Happy Independence Day Ya’ll

Happy Independence weekend everyone.  Not just a long weekend, in which for me is a 4 day weekend, but a time to reflect as well as enjoy.

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This weekend I am taking to to reflect on myself and my own personal independence while also doing my part to give back to the community.

Today I participated in the nationwide event the RWB Eagle Charge.  Hosted by RWB which is an amazing veterans outreach group, read more here at TeamRWB.  And one can sign up for the eagle charge here, EagleCharge!. Today we celebrated not only Independence Day, but veteran enrichment and personal achievements.

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TeamRWB – Fairbanks

I am lucky to be involved with this amazing group. We run, triathlon, read books, help the veteran community, and provide outreach to the greater community.  It truly is a life changing group.  We are a glorious mix of active servicemen, veterans, spouse, and civilians.  We are open to all. My dad proudly served in the United States Army and retired with honours after a long career. Now it is my turn to give back in a capacity that fits who I am.

The weather held for the duration of the event. And well as usual me and my buddy Cassie made sure we got our pre-race selfie in.

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Then off we go most of us choosing the 4 miler, with one lone 7 miler.  Of course we chose a hilly course, because a challenge can only make us stronger right? Scott, one of our Marines, was the lucky flag bearer for the start.

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The route was pretty simple and I think we all had a great time.  I was the red lantern in the 4 miler finishing in 42 minutes.  Overall, not my best but far from my worst 🙂

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Thats a hill!

All in all it was a pretty darn good day and a good turnout at GoldStream Sports on a rainy, grey day.

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Cassie and I post race w/Old Glory

Cassie and I posed for one final photo, we do love a camera, with Old Glory.

Have a great holiday weekend, get outside, do some personal reflection, and give thanks for the great country we live in which affords us with so many choices and freedoms. Focus on the good things and find positive way to affect change and to support all of the things that are close to our heart.  This weekend I celebrate personal freedoms and having the ability to be and live our lives in way that is meaningful to our selves.

 

 

What Does it Take to Clock a 15 Minute PR?

Two words.  Hard Work.  Who would have thought that hard work and consistent training would make all the difference?  Not the shiny new bike or the fancy new kicks. I guess I have been doing it wrong all these years.

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I have been training hard over the winter.  Lavaman was my reason to keep training during the winter on a structured plan.  I certainly didn’t want to travel that far to do poorly due to under conditioning.  Well that hard work really paid off during the season opener triathlon this past weekend.  Our season opener is the BreakUp Triathlon, which is for Fairbanks, Alaska, an early season event.  Because it so early season for us we do our swim in the University pool instead of open water.  The ice that still covers all the lakes it a pretty strong deterrent from swimming.

I have run this race every year since it started and my time has been fairly consistent within 3-5 minutes. But this year, all bets were off and I knew I could run a course PR based on my performance at the Lavaman Olympic distance.

Race day started out a little chilly, which always makes it hard to know what to wear.  I decided to go with my club kit.  My club Tri-It Together is based in Temecula, CA so I hoped it would bring a little luck and a lot of the So.Cal sun and warmth.

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Even my hat matches!

I bought an early lane bid. I hate circle swimming and will gladly pay the charity donation in order to avoid it. And the bonus is I get to start in the first or second wave so I finish early instead of rolling the dice as to what my start time will be.

Swim was uneventful.  Just right about where I normally am, so no surprises.  Glad my lane partner was a little faster than me, it pushed me to try to keep up which kept my speed up. Transition was slow’ish which is normal for me, but I got out on the bike easy peasy.

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Look at those high elbows 🙂

Now is when it gets interesting.  No socks, so my feet immediately get cold and stay cold and clammy.  I felt a little off the first two miles or so.  Turns out  I was in the small chain ring instead of the big, like I should have been.  Crap no wonder I felt like I was spinning out of control. Get that taken care of and honestly struggle a little though the first half. I felt really slow.  Then notice, crap, I forgot to start my Garmin. Of course I did.  I buy a fancy Garmin 920 and half the time I forget to actually push the button. So I have no gauge on the bike to know how I did.  The course is flat-hill-rolling-flat. With the hills around the turnaround.  After the turnaround I felt a lot better and was able to pass the one racer that passed me going out. I passed her and did not see her again until the run portion.

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Head into T2 and get my socks on my clammy feet and grab my hat and head out.  My feet are like frozen blocks. This course is pretty brutal for a sprint in that a huge half mile hill is the first thing out of the gate.  I ran 3/4 up then conserved a little energy and walked up the last 1/4 which is by far the steepest part.  I did try to power walk, but walking was the right thing to do. Helped my feet as well. I crested the hill and was able to run the remainder of the course with no issues.  Its always the first mile off the bike that is the hardest then I can normally find my groove.

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Whoa…is that a smile?

About 1/2 the lady I passed on the bike whizzed by.  But I was able to pass one other runner, which felt good.  Then my team mate John passed me 3/4 of the way to the finish. I was so hoping to hold him off, but I just couldn’t keep up.  Maybe next year I can beat him.  At the finish John said, wow, you were really fast this year.  Considering I had no watch time or clock time I told him maybe 5 minutes or so.  But John disagreed and said it was way faster.  I guess he was right 🙂  Note to self: Never argue with another scientist.  I finished in 1:38 which was a major improvement over the prior year of 1:53.  OMG, I totally killed it.  So much happiness that I was able to that much better.

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Looks like a leisure walk in the park

The rest of my team finish, and all of us did better this year than last year.  This race was bittersweet though.  This will be our last race with our teammate and colleague Georgina.  She is off to a new adventure in the lower 48.  With that in mind I am so glad we all had one last chance to race together and enjoy the camaraderie.  As you can see we were a very happy group of racers.

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Team Nothing to Lose

I guess the moral of the story is consistency really does pay off.  I have another race in a few weeks, also another local’ish sprint tri.  My goal is to do at least 8 minutes better than I did last year.  That may be a little optimistic, but I think I can do it.

Running has always been my strongest, at least until about 3 years ago.  I have been spending a lot of time working on my running and I think that is paying off. Even just a minute a mile really pays off!

 

 

Post Holiday Let Down

I am suffering from the dreaded post holiday let down.  How can you go from tropical beautiful Hawaii back to a still transitioning from winter Alaska with out going through withdrawl?

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Mountain to Ocean view…

I left that, to come home to this…..A grey wasteland

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Time to get to get back to real life.  The semester for me is all done, just a few grades left then the freedom of summer at least for 3 weeks until summer session starts. I am taking this time to focus on my running.

I had a great run last night, it was short, 4 miles, but I was really able to work on my pace.  Prior to my injury I was running sub 10 and in January of this year I was running about 12:35.  Well I have been working hard on my stand alone runs and have been able to consistently run right at 10:45. So I have made progress.  By the end of the season I hope to be able to get back to at least a round 10:00 per mile.  Its going to take a lot of hard work. And the 10 pounds lost so far have been a big help I am sure.

I have one big goal race in October, Beach to Battleship Ironman and one additional goal of getting in an ultra somewhere.  A suggestion from friend, Tasha, has me looking at the Tunnel Hill 100 in October, but dang why does it have to be the weekend after Ironman?  I guess the search goes on to find a good friendly 50, 100 or even another 24 hour race to fill out my schedule.  Do to conflict I will not be able to attend the North Coast 24 hour endurance run again this year.

I am inspired to run. My Girls on the Run ladies are awesome and inspire me every day to keep going.  These young ladies give it their all each practice and that makes my heart happy. I wish so much that I had a program like that when I was that age.  We had a fund raiser for GOTR in conjunction with our 5K Run for Respect and I was amazed at how many came to run our race.  The community here is strong and giving.

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This amazing young volunteer gave high 5’s to everyone!

I have my first Alaska Triathlon this weekend.  I am hoping all my hard work has paid off and I can better my time from last year by 5 minutes. That is my goal. Five minutes, I think thats doable.  I guess we will find out and I will report back 🙂

 

Hungarian Mushroom Soup is Perfect Recovery Food!

I woke up this morning to over an inch of new snow 😦 Winter has a funny way of holding on tight here in the sub arctic.  Since today I was home bound with endless amounts of homework I decided to make my favourite soup, Hungarian Mushroom.

This will be perfect recovery food for my sore legs as well.  Yesterday was our first 5K of the season.  I did a little better than I expected but still not up to my speed prior to breaking my foot.  I enjoyed a great time with my awesome running buddies.  This is a great start to the season. I was hoping to rock out some new spring outfits, but mother nature did not agree and decided that it was going to be 26 degrees! I only got this one snap of Pat, me and Heidi. I missed getting Skye and Tom in on the photo.

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INKnBURN Healing Mandala and Run or Die kept me toasty warm

Now….on to the soup!

This soup is not the prettiest to look at but it is amazing.  Like most Hungarian Mushroom soups it is loosely based on the Moosewood Cookbook version, which is where this soup was first concocted.  And the best thing is that you most likely have the ingredients on hand in the crisper and pantry. My version is a lower carb version. As most everyone knows I follow a low carb lifestyle, so I try to make this as low carb as possible.

  • 1-2 pounds of sliced mushroom (more the better) I like cremeni
  • 1 cup of finely chopped white onions or any onion but red ones!
  • 1 large clove finely chopped garlic, use FRESH or not at all
  • 3 cups of low sodium chicken or veggie broth, or use half and half.
  • 1/2 cup of heavy or regular whipping cream mixed with 1/2 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Hungarian Sweet Paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Spanish Sweet Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon of course ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon of course ground sea salt (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon of Dill weed
  • 1/4 cup of full fat sour cream (you could use lowfat or full fat greek yogurt) Do not use anything fat free, its just weird
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • Juice of half a small Lemon for garnish

Step 1:  In a heavy stock, soup, or dutch oven melt a small amount of butter or olive oil (your choice) and saute the onions for a few minutes (make sure not to brown them) then add the mushrooms.  Saute till mushrooms are soft and onions translucent.  Then add the garlic.

Step 2: Add in the paprika and stir. I like to toast it and cook it a little before I add in the chicken stock. Then add the rest of the spices, minus the parsley.

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I may not be pretty…..

Step 3: Add in the soy and your stock of choice. Simmer for about 15-20 minutes covered

Step 4: Add in the cream and water mixture. Simmering again for 10-15 minutes, I leave it uncovered from here on out.

Step 5: Remove from heat, wait about 5 minutes and add in the sour cream.  You need to let it cool just a little so that the sour cream doesn’t curdle.

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Almost done 🙂

Step 6: Add in the lemon juice and add the parsley. Now check for seasoning and add salt and more pepper as needed.

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I may not be the prettiest but I am tasty

Normally I will serve this with a side of a small protein for myself, like a small half of a grilled chicken breast.  Today I was serving it to someone else, so I added in a toasted piece of ciabatta bread to finish it off.  If you leave off the bread the carb count is low’ish.  Probably around 10-12 net for six servings. But for me this make 4 decent dinner sized portions.  Removing the flour and the whole milk (subbing in diluted cream) and reducing the number of onions by half, really cut back on the number of carbs.

This is perfect as a side dish or a dinner soup on a cold day.  It is one of my most favourite soups to make.

 

Sonot Kkaazoot !

Sonot Kkaazoot, which is Athabascan for “springtime” and “to slide your feet across the snow” was today, WOOT!

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This is our annual ski marathon.  With multiple distances from 20-50 kilometers it really brings a large gathering from the community. From junior nordics to 80 years old  Its an amazing time.  As part of the race committee I was there all day, from start to finish.

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I decided to dress warm for all the standing around, even though the temps were around 40.  I went with the traditional Sonot Official Orange and my INKnBURN Ryu pullover to complete the orange power look.  It was a perfect combo and I was warm all day long.

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The skiers were off on a very soft course.  And as the signs say, the ice was thin.  I saw two people punch through the thin ice on the Chena River.  Maybe next year we need bigger signs.

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It’s not hard, just read the sign

The 20K skiers are fast and furious on the return!  Then trickle in the 40K and 50K skiers.  In some spots there were at least 6 inches of overflow water on parts of the course.  We had to re-route around those areas as best we could.  All skiers finished and were accounted for.  My sister Susan was the sweeper this year. She has skied each and every Sonot 50K, she is an animal!  Even our 80 year old participant int he 50k finished strong and with a smile.

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I have some amazing photos of finishers, but in order to preserve privacy of our younger participants I will not post them. Look for updates on the Sonot webpage or the Fairbanks Daily News Miner!

It was an amazing day. I got to see lots of friends and lots of people I only see once or twice a year during ski season.

Until next year!  Now its time for winter break up and spring!

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