Thursday, April 23, 2009

Potato Wedges (ZenTri is Not a Cult)

So I made potato wedges tonight. Not because "everyone else is doing it", not because I'm a slave to some crazy cult, but because I FELT LIKE IT. Okay?

Anyway, these babies are supposedly awesome to eat while training or racing because they have calories, simple carbs, potassium, sodium, you know... the good stuff. And when you've been at it for hours on end you sort of get disgusted by the idea of anymore sweet foods (like gels and sports drinks). If you're drooling all over yourself at the thought of pizza during your race you might be super psyched to find potato wedges in your transition bag.

I made mine with *pretty* purple, yellow and red potatoes from the farmer's market. You can use whatever potatoes you want... I really don't care.


Step 1: cut your potatoes into whatever shapes you want

Step 2: put them into a bowl and drizzle some olive oil. Not too much! Seriously! Just coat them.

Step 3: Add your flavorings. I used sea salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Mix it up.

Step 4: Spread them on a baking sheet and place them in the oven at 400 for 30 mins or until golden.

Oh, and then you might want to make some hummus. Not because hummus is trendy, but of your own volition.

Mmmm. Hummus.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Open-Ended Question Maneuver

Today was my first real opportunity to run since I suffered a stress fracture in my hip last September. Up until this point I've been limited to 20-40 minute easy runs, and let me tell you, it has been difficult to hold back. I love running.

This morning I was thrilled to see that my coach, Javier, had posted a 1-hour run with moderate pace and pushing up hills. Yes! I threw on my Newtons and ran out the door, sort of wishing I had company to share my excitement with. When I got to Central Park I started with Harlem Hill and felt amazing. I reminded myself to chill a bit because I still had to run for the hour, so I pulled back.

Well, it wasn't long before I was playing running leap frog with some Random Runner Guy. He would hold his pace just past my hip and I would then take my place back in front of him. Back and forth, back and forth, until we finally just ran at each other's hip for a couple of miles. I was grateful for my new best running friend but soon the competitive side of me took over. I heard his breathing was labored and saw his face getting redder to hold our pace. Then he started to push a bit harder and tried to pass me (clearly he was afraid to get beat by a girl) but I was still feeling pretty comfy. I considered breaking the rules and pushing past my "moderate" pace but decided that it wouldn't be worth another injury. So I unleashed the secret weapon... the "Open-Ended Question Maneuver" (thank you @texafornia).

"So what do you do for work that you get to run at 2pm?" - timed perfectly with the start of a hill.

"How do you like running in those New Balance shoes?" - I pull back a bit to enjoy my company.

"Oh yeah, what was it like recovering from that injury?" - raising my voice to project backwards.

I'm really not that mean. It was fun and I did enjoy the company. I can't wait to get out there again. I averaged a 7:25 min pace for the entire 6.2 miles! Not a bad comeback.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Remembering: The Day I Lost My Multi-Sport Innocence

Haha! I just found this race report from my first Duathlon. It was last May, 2008. This is too funny...

Race Report

This report is particularly important for me because I have so many questions and so much to learn before my first triathlon.

Greenwich Cup Biathlon- Sunday, May 4th, 7am

Weather: temp in the high 40's, overcast and damp but not raining.

Purpose: To find out if I can handle riding a bike in a race, to experience a transition, and to bombard Adam with as many questions as I can think of.

Planned tactic: Just go. If I planned a tactic I would have been OCD with sticking to it even if it needed to be adjusted. I just expected to do what the people around me were doing and the specific people would be determined by how much effort it took to be wherever I was.

Pre-race: Clif bar and 2 large glasses of water at 5:30am. Not what I normally eat before a race but it was easy for a sleepover. I was feeling a bit anxious about not knowing what to expect but excited. Adam says "This is such a short and easy race it's not even worth eating anything before" I think "maybe for you..."
We arrive, I ask questions "how often do I need to pump the tires?"..."now would be a good time", "does this helmet look too small?"..."don't wear it on the back of your head like that", "oh my god, you have to hang the bike up?"...
Adam shows me the transition area then disappears. I'm not sure which group to line up with so I decide to go with the second one, to be safe.

Race/execution: 2.5-mile Run- Ready, set, go! I realize that I'm not sure how to gauge my pace because we didn't line up with pace markers, so I check in with myself... it's only 2.5 miles and I know I can push pretty fast for that distance, but do I need to save some juice for the bike and the second run? Since I'm not sure how I'll do with the rest of the race I decide to push because I know I can run. I pass people one by one and I'm going strong although my legs still feel a bit sleepy. Just as my mind starts to wander to the fact that I have to ride a bike after this, I feel someone jab a finger in my back and I hear Adam, "you're hard to catch up to, do you have a plan for this race?" He was clearly impressed with my swiftness. I told him that my plan was to go with my strength. (Time- 18:49)
T1- As we got to the transition I started to get excited. I ran over, grabbed the bike, shed a top layer and kept moving as I put on my helmet and gloves. I was glad that I didn't have to deal with shoes or anything else. I wondered whether any of that fancy stuff is worth it because I was on the bike and riding in a flash. (Time- 1:13)
10-mile Bike- It didn't take long for Adam to catch up. I wasn't passing people but I wasn't falling behind either. Adam was so helpful riding with me and explaining about drafting "pass on the left and you only have a few seconds to do it because of drafting rules" and he told me how and when to shift gears for hills. This was especially helpful because I was afraid to use the left ones. I was brave enough not to use the brakes on downhills except for the one that went through an intersection. During the bike, I did wish that my feet were strapped to my pedals because my feet kept slipping and I was constantly readjusting, not to mention the fact that I couldn't use my legs to pull the pedal back up after I pushed it down, like I learned in spin class. My legs started to get really tired from all the hills and I couldn't wait to be done. I told Adam that I passed a girl in a pink shirt on the run, then she passed me on the bike, so now I had to catch her and pass her in the next run.
T2- As we came closer to T2 Adam told me to slow down and spin my legs. I jumped off and walked the bike (not sure you're allowed to run it in) to hang it back up. I glanced back and saw a man fall and skid into the transition area, glad that wasn't me. Again I was happy that I didn't have to change shoes or anything. I took off my helmet and gloves, took a sip of my coconut water and I was off. (Time for bike and T2- 35:16)
2.5-mile Run- I had forgotten to hit the button on my watch when I got off the bike so the bike and T2 are together. As I start running I think, "Woah, my legs feel funny. They feel disconnected and jelly like". As I keep moving it starts to feel like my legs are much shorter than they're supposed to be. But guess what... I'm passing everyone! I passed The Pink Shirt Girl right away. I figure since I'm leaving everyone in my dust I might as well take off another layer and show off my RwP singlet so that they have an explanation as to why I'm passing them. Soon Adam is by my side again, "You made it really hard to catch up to you" but I was running too fast to say what I was thinking... that Coach Adam and RwP are actually what made it hard to catch up to me. I never thought I would be actually racing a race. I usually run to complete not compete. For some reason I was running this one like I had something to prove. And I did have something to prove to myself...that I can totally take this triathlon thing. At this point I'm feeling proud and inspired, appreciative and uh oh... like I can't keep running this fast for another 5 minutes. Adam notices my pain and starts yelling at me "cadence, cadence, cadence... pump your arms!", and I'm all "but I'm gonna puke", and he goes "good! keep going! push, push, push!". Somehow, as I glimpse the finish, I'm running even faster. I'm through the finish and some Random Guy Behind Me says "awesome push at the end". I look at my watch, 1:11:39, and I wonder... is that good? (Time for Run2- 16:20)

Lessons learned: 1) I can do this 2) I should try actually racing races more often 3) I need to buy some of those cagey thingys for my pedals 4) The gears on the left side of the bike are good to learn how to use 5) Multi-sport is fun

Coach Adam's Version

So my version of the day. Following coach adam's usual propensity for taking it all in stride and also because I figured that some things simply need to be experienced to be learned, we showed up with about 15 minutes to register and go. After getting the bikes off of the truck and pumping air in the tires, it was just about time for the groups to go.

I figured Christine was probably freak'n out a bit but I was equally convinced that once she started running, habitual instinct would take over, which it did. I stopped at the bathroom since I didn't have time to do so when we got there and started well after everyone else, (hey it's kind of my thing like I did at Lehigh last week.) And Christine in her grey shirt was booking, passing dozens of people and it took me about a mile to catch her - she was running about 7:20's.

I think she liked the idea that all she had to do was grab her bike, put on her helmet and go, which she did. Since I had to put on my cleats, she left transition in some sick 30 seconds or something. So then I had to catch her again and immediately realized that Christine had no clue what she was doing - it was endearing. I paced her up the first few hills explaining that she didn't need to subscribe to the Bob Scofield method of not changing gears out of the big chain ring for fear of the bike braking. She encountered her first hill and I don't think she liked it much and we were passed by a few riders - again, I don't think Christine liked being passed much but I told her to maintain cadence and stay in the saddle - oh yeah, by this time, I'd noticed that Christine and another slim poneytailed girl wearing grey had been seesawing back and forth since the run - they looked like sisters; I'm not sure Christine noticed her.

So as every good coach does, I try to take film of Christine by holding my camera in one hand, while steering with the other and holding my sunglasses which were totally fogged up in my mouth. Yeah, not so good. I dropped my Rudy Project glasses pulled over to the side while Christine carried on forward. After watching a pelaton go by without running over my glasses, I was finally able to pick them up and then I had to actually race to catch back up to Christine. Some gal on a Madone was drafting off me the entire time - really good rider with strong legs. In the end, I catch back up to Christine just as we're headed back into transition when I tell her to drop her gears and spin out to refresh her legs in preparation for the run. Draftgirl, passes us and hard charges to the transition area, only to drop to the pavement right at the dismount point - nice road rash, she had.

Again, Christine is all about drop the bike, take off the helmet and go, her T2 had to be about 20 seconds at most and she was off. I was taking off my shoes, putting on my running shoes and then I also headed out, but at this point I realized that Christine meant business and she was GONE!

I have no clue where poneytail girl came from but she and Draftgirl were both ahead of me and behind Christine. I passed both of them fairly rapidly but I couldn't close the gap on Christine, so I had to take my now Clydesdale body up to a new level and started picking off folks one by one, but ahead of me Christine was doing the same. Again, it took me about a mile to catch back up and I remembered that i caught her at the same point I caught her on the first run. She had already peeled off her grey shirt and the orange RwP singlet was absolutely luminescent in the shadows of the misty course. We ran side by side until we were about 3/4 of a mile out and then we hit a stretch where we run along the bay and you can see runners coming at you and in front of you as far as you can see. I noticed that Christine relaxed just a bit. Now if I was racing against her, I would have known that she had just given up and I would have turned it on to break her spirit completely, but since we were working together, I pulled her head out of her asspirations and encouraged her gently to focus only on her cadence, which she did. I then pulled slightly ahead and subtly suggested that she stay on my hip, which she did. Once she figured out that she was nearing the finish, she found the energy that I knew she had held in reserve and surged forward, with me trying valiantly to stay on her hip into the finish.

In short, she went out perhaps a little fast, but then again, she ran a negative split on the runs, so in truth, she didn't go out too fast and she probably could have pushed a bit harder on the bike. In the end, if this brought her a 3rd place finish, this girl has skills. The best part was that she told me that Sasquatch had left her a message calling her a HAC Guru which really, must have given her more energy.

Now what Guru forgot to tell you was that when Javier, Guru and I went back out for our cool-down loop we passed some runners still on the course who responded to Guru's performance in the only way possible: "You suck!"

Yes, another great morning in Greenwich, CT and the world of multi-sport.

Yoda out.