Thursday, March 26, 2009

Turn up the Volume!

Training Volume, that is! 2nd week off of work (last week was a "rest" week) and I am putting in a big volume week - about 20 hours of training, which is a lot for me. The goal is for it to kick up my fitness level. This week is also the first first official Coach Matt Training Plan. And what a plan it is! I'm half-way through the training week (Monday is a rest day) and actually feel pretty good. here's what I've been doing - and for those of you who get tired from reading my typical workout days, get the pillow ready!

Tues - morning swim of 2500 yds. working on lengthening my stroke - need a little (a lot) more glide.
lunch time bike ride of 2 hours. the weather was actually decent enough that I headed downtown and back home. I just wish I didn't live on top of a hill - my house is at 6800ft, downtown is just above 6000. that means 800ft of pure elevation gain, more if you count the rolling hills!
evening track practice - 4+ miles of quality running.
Wed - morning run - 45 minutes on mostly soft trail. even though it was an "easy" run, it wasn't really after tuesday's track! legs felt it!
mid-day (11am-2pm) 3 hour ride. I found Highway 24 is pretty flat heading east. too bad it's windy out there! temps were about 37, a few snow flakes, but otherwise I had a really nice ride!
Evening swim turned into a brief 20 minute session - I got kicked out of the pool because of a water aerobics class! oh well, 4 hours of training in one day is pretty good!
Thurs - get the workout in before the snow storm! Got up and did a great 60 minute workout on the trainer, followed by a 30minute run on a local neighborhood path. I will admit I was getting sucked into Bravo's supermodel reality show, but had the will power to pull away so that I could run right off the bike. felt surprisingly good. Then it was time for breakfast at mimi's with Elissa and Joey! honey oat bran muffin rocked!
I planned a lunch time swim, and almost finished my last set (4 more laps to go) when I got kicked out of the pool because the gym was closing - 24 hour fitness wasn't open 24 hours today! But the storm is making the roads pretty nasty and it took me about 20 minutes to go what usually is 5. But I did get in 2300 yards.

Now I'm just trying to relax, going to hit my foam roller and work out most of the muscle groups. Tomorrow is another big day - 30min run, 2hr bike, and 2900yds swimming! The one good thing is that I have to eat to have the energy to do these! and I'm eating pretty healthy, too! Although the snow is putting me in the mood for ice cream - not sure why!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Timeless Taupe

Last year during the 4th of July holiday I painted my bedroom and the tub/sink part of the 5-pc bath:
Never did get around to the shower/toilet area so that is what I did today. Finally got the "Timeless Taupe" up on the walls! This morning I picked up a new quart of paint at Lowe's - the bathroom is small so I figured that would be enough (more later). I also had the can left over from the summer that I had used on the bedroom stripe. Then I tracked down all the painting supplies - tape, drop clothes, plastic trays, brushes, rollers and what not. Good - had everything I needed. Bathrooms with toilets are a challenge (do you paint behind the toilet or not?) but I decided to "do it right" and take off the tank to the toilet. That went surprisingly well. Then the fun of taping the trim and tile as to not get paint everywhere. OK, ready to paint. I'll start with the new can of paint. Squeezed up on a ladder in the shower to get to the high ceilings, but all was well. I really don't mind painting and figured I could be done around lunch time. When I was getting to the area behind the toilet, I realized I was pretty low on paint. Rather than struggle to eek out every bit of coverage from the new can, I went out to the garage to grab the old can. Oops - never leave paint in the garage in Colorado. I'm sure it froze a few times during the winter and now was useless. So now I am back to what I was hoping to avoid - getting every last drop out of that new can! It was painful, but I did it. The walls wouldn't mind a second coat, but I don't see that happening any time soon. Maybe I'll just hang some pictures. :-)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

end of week report and exams

Today is day #5 (wow - it is Friday already!) of the ATMEL 2-week shutdown. Brief recap of the week so far.
1) Coach with a Coach...I've hired a coach to train me. You might ask why a coach would need a coach. There are several reasons - one being that if you spend a lot of your time with your clients, you tend to neglect yourself (especially with a busy schedule like mine). Second, it always helps to have someone else out there motivating you. I met Coach Matt at the USAT Level I Coaching Clinic. We have a similar science background and have similar philosphies regarding training and how it fits into life, so we'll give it a shot.

2) Vision is still stable...I had my annual check-up on Wednesday and all is good. My eye prescription still hasn't changed -it's been stable for at least 4 years now. Going to the eye doctor is not one of your "traumatic" doctor offices, although some might not enjoy the puff of air in the glaucoma test. Every year I try not to flinch and every year I fail. My doc also gives this peripheral vision test - you put a patch over one eye and rest your chin on this rest of a bowl-like contraption that might be an planetarium for mice. You stare at a light spot and then flashes of light go off in different locations in the bowl, and each time you see a light flash, you click a clicker. For some reason I think this is also a reaction time test, and I'm clicking away as fast as I can as soon as I see the light. Haven't missed a flash yet!

3) Neck Poppin'...At last Saturday's race I got a free massage and they were scheduling free evaluations with a chiropractor. Why not check it out - can't hurt, right? I went on Monday, got some x-rays, back on Tuesday and apparently I'm pretty whacked out in my neck and lower back. Though it probably explains some of the little aches in my neck and lower back I ignore or blame on training. Since I've got insurance coverage for this, I figured I would sign up for the treatment that I'm covered for. Every afternoon (good thing I'm off work) I head over there for time in a wobble chair, self-hanging on this neck contraption, 10 minutes of a nice back massage table - it runs along the spine, creating space between the vertebrae, and then an adjustment by the doctor. Boy does my neck crack - yesterday was really loud. I have about 12 more visits over the next few weeks and then they will take more x-rays to see how much my "loss of curve" in my neck and my other misalignments have improved.

4) NEO Endurance Sports and Fitness...been working on the research for my business plans. Also have a lot of documentation to take care of like business cards, waivers, athlete history forms. But I look forward to getting my coaching business rolling!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

St Pat's Day 5k Race Report

One of the most fun races in Colorado Springs is the 5k on St. Patrick's Day, which is really held on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day. The course loops around downtown, which is relatively flat for Colorado standards. Total elevation gain/loss about 250ft according to my GPS. Everyone out there is wearing green (I was in my Jack Quinn's Running Club shirt) and there are a lot of green wigs, hats, etc. This year about 1500 runners were out on the course.

Got up a little before 6:30 for my morning ritual. We had a Team in Training run today as well, so I had to make sure I was ready for that.
Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal (2 packets regular quaker instant oats) with a little bit of peanut butter and a banana. Then I hit the shower and got ready for the training.
It was a cold morning, temps in the 20s around 8am. But the sky was clear and the sun was shining - which made for a perfect day to run.
Down at Monument Valley Park I met the Team, we warmed up and went on a 50-60minute (I did about 50) endurance run with about 5 30-second pick-ups to put in some speed. I ran a bit slower this morning so that I wouldn't burn out the legs or the lungs before the race. Normally I would just take a water bottle with me for that time run, but today I used HEED to get in some calories. We saw the TNT run/walk team out on the trail today. It is always great to run into familiar faces out on a run! After the group run, I quickly put on a dry top, grabbed my backpack with recovery drink and such, and then walked about a mile to the starting line at Acacia Park.

Scheduled race start: 10am
I get there at 9:35 - plenty of time. I pre-registered so I already had my race number, which I carefully pinned to my shirt before I left the house this morning. Task #1 - find a port-o-potty. Line was pretty short so all was good. Task #2 - attach timing chip to shoe. This is critical, but maybe tast #1 was more critical!?! I'd never used a chip that tied to the shoe with the shoe laces before, but my method appeared to be solid. Task #3 - find a place to stash my bag. No bag check at this race, so the bag went under a bench near the finish line, also near the registration tent. All was OK.
9:45am - take a gel - today was a vanilla gu with a little caffiene. wash down with some water and head to the streets to keep the blood flowing in the legs and get to the starting line. While waiting I overheard a couple people talking about peanut butter jelly time.

anyway, then I saw Tim Barry, the former Process Engineering Manager at Atmel, so I chatted with him. He works in Longmont now so I don't get to see him much.
10:00am - People are still registering so the start will be delayed. So much for my 15minutes prior to race start gel consumption.
10:11:48 (GPS time) the gun goes off! The fist half mile is downhill - so the race start surge really surges! I checked my Garmin for my pace - a little too fast - my goal was to finish at about an 8:00min/mile pace, so I backed off to about 7:45, knowing after we turned the corner, we'd be going back uphill.
Mile 1: 7:13 (these are guestimate splits from my GPS, which doesn't put time and distance on the same graph!)
Mile 2: 14:50
Finish: 23:54
Overall: 39/777 women
Age Group: 11/149
There are a few turn-arounds between mile 2 and 3 which do slow you down a little.
Ok, so I did start a little fast, but overall the legs felt really good. I think the oxygen uptake issue was what slowed me down, not my legs, though I will admit they were heavy at the end. At one point I did reach an almost "gasping" stage, but backed off a tad and was good. Have felt that in other races- especially at the end of a run in a triathlon.
My goal was to go sub-25 (last year I ran something like 25:07) so I was really excited when I came around the last corner and saw the clock read 23:45....just had to make it to the mats before the 24:00 mark! and I did!

After the race I ran into Tim again and his wife Karen, then one of my TNT members. A couple of them did the race, but I didn't see the other. Hard to find people at times in big crowds like that. As I was about to head back to the car, I ran into Stacey and Shannon. They did a brick workout today (crazy riding at 7:30am in the 20 degree weather!). They were parked back at the same place I was so we walked back together. It's always fun to see them.

Now I'm just hanging out, trying to relax and recover, as tomorrow is a big endurance (not speed!) day. Pushing that hard really does take a bit out of you. I took a nap after I got home and will try to keep my feet up as much as possible for the rest of the day.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I Love Gold Camp Road!

Today's bike ride was with a few good Team in Training buddies who are training for Ironman Louisville. Our needed rides were similar in length so I met them at their place mid-morning, along with another TNT-er and her husband. Though the forecast was about 60 degrees, at 10:45am it was still only 40. Brrrrr. But the sun was sneaking out at times and we headed out. First was a little warm-up up and down 31st St, then over to 26th St. 26th turns into Gold Camp Road, which is a fantastic gradual climb, between 4% and 6% grade. I forgot my GPS so I didn't get any data, but I love that ride! The lower part is kind of steep, then you hit a steady climb up into the mountains over Colorado Springs. We stopped when the road turned to dirt, about 5 miles from where we started. The views of the city are phenomenal from up there. My legs felt great - I wasn't sure how my new position (more forward for the aerobars) would be for climbing, but it seemed to work just fine! Now if I could only get a little more comfortable descending to take advantage of free speed!

The rest of my day was spent cleaning the house and baking a chocolate cake. We're hosting the Porsche Club board meeting on Tuesday so I thought I'd make a really great chocolate cake. It's a 3-layer cake from the Mrs. Fields "I Love Chocolate" cookbook. The frosting is like fudge. Yum. Good think I did that bike ride today since I licked the bowls.

Now for this week's Recipe:

Tacozagna and Banana Cheesecakes
(From the food network and Rachel Ray.)

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 1/2 pounds ground turkey or ground sirloin
1 zucchini
2 carrots, peeled
1 onion, peeled
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons chili powder, 3 palm fulls
2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2/3 palm full
1 tablespoon coriander, a palm full
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup beef stock
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
3 cups shredded Chihuahua cheese or Monterey Jack
4 scallions, chopped
2 hearts romaine lettuce, chopped
3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 cups prepared cheesecake filling (recommended: Philly brand)
2 very ripe bananas with spotty skins
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons honey
6 individual graham cracker crusts
Whipped cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat a large high sided skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add the meat and brown, 5 minutes. While meat browns, grate the zucchini and carrots with a box grater. Add the vegetables to the meat and grate in the onion and garlic. Season the meat with chili, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper and cook 7 to 8 minutes more to soften vegetables. Stir in beef stock. Grease a 8 by 13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil. Layer in 3 overlapping flour tortillas and top with 1/3 meat, 1/3 cheese. Repeat the layers twice and bake 10 to 12 minutes to brown cheese. Top with scallions, lettuce and tomatoes, cut into squares and serve.
While Tacosagna cooks, make dessert. Place cheesecake filling in bowl and mash in 2 really ripe bananas, season with cinnamon and stir in honey. Fill the crust tins and when you are ready to serve top with a swirl of whipped cream.