Monday, February 21, 2011

If I Dress Like A Triathlete....

I've been slowly acquiring my triathlon gear for the upcoming season.  The biggest and most expensive purchase has been completed (Felt Z85 road bike) and now I've moved on to my next biggest need.  Big as in importance, not cost.  I ordered prescription swim goggles.  Having a road bike isn't going to do me any good if I can't find it in Transition 1.

In addition to the goggles, I purchased a pair of jammers.  I have no idea why they call them jammers but I guess it sounds cool.  I decided that spending 3 - 4 hours in the pool per week with my board-shorts probably weren't good on the fabric or my technique.

With the new equipment install, entering the pool today was a different experience.  The jammers made me feel like I was skinny dipping as I'm used to feeling the board-shorts fabric flowing around my legs.  I could at least confirm that no one else could see me since the entire pool area was in relatively crisp detail with the goggles.

Have you ever heard of people who have never worn glasses before and then are fitted for a pair.  They are amazed with the realization that there are leaves on trees.  That's similar to what I experienced today.  While I knew the black line in the pool was made up of small tiles, it was the first time I could actually see them speeding passing by.

With the more aerodynamic (aquadynamic?) clothing and actually being able to see the clock as I passed by, I finished my 2000 meter swim in 40 minutes.  Being able to see the clock helped with the motivation to keep pushing.  I tried to limit my rest time between 500 meter sets also.

I know that having the triathlon related clothing doesn't make me a triathlete.  I could swim in board shorts, rode my hybrid bike, and run in my marathon gear; however, I feel that this equipment is made/designed to make things easier on the athlete and I definitely experienced that today.

PS - This post at Falkee Triathlon Store helped me make my decisions on the jammers.  I recommend following him on twitter and reading his personal blog.  Very informative and motivating!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scott Eats - Prosciutto Sea Scallops & The Best Kale Salad Ever

Dinner tonight was amazing.  The Kale Salad (yes, it is called "The Best Kale Salad Ever") was delicious.  The Prosciutto Sea Scallops was something I threw together.  

Prosciutto Sea Scallops
Due to a mishap from last weekends dinner party, we had 32 slices of prosciutto in the house.  I have a self imposed desire to have seafood once a week, so sea scallops was added to the shopping list.  The courting of the prosciutto and sea scallops would be a match made in heaven.

Step 1: Thaw the sea scallops.

Step 2: Soak sea scallops in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and rosemary.

Step 3: Wrap in Prosciutto
This was a bit tricky.  Prosciutto is pretty volatile, if you will.  It tears pretty easily, so you must be careful with it.  I ended up pulling the four corners together and securing it with a water soaked toothpick, kabob style.

Step 4: Grill!
If your grill is like ours, these would not fit directly on the grill so we have a special tray that sits on the grill that has small holes on it.  It allows small items to grill easily, such as slice vegetables.

Not sure how long they cooked.  The grill has hot spots, so some were over cooked but that's ok.  Maillard at it's best!

Final Results:

The Best Kale Salad Ever
  • 2 bunches kale, washed, dried and chopped
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium apple, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 whole, ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Tamari soy sauce or Bragg's Amino Acids
  • 1/2 cup cashews, raw, chopped

Wash, de-stem and chop kale; place in large bowl. Add lemon juice and avocado, and with your hands mix together until the avocado is smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve immediately.

Even though this salad contains avocados, it keeps pretty well.  The lemon juice delays the oxidation of the avocado.

To round out the meal, we had olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and italian bread.

Margaritas!  This was not a pre-mix, by the way.

Full Immersion

Going back to when I was a kid I recall a point where hobbies and interested turned into full on obsession.  Started playing basketball?  I asked for 5 lb. ankle weights to improve my leg strength and improve my vertical leap.  The Go Kart we bought?  I spent hours sandblasting that thing so my dad to paint it.  We built a custom seat for it.  I even had part a Go Kart Supply catalog.  Here are some other notables:

  • Nintendo - Purchased Nintendo Power subscription
  • First Mac Computer - MacWorld, MacUser, MacAddict subscriptions.  Forced my mom to take me to the local Apple Conference where I purchased my first modem (and I couldn't even drive yet -- GEEK ON!)
  • Purchasing New Cars - Scoured vehicle owner forums for months.
  • Cooking - Guess who has 99% of the Good Eats episodes in his DVR?
  • DSL Camera - Subscription to Digital Photo Pro.  Eventually realized it is over my head but great photos in each issue.
  • Web Site Development - Purchased all the manuals on coding, database management, HTML, CSS, Javascript, etc I could get my hands on.  
  • YMCA Membership - Eventually got a watch with a heart rate monitor (one that just required putting fingers on the watch.  There was no chest strap; therefore, it didn't work very well).  Purchased a couple books (or got them for Christmas) on smart and effective exercise.

Eventually that YMCA membership got me running outdoors and participating in races.  This came with its own information feast: Runner's World subscription, reading information on running form (originally concerned poor form caused my shin splints), fitted for running shoes, Garmin 405cx, etc.

Therefore, my newest interest has come with its own set of data dumping.  I took advantage of our local Borders store closing sales to purchase multiple books and magazines on triathlons (and a couple on running).  I definitely felt like a noob at the checkout counter, but that's ok... I am a noob and I'm reveling in it!

PS - One thing that's consistent through my above list is I always seem to subscribe to a magazine.  I'm still looking for ones on triathlons, so if you have any recommendations, please comment.  I purchased "Triathlete" and "Triathlon Plus".

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Goldfish Triathlete

So I felt like a goldfish today.  Was it the 2000 meters swim? Surprising no.

Goldfish have  like 3 second memory... "oh look an underwater castle!" ... "oh look an underwater castle!" ... "oh look an underwater castle!" ... "oh look an underwater castle!" ...  Cyclist must too:

I took the Felt back to the Airport to ride the service road loop today after work.  65 degree weather in February generally brings wind gusts over 15 mph.  One side of the loop can be used to fully take advantage of this wind but the other side.. not so much.  I hit 31 mph on with the wind at my back but averaged 11 mph in the headwind.  Brutal. I kept thinking why in the world would I bother making this loop again just to return to that wind.  Well, no sooner than I thought that I was back on the fast side of the loop 8 minutes away from entering that headwind as if I'd forgotten it.

Overall a good day in the fitness zone: 2000 meter swim. 14.5 mile ride. 2.5 mile run.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekly Review: February 7 - February 13

I decided early that this week was not going to get away from me in terms of training.  I had an early morning scheduled for work on Wednesday but I was still planning to work out.  Here are the totals:

Swim: 6000 meters
Bike: 21 miles (stationary and outside.  No trainer)
Running: 7 miles (treadmill and outside)
Weights: 50 minutes
Total Time:  6 hours, 40 minutes

This is the first time I really tried to get multiple swim workouts in.  My normal plan has me in the pool on Mondays; however, since swimming is my weakest discipline, I plan to get at least two workouts in a week and a third if I can squeeze it in.

On Wednesday evening I did a brick workout of 2000 meters in the pool and 3 miles on the treadmill.  With three laps left in the pool, pushing off caused my left foot to cramp up, localizing in the arch.  It didn't really relent until after I got out of the pool and walked.  It didn't bother me on the treadmill.   What was concerning is two days later (Friday morning), I woke up to a similar pain in the arch of my left foot and it stayed there all day.  I actually planned to do 15 miles on the trainer that morning but it freaked me out enough that I hit the snooze and tried to sleep it away (whatever, I was being lazy).

Following advice from friends, I made sure I had a banana before my next swim session and have water poolside to sip on between sets.  I haven't had a problem since.

Scotty B YMCA Invitational Triathlon
This is an 'event' I put together once a month to do a full triathlon brick session.  I basically do this once a month (ok, I did one in January and now in February) where I get to my YMCA at opening time on Saturday and do all three sports in a row with as little rest in between as possible.  This is purely used so my body can work through the rigors of doing all three events in a row.  I'm sure it has merits, but I'll likely spend my Saturday morning workouts doing long runs/rides.

Yes, this is named an Invitational but if anyone wants to join me, they are more than welcome.  Invites are really easy to get (but you have to get the YMCA membership!)

First Bike Ride!
I have been looking forward to this for six weeks.  I've logged roughly 30 miles on the trainer with my Felt and now I get the chance to actually get it on the road and hopefully not fall from the unusual functionality of the clip-less shoes.

I enjoyed every moment of it...  there was a horrible headwind coming from the south (14 - 16 mph, possibly); however, on the second loop I let the Felt take off like it wanted (Sorry Joe VI).  20 lbs of aluminum wanted to go and off we went!  I hit 26 mph on the flats with the wind on my back.  Being able to use the full circle of the pedal was just as exhilarating.  It felt fully tuned and wasn't misfiring during the "negative" portion of the pedal (don't know if that's the right term for it, but I'll take it).

Two laps down and countless more to complete.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Scott Eats - Spaghetti Squash

I plan to do this feature at least once a week.  It's an extension of something I did with my other twitter account called #ScottEats.  Instead of just a photo, it will include a write up.

Spaghetti Squash
Medium Sized Squash
1/8 Cup Olive Oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
2 cups cold water

Using a sharp knife, with a long blade, cut the squash in half from stem to end.  Scrape seeds out with a normal soup or pasta spoon.  Non-stick spray a half sheet pan that has an edge.  Drizzle 1/8 cup olive oil, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper on the cut side of each squash half.  Place the squash "shell up" onto the pan.  Add 2 cups cold water onto pan.  

Place in your 425 degree oven for 45 minutes.  Test for doneness with a knife.  The knife should easily penetrate through the squash skin.   Pull out and CAREFULLY turn the squash over to cool.  Once completely cooled, scrape the insides out with a fork into your storage or serving container.

We definitely turned our noses up at something called Spaghetti Squash.  Most recipe's actually call to cook it in the microwave, so even more gross.  We finally gave in but used the oven as the recipe calls.  True to normal squash vegetables, it takes on the flavors it cooks with.  This recipe calls for salt and pepper, so don't over do the pepper.  We added a creamy spaghetti sauce to top it off.  

Recommended sides: Good crusty bread. 

NOTE:  Most squashes are pretty forgiving in terms of the cooking process; however, follow the directions.  I cooked it this time and didn't realize there was an official recipe.  My "winging it" caused it to turn out a bit "soggy".

NOTE  * 2: The basil leaf was a last second addition to make the photo look artsy.  It did add a good flavor to it though!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Scott Eats - Marinated Greens and Pork Chops

This is a feature I plan to do at least once a week.  It's an extension of something I did with my other twitter account called #ScottEats.  Instead of just a photo, it will include a write up.  I'll try to keep it brief for Joe VI.

Marinated Greens
TKB has requested we start including more whole food meals in our menu, after a successful whole food salad she made a few weeks ago, I searched for another salad recipe and came across this for Marinated Greens.  We were in dire need to return to a normal diet.

- one bunch kale
- one bunch spinach
- one red and one yellow bell pepper
- olive oil
- sea salt
- cayenne pepper
- one lemon
- one inch piece of ginger
- one half red onion

Strip the kale leave off the stems and chop into bite size peices; chop spinach into peices. Throw greens in a large bowl. Pour 3/4 cup olive oil and squeeze one lemon on greens and mix with hands.

Process in food processor bell peppers, red onion, ginger, 1/2 cup olive oil, sea salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Process till it's a liquid.

Pour marinade over greens and mix with hands. Eat right away or even better let sit for few hours.

The pork chop was just a standard center cut seasoned with a Parmesan Herb spice, cooked on the grill for 12 minutes.

We actually didn't include the cayenne pepper so it wouldn't be too spicy for TKB.  With the ginger and red onion it was spicy enough.

Many people will see this recipe and think, "Kale?  That's a salad bar decoration.  It's not edible!"  This is actually our third recipe that includes Kale and they are all delicious (I'm sure the other two recipes will make their appearance here eventually).  Kale is one of the most nutrient rich vegetables and contains a very high level of anti-oxidents, as well.

The pork chop is just a normal chop from the butcher counter at the grocery store; however, we slice it in half.  Partly to extend it and also because meat should really be flavoring to a meal and not the main course.   A four or five ounce cutlet is more than enough.

Prep time was about 30 - 45 minutes (including pork chop cook time).  I'm not a 20 minute meals cook. I'm perfectly fine spending 45 - 60 minutes in the kitchen cooking dinner.  Cooking fast meals generally means including processed, pre-prepared food whose nutrients have been replaced with sodium or fats.  We try to cook with ingredients that are as close to their original state as possible.  We purchase locally grown plants and meats as possible and rarely visit the center of the grocery store for items.

Give the recipe a try and let me know what you think.

Race Report - Krispy Kreme Challenge 2011


Nutrition:  Are you kidding me?  Nutri-grain bar.  All we had in the hotel room.  Had to warm the stomach up somehow.

We had a taste of the weather on Friday: Cold and Rainy.  That was going to make for a very interesting donut eating frenzy.  Donuts alone?  Scary.  Water soaked donuts?  Might as well eat a brick.  Either way, I'm game.

Woke at 6:45 and started to dress.  Kenny, Kyle, and Gabe were to arrive around 7:15.  Rebecca and her family arrived Friday night, as well as TKB's parents.  With the 7:30am pre-race photo taken, off we went to the NC State campus.  Luckily we managed to get the last two parking spots a block away from the start, or else this report would probably mimic last week's race report regarding parking.

There really wasn't much pre-race hoopla but the participants themselves provided much entertainment.  From the NC State track team guy wearing a 3 foot donut on his head to the girl wearing a bikini who said, "Not to worry, I had Jaegermeister for breakfast"

This made two weeks in a row in which the timing chip did not require affixing to the shoe; however, the timing sensors were affixed to scaffolding above the runners.  Interesting setup.   

The line-up consisted of two chutes to herd the 7,500 participants through, regardless of participant category.  With this race benefiting the NC Children's hospital, I'm sure they want as many participants they can handle.  Since many people can't fathom the idea of consuming 12 donuts, the organizers have provided three class of participants.  Challenger (you MUST eat the 12 donuts prior to starting your last two miles), Casual Runner (you are not required to eat the 12 donuts.  Feel free to take them with you), and Sleep In (Pay the $25 entry fee, get a t-shirt, and save your intestines from the pure hell they will go through in the following 24 hours).

Though we felt it was necessary to stay together given our costumes, our team's strategy to stay together for the first 2/3 of the race fell apart almost immediately. Oh well.

The course was mostly downhill heading to the Krispy Kreme store.  About a quarter mile to the store, the "elite" participants were already heading back to the Belltower.  I suppose if you had a five minute pace, that would have given them 8 - 10 minutes to work over the donuts.  As we later found out from other participants on our team, that is a very doable pace.

The race is advertised as 4 miles but it's more like 4.5 miles as we hit the donuts around 2.25 miles.  

Race - Donuts
Arriving at the Krispy Kreme store was quite a sight.  From .2 of a mile away you see a haze over the "Transition".  I'm not exactly sure what caused it because the donuts were likely trucked in because they were not warm.  The pre-boxed donuts were placed on both sides of the street and covered in plastic.  

Wonder how many of these made it to the finish line
Photo Credit: Joe VI
Having 7,500 participants descend on this area definitely requires a bit of logistics.  I'm sure there could have been some improvement, but this is an event where you consume 12 glazed donuts.  If you are planning to win this race, you'll be there well before the mass of humanity.  If you want a suggestion, run on the street sidewalk and grab a box from the outside.  

The strategy here is simple.  Turn 3, 4 or 5 donuts into one by smashing it together and eat it.  Mega-donut 1 & 2 (6 total) went down pretty quickly.  I'd say 8 - 12 minutes.  After that, slow going.  Mega-donut 3 and 4 took forever. I cannot remember ever doing anything that comes close to this in my lifetime.  I know I have over indulged before but I didn't have a clock and pride on the line.  Even taking baby-sized bites of  mega-donut 4 involved a leap of faith that I wouldn't immediately see it again.

I eventually joined the clean plate club after 28 minutes. I was told to avoid drinking water or the donuts will expand in your stomach.  I'm going to avoid that advice if there is a second Krispy Kreme Challenge in my future.  I took a cup on the way out and it definitely helped settle things.

Race - Final 2 Miles
I had very little expectations here other than I was going to run it.  I knew I would be on my own.  We never saw Ken or Gabe at the store so I just assumed they were already on the road.  Joe VI had left a few minutes before me so my goal was to find him.  Kyle, Tricia, Lauren, and Rebecca were still at the store but I knew Kyle was going to be on my glazed-covered heels.  

These 2 miles went surprisingly faster than I thought it would.  People knew I was coming because I sounded like the wolf about to blow in the pigs houses.  I believe I heard one guy even say "That guy is going to puke".  I only saw one puddle of donut-y torture on the way back (narrowly missing it).

I caught up with Joe VI in the first mile and tried to keep pace to stay in front.  The mass of 12 donuts only made their presence with the occasional *burp*.  I just focused on my breathing and waiting for the sight of the Belltower to appear.   I ultimately crossed the line in 1:06:58 (chip).

Congrats to Gabe and Kenny for making it in under the hour timeframe!  Their donut eating prowess is to be envied... 6 minutes and 8 minute, respectively. 

I suppose if half-way through the race you are given 12 donuts, you shouldn't expect any post-race food.  Not because the money was spent on the donuts but you will not want anything other than water.  There was nothing typical about this post-race.  I didn't even bother stretching because once you bend over, well... it's over.

It took three plus hours for an appetite to come back and savory and salty was on the menu -- Sonic Tator Tots and Cheddar Bites, in fact (diet starts Monday)

Krispy Kreme "Next" may or may not be in the cards for me but I think everyone should try this.  It's a lot of fun and make sure you bring friends.  Including the price of a round trip plane ticket and one night hotel stay, this is the most expensive 12 donuts I've ever consumed, but it was worth it.

Place 1825
Chip 1:06:58
Donut Transition: 28:26

Back Row: Kenny, Me, Kyle, Gabe, Joe VI
Front Row: Lauren, TKB, Rebecca

TKB and Rebecca finishing strong!

Garmin Data

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1 Hour. 4 Miles. 12 Donuts. 2400 Calories.

With 2011 being my sophomore year of racing running events, it appears this year will be defined as "destination".  While I didn't have to travel far, last weekend's race involved a journey roughly 1.5 miles into "earth" to run a 10k.  In August I plan to participate in the Chicago Triathlon followed by another possible destination event in October.  This weekend marks my first race in which I travel more than 15 miles.  In fact, it's over 1,000 miles: The Krispy Kreme Challenge (K2C) in Raleigh, NC, benefitting NC Children's Hospital.

TKB and I have talked about doing this event for nearly a year now and it's a bonus that her family and a pair of great friends live in the area.  It was Ken and Kyle's participation in previous years that sparked our interested in the first place.

So here's the deal.  You run from NC State campus to a Krispy Kreme store two miles away where you are handed a dozen glazed Krispy Kreme donuts.  Consume the circles of sugary goodness and run back to the Belltower at NC State.  Finish the 4 miles in over 1 hour: DQ (Disqualified)!  Fail to eat the 12 donuts: DQ!!  Fail to keep all 12 donuts down: DQ!!!! (and loss of dignity).

In general I feel bad for water station volunteers when I snare a cup of water out of their hands and accidentally douse them with the contents of the cup.  I can't imagine what the K2C volunteers have to put up with.  My effort to thank all the volunteers during the event will be heightened this weekend.

While I plan to attempt some level  of competitiveness (at least for the first 1/3 of the event.  The 2nd third will require channeling my inner-Kobyashi), I will be live tweeting the event. All you need to do is follow me on twitter (@ScottyTris) and check back later this week.  The race starts Saturday Morning, February 5 at 8:30am Eastern but the festivities will start much earlier than that and continue well afterwords.  If I can, I'll even post some video mid-event.

Even though I doubt I'll need it, I'm wondering what the post-race food might be.