Thursday, February 28, 2008

Chemistry Revisited and Flip Turns

A friend's daughter is taking high school chemsitry and needed a tutor. Since I have a chemistry degree and enjoy tutoring, I was more than happy to take on the task. It's been great revisiting the basic chemical principles, and I really think it is starting to make sense to her. I know it is one more thing to add to my week, but I'm having a great time doing it!

As usual, it's been a busy week. Here's a taste of the training done this week:

Tuesday at the Track
Another great workout run by Coach Mitch...
~1 mile walk to warm up
800m easy jog
1600 at Tempo pace (for me 2:05/400m)
400 recovery
1200 at Interval pace (1:54/400)
400 recovery
800 at Interval pace
400 recovery
400 at Repetition pace (1:48/400)
800 jog/walk recovery

Tuesday was a big workout day since I swam about 1500yds in the morning and did some strength training over lunch. These days are great since you really eat all day to fuel for the workout and make sure you've eaten enough for the next!

Wednesday: swim in the morning (easy day of about 1000 yds just focusing on form). I'm really working on getting my elbows high and keeping my body streamlined.
Lunch time: 50 minute spin on one of the resistance spinners in the "spin room" at the gym. It's a little more configureable to seat height and handlebar position than the stationary bikes out on the main aerobic floor. Plus it has better toe clips than those awful rubber straps. I just wore my mountain bike shoes for the stiff soles. But user beware! I was about launched a few times as the spin wheel takes a few seconds to slow down - you just can't stop pedaling!

Thursday - today! Another morning swim of about 1500yds. I feel my stroke is coming along - as long as I keep my shoulders, back and lats stretched out this season I may have a chance at some faster swim times. The excitement of the day - I actually did a few flip turns! I've been working on them the last few weeks at the pool I still have to master the push-off and breathing timing, but I'm getting better! Did a nice flip with my feet landing on the wall. Shannon and I will film our strokes this weekend so I'll try a few for the camera and see how I look!

Time to play Rockband!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Banana Fruit Salad

It's Monday night, and that means banana recipe time! Here's a link to fruit salad made with bananas. Yum! Slightly sweet, but with nuts for a little protein. I'm sure you can substitue walnuts or your favorite nut if you don't like pecans.

Today's training - I got up a little before 5am to get a 50 minute ride in on my trainer before work.
15 minute warm-up
5x20s Power intervals (big gear) with 2min recoveries
~25 minutes easy spin/cool down to total 50 minute ride.

Sometimes it feels great to get the workout out of the way in the morning. This means I have the rest of the day free! Tomorrow is swimming, strength and track practice!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I'm fundraising again!

Just a quick note on my weekend training and that I have decided to fundraise again for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, even though I don't have to as a coach.

I'm doing this once again in honor of my great aunt Margie who had multiple myeloma. She was an active woman who I believe would be proud of what others are doing to support those with blood cancers.

Our local team hero is Kari Schultz, a mother of two who went through treatment for a second time of non-hodgekin's lymphoma last summer.

If you would like to contribute, please visit my website:

Training notes:
Saturday - Hill repeats with the run-walk team!
~100 foot gain over 400m - 4 repeats with active recovery (walking back down the hill)
1) 2:30
3) 2:22
4) 2:19

woohoo! got just a tad faster on each one!

Then next was the tri team group workout at 9am. The plan was an easy bike ride at the Air Force Academy. That's what we did, though it was a little chilly - about 36 degrees with a light snow/rain. The roads were clear but a bit wet. Bike got soooooo dirty! (Took it to the car wash this afternoon to wash off all the dirt.) I think we were out about 40ish minutes, then some of us hit IHOP to warm up. Strawberry BANANA pancakes - Yum!

Friday, February 22, 2008

What a week!

It sure doesn't feel like I had Monday off! Work has been hectic with down tools and a ton of data to analyze. I didn't get home until after 7pm tonight. Now I've got to get ready for tomorrow's first group ride! Here's hoping the weather cooperates!

Now a training report:

Tuesday- track practice with the run/walk team was fantastic! How can a track workout be fantastic you ask? First, it was with a great group of our TNT run/walk and tri folks. Second, I must explain that I have a love-hate relationship with the track. The hate comes in the actual running of intervals, the love is when it is all over and recovery is done. It's a great feeling to know I've run hard and survived the effort. (at least until the next day when the soreness kicks in!) The workout consisted of a posture lession by Coach Mitch and then a "best effort" mile for pacing info. Then we did some 800m intervals with a 400 recovery. I did some of those easy and chatted with the team, then ran the last one pretty hard. So a fantastic workout!

Wednesday - easy swim (1100yd or so) in the morning and easy spin at lunch (40 min)
Thursday - short strength training/core at lunch
Friday - easy swim (1200yd) in the morning

Tomorrow - early run with the run/walk and then short bike with the tri folks.

Monday, February 18, 2008

President's Day Recipe

Being that it is President's Day and Monday (Mondays = banana recipe day!), I tried to find a recipe from the White House with bananas in it. Here is what I found thanks to Google...

Banana Filling for Layer Cakes: (
You can easily make a banana cake recipe out of almost any white cake recipe by using this simple cake filling recipe taken from "The White House Cook Book" by Hugo Ziemann, Steward of the White House, and Mrs. F. L. Gillette, published by The Saalfield Publishing Company, New York, in 1913.
Make an icing of the whites of two eggs and one cup and a half of powdered sugar. Spread this on the layers, and then cover thickly and entirely with bananas sliced thin or chopped fine. This cake may be flavored with vanilla. The top should be simply frosted.

Then there is - a cake you can order from a former white house pastry chef.

And not white house related but it just looked really good from Bobby Flay:
Milk Chocolate Banana Pudding

Joined a New Gym
These last few days have been a bit adventursome regarding where I will workout. I've been swimming at the city aquatic center - it's right on my way to work and $95 for a three month pass. They usually run specials to get a fourth month, so I've been going there most of the year except in the summer when the neighborhood pool is open. I've also been a member of Planet Fitness, which bought the local World Gym locations. My work had a really good deal with them - $36/month for Tim and myself. They don't have a pool, hence the city pool membership.

This all really starts when Planet Fitness took over the local World Gyms about 6 months ago. PF has a "judgement free zone" philosophy, where it is trying to create a comfortable environment for people to work out. They got rid of all the heavy weights (not that I use them), reduced the number of stations like bench press, smith machines, and also got rid of most of the functional core stuff like medicine balls, swiss balls, and bosu balls. They even got rid of the scale in the locker room- if someone is trying to gain/lose weight, how are they supposed to monitor their progress if they dont' have a scale at home? They even posted a dress code, most of which is fairly typical for a gym (no jeans) but the bottom line of the code says "...subject to our judgement." Wait a sec...I thought this was a Judgement Free Zone?!?! There is also a big sign - the "Lunk Alarm" that defines a lunk as one who drops weights, grunts, or judges. Again, isn't the fact that they posted this definition a way of judging certain people - I suppose only the people they don't want in the gym?

Well, we kept the membership since it was so cheap, even though we were a bit uncomfortable with the new business philosophy. Last Friday Tim was in the gym doing the bench press. He was by himself (no spotter) and had fairly light weight. But unless you are super-controlled, the last bit of motion to put the bar back on the rack after a set can make some noise (metal on metal isn't always quiet.) This was too loud for the management, as they must have thought he was disturbing the 6 other people in the gym and asked him to keep it quiet. ??? Tim responded by saying he didn't know how to comply to that request, as he wasn't being any louder than anyone else and pointed out that he could hear the others. The employee, who later identified himself as the regional manager, said he would have to find a way to comply. Tim's response - I'll find another gym and the employee was happy to fill out the cancellation form. What a way to treat your customers!

The fun part is that I had just bought another $95 swim pass that morning and if we were going to find another gym, most of the others in town have pools. So today I got to drive over town, first to cancel the swim pass I just bought. No problems there, they said they would refund the money to my credit card. Then to the next gym - 24hour Fitness. It is more expensive, but my work does have a corporate discount with them so that helped bring the cost down. They said they've gotten many frustrated former PF customers. Then I stopped by the location of PF that I go to over lunch, as the employees there have always been friendly with me. I wanted to make sure the membership was cancelled and get a phone number. I explained the situation and they were apologetic but appeared to have seen it before. They certainly didn't try to retain my membership.

Guess I just vented a little, but geez - it is frustrated to be treated poorly by someone taking your money. It's not a bad thing to change gyms, as with 24Hour I will have a bit more flexibility in the times I can workout (the pool is always open) so I can get in some longer swims before work if I can get out of bed early enough! Tomorrow I will try out the pool!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gonna Be a Rockstar!

I finally get to join the ranks of the Rockstars! Maybe (definitely) it isn't romantic, but I got the video game Rockband for Valentine's Day! I'm already a "guitar hero," but now I can be a drum hero! Totally fun game - just hit the colored drum pads at the same time as the colored rectangles cross the line on the screen and bam! - you're playing the drums with your favorite bands. No more need to put on the headphones and crank up the volume to play along to your favorite songs and hope you are getting it right.

Training News
The first group TNT triathlon workout was today. We did a little warm-up jog, went over some stretches, and a few plyometric exercises and then did an easy 30 minute run along the trail in Monument Valley Park. The run/walk team met at 7am, and some of the runners were still hanging out when we got there munching on the bagels and hot drinks their coach had for them. High standards to live up to! But I suppose if he makes his team meet at 7am in the middle of February he owes them something! The sun was warming things up nicely by our 9am meeting time. Hopefully the group had as much of an enjoyable time as I did!

In fact, the day was so nice I had to go for my first bike ride of the year out on the roads. I took a ride just slightly over 10 miles - simply headed north out of the neighborhood. It's downhill for the first 1.5 miles (about a 200 foot elevation drop) then a gradual incline to gain 500 feet over the next four miles. Then I just turned around and came back the way I came. It was windy coming out of the south, so the downhills weren't as fast as they could have been. There are a few stoplights and sand still on the road from the winter snows so I was being a little extra cautious. It was just wonderful to get outside and ride!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Quick Update

Last night was the Kickoff for the 2008 Summer TNT Season. Right now we have about 14 triathlon team members, about a third doing the long course race and half doing either the 5430 Sprint or Loveland Lake to Lake Olympic. I'm very excited to have the opportunity to help coach this group - we have quite a few TNT alumni along with some motivated first time TNT-ers.

Today's workouts:
1700 yd swim before work. That's right, folks - I get up early to swim before work. I have to be at work at 8am and the pool opens at 6:30. That gives me 45-60 minutes of swim time.
250 mixed stroke warm up
8x25 drills (focussed on high elbows)
5x150 with 15s rest
4x25 fast w/20s rest
6x25 kicking
250yd mixed stroke cool down.

Didn't get the chance to work on flip turns today - I think Friday I'll have a little extra time since I will do a shorter workout. I hope there is hot tub time as well!

30min easy run at lunch. Ran 3 laps of Quail lake at an easy pace. Then I did 4 sets of strides. I found a fairly flat section of sidewalk and accelerated from sign post to sign post - probably pretty close to 100yds. The weather was absolutely amazing! I think it was in the mid-50s when I ran and it got ove 60 degrees today. Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 20s (yuck!) and snowy, though "they" keep revising the snow forecast lower and lower (don't mind that).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Banana Pancakes with a Punch

It's time for this week's Banana Recipe. It's an easy one...

Banana Pancakes with a Punch!
Take your favorite pancake mix (I like Bob's Red Mill 10 Grain) and add to the mix (approximate amounts to 1 c. mix):

1 sm-med mashed banana
1/2 scoop soy protein powder

Then just follow the directions on the package. You may need to add a little extra water to offset the protein. Then just make 'em on your griddle like you would regular pancakes. Adds a little extra protein to your pancake! These freeze nicely so I make several servings worth and put them in freezer containers. Just microwave when you are ready to chow down on a great breakfast or any meal for that matter - especially that post-workout meal! They taste great with honey, and I'm sure some peanut butter and chocolate chips would be fantastic for an extra treat.

If you make these, let me know how you like them!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunday - Sunday - Sunday!

I guess football Sundays are now over! Not that I spent a whole lot of time watching pro ball (especially since my team was the 1-15 Dolphins). Started today off with a swim session - a friend offered to film me, which was great, as she was able to get different angles than when I just set-up my tripod at the end of my lane. There are still plenty of things for me to work on but I am doing quite a bit better, in my opinion. I am happy that I seem to be getting a decent amount of extension, though there is is room for more, especially with my left side. Tomorrow I have another swim session, about 1600 yds.

I didn't get out and run this weekend. Yesterday was gorgeous, but I used it as a rest day. I had been planning on Saturday being easy swim and run day, but since Ruby thought Sunday would be easier to get a lane in the pool, we switched the swim to today. Tomorrow is a swim/run day so I just decided to skip the run.

Didn't do too much else today - some cleaning, I suppose. How can I say this - I despise cleaning. And so does my husband, probably more so than me since he'd never clean a bathroom, even when it is obvious it needs it. I wonder if he realizes how much time it takes, as he doesn't get why I get stressed out when there is so much to be done. Guess I haven't "trained" him right. ;-) But he did do some laundary, vacuum, and steam vac some today so I have to give him credit! He is also getting a little better about cleaning up the table after we are done eating. Sometimes, though, we just have to say, "men!" with a big sigh!

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for the next banana recipe.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Still Winter and Good Workouts

I'm not a big fan of cold weather so I can't wait until it warms up. It probably won't be consistently warm (say 60 degress) until April, but I can always hope! The powers that be are forecasting upper 40s and sunny for Saturday, which is actually pretty nice for Colorado winter. The sun is a lot stronger at 6000+ feet and the dry air makes it feel warmer than, let's say, Illinois. This means the run I've got on my schedule for Saturday should be quite enjoyable. I'm looking forward to getting off the treadmill and running outside.

The workouts for this week are going well. I'm basing them off workouts in the Triathlete Magazine's Book of Training Plans for "level 5 sprint race" base phase. I figure using that as a guide will get me into a second base phase for the olympic distance plan, which is 16 weeks and my race is 20 weeks away. It's early in the training season so it's important for me to keep it easy and short. Time to build endurance and get the muscles used to training again. I do like how it incorporates some short intervals in each sport about once a week to remind the muscles how to move fast. They short enough that probably at least 95% of the workout is still easy/moderate aerobic effort.

Here's a sample of today's workout:
Morning Swim:
250yd warm up (mixed stroke)
8x25yd drills (I use fins and do Total Immersion-style drills) 10s rest
5x150yd swim fartlek - each 150 with twice through 50yd build (accelerate), 25yd descend (slow down), 15s rest between each 150
4x25yd sprint with 20s rest (these felt pretty good today - felt like I was gliding through the water)
4x25yd kicking drills - kick on back for 2, kick on side for 2
250yd cool down (mixed stroke)

Lunch run: Though it was probably warm enough to run outside today, as the sun was shining, I didn't bring warm running clothes to work so I did this on the treadmill
0.5% incline
5 min walk to warm up, increasing pace to 15min mile
30 min easy run. Kept heart rate aerobic - used my heart rate monitor. pace ranged from 5-5.6mph (12min/mile-10:42 min/mile)
4x20s "strides" - accelerated to 8-8.5mph over 20s, walked 40s recovery at 3.0 mph between.
5 min cool-down walk

It all felt good, even though I have a bit of sinus congestion today. Didn't interfere with my workouts (had enough energy, nose wasn't running...)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Here it is - the first of the weekly banana recipes! It is one of my favorite when the bananas get just a little too ripe (and yes, mom, they even get too ripe for my taste.)

Recipe modified from The Great American Favorite Brand Name Cookbook (c)1993 p. 373

2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (~3 bananas)
1/3 c. vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
1/4 c. milk
2 c. flour
1 c. sugar

2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
8-12 oz. chocolate chips*

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Stir eggs, banana, oil and milk until well blended. Add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir until just moistened. I use my kitchen aid mixer - love it! Stir in chocolate. Pour into greased 9x5" loaf pan. Pampered chef baking stone loaf pan is great! Bake for 55 minutes (I usually need about 60-65) or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cool on wire rack.
* Recipe really calls for 4 oz baking chocolate chopped into chunks and 1/2 c. nuts. I'm not much of a nut fan in my sweets (and this bread is more like cake) so I just throw in most of a bag of chocolate chips. Saves me chopping time as well.
I hope you enjoy! Check back next week for another great banana recipe.

Today's workout:
60 min on trainer:
20 minute warmup and spin ~100rpm with hr ~130
7x1 min "climbs" big gear, VO2 max-type effort with 2 min easy spin recoveries
9 minutes spin hr ~130
10 minute easy spin cool-down.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Van Halen!!!

I've been a Van Halen fan for a long time. I suppose my first album was 1984 (I turned 10 in 1985.) so I caught the tail end of the David Lee Roth years. We had gotten cable around that time and MTV played a lot of "Hot For Teacher," "Jump," and "Panama." I aslo followed David Lee Roth's solo career through the mid-late 1980's, certainly enjoying his presence on MTV. I will fess up that my room had a lot of DLR posters. Van Halen with Sammy Hagar had many, many mainstream rock hits so it was hard not to follow them as a teenager. I own almost all of Van Halen's albums (can't say I ever bought Van Halen III with Gary Cherone, but don't know anyone who did) and just really enjoy Eddie's guitar, Alex's drums, and DLR's vocals. I suppose it was a "childhood dream" to see David Lee Roth in concert and last night I fulfilled that a second time, but even better.
I was first able to see him after my freshman year in college (1994) - I learned he was playing club La Vela in Panama City Beach (I was in staying in Tallahassee for the summer) so I grabbed two tickets and a friend and hit the show. Honestly I don't remember much other than I had a really good time. He played his big hits and a few of the old Van Halen hits as well. Never did I think he would join back up with the Van Halen brothers for a tour. But of course - 30 years after VH's first release, why not. David Lee Roth has always won the polls for the best VH frontman. Put any of the the feuds aside to make tons of money! So when my brother had an extra ticket to the show in Denver for last night, I was totally there! (Sorry you couldn't make it, Elissa!)
Here's a summary of last night's Van Halen experience:
4:30pm - leave Jason's house and pick up Rick and Laura
5:30pm - Arrive at Hacienda Colorado for some fantastic mexican food with another of Jason's coworkers and his wife.
7:30pm - We are now at the Pepsi Center and pick up our tickets from will call and find out where we are sitting. Section 146, row 8. I'd say less than 40 feet from the stage on the side, and just slightly above stage height. Can we say awesome seats?!!!
8pm - the opening act Ky-Mani Marley with some Reggae tunes. Don't know if he is a "true" Marley or not, but it was a nice, 30 minute set.
9pm: Out comes David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen and Wolfgang Van Halen (replacing Michael Anthony). What followed was two hours of rock-n-roll, singing along, and ear-to-ear smiles. And for being 52, David Lee Roth still looks fantastic (sporting the smooth chest now). Everything they played was from the album 1984 or earlier, but wow - did they have a lot of great songs from 1978 through 1984. A classic Van Halen reunion. They all looked liked they were having a blast the entire show. The Pepsi Center looked to be sold out and it was nice and loud. I had earplugs in for the first few songs, but took them out since they filtered out the crowd noise and I could hear myself sing (not a good thing). I figure I don't go to rock shows very often so I'd live with the loudness in true rock-show fashion. Worth it!

Check out this link for some pics of the show from the Rocky Mountain News:
Bottom line: I got to see Van Halen with David Lee Roth. sweet! Not to mention it was a very entertaining show. Definitely one for the personal history book.