Recipe

N = 1

An experiment of one.  What works for one person may not work for another.  People are different and thus respond differently to different stimuli.  Some may be incredibly healthy on a vegan diet and some may thrive on a paleo style diet.  It’s all about what makes you look, feel, and perform better. So beginning last week, I have been seriously trying to be better about my eating plan the my nutritionist has helped me design.  Yes, Chuck, embracing eating a little more and seeing what my performance does.  Now, granted, I’ve only been doing this for about a week, and my sleep hasn’t been on point, but I have felt good, especially amid a big training week.  I have been focusing on workout recovery, even when it comes to the times when I know dinner will be coming soon after the workout, I am still eating.  And it’s good, because it always turns out the dinner never actually occurs soon after the workout, ha!  Why does it take me so long to prepare it every night?  Damn squash fries…

The  biggest changes are just working on being more consistent, even on lower volume days, knowing that I’ve created a deficit during the big days.  I’ve been reading a lot from some of the top pro athletes who have experimented with optimizing recovery and eating more, better, quality foods.  We’re not talking Snickers bars that I’m shoving down, but sweet potatoes, coconut milk and oil, grass-fed meat, chicken, etc…. even all natural, organic bacon! (Yes, me!)

As Robb Wolf says, “try it for 30 days” and if I don’t like it better, I can go back to the way I was before… but we all know that wasn’t getting me anywhere.  I’m RACING this weekend!!

And I’m determined to focus on eating appropriate calories during this race so that I perform optimally.  I usually just try and eat “just enough to get me through” so that I can “save up” calories for my post-race dinner.  This is moronic.  If I want to be great, I need to fuel that, plus that deficit is going to be so big all of it will be used (including that dinner) to fuel me and help me recover.

Speaking of previous race, I’m realizing that I’m good, but I’m not great.  I’m stuck maintain habits that have kept me “good” as well.  I have a world champion coach with 16 years of experience who is asking me to change a few things.  If I want to be great, wouldn’t listening make sense? Clearly, my way is adequate, but not ideal.  So embracing this, I am ready to move forward.

We had a great training day at Fort DeSoto this weekend and it was a lot of fun to just hang out and enjoy the beach afterward.  Can’t complain about having this in my backyard:

And speaking of good food—here were some delicious, however, not very appetizing (and I’ll admit to that) meals from the past weeks!

So I can’t wait for the half ironman Sunday!  Wish me luck!

  1. Have you made any big changes in your life lately?
  2. What’s your n=1 for 30 days?
  3. Anyone racing this week??

 

The Nations Triathlon: Dry-land in DC

No really—I wanted to swim!  As shocking as that sounds coming from me, I was incredibly bummed when I found out the swim portion of the Nations Tri this past Sunday would be cancelled.  Due to the hurricane, the second hurricane that kept the aforementioned hurricane stuck on land pounding DC, and the earthquake, the Potomac River was a mess of debris and runoff.  I have been working weekly with my swim coach though, and wanted to see what kind of changes this may have on my stroke.

I was so bummed, I almost backed out of this race and thought about heading down to Williamsburg to race the Patriots Half Ironman.  However, I would have had to figure out how to get my bike there, how to get it back, all the other travel arrangements, but the biggest reason I didn’t was that the Half Ironman was on Saturday not Sunday and I just didn’t have time to work everything out.

But I’m really glad I stuck with the Nations Tri, and Olympic distance race—it was a blast.  Over 3,900 people were in the race and the entire event was huge.  The format was done in the same way as the swim waves would start—every 15 seconds letting about 15 people run into transition based on your age group.  It was a mess of corrals, but when my group went off, we sprinted into transition, grabbed our bikes and gear, and headed out.  My new tri shoes and pedals from Exustar are awesome and made a huge difference in my transition time!

The bike was pretty fast with some rolling hills and was very crowded due to the starting format.  It made the course much like an Ironman race where there are just so many people.  I wouldn’t say that there was any drafting, but definitely a lot passing and riding near people.  I felt like the entire “out” portion of the course was downhill and was nervous that the entire return would be uphill… but I guess I was mistaken since coming back was just as fast if not better!  My overall bike split for the 40k was 1:06:17, which was over 22 mph.  I was really pleased with this—love that Felt!

**Scary side note—proceed reading with discretion: On the way back on the bike, there was an ambulance on the side of the road.  I look over and saw the EMTs performing CPR on a guy laying on the ground.  I’ve never felt so sick as I did then and it was all I could think about for the rest of the bike.  Most of the time spent riding after that was praying for this guy hoping he would be ok.  Unfortunately, I found out the next day that man actually died.  So please say a prayer for him.

I can’t tell you how motivating it was to see my mom and dad cheering for me as I left T2 and headed out on the run.  They don’t get to make it to a lot of races, so to get up at 4:45 to drive me to the course means so much to me.  Ha, apparently my dad wasn’t too pleased that I “couldn’t even smile at them” when I ran by, but sorry pops, I don’t smile at all on the course.  It’s business.  But my dad is such an awesome guy- He wanted "sun protection" and snagged this hat from another family.  Yes... we recycled a hat from the Dollar Store...

The run was a fun one and was relatively flat except for a long hill at the beginning..  Or I think that was the only hill… I dunno, I just kind of get in my zone as run.  I’m always cognizant of everything and am very focused on how hard I’m pushing and I always remember how much it hurt.  However, if you asked me to recall the whole course, I wouldn’t be able to do it… although I could probably remember all the funny things I thought while running.  I spent most of time passing people and had no real issues at all.  I felt good and just get repeating my mantra to myself that I always using during races: “Speed, Strength, Fluidity”.  This helps me keep focused on the most important aspects of the run.  Coming down the home stretch, I saw my mom screaming and just turned on the afterburners and passed a few more people as I broke the finish line.

My run time was a 38:46, although I “think” the course may have been a bit short—however, as a sanctioned race, it should officially be the required 10k, so I’ll have to believe the Race Directors.  This was a pace of 6:15 minutes/mile.  But if it were a bit short, it may have been close to 6:20.  I was happy with this regardless!!

Overall, I finished 34th of 362 in my age group (top 9.4%), and 265th of 3884 overall (top 6.8%) and my final time was 1:49:38, sans the swim.  Overall this was a great race and could definitely see myself doing it again next year.  It was so incredible.

Then I went home, ate, changed, and was back on a plane for Tampa by 5:00.  Nothing like meetings  at work to cut a trip short.

From here on out I’m basically racing every weekend: THIS WEEK!! 9/25 Ironman 70.3 Augusta (half Ironman), 10/1 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, 10/09 Rev3 South Carolina (Half Ironman), 10/15 Men’s Health Chicago Urbanathlon!  It’s gonna be a blast!

Then ITU Worlds on 11/05 to end the triathlon year.  However, I would like to do a marathon if there is a convenient one by the end of the year.  I also want to do the Tough Mudder in Tampa!  A hella-crazy 12-mile adventure race on 12/03.

If anyone is doing any of these races, let me know and lets meet up! Or if you live between Tampa and South Carolina/Georgia and can house me for a night, lol, let me know!

Yo check out my new kicks

And to do fuel this, I’ve tried out a few new spur of the moment recipes this past week!  Also, I tried to focus my nutrition very well in the days leading up to this race: check out my pre-race day lunch:

Here is what I should have had for my pre-race breakfast...

Earlier his week I made Blackberry jam and goat cheese stuffed chicken breast.  I coated a breast in some coconut flour, then filled it and just baked it.  Very good!  But don't overcook the chicken:

 

Later this week there are definitely a few topics I want to talk about mostly.  Mostly about living what I say, "racing weight", and self-sabotage which I am becoming very guilty of.  I think I could have even better results if I treated my body and mind better.  Goals?  I think so.

I know this comes over a week after it all happened and a lot has gone in between, but I figured I would pare it down and keep it basic so this doesn’t turn into a novel.  More to come soon!

  1. What was the best part of your weekend?
  2. What do you have planned between now and the end of the year that you are excited about? (Anything!)

Changes and Challenges

I had another triathlon this weekend... but since my past 2 posts have pretty much all been about triathlons, I'll keep this recap short, ha.  This race was at the country's "Number 1 Beach" at Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Florida, about an hour south of Tampa.  It was gorgeous, although I would definitely want more waves if I was going to spend very long there.  But the sand and water were beautiful... you could actually see the bottom! For the race, I finished 3rd in my age group and was generally pleased with the results, although not elated.  This was a train-through race, meaning the only taper I did was a short workout on the day before, which in itself was still tough considering I'd run 9.5 miles the day before, a 30 mile bike ride, and 1800m swim.

This beach is on the Gulf of Mexico so the water was extremely warm, which doesn't really make for fast swimming.  It was also pretty choppy considering there weren't really many waves.  My swim split was awful so we won't even get into it lol.

The bike was ok- I average right about 21 mph.  Also had a fun little crash where the chick next to me didn't seem to want to move over during a turn and I had to slam on my brakes to avoid smashing into a car.  Couple scrapes but nothing remotely serious.

The run (to my surprise) was totally along the beach.  Ha, ok the beach is pretty and all, but damn.  The sand is hard pack, meaning its pretty firm and not hard to run on, but still not nearly as easy to run on as pavement.  I was able to hunt down a lot of people who were ahead of me from the swim and bike and ended up with the 6th fastest overall run split.  My average pace was about 6:38 min/mile which I was ok with later on once I found out how I did comparatively.

This was also my first race since I had been trying out a Paleo lifestyle/diet.

Now, I know some people may have issue with this: “you’re cutting out an entire food group”, “all fat is bad for you”, “saturated fat causes heart disease”, “cholesterol clogs your arteries”, ”you need grains!”, “you won’t get all your vitamins and minerals.”

While I am not a paleo hardcore advocate, I have done plenty of research, consulted with many people and experts, and will never push this way of eating on anyone else.  I can’t even say I’ll eat like this for the rest of my life- that would be absurd.  However, to all the critical statements above, I have plenty of evidence and research to refute:

While my diet will be lower in carbs, it will be higher in fats which are burnt as a fuel source.  I am also still including carbs in the means of fruits, squashes, and sweet potatoes… I could probably eat butternut squash fries or sweet potato fries every night and not get sick of it

Next, fat is not bad for you!  What is important here is where the fat comes from—all fat that is “created” is bad, i.e. trans-fats.  What is also important is your Omega 6 to Omega 3 balance.  Ideally, these should 1:1 or 2:1 but our diet has most people eating about 20:1 or much much more.  The fat should also be pure and come from grass-fed sources, not from grain-fed animals like is found in most commercial meats.  Remember, “you are what you eat eats”

It has also been proven that saturated fat does not cause heart disease.  It can be exacerbated, however, from things like processed carbohydrates and excess sugars.  I just heard of a study that “showed that saturated fat corroborates heart disease.”  However, this study looked at people eating Egg McMuffins with hashbrowns: White, processed English muffins, pasteurized commercial cheese, trans-fatty margarine spread, and potatoes made in vegetable oil.  I think we have a lot more at play here… plus, the saturated fat would have to come from egg, which is relatively not that high in saturated fat.

Speaking of eggs, I won’t get started on how many articles show that egg yolks don’t raise cholesterol.

Finally, I’m getting tons of vitamins and minerals from the fruit, vegetables, nuts, squashes, sweet potatoes, organic dairy (Most paleo diets leave out dairy, but I am still including it right now—but in organic and raw versions where I can find it), and grass-fed meats.  In fact, I’m probably getting more vitamins now since so many vitamins are fat soluble and my diet now actually has that fat to absorb it!

This is a tough one for me though—the adding of fat.  Since ‘”fat” is what spurred my eating disorder so many years ago, it’s still a tough bump for me to get over.  I am hoping as I eat this way and hopefully see only positive outcomes, that I can change my mindset forever.

Many people also think that paleo just means going low carb because it makes you leaner or lose weight or whatever.  This is what you will see in published studies on “what is the best diet” etc.  In fact, the reason for moving these grains—and most importantly wheat—are for the negative effects the reap on your body.  They have an impact in your digestive tract and cause many issues which I will go into in another post.—I’ve written enough as it is haha.

So, there you have.  I’ll let you know how I progress, but don’t think I won’t still have some awesome recipes!  Here are some of the meals I’ve been making lately as well a bonus recipe video at the end!

What do you think of the paleo diet—are you for or against it?

Would eating this way really be any different, from a societal standpoint than if someone followed a vegetarian diet?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvb8Ecl5A54]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvb8Ecl5A54&feature=youtu.be

9 Days

9 days and I’m gone from Cincinnati… I really can’t believe, where did the time go?  As you can tell from my lack of blogging, the responsibilities of my job have been piling up big time since even though I’m moving to Tampa, I still have to have everything done here before I leave.

Speaking of Tampa, I was there last weekend to meet my new work team and find a place.  Both were successful and the weather was great.  My apartment is right on the edge of downtown and I’ll be able to walk to hockey games like I can here!  Then the football stadium isn’t too far… but the baseball stadium is actually all the way in St. Petersburg.  I actually drove out there to catch a game on Saturday, but they had part of the stadium closed off and the ticket prices were ridiculous… so I split.

I got some great workouts while I was there too!  Although, I still really don’t like running outside that much if I haven’t had a good warm up first.  Friday I did a 4-miler outside then about 300m worth of sprints in the mini hotel pool… ah yes, swimming outside!  Then I met my team, toured some apartments, and tried out the AWESOME gym that is on the ground floor of my new apartment building!  It’s got treadmills that I like, but also a ton of functional workout equipment—like a massive stair case in the middle of the gym, a rope to climb, TRX equipment, and an area outside with monkey bars, sledge hammers, and tractor tires!  This gym won’t let me have average workouts so I’m definitely going to be stepping my game up!

This past week I finally got a good training week and got 40+ miles of running.  Unfortunately, since I was determined to get that 40, it meant 23 miles over the weekend.

  • Saturday was a 10 mile run, 30 minutes elliptical, 1:20 on the bike trainer, then a 2-mile transition run which felt awesome!
  • Sunday was tough thanks to Saturday, but I got an 11 mile run, 60 minute spin class, quick 550m swim and core work

Then, after some recovery elliptical and biking, guess who worked this morning before work?  Me!  I had a great lift and followed it up with 1100m swim; the pool was in long course format today too so that was cool.  After work, I went back for more cardio and did a 40 minute ride, 20 minutes of elliptical and a 3.3 mile run.  I was pretty tired from the lack of sleep the night before, plus the first workout of the day and my legs just weren't feeling so hot.  Still store from the weekend lol.

I was needing some motivation after a tough 2 days last week so… I went ahead and signed up for a half ironman near Tampa for my first weekend living there!  Haha.  It will be on June 12th so I need all my training to be seriously on point these next few weeks.

Now in other news, thanks to Tropical Traditions for sending me some of the coconut cream concentrate to try!

This stuff is awesome- its got a great coconut flavor, but is thicker, like an ice cream topping.  Here are 2 recipes I made with it:

Peanut butter crispy chicken with coconut finish:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 egg white
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Coconut cream to taste

Mix the peanut butter and milk until they are smooth.  Then add in the egg white and whisk thoroughly in the bowl.  Add in you chicken breast (I let mine soak overnight) and then top with the panko bread crumbs.  Before putting it in the oven, I drizzled some of the coconut cream on it.  Bake at 400* for 22 minutes.  Then drizzle a little more coconut cream on it.

Amazing!

So now you have some of this leftover peanut butter batter right?  Coat some sweet potatoes with it and bake them as fries!  Best. Sweet potato. Fries. Ever.  I kid you not.  I’ve had these like 4 times now since I invented the recipe.

Go make these. Now.

Another use for the coconut cream was doing sweet potato fries with it instead of the coconut oil.  This made for fries that weren’t quite as crispy, but amazingly flavor.  I highly recommend!

Finally, here are some other fun eats I’ve cooked up lately, and a couple shots of the club level at the Reds stadium.  My CEO took me to a game last week—the seats we sick! (There I go with the "blogger exclamation points"...)

I’ve been thinking lately about going paleo.  Now, can I give up granola... unlikely.  Lol.  But I see some of the merits in the lifestyle.  What I don’t know is if giving up certain food types would really be a good idea for me with my eating disorder past, but it would help me overcome my fear of fats… (Which are GOOD for you!)  I’ve been talking to another young triathlete lately (Armi) and he has given a lot of nutritional and motivational input.  This kid is probably the most mature and intelligent 16 year old I’ve ever met.  Check out his blog.  If you have any diet or training questions, please ask either of us!

Be a superhero... my goal for the week.

  1. Who is your superhero/your inspiration?
  2. Have you ever tried a new way of eating that seriously impacted your life and how did it make you feel?
Thank yall!

All or Nothing

My legs are finally coming back to me.  Oddly enough, I was never super sore after Wildflower? Which actually surprises me since (a) It was a half Ironman! (b) It was the roughest course I’ve ever raced on, and (c) My post race nutrition was not as ideal as it could have been (in terms of timing.) However, what I’ve noticed as working before, was to go stand in the 63 degree lake water for 10-15 minutes and let the water cool my legs with the same effect as an ice bath.  Saying this though, my legs didn’t really have any power this past week.  This led to some shorter runs, a lot of elliptical, a lot of spinning, and actually, no swimming- even though swimming would have been the best thing I could have done.

I talked myself into taking more days off than I wanted to this week though. After being forced to take 2 days off after the race, I did 2 hard days with a mix of shorter running and a lot of cross training.  But then, for some reason I took another 2 days in a row off. Maybe I needed it after the race...maybe I’m a whuss.  However, I committed to myself that this would be a baller weekend and made sure it was.

Saturday was a: 9.2 mile run in 1:02:00, 30 minute bike, 30 minute spin, burpees and core work.

Then Sunday, I planned to go run for the first time in the morning... but when I woke up, it was too late to do the full workout, BUT instead of going back to bed, I went to the gym and had a great 60 minute lift instead!  I came home from this and had some “overnight oats” that I’ve been trying to do for a while.  I still haven’t gotten this perfect, lol, but I’m working on it.

This was a mix of delicious fresh organic strawberries, oats, vanilla protein powder, and 1 cup of Strawberry Banana Honeymilk

I think I should have used a little less liquid (or more oats) and apparently I should be using yogurt too?

I grabbed a quick nap and then headed back to the gym for round 2.  I ALMOST bailed on this....The lift in the morning really took a lot out of me.... standing on the treadmill contemplating.... but I remember all the guys that beat me last week and all the success I want to have this year and just started running.  I said, “get to 2 minutes and see how you feel”, “get to 5 minutes and see how your feel”.  30 minutes later I had run 4.51 miles and then continued it out 5 miles. I then did some cross training and finished with a BRUTAL spin class... On Sunday’s there is an awesome teach who actually knows what she is doing and every workout is very specific with an actual objective.  Then I jumped on the treadmill and ran another 1.8 to work on my bike/run transitions. Finished with some core and I was finallllly headed home.

Home to where my crispy tacos were awaiting me to cook them!

Monday, as sore as my legs were, the weather was gorrrrrgeous.  I actually went out alone on a ride for the first time--haha straight out and back do I wouldn't get lot.  On the ride I saw a circus (?) a woodchuck, and a place to get "the world's best fried chicken".  Got a solid ride in, then bricked a 4.5 mile run with some elliptical.  I took tonight off to let myself “get stronger” (recover) and be ready to get back at it tomorrow!

I also grilled these up earlier this week!

Mother’s Day made me remember something my mom called me out on a while ago.  She told me I am completely all or nothing.  Either I go to the gym and absolutely crush it, or if I’m tired I just skip it completely.  This isn’t a healthy way to live- your life needs balance between hard and easy days and tasks.

If I don’t go all out, I carry the weight of this with me until the next workout and really begins to tax me.  Read this amazing post by Lindsay and how to let go of these mental injuries.  Should everything be so all or nothing?  If I don’t push myself to my limits everyday, have I failed?  No, two-fold: from an exercise standpoint, your body can’t take that every day and if you ask it to do what it doesn’t want to or can’t handle, then you are doing more damage than good.  Pushing your limits is definitely the way to make progress, but one can’t do this everyday.

From the other perspective, what kind of a way to live life is it where everything is either black or white?  Most things aren’t that simple, there is no one answer, and there is no perfect solution.  You’ve go to craft each day as it comes to you and each decision is another chance at success.  I didn’t say “success or failure”, but simply success.  Just because everything was not absolutely perfect does not mean I am any lesser because of it or that the resulting outcome wasn’t still really good if we still deem that it wasn’t perfect.

But who the hell is to tell you or me what perfect is anyway.  Not to sound mushy or anything, but we are all already perfect and everyday are presented with situations to make right choices. Make the right choices--you’ll always be successful.

I’m off to Tampa on Thursday to find a place to live, so if you’re in the area or know anyone down there, hit me up!  There’s also a triathlon down there Saturday morning and I’m reallllly tempted to rent a bike and race it...

  1. How have you been successful this week?
  2. What weekend plans do you have?
  3. Know anything about Tampa?
And I thought this was hysterical:
P.S.  I've got an awesome crispy peanut butter chicken recipe coming tomorrow!  Assuming it works, that is....