Saturday, February 28, 2009

Some of my favorite things

Its the time of the year when I start to add different items to my grocery cart. Namely more frequent purchases of electrolyte drink mix, Fig Newtons, Clif bars, and the occasional 6-pack of PayDay bars for those really long days in the saddle. I'm burning more calories, I am working harder, and my body is just craving different things.

I am a very healthy eater- and this isn't an attempt to break my arm patting myself on the back, I just truly happen to enjoy my veggies. Blame it on my awesome mom who gave me only two choices as a child- broccoli or carrots? (Or you can just not eat dinner.....You get the idea). While others were allowed Trix and Cookie Crisp cereal, we would twist mom's arm for a mere box of Honey Nut Cheerios...and even that was a huge deal at the time. Nonetheless, I have steered clear of the bad stuff for most of my adulthood as a grocery store customer. While I dabble in the occasional burrito, hamburger, and serving of fries, I tend to crave these things only after an extremely hard effort, such as a race or a marathon day of training. I think I have trained my body to "not" crave many of these items on a regular basis, so its certainly helped keep me in check.

Some find it odd, but I really do not crave meat. EVER. I could definitely go the rest of my life without it. But chocolate, wine, bread, coffee. Now that's another story.

One of my guilty pleasures is searching other people's/friends fridge and pantries to find out WHAT I AM MISSING OUT ON in the world of food. I have some necessities and addictions that I can't live without. These are a few of my favorites:

Trader Joes
-organic creamy Peanut Butter (with Salt)- Good on just about anything
-Basmati Brown Rice
-Wild Rice (the black kind!)
-Mediterranean Hummus
-Natures Path Organic Pop Tarts (blueberry= the best, apple cinn., strawberry, brown sugar)
-Kashi Go Lean Crunch
-TJ's Roasted Vegetable Pizza
-Multi-Seed Corn Tortilla Flatbread (great with the hummus)
-Peanut Butter Pretzels (I go thru 1 bag/week)
-PURE energy bars
-LARABars (cashew cookie, apple cinn., cherry pie!)
-Clif ZBars (better than the original)
-Organic SOYcoutash (frozen blend of soybeans, corn, and peppers)
-Harvest Hodgepodge (frozen veggie mix)
-Wasabi Wow (trail mix)
-Blood Oranges
-Sweet Potatoes (lately I've been slicing thin, drizzling with olive oil, salt, pepper, and baking until crispy!)
-Mahi Mahi, Salmon, and Tuna steaks with seasoning (frozen)

What are some of your favorites?!?! Am I missing something good....Fill me in!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Solo Ski on another SNOWY Saturday

Me, trying to avoid the blowing snow on the only gusty part of the trail.

Apparently everyone else missed the memo, because when I pulled into the parking lot at the local golf course where I have been logging cross country ski miles all winter, there was only one vehicle. A little odd to me, considering there has been falling snow accumulating approx 5in since early this morning. Fresh, light, fluffy snow, with minimal wind. And the best part yet, really perfect temps for skiing. I guess I was the only one that thought it was a good idea.

Just as I was throwing down the skis onto the fresh snow, a fellow loonie like me skied up, red faced, frozen-nose-dripped, and raring to go. "It's a bit tricky out there today, you have to make your own tracks," she said. She and I agreed that the loop which generally takes us about 30 min would probably take about 40 today....

I set off and to my pleasant surprise, it was quite fantastic...Not a soul in sight, after my new ski buddy took off a few minutes before me..Just pure wintry white beauty, and a challenging workout that felt more like backcountry skiing on this awesome Saturday afternoon.

Base miles have started this week, and though I had hoped to be up to about 120mi by today, I am short by 25mi. I am not stressing, as I still have 10 more weeks to really build the fitness and peak at the right time. In fact, it was more fun to get out and rip it up on the snow after my trainer ride this am, and my 1.5hrs of skiing will be added to what would have been my longer ride for Saturday. Hopefully I can hit the pavement for some outdoor miles by Tue, as temps look sweet and I have the day off.

Back to clean the pad up for my mama's visit. Due to the *SNOW EMERGENCY* she opted to hang in Chicago an extra day with the brother and head onward to Madison tomorrow. Fun times in store.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

What's that beep????????????

Apparently I hit the trunk button on my set of keys, because at 545am my neighbor knocked on my door to inform me that my "car alarm was going off." Oh $hit!!! I felt awful, and ordinarily, I would have figured this out on my own, as Tue am is my Masters' practice. I had decided to sleep in until 6am and get a mellow run around the hood in alternatively. Yes, that's right, I am actually going to call it a "run" because I am v e r y s l o w l y starting to pick up the speed enough to deem it more than a fast walk....And I couldn't be happier.

So, 15min before my alarm was set to buzz me out of slumber, I am up and at 'em, with the keys, turning off the alarm, and just for good measure, making sure the car will start. Ahhh, relief, the sound of my car's engine firing away...

My run was refreshingly chilly, and peaceful. I do look forward to this time of the year when the air is crisp and cool, the sun is starting to rise a little earlier, and the time of the day is so quiet--and you feel as if you are the only person awake in your neighborhood. On this particular day there happened to be a handful of us out enjoying the beauty of late winter before we all had to shuttle off to our respective jobs and commitments.

The week is cruising on by, and I have laid out some groundwork courtesy of the awesome cyclist and friend of mine, Kristin, who generously offered to help me with some insight and focus to my training block for the coming cycling season. This week is the unofficial 2nd week of "base" training with 10 more weeks (or so) to follow. I will likely be in base for the first few weeks of my season, though I do plan to race well into the middle of the summer, so I need to remember to be patient with myself. Its all in good time. I am hoping that for a change, I can actually be diligent and follow instructions.

My mom is here this weekend, so long riding may not happen, though I do plan to get out a fair share, in between all of the other fun places I hope to visit with her...most of which will include coffee, food, and some sort of place that sells home decor! That is my mom's "thing" and we tend to have enormous fun putting together my little home when she is around! Yay!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

When this is what you have to be excited about............

I have sunken to a new level. My life is so standard and boring these days that I was overjoyed this morning when I realized that I could secretly make my "two bag-of-grinds" coffee without anyone giving me hell for making extra-strength brew.....You see, some undercaffeinated people that work in my office seem to have an issue with coffee that-GASP!-is darker than tea!! WTF?!?!..So much, that last week, a post-it note was placed on a freshly-brewed pot of coffee-colored water stating *PLEASE USE ONLY 1 BAG OF COFFEE PER POT PLEASE*....Now, economically, that may be more substantial in a time of great despair. But considering that a) Most people don't drink that CRAP you call coffee b) Everytime I've made a pot, it seems to disappear before I even GET any coffee, I think YOU WHO WROTE THE POST IT are WRONG! I feel so much better after getting that off my chest..To all my coffee snob sistas out there "Can I get an AMEN....a HELL YA..."

So, after realizing this morning that no one in my office makes decaf coffee and there is an empty decaf carafe sitting quietly unused in the pantry, I have opted to secretly brew my double strength blend, without anyone knowing it exists. Pathetically, looking forward to work tomorrow.

In other news, I was able to get out for a short little spin on the bike Tue afternoon. Temps hit the 50's and now that its staying light out until almost 545pm, I can actually get some miles in after a long day in the office. Some good efforts in the pool Tue am, combined with my Sunday mega miles were a good chance to go pretty light and easy. Goal for the week is to hit 150/+ mi. I am at 90mi and its Wed, so we will see. In fact, its more about time not miles. But miles matter. Hell, time sitting on that God damn seat is what counts, loss of feeling in my vajay-jay, then I know I am becoming one with the bike.....But I digress.

Just like Aerosmith, I'm back in the saddle again. With my strong cup of coffee. 1 + 1= AWESOME. I can't wait for race season. Bring it on. I'll be there April 4. Fully caffeinated with miles under my belt. Ready to bring down the house.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Cycle mania

This weekend was chock full of cycling action from Fri night until Sunday afternoon. Temps in the high 40's and mid 30's on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, were reason enough to let the trainers collect dust in my house and pull the fender over my rear wheel (in fact, I didn't even own a fender until Kristin mentioned that Planet Bike makes a pretty sweet little attachment!) In any case, I shot over to the bike shop Fri afternoon, made a quick salad, grabbed a bottle of wine, and headed over to Rachel's house for a team meeting with the ISCorps girls.

I am really happy to say that I think this will be a solid and dedicated group of women who I am looking forward to racing with this season. Yummy lasagna, homemade bread, salad, wine, bruschetta, and cookies with tea were on the menu, and over the course of the next few hours we ironed out the season and all commitments entailed with racing on ISCorps cycling team. All and all, a really fun night!

Saturday I headed out for a 4hr solid effort with Kristin, Rachel, and some of the otehr UW/ISCorps team members..Belleville, New Glarus, and Mt Horeb, with a few early season rest stops that included coffee, a PayDay bar, and Fig Newtons (of course!) I was more tired than really trashed, and ate my way thru the afternoon as I watched back episodes of Grey's on the computer! Nice...and even mustered up energy for a little social time with friends Sarah and Courtney later that night! Fun times...

Sunday ride was a bit more mellow, and though colder, a lot less windy than Saturday's ride...Rachel, Yvonne, Kristin, and myself drafted the boys for about 25 miles and then broke off for another solid 3.5hrs around the hilly countryside outside of Madison. Another great day on the bike. I can't complain. Certainly this weekend has been full of some good training, but I've obviously neglected my own chores, so as I procrastinate typing this post, I am now looking at a long list that include finishing laundry, grocery shopping, and some other odds and ends. Its weekends like these that make me look forward to them all over again! It looks as though it'll be trainer rides for the remainder of the week, but we will have to see....Until next time....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Silver Lining

Why is it that everytime I see Matt Lauer/Brian Williams/my local news anchor there has to be yet another company closing its doors, leaving thousands of people jobless and wondering where they will find money for the mortgage and groceries!?!? Its begining to severely depress me, and also make me appreciate employment at the same time. So much, that even with 16 patients that I saw today, I am exhausted as crap, still have to get in a workout and strength train, and though tired, I am ultra thankful. I used to rally like a champ to stay out past 1am in college, and I plan to use the same strategy tonight for my run and core workout.

I've said it once before, but people, if you are considering a job, go into healthcare.....Job loss = poor health. Unfortunately, it doesn't seems to be resolving itself anytime soon. Job security, an oxymoron. Perhaps it should be called Job Availability....Think about it.

On another note, I am annoyed to report that I slept all funktified last night and have an annoying nerve pinch-thingy in my left arm...wonderful...hopefully not the end of the world but nonetheless just extraordinary since my left hip/knee are still less than perfect. The silver lining is that it may be warm enough here this weekend to get out and ride...something that doesn't involve pounding my leg or flailing my arms around. I am hoping for sunny skies and temps in the 40's.

Busy schedules don't bode well for double workouts, and right now, I am getting in what I can get in. Less than I'd like to be doing, but I am hoping for that little thing called "Quality" to trump my "quantity" ratio. Time will tell. After all, my first race is Hillsboro in late March. With such a long season into the summer, I am relying on the upcoming warmer months to light that fire under my proverbial butt! As I was pedaling away on intervals to my new favorite 80's stream station last night, I was thinking to myself, "Its been just a year since your last race" and boy, the time has certainly flown on by. It does make me very hungry to get back out there and tear it up.

Time to blow this pop stand and trek on home for another evening of indoor training!