Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Report 2012

We arrived up in Mont-Tremblant on Thursday and the town was buzzing with triathletes. You could feel the excitement from the whole community about Ironman week.

 I was feeling great about my training and nutrition and was arriving with no regrets or thoughts of " I should have done more/should have done things differently". It was my first year using QT2 Systems for an Ironman training plan and it was just what I needed to take me to the next level.

We spent the next couple of days prepping for the race. The days prior to Ironman are filled with registration, prepping transition bags, checking in our bikes, grocery shopping and most importantly- resting, hydrating and nourishing our bodies.
We brought most of our food from home (yes, it is not a problem bringing perishable food across the border), but from the recommendation of MC who owns Fluide Bar a Jus-  the local Juice Bar in the village, we did find a local farm for local vegetables. A wonderful spot for local organic meat raised right on the farm was Picardier.  27, route 323, Brebeuf, J0T 1B0 819-425-8922 . We didn't make it to Rachelle-Bery, but it is the local health food store and good alternative to the IGA grocery store.

Fluide Bar a Jus is right in the heart of the village and is a great place to stop for green juices or healthy smoothies. And the owner, MC, is so sweet and knowledgeable!

We faced race week with the attitude that "things happen for me, not to me." When things didn't go exactly as planned, instead of getting worked up about it, I viewed it as a blessing in disguise. It was a small shift in thinking, but helped me stay even during the days leading up to the race and during the race itself.

When the alarm went off before dawn on Sunday morning, I was ready to get this party started. We headed to transition and did final prep for the day. I still get intimidated by all of the fast looking bikes, wheels, and triathletes. I still need to reassure myself that I am a strong athlete and I have come a long way from being the girl who couldn't swim 50 yds without stopping, who would fall over in my driveway on my bike with my feet still attached to my pedals (ok sometimes even on my trainer) and who thought running 8 miles was a triumphant feat. 
My dad met us so we could hand off our bike pump before we headed down to the water.

The start is always emotional. The music is blasting, the announcer is psyching up the crowd and 2300 people are anxiously awaiting the start of a long day. The swim was a beach start. I had never done a sand start for Ironman before and I was a bit nervous. But decided I was going to just go and get right in the mix of it and see what would happen. 

Here is a video clip of the swim start:

When you are in the water with 2300 other people, there is chaos. I did get hit a lot, 
kicked in the eyes a couple of times really hard, but I only had an incidence of true panic once while struggling to get a breath when there were so many people (majority of whom were strong men) around me and on top of me. Somehow someone managed to pull my cap off half way off my head. I still don't really understand how that happens, but I fixed it and was on my way. I was able to get some clear water for most of the swim and was latching on to toes and drafting as much as I could without being overly committed to one set of feet. As I swam, I thought of all of those mornings of getting into a cold pool at 6 am Masters. I thought of swim coach Jen and how much she has helped me improve my swim. I thought of my lane mates Pam, Cynde and Linda and how I just had to stay focused since I knew they would all be checking my swim time. My goal for the swim was to come out the water feeling strong, not overly exerted and ready to tackle the bike- and if I could do that in 1:06/1:07- then I would be even more happy. When I saw 1:04 on the clock I was thrilled. I didn't feel like I had just swam a 1:04- but swimming with a wetsuit and with a draft certainly does help mitigate perceived effort. 

The run from the swim exit to transition was somewhat far, however, this was one of the highlights of the day. The red carpet was lined with screaming fans. You just feel like such a rockstar.  I took it all in and before I knew it, I was in the changing tent getting ready to ride. As I ascended on the course, I heard Tim Snow's voice in my head- "have the courage to let people pass you on the first part of the bike. You will see them later". It is no secret that riding is not my strength, but it is still hard to have all these people flying by you. I just kept my focus, stayed in my zone and tried to ignore what the people around me were doing. The first loop of the bike felt good and I was ready for loop number two. All was good until the turnaround on Rt 117. The wind had picked up big time. I kept cranking away. There were a couple gusts that gave me a scare and pushed me across the road. Several packs of people went flying by me. It was frustrating to see such blatant drafting, but I told myself that the day was long and if Karma didn't catch up with them on the ride, it would on the run. Sure enough, 2 minutes as I was telling myself this, I saw the marshall give penalties to a whole pack of riders. I was happy I resisted the urge to hang onto their wheels. 
The rest of the bike was uneventful, though as I approached the end,  I was so happy to be getting off my bike on my two feet. A guy riding next to me looked at me at mile 106 and said " I want to get off my bike, but I don't want to run". Yes, I wanted to get off my bike too. The good news was- unlike that guy- I was looking forward to the run. I started to psych myself up and reassuring myself that "I know how to run, I feel comfortable running- I got this."

As I approached transition, I dismounted, did a quick bike hand off to a volunteer and ran into the transition tent to change into my running shoes and I was off.  I had wanted to do 6 hrs on the bike and my bike split was 6:09. I rode smart and steady and set myself up for a good run. It was still a 30 minute bike PR for me and I knew that if I had pushed it on the bike to hit that desired 6 hr split, it may have cost me a lot more time later in the run, so quite frankly I wasn't too concerned and was content with that 6:09,  It is still such a surreal feeling to be in that tent as you are prepping your body to run and telling your mind that you just have to run a marathon and you are done. Just a marathon?? I don't think I have ever let my mind fully comprehend what I was physically about to do, or I might not ever head out on the course. As simple as it is, I just try to focus on staying in my zone, keeping my pace and getting to the first aid station. Mentally, it was so great to have QT2 teammates and Minuteman Road Club and Nantucket Triathlon Club  teammates out there on the course with me. It was such an energy high every time I saw someone I knew. I was running steady and strong and was just hoping I could hold on. There were plenty of aid stations,  the volunteers were awesome and the course was great. As I ran back into town and ran through the village, the course was filled with spectators. It was such a high to run through there- feeling like a rockstar again. I didn't even care that I had to go out and do the loop again. I saw my parents jumping up and down cheering. It means so much and helps so much mentally to have them there.  I can't imagine spectating an Ironman, it is a very long, draining day for spectators. The pugs wouldn't move by the end of the day. The put out there legs in resistance to boycott any type of movement in fear that they would have to go back out on the course. They were quite the hit though with the fans. Even Iron Fan himself wanted a picture with them:

I saw Paula, Walter and Deb Pickett in the crowd and gave them a high five for a final energy boost as I headed out to the second loop. I was still running even splits and can typically keep an even pace for run races, I was just hoping this would be the case today as well.  There were times when I would look at my Garmin and my heart rate was creeping up higher than I wanted to be, so I would back off a little.  The last thing I wanted was to blow up. My average pace stayed consistent for the full time. It was so encouraging not to see that pace slip. I continued to see teammates on this out and back course. On my way back into town, my smile was getting bigger, I knew I was almost there. I was passing a lot of people at this point and passed several in my age group at mile 25. I ran right through the last aid station, not grabbing anything because I knew at this point it wouldn't do anything- I was going to be done in a matter of minutes. There was a final hill climb back into town. As I started to ascend, I heard "Katie Weiler! Katie Weiler!" being chanted. A guy with a bull horn and Tim Snow were at the crest of the hill cheering like crazy. That gave me all the energy I needed to go up that hill, I felt like I was floating, though I am sure I looked like I was trudging. It was so awesome to have Tim out there on the course throughout the day. His simple, yet powerful advice at the QT2 breakfast on Saturday kept my mental game in check during the whole race. As I descended into the finishing chute, people were screaming. I was loving the down hill finish and was giving it all I had. I saw my parents jumping up and down and cheering, which brought a bigger smile to my face. I couldn't wait to cross that line and give them a huge hug. I crossed the line, I vaguely remember Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman saying my name. I couldn't believe I had just run a 3:51. That was what I had wanted to run, but breaking 4 hours in an Ironman marathon just seemed like a stretch. 11:13 (1:04 swim, 6:09 bike, 3:51 run + transitions)- a 59 minute PR and a 2 hour 25 minute improvement since my first one. Going into this season, I wanted to do an 11:30. Going into race week, 11:15 was my goal. Ideally. if stars were aligned, I would have liked to go closer to 11:00. Being closer to 11:00 just wasn't in the cards on Sunday. I nailed my nutrition, I paced a really smart race, but I left everything I had out on the course and that gave me a 11:13. I was 12th in my AG, 48th woman overall and 480th out of 2542 including the Pros. I had hoped to have placed higher up in my age group, but all I had control over was my own race execution, which I couldn't be happier with. But boy- those Canadians can race!
The next couple of hours were filled with a trip to medical (don't worry I am fine), an extensive search for my parents and by extensive I mean staring out the window of the conference center sitting on a set of stairs wrapped in a mylar blanket and hoping I would see them walk by. The skies had opened up with torrential rain and I knew I would be much better staying inside. I finally reconnected with my dad and we went out in time to watch Joe run down the finishing chute. I was filled with joy when I saw the bright green shirt come flying around the corner. People laugh when I tell them that 3 years ago he couldn't run a mile. But I am not kidding and I am not being hyperbolic- I am serious- he couldn't run a mile. And not only could he not run a mile, he couldn't swim 25 yards or bike more than 5 miles. So to come across that line in 13:08 was even more incredible. To say I am proud is an understatement. And the best part- he loved every step.

Overall, this is a must-do Ironman. The picturesque scenery, the gorgeous lake swim, the beautiful bike course and run combined with the excitement and passion from community made this one special Ironman. The athletes felt so welcomed and the whole village was focused on making the event special.
There are way too many people to thank for helping along the Ironman Mont Tremblant journey that officially started back in January. Getting to the start line of an Ironman ready to race is not easy and takes a whole slew of people to support you. A special shout out to QT2 Systems and Pat Wheeler whose coaching and training plan have taken my racing to a new level. Running 12 minute miles back in January took a lot of trust and discipline, but let me tell you- it worked. Thank you to Michael Oxman, Susan Feist, Ride Studio Cafe and the lululemon crew. To coach Jen Dutton who has taken my swim to a new level and to Pam, Cynde and Linda for making this triathlete feel welcomed and make swimming fun. I love the pool now and don't dread it. To all of my QT2 Teammates, MRC teammates, Nantucket Tri Club peeps, and the HTH Southboro crew it was such a a fun journey training with you. From 6 am cold winter morning basement spins at Ted and Pattie's house and Ian's house to the long hot summer workouts out of Concord Center, I look back at this Ironman knowing that the training, the training partners and the relationships formed along the journey are unlike anything else. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
And most of all, thank you to my family- Mom, Dad, Michael and Meghan- thank you for your unconditional love and support. To my parents who still show up to these things with bells on and stand on the side of a road for hours anxiously waiting to see me fly by for a total of 10 seconds, then do it all over again on repeat for 11 hours. I can't even begin to describe how much helps to have you on the side of the road and to have you there to greet me and hug me at the finish. To Joe- words can't express how grateful I am that we were able to share this journey together. You are my rock and keep my balanced every step of the way.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant Training Weekend Part 2- Run Course

We got a taste of the Ironman Mont Tremblant run course on day 2 of our training weekend. Overall it is a great course that is going to be a lot of fun to run.

There are some hills, but nothing too major. The run starts out of the transition area in the pedestrian village and you run on sidewalks and bike paths to the old village of Mont Tremblant. The section out to the old village is 3 miles and has some hills. Some people might be really feeling these hills on the second loop.
Like on the bike course, there are signs along the run course with arrows, so it is fairly easy to follow them if you go up early to train on the course.
Once you get to the Old Village, you run on a packed sand path. It is a 6 mile out and back (3 miles each way) in one direction and 1 mile out and back (1/2 mile each way) in another direction. This part of the course was along a stream and was very flat. I really liked the packed sand- it was soft on the legs, but not too soft like loose sand. Everyone I was training with really liked it, but I chatted with some other people training for the Ironman in my hotel lobby later that day. They said that they didn't like the packed sand and thought it was hard to transition from pavement to the sand then back to the pavement. I didn't feel like this was the case at all.

The run course is somewhat shaded, which will be nice for those who will be running during the day. 
The run is a two loop course, so it will be nice to run through the crowds and spectators of the pedestrian village and transition area. I can only imagine that the out and back on the run path is going to be rather quiet with very few spectators. 

After Sunday's training session, Joe and I blended up some recovery smoothies. Yes, I did travel with my Vitamix.

Makes 1 Cherry Cacao Recovery Smoothie:
Measurements are approximate and can be changed based on taste. I never measure- I just throw everything in.
- 1 banana
-2 tablespoons hemp protein powder
- 1 tsp maca
-1/2 cup frozen cherries
-1/4 cup raw cacao powder
-1/4 cup black cherry juice
-1/2 cup ice
-1/4 cup water or non-dairy milk (adjust depending on desired thickness)
-dash of sea salt
-dash of tumeric (this is optional-for anti-inflammatory properties)

Blend and Enjoy!

If you have anymore questions regarding the run course, please post below!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Ironman Mont Tremblant Training Weekend Part 1- Bike Course

Joe and I headed up to Mont Tremblant for a training weekend on Friday afternoon. The car ride took just about 6.5 hours. It only took about 5 minutes to get through Customs. There was a line of only 2 cars ahead of us. I saw different reports on what food we could bring across the border especially regarding fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, but all food is allowed (with limits far greater than I could ever exceed). We packed a cooler filled with our food for the weekend.
Waiting in line at Customs
Eating food I had packed
Saturday morning we met Ted, Pattie, Della, Mark, Lynn, Jen, Jimmy, Jimmy's wife Lisa, to ride the bike course.

I was excited to see what this course was like, how it compared to the Ironman Lake Placid course. People have been posting reports on slowtwitch and various forums and a lot of people were reporting a HILLY course. I had read a couple of reports, but I really haven't been paying too much attention to what people have been saying. In a nut shell,  let me say that I really love this course. It is not as bad as I was expecting at all. The hills are extremely manageable. I was in aero position for most of the course- and that is very atypical for me. It is not technical at all with very few turns. There are small signs with the M-Dot icon along the course with arrows as to which way to go, but not enough to solely follow these signs. It was good that Ted had printed out cue sheets for the few turns we did need to make.  Very little bike handling skills are needed, which is good for us triathletes- well at least me! The consensus among the group was that this course is easier than the Lake Placid bike course.
Bike Course Map
There course is essentially broken up into two out and backs. You start off going north on Route 117. This is a two lane highway with a shoulder large enough to ride 2 abreast. 

Parts of the road were just freshly paved, and they are actively working on finishing the rest. I would imagine they are aiming to have this all done by the 70.3 at the end of June. The road will be closed during the race. 

Route 117 has some gradual rolling hills. There is nothing very steep and you can really get into a rhythm. I felt very comfortable riding this road. The speed limit is 90km (about 57 mph), so the cars flying by were a bit nerve racking at certain sections. By race day, when all the paving is done, this part of the course is going to be great.
You go back past the transition area (which is currently a dirt/gravel parking lot). They are working on this right now as well. This aspect will make it very spectator friendly since friends and family will be able to see riders 4 times on the bike course.
The second out and back is completely different. It is on just a regular road. It is very nicely paved and smooth. The climbs are steeper, but they are shorter, and there is nothing too hard.  I was up out of my saddle more on this out and back than I was on 117. There road has some more twists and turns than 117, but nothing crazy.

My Garmin reported 5148 ft of climbing. All in all it is a great course.

We are staying at the Marriott Residences Inn, which is right in the middle of the action. It is right near the finish line and transition area. Race week, we have a condo, but this hotel was a perfect choice for the weekend. We have a full kitchen and a sitting area with a lot of space. When we checked in the receptionist told us that bikes weren't allowed in the room, but when she realized we were training for the Ironman she said "Oh they must be expensive. For Ironman athletes, you are allowed to bring in the bikes." She gave us old sheets for us to keep our bikes on in the room. We had a dinner inspired from Allen Lim and Chef Biju's book "The Feed Zone". It was quick, easy and great for after a long training day. I didn't have the energy to even look at the recipe and measure anything, so I created the meal based on the crispy chicken dish I had made before. Here is a quick recap:
Ingredients (approx measurements):
Coconut oil for cooking
1/2 cup Millet
2 Organic Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup raisins
1 jalapeno or other hot pepper
1 onion
 4 cloves garlic
3 stalks Kale (any kind is fine, though I used red)
1/2- 1 cup Cilantro
Sea Salt to taste
Cumin to taste

Dinner sides:
1 sweet potato
Dressing (Olive oil, Sea salt, Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon)

I brought my rice cooker and made millet:
I roasted 2 chicken breasts for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. I also put in a sweet potato in the oven as well. While everything was in the oven, I chopped 4 cloves of garlic, one onion, 1 hot (ish) pepper (Joe was supposed to get a jalapeno, but supposedly Whole Foods was out of them. I can't even tell you what kind of pepper he got- but it worked!!). I cooked in pan for about 5 minutes. I then added about 1/2 cup of raisins (two handfuls) and added some red kale because I like to add kale to everything! I added 3 stalks of kale, shredded and ripped off the stems. I stirred in some salt, pepper and about 2 tsp of cumin. Season based on your taste.

Once the chicken was done, I shredded the chicken and added it to the pan with the kale, onions, garlic, peppers and raisins.
I cooked for about 5 minutes, then stirred in some cilantro (about a 1/2 cup- one large handful).
I placed the cooked millet on a plate and topped it with the chicken mixture.
To complete the dinner, we split the sweet potato and salad. I made a simple arugula salad and topped it with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt.
It was a delicious post training day dinner. Now we are ready for another training day. I'm excited to get a better look at the run course. I will post a run course report after today!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Team NRG Bar: Reach the Beach MA Recap

Wait, so you are going to run a 200 mile relay race, sleep in a van, eat in a van, change your clothes in a van, run through the night and not shower? And this is what you call Fun?!
To runners in New England, it doesn't seem too odd since the Reach the Beach relay has been around for years. However, to many others, it seems a bit ludicrous. Ok, I exaggerated a bit- I didn't sleep in the van, I slept on a tennis court, oh and I slept on wet grass... and we all took baby wipe showers- that counts as a shower, doesn't it?
I was excited to be running with Team NRG Bar again- a great group of fast runners and fun people! 

A few of us started our Reach the Beach journey by riding from our houses out to the start at Wachusett Mountain. 

After a great ride with some great climbing to the summit, I recharged with a recovery drink and we loaded the bikes on the NRG Bar Land Rover. We were ready to spend the next 26 hours relay running 200 miles from Wachusett Mountain to Horseneck Beach.

The teams all had staggered starts. We were in the 12:30 pm wave. I was in Van 2 and runner #12, meaning I would run the last leg of each section. We all ran 3 legs of the race, but our total mileage was all slightly different. My three legs totaled just under 17 miles. Which doesn't seem too bad, but when you are running race pace, it fatigues the legs more than you would think.  I started my first leg just after 8 pm. The section was 6.1 miles. I was antsy to run after sitting around all afternoon and was pleased with how strong and good I felt. When I finished, it was Van 1's turn to take over the running. We went to the Van Transition area where we were going to meet them to take over. Some of us stayed in and slept in the van and some of us pulled out the sleeping bags and slept for about an hour and a half on wet grass. At 12:30 am, it was our time to run again. It is a bit surreal to be running in the wee hours of the morning, however it is not as difficult as I initially expected. It is rather serene and spiritual to be running in solitude in the dark, nothing quite like it.  I had my second leg at about 4 am. I did need a little caffeine kick, so I sipped on some green iced tea that I had packed. 

In addition to the green tea, I had packed some other goodies to keep me fueled and strong while on the quest of reaching the beach. Some of my snacks included apple sauce. I mixed in some chia seeds for some an extra nutritional punch: 
Banana chips I had dehydrated in my dehydrator:
                            Roasted purple potatoes with salt, pepper and herbs de provence:

 Roasted sweet potatoes, celery sticks and sunflower seed butter, and homemade "trail mix" of cacao nibs, dried cherries and goji berries were among the other things in my cooler. 

We had a bit of a transition SNAFU before I started my second leg. After Ian had worked so hard and ran his butt off to have a fast leg, I wasn't there when he arrived to hand off the baton. I was walking down and heard volunteers calling my name. I dropped my sweatshirt and started sprinting. We had had a bit of a time calculation miss.  I grabbed the baton from him and took off. And I took off the wrong way. Ooops. I realized the dirt path I was running down, wasn't the proper trail. In my haste to make up for lost time, I missed the sign with the arrow. I quickly turned around, found the trail and proceeded to run my little tail off to make up for lost time. It was a nice trail in a state park (it is all a blur, I couldn't even tell you what town I was in), but the trail was packed dirt rather than jagged roots and so it was easy to run through the night with a headlamp as my guiding light. I arrived at the next transition area realizing the same thing that had just happened was repeating itself... Charlene wasn't there. It was only about a minute later when I saw her fast little legs sprinting to take the baton, and she was gone in a flash.

 We went to the next transition area where we were meeting Van 1 for our final leg in about 3 hours. It was 5 am and the sun was coming up, but a couple of us spread out our sleeping bags on a tennis court and I got a couple of hours of surprisingly great sleep. At around 9:45 am, our van took over to run our last legs. Everyone was running strong. The temperature was rising and the sun was beating down on us and our fatigued bodies, but our paces slowed down very minimally. I wasn't feeling great going into my last leg and knew I needed to dig deep to finish strong. The second part of my run was a gorgeous run along the water. As I got closer to the beach, there were trailers lining the road where I was running. My mind envisioned that I was running the Ironman Mont Tremblant course and the trailers were really flags and banners along the finishing chute... haha my imagination was definitely going wild as I was digging deep to keep the pace up and to keep on picking off teams. There was one guy pretty far ahead that I was slowing reeling in. About a mile out from the finish, people were cheering me on to pass him and shouting things like "Road kill ahead! Go catch him!".I wasn't going to let him get away, so I picked up the pace. The whole team was waiting at the finish and we were able to pass him and run across the finish line together. 

Team NRG Bar ended up winning our division and getting 14th/175 teams. 

A huge thanks to Dan O'Rourke and NRG Bar for sponsoring such a great team. Thank you to Charlene Nassa, our fearless captain. It takes a lot of work to organize all of this and even more work to keep all of us in line!  And thank you to Jo, Tracey, Chad, Mark, Gregg, Kyle, Ardria, Jen and Ian for the fun, hard work, laughter and good times. To Jo and Jen for letting us trash your Mini Vans and to Timmy Glickman for taking great care of our bikes!

Don't forget to stock up on some healthy, delicious "Naturally Really Good" NRG Bars. They are great to fuel your workout or as a snack. Check out where you can find them at a store near you using the store locator. Follow NRG Bar on Facebook and on Twitter @NRGbar 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Before you pour the coffee, pour some water and squeeze a lemon!

With the change of seasons and transition into spring, I have been waking up feeling my body's need for cleanse and transition. Every yoga class I have done in the past week or so, I have set the intention of moving stuck energy through my body as we transition to spring. Some of it seems to be from all the training, but some of it is from winter stiffness that has accumulated. Each morning I have been craving drinking water with lemon in it. I have known the benefits of drinking lemon water for quite some time now, but I have rarely practiced it. Until now. I have been waking up every morning and squeezing 1/2 lemon into a room temperature glass of water. It has been an easy and great way to start the morning feeling cleansed and energized.

Benefits of lemon water:

-stimulate the liver, loosen toxins in the body and cleanse the body of impurities
-helps dissolve uric acid which can be cause of pain and inflammation in joints
-assists in digestion and elimination by stimulating the GI tract
-balances the body's pH- it is an alkalizing food that balances out an acidic environment creating a  strong, healthy body more resistant to disease, flu, sickness, viruses and bacteria
-antibacterial properties which control unhealthy bacteria

For a quick, easy way to improve your health and energy, start your day by drinking a fresh squeezed glass of lemon water. Then reach for the cup of coffee... if you must :). 

Monday, April 2, 2012

French Lentils with Beets and Beet Greens

I Instagram-ed a picture of my french lentils with beets and beet greens last week, so I thought I would post the easy recipe! It is a great way to use the whole beet to get the full powerful nutrient content of the vegetable. It is also an easy way to incorporate a different leafy green into your diet, that you might not typically eat. Don't throw out those beet greens and all their wonderful nutrients- eat them!

French Lentils with Beets and Beet Greens

1 cup French Lentils
3 large beets or 4 small-medium beets (I used golden beets, but red beets would be great too!)
3 cloves garlic
1 yellow onion
1/2 lemon 
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea Salt to taste

1. Soak the lentils in water for 8 hours. If you don't have the time to soak for that long, soak for as long as possible since you will greatly increase the nutrient benefits. Soaking lentils increases the digestibility and increases the absorption of the vitamins and minerals. The soaking deactivates the enzyme inhibitors and the phytic acid found in the lentils. 

2. Cut off the beet greens and add the beets to a large pot. Fill the pot with enough water to cover the beets. Add some lemon juice to the water to prevent the beets from bleeding. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 40- 45 minutes.

3. Fill another saucepan with 2 cups of water and 1 cup of the drained and rinsed lentils. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer until tender, but not too soft. This is about 20 minutes.
4. In a skillet, add a tbsp of olive oil and sautee the chopped onion and garlic on medium heat until soft- bout 3 minutes. 
5. Chop the beet greens and add to the skillet with the onion and garlic. Cook for a about 2 minutes. 
6. Drain the lentils and add to the skillet with the onion, garlic and beet greens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on a low heat stirring occasionally. 

7. Drain beets and rinse with cold water. Use your hands to peel the skin off. It should come off pretty easily.
8. Chop beets and serve on top of lentil mixture. Stir in the other tbsp of olive oil and taste to see if more salt or pepper is needed.

If using golden beets, they will absorb the brown color of the french lentils if they sit too long, so serve immediately.
However, if you use red beets or don't mind the color change- this dish was fabulous left overs. I put some in my salad for lunch the next day.

Nutritional Benefits of Beets and Beet Greens:

I'm a full believer that foods work synergistically and the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. So together the beets and the beet greens are a powerhouse that fully nourishes your body. 

-The beet root is rich in Betalains that have shown to have very powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and  detoxification properties. Betalains trigger activity of the enzymes that hook toxins up with the compound that neutralizes them and excretes them from the body, thus aiding in the body's detox process. 
-High in Vitamin A and C: Both these vitamins are important for a healthy immune system. This is especially important to bolster up that immune system as your training volume and intensity increases this spring.
-Rich in: 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Disney Marathon Race Recap

I'm I flew down to Florida on Thursday night. I spent a couple of days resting and relaxing with the feet up as the family played golf and enjoyed the Florida sun.

I went for a 2 mile tune-up run on Friday, which felt like 10 miles. My mind wouldn't stop- Can I really do this? What was I thinking? Was my training enough? If 2 miles feels long how am I ever going to run 26.2 in a couple of days? I reassured myself that I felt this way on my last run before Boston last year and I PR-ed there. As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I decided to run Disney, I only had enough time for an 8 week training plan. Doable, but I would have felt more confident with a typical 16 week plan. I was lucky enough to have running partners who were running Mississippi Blues Marathon on the same day, so I had company on all of those long runs through the holiday season. I had always envisioned that I would run Disney when I was older with kids. It wasn't one of the top races on my bucket list, but due to timing, location and the flat course, I embarked on the Wonderful World of Disney sooner than anticipated. 

As my brother Michael, sister Meghan and her boyfriend Ian tackled the parks,  I headed to the expo with my parents and Joe to pick up my race packet and number. 


We had an early dinner at Shula's Steakhouse located at the hotel. There weren't too many marathoners there- I assumed most were at the Italian restaurant carb-ing up on pasta. A bit weird to be eating at a steakhouse, but since I don't eat gluten, this seemed to be the best option for everyone.  The family was happy since they were able to eat a nice hearty meal with steak and chocolate lava cakes and souffles and I was able to have a simple dinner of a baked potato sprinkled with some salt. I topped it off with some hemp seeds that smuggled into the restaurant in my bag. 

Sunday morning came early- the alarm went off at 3 am. Joe was wonderful enough to take the shuttle at 3:30 am with me. My parents were able to"sleep in" and took the 4:30 shuttle. So early! Seriously, spectating is tiring. Spectators had to leave that early if they wanted to watch anywhere but the finish if their marathon ran under a 4 hour marathon.
 I was so happy I had packed sufficient "throw away clothes" and a trash bag to wear over my clothes since it was a chilly morning.
Staying warm and getting amped to run- sipping on some Mate tea pre race.

 I couldn't believe some of the people were in shorts and a tank top. After I checked my bag, gave my goodbye hugs and kisses,  the walk to the start line was about 15-20 minutes and only participants were allowed beyond that point. I was rushing to get to my corral and realized that I had completely missed the last set of port-a-potties. I spotted a good stretch of woods where many other people were peeing, so I quickly jumped out of my corral and went in the woods. Mickey, Donald Duck and Goofy all came to say hello and the announcer babbled on. I don't remember too much from that point on. I stripped my clothes with about 4 minutes before the start. I had to go again. shoot. ok well at least it is dark, but I was wishing I was standing in the water for the start of a triathlon rather than just standing on land in wet shorts. Oh well, I was on a mission. I had to run a PR to qualify for Boston 2013 since qualification times decreased by 5 minutes (note for non runners- that is a lot!!).  Fireworks went off from the start line and we were off. I was able to run right from the start, the crowds were fine, but maybe that is because I was near the front of the corral. It was pitch black, so looking at my pace on the garmin was not too easy. I wanted to run 8:20s at the beginning. I know that I blow up if I go too fast. The problem was that 8:20s felt fast- how was I ever going to hold an 8:08 pace later on in the race? The first two miles went by slowly. I was having trouble settling into a steady pace. We ran through a toll booth, which was weird. I saw my family at what I think was mile 2.5. The course wasn't too spectator friendly, there were only certain spots where spectators could watch.   The next couple of miles were all a blur. We ran through some parks, it was still dark out. Runners stopped to take pictures with Disney characters on the side of the course. I couldn't even tell you which characters I saw- I didn't see many though I know they were located throughout the whole course. I saw a 3:35 pace group ahead. The website only listed a 3:30 and 3:40 pace groups. I had no idea I could have started myself with the 3:35 group. Oh well, it was probably for the best, so that I would go out slowly and run my own race. Ok I will run with them for a while, I thought to myself. I saw my family at Magic Kingdom round mile 10- I was so impressed they spotted me twice now before I spotted them.  Usually it is the other way around. 
Depicts the race for me- most of it was a blur. 

I knew I wasn't going to see them again to the finish. Whenever I see them I instantly get a rush of adrenaline, renewed energy to keep me going strong. I was hoping that surge of energy could last me to the end. I had settled into my pace running about 50 yards back from the 3:35 pace leaders. Running with the group definitely helped, and kept me on pace. I didn't feel so alone and the miles started to fly by. Those pace leaders were my carrot. 
1 8:16
2 8:21
3 8:16
4 8:22
5 8:29
6 8:09
7 7:55
8 8:01
9 7:51
10 8:04
11 8:02
12 8:00
13 8:01
14 7:52
15 7:53
16 7:55

Then around miles 16/17 I felt like I was pushing too hard. My heart rate was creeping up and knew that if it got any higher, I would be flirting with a blow up. It is about balancing on that fine line of pushing hard, but not pushing beyond your limits. Those 4 seconds gained per mile now could turn into 13 minute miles later on in the race. And yes, that has happened to me before. not fun. not pretty. I decided to pull back and let the pace group go ahead. I was able to stay calm and do my thing since the last couple of miles I ran with them were sub 8:00- too fast, I just needed to run my own race. I backed off. Around mile 21 I realized I needed to step it up just a little bit. 5 miles left of pain. "Sweet Caroline" was playing on repeat as I passed the 21 mile mark. Was that intentional? I don't know, but I took it as a sign to pick it up because nothing was going to stop me from getting to Boston. The pace group was completely out of sight.  I started to pick up the pace and reel in the 3:35 group that had severely dwindled to about 4 runners. I caught up to them and passed them. My legs hurt. My body hurt. I was nervous about cramping. I tried not to let my mind wander about the effects of drinking the on course Powerade with limited sodium and artificial sweeteners. I just took some more of my electrolytes and kept going. I knew if I kept this pace I was golden. Just hold on body, hold on. I had run behind a guy wearing a shirt  that said "You vs. You" for pretty much the whole race. It was all up to me. It didn't matter who else was on the course, I didn't have to beat anyone else, all I had to do was keep my legs moving and shut down any negative thoughts that my mind conjured up about slowing down. Keep my mind going and body going that is it. You vs. You.  I passed mile 26 and rounded the corner and saw my family in the crowd. They started cheering "PUSH IT KATE PUSH IT- GOOO!!" - the anxiety in their voices made me nervous that I wasn't going to make it. It wasn't a normal cheer, it was a very anxious cheer. I looked at the finish line clock and realized I had 30 seconds to make it. I ran as fast as I possibly could. 
17 8:00
18 8:05
19 8:03
20 8:14
21 8:19
22 8:08
23 8:00
24 7:49
25 8:16
26 8:06
27 7:26
3:34:42. I made it. Mission Accomplished. Qualified for Boston again and ran a Personal Best. One hour and 2 minutes faster than my first marathon 6 years ago. Thank you Disney.

Chip Time3:34:42
Overall Place674 / 13478
Gender Place113 / 6315
Division Place23 / 1114

You can watch the video of me finishing here. I am in the green tank top and finish right near the end of the video clip under the clock on the left. 

To top it all off, nothing was better than to cross the line and see my beautiful family. Nothing is better than to be surrounded by the people that you love most in this world. 
Post race (and post comfy t-shirt change) with my parents. 
The whole support crew sleeping post race. Spectating is hard work!
I've been enjoying some recovery time, sleeping a lot and resting. I've done some swimming and some yoga, but I have been respecting the recovery and don't intend on running for another week.
Onwards and upwards- I'm so excited for Ironman Mont Tremblant training to start in a little over a week!