Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Timberman 70.3 Race Report

4:30 am came quickly. We wanted to get to transition early, so that we could park right at Ellacoya state park rather than parking at Gunstock or remote lots and shuttling to the start. We did get there early and I ate breakfast and sipped on my yerba mate tea in the car before the sun came up. 

After prepping my transition spot, I had quite a bit of time since the pros went off at 7am and my wave went off at 8am. It was a cold morning and I was happy I had my sweats. I actually wore my hoodie and flip flops until the last moment so I wouldn’t be cold. I was lucky enough to have Joe on the beach with me, so I could hand off my clothes to him.

No matter how many times I have done a half ironman, I still get that feeling when reality sets in of what I am about to embark on. It is 10xs worse for ironman, but I still get it to some degree for a half.

I felt great on the swim, but I was a couple minutes slow based on my goal. I swam it in 34:50. I have been working a lot on my swim and have gotten so much faster, but clearly something went awry. I guess the bigger issue is I can’t figure out what since I felt good and felt like I swam a straight course. I have a long time in the pool ahead of me with Coach Jen to figure it out before Ironman Mont Tremblant. 

The bike has always been my weakest discipline. I have been working a lot on my bike this year. The road conditions weren’t great- lots of potholes and rough areas, but it could have been worse. Since the roads weren’t closed I did find myself in a sketchy situation flying down hill and a car passed me and had to stop due to riders. There wasn’t a shoulder on the road and I had to slam on my brakes- I think my heart rate was the highest of the day at that point as it shot up in fear that I was going to slam in the back of  the car. Other than that, the bike was pretty smooth.
 My goal was to break 3:00 hours on the bike and ended up with a 2:50- I am thrilled about that. All my hard work has paid off and I am hoping this is a good sign that my riding will just continue to get stronger.  
The run was tough- even though I am smiling in almost every picture from the run. It tends to relax my body when I smile. I try to fake myself that I am not feeling uncomfortable.

 I am always happy when I get on my two feet, but I didn’t feel as great as I would have liked. It ended up being quite a hot run and I am always thankful that at IM races they have the cold sponges and towels at the aid stations. They help so much to help cool the body down. And this is coming from someone who loves the heat and can handle heat much better than cold.  I ended up with a 1:51 half marathon- about 5 minutes slower than I would have liked, but hey, I will take it.

Crossing the finish line was especially special since 3x Ironman World Champion Chrissie Wellington gave me my finishers medal. Not only is she an amazing athlete who keeps breaking her own world records, but she is truly a genuine person. She took the time to congratulate everyone has they came across. It was the highlight of my day.

Overall, I am extremely thrilled with my race. I broke my personal record for my Half Ironman distance with my 5:20:19 finishing time. I placed 9th in my AG and 336th overall out of the out of 1600-something men and women, which I am extremely happy about. I had an amazing cheer crew and can’t thank Joe (@flinnj3- for doing an amazing job giving race updates via twitter even though he had never tweeted before), Andrea, Katy and Ray (follow ray! @brownie1818) enough for all their support. No one else had a better cheer squad out there.

Thunderstorms rolled in and they closed the course early pulling runners off the roads before they finished.  We got on the road before the thunderstorms hit and I sipped on my chocolate hemp milk mixed with hemp protein on the way home to start the recovery process.

Timberman wrapped up my triathlon racing of the season. I have a LOT of work to do before Ironman Mont Tremblant next year to be able to accomplish what I want to do, but I am excited for the challenge. I have a fun fall ahead of me before the IMMT journey begins...
Now onto ‘cross….

Monday, August 29, 2011

Timberman 70.3 Pre-Race Report/Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

      My last triathlon of the season was this past Sunday- Timberman 70.3 (a 1.2mi swim, 56 mi bike and 13.1 mi run).

No matter how many times I have done a half ironman, I always forget how much it hurts. For some reason I always tend to down play the severity of what I am about to embark on. Although I do take my eating seriously :). I started off Saturday with some pancakes that I made from scratch. I like to eat a fairly big carb loaded, easily digestible breakfast and lunch the day before the race eating most of my calories for breakfast and lunch. I cut down on heavy fiber foods or anything that could possibly cause any GI distress. I made the pancakes by throwing in some ingredients, so I don't have a proper recipe to post.  I was running late on time, so I didn't take the time to write anything down.  I will recreate and post the recipe soon. They were gluten free and vegan and it was a combination of millet flour, sorghum flour, hemp protein powder, baking powder, maple syrup, coconut oil and applesauce. We topped with maple syrup and blueberries- delicious!

Lunch was composed of more easily digested carbs and some fat. I made cilantro lime brown rice, roasted sweet potatoes and avocados. The lovely Sarah Cincotta (@scincotta if you want to follow her!) mentioned that she made cilantro brown rice and inspired me to make my own. I was short on time and I didn't have time to soak my rice. I recently discovered truRoots germinated brown rice. It is already soaked and sprouted, so you don't have to do it to gain all the benefits. This process helps you digest the rice more easily, removes the phytic acid in the rice that blocks the absorption of vitamins and minerals. It also increases the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) a neurotransmitter studies have shown to regulate anxiety, sleep, the immune system, and fat metabolism.

Cilantro Brown Rice:
1 Cup Cooked Brown Rice
1 Lime
1 Cup Fresh Cilantro
Sea salt

Cook the brown rice.
Squeeze fresh lime juice (if you really like lime you can do 2 limes).
Stir in fresh cilantro and sea salt.

Cut sweet potato into chunks and place on cookie sheet. Drizzle small amount of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast on 400 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Cut 1/2 avocado into chunks. I didn't still all together but just lined up the rice, avocado and sweet potato next to each other. You could also add some black beans to this, but I didn't want all that fiber the day before a race.

Cilantro- a powerful herb
-loaded with phytonutrients
-aids in digestion, prevents intestinal gas and prevents nausea
-Detox- removes heavy metals such as mercury, aluminum and lead from the body
-antioxidant properties
-anti-fungal and anti-septic properties
-immune boosting properties

Sweet Potatoes-
-Rich in beta carotene/vitamin A
-Rich in Vitamin C
-high in potassium

To fully absorb the beta carotene, it is important to eat with some fat. The olive oil and avocados not only taste good, but add function to help with absorption. I talked about the nutrition benefits of avocados in my Cherry Chocolate Pudding Post here.

We headed up to Gilford that afternoon and picked up my number at Gunstock. It was like a ghost town, I guess most people picked up their numbers earlier. It was weird since I am used to athlete village being buzzing.  We racked my bike and headed to where we were staying. I am incredibly grateful to my friend Ray (@brownie1818 on twitter if you want to follow too!) who let us stay at his house. I packed a small bag of ingredients to make a simple dinner at his house (and try not to impose!)- brown rice pasta, olive oil, oregano, fresh basil, red pepper flakes, salt and hemp seeds (very similar- minus the kale to this post). It was extremely easy to make outside my kitchen. We were very lucky to stay so close to the start especially with the 4:30 am wake up call awaiting us.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Purple Cauliflower? Grilled Peach Arugula Salad/ Nantucket Triathlon Recap

Sorry for the late post.. didn't have the pictures and this post just wouldn't be complete with out the image of Michael's speedo!

I kicked off my week on Nantucket with the Nantucket Sprint Triathlon. We got in late off the ferry. My mom had a great dinner waiting for us. She made Pizza with fresh vegetables that she roasted (eggplant, peppers, zucchini), a pizza sauce, no cheese on Namaste Foods Gluten Free Pizza Crust (you can find it at Whole Foods). Now I think a lot of gluten free products are junk. Many are filled with corn syrup and lots of additives and chemicals that just aren't healthy. I certainly don't think gluten free equals healthy, especially when it comes to packaged products. However, there are some good ones out there and I think Namaste makes some of the better ones. The crust is very easy to make, just add oil and water. It is made of brown rice and is free of dairy, soy, yeast, gluten and nuts. It is easily digested and a great quick and easy meal. I don't have a picture of the final product since I was ravenous when we got to the house and forgot to take one, but next time we make it, I will post a picture.

The race started at 12:30 due to logistics with road closures.

It was weird being able to sleep in on race morning instead of the usual 4:30 am wake up. I raced with both my brother and sister and my parents came to watch us. The course was fast except for the slow swim. It was low tide at the start which was at Jetties Beach. We had to run in the water/dolphin dive/whatever you thought would get you to shore fastest in the last part of the swim. The bike course went out to Madaket and back and was very fast. The run was out to Steps beach and back. I had about 1/2 mile left to run and all of a sudden the skies opened and torrential downpours started. (think Ironman Lake Placid 2008 kind of rain, but with more thunder and lightning). It was crazy. The roads started to flood, people ran for shelter, some people that were on their bikes pulled over and waited for the rain to stop. As I approached the finish line the timing clock blew over and the actual finish line that was on wheels took off and almost took out several unaware spectators. The storm passed over quickly and only lasted about 20 minutes, but it sure left a big impact and added excitement to the race.
I was very thankful that the roads were closed for the safety of all the athletes.I know there was controversy and some very unhappy people on the island for the road closures, but it truly did make a difference for this awesome event. I whole heartedly thank the residents and police officers for supporting such a great event.
I was Very happy with my race and ended up 1st in my age group (excited to see Robyn Varney on the podium with me!) and 3rd Overall Woman (on race day I was 4th, but a couple days later the results were made official and the top woman did not really win and was 1st by error).

However, the real excitement of the day was 1st when they announced the 20-24 female winners. We are waiting around for my award and we hear "1st place 20-24 Meghan Weiler". My whole family was in shock, we were so excited- jumping up and down and cheering (probably a bit obnoxious too). Meghan hardly trained for the race and just killed it out there. I am trying to convince her to do an Ironman with me, but not having too much luck so far.

Then they were ready to announce the free pair of round trip Jet Blue tickets. Michael was gunning for these tickets and even wore his "I must be butter... because I am on a roll" Splish speedo for the whole race.

Yes, a bit ridiculous, but everyone knew who I was talking about when I was trying to track him down post race. I love the splish bathing suits.. they make getting into the cold water at 6 am workouts a little less painful by adding some fun into it. (www.splish.com) Bill Burnett the race director looked at the results and said "well this is shocking.. wow.. I dont' know if this has happened before- the winner of the Jet Blue tickets did not go to the winner of the race- I hope Michael Weiler is here". Again, the Weiler cheering and jumping and hooting and hollering resumed. As Michael said afterwards- he was more excited than any Elite or Pros would be (yes he beat out the Pros!).

All in all it was a great day and I am grateful that I was able to share it with my whole family.
The rest of my week on Nantucket was full of training and eating some great dinners. One highlight was the local purple cauliflower that I found at Bartlett Farm.

I preheated the oven for 400 degrees. Broke the cauliflower into pieces (here I used the purple and an orange cauliflower), lightly drizzled olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper. I roasted it for about 35-40 minutes. Delicious.

I have been loving peaches this summer. The picture above also has my peach salad.
Arugula or Baby Spinach
3 peaches
1/4 cup Raw Pepitas
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons raw honey
1/2 fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt

Cut the peaches into halves and remove pit. Grill peaches face down for about 6 minutes.
To make the dressing, combine the raw honey, olive oil, lemon juice and dash of salt.
Once peaches are done, I like to cut into slices. Combine arugula or baby spinach, pepitas, peaches and toss with the dressing.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Brown Rice Pasta with Kale, Shallots and Hemp Seeds

I raced the Mass State Triathlon a couple weeks ago. I was out and about on Saturday and needed something nutritious and quick and easy for dinner. I am peaking for Timberman 70.3 (a half ironman in August) and had a decent day of training on Saturday since I was not tapering for Mass State. I just was making dinner for just myself, so I made a quick pasta dish. I made the dish from everything that I had in the house already. The basil in our garden smelled so good, so I decided to throw some of that in as well. I had heard that a lot of brown rice pasta is mushy and falls apart, so I had stayed away from it in the past. However, I made this meal with Jovial Brown Rice pasta and LOVED it! I cooked it for a couple minutes less than it called for and the consistency was great and it tasted delicious.

Brown Rice Pasta with Kale and Shallots

1 Package of Brown Rice Pasta
1 head of Kale (stripped and torn off of stems)- I used green curly, but any kind will work (Lacinato, green curly or red kale will all work)
2 Shallots (chopped)- you could substitute with onions if you wish
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
1/4 cup fresh basil (chopped)
3 tablespoons Red pepper flakes (add more if you like it spicy)
Salt and pepper to taste

Start boiling water and follow instructions on box on how to cook pasta.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet
Cook chopped Shallots in skillet for about 2 minutes
Strip and rip the kale into pieces and put in skillet cooking for another 3 or so minutes stirring occasionally.
Once pasta is done and drained, combine kale, shallots, hemp seeds, fresh basil, red pepper flakes, remaining olive oil and salt and pepper.

When creating this dish, I didn't want to go out shopping for ingredients since it was getting late and I need to pack, so I created it from everything in my house and garden. I wanted something easily digestible and I wanted to add a "nutrition punch" to it. Kale and hemp are my two of my favorite powerhouse foods. I add kale and hemp to my smoothies and I sometimes sprinkle hemp seeds on my salads too.

Why Kale?
I could write forever about kale, but I will stick to the highlights. Kale is quite possibly one of the most nutritious foods around. You are certainly getting the most bang for your buck when eating kale- providing an extraordinary about of nutrients per calorie. A dark leafy cruciferous vegetable, it is high in a plethora of vitamins and minerals and has seriously significant anti-cancerous properties. Many studies have shown anti-cancerous effects. It is anti-inflammatory- the combination of the omega 3s in kale and the very high vitamin K content (which helps regulate our body's inflammation process) helps to fight chronic inflammation as well as oxidative stress. Kale also helps to lower cholesterol.

Why Hemp? Hemp is one of my favorite foods. I like to sprinkle the hemp seeds on salads, add hemp to smoothies and I love using hemp milk. It is another one of my power foods (and no it does not contain THC and not just for hippies!) It is a great source of protein and is loaded with essential fatty acids (EFAs) and omega 3s. Because of its globular protein content, it is much more easily digested than soy and whey and a great replacement for soy and whey in a recovery smoothie. It gives any meal a nutritional punch to nourish your cells, blood, tissues, mitochondria and boosts your immune system and cardiovascular health. It is also a very sustainable plant and naturally needs very few pesticides and no herbicides to flourish. I use the Nutiva brand of hemp seeds.

The next day I had a great race. I figured out that this was my first Olympic distance since 2007! All the long course racing squeezed out any time for Olympic distances. The course was not as flat as I thought. The air temp was in the 90s and the water was warm, but wetsuits were allowed since it was less than 76 degrees. The bike course had 2 good climbs. There was some rough road on a long downhill (last year this is where my dad lost all of his electrolytes and fuel when it bounced out of his bento box), so you do have to be careful. The run was fairly flat with some small rollers. I felt great on the run, running the 10k in 45 minutes. I am a big fan of Honey Stinger Organic Chews. My body digests them well and I run well on them. I was really excited when the announced the new flavors of Lime-ade and Pink Lemonade. I finally picked up some at Marathon Sports in Wellesley before the race. They only had the Lime-ade, so I have yet to try the Pink Lemonade. However, the Lime-ade was great and loved that they added their first naturally caffeinated version to their variety of flavors.I will definitely be picking up some more of these to train and race with.

All in all it was well run I had a Personal Record for that distance with a 2:29 and placed 2nd in my age group. It was announced 3rd at the awards ceremony, but the results were messed up, so my dad called and told me I had moved to second as he was checking out the results the next day.

Next post will be a recap of Nantucket Triathlon- we had a great time and some fun stories.