When the going gets tough…….

you gotta Just Do It.  Thanks Nike for that!  It’s kinda my go to thought when things are so busy/hard/overwhelming!

just-do-it And OVERwhelmed is an UNDERstatement to how I feel lately……chicken with head cut off anyone?  Gross visual I know but it is the one that came to mind.

I obviously have been a little lazy about updating and when I did try the other day I had technical issues which was highly annoying! All seems to be working now so let’s get to it!

FUN STUFF RECAP -  I had a GREAT visit from my mom!  She came out and we did fun stuff like go to lunch, shop, get a pedicure and see a movie (American Hustle).   We also watched the Oscars in entirety which I have not done in ……….maybe forever.  It was a blast!

Amazing what a pedicure can do for runner's feet!

Amazing what a pedicure can do for runner’s feet!

The pedicure felt AMAZING – I had not had one in awhile and was really looking forward to it.  It was also timely since we are going on spring break and it will be nice to have somewhat pretty toes.

We also ate out for lunch a lot while mom was here – it’s what we do!  I actually didn’t find it too challenging to eat vegan.  I did a quick search before heading out once or twice and picked up some good ideas!  Someone somewhere online noted that Red Robin had Vegan patties and you could substitute that for chicken on the salad and omit cheese.  Did that and the result was so good I had to Instagram it!

redrobin
We did some shopping at Pandora and a few other places in the mall.  Thought about these shoes but then I thought they might make me too tall……….

Thoughts? First one in my head was "ouch"

Thoughts? First one in my head was “ouch”

……..But maybe since mom is tall I could wear them when we go out together…….

Look - I'm short!  Not really....mom is tall.

Look – I’m short! Not really….mom is tall.

We just really enjoyed hanging out together.  I still managed to get my workouts in but tried to not get too caught up in other day to day stuff since we so rarely have this “girl time”.

Workouts have been almost 100% on!  I’ve been aiming to get one session in EARLY in the morning – like wake up at 5 early.  This really helps it seem like the training isn’t cutting too much in to other things.  When mom was here I did a few rides on the trainer while we watched TV together and chatted.  Gotta multi task!  I’ve also enjoyed being able to get some outdoor runs in.  I’m hoping we can ride outside on spring break as we are taking bikes with us.  I bought clip on Aero bars today and don’t think practicing with them while on the trainer will be overly helpful…….and as we all know I’m terribly klutzy and need to get familiar with those prior to racing.

Speaking of training/racing I don’t know how I will EVER be able to train for a full Ironman but it is still on my radar.  Maybe after the move when I’m not worrying about selling/buying a house it will be easier but I don’t know.  Plus how can anyone ride that long?  My rear hurts just thinking about it!

Speaking of moving look at the pretty faucets Tony installed this weekend.  HGTV has taught me that it is important to get rid of ugly brass fixtures.

My husband is so handy!

My husband is so handy!

Well that’s all I got for now!  Actually, not really but I have to go pick up Athena from her horse lesson and go hit the pool for my swim……………..like I said, OVERwhelmed!     But I’m going to JUST DO IT!

 

Time flies when you have a lot to do

TGIF – but I can’t believe it’s Friday again already!  Time is marching sprinting by lately and, to be honest, it’s freaking me out.  I mean, how is tomorrow MARCH already?  I’m overwhelmed with so much to do (work, house stuff, training, details for triathlon like bike fit, shipping, blah blah blah) but trying to comfort myself with the fact that the important things always seem to get done.   I’m betting on that trend continuing.

Best thing about the time that has passed since Christmas?  MY MOM IS HERE!  She arrived today and I’m SO excited to have her visiting.  When I was in Michigan in December we booked her ticket and have been looking forward to this get together since then!  Lots of fun plans including pedicures, shopping at the Pandora Store for new charms, lunch, walking (and hot tub) at the gym, etc.  The girls are also excited to have Grandma here and so are the boys (Chester and Zeus).

Chester & Zeus

Chester & Zeus

Grandma & Lexy

Grandma & Lexy

We had a great time catching up and talking until our jaws ached.  Mom was interested in Mexican so we went to Los Laureles where I grabbed some veggie fajitas and mom got a Taco Salad (and a Margarita of course!)

Veggie Fajita at Los Laureles

Veggie Fajita at Los Laureles

I asked if the re-fried beans were made with lard and the waitress said No, they used canola oil which was awesome for me since no animal product meant I could have some.  Yummy!  Between the chips and salsa, refried beans, veggies and guacamole I was definitely satiated.  Since going vegan I have found that it is EXTREMELY helpful to Google a cuisine or even specific restaurant to get an idea what dishes you might want to order.  This will definitely assist in reducing any anxiety around eating out which is important since dining out should be a pleasure, not a source of stress.

Training is going well!  This was a recovery week and speaking of time flying, I cannot believe that I’m am wrapping up week 12 of an 18 week plan.   Today was a 90 minute run which AGAIN was on the treadmill.  Tomorrow is a relatively easy 20 mile bike followed by a 1000 yard swim. I’m hoping to get up and get it done early so I can enjoy the rest of the day with my mom and daughters.

On the agenda tomorrow – a MUCH NEEDED pedicure and a visit to the Pandora store – I can’t wait!

So what are YOU doing this weekend?

Snow, Sarcasm and Soup

Guess what? It snowed AGAIN today!!!!  I was really happy since I had not seen a severe weather warning on my phone for a day or two and really thought something might be wrong.  I need not have worried – Mother Nature delivered with an inch or two of the white stuff this afternoon / evening!  I just knew she wouldn’t let us down!

weather

And, as an ADDED BONUS, we are going to see temperatures go down to the teens and likely even lower his week – perhaps even BELOW zero.  I’ve already confirmed (several times this winter) that the temperature gauge in my car does, in fact, do negatives.  I will make sure it is still in working order later this week. Thank goodness since I am so NOT READY FOR WINTER TO BE OVER!

sarcasm

This past weekend saw some serious training.  Tony ran outside with me on Saturday and we did 10 miles which was nice.  There was some ice but we hop scotched around it and ended up getting it done!  On Sunday I had an EPIC (for me) indoor ride of 60 miles.  This was my longest indoor ride ever and took me 2 hours and 40 minutes.  Talk about building mental toughness – the monotony of these many miles to nowhere sure does that.  Luckily I had podcasts to keep me entertained.  While I know that my mileage and pace is faster biking indoors then it will be in a race, it does provide me the opportunity to spend a lot of time in the saddle and also to practice my nutrition to find out what works as far as fuel.  Once the ride was done I hit the water for an easy 20 minute swim which was a huge relief for my rear end!

saddlesore

Today begins a new week on the training schedule and it is somewhat of a recovery week. This works out GREAT since my mom is coming in Friday – yay!  I’m also going to move Saturday’s long run to Friday so I can get it done before I pick her up at the airport.  Once this recovery week is done we move in to a new block of training which entails “Quality” days of each discipline.  It will be interesting and fun!

So I’m still having SO MUCH FUN experimenting with recipes.  I made Lentil Soup for dinner which is super easy, inexpensive, healthy and YUMMY!  In addition, soup is the ideal food on a cold, snowy day.

Lentil Soup

Lentil Soup

This is a souper easy recipe (ha ha)!

Get a large pot and toss the following in:

  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1 veggie buillon cube
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • You need 2 cups spinach too but don’t put it in yet

Bring to boil and then reduce to simmer – cook for 40 minutes or so.  Pull out bay leaves and then toss in 2 cups of chopped spinach – cook long enough to wilt.  Enjoy!

An Atlanta Adventure

So I went to Atlanta for a day!  I actually headed down Wednesday night, had a meeting Thursday and then came back Friday.  Basically I was there for one full day which was book-ended by two nights!

atlanta

This was the first time I’ve been to Atlanta and I was excited to see part of it as well as to escape the crap Iowa weather for a bit.  Yes, you read that right – I’ve never been there and yes, I have already said we are going to relocate there.  Sound crazy?  It’s actually OK.  I had never been to Des Moines until we moved here and that worked out just fine!

Backdrop – we are moving to Atlanta due to Tony’s job.  We did get to pick our city – it just has to be in the Southeast part of the country.  Atlanta makes sense as he has a couple clients there and some of his colleagues are also in the area.  In addition, the company I just began working with is based there.  It’s all coming together and all signs are pointing us to Georgia!

Anyhow, I went down for a kickoff meeting and was able to meet everyone associated with my new company which was cool.  It was great to put faces with the names and now I feel less “alone” in my job!

I was determined to eat healthy (and of course vegan) while traveling and I also wanted to make sure my workouts got done.  I moved some things around on my schedule, worked out Wednesday before leaving and planned to bike and swim Friday when I returned as I was going to be back in Des Moines around lunch time.  That left me with a run on Thursday which I planned to do after our meeting.  I confirmed that the hotel had a treadmill and packed my running clothes and was ready to go!  I got it done on this retro treadmill – 6 (yes they were painful) miles – woo hoo!

Retro (Antique?) Treadmill

Retro (Antique?) Treadmill

Keeping it clean with food wasn’t too hard.  I packed some Lara Bars and the great cookies from an Oh She Glows Recipe so I had some portable options.  I was also able to get a salad at lunch.  The only thing I had not thought about was dinner.  My hotel didn’t have a restaurant and I didn’t have a car.  I wasn’t quite sure what to do about that situation……. BUT lucky for me when I got back to my room after the run I had a menu stuck in my door!  And it was from a Chinese Restaurant that DELIVERED – thank goodness the food Gods had been watching over me!  I scanned it and found a couple vegan options.  I went with the steamed veggies / steamed rice and also ordered the broccoli / peas dish (there was a $10 minimum for delivery and one meal didn’t get me to the total!)  Everything ended up being super tasty and honestly , by that time I was dying for a large quantity of veggies since my lunch salad was not as substantial as I usually make for myself.  This was just what I needed although I couldn’t finish ALL of the food.

broc mixed

 

All my flights went really smoothly and left right on time.  The two cabs I took had friendly drivers and the staff at the hotel was super professional and friendly.  My only complaint was paying $5.28 for this water at the airport:

water

but I was VERY thirsty on my flight back – likely due to the soy sauce I put on the above veggies the previous evening!  Overall a great trip and I’m excited to visit Atlanta again.

 

Yoga – I need to do it

So I blab a lot about my triathlon training on the blog – lots of swimming, biking and running is happening.

One thing that isn’t happening?  Stretching and yoga.

I have Yoga Envy

I have Yoga Envy

I know it’s important for all kinds of reasons  but generally don’t take the time to do it.   Why? Because after working out for a couple hours I usually don’t have the time/energy/motivation to get myself to a class.  I really like PowerLife Yoga which is close to me and I even have a card with 7-8 sessions left but alas, still have difficulty making it happen.  I really think that part of the issue is that I’m not a huge fan of being on someone else’s schedule.  A friend had mentioned I should go to some group cycling classes as part of my triathlon training and I immediately dismissed the idea since I want to bike when I want to bike – not when the class is.  (I may or may not have control issues………first child syndrome anyone?)

OK back to yoga.  I need to do it.  and I WANT to do it.  I just want to do it on my terms. Solution?  YouTube!  My girlfriend was telling me how she was really starting to get in to Yoga but having problems with some of the postures.  She thought the issue might be her tight shoulders so she found some videos on YouTube which are suppose to help with “opening the shoulders:.  She RAVED about the exercises and how great she felt after.  Of course I had to check it out for myself!  Ekhart Yoga has a ton of videos on YouTube (well 475 videos – that’s close to a ton right?).  They also  have some free videos as well as a paid subscription on their site.  I really like that several of them are about 10-12 minutes in length.  I LOVE that I can do this on my terms – when and where I want – and that it isn’t a huge time commitment. Obviously if I have a chunk of open time I can go to a class or do a longer video (I enjoy this one).  However, if I only have 15-20 minutes between calls or before picking up a kid I can still get a quick Yoga fix.  Progress – not perfection!

I hope to use these videos to make Yoga a more regular  part of my routine.  I do really believe it’s important for physical and mental well being!

namaste

Do you do yoga?  Do you have a favorite yoga video?

Costco and Door Knobs

How about THAT for an awesome title?  Hey – it’s getting late and today has been busy………I am limited on creativity and figured “Costco and Door Knobs” just might work as it actually DOES pertain to what I did today!

Before we get to that let’s talk workouts.  Today I had a run and a swim.   Since the weather looked MUCH better then yesterday I text my running posse to see if they wanted to run this morning.  We decided to meet and 5:30am and do an hour.  I like getting something done early on days I have double workouts as it seems to “save” some of the day!   Anyhow, when I woke up my phone said it was 38 degrees and I was pretty dang excited to get going.  Unfortunately, after the snow-thaw-refreeze of yesterday the sidewalks were super icy – pretty much a skating rink.

Graceful Skater

Graceful Skater

I am very, VERY clumsy and have to be EXTREMELY careful on ice.  I know everyone has to be careful but ESPECIALLY me. I fall.  A lot.  See this post for proof and pictures!  Anyhow, after a pretty dicey 2 miles we turned on to a road with less traffic and decided to run in the street.  That was actually a lot better and the run got more relaxing after that.  I have been putting in a lot of time on the treadmill recently and it was nice to run outside and have someone to chat with!  My second workout today was a 2,500 yard swim.  No getting around it – there is never going to be anyone to talk to while swimming but I got it done!

Once the run was done I headed home, picked up Athena, drove her to school and then swung by Lowe’s.  I am on a mission to spruce up things before we list our house!  Of course what this really means is FINALLY getting around to doing all the things I’ve been wanting to do but never did.  (Maybe someday I will learn to do these things BEFORE we decide to move so we can actually enjoy the improvements!)  What’s the project you ask?  It’s Door Knobs!  Ours are brass.  They are ugly.  Door knobs are expensive.  We have a lot of doors – 6 just in the master suite.  What to do?  Enlist the aid of Google!  I found this little article and decided to give painting them a try!  Check it out:

Before - gosh this is embarrassing!

Before – gosh this is embarrassing!

After - pretty amazing right?

After – pretty amazing right?

I’m going to work my way through the house doing this.  I know I probably need to do hinges too, but hey, we will get there!

Now on to Costco!  I love shopping there.  Being plant based we go through a LOT of produce and everything at Costco is BIG.  That means BIG bags of spinach, BIG bags of carrots,  CASES of Oranges, etc.   You get the idea – it’s awesome!  So a couple weeks ago I posted about how I really like shopping at Costco but mentioned that not everything was organic – which is fine as I’m not an organic snob.  However, when given the option, I would prefer to buy organic if the option is available.  Well, the Costco Gods must have been reading my mind because they have increased the visibility of the organic options in the store by labeling them with green signs (the price signs for organic items are green where conventional items have a white sign).  Additionally they grouped a ton of organic items together!  Lastly, check out what they handed me when I walked in!

Coupon Book for Organic Items

Coupon Book for Organic Items

I picked up my usual haul of spinach, power greens, dates, etc. and since the organic stuff was all together I ran through it and picked up a new box of cereal for the kids – Kashi Cinnamon Harvest Whole Wheat Biscuits.  Only 4 ingredients and full of fiber and whole grains.  I hope it’s a hit!

 

 

 

TGFTM

THANK GOD FOR TREADMILLS!  And spin bikes…….. And Indoor Pools……..because I live in Iowa and every day seems to look like this lately!

snow

I’m kinda over it.  Anyhow, with the Puerto Rico Half Ironman race quickly approaching some of my long runs and bikes are, well, L-O-N-G!  This past weekend was both my longest run and ride so far on my plan.  On Saturday I ran 90 minutes on the treadmill (just over 9 miles) and on Sunday I rode 57 miles on the stationary bike (over 2 1/2 hours).  Not going to lie – those distances on machines are difficult for me.  I’m holding fast to the belief that it is assisting me with building mental toughness.  Oh, and it gives me a chance to practice my nutrition!

Vega Vegan Gel

Vega Vegan Gel

I tried the Vega gel (Orange) on Sunday about an hour into the 2 1/2 hour ride.  I liked it – it had a slightly more liquid consistency then the GU that I’ve used previously and of course it’s vegan so yay for that!  Prior to this long ride I also tried the Vega Pre Workout Energizer figuring I was going to need all the help I could get!  The Pre Workout is a powder that you mix with water and drink 20 minutes prior to exercise. Both products were good and I am going to try them again during my next long ride.  I felt pretty decent for the remainder of the day after the ride which I take as a good sign!

On a side note, my cat has been very jealous of my time on the bike peddling away to nowhere.  He wants in on the excitement!

Let's Ride

Let’s Ride

Oh – I almost forgot – I made a couple yummy things over the weekend and want to share some pics and details!  The awesome thing about training so much is that you really do get to enjoy a fair amount of food.  My friend had invited us over for appetizers on Saturday and I wanted to bring something.  I made these amazing cookies from Oh She Glows which are always a hit!

cookie

I also decided to make a “Edamame Hummus” which was delicious.  Even the kids liked it!  We had both vegetables and tortilla chips to dip in it and today I used the left overs to make a roll up on an Engine 2 tortilla for lunch.

edamame

Basic recipe:

  • 3.5 – 4 Cups Shelled Edamame (thawed if using frozen)
  • 1.5  Avocados
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/4 C Water

Put first 5 ingredients in the food processor and blend.  Add water a little bit at a time and blend.   Add additional water until desired consistency is reached.  Enjoy!

Finally, last night we made a pizza!  Tony got some frozen crust from Trader Joe’s which were uber thin and yummy!  I made a cashew cheese with roasted red peppers.  I didn’t measure everything but I think this is pretty close:

  • 1 C Raw Cashews (soaked for a couple hours)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 C Water
  • 1/4 C Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Red Pepper – Roasted

Put all ingredients in the food processor starting with just 1/8 cup of water and blend.  Add more water as needed to reach desired consistency. I

We spread the cheese on the crust and decided to forgo the sauce.  We topped it with some onions and mushrooms as well as fresh spinach and black olives – bake and Viola – pizza night!

Pizza with cashew cheese

Pizza with cashew cheese

Finished Pizza

Finished Pizza

All in all it was a fabulous weekend filled with food, friends and fun!