Sunday, September 11, 2011

Delaware Diamondman Triathlon

Today was a good great day.  Today was also a somber day for many as it is the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attack on America.  The country was busy today remembering those that were lost and celebrating that we will not be taken down.

Today we competed in the annual Diamondman Triathlon.  Two years ago we did the sprint triathlon and last year the Half Ironman triathlon.  This year we went back to the sprint triathlon.  I like that this race has a longer swim in proportion to the bike and the run.  The bike is 16-17mile depending on the year and the run is 2 miles!  That is my kind of run.

The race takes place at Lums Pond in Bear, Delaware which is just out side of the University of Delaware campus.  We went up last night so that we wouldn't have to get up extra early for the over an hour drive.  We stayed at the Embassy Suites with a few friends.  We all met for the managers reception that all Embassy Suites have where you get free snacks and drinks, including alcohol!  After we filled up on free food we headed over to Klondike Kate's on Main Street for dinner.  I had basil salmon that was quite tasty.  After dinner we went across the street to a yogurt place where you put as much yogurt and toppings in as you want and the cost is based on weight.  I got cake batter yogurt with brownie bites, crushed cookies, and crushed graham cracker.  It was quite tasty.  Several of us stopped into the Panera Bread store to pick up breakfast items as the free breakfast at the Embassy Suites would be after we left for the race.  I got a sourdough roll and a pumpkin muffie.  The muffie was for after.  We all headed back to the hotel. The hubby and I got our stuff ready and watched some NCIS til bedtime.  I was so tired but crappy crappy sleep. This isn't the first time I have gotten crappy sleep before a race so I knew I could handle it.

We got up around 5.30am, gathered our stuff and headed downstairs.  The hotel actually did have their pastries, bagels, cereal, and coffee out for the racers so that was exciting.  I grabbed some bread I thought was sourdough except it was rye....yuck!  I was glad to have my Panera roll to eat.  We arrived at the park around 6.15am with transition closing at 6.45am.  We have gotten better at setting our stuff up and not needing to arrive quite as early to races plus these races are much smaller than the HoCo and D.C. races so you don't need to arrive early for parking reasons which is really nice!  We met up with our friends, they were all doing the half, and got our selves set up.  Thanks to Joe who lent me an extra race belt because I left mine at home.  At 6.45am we got a pre-race meeting that went through the logistics of the two races that are going on simultaneously ending with a tribute to a fallen local soldier, then the National Anthem. Everyone then headed over to the swim start which is 3/10th of a mile from the transition area.

The Half racers started first and we were about 20 minutes later.  We got to see a couple of them exit the swim looking strong before it was our turn.  The hubby went before first. At this race you have to walk a bit through the lake to the actual start buoy so it is important to be one of the first in.  If you wait you may end up quite a ways back when the clock starts.  I get to the front line for the swim and we take off.  There were several girls that were clearly swimmers (and have gone to practice much more than me).  I held my own although I did get passed, after the initial start, during the swim by 2 people, that did not make me happy!  The swim went well and I caught up to and passed a decent amount of the men's heat in front of me. I came out sat and got my shoes on and ran to the transition area.  I brought my Solomon's boating shoes for this part. I got into transition grabbed my bike stuff (no socks today) and headed out on the bike course.

Today was like a perfect storm.  Normally it rains, it always rains, I have done more triathlons with rain than without.  But rain!  It was very overcast with a cool breeze, roads were dry, and there was no hot sun beating down, humidity was even in check.  It was perfect triathlon weather, perfect!  This perfect storm let me work on something that I have been trying to get right all season long. The Aero Bars.  I have tried a few times to use them but I have pretty bad balance. I know because my WiiFit tells me so.  I am scared of falling but the combination of good weather, dry roads, a smaller number of participants, and a flat course gave me the confidence to try.  I spent the majority of the race in the aero position which I have never been able to do before.  As I was riding I was happy with my accomplishment for the race as this is something that has been bothering me.  I was pretty happy and felt like I was moving along even with the head wind.  I even started to check out the age of the people passing me to see if any of them were in my age group.  As far as I could tell no one in the female 25-29 passed me but I didn't know who was ahead of me.  After a good 16 mile ride I headed back into transition.

For the run I decided with such a short run I would try running without socks to minimize the transition time.  On this run you are first on the grass til you get out of the general area then you run on gravel til you get to the main road where you run through the campground until a turnaround and come back.  It is a simple course that I really like.  On the first part I made friends with another female runner but she eventually left me, which is totally fine.  Not gonna lie I was checking out ages as I ran of people who passed me and those behind me.  Near as I could tell the only people in my age group I saw were behind me but I figured that the people who had already finished ahead of me were probably in my age group and were the ones who got the better swim start.

When I finished the hubby was waiting with a friend. I had passed by him a couple of times but he never seemed too happy with how his race was going.  I was surprisingly less than a mile behind him on the run.  We all headed over to the results board which produce live results so you know right away how you did which is pretty awesome.  The hubby's friend got 4th in their age group, just missing the podium.  He then turned to me and said "I think you may have won your age group."  Stunned doesn't even begin to express it.  I am excited when I win swim stuff but never even get close in triathlons let alone winning the age group. We weren't planning on staying around for the awards (we needed to get home because the Ravens were playing the Steelers today).  I couldn't believe it.  We waited around and got to see our friends Mark and Rob start the run portion of their Half Ironman, both looking quite strong going into the run.

Me getting excited to get my award!
So we waited around and I got to stand on the podium!  They started the awards a little early and the 2nd and 3rd place finishers weren't there so it was just me on the podium. Can we say awkward??

Woot 1st Place!!

You are getting pics of this right??? Need the picture proof!

Me and my Gold medal!

After the exciting awards ceremony we quickly went back to the hotel to shower and change before heading to the Second Chance to watch the Ravens versus the Steelers.  One of the cool things that happened is one of the Piranha-Sports staffers raced and won his age group. The cool part is that he is deaf so instead of clapping out loud everyone did the visual sign language clap.  How awesome and respectful!  We later found out that our friends doing the Half Ironman did great too! Rob and Heidi each took 1st in their age group and Mark took 3rd in his!  All of them are doing the Florida Ironman so this was more of a training day for them.  Additionally our friend Suzy was competing at the World Championships for Half Ironmans in Vegas and was top 10 in her age group on the world stage!

On the way back I called my Mommy to give her the good news. She was quite happy for me!  When we got home there were flowers and a balloon from my mom and grandparents!! They are too cute and I definitely appreciate their support.

To make the day even better the Ravens beat the Steelers and it wasn't even close! The Steelers looked like a high school team!

What a great day and all made possible by the awesome USA!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Running on Fumes

So I know I am a bit a lot behind on posting for the events I have done this summer. I swear I will get to them.  I figured today while my cake is in the oven for tomorrow I would give a run down of today.  Today was Iron Girl.  Iron Girl is a sprint triathlon that really isn't for the pro, super competitive athlete.  Iron Girl looks to celebrate all females and gives a very supported atmosphere for females to try a triathlon. There are women of all shapes, sizes, ages, and ethnicities.  I feel at this race you see the most variety in athletes than any other tri's I have done.  This race sells out like within a day or so which means you need to know the day registration opens if you want to do it or not. No hesitations, I made that mistake for last year.  So anyway I signed up in the Fall of 2010 for an Aug 2011 race.

This year for vacation we decided to go to Hawaii.  Now being a teacher and having a summer job means that I have about 2-3 weeks each summer which is the only time out of the year I have no responsibilities to any job.  This is my only window and I cherish it!  You can read about our travels in my hubby's travel log.  We left for Hawaii on Aug 8 and returned Aug19 but we had to actually leave Hawaii Aug 18 and were up for about 36hours on various flights to get home.  We slept from Fri to Sat for 15 hours! Big big mistake!  My mom called at 9.30am to tell us about the birth of our newest cousin Julianna Elizabeth. I said great and rolled over to continue sleeping not realizing that it would be 1pm when I woke up!  Got some good deep sleep.  Around 10.30pm last night we settled in bed for the night knowing that I had to get up at 5am to set up and the hubby had to get up around 4am to go volunteer.  Sounds like a good plan right? Well....we couldn't sleep....I tried reading, we talked. Finally around 1.30 we decided to watch some How I Met Your Mother.  We love this show and no vacation we started watching the first couple seasons as we have been late adopters of the show and it makes for excellent plane entertainment.  Around 2.30am we decided to try the sleeping thing again but to no avail.  I was starting to get sleepy but the hubby was wide awake so decided to try and let me get some sleep and got out of bed around 3am.  I actually did fall asleep til my alarm went off at 4.50am and I was planning to snooze it except I didn't know where I was and couldn't remember how my alarm clock worked.  I pressed a lot of buttons but decided I probably didn't activate the snooze and I should just get up or I might sleep through the event.  To summarize I got up to do a triathlon on less than two hours of sleep.  Brilliant plan right?

I made my way over to the park to set up my transition area and meet the people around me.  I had everything all set up and then it rained.  Ugh!  We have done more races in the rain than not.  IT ALWAYS RAINS on me!  Rain always makes me nervous on the bike and with virtually no sleep I was not a happy camper.  They delayed the start of the race due to the passing storm and all the thunder and lightning.  My heat goes off 59 minutes after the first wave.  The swim is definitely my strength.  I will judge how well I did in a race based off of my swim time and place.  I don't know my time I forgot a watch.  I was able to get a quick start and get ahead of the pack.  Most triathletes are crappy swimmers so that is my only advantage.  I was battling it out with some other chick.  I had a quick wave to Coach Sue in the blue kayak who I could hear cheering for me. Me and the other chick were side by side with a few yards between us it was a good duel but then she got a better turn at the first buoy and I wasn't going to catch her.  I got a little tired on the second half because of how much I wanted to get first in my heat but I had strong enough lead on the rest of the pack that no one caught me (or at least none that I saw).  I was pleased with my swim and had a good run into transition (usually its not very good).  I did something different today. Usually I wear a sports bra type of top and then put on a tri top in transition. Today I decided to wear the tri top in transition and see if that helped my times.  I will be interesting to compare my swim time with the extra drag to my previous transition times.  I headed out on the bike and the roads were still a bit wet which makes the hills of Howard County kind of scary.  Felt like I had a solid bike ride.  I passed some people and I got passed.  There was a lot of "on your left" both said by me and heard by me (which is what you say when you are passing someone).  I kind of felt like a recording would be helpful where I could just push a button on my bike and it would say it for me.  I try to be very courteous when passing and I try to thank people but there are those obnoxious people that just scream out "on your left" and expect you to get out of there way even if you are in the throws of passing someone.  There is no need to be a jerk, if you want a clear road ahead of you train harder and get a pro card so you can start earlier.  So overall a good solid ride, I even went into my aero position for a few flat spots.  Will be interested to see how the time turns out.  So then a quick change and on to the run.  I am amazed at this point that I still have energy left.  I run out of transition and grab a water at the water stop and keep running. Normally I walk through water stops but I was so amazed by the energy I wanted to keep going.  The run was pretty solid, again don't know the time.  I walked all the rest of the water stops and my only other walking spurt was to the water stop at the top of Gatorade hill. I needed to walk a little early but I was getting close to the end only a mile left.  It was at this hill that my friend Gwyn shouted "you have been exercising longer than you have slept" which made everyone on the hill chuckle and she was so right.

I was super happy to finish and finished strong.  My overall time was not competitive in the least in my age group but it was, surprisingly, a personal best time based on what I could find of my previous finishes.  I look forward to when the splits come out so I can see where I cut the time (it was only about 3 minutes better).  Today I had fun, I don't always say that at triathlons but today was fun.  Not sure what was different, maybe I didn't over think things because thinking energy was diverted to my legs. Maybe the lack of sleep actually helped, who knows.  Today I am an Iron Girl.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I have been coming to Ocean City, Maryland my whole life.  Growing up this was my summer vacation, we didn't go on fancy trips only a couple times did we venture out of Maryland for summer.  I have always loved to play in the ocean but a few things have alway gotten to me.  First the sea life.  I have been stung by jellyfish, I have almost stepped on them, I have swum away from them. I know they are a lower life form with not even a brain if I remember my biology correctly but damn they hurt and can be a complete buzzkill at the beach.  Luckily they dont come out until the water gets warm.
The next barrier for me was the "sandy bottom."  There are lots of shell bits down there and many crusteaceans as well.  I have gotten snapped at by crabs and that doesn't feel very good either.  As a kid I tried watershoes but they just made it hard to swim and filled with sand and shells which then got trapped in the shoes and defeated the whole purpose.

But this weekend all those worries were away and the Ocean City water was perfect (or at least as perfect as Ocean City water is going to be).  The water was nice and cool which means there were no jellies in sight.  I only saw seaweed once!  The water seemed so clean and cool.  I still couldn't see my feet but I could see more than before.  The water was so cool that triathletes would be rejoicing that a race would be wetsuit legal yet here are thousands of people wearing even more minimal clothing flocking to the water's edge.  It was so nice to just relax, tread water, and roll with the waves.  I wish the ocean stayed this relaxing and cool all summer long.  My next beach will be Hawaii and even though I anticipate that to be much more beautiful its nice to have my beach 2.5hrs away.

Keep Ocean City beautiful folks. Leave only your footprints!

Over spring break this is what we looked like in Ocean City!
But this go around was much nicer. Even the ducks were enjoying themselves. Some even came to greet us!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Water, Water, Everywhere!

When it comes to sports swimming is my number one, which means I am very in tuned with water.  As I have said previously I find water relaxing.  I have downloaded ocean waves to my iPod and love sitting by the ocean (without the screaming children, although at times they have their place too) and just watch and listen.

As someone who participates in open water swims and triathlons I am particularly concerned about the lakes and oceans around me that I swim in Centennial Lake and the Chesapeake Bay to name a couple.  I went to Ocean City for my spring break and while it is the off season, that is the time that really shows what our beaches look like.  It is the undisturbed, what naturally washes up and isn't quickly whisked away so no one sees it.  It is the black, oily sand and the weird foam that shouldn't be there.  The Atlantic is getting somewhat, slowly better. I can now sometimes see my feet, when I was younger that never happened and I was mesmerized the first time we went to Florida and I could see my body in the water like it was a pool.

All of this brings me to my community because what we dispose of no matter how hard we try ends up somehow making it into these local bodies of water.  I have lived in Howard County my whole life.  When I was in 5th grade, I believe, we got curb side recycling and I was ecstatic.  Recycling was still pretty new at the time and we worked hard to sort our recycling and fill up that little blue bin.  I still live in Howard County, just on the other side and sometimes neglected side of 95, and WE DON'T HAVE RECYCLING! ( hocoblogs@@@ )

Wait what's that you say you live in Hoco and don't have recycling?  But I thought everyone had recycling because our taxes pay for it.

You know I thought the same thing and I don't pretend to know the ins and outs and why my neighborhood doesn't have recycling, its some sort of money thing but I feel like I am probably paying for it and not getting it.  The hubby and I still recycle, we just have to drop it off places but I know my neighbors are not doing that.  They have trash bins overflowing (and we have the really big ones) with cardboard and other materials that could be recycled.  It frustrates me every trash day to see so much crap heading for the landfill.  We put out trash about once a month. I know we don't have kids and apparently they generate a lot of trash, but we do have to drop off our recycling at least once a week.  I think about all that garbage heading for the landfill and some of it will blow off the truck and not make it there increasing the chances that it is going to make it into the lakes and bay that I swim in.  I was originally going to take pictures of my neighborhood houses with their mountains of trash but thought I might make a few enemies that way so instead I am making a plea to whomever decided my neighborhood wasn't worthy of recycling to reconsider.  I care about my water and my environment.

Former Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders gives her feelings on the non-chlorinated variety of water.

From the sound of it our local landfill is working to reuse and is shipping some of our trash elsewhere, to Virginia, where I have also been known to swim open water.

Are there any other neighborhoods out there not recycling? If so why?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Aero this

So last year's tri season didn't end as fabulously as I would have liked and I made some resolves to spin more this winter and ride my bike on the indoor trainer. I added aero bars for comfort on the trainer (and really for reading!)  I ended up just watching Sherlock Holmes and other TV shows while biking but I digress.  Aero bars are an alternate set of handle bars which as the name implies makes you more aerodynamic.  Some say its more comfortable...nothing on a bike seat is comfortable.

On Thursday we decided it was time to take the bikes out for the new season.  We have Orlando 70.3 coming up very quickly and really need to get ready for the 56 miles coming up.  We wanted to get in a ride before taking the bikes into the shop so we could tell them what to fix and such.  Over the winter we bought a Honda Pilot for lugging our bikes around and the hubby engineered up a way to keep them upright and stable.

Outfitted in Christmas presents a new bike top from Mo and arm warmers from Erinn I was ready to go!  We decided to do the BWI bike path which is a little over 10 miles around, that way if there was anything significantly wrong with the bikes we weren't too far away from the car and if they were good we could always do another loop.  The only downside to this loop is the stopping and starting to cross streets but there were a few flat parts with grass on each side for me to try out my new aeros.  I have horrible balance! My Wii Fit asks me if I trip a lot and insults my balance.  I asked the guy in the bike shop for the aero bars that would make me the sturdiest, he laughed at me...It took me a few flats to get up the courage to put my right arm then my left into the position.  I had a lot of falls when I first got my clip in peddles and I was prepared for more falling today.  Once in position I wobbled! And back on the regular handlebars I went but I didn't fall!  I tried this a few times each time getting slightly straighter and heading less for the grassy areas.  Towards the end of our ride I even went around a couple corners (wide ones).  Could I do this in a race?  Well if I am at the very back again with no one for miles than probably but if it is congested than no because I would definitely cause a domino falling of bikes for sure!  Everyone talks about how much easier it is to ride in the aero position, how much faster they are, and how much less energy they yea no.  In our 20 mile bike ride probably less than a mile total with all my little snippets of aero riding together...oh least I stayed upright!
showing off the new shirt and arm warmers

So after dropping off the bikes we headed to Luna Bella ( hocofood@@@) in the Hickory Ridge Village Center.  We hadn't been there since I lived on that side of Hoco so it was time to visit.  I got an awesome salmon dish and the hubby got some cheesy pizza.  I order dessert, a cannoli.  Usually I am safe from him eating my dessert with the cannoli as he isn't a huge fan of ricotta...but not today, I had to share.  I  think we will definitely be back to Luna Bella sooner rather than later!  3 years was way too long to wait, it was quite yummy.

Salmon Balsomico with wilted greens and risotto! yummers 

yup that second fork was definitely used

Overall a productive day but definitely need to get out on the bikes more!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

And so the season begins

While Spring is officially here, April coming soon, and already some 80 degree days, snow still threatened the forecast.   Yesterday was the annual Suntrust D.C. marathon and half marathon.  This year we participated in the half marathon.  I did the half two years ago but boycotted it last year because the year we did it they ran out of cups at mile 5 and if you wanted any water for the rest of the race you had to drink out of the gallon jugs!  They also ran out of the fuel gels they had advertised on the course.  I very disappointed by the planning and less than a week after the race I was sick with presumably some gross person's germs that had drank from the gallon jugs before me!  The hubby ran it last year and said everything went fine so I said I would give it a try again.  As usual upon signing up I had grand plans of what I would be able to go time-wise but as fate would have it I have had a lingering bronchitis for the past 2.5 months which has made it difficult to do any sort of exercise which as been quite frustrating.  I am still working to consistently make it through a full swim workout and that is the sport I like the best!  But I digress.

So the race.  Earlier in the week there was the threat of rain and/or snow for the race. Luckily that forecast got pushed to today, Sunday.  It was quite chilly in the morning and was to remain chilly for the race.  I bundled up in running tights, long sleeve shirt, short sleeve, jacket, and of course my Batman utility belt.  Batman utility belt? Yea I have one of those fuel belt in which I had two water containers on the back. In the front two water spots I pinned fuel packets on, my inhaler in the pouch, and my bib held with pins to the pins on the fuel packets.

damn cat always wanting to be the center of attention!

I ran with a friend, Jen, and not the hubby this time. He had a time goal that is not anything I will ever be able to do.  I have been running with Jen's run group a couple of times now so it wasn't completely new to run together but this was our first race. Jen has been running a lot more than me, I didn't want to disappoint.  It worked well, we both had our iPods for comfort and sound when we didn't have anything to talk about.  Neither one of us can run straight so we kept running into each other. That made things interesting.  We walked the water stops when we needed water but otherwise we kept chugging along.  We ran up the hills when everyone else was walking.  We ran past a bunch of cheer zones which were fun, I always wish those last longer as they really do help to get you going.  There are two cheer zones on the Howard University campus with lots of music, encouraging words, and high fives.  Around mile 11 I could feel myself slowing and I didn't want to interfere with Jen's time goal. I told her to feel free to go ahead, she didn't have to give me any warning.  We had been doing well with 9-10 min miles on the downhills and flats, 11-12 min for the uphills.  There were a lot more uphills than I remember! Those last two miles were a mental fight.  Usually the mental battle begins much earlier in the race so I would definitely call it a success that it didn't come in until mile 11.  Miles 11-12 included some walking even though I was so close to the end. I needed some energy. I just wanted to finish!  Upon finishing I found Jen quickly and was only a couple minutes behind her.  I finished in a 2:32 definitely not a best time but not a worst and probably ok considering I haven't run more than 6 miles in the past 6 months.  The hubby made his time goal with room to spare!

We hung out in the finish area for awhile, one of my work friends ran the marathon so I waited for him to finish. About 1/4 mile away his stepdaughter ran up to him to finish the race with him. There was a collective "ahhhhhh" from the crowd as she sprinted towards him excited to finish his run with him.  She also ran with me for the last few hundred feet of my 70.3 in the fall, she was much faster than me by that time!  This little girl is an awesome supporter!

After the race we headed to my favorite salad joint Chop't at one of their new locations in Union Station.  It was delicious as always!!  The portion is huge but I like not gorging myself on unhealthy food after I have done something so good for my body.  The afternoon brought a nap and dinner at Mamma Lucia's in Columbia. I still didn't have a huge appetite so I went with the delicious Tomato Florentine soup and Mozzarella Caprese and of course a cannoli for dessert!  This was the best cannoli I have had in a long time.  The shell was crisp meaning it wasn't pre-filled and soggy.  The filling was really sweet and smooth. I don't like it to taste to ricotta-ey. Yummmmm

Today was the multi-sport expo in Bethesda.  Our friend is the event direct for the Du the 2 duathlon happening in Howard County in August. ( hoco@@@ )  He told us about the expo as they would be having a booth.  There were lots of vendors and event companies.  Many folks said to him they were happy to see something that didn't involve swimming.  If you are interested in the multisport world but are hesitant about swimming check him out .  I was there of course to support a friend's endevours but also because I HATE MY WETSUIT!  I think I may have mentioned this before. I went to the Bonzai Sports tent which had several brands of wetsuits and explained what I needed - a triathlon wetsuit for a swimmer which didn't choke me or take me 10 minutes to get on and off.  They had me try on the Blue Seventy Reaction sleevelss. I got to try it on.  It seemed to fit well I mentioned that I wished I could swim in it and they said go ahead, what?!  There was a pool facility, they gave me a cap and goggles and a lane!  I swam around and it felt great, good buoyancy, lots of maneuverability for my arms.  The real test was going to be getting the wetsuit off. Typically it takes 2 people and at least 5 minutes.  It slid right off in 30 seconds, SOLD!  It was 10% off, a free pair of goggles, the cap I swam in, and they threw in some spray stuff to help get the suit on and off. Success!

6 weeks until Orlando, Florida 70.3! I better get my butt in gear!  Next week Outback 5k!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Decision Made..sort of

It's been awhile since I have posted.  There hasn't been too much to report and I am not into publishing something just to say something.
So the winter has not been very kind to me. Shortly after we got back from Key West I developed bronchitis which is still rearing its ugly head. It started on a weekend of a masters swim meet, had a hard time swimming but still managed two national Masters cuts (it sounds more impressive than it is). A round of antibiotics and a steroid inhaler later (yup one of the ones that is more likely to cause asthma related death) I am still getting a couple coughing fits a day but overall definitely doing better.  Unfortunately as an asthma sufferer with bronchitis I was almost completely unable to do any sort of exercise.  I got on my bike one day and within 5 minutes my chest was burning like no burn before so I slowed down quite a bit and just lightly peddled and I mean lightly whereby I barely broke a sweat and peddled for 45 minutes.  I think I broke a bigger sweat when I coughed.  I just started swimming again last week. Over a month without swimming, not sure how I survived.  I tried running the Columbia Tri course on one of our awesome 70 degree days and found myself exhausted and my chest burning after a mile. A mile!  Last year at this time I had just finished a marathon.  So my winter training plan has not quite gone as planned.  I have a half marathon in two weeks that I am just going to be looking to finish.  Exercising is what keeps me sane.  When I am having a bad week I usually have to take a step back and ask myself how many times I have hit the gym and it is usually less than the ideal amount.  I see things more clearly when I workout so the past month has been tough.  This morning when I got on the scale I found it's been tough on my weight too.  Ugh! The hubby on the other hand has had a much better inside winter training session than I have.
On the plus side my college swimming alma matter Towson University Lady Tigers just won their 4th straight CAA conference championship with multiple girls going to Olympic Trials.  One swimmer has the second fastest 500 freestyle in the country!  Wow do I miss swimming.

So what does all this have to do with a blog titled Decions Made..sort of?  Well I am not really sure just sort of rambling.  So a couple months ago I was trying to decide between two races on the same day and kept putting off the decision.  This past Wednesday Coach Sue posted on the board during our early morning masters swimming workout that the 1 mile bay swim was filling up.  I knew I needed to make a decision.  I planned on looking up some new triathlon events from Set-Up Events and see if any were comparable to the triathlon I like up in Delaware.  I got around to looking those up on Friday when swimming again I remembered what she had written on the board.  I found a few I liked and decided I would do the 1 mile bay swim and a couple of these other semi-local sprint triathlons.   I informed the hubby to sign us up.  He responded that the 1 mile was filled. Ack! I waited about 2 days too long....not surprising. This has happened before.  So it has been decided I am not doing any Chesapeake Bay even this year but instead will do the Tri It Triathlon on my favorite tri course up in Delaware.  Hopefully this will work out well.  I am still planning to do some of the sprint triathlons put on by Set Up Events.  It should be a good season...if I can ever stop coughing.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cheap Date for Friday - Shameless Promotion

Hey HoCo-ers!

Need a cheap date on Friday?? Planning to celebrate Valentine's Day a little early and want something to do?

Well you are in luck!

The Hammond Middle School Drama Club co-sponsored by Erinn and myself will be having their production of AFTER HOURS

See what happens in a clothing store when the store closes for the day, manequins come to life and have to defend the store against some burglars.  The play is short, we will be done before 8pm so you can still make a movie and really impress that special someone with multiple events planned!

Tickets are $5 and all proceeds benefit the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Make a Wish Foundation.  The charity for ticket sales proceeds was chosen by the students!  We have awesome students!

Hope to see you there!

Doors open at 6.45pm and the play starts at 7pm.

Hammond Middle School
8110 Aladdin Drive
Laurel, MD

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Meat-less and Meat-full

Happy Snow Day!
Usually the hubby and I do Meatless Mondays.  We occasionally even do a Veg Week.  After a few vegetarian weeks we adopted the Meatless Mondays.  This past Monday wasn't meatlesss.  It was meat-full and deliciously so!  But we have a rule that if scheduling requires us to have meat on a Monday than we take off another day that week.  Our occasionally veg diet is both for a healthy cleanse and in small part maintain the sustainability of our environment.

So Monday's noms were absolutely delectable!  We tried a new steakhouse in Howard County.  It is the Venegas Prime Filet Steakhouse located in Maple Lawn.  Previously in that spot was the OZ Steakhouse which we found quite disappointing.  Think Ruth's Chris prices at Bennigans quality.  The Venegas Steakhouse was quite a different experience!  I originally wasn't going to blog about this as I didn't take any pictures but it was too good not to.  We were presented with a gift from the chef - goat cheese and cranberry in puff pastry.  We were there to try the Howard County restaurant week menu. I got an arugula, pear, and goat cheese salad (which I am trying to recreate tonite for dinner - that's the linking piece to this post).  Next a 4-5 ounce petite filet that came with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus,  then chocolate pate for dessert.  I shared a side of mac and cheese with our other table-mates.  Everything was phenomenal and our waiter was awesome too!  A definite win!  All the specials he described sounded awesome. I wanted to eat more meals there.  They had an Italian flag salad with mozzarella, tomato, basil, and avocado.  There was a veal dish and a lamb dish.  Neither are meats I eat but it just sounded so amazing. ( HoCo@@@)

So anyway back to today.  It was a surprising snow day.  I was in the shower when the hubby said school was closed.  I got a salad for lunch with my girls Erinn and Mo then hit up Trader Joe's for some fresh ingredients for dinner.  I went to the doc the other day and the scale said "Eat More Salad." Tonite we are recreating the salad I had at the steakhouse but with some extra touches!

Open up a bag of arugula and put in a pretty bowl

Get a couple of good looking pears (I think these are anjou and bose??)

Slice up the pears.  Mine were a little too chunky.  I have not yet perfected
knife skills.  The restaurant had them cut matchstick style. Note for next time.

Pears and arugula

Add dried cranberries.  I also found orange flavored cranberries.  oooh ahhhh

Goat cheese!  I got the regular (no reduced fat here because you're not really using that much anyway.)
I also found goat cheese with honey.  Thought that would add some fun flavor

Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the top.
Fresh cracked pepper, sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil!

Ok so I had a little fun photographing the salad...the wine bottle and flower vase made for a nice background.  The rest of the living room not so much.  Hmmmm will have to work on that.
Tomorrow for dinner a more winter crockpot meal.
Happy Snow!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sidelined? Smoothies to the rescue!

Just like my beloved Ravens I too have been sidelined all week.  I have whatever the current nasty-cold-knock-you-upside-the-head-virus that is going around.   This swimmer hasn't been able to swim or anything!  In honor of the end of the Ravens season I present to you a Ravens-berry Smoothie!  This is loaded with antioxidants from the berries, potassium from the banana, protein from milk and whey powder.  It has a great berry flavor with a hint of chocolate in the background.  You don't actually taste the banana for you non-banana folks.  No need for filler ice cubes here, frozen berries will keep this nice and frosty.  In the summer this is a nice cook drink.  All year round it works as a fabulous recovery meal.  Yes this is definitely a meal!  I usually eat my smoothie with a spoon.  Let me know how you like it!
(As you can tell it is the off season and I don't have many events to talk about so instead I present food.)

You will need:

  • A blender
  • 1 ripe banana per person
  • 2 scoops of chocolate whey protein powder per person
  • about 1/4 cup each of frozen raspberries, blackberries, blueberries
  • Vanilla soy milk

Ingredients!  You don't have to buy the berries separately.
A pre-mixed berry medley bag will do as well.

1 banana per person and 2 scoops of protein powder per person

Add no more than 1/4 cup of vanilla soy milk so that everything blends nicely

Banana, vanilla soy milk, chocolate protein powder blended

Add your berries! About 1/4 cup per berries or 3/4 to a cup of a berry medley.
Add another 1/4 cup or so of milk so your blender doesn't get stuck!


All done! I like my smoothie thick but if you like yours thinner than add more milk

Pour into a cold glass and Enjoy!!
Not a berry smoothie fan? No problem the No Meat Athlete has a great read on creating your own smoothie.