Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Liking the gym...yes you heard it right

Now I am not telling you that I love it, but I am liking it. I've gotten into my gym groove and nothing can stop me...not even that evil mirror in the cardio room that forces me to look at myself bouncing up and down in all my blobluous glory. Goddam I have gained some pounds since starting triathlon. I thought it was supposed to work the other way around.

Before I got into triathlon I was a gym rat. Five days a week religiously for two hours a day. I felt good, but I wanted more of a challenge. So I heard of triathlon and saw a few hard triathlete bodies and decided to be one. Well, I think that I read too many books that told me to make sure I eat enough to cover my training. And I got into the mentality that I could eat whatever I want because I was working it off. Obviously I was wrong and could have used a LOT less calories.

So, now that I still have a couple more weeks of off-season before I start my base training, I'm going to use this as my chance to get my caloric intake and pacing under control. More veggies and less simple carbs like pasta and rice.

Tonight I stuck some saba under the broiler and sauteed mushrooms, asparagus and bean sprouts for dinner. It was perfect and I don't feel guilty for eating any of it.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Picchetti Vineyards

Les and I belong to their wine club and our wine offerings were ready for us to pick up. We drove up Montebella road and the only thing I could think of while driving up the constant climb is how much fun it would be to make Sheri ride it with me on our bikes:D Methinks I'll lead a Velo Girls Sunny South Bay Ride here one day. Hahahaha...I'm evil >:-)

Picchetti didn't have any new wines on the tasting menu and nothing was really impressing me. I just stuck with the Mission Angelica (nice yummy sweet white wine with brandy undertones) because the reds just had too much mouth smacking tannins in them. I remembered that Ridge is right up the road and they have a Zinfandel that Sheri served us that I really liked. But we got there right at 4pm and they were closing. Bastards! I wanted to tast a super delish fruity zinfandel today. I guess I'll just have to wait...I hate waiting. Argh and dammit all to hell! That is all.

Turkey Soup

Ever since I saw this post from Sheri, I've been craving turkey soup. I'm not even a turkey soup kind of gal, but it just looked incredibly yummy and I knew I had to have some.

Good thing it's turkey season because leftover turkey was not hard to come by since my mom made a 21 pound bird this year!

I like my soup a little bit thicker than what you'd really consider soup. I like it more like stew. So I added some star shaped pasta noodles and the starch from them thickened my broth up quite nicely. Yum.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Sunny South Bay Ride with the Velo Girls

The Velo Girls that made it to the inaugural Sunny South Bay Ride were Sheri, Leisa, me and Deb (pictured from left above). I tell ya, we had a good ride.

The day started out very cold...very...cold. Once we got going and in the sun on Santa Teresa, it started to become bearable. We made it to our first climb - Bernal - and rode all the way up to the Upper Gate. On the way, we noticed the trees along the bike lane were trimmed back and met the man that actually volunteers to do it. You heard right, nobody asks him to do this, he just does it because he's a good samaritan. His name is John and this is what he looks like ---->

He's been doing it for the last 5 years and as we rode off we thanked him for keeping our bike lane clear. while we were screaming downhill. I topped out at 37 mph and sure that the other girls were around there too. Leisa cross-chained at the top of the hill, but got it sorted out and also had a very satisfying downhill.

We then rode out to Bailey Ave and went up and over while Sheri had to take a phone call from work. Work has a way of getting in the middle of fun sometimes. We re-grouped and headed out towards Buffalo Hill.....up and over that one you see a trend here? We rode out to Oak Glen for the turnaround, at which point we were at 20 miles.

Once on Uvas Road, we climbed back over Buffalo Hill into some fierce headwinds. They are really strong in that area of the south bay. But a challenging course is what makes you a better rider, right? That's what I am telling myself anyway:)

At the Los Alamitos Creek Trail, we parted ways with Deb because she wanted to stay on road and get back to the starting point to get some things done for the day. As for the rest of us, we continued on the bike path for a perfect nice-and-easy end to a really great ride. 32 miles of sunshine, hills, new friends and fun. What could be better?

Be on the lookout for future Sunny South Bay Rides. The plan is to get a bi-weekly schedule going, but it may be a bit sketchy until after the holidays. I know how important it is to work off all of the holiday food we'll be stuffing in our faces. So if you're up for it, so am I! We'll change up the course for each ride as there are plenty of routes to choose from down here in the Sunny South Bay;)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Off-season is good

When I got my coach earlier this year I was absolutely stoked. I could not wait to have a routine set in place for me so I'd never have to think about anything but sweating. I devoted so much time to my training and actually neglected other parts of my time with my hubby. I know he felt the effects of my being out all the time, but for the most part, just do my thing because he knows it makes me happy. I least I'm not out at the bars whoring around, right? Right:D

Now that my season is over, though, I am so incredibly happy to be able to just be free to do what I want and not have to worry about how far, how long, how much or how hard. Now I get to do fun things like hiking and playing with my horses. And I can't wait for the snow to fall so we can dust off the snowboards (that are still in the snowboard bag from when we went to Whistler last year.....ahhhh....Whisssttlllleeerrr....God we loved that place!). We bought the Tahoe for the sole reason of our snow trekking this year, so we better get a lot of use out of it!

So, as I start to think about next year's races, I want to remember this feeling. The just have fun feeling. I don't want to put any pressure on myself like I did this year. It proved nothing to me, all it got me was a lot of disappointment. I just want to have fun at some really cool races with my friends. I think I want to do more bike riding next year, more bike tours. I'll have to look into that.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Back in the Gym

At last night's tri club meeting our guest speaker, Coach Muddy Waters, reminded all of us of two things - a) it's okay to drink beer in our off-season and b) get back to weight training for the winter to build us up for next season. So tonight, that's what I did:)

I did 1.5 hrs in a combination of free weights and machines and lots of lunges. I did 20 minutes on the treadmill afterwards to get the lactic acid moving on out. I cannot believe exactly how much FATTY FAT I have on my body right now! There will be no slacking off for me this off-season. Full length mirrors at the gym are evil, man!

What I really can't wait for is the snow. I want to snowboard at least twice a month this winter. We bought the Tahoe for that specific reason anyway;)

Food tonight was okay. I marinated some chicken in my proprietary marinade and served with white beans, spinach and red chard. Good, not great.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My very first half marathon!

Okay...I have got to be the LAMEST person on this entire planet...and I'm not even joking.

Yesterday was planned to be my first half marathon...ever. I was going to do the S. F. Coastline Trail Run put on by Redwood Trails. They are famous for gorgeous and challenging course venues. I couldn't wait to run along the San Francisco Bay. Me and 200 other crazies running in the coastal woods.....what more could you want on a brisk and sunny morning?

I woke up early, showered (yes, I shower before wakes me up and makes me feel good okay?!), ate breakfast, drank water and got my battered tri bag filled with my running gear into the Tahoe. I felt really really really good. I drove to San Francisco with my Mom, niece and doggie in tow ready for this race...completely ready I tell ya. I've been completely trained for this by my very own Coach Pete. I aimed to do him proud today.

I get there 1/2 hr before the race is supposed to start so I can check in and get a quick warm-up run done beforehand. I go to the place where we're
supposed to start and NOBODY is around. I mean, nobody. You know this is completely wrong because it's just not the way at races. There are always
people milling around with race numbers on. People talking, people with coffee, people warming up...but this time, there were no people. I start to doubt myself and the map I printed, so I go back to the car and get the directions from the race's website. I'm in the right place, but there's nobody here...what gives? My mom calls the number on the directions and it goes straight to voicemail and the race director says he will not be back in town until 11/26! My mom left a message, but nobody called back. At this point, we think that the race has been cancelled, I must not have gotten the notification. Fine...I can deal with that.

I drove up there to do a half marathon and that's what I was going to do. So, I set off on the course. Which, by the way, I had zero idea where I was going. I had a general direction in mind from the maps on the harbor that outlined a coastal trail...but for the most part, I was just gonna run until there was no more running to do.

It was brutal. It was definitely not an easy course. It was up and down and more up and down and over and back again and then...there were stairs! Every so often I would get lost and have to backtrack to the trail I was just on to find my way to another trail. It certainly felt like more than 13 miles after all the big and little rolling hills, stairs (Yes! Big, tall and numerous steps to climb up in the middle of this thing!), tree roots tripping me and slipping on rocks. It was crazy and comical at the same time, all I could do was laugh! I was having a blast running downhill as fast as I could and just keeping it nice and steady (read=slow) on the uphills. I ran out of water with about 3 miles to go so when I got close to a house, I borrowed their hose and filled up my fuel belt (thank you angelic stranger who was not home, I was definitely in need of your nice cold water!). I dug deep and just wanted to finish this business. I ran it in 2:22:44

When I got to the starting point where my mom was waiting for me...she had this big smile on her face and I laid down on the picnic table bench to catch my breath. She started to chuckle and told me that while I was running, she called a friend with internet access and had him check the race website to see what was going on. What we found out was.....this race is NEXT MONTH!!
There was a race today, but it was in a different city 40 miles away! I felt like a complete idiot!

This happened because I was contemplating two races for my first half mary. One was in November and one in December. I thought the November race was in San Francisco, but it was actually in Pt. Reyes. So, my neurons got thier wires crossed when remembering which race I was going to do. Yes, I'm blaming it on my neurons. A memory is the sum of a neuron’s connections.....and they obviously failed to connect!

All encompassing idiocy aside, I am glad I did it. There are two major positives that came from this snafu though - a) This run is similar to I can train to kill that course in 2006 and b) I know I can do I've raised the bar. I set a goal for myself and I just f*%^ing did it! This was my last planned event for the season. I had a great time with my training this year and have seen improvement by leaps and bounds from what I once considered athletic. Now I just need to chill and be a normal person for a few weeks;)

Thanks for reading, I hope you've learned your lesson to read the details of your the date and location....those are kind of important!

Beef Pot Roast

Tonight's dinner was a lot of labor for not enough payoff. I decided to follow a recipe from this month's Fine Cooking, "Making a Succulent Beef Pot Roast. It took 3.5 hours and a lot of checking, turning and bothering with.

When I usually make pot roast I *very simply* gather these ingredients: veggies, meat, crushed tomatoes, broth, salt and pepper. Throw them in the oven for 2.5 hrs. That's's done...and it's always tasty.

This recipe told me to add all kinds of extra things that didn't really matter in the long run because their flavor gets all cooked out. For example: orange zest, vinegar and cinanmon stick. With the exception of the cinnmon stick, all of the other tastes were gone. And why in the heck did it suggest to saute carrots and onions in the beginning when I would just add more later? It added nothing but a soggy mess in the end. Why would I brown the beef first when it's just going to braise in hot liquid and get all flaky anyway? Why? Why?! Why take so many steps when it's not absolutely necessary? Inefficiency is a pet peeve of mine, perhaps this is why I don't follow recipes and just do my own thing.

Les agreed there wasn't much difference aside from the fact that tonight's pot roast was less salty. Well, we all know how much I love salt, so I'll take that with...well...a grain of it!

WCB Get better Clare

Huggy and Buddy wanted to get up close to the camera to give you some love. They heard about what happened with Kiri and both send you lots of well wishes. And besides, they know that up-close shots of animals are super cute!

For those that would like to know what happened to Clare, you may read it here. For those that want to see all the feline adorablification of Weekend Cat Blogging, have a wander over to Boo-licious.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

First half mary is almost here!

My first half marathon is coming up on Saturday. I'm doing the Crissy Field run in San Francisco. I am excited, nervous, nauseated, hungry, thirsty and everything else that comes with pre-race jitters.

I had all of my races planned for 2005 since June of 2004! I have basically been training all damn year for my tri season and when that ended in September with a DNF at Pac Grove, I kinda lost a little steam. I started thinking that I would just cut my losses and get back to the normal life of an early off-season. But then that made me feel like a big fat loser for not finishing what I started. And once something is written my race schedule is, I laid a guilt trip on myself and kept on working.

I got derailed when that nail visciously attacked my foot and caused me to have stiches and a tetanus shot. So for 10 days I had no workouts...I could barely hobble around and get myself to work. Well, that's all over with and I've been doing some running, but mostly I'm enjoying my taper. I have two run workouts scheduled for the rest of the week and then it's go-time.

My mom and niece will be there to cheer me on. I think my husband has gotten pretty bored of the whole "waiting around for hours for me to finish racing" thing. He's still supportive of my daily training, but likes to sleep in now and let me do my races on my own. It was bound to happen sooner or later. It is nice to get a hug from him at the finish line, but I understand. I get completely bored at his DJ gigs sitting there for hours - not drinking - and being up way too late waiting for him to finish. So, it's okay that we each do our own thing, just as long as we get to tell each other all about it afterwards:)

My goal for this race is only to finish. It's my first half and I have absolutely nothing to gauge against in regards to a finishing time. I have been contemplating not even wearing my watch so it won't ruin it for me when I realize how long I've been running. However, the data geek in me will need to know what my splits are so that's probably not an option.

I need to just chill. This is not going to defeat me. I'm going to do an awesome job on a beautiful course and that's all I have to say about that;)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I love my f*^%ing bike!

I know I've said it before, but I seriously mean that my bike is the best bike ever! I woke up this morning all warm and snuggly at 7am. I tried so hard to go back to sleep, but I felt that my bike was calling out to me from the dining room where she sleeps. I heard her loud in my ears...almost as loud as Stella's purring in my ear as she sleeps on my neck.

I jumped out of bed, got my faithful and got totally trashed tri bag all filled up with gear: Bike shoes, socks, Chamois Butt'r, sunblock, Zeal Optics Zoonies Sunglasses, Arm Warmers, Woolen Leg Warmers, Full Gloves, Half Gloves, Cash, Road ID, eGel, and Glaceau Smart Water. I see you rolling your eyes about the Smart just tastes crisp and clean okay? I'm not buying into the whole "it will turn you into a superhuman and give you the best performance ever" hype, I just happen to love the way it tastes. There's something about the ionization process that makes it better than other bottled water.

I rode a new-ish route today. I added two climbs onto my normal Bailey Road loop. I rode straight up Bernal all the way to the upper gate. It was work, believe me. But it produced the most satisfying downhill since Wildflower's Nasty Grade climb. I hit 42 MPH and could have gone faster but there is one sketchy section where they've put a STOP sign. There is no cross traffic on top of this hill, they just put it there for the trail runners and mountain bikers that want to cross the road. I didn't stop though, I just crossed my fingers and hoped nobody wanted to cross because I was totally high on endorphins and adrenaline and didn't want it to stop. I'm such a speed junkie on the bike.

The second climb I added was what I found to be named "Buffalo Hill". You'll not find any signs naming it that, but it's just the climb that you start after you hit McKean Road and turn left after the Bailey Road downhill. This hill is not really considered a climb to me though because the downhill is fairly weak. It's good for your last climb of the ride though.

Total mileage today was around 30 miles and it was a good day. I just love my bike. Thank you for a great ride GB! (Good Bike)

Treacle Toffee

The hubby sent me an email asking if I could make him some treacle toffee. Apparently for Brits, every November 5th is Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night. This year it's the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot. His "mum" used to make the family treacle tofee each year and they'd go to a huge bonfire to celebrate. Yeah.

Without even knowing what treacle is, I said "I'd love to!". I went straight to work and found all I needed to know about treacle and the toffee that it makes. Very easy. Very yummy. Very dangerous for dental work!

It's a severely addicting taste and even though it freaks you out when it gets soft and sticks to every tooth you have, you can't stop eating it! I've never been a fan of hard candy...but hard candy that turns soft and that's the stuff!

Les saw me making it and was a bit worried because his mum's recipe was different from what I found. We expedited the setting process by putting it in the freezer. Some time during the night of our Father Ted marathon on BBC America, he got off the couch and pulled the treacle from the freezer. It was wrapped in wax paper and he broke it up against the kitchen counter. He was happy and so was I. My first candy adventure was a success:)
*--->click here for Treacle Toffee recipe<---*

What Leader Are You?

Stumbled across this over at Life is Nuts!. I thought compelled to take it because a) I'm stalling.... I just woke up to a very warm house and can't get motivated for my 30 mile bike ride in the cold...good thing I bought those arm and leg warmers the other day, and b) I am geeky like that...I love tests! Really I do. I'm a freak.

So, the first time I tried it, I chose to answer only 18 of the 45 questions and I found out that I was Saddam Houssein!

That just wouldn't do, so I took the test again. Instead this time I answered all of the 45 questions and came out with Abe Lincoln. Now that's more like it:) Apparently the more questions you answer the more accurate your test results will be because they have more information to gauge from. Works for me!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Key Lime Pie

Thanks to the very clever writings of Hi! Monkey! I was able to follow this very simple recipe for a truly fantastic key lime pie. I've never attempted before because to tell the always seemed a bit intimidating for some reason. Not anymore:)

I would post the recipe, but it will be much more fun for you if you visit the link and follow monkey's instructions! Trust me, it's classic:)

Just one word before you takes a LOT of teeny little key limes to make 3/4 cup of key lime juice....33 to be exact! So, happy juicing!

Since my oven is temperamental about low temperatures, I had to cook it longer than stated in the recipe and the crust got a bit manky on the bottom. It does not stop me from scraping the crust from the bottom and eating it on it's own after the pie filling has lifted off of it though! I'm sure this will not happen to you because you probably have a really nice oven;)

I'm afraid to ask our landlady to fix it because she just spent $2500 to fix our heater, $300 to fix our dishwasher, and $3.00 to glue the frame back onto our front window. This is what happens when you don't take care of your rental properties with regular maintenance. It's not your renters' responsibility to fix things when they break from regular use and when things wear out because they are old. The carpet needs replacing as well...but that's so far out of the question, it's not even a statement yet.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What fruit is this?

A friend of mine received it from his boss and has no idea what it is. I've searched google image for it and can't find anything like it. I've come close with a cherimoya...but it's not quite there. What do you think it is?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Running is Good

Last week, when my foot stiches were ruining my life, I made a promise to myself not to slack off of any of my training anymore. It's amazing how much you take for granted when there's nothing wrong with you...but when you're injured and stalled, you get a completely new outlook.

I have been on target with my running for the past week. I'm preparing for my upcoming half marathon - Crissy Field in San Francisco that goes along the coastal edge in an out-and-back course. I've not lost any fitness while laid up, but I did lose speed. So, my goal is 2:15. I'm going to resist the urge to type "but it's probably going to be more like 2:30" because that would be negative thinking and I'm not about that!

Tonight's run was 8 miles. My longest run ever was 10 miles. Had you told me three years ago before I started this triathlon craziness that I would be running 10 mile training runs, I would have said something like, "you must be high". But it's my life now, it's just what I do. It's good stuff...and I'll never stop...I'm like a freight train:)


I pride myself in making a super delicioso pizza but tonight was only slightly above par. I wanted to do something different, and I think it was good, it just wasn't what the Carter's are used to.

I usually do a Boboli pizza crust with their included sauce package, meat, cheese, and a secret combination of spices on top. Tonight, I used a Pillsbury pizza crust and baked it as the package directed. Instead of using pre-made sauce, I simply sliced some red tomatoes (got rid of juice and seeds) and laid them atop the crust, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and oregano. Did you know that Oregano means 'joy of the mountain'? I thought you did, I was just checking.

For tonight's pizza, I topped it with mozz chz (sorry, my second job ever was at Round Table Pizza and that's a standard abbreviation for mozzerella cheese:P), canadian bacon, pineapple, red onion and BACON! Yes, bacon. Bacon makes the world a happy place. It makes the hubby's nose perk right up when I'm in the kitchen preparing our nightly feast.

I thought it was tasty...I had two slices and a huge pile of spinach with olive oil and salt. Les finished off the rest of the pie, but I think he likes the Boboli better.