Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 in Review

Before I can look ahead to 2012, I have to take a moment and review what happened in 2011.  It really was a great year for distance PRs, "new" races, and getting two steps closer to the 2012 Ironman goal.  But I can also learn a lot on how to better next season.  Let's jump right in.

What did I do this year?!

1.  New Job!

After my exit from the Ph.D. program last December, I finally picked up my first fitness job in May.  I spend every day talking with people about fitness, workouts, weight loss, athletic goals, and all of my crazy races.  It makes my day when people come up to me at work and say "Hey, I heard about this crazy race.  You should try it."  Or when they ask me to help them design their own workouts.  I have a long way to go, but this has been a hugely successful first step!

2.  New England Relay


Let's kick off the season by packing into a van and running all over New England!  Sounds great, right?  The New England Relay - or NER as it came to be called - sure had a few downfalls, but this was probably the most fun I've had at an event so far.  I could not have asked for a better team and experience.  Reports start HERE

Twelve of us, most of us complete strangers to the majority of the group, signed up to run 220 miles through all 6 New England states.  We met up the night before, packed a van and SUV, got minimal sleep, drove to Rhode Island early and then spent the next 1.5 days running.  Talk about sleep deprivation, smelly shoes/clothes, friendly trash talking, uber-cramping, bloody nipples, and God knows what else!

I would run another relay in a heartbeat!  Though I may not do one this coming season, I'd like to make it a staple event every 1 or 2 years. 


3.  Ironman 70.3 Providence


My very first 70.3!  I certainly learned a few big lessons.  I had a BLAST while racing both given the fact that I was actually doing it and also because I felt connected to my fellow racers; I'd encourage them, they'd encourage me, and we all helped each other.  This race also let me seize an enormous opportunity to jump head first into water well over my head.  But don't worry, I'm a swimmer by trade, so I'm used to being "in over my head."  Overall, as my first 70.3, I was quite happy with myself.  And not to mention, my friends and family came out to root me on!

Then out of complete irony and chance, I got the chance to pay even more money!  haha  I got a roll down for the World Championships!  Not only that - I would be able to race the brand new course in Vegas.  Who can ever feel that I didn't make out like a bandit that day?!


4.  MS Bike Tour de Kurt

As you might remember, I was supposed to do the Cardio Express MS Bike Tour, but thanks to Hurricane Irene, the was pushed back to the same day as the Ironman 70.3 WC in Vegas.  I still went out and ran a good 6 miles in the hurricane - right down the middle of the road too!  But I had to do something to help out and participate.  So that was when the MS Bike Tour de Kurt was born, report HERE

On my day off, I rode to every Cardio Express location covering 112 miles.  I swear it was pre-planned to be 105 miles - fate and irony simply had me get lost to add an extra seven miles.  I was so glad I did it.  I not only got to see all the locations, but I got to meet a number of employees, I got the experience of 112 miles of riding, I helped raise money for an amazing cause, and I did my part!

And get this.  They are shooting for 4 new clubs in 2012!  They really are upping the ante for next year!  haha

5.  Ironman 70.3 WC Vegas


Let's talk about "in over my head."  haha  As I racked my bike, the bike reps commented "Oh-yeah!  Old school."  Certifiably the oldest (and cheapest) bike there!  But you know what?, I still made it to the finish line and I wasn't last.  The trip was amazing and I met a lot of really awesome people.  Ironman itself sure knows how to cater a pre-race dinner too.  I wasn't able to hit up the post-race dinner, but I'm sure it was even better since it was supposed to be out by the pool.

On race day, I may have gotten a flat tire, been nearly last to T2, blew up early on in the run, and a number of other things, but at the end of the day I raced with some of the best pros in the world!  Heck, I raced with Craig Alexander on his way to a double World Championship victory in 2011.  Plus I had my very first racecation!

I'd like to go back to Vegas, but as an official qualifier next time around.


6.  Coaching

I had the incredible opportunity to coach a 5k group via the Hartford Marathon Foundation.  We had 15 women who joined us for Saturday morning runs and they were absolutely incredible.  Some had run 5ks before and simply wanted to better their time.  Others had never run before and were complete newbies.  I'm attempting to adjust my schedule early in 2012 to allow myself to coach again, but either way I will definitely be doing it again soon.

7.  Hartford Marathon


Around mile 23, a friend of mine told me "The marathon is a completely different beast."  That about sums up Hartford.  As my first marathon ever, I went into this race well under prepared.  I had prepped for 70.3s this year.  My longest two runs were 13 and 20 miles and below that, maybe a few 8-10 milers.  So the logical thing would be to slow down and just chug along for the ride.  Once I passed the start line, that went out the window!  I ran 13.1 miles way too fast, battled GI issues most of the race, and blew up around mile 21.  Haha!  

I learned my lesson!  Train for the distance or slow the F down!  But that knocked off one more thing on the "to do" list before the full ironman.


8.  30-day Paleo Experiment


After many thoughts of attempting various diets in order to boost my energy and switch to a more efficient fat burning metabolism, I landed on Paleo.  Thirty days of eating nothing a caveman didn't have access to.  No processed foods, no dairy, no oils, no seasonings, no desserts...  We're talking strict!  And I did do a more strict version than is the popular "Paleo" diet. 

The first two weeks were tough!!  I had so many cravings you would have thought I was pregnant.  In week #3 though, my tastebuds changed, I got real creative, and Paleo became really easy.  It wasn't until I went back to "normal" food that I realized how much better I feel on Paleo.  No heavy food sitting around in my stomach, no desire to nap after a meal, constant energy, no peaks and troughs in the day...

I will certainly revisit the Paleo diet in 2012!



Here are the goals that I posted for 2011

2011 Goals
  1. Compete in at least one race every month
    • Didn't quite make that one.  With a decent length winter season, this one is tough to accomplish.
  2. Run a total of 2011 training miles (That's roughly 170 miles/month)
    • That was a little overly ambitious!
  3. Run my 2nd Half Marathon
    • Does the half in a 70.3 count?
  4. Run my 1st Marathon
    • DONE!  The ING Hartford Marathon
  5. Compete in two Ironman 70.3 races
    • DONE!  Providence & Vegas
  6. Break my 5k PR (19:30)
    • I didn't race ANY 5ks this year.
  7. Break my Marlborough Sprint Triathon PR (1:12:00)
    • My schedule didn't allow for any Sprints this year.
  8. Break my Oly Tri PR (2:40:51)
    • I wasn't able to fit in any Oly's this year
  9. Become a personal trainer
    • Still working on that.
  10. Attempt switching to a more efficient fat burning metabolism
    • DONE!  Paleo!!
 Three out of Ten ain't bad. 
...right?

I've certainly reigned in the idea that you can't charge right out of the gate.  At least not until you've trained for it.  So I'll take this past year into consideration for 2012's hopes, dreams, and goals (to be posted tomorrow!).

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Questions
1.  What did you accomplish this year?  Did you check off all of your goals?
I got three of ten.  I've always felt that if you achieve all your goals, you didn't set them enough or high enough.  When you stop reaching for more, you stop being the best you can be. 

2.  What did you learn from your 2011 goals and accomplishments?
I learned that you can't simply will something into happening.  While will power is a strong force and certainly helpful, you've got to sit down and plan out a strategy; especially when it comes to endurance racing.  

3.  Do you have goals for 2012 ready for posting?!
Mine are in the works!


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Help Me Name My Team!

HELP!! 

Fire!!  Fire!!  (I've always heard you should yell "fire" when in trouble.  I guess people tend to come rushing to help more often if they think it's a fire.  Weird)

I need a kick ass team name! (and kick ass teammates!)

Cardio Express is hosting Jim Calhoun's (that's right, THE Jim Calhoun!  UConn, woop, woop!) first annual CARDIORAISER, a fundraiser to raise money for Autism, on February 26, 2012. Six hours of cardio (join in for as long or little as you'd like), fully catered by Panera Bread, all to benefit those affected by Autism.  All donations go to Autism Speaks

As a bit of a cardio NUT (that shouldn't come as a surprise) I am psyched beyond belief. But I need help! Before I can initiate a team (and I'd love to be the first registered team), I need a team name! I'm enlisting you all to help come up with name suggestions. Be as creative, unique, and "out there" as you'd like.  I want something catchy!

Leave any suggestions as comments or email them to "becominganironman@hotmail.com" (click the green envelope over to the left)

Thank you!!



Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Final TTT of 2011

Let' see...  What shall we chat about (read: I ramble about while you skim) on this final Thursday of the year.  I comment enough about work to friends, so I'll leave that for another day.  We've got New Year's coming up, but I want to leave that for a separate post.  Hmmm...  Ok, how about this!

2011 Ironman World Championship
For those of you who weren't glued to your computer or tv for 9+ hours on a Saturday back in October watching the live coverage of the race in Kona, it is finally available on Ironman's official youtube account.  Watch the video HERE.  Those of you who DID catch the live coverage I know are obsessed enough to want to watch it again, and again, and again!  It went online on Xmas Eve, but I'm sure plenty of us have been crazy busy since then, so feel free to watch at your own leisure.  Or make up an excuse and skip work to watch it from the comfort of your own trainer on repeat; whatever floats your boat. 

And to answer your question Coy, no I haven't watched it yet, but
I'm planning on queuing it up as soon as I'm done writing this entry!  I still get chills just thinking that I've raced with a number of these triathlete household name pros.  Crazy!!



Blender Smoothies
One of the many great Xmas presents I got this year was a blender.  I got the My Blend blender by Oster

I just used it for the first time this morning and while it sure doesn't make a large quantity, it's compact, powerful, incredibly easy to use, and great for 'On the Go.'  Just fill the BPA free sport bottle with your choice of ingredients, screw on the bladed cap, flip it upside down, press into the base, and blend.  Then lift up, replace the bladed cap with the drink cap and off you go!

Ever since the Paleo experiment, I've been turned away from typical morning foods and meals.  I literally eat more fish and vegetables in the morning that I do cereal, oatmeal, eggs, or anything else.  My plan with the blender is to make smoothies a staple to my AM meals or a great 'On the Go' additive. 




My Ideal Christmas Gift
I posted a question back before Xmas asking "In a perfect world, what would be the ideal gift to find under the tree this year?"  Well, Jess @ Run With Jess was the only one to respond and she had already received her ideal gift, so I honestly have no idea what you guys wanted for Xmas.  So I had no idea what to send you guys!  And maybe that's a good thing.  There's no way I'd be able to send you a treadmill Jess.  I love ya', but that's a bit out of my league.  haha  Hope you're enjoying it!!

Anyways, I said my ideal gift was to have my race fees paid for.  Thanks to my incredibly loving family, as of this week I will be registered for the Beach to Battleship Ironman distance triathlon in October 2012.  I still have to pitch in some myself and I have plenty of other races to officially register for down the road, it sure feels nice not to have to put my entire paycheck towards the registration!  Next up is registering for Rev3 Quassy.  I'm hoping I can put that off 'till I get some birthday presents.  hehe. 

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Questions
1.  How was your Christmas?
Did you get to see relatives from far away?  Did you have a huge family gathering or a small low key holiday?  Did anyone get a killer present?  Anyone make someone else's year with the present you got them?

2.  No lying!  How many of you went WAY outside of your normal diet?
I know I did!  Bring on the pumpkin pie, egg nog, cookies, chocolates....  

3.  Who has a resolution for 2012?
My resolution(s) is (are) in the works.  Trust me, I'm getting detailed this year with my planning!!  I'll reveal them next week.


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!


May your lives feel full, 

Your hearts joyous,

Your future bright with happiness,

And your family and friends close at hand.

Merry Christmas 
(Merry Happy Chrismahanukwanzakuh!!)




Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Killer Workout!!

Ok, I don't even have enough energy to think of a clever intro or go through explaining how this all came to be, so here it is.  Quick and dirty.

Yesterday, a friend and I decided to do this crazy workout.  Low and behold, it turns out it's a bad idea to do a crazy workout right before work without having done a workout at all in the last month.  Who knew?!

Here's the workout...  It was all done as fast as you could for time.


100 Plank Ups (alternating)
90 Punches
80 Mountain Climbers
70 Russian Twists (10 lb)
60 Push ups
50 Goblet Squats
40 Lunges
30 Supermans
20 Up-Downs
10 Crucibles

TIME = 19:06

...and then we hit up spinning class!

I hurt.


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Winter Solstice!!

You have come and gone as you do every year. 

Can anyone say excited?!


I always used to be more of a fan of watching you come than go, but I must admit that I have since changed my preference; your back side is much more enjoyable now.  But if you don't mind, get on the speed work! 

I can't wait for 5PM not to feel like 10PM!

I admit that I always was a winter child.  I loved the snow, winter time, and all it involved.  I hated the heat of the summer, not having friends to hang out with, and attempting to spend all day inside next to the A/C unit.  As much as I still don't enjoy the heat as most people do, have the sun gone by 4 or 5pm is not cool! 

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Questions
1.  Which season is your favorite?  Has your preference ever changed (and why)?
I used to prefer winter, but I now prefer summer because of my training.

2. Does anyone enjoy training at night / in the dark?
Running at night for the New England Relay was a lot of fun!  My sleep schedule just doesn't allow for it. 


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Only Four Shopping Days Left

I'll be the first to admit that despite my best efforts, 90% of the time I fall into the stereotypical male role this time of year.  I try and I try and I try to worm my way out of it, but I still end up finding myself searching for that last minute Christmas gift.


I got up early today to try finishing this year's shopping, but I only found one thing.  Tomorrow I have a workout planned with a coworker, so I'll have to push my last minute shopping to Friday.  "Way to go yet again Kurt!"  But no worries.  At least I know what I'm looking for; just gotta' find it.

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Questions
1.  How many of you are done with shopping?
Want to do mine for me?

2.  Are you a last minute shopper or have you been done since Thanksgiving?
I do my best to plan ahead, but it always gets pushed back.

3.  Are you the tough one in the family to buy for or are you the easy one?
Since I've become a triathlete I've become harder to buy for.  Most of my Xmas list comes from specialty stores. 

4.  What's your take on giftcards/money?  'Best gift ever' or 'simple escape gift'?
I understand the benefit and ease, but I've never liked giving giftcards.  They seem impersonal to me.

5.  In a perfect world, what would be the ideal gift to find under the tree this year?!
Race entry fees paid for the year (or just my IM).


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Paleo Weight Loss

I had a question on my last post that I wanted to address.  The question comes from Jill over at Run With Jill who's current blog picture reminds me of the streets of Denver and makes me want to run at night.  Then I checked out her profile and what do you know?!, she's from Denver!  Anyways...

Did you lose any weight or body fat on the [Paleo] diet?


I'll start by saying that I kept track of my weight throughout the experiment.  Body fat, however, I did not keep detailed track of. 

When I started the Paleo diet (Day #1), I weighed in at 170.5.  I normally hover around 175 in the off season and given that the entire week prior to Paleo was a slow transition of getting rid of the last gallon of milk, some cheese, and whatever else might go bad in the coming 30 days, I don't doubt that I was around 175 then.  But either way, I weighed myself on the same scale at 1PM when I got to work in order to keep track of any weight loss.

In the first week of Paleo, I went from 170.5 to 164.  I was averaging 1 lb lost a day and that scared me.  I honestly considered bailing on the experiment out of health concerns.  But in the end, I had no ill side effects and I felt fine.  Plus, when I was a swimmer in high school, my body weight would drop 20 lbs in two weeks, so I was used to seeing my weight change rapidly. 

In week two, while watching my weight closely I found that I had thankfully not continued the pattern.  I stuck right around 163.  If I weighed myself earlier in the day after a workout, I'd see something like 161, or if I weighed myself after eating, it'd be up towards 165, but it never went out of a normal range. 

Overall, I lost an approximate 7-8 pounds in one week of Paleo.  Then as of yesterday morning I weighed myself again and I am at 172. 

As far as body fat, I never kept an accurate measurement, nor did I track it.  However, I did notice that I was losing body fat on my stomach over the 30 days because it got easier and easier to see my abs.  As of today, I'm right back to where I was before the experiment.

WARNINGS
I am not in any way certified to prescribe nutritional advice.  With that said, I do admit that I am quite intrigued by the changes that I noticed on the Paleo diet.  I think the diet has a lot of benefits including weight management.  I did not workout until into week #2, so the bulk of the changes I saw in weight and body fat were strictly based upon my diet.  I also never intended this experiment to help me lose weight.  As I stated above, I almost quit because of the rapid weight loss and I don't mind at all that I have gained the weight back.  However, I will most likely repeat the diet once my training is back in full swing to test the effects it has on my workouts.  I may also foresee me keeping to a close-to-Paleo diet during the season in order to maintain a better energy use system and race weight.  Outside of that, however, I will be eating plenty of holiday cookies, pies, and desserts in the next week and I'm looking forward to it!

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Questions
1.  What are your plans for the holidays?
I'll be at my Mother's this year for Xmas.  I only get Xmas eve and Xmas off though, so it will be a quick holiday this year.

2.  Have you ever done a diet for weight loss purposes?  If so, which have you used?
I have a family member who has attempted so many different diets!  Every one does calorie counts, points, or some sort of portion control system.  I personally don't like the idea behind commercial diets.  Plus, they're all businesses - they want to make money!  I think Paleo and similar "going back to the old way of eating" type diets are where the most benefits are going to be found.

3.  Have you gotten all your holiday shopping finished?
I've got one present done, one en route, and the rest are still out there.  It's going to be a busy week!


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Post-Paleo Update

I am amidst multiple baking sessions, apartment decorating, and party planning sessions for the upcoming holidays.  However, I wanted to pop in and give you guys an update as to how things have been going post-Paleo.  I'll start with my expectations.

As you know, week #1 and 2 were difficult to stomach (pun fully intended).  i missed food that had actual flavor.  I craved greasy, sugary, calorie dense food like I was going through Chinese torture.  Looking forward, I expected the remaining weeks to be pure torture and Day #31 to be pure heavenly bliss.  Then in week #3 I started to notice a change.  My taste buds picked out more subtle hints.  I began losing my cravings for non-paleo food.  I certainly had a lot of help from friends with the creative necessity to make it through.  I began wondering what Day #31 was going to be like.  Will I still like non-Paleo food as much I used to?  Doubt crept into my mind, but it only held a small portion of my attention.   Week #4 was much like 3, but the anticipation of being able to eat pizza, milk, cheese, cookies, and anything else I wanted allowed me to hang onto the lingering cravings that were borne more of my desire to gain back time spent prepping Paleo food than an actual physical craving.  By Day #29 and 30, I was ready.  I was devoid of physical cravings, but mentally chomping at the bit to get back to "normal."

Day #31 came.

You know that saying "You never know what you had until you've lost it"?  It doesn't fit this situation at ALL!!

Early on in the Paleo experiment, I noted that I was never full, no matter how much I ate.  I got full at lunch on Wednesday eating Lobster Bisque and grilled cheese.  You'd think I'd be satisfied to have that comforting feeling back, right?  WrongMy body took a nose dive in energy, my stomach felt bloated, and I had an after taste that hung around well past it's welcome.  Sure, it tasted good, but I jumped up and down until my body had enough and threw up.  

Is this what processed food does to your body?

Today I experimented with a couple cookie recipes (simple chocolate chip and peanut butter) in preparation for a party tomorrow.  Four cookies in, I regretted designating myself as the taste tester.  Sugar really is addicting!  All day I've been craving another cookie, but every time I eat one I feel worse.

While I admit that I was never fully physically and mentally satisfied with the Paleo experiment - meals were never as full of flavor as I remember non-Paleo meals being prior to the experiment - I now realize that the experiment itself cleansed both my body and palate.  Without going through another 2+ week adjustment back to non-Paleo food which I can't in good health conscience do, I foresee a much more Paleo style diet in my future.

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Questions
1.  Have you ever had a diet / experiment that you finished and then immediately went back on?
I may not go back to my strict version of Paleo, but I certainly cannot do processed foods other than in small rations.

2.  Is there any single food item that you feel you could never lose the taste for?
Fruit.  Strawberries, kiwi, pomegranate, clementines, grapes...


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Last (Paleo) Supper


As a friend commented to me, "All you need now are twelve other people to sit around the table with you" to which I replied "Eh, I only really brought enough food for one."  One thing I sure realized during this experiment (many more to come in my final recap) is that I eat a lot of volume on this diet!


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Last Day!!

...of Paleo!


I am just itching to eat some fried pb&j, lobster bisque, and drink a whole gallon of milk.  

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Paleo Week #4 Recap

30 Day Paleo Experiment Update
28 Days completed
TWO DAYS remain!

To sum this week up quickly, this week has been a back-and-forth.  After week #3, I went into the last seven days thinking I had it made.  I had lost my cravings, gotten used to the flavors of Paleo cooking, and had enough creativity (and great friends) to keep me from going crazy.  But there were a few times where the idea of a quick non-Paleo snack sounded OH SO GOOD!

There is light at the end of the tunnel!!

The dawn approaches!!

But what will I do with the return of dietary freedom?  With 28 days of Paleo under my belt, I'm beginning to feel like the first few days back on "normal" food (granted I haven't decided what I'm going to allow myself to eat yet) is going to be yet another experiment.  As my roommate likes to poke fun at - will I have become lactose intolerant to some degree?  Will I even like more than a bite of any greasy, sugary, or processed foods?  Will I have a week of my tastebuds adjusting as I did when I went Paleo?  Hopefully I'll find out later this week.  But either way, I already have started coming up with my Wednesday menu!  haha

This past week, however, I discovered a few new things...

Blackberries are delicious!  I was at Whole Foods buying my weekly stock of nuts when I saw that they were on sale.  "Why not?"  Turns out they are a great little flavor addition to munching on my mixed nuts.  Up until now I've only really had strawberries and the occasional raspberry.

I went without eggs from Day #21 through #26 and found that eating a normal lunch/dinner meal didn't bother me at all.  Finally on Day #27, because of a rather empty kitchen and to save myself some time, I had eggs and wouldn't you know - they didn't go over so well.  I've found I prefer having a piece of fish and veggies over eggs.  I wonder what I'll think of cereal and milk.

Lastly, I surprised even myself last night when I made  Paleo attempt at sandwiches.  I baked red pepper, portabello mushroooms, zucchini, and eggplant.  Then I sliced up a tomato and used the baked eggplant in place of bread.  It was delicious!

Aside from those small revelations, Monday through Saturday I worked.  This caused for very little variation in what I ate.  I went for the 'stand by' in order to make the most of my time.  And when I finally had a full day to myself, what did I do?  I spun!  ...for two hours!


My local bike shop has a bunch of crazy triathletes and cyclists who together created the Sunday Three Hour Spin.  As the kick off Sunday, it got started a bit late.  The shop had twelve CycleOps trainers set up with blocks and mats all pointed towards a projector screen.  One reason we got started late was the debate over what movie to watch; a move that can make or break the entire day!  Finally, The A Team came on, we hopped on our bikes, and we were off.  Some of the group lasted a full 2.5 hours.  I only managed two.  I love my baby, but it's going to take some getting used to the new seat! 

Oh, I almost forgot the torture!  They had homemade chocolate chip cookies for us at spinning.  Man was that hard to turn down.  I kept chanting "Three more days.  Three more days."

Here's a look at the menu for Paleo Week #3...


Monday


Breakfast Gemini mushrooms


eggplant


green squash


red onion


yellow pepper


peanuts




Lunch blackberries


peanuts




Dinner Spinach salad


yellow pepper


guacamole


chicken


peanuts


clementine


Banana




Snack


Banana



Tuesday


Breakfast Peanuts

  Clementine


Banana


Clementine




Lunch Swai


Green squash


blackberries


banana




Dinner Steak


Spinach / spring mix salad


portabello


blackberries


guacamole




Snack blackberries


banana




Snack peanuts


banana



Wednesday


Breakfast peanuts


banana


swai


cremini mushrooms (3)




Lunch 2 portabello


yellow pepper


chicken


spring mix and spinach salad


guacamole




Snack mixed nuts (peanuts, pecans, almonds)


2 clementines


blackberries




Snack banana


clementine


peanuts



Thursday


Breakfast Banana


mushrooms


eggplant


yellow squash


red pepper




Lunch clementine


peanuts




Dinner spring mix & spinach salad


spaghetti squash


mushroom tomato sauce


guacamole


orange pepper


3 clementines




Snack banana


peanuts


blackberries



Friday


Breakfast peanuts


banana


clementine




Lunch granny smith apple




Dinner orange pepper


spring mix & spinach salad


spaghetti squash


clementine


mixed nuts




Snack Banana



Saturday


Breakfast 5 eggs


blackberries




Lunch 2 portabello mushrooms


red pepper


spaghetti squash


tomato sauce


spring mix / spinach salad


blackberries




Snack peanuts, pecans


2 clementines




Snack banana




Dinner Chicken


orange pepper


guacamole


2 clementines



Sunday


Breakfast Swai


yellow squash




Snack (spin) blackberries


clementine




Lunch mixed nuts


blackberries


guacamole


red pepper




Dinner eggplant


portabello


red pepper


zucchini


tomato


banana


clementine

Two Days Left!!

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

It's FRIDAY!!

TGIF!!!
(Thank God It's Friday)

Why?  I don't know.  I still have to work tomorrow. 

While I was cooking this morning, I watched a documentary...


Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead.  I had heard about this documentary awhile back and it's been on my "to watch" list for quite some time.  After hearing another recommendation for it, I finally queued it up (as I prepped lunch for today).

The whole thing is about the idea of Juicing.  No, not steroids.  This Australian guy goes on a diet where the only thing he can eat is fruits and vegetables that have been put through a juicer.  Now, I considered my Paleo experiment a step apart from extreme for myself.  Juicing would be one step beyond.  But given that the film has gotten high reviews, it speaks for itself.  The best story within the documentary is from a trucker that is convinced to try the diet.  I won't spoil the story, but if you're health conscious, love documentaries, or just like experimentation, then definitely give Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead a try!




Another reason to be happy today is that the date for the Beach 2 Battleship triathlon, the full distance tri down in NC I'm considering for next year, has been pushed UP to October 20th!!  YAY!  It was originally set for November and I had had my reservations about racing that late in the year.  October seems much more doable though.  The final decision has not been made yet, but I'm strongly considering that race.

30 Day Paleo Diet Update
Today is Day #26
4 Days Left

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Questions
1.  Any suggestions for good food or health oriented documentaries?
My recommendations are a) Fat Head, b) Food Inc., c) Forks over Knives, d) Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

2.  How many of you have scheduled or have your eye on specific races for next year?  How far in advance have you signed up for a specific race?
With long distance triathlons, I keep signing up earlier and earlier.  B2B and Rev3 Quassy may be my Xmas & Bday present to myself.


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

TTT - Three Times Fast

Since jumping on the Paleo bandwagon, I've pretty much fallen off the blogging circuit.  Instead of spending my mornings before work writing blogs and fitting in my training runs/bikes/swims, I'm prepping and cooking breakfast, eating breakfast, prepping and cooking lunch, and packing for work.  Even now I have a spaghetti squash in the oven.  What will I make with it?  I have no idea.  I forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer last night, so unless I want to thaw it out in water, I might just have to go veggie for lunch/dinner.  Anyways...  here goes an attempt at TTT.


1.  Rock Band


My roommate got the Rock Band game... a year ago?  Two?  Oh, I don't know.  It was awhile ago and we used to play it all the time.  We got to the point where we wouldn't play any song unless we did so on Expert.  But it dropped off after a time, we stopped playing, and it got put away.  Then last night, I came home from work and found him playing Rock Band with a friend.  It had been so long since I played that I ignored the desire to get right to bed and stayed up to play with them.  The first thing I learned was that the Metal pack for Rock Band is I-N-S-A-N-E!  We even had to knock the difficulty down to Medium.  MEDIUM!!  That's unheard of.  All I can say is that there might be some solo Rock Band sessions in our near future in order to hone our skills back up to par.

2.  "There's no such thing as a 'good workout.'"
A couple days ago, I got into a conversation with a member at the gym.  It all started when we asked him "did you have a good workout?" to which he replied "There is no such thing."  He was the kind of guy who will do 150 pushups, but only if a personal trainer tells him to.  He wouldn't even step into a gym unless it was part of a routine that a trainer had set up for him.  He explained that he believed no one comes to a gym or works out at all for any reason other than to obtain the results.  "If you could get the same results from sitting at home and eating cheeseburgers and pizza as you do by being at the gym, no one would ever work out."  At that moment, my boss turns around and looks at me - "I think we have one exception."  So I got to talking with this guy.  I told him about how I honestly like the feeling of working out.  I enjoy the endorphin boost, the feeling of being "alive," and how natural things like running feel, but he wouldn't budge.  "Ignoring science, if you could get all of those same feelings from a pizza, what reason would you have for working out?"  Ok, I might give him that, albeit we're ignoring basic biology. 

Then as he was turning to leave he steps back and says "You should be a personal trainer.  I'm not joking.  You'd be perfect."  And coming from a guy who has paid a small inheritance for personal training every year, I took that as a big compliment.

3.  Spinning!


Speaking of workouts!  My LBS has a few spin classes they host every week through the winter months.  I was bummed to find out that I wouldn't be able to make any of their week day classes since they're in the evenings.  However, when I was in the shop last they let me in on a little secret...  There is a group of crazy triathletes that want to do Sunday morning spin.  "Hey, I can make that!"  However, the part that makes them "crazy" is not the desire to spin on a Sunday morning, it's the desire to spin for THREE HOURS on a Sunday morning.  haha  So after working Monday through Saturday this week, I am going to wake up early on Sunday and spin for three hours!  ...then attempt to do some Xmas shopping.

Wish me luck!

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Questions
1.  Any Rock Band "Expert" players out there?  How about just fans of the game?
Rock Band has been the focus of so many parties at our apartment that I couldn't even begin to count them all.

2.  "There is no such thing as a 'good workout.'"  What are your thoughts?
Is every workout a means to an end?

3.  Has anyone ever taken a spin class that lasted more than one hour?


P.S.  The spaghetti squash turned out well.  
Now it's off to frying up bell peppers and onion to go with it for lunch.

Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Paleo Week #3 Recap

Three full weeks of Paleo!!

I can't believe twenty one days has gone by.  This week has really been a blur.  Everything seems to be coming so much more naturally, that I forget the day-to-day troubles. 

I tried a few new things this week...

For the first two weeks, I had eggs for every breakfast.  At first, it was perfectly fine, but I worried about getting bored of 3-4 dozen eggs a week.  I had them scrambled, over-easy, hard-boiled...  Then after making the Paleo Apple Pie last week, I used the chopped apple and a mashed banana to fry an egg.  It was a great change, but oddly didn't taste much like egg.  Then later in the week I made a casserole.  I threw together some mushrooms, eggs, parsley, and scallions and baked it.  I thought it would turn out as a great alternative.  I was wrong.  As it turns out, I did indeed get sick of eggs.  I've since made fish/veggies and mushrooms/veggies for breakfast.

Another revelation I've had this week was Mushrooms!  I've had them before as you know, but this time I bought some Portabello mushrooms.  It turns out frying them in a pan was not the way to make mushrooms.  I bake them at 400 for 20 minutes and they turn out amazing!  I made some lettuce wrap sandwiches that turned out to be a complete mess!  So then I've started using it as a quick bite.  Even yesterday, I made portabello mushrooms, guacamole, peanuts, and blackberries.  That was delicious!!

Then my friends pulled through with yet another amazing caveman-friendly meal; Paleo Taco Lettuce Wraps.  They grilled chicken and steak seasoned with fresh herbs and chopped jalapeno pepper.  We used lettuce to wrap the meat with fresh guacamole and bell peppers.  And it turns out that bell peppers are a great alternative to tortilla chips; they taste great dipped in guacamole. 

And lastly, I had my work holiday party last night.  "Cheat Night!"  That's what everyone was telling me and what I had in mind as one of my two original cheat days in the whole 30 Day Paleo Diet.  But as you recall, I made it through Thanksgiving without cheating and I'm only 9 days from finishing without a blemish.  So while they rented out a high end, downtown restaurant, had an open bar, and a full buffet, I stuck to Paleo!  The only "cheat" was that the shrimp did have butter on it and the salad had oil in it. 

So here's a look at Week #3...

Monday
Breakfast
Banana
4 eggs
homemade tomato/mushroom sauce
Snack
mixed nuts
Lunch
spaghetti squash
baked eggplant with almond crust
chicken & almond meatballs with garlic & rosemary
mixed tomatoes and squash with oregano & thyme
caveman apple pie
orange bell pepper
Snack
banana
peanuts
Dinner
none (breakfast was late)

TUESDAY
Breakfast
5 eggs
clementine
banana
cantaloupe
mixed nuts
Lunchspring mix salad
mixed nuts
clementine
cantaloupe
Snack
Mixed nuts
Dinner
spring mix salad
yellow bell pepper
pumpkin pie
apple pie
mixed nuts
Snack
Mixed nuts
Banana

WEDNESDAY
Breakfast
5 eggs
banana
clementine
Lunch
Steak marinated in homemade mushroom tomato sauce
fried banana
mixed nuts
Dinner
spring mix salad
orange pepper
mixed nuts
cantaloupe
Snack
banana

THURSDAY
Breakfast
Mushroom egg casserole (6 eggs, pack of mushrooms, parsley, scallions)
banana
clementine
Lunch
Portabello lettuce wrape with yellow bell pepper and tomato
Dinner
Portabello mushrooms with yellow bell pepper and tomato
spring mix & spinach
mixed nuts (lots)
cantaloupe

FRIDAY
Breakfast
4 eggs
mixed nuts
banana
clementine
Snack
Peanuts
Clementine
Lunch
Portabello mushroom
whole Orange bell pepper
whole Yellow squash
Tomato
Mixed nuts
Dinner
Swai
2 Clementines
Mixed nuts
Snack
Mixed nuts
Clementine

SATURDAY
Breakfast
4 Eggs
Lunch
Spinach salad
chicken
yellow bell pepper
Snack
Banana
Dinner
Paleo taco wraps
Lettuce
Chicken
Steak
Guacamole
bell peppers
Snack
Peanuts & walnuts

SUNDAY
Breakfast
Swait fillet
Green squash
red onion
yellow bell pepper
Lunch
Blackberries
peanuts
2 portabello mushrooms
guacamole (avocado, yellow pepper, tomato, red onion)
Dinner
Shrimp
red pepper
celery
broccoli
asparagus
arugala salad

Only 9 Days Left!!


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Trail Run - Now THIS is Living!

My sister says I look like my Dad in this photo.  I don't see it.

Checking in from the top of Heublein Tower in Talcott Mountain State Park!

Got a Friday off and decided to make use of the decent weather we're having in CT to check out the trails before snow hits (unlikely in CT).  Other than a few detoured streams due to large, downed trees, it was an awesome trail run.  Then at the top, I stopped and spent some time at the cliffs rereading Eragon.  The final book in the Inheritance cycle by Christopher Paolini finally came out this month and I decided to refresh the story before I get to finish it. 

Since I work tomorrow and I know most of you work today, I hope you have as much fun Saturday as I did today!  

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Questions
1.  How did you spend your Friday?
Morning trail run, reading, cooking mushrooms (which are delicious!), and the play I Hate Hamlet tonight.

2.  What are you currently reading?
I'm rereading Eragon by Christopher Paolini.  It may have an obsene amount of similarities to the plot of Episodes 4-6 of Star Wars, but it's still an amazing story.  I can't wait to see how he ends it.


P.S.  Paleo is going strong!  I haven't had any cravings for non-Paleo food in a few days. 


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paleo Week #2 Recap

At the end of the day, I will go with conformity and organized over witty humor and spontaneous fun (ok, on some things).  Here are list of the many titles I debated using above...

I have the best friends ever.  ...of all time!

What a weekend turn around!

Paleo culinary arts 101  ...an independent study course

Other than yesterday's short post, the last time you heard from me was Friday's post where I complained about how dismal this diet was making my life .  Later that day, I was invited to a friend's place for food.  Apparently two of my friends read that blog and it "broke their hearts," so they offered to fix me a caveman meal.  How awesome is it to have a super strict and albeit odd diet experiment and you have friends offering to help! 

I went over for brunch Saturday after spin class (my third for the week!).  I had steak and eggs with fried mixed bell peppers, spinach, and avocado.  Awesome!  But that's not all.  They proceeded to surprise me with attempting a caveman friendly pumpkin pie!

Caveman Pumpkin Pie

Crust
Blend pecans and almonds until finely chopped.  Broil dates for ~10 minutes.  Mix nuts and dates together and form to your pan of choice.  Bake at 350 for ~15-20 minutes.

Filling
Roast one sugar pumpkin and one sweet potato.  Puree softened "meat" of the pumpkin and sweet potato with the juice of an orange.  Grate as much cinnamon as you can from cinnamon sticks before you get tired, bored, or feel it's no longer worth it and add to puree.  Place filling in the crust and bake for ~20-25 minutes. 


It sure wasn't Sara Lee, but it was a nice change up.

Then when I got home that afternoon I had the urge to attempt apple pie; I figured that had to be easier than pumpkin!  Right?

Caveman Apple Pie

Crust
Blend peanuts and walnuts in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add nuts to one beaten egg.  If the mixture is runny, add more nuts.  Place in the pan of your choice (I chose a muffin tin) and bake at 350 for ~10 min.

Filling
Grab an apple of your choice.  Cut apple into chunks and blend in food processor.  Blend apple to your preference.  I left the skin on as well.  Add grated cinnamon as you'd like and scoop into crust.  Bake for ~15-20 minutes at 350 and enjoy!

It was too bad I forgot the muffin wrappers and couldn't figure out a non-stick spray alternative.  However, even as an apple pie crumble, it wasn't bad.

I also decided to fry a banana.  Why?  Don't ask me.  I was in a creative mood.  Turns out caramelizing the sugar in a banana tastes GREAT!

I went back over to the same friend's place the next night for our weekly LOST evening and they impressed me with yet another caveman dinner, a form of eggplant parmesan.  They used spaghetti squash instead of spaghetti, crushed almonds instead of  bread crumbs, and threw tomatoes into a pan of fried squash with oregano and thyme as a sauce.  Then they made chicken and almond meatballs with garlic and rosemary.  I gave them a raving 10 for creativeness and it was the best meal I've had in the last 14 days

My perspective has completely changed.  Four days ago I was about ready to give up on this diet.  Thankfully, due to the creative minds and empathetic hearts of my amazing friends, I'm back on track and ready to tackle the remaining 16 days!  It will take some ingenuity and lots of cooking time, but I'm going to make it.

And here is a look at what I've eaten in Paleo Week #2

Monday
Breakfast
2 Clementines
5 Scrambled eggs
Swai fillet
Snack
Banana
Lunch
Spring mix salad with chicken and lime
yellow bell pepper
peanuts
Snack
Granny smith apple
Dinner
none (breakfast was at 11:30am)

TUESDAY
Breakfast
Clementine
5 eggs
Swai fillet
Banana
Lunch
I don't recall
Dinner
I don't recall

WEDNESDAY
Breakfast
Eggs
Lunch
Spinach salad with chicken and lime
yellow bell pepper
Dinner
I don't recall

THURSDAY
Breakfast
Clementine
4 Eggs
Lunch
Swai fillet
Clementine
2nd Lunch
Sweet potato
Pomegranate
Banana
Peanuts
Dinner
Swait
6 Eggs
1/2 green and 1/2 yellow squash

FRIDAY

Breakfast
Banana
Clementine
Mushrooms with red onion
Lunch
Swait
Handful of mixed nuts
green squash
Dinner
Spring mix salad with chicken
yellow bell pepper
banana

SATURDAY
Breakfast
Clementine
4 Eggs
Snack
Mixed nuts
Clementine
Lunch
4 Eggs
Sirloin Steak
Mixed bell pepper (red, orange, yellow)
pumpkin / sweet potato pie
Dinner
Apple pie (peanuts/walnuts, egg, apple, cinnamon)
Swai
Clementine
Banana
Fried banana
Mixed nuts

SUNDAY
Breakfast
1 egg with apple and banana
Swait fillet
Snack
Mixed nuts
Lunch
Chicken breast
Spring salad
yellow pepper
pumpkin / sweet potato pie
Snack
Mixed nuts
Banana
Dinner
spaghetti squash
baked eggplant with almond crust
chicken & almond meatballs with garlic & rosemary
mixed tomatoes and squash with oregano and thyme

Only 16 Days Left!!!


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

I have the best friends in the world!

I have to run to work (not literally!), but I just wanted you guys to know that I have the best friends in the world!

After Friday's post about how dismal the whole Paleo thing was going, my friends saved me (yes, literally!).  I'll fill you guys in on the details real soon.  

The Paleo Week #2 report is underway.  I should have it up tomorrow. 

Until then...

Happy Monday!!


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

In Hindsight...

...maybe taking Thanksgiving Day to myself wasn't the best move. 

Aside from a two day trip to NY this past week for a family event, I hadn't had a day off (read: day to myself) for over two weeks.  Yesterday, instead of driving to my mother's or going to one of my friend's family's houses for the typical Thanksgiving dinner, I opted to stay home to relax, unwind, and collect myself. 

Turns out having time to myself means I focus that much more on the food I'd really rather be eating.  I was fighting every excuse not to give in on the 30 day experiment.  

I'm suffering from a severe lack of variety.  I eat similar meals almost daily; some items (ie. eggs and fish) twice a day.  I attempted making mashed butternut squash yesterday.  The taste was much different than I expected and not to my liking.  I ended up making sweet potato home fries instead.  However, it turns out my taste for sweet potatoes only goes for half of a potato.  Out of my desperation, I spent $20 this morning on raw nuts at an expensive health food store that will most likely only last through Saturday.  After yesterday's fail with butternnut squash I decided to give mushrooms a try.  I've always been a fan of mushrooms, but whenever I cook them they've turned out bland. 

I chopped up a quarter of a red onion, two large cloves of garlic and a full pack of mushrooms.  I dry pan fried them all with a lid.  They smelled amazing.  Too bad the taste wasn't the same.  I know the options are endless, but I'm running out of ideas!

Today I feel slightly better mentally.  However, yesterday I was planning on giving up at the week mark.  I'm hoping I can find enough self-restraint and creativeness to stick to the diet. 

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On another note, I did a bit of reading yesterday and finally figured out why so many Paleo recipes, cookbooks, and websites allow you to eat foods that seem to go directly against the premise of the diet.  As I see it, there are two version of the "Paleo diet."  The first is what I'm doing - strictly eating only what a caveman had access to.  This version cuts out all processed foods and limits you to raw, fresh ingredients.  The second and what seems to be the more popular version is what I will call the "Paleo Nutrient diet."  This version takes the nutrient profile that would have been provided in a caveman's diet and attempts to replicate it with modern foods.  This is why you see Paleo recipes that call for butter, oils, cured meats, sausage, cream, and even dark chocolate; all of which are not allowed in the former.  This is why I feel as if I'm stumbling around in the dark with recipes.  

That fact had been bothering me for awhile.  So while true paleo recipes are near impossible to find, at least now I can stop yelling "HYPOCRITE!" at my computer screen.  haha

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Questions
1.  How was your Thanksgiving?
My body feels relaxed, but my mind went crazy dreaming of non-Paleo foods all day.  

2. Do you function better when you have free time or when you're kept busy?
I tend to be more productive and less critical when I'm kept busy.  It's rare that I feel productive when I'm given true "free time."  Even time spent attempting to relax never feels accomplished. 


Swim fast.  Bike smart.  Run hard.