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 🙂

 

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Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes…

LavaMan Triathlon. Redemption in the form of an Olympic Distance Triathlon. As the title says, like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, I triumphantly busted out an almost 50 minute Personal Record 🙂  My last Olympic distance was December 2014 with the less than stellar HITS Palm Springs Championships.

Lavaman has been on my list for a long time.  I was registered last year but had to pull  out after contracting that water borne illness at that fateful Palm Springs race. This was my year for redemption.

Honestly, who doesn’t secretly want to race on parts of the Ironman World Championship course?  I know I will never qualify for Kona, so this is the next best thing. Me racing down the famous Queen K Highway, just like Chrissie Wellington.

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Morning run to A-bay

I found myself in Waikoloa Village 4 days pre race. Found an amazing condo close to the start in Anaeho’omalu Bay (A-bay) I figured this would give me a few days to acclimate.  Every morning I went for my 6am run before the sun came up. What a feeling! I did not swim much in the Bay before the race.  Swimming is the best  part for me. So I concentrated on getting my running feet underneath me in the heat.

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Thought my Phoenix  INKnBURN was appropriate

Saturday before the race, I picked up my packet and attended the pre-race briefing.  The briefing was a joke, but mandatory, so I went.  Relaxed the rest of the day and prepared my race kit and bag. And turned in early.

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Check the list to make sure I have it all

Race morning, up at 5am.  Transition opens at 5:30. Ride the half a mile over to A-Bay to rack my bike, set up shop, get numbered, and grab my timing chip. OK, so I went over super early and then had a lot of time to kill 🙂

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My spot is all tidy.

Saw both Kinsey and Marcus, from home. These two are amazing athletes and incredibly nice people to boot. Got my pep talk from Kinsey and wished her well, as she was starting with the elites. Turns out Kinsey won the overall women’s title, with Marcus coming in 5th male.  Amazing I tell you 🙂

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Pre-race selfie

I made it to my swim corral and waited as we swam out waist deep for our start wave. Boom, time to swim.  So much congestion.  I started out mid pack and quickly found myself in the “washing machine”  I clawed my way out a bit past the worst of the congestion. I then after that first 500 yards, had the best swim I have had in months.  Swim, slice, pull through the water with ease. I did not even have issues like I normally do with sighting my position.

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Out of the water, whoops I feel waterlogged!  Trudge up the sand and across the pavement to Transition #1. Get my feet clean and geared up for the ride.  Considering the distance to T-1 I feel like I had a pretty good transition.

Whoomp, Whoomp, Whoomp go the wheels of my Cervelo P2 as I head South on the Queen K.  Now here is where things get fun.  Wind….check.  Sun….check….Traffic….check.  Ok girl, you got this.  I get down in Aero and push through the wind.  And then it happens, I, yes I, start passing people left and right. What a feeling.  All these hours this winter spent on my trainer are paying off.  I was able to hammer in a way I know I couldn’t have done this time last year.  The turn around was sketchy.  It was a no pass zone, but this one lady just had to cut me off and pass.  She almost took out my front wheel doing it.  But once we got back on the main highway, I quickly overtook her and in the distance she fell behind.

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Transition 2 was quick. Just pull on the socks and a hat and off.  Now the pavement is scorching hot.  I can feel the heat from below and above.  The course has limited shade the whole way, so I made sure to stop at each mile marker aide station for a quick drink and ice.

Here is where I struggled.  My runs are always decent, but today that heat was just to much.  I could feel myself struggling right out of the gate.  So for the first 3 miles I did a run walk, until I felt better.  At the mid-course turnaround a light breeze came and I was able to run until I hit the lava/coral/beach section.  This was mostly single track at this point.  It was narrow and hard to run on. This section was about 3/4 of a mile. I went with the flow of the group around me. So much of this was walked during the narrow sections.

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This point we are all running adjacent to the beach. It was so hot all I could think of was jumping into the water, but not yet.  I could see the finish line ahead.  Okay Susie, you can do this.  You can run through all this loose sand and finish strong.  I dug down deep….to keep running even when I could barely keep my footing straight. Finish Line!

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Woot, look at me I am done ☺

Celebrate……I crossed it 3:38.  I beat my goal of coming in less than 3:45.  The Phoenix has done it.  Lavaman 2016 finisher. I couldn’t be happier.

 

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…and so begin the nerves

It’s not often I get apprehensive about a race. But for some reason I am very apprehensive about Lavaman.  I wish I could say it was the distance I need to travel to get there, Alaska to Hawaii, but that not it. I often travel far and wide to race.  Just last month I traveled to San Diego with all of my tri gear to practice with my amazing So. Cal Triathlon Club.

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This will be my first “real” triathlon since I broke my foot last summer at the Nevada Lamoille Canyon Marathon. That really derailed my training a lot. I still completed a Half Ironman with that broken foot, which in hindsight was not the smartest thing I have done. I also kept biking and swimming, which were all okay with my doctor.  I really really have not gotten back into full on running shape.  It’s been HARD, so HARD.

Ive dropped the 15 extra pounds and that still hasn’t effected my pace, still finding myself slow at around 10:45 per minute.  Sigh, still a lot of work ahead of me to get back to where I was before.

My trusty steed is all packed and secured.  I love my Thule Round Trip Traveler bike box.  It is amazing. Wendy, my amazingly awesome Cervelo P2 is all tucked in nicely waiting for the long haul over the Pacific. May she arrive safely with no drama.

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Snug as a bug in a rug.

Wetsuit or no Wetsuit? I guess I will be taking mine but not sure if its worth wearing it.  It often impedes my stroke. The water should be just under the USAT limit.  My other Tri Club here in Alaska is suggesting a wetsuit and most of them are already on the Big Island and are training with their suits.  I guess I will make the call on race day depending on how the surf is. If its churning then I will go with the wetsuit for the extra floatation, if its glass I will not wear it.

I also got a new triathlon suit. A shout out to Triflare. They make the most fun and amazing prints.  Even though I look like a busted can of biscuits, I will post a photo. If I can’t post it here then how the heck do I plan on wearing it out in public 🙂  My Tri It Together club kit didn’t get to me in time, so I headed down to BodyPhlo in Anchorage this weekend and picked up this beauty.

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more like 7lbs stuffed in a 5lb bag 🙂

I know that I have this in the bag.  I know the heat will be killer for this Alaskan just coming off winter. I know its a short course, Olympic Distance and I know if worse comes to worse I know I can at least finish.  But I want all these hours in the pool, treadmill and bike trainer all winter to add up to something.

I need to shake off these nerves and get to packing all my gear.  This year I have smartened up.  No more taking nice clothes to the island. My bag will be full of nothing but my tri stuff, swimsuits, and my INKnBurn shorts and tanks 🙂  I might as well look good while keeping cool and well it packs so much nicer than my other clothes.

Onward and forward to Sunday….Wish me godspeed and goodluck!

 

 

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.

 

Beware the Ides of March.

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Today may not have been a great day for the mighty Caesar but around here its a pretty good day.  I may even have a Caesar Salad and I promise to not stab the dressing in the back in frustration when I can’t get the darn safety seal off!  Not only the Ides of March but St. Patricks day is also coming up. This week is coming up green.

Another bright spot is that it snowed!  Well….okay maybe it was just a skiff but it gives me hope that we just maybe will get one more good snow before it all melts away.

St. Patty’s run is this weekend but its going to be way to cold for me to wear my new awesome INKnBurn Lucky Charms 2 skirt. I might just wear it anyways over a pair of fleece tights because its so awesome.  I will just have to dig out a green pullover to finish off the look and a hat, some kind of awesome hat.

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So Green and awesome!

It is also an amazing week here at work.  Arctic Science Summit Week 2016 is being hosted here at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.  Hundreds of amazing Arctic Researchers, NGO’s, Industry, Government, and academia, from all over the globe are here along with the Arctic Council Senior Officials meeting.  The whole campus is abuzz with excitement! Even our former fearless leader came from Vienna to participate in this incredible collaborative summit.

It is ramping up to be extremely busy and I am trying to get ahead of everything in the  next three weeks before I leave for Kona!  I cannot wait to enjoy the sun and tropical island.  Midterms are next week and the Sonot Ski Marathon is the weekend after that. Whew a lot is going on and time management is killing  me right now.

Ive been good about keeping the workouts in other than swimming.  The pool schedule here is too crazy over spring break for me to manage. And indoor cycling gets harder and harder.  Being in San Diego last month really made to long for being out on the open road with my trusty Wendy (my Cervelo P2).

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one hour feels like ten

 

Thankfully I have Friday off to catch up on school and midterm work….And I hope to get in at least one long run this week!