January 29, 2012

What More Could I Ask For...

..then to be able to run on the trails around these...
the beautiful red rock formations near Morrison, CO.   Seriously, it is sooo beautiful out there.

I met up with the Denver Trail Runners this morning at 8A for a trail run.  I am embarrassed to say that I have never actually run on any of the trails around Red Rocks.  But, I will say that after my run today, I will definitely be going back!

The run was awesome!  The trails had everything...hills, downhills, technical parts, and nice flat sections where you could really fly.
And, because it IS winter, there were actually parts that were completely iced over.  In fact, at one point, we had to slide down a hill on our butts so we wouldn't slip and fall!
Source This isn't the actual trail, but it was really similar to this, only A LOT steeper! 
 Although this is technically only my 4th trail run this year, I felt like I had been running trails my whole life.  I loved it!  Trail running is just so much more technical than road running and you constantly have to be aware of your surroundings.  Sometimes on long training runs I get so bored because, let's face it, it IS sometimes pretty boring on those longs runs.  BUT, today, having things to concentrate on, running through the trees, grasses, and rocks just made the miles and time fly by.  

But, one thing that I am learning that I need to do is LET GO of the numbers.  Keeping track of your pace, time, and distance is just so DIFFERENT.  You cannot compare your road running pace to your trail pace..you just can't.  In fact, I stopped looking at my pace on my Garmin completely because it just wasn't useful information for me.  So, from now on, I'm going to stop focusing so much on the numbers (which is kind of hard coming off of IMAZ training where it's ALL about the numbers), and just focus on enjoying myself out there.  :)
Happy shoes...Dirty Floor! :)

You have NO idea what kind of images pop up when you type "happy trails" into Google...YIKES..ha ha! :)

January 27, 2012


Yay!!  I was tagged by Joy [HERE] and Christi [HERE] to do the fun random things post that seems to be taking over the blog world at the moment!  I always think these posts are so fun because I get to learn a little bit more about all of you out there that I stalk follow!  :)

Anyways, here are the rules:
1. Post these rules
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people!

So, here are 11 random things about me!
1.  My favorite holiday is Christmas.  I think the reason I love it is because it's more of a "season" than a 1 day event.  I love the lights, decorations, the excitement in my boys' eyes, and the family time together.  I just love it all!

2.  I REALLY REALLY want to hike the Appalachian Trail someday.  It is on my bucket list and I WILL do it!!

3.  I have a major sweet tooth and could NEVER give up sugar...nor do I really want to! :)

4.  I used to snowboard before I had kids, but now, thinking about flying down the slopes makes me freak out a little bit.  I don't know why I have this fear, but it's there.  Maybe I'll take up cross-country skiing this year! :)

5.  I hate shopping!  I just never seem to find things that fit me right, especially jeans, and I end up getting frustrated and irritated.  Ugh!

6.  I am COLD all the time and can usually be found wearing a sweatshirt/fleece jacket throughout the day!

7.  I can't wait until spring so we can plant our garden

8.  My head is so SMALL that I have a really hard time finding hats that fit me.  In fact, I've resorted to raiding the kids' section to find one that fits! Ha ha!

9.  I love being an elementary school teacher, but I would LOVE to be a high school cross country coach someday.  

10.  I need a new hair style.  Wearing my hair back in a ponytail everyday is getting a little old!

11.  If I could, I would wear my workout clothes every day!

Alright, here are my answers to Joy's questions:
  1. What are your go-to excuses? It's too cold/windy/rainy/snowy to run outside.
  2. What’s your favorite WOD or running workout (distance/tempo/speedwork)? I love tempo runs
  3. Do you track your dietary intake? No
  4. What’s your favorite healthy meal? This is a tough one because honestly, I try to make all of our meals as healthy as possible.  But, I really like this vegetable pot pie I make...it is sooo yummy!
  5. What’s your favorite cheat meal? Probably a pastry from Starbucks
  6. Any nagging injuries that worry you? Not at the moment, but I'm always afraid my ITband injury will come back
  7. What book would you recommend? Born to Run
  8. Have you ever been hospitalized?  If so, how were your nurses? Only when I was giving birth to my boys.  The nurses were amazing!
  9. What look is more appealing to you? Designer well put together chic or a fit body dressed in workout clothes? Definitely a fit body dressed in workout clothes
  10. What’s your resting heart rate? Have no idea
  11. If you had no financial/physical limitations whatsoever, what would you do? Hike the entire Appalachian Trail

AND, Christi's questions:
1. Which actor played James Bond the best? I'm kindof embarrassed to admit this, but I don't think I've ever seen an entire James Bond movie!
2. Are you a cat person or a dog person? Dog
3. What is your favorite race to date? Ironman Arizona
4. Do you prefer beer or wine? Wine
5. What is the first race that you ever completed? My first tri was Tri For The Cure and it was awesome!
6. Do you have a coach to help you with your training? No
7. If you could compete in any long distance triathlon and race fees were not a factor would you choose IM or Rev 3 races? Probably an IM race b/c I could do a destination race
8. How many blogging friends have you met in person? Only a handfull
9. Who is going to win the Superbowl, New England Patriots or New York Giants? GIANTS!!
10. If you could meet one person alive or dead, who would it be? I would love to meet Chrissy Wellington and just talk with her over a good cup of coffee
11. And finally the big question, do you prefer Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars

O-kay, I know I'm supposed to tag 11 people, but honestly, I think most of you have already done it!  So, I'm going to skip that part...sorry!!

It's FRIDAY everyone!!  Woohoo!!!  I hope you all have a great weekend! :)

January 22, 2012

Two Months Too Long

I have a confession to make...I have not been on my bike since Ironman Arizona!  It's not that I didn't WANT to ride it, it's just that between our schedules and the winter weather, there haven't really been any opportunities to ride outside.  And, the thought of riding on my trainer just didn't seem appealing to me in the least bit!  BUT, last week, I got a notice that a group of girls, including Julie and Kathleen, were going to meet up for a computrainer ride at Peak to Peak Training on Saturday morning.

I've never used a computrainer before, but I heard that it is pretty cool.  So, I decided to break my 2 month streak and sign up for the session.  The only problem was that it started at 5:30AM, which meant I had to get up at 4:30 to be there on time to get set up and going.  I have not woken up that early since IMAZ!  With IMAZ training, I was always getting up at the "butt-crack of dawn," but since my race, I have to admit it's been nice sleeping in till 6:45ish every morning.

My 4:30 alarm totally woke me up from a deep sleep, but I crawled out of bed, got dressed, ate a PureFit bar (review coming soon), and headed to the session.  There were 7 of us total, and we all looked like we just crawled out of bed, but none of us cared...it was awesome!
All of our bikes set up!  How awesome are the fans?!
One of the owners of Peak to Peak Training got all of our bikes hooked up and set up to do the Ironman St. George course.  Now, not having ridden my bike in 2 months, I didn't know what to expect of my body/legs and knowing we were doing IMSG, one of the hardest IM bike courses, kind of scared me!

BUT, once we started, I was surprised at how good I felt.  It seriously felt like I hadn't taken 2 months off from riding at all.  I felt strong and although there were some hills I had to get up out of my saddle to power up, my legs responded pretty good to the crazy hills.  :)

Here is what I thought was really cool about the computrainer:
1) The resistance automatically changes depending on whether you're going uphill, flat, or downhill so it is almost like you're riding outside.
2)  You can track your progress throughout the course and see when a hill is coming up
3)  It gives you tons of data including speed, avg. speed, watts, avg. watts, distance, etc.  I actually really liked watching the data and can definitely see why people buy these over a regular trainer to train with.
Drenched with sweat after the ride
Overall, I REALLY liked the session.  I liked it so much that as soon as I got home, I got online to see how much they cost!  WOW...they are expensive!  I don't think I'll be getting one anytime soon, but I WILL definitely do another session with the girls!  It was challenging, but fun, and the setting was WAY better than riding my trainer by myself at home.  I got to chat with Kathleen and Julie throughout the session, and it made the time fly by.  I am so glad I decided to do it because I think this was just what I needed to kick my butt into gear and get back on my bike.  Woohoo! :)

January 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesday - Kale and Bean Soup

Before I get to the yummy soup recipe, I wanted to show you a shirt I bought over Christmas.  I don't know if any of you heard about this or not, but there is a guy in Vermont who has been making "Eat More Kale" shirts for years.  You can read about his business HERE, but here's just a little blurb from his website about what he's all about:
I'm also about eating locally, supporting local farmers, bakers, famers markets, farm stands, CSA's, community gardens and restaurants, sustainable lifestyles, social commentary and community. Most importantly, I'm about printin' Vermont's one-at-a-time orginial design t-shirts. Have fun and remember: eat more kale!!!
 Recently, Chick-fil-A threatened to shut down his business because they felt it was too close to their "Eat Mor Chikin" phrase.  RIDICULOUS!!  So, I decided to buy a shirt 1) to support his business, 2) to help him fight Chick-fil-A and 3) because I LOVE kale! :)  

If you're not eating kale yet, you should be!  Here are just some of kale's wonderful benefits from webmd:

Kale is a Nutritional Powerhouse

One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.
Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K -- and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.
Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.
Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

Kale and Bean Soup
This soup is SUPER easy to make because it does not require a lot of ingredients.  It is really yummy and is the perfect soup for a cold winter's night.  It can also be frozen and reheated for future meals! Plus, if you're looking for ways to make a good homemade meal on the cheap, like Jason has been doing in his $50/wk challenge, this soup is under $2/person!  Woohoo!!  :)

Makes 8 servings

*  1/4C water
*  7-8 garlic cloves, minced
*  1 medium onion, chopped
*  4C kale, stems removed and chopped
*  4C vegetable broth
*  2 (15oz) cans Great Northern beans (or any white bean such as Cannellini or navy) undrained
*  2tsp dried italian seasoning (or, make your own with 1/2tsp. oregano, marjoram, basil and 1/4tsp. sage)
*  salt and pepper to taste

1.  Wash and chop the kale and onion.
* Note:  If you've never cooked with kale before, here are some easy prep tips:
A)  Remove the stems by pulling the kale away from the stem.  
B)  Place all the kale "strips" in a pile and chop them up into bite sized pieces!  

2.  In a large pot, heat the water over medium heat.
3.  Add the onion and garlic, and saute until soft ~5-8minutes.
3.  Add the kale and saute, stirring frequently, until wilted ~3-5minutes
4.  Add the broth, beans, and herbs and simmer for 15-20minutes.  EASY PEASY!!!
5.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy! :)

** Note:  we ate them with Maple Cornmeal biscuits from the Happy Herbivore cookbook!  You can find the recipe on her website HERE.  They are sooo good and have a slight sweetness that makes them good for dipping in soups or for breakfast with some jelly! :)

January 14, 2012

A week in review and other things too

*  I got some new books in the mail!  Woohoo!
1. Relentless Forward Progress:  I just started reading this and already I am loving it!  I cannot wait to get further into it.  It is full of great tips/information and gives you training plans for different distances and training levels.

2.  Thrive Foods:  I have Brendan's book (Thrive: A Vegan Nutrition Guide to optimal performance in sports and life) and really enjoyed it.  While this book has some of the same info. in it, what I like is that it comes with 200 plant based recipes!  So, it's a guide and cookbook in one book...kind of like a 2-in-1! :)

*  One of my friends teaches at Corepower Yoga and she sent out a flyer advertising a free boot camp class.  Now, I haven't done any type of strength training in a long time, but I thought it would be fun, so I went.  Let me just say that IT KICKED MY A**!!  It's so interesting how you can have the best swim/bike/run fitness, but when you do a strength workout it kills you!

This is basically what we did for an hour:
There were 10 stations set up and we did each station for 1min.  After completing each round of stations, we did push-ups for 1min.  I think we ended up doing the stations 3 times.  Then, we did some core/ab work followed by some yoga stretching poses.
1)  Tricep pushbacks using a resistance band attached to the wall
2)  Elbow plank while alternating touching a block in front of us with each hand
3)  Ice skaters between 2 cones
4)  TRX- squat with pull-ups
5)  Squat with side kicks while holding a medicine ball
6)  Hamstrings-while on your back, put your feet on a balance ball and lift your butt up, then pull your feet towards your butt
7)  Step ups onto a bench with knee ups at the top-alternating sides 1/2 way through
8)  Mt. climbers while holding onto a bosu ball
9)  Wall sits with bicep curls
10) Jump rope

This was a great workout and I actually really liked it!  Sooo...instead of paying over $200 for the 2 week class (YIKES!), I am going to set up my own boot camp stations in our basement!  I pretty much have all of the stuff, and it's FREE!  Woohoo!  I figured I could rotate doing the boot camp with my TRX workouts on different days in order to get an all around great strength workout.  What do you think?    

Other Things Too:

*  I got this awesome shirt from Run Pretty Far and I love it!  The material is soft and almost silky and it is super comfortable!  Plus, I love the sayings on this shirt..if you click on the picture you can see them up close.

*  Our oldest son is not one to just put Lego sets together and be done with it.  The things he creates and comes up with are amazing.  So, for Christmas, we got our son the Lego Master Builder Academy program.  Is is AWESOME!  He gets a new kit every month and it comes with a Master Builder book that teaches him Master Builder techniques.  I've been doing the kits with him, because he can't read it all by himself, and we are having a blast!  I'm not very creative when it comes to building with Legos, so I'm secretly loving it because it's teaching me things too! :)  Plus, I'm able to get that special one-on-one time with him in a fun way.

*  Yes, I bought some Bronco's shirts.  I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge football fan.  BUT, when your home team is in the playoffs, it's pretty cool!  GO BRONCOS!!
Have a great weekend everyone!! :)

January 11, 2012

Humpastry Day - Ginger Snaps

Ginger Snaps
Sooo, I know that everyone is probably done with all the sweet treats that seemed to be everywhere over the holidays.  BUT, I had to post the recipe for these because THEY ARE SO GOOD!!  I made these for Christmas and I was amazed at how good they turned out.  Seriously, everyone loved them and couldn't seem to get enough of them.  They are spicalicious (I know that's not a word, but it should be) and I LOVE how they're made with whole wheat flour and less fat then traditional ginger snaps!  AND, they are the perfect consistency with a semi-crunchy outside and a chewy  middle.  Yum, yum, yum!!

Makes ~3 dozen cookies

*  1/4C Earth Balance Butter
*  1/4C unsweetened applesauce
*  1/2C br. sugar
*  1/4C raw sugar/white sugar (*Note: I'm posting the original recipe, but when I make these again, I am actually going to decrease the raw sugar to 2Tbl)
*  1 flax egg (1Tbl. ground flax mixed with 3Tbl water)
*  1/2C molasses
*  2C whole wheat flour
*  1 1/2tsp. baking soda
*  1tsp. baking powder
*  1 1/2tsp. ground ginger
*  3/4tsp. ground nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice (*Note: if you like a lot of spice, feel free to do heaping amounts!)
*  raw sugar for topping (optional)

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with a silpat, parchment, or grease lightly.
2.  Make your flax egg and set aside while you do the next step.
3.  In a large bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.
4.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter, applesauce, brown sugar, and raw sugar.
5.  Mix the flax egg into the wet mixture.  Then, add the molasses and mix until combined.
6.  Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until just blended.
7.  Using a spoon or Tablespoon, scoop out the dough into small balls.  Place on the cookie sheet 2" apart.
8.  If you want, sprinkle a tiny amount of raw sugar on the top of each cookie before baking.
9.  Bake for ~9minutes, until the tops are cracked.  *Note:  you can bake them longer for a crispy cookie, or for less time for a chewier cookie.
10.  When the cookies are done, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
11.  Enjoy!

January 8, 2012

A run, a coyote, and a jog strap??

Yesterday, even though it was only about 30 degrees outside, I decided I had had enough of the treadmill and decided just to bundle up and run outside!  I am sooo glad I did because I ended up having a great run!
During IMAZ training I took a break from running in my VFF Bikilas.  But, now that training is over, I've been wearing them on every run alternating them with my Brooks Racer ST5 in order to slowly build up my mileage.  I started with just wearing them for 1/4M, then adding 1/4M more each run.  Now, I'm up to wearing them for 2M.  So, for this run, I wanted to try out my New Balance Minimus trail shoes.

I drove to the Cherry Creek State Park, laced up my trail shoes, and hit the trail for a 1M out and back course.  IT WAS AWESOME!!  I LOVE those shoes!  They are really comfortable and I cannot wait to take them on longer trail runs.

Don't my feet look happy?

As a side note, back in my high school days when I ran cross county, this is how I would do my shoe laces to keep them from coming undone.  It works like a charm!  That was WAY before I knew anything about Yankz..ha ha!

Anyways, after my 2M trail run, I laced up  my Brooks and set out for another 2 miles.  This time I decided to run on a paved trail.  About a 1/2M into my run I looked over to my left and saw this:

It stopped me DEAD in my tracks!  Coyotes around here are known for attacking small dogs and even runners, so I was a little scared.  But then, I noticed that it was NOT moving.  I starred and starred at it, but it did not move!  WTF??

So, I looked just a little bit closer and noticed that it had a stick down the middle going into the ground.  WHAT??  I was soooo confused and thought that some high school kids had put it there as a prank.

Here's a close up...can you see the stick in the middle??

I started running again, and I started seeing more and more of these coyote signs!  WHAT was going on?  Then, I saw 3 hockey fields covered in geese.  Were the coyotes a way to keep geese away?  At first, I thought it must have worked because there weren't any geese by the coyote I saw.  Then, as I ran longer, I noticed that there were geese even in areas that had a coyote sign.

So, I have no idea about those coyotes!!

Although this has nothing to do with my run, I thought I'd share one last thing that I thought was hilarious!!  Enjoy!!  I hope you all have a great weekend!

January 2, 2012

New Year - New Focus

HAPPY 2012!!!

Before I get to my goals, can I just say that I cannot believe that it's the beginning of the new year already.  Where did the time go??  So many wonderful things happened last year from selling our house, buying a new house, my oldest starting Kindergarten, and finishing IMAZ!!!  It was definitely a crazy, BUSY, adventurous year!

This new year is going to be a little different for me.  Usually, I pick an "A" race, figure out a training plan, and do races throughout the year that won't interfere with the "A" race too much.  This year however, I'm not going to really have an "A" race.  Plus, last year it was pretty much ALL about my training, and my husband didn't get to do some of the things he wanted.  So, not having a big "A" race will allow my husband to do some of the things he's wanted to do. Yay!  SO...my goal for this year is to HAVE FUN doing the things that I may not have been able to do in the past.

Here are some of the things I'd like to do this year:
1)  Trail Running:  I LOVE trail running.  But, in the past, I could never really do it for fear of getting injured and blowing my racing season.  This year, I want to do a lot of trail running and attempt a 50k, maybe even a 50M (YIKES!!!).  Here's what that may look like:
*  May 5th - Greenland 25k [HERE] (This is to get "my feet wet" in the whole trail running experience)
*  June 2nd- Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50k [HERE]
*  June 15th- Fibark Trail Run [HERE] (My husband and I did this last year and we'd like to make it a yearly tradition)
*  Sept. 30th - The Bear Chase 50k OR 50M [HERE] - This is still up in the air and will just depend on how the summer goes.

One of my Christmas presents were these awesome shoes:

The New Balance Minimus Trail Runners.  They are light and super comfortable, and I can't wait to take them out on the trails!

2) Sprint Triathlons:  I really like the sprint distance!  It's fun, short, and super fast.  Plus, you can do the race and still have the rest of the day to enjoy with your family.  This year, I really want to do some of the sprint tris that I haven't been able to do in the past.  In CO, there are several sprints every month over late spring/summer, so I have A LOT of options.

3) Camping/Hiking: With selling our house, buying a new house, and IMAZ training, we didn't get to do a lot of camping last year.  So, this year, we really want to go camping/hiking as much as we can!  Not having a big "A" race will let us do this whenever the mood strikes us! :)
4) Spending lots and lots of time with my three guys! With IMAZ training, I missed out on a lot of family time with my husband and boys.  Don't get me wrong, I am sooo glad that I did IMAZ because it was an amazing experience.  But, they sacrificed a lot in order for me to do that race.  So, this year I am going to focus on them and support them in what THEY want to do, and the thought of that makes me very, very happy! :)  

I hope you all had a wonderful New Years!  I have no doubt that 2012 is going to be an amazing year for all of you!