Thursday, October 27, 2011

70.3 or Bust!

This weekend I'm heading to Miami for the Miami 70.3 Half Ironman race - I signed up the day BEFORE the Pocono Mountains 70.3 race after learning that the swim was cancelled.  I set 70.3 as my goal this year and 69.1 is not the same thing, maybe I'm too goal oriented but you can't say I'm not driven.

The race is now 100% full - when we signed up it was at 99% and was one of two races left in the US for the 2011 race season - so if I wanted to get my Ironman 70.3 in 2011 it was either Miami or Austin Texas.  Austin was a possibility but turned out to be a bit more expensive to get to - and I have an aunt that is graciously letting us stay with her that lives less than an hour from Miami, so Miami seemed like the right place to go.  It was staying pretty warm on the east coast through the beginning of October, we even had a weekend where we hit 80 and instead of doing training in the morning, we waited until 1pm to go so that we could train at the hottest part of the day here.  Now it's a bit colder than Miami so I'm a little worried about adjusting to the heat since I'll be getting to Miami the day before the race, which doesn't leave much time for acclimating to the hotter weather.  For training I kept up what I was doing for the Pocono Mountains 70.3 and have been doing Crossfit WODs two times a week, a longer run, an interval or tempo workout, and one long bike or brick workout per week.  I've been trying to add some yoga in, with the goal of once per week and that has been helping too.  That leaves me with 5 or 6 days "on" if you count doing yoga as a workout day and one rest day.  I have to admit that I'm starting to get a little burned out.  I haven't done much swimming, so my swim time will be interesting.  I got in the pool last week and did 2400 meters and am confident in my ability to do and finish the swim, but I have no idea how fast I'll be!

This race is different from the others I've done, where Tim (my husband is also doing the race) will be starting between 45 minutes and 1 hour AFTER me.  Usually I'm the one that starts that late behind him, so my goal in this race will be to get the 70.3 and for him NOT to pass me!  In our last race our times were about 30 mins apart but he had a SNAFU on the bike with 2 flats, and I'm just slow on the bike.  If you're interested in following us you can through ironman live.  Looks like I'll be starting 40 minutes after the official race start, in Wave 9 with a Sliver cap - I hope it's metallic and sparkly!  Tim will be all the way at the end in one of the Age Group - Male 30 - 34 waves 22, 23, or 24.
The Swim course will start and end at the same place which means turns!  There are 3 turns in this course which shouldn't be too bad.  This looks a lot like the swim in the Brigantine Triathlon, except instead of being 400 meters long it 1.2 miles - just a little bit longer :)  I'm not sure about wetsuits, the water temperature is right there at the line where we may get to wear them or maybe not.  I'll have mine regardless but am not worried about doing the swim without a wetsuit - I did both Olympic Tri's without a wetsuit and this is only an additional 300 meters of swimming compared to the .9 miles in those races.  The Bike and Run have a much larger jump in distance from an Olympic Distance Race to a Half Ironman distance.
I haven't heard much about the course for the bike or the run, but know that Florida is a LOT flatter than the Poconos so hopefully that will help me a little since I'm not an exceptional climber and am afraid to go too fast down hills.  There isn't as much activity via twitter and facebook as we had for the Poconos race, and what we have found has been in Spanish - Miami is definitely a bilingual area.  The run will be along the coast so hopefully we'll be getting a nice coastal breeze!  Both courses are out and back which means we also only have 1 transition which is great because the two transition and then finish being a mile away from transition where all of your things were was not the best situation - especially when the post race food is usually far from Paleo friendly and leaves me with not much to eat!

So watch out Miami, here I come and I'm determined to race all 70.3 miles that you have ready for me!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Shredded Mexican Chicken

This dish was inspired when I was looking for a quick and easy meal that could feed a lot of people - my current go to dish if I'm having a party or going to one is to make a crock pot of Paleo friendly pulled pork.  If you're going to a non-paleo place you can bring along some small rolls and you can eat your pork and know that it's 100% Paleo and everyone is content.  I've been on a Mexican kick lately, had just bought a family pack of chicken and decided that I would tackle creating a slow cooked shredded chicken dish.

What I put in the crock pot (other than the chicken)

  • 8 chicken breasts
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 2 large green peppers
  • 1 jar of Trader Joe's Salsa Verde
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (no sugar added!)
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of chicken broth
  • 2 - 3 tsp Mexican chili powder
  • 2 - 3 tsp Cumin
  • 2-3 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Sprinkle of red pepper falkes (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper
Add everything into a crockpot or slow cooker (chop the veggies please!) and then cook on low for 6 hours.  The result = some delicious shredded chicken!  It has a bit of heat, if you're not a cayenne pepper person you can sub a mild hot pepper or some red pepper flakes instead.  I'm sensitive to cayenne and felt like this packed a little heat, but others that ate it thought it was delicious!

What dinner looked like the first night
I ate it along with a plate full of sauteed kale, but you could also eat these in lettuce wraps.  If you do dairy, some cheese on top would have been delicious, also a bit of guacamole or diced avocado on top would be a nice cooling complement to the slight heat of the Mexican chicken.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paleo Spaghetti

Autumn is officially here and so are all of the yummy winter squashes.  Here is a great and easy recipe for those of you that are missing pasta - you can get spaghetti squash almost everywhere right now, I got a great deal at the farmers market a few weeks ago where each squash was only 75 cents!  This is a dish that is great to reheat, take to work for lunch, or have for breakfast if you're so inclined.  It's easy to do so give it a try - no excuses!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash - Paleo Spaghetti

Heat oven to 400 degrees and put a halved, seeded spaghetti squash in a baking dish or baking pan, lightly coated with coconut oil. I always put mine face down, so that the inside of the squash is on the bottom of the pan.  Bake for 35 - 40 minutes, remove and let cool. Once cool, use a fork to scrape the squash out from the shell, it will have a "spaghetti" like consistency.

To save time you can also half and seed the squash, and cook in the microwave for 6 to 8 minutes. Follow the same process to scrape the squash out.  For this recipe where I took the pictures we cooked the squash on the plate in the microwave instead of in the oven.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Healthy Living Principle #5: Eat More Fat

Welcome back to my Principles of Health Series, to refresh yourself on numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 check the linked blog posts.  Today we're talking fat and it's importance in your diet.  Newsflash - Fat doesn't make you FAT, it's not 'artery clogging,' and it won't raise your cholesterol.  

So where did the idea that Fat makes you FAT come about?  In summary it started in the 1960s with a study by Ancel Keys called "The Seven Countries Study" in short he had some good science but no convincing results, so he selected data that support his hypothesis that eating fat makes you fat and the myth was born.  The study was sponsored by the US government and adopted into food policy and eventually the food pyramid.  From here the fear of fat was born, and along with that fear, a food industry focused on removing fat from its food source and creating low fat versions of common foods and even working to create new fats to replace the horrible 'saturated' fat that was thought to clog arteries and lead to heart disease. 

Now if you're not supposed to be afraid of fat anymore, what types of fat should you focus on adding back into your diet, and why?

What types of fat should I eat?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Grilled Chicken Kabobs

What's for dinner?  I ask myself that question often, almost everyday actually.  This weekend we decided to make the most of the summer weather (hitting 80 in October is definitely summer weather when you live in the north east) and make some grilled chicken kabobs.  It was really easy and turned out delicious.

What you need:
  • 1 - 2 pounds of chicken thighs
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • Minced garlic
  • Olive Oil
  • Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Kabob Skewers - wooden or metal

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ironman Pocono Mountains 69.1

This weekend I completed the Bike and Run of the Ironman Pocono Mountain 69.1 (since the swim is 1.2, I've removed that from the planned 70.3 distance).  Overall it was an amazing experience, and even though the swim cancellation was a HUGE disappointment to me, I'm glad I did it.  I thought I was prepared, but actually doing the 56m bike and then the 13.1m run I was able to prove to myself that I really could do it.

I was Paleo except for my the Powerbar Gels and a little corn in all of the days leading up to the race and even on race day.  I didn't hit a wall or bonk at all, I felt good nutrition wise throughout the whole race.  I probably should have had a little more on my run, and had I done the swim then I'm sure I would have felt the need to "eat" something sooner than mile 16 on the bike.  Generally I eat something like a lara bar or a gel as soon as I get on the bike after finishing a swim.

Here is a recount of what my food and nutrition looked like the days before the race and then during the race itself:

Pre Race:
Added some extra sweet potato and some acorn and spaghetti squash (for variety really) to my meals starting on Thursday (race was Sunday).
Dinner night before was grilled chicken, salad, and mashed sweet potatoes, and lunch had been a burger with no bun with pork roll and a fried egg on it (this was delicious btw) and a half a lara bar.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Almost Race Day

Race day is tomorrow and everyone that is registered is anxiously watching the weather for rain.  The race sent an official Swim Update email on Thursday,  and posted on the Poconos 70.3 Facebook page, that the swim has been officially canceled, due to "river to crest at an extremely high level and currents to run at speeds too dangerous to allow athletes in the
water."  This is a real bummer, I don't want to swim if the water is unsafe, but at the same time it's no longer a Half Ironman...that was my goal and what I have been training for.
Now on Sunday it will be a Bike and Run "time trial" - 56m bike followed by a 13.1m run.  I still think all the rest of the race festivities will be going on and tracking should still be up, even though a third of the race is canceled, it only decreases the mileage from 70.3 to 69.1...but that means I can't get my 70.3 sticker since I will not be doing it.  Now I'm contemplating adding another race since I want to be able to say that I did a REAL or FULL Half Ironman, not that I did a HIM once sort of since the swim was canceled.

A special THANK YOU to my parents and to the Plentui (Chris and Kristin) for coming out to cheers us on and support us even though the weather is supposed to be icky AND the swim got canceled :)

The race is on Sunday October 2nd, if you're up for tracking our "time trial" results here is the information you'll need to track us on

Laura's Bib = 1283
Tim's Bib = 389

Here is what we'll still be doing on the course, don't get me wrong I realize that doing the bike and run will still be a major accomplishment...

Bike Elevation