomfortable is probably an understatement. Other than that, the bike went great! The course is basically flat and I was flying at times!

I wasn’t sure what to expect for the run with the heat. I gave myself permission to walk as much as I needed to. Not too far out of transition was the first water stop. Oh, thank the Lord!! I continually talked to myself (or the heat) throughout the run. Just around this corner, just around the next corner, how about to the first turnaround? Dear Humidity, I hate your guts! Fortunately the first part was fairly shaded, and I heard the sounds of a water station, but it was on the way back. I kept plodding along until I realized I didn’t have much further until the water station. One to drink, and one to pour over my head. Oh wow, that feels good. The next stretch had basically no shade and went on forever!! You can do this. Soon you will be eating Mickey ice cream. Not much longer now! I made it to the next water station and same routine – one to drink and one to pour on the back of my neck. I knew at this point I had less than a mile left. Boy, was it hard to start running again after that water stop. Just one more cone! Okay, go! Finally I was back in the shade, and even better there were people yelling and cheering! I can’t explain how much I feed off of the cheers. It is such an uplifting feeling! The finish line was in sight! Done!

It’s the little things that get me through a race – a “you go girl” from a passing racer, the kids blowing bubbles & cheering as I rode by, volunteers shouting encouragement and handing out water, the cold water dripping down the back of my neck, the cheering spectators lining the finish line, and the kids giving you a high five as you barrel past.

My times? I did actually better my overall time by about a minute, but I picked up most of my time in transition. This is a much smaller race and therefore a much smaller transition area. I lost 3 minutes in the swim, picked up 2 minutes in the bike (surprise!), lost 1 minute in the run, and picked up 3 minutes in transition. I was pleasantly surprised by the pick up in the bike and was happy I only lost a minute in the run considering how stinking hot it was!

With the race over it was time to get my Mickey on! I saw Kimberly and she offered me a ride back to the hotel, which I gratefully accepted. But before I got my Mickey on, I decided to try the Italian restaurant at Epcot. I got in no problem. And yum! The pizza was good. As was the strawberry drink I had. And then I caught the monorail and headed over to Magic Kingdom and pretty much spent most of my time in Fantasyland. I love the cartoon rides! One of the coolest moments was when I was sitting on a bench (to take some ibuprofen) and lightening flashed right above the castle. It was super cool! I didn't quite close down the park (it was extra magic) but I came close until I realized how tired I was and went back to my room and crashed.

Overheard at the Magic Kingdom: Does Cinderella live in the castle with the Beast?  I don't know why that cracked me up, but it did!

And there you have it! Three triathlons down, one to go (plus a little one, but that is for another post)!!