It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

February 28, 2011

Stylish Monday and Tuesday...

I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal (Ron Burgundy - Anchorman)

Wow, how exciting, I got tagged as a Stylish Blogger by Lisa at Eat. Pray. Run.  If you haven't checked out her blog, please do.  She loves to run and she loves food - what better combination could you ask for?

I think this award has been around the blogging world for awhile, so many of you may have seen these before; but it's my first go at this so here are the rules:

1. Make this a post and link back to the person who gave the award to you
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 5 great bloggers
4. Contact the bloggers and tell them they've won

So here goes 7 things about me (man I wish I hadn't just done 3 Things on Thursday)

1.  I was originally a theatre minor in college.  My college path went
in another direction, but I still love theatre - especially musicals.  My ultimate dream in life would be to play Rizzo in Grease - only one small problem - I can't sing a note.

2.  I absolutely love Will Ferrell (hence the quote above).  I know alot of his movies are the same, but I think he is hilarious.  He could literally stand in a room and do nothing and I would laugh.  He's just a funny looking man in general.

3.  Last June I became a Grandmother at the ripe old age of 36.  Yep that's right, I'm a Grandma....well actually I go by Mica.
Me & Ryder Jackson
4.  One time I got really mad at my husband Jim 50 after 40, just after we got back from the grocery store.  I just happened to have a dozen eggs sitting on my lap.  I threw them at his back and then just like a scene from a movie I said "Hope you like 'em scrambled!!"  I said this very seriously, because I was really mad, but it didn't take long to realize how funny it was.   Needless to say, we both had a good laugh after that and didn't stay mad for long.....hmmmm.....well maybe I've shared too much.

5.  I am dog crazy.  I have only went for a few short periods of time in  my life without a dog.  My family pet growing up was a wonderful solid black pitbull named Trouble.  He was truly a great dog.  My sisters and I used to dress him up in pink nightgowns, t-shirts, etc - he was up for anything.  I also had a Great Dane named Harley - he passed a few years ago.  He was an AWESOME dog.  You know about my current dog - Jack - the world's best, but laziest chocolate lab.

Jack Swimming - see he's not always lazy

6.  I always get the question - how did I get my name.  I got my name from a random lady on a game show several years before I was born.  My mom saw a female named Michael and thought it was really cool, she already had my two sisters, but said that if she ever had another girl she was going to name her Michael.....then a few years later I came along and she stayed true to her word.

7.  Thanks to Facebook, I'm still in touch with my best friend from elementary and middle school even though I haven't seen her since I was 13.  One night we watched the movie Stand By Me 5 times in a row.  It's still one of my all time favorites.  "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve".

Now, drum roll please..............who gets awarded next?  Well since my husband has been blogging he has gotten this award twice, so I know it's made the rounds and you are all truly stylish bloggers.  So I will give this out to a few that have been encouraging to me since I started out just a few mere weeks ago.  If you have already been tagged before, or if you just don't want to participate.  No worries at all.  I just wanted to give you a shout out anyway so people will hopefully check out your blogs!

1.  Julie at Adventure is out There - Julie provides encouraging comments on my blog almost everyday.  And, her blog is very inspirational.  She's got great perspective.

2.  Julie at You Just Have to Tri - she's a triathlete like me - but she has signed up for a Half Ironman - way to go!

3.  Tahoe Girl at Got Miles? - she's pretty new to blogging like me and her blog is really funny.  She has a Tuesday joke of the week.

4.  LB at My Reason to Run - she is truly an amazing woman and has a true reason to run - please read her story.  She also has a very informative blog.

5.  LB at Muddy Runner - because I had to have at least one guy right?  Seriously his blog is great.  He dropped 120 pounds several years ago and now he runs all the time.

I will also give a shout out to Christi at Pedestrian Runner.  She's been at this blogging thing for awhile and is so encouraging every day.  I didn't tag her because I just read her Stylish Blogger a few weeks ago.  Of course I also have to give a shout out to my husband Jim, at 50 after 40 - he is running 50 marathons in 50 states after the age of 40. 

Shew........that was exhausting. 

February 26, 2011

Stir Crazy

Well, today marks one week since I injured re-injured my back.  I wish I could report that I am alot better, but unfortunately that's not the case.  It's been a solid week and I have pretty much spent most of that time in bed, at work, stretching or at the chiropractor with only minimal improvement.  Apparently this is not going to be a fast recovery.

I am starting to get extremely stir crazy!  I hate laying around and I miss my workouts. I feel like I am losing my fitness a little bit every day.  On Wednesday I was feeling a little bit better and tried to just get in a 2 mile walk.  Which I did, but then it has been much worse since then.  That was a bad idea.

My only bright spot is that I have one very lazy brown dog who is here for me every step of the way.  Jack is never embarrassed or ashamed to relax and take a nap.  He is great company.  He keeps my spirits up!

Jack - Lazy Lab

I am hopeful that if I just continue to rest this weekend I can slowly ease back into my routine on Monday.  Send good thoughts my way.  I need it!!  My next half marathon is just 9 weeks away and the most I have ran is 4 miles.........I need to run!

February 25, 2011

Michael's March Madness Vegetarian Challenge

If you read my blog post The Chicken is Out to Get Me then you know that I tried being vegetarian for 9 days and I was very surprised that I actually enjoyed it and had more energy than I thought I would.  So I have decided to take it a step further and try it for 30 days - that should give me a really good idea of how a vegetarian lifestyle will work for me.  Honestly, I know very little about being a vegetarian and I'm not typically one to try new things or eat alot of vegetables so this will really be a stretch for me especially since I generally eat meat at every meal.  But I'm so tired of my bad cycle of eating.  Eat healthy a week, then eat like crap for two.  I need to be better about fueling my body, and I think this will help me start making alot better decisions when it comes to food.

So here's my plan.  During the entire month of March (including Feb 28 and April 1):

1.  Eat vegetarian for entire time period (not vegan - I will still include dairy, cheese, and eggs).
2.  Try new things
3.  Cook more
4.  Prepare a weekly blog review about how I did, how I feel, and things I ate
5.  Realize I may not be able to go 100% meat free - at this point I'm not ready to inconvenience other people - so if I get invited to dinner or something I will not ask them to make something special just for me.  I will try to do my best with what is served.

My main resources for recipes and information - Cook Train Eat Race and No Meat Athlete.  I would love to hear from any of you who are vegetarians - any other great blogs, websites or books out there.  Any recipes, etc to share?

Anyone been thinking about making a switch and want to join me on my journey?  If so let me know and we can share information.

February 24, 2011

Pigs in Space........

OK, sorry, but my post title has absolutely nothing to do with my post today, but for some reason, it was just in my head this morning.  So I used it :)

Alot of fellow bloggers have "3 Things Thursday", I'm not sure if I want to make that a regular feature on my blog, but I thought since I'm still relatively new to blogging I would do a Three Things (About Me) Thursday so we could get to know each other a little better.  So here are a three things you might not know or really care to know about me:

1.  My favorite show when I was a child (no it wasn't the Muppet's, but close) was the Great Space Coaster.  What is that I hear - crickets??  I know for some reason, alot of people don't remember this show at all - or perhaps you are too young.  No Gnews is good gnews with Gary Gnu - ring a bell?.  Nothing?

2.  For most of my childhood and a large part of my adult life I collected hippos.  Yes, those warm and cuddly zoo creatures - the hippo.  I still think they are the cutest animal at the zoo.  I know most people don't share my thoughts.  But needless to say my favorite Christmas song is always "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas"!

You've got to admit that's pretty cute

3.  I was born in Daytona Beach, Florida and lived about 20 minutes south of there in a small town called Edgewater until I was 13.  Florida was absolutely the best place to grow up as a kid because you could almost always be outside.  Then my family moved to an even smaller town in Eastern Kentucky (Louisa) for the next 12 years.  In August,  I will have lived in Lee's Summit, MO for 11 years.  So that 13, 12, and 11 years - sounds like it's time for me to move somewhere new for the next 10 years. 

Hope you endured enjoyed learning a little bit more about me.  Happy Thursday!

February 23, 2011

Um, Pardon Me, but there's something in your leg

Can you say OUCH???  Who is that?  That's Cyclist Azizulhasni Awang (say that three times fast).  And he finished his latest race with that splinter stick through his leg.  Not only did he finish the race after crashing and having that thing stuck in his leg, but he placed Third!!!  Unbelievable.  That's some serious dedication.  Want to know can read the full story here.

As endurance athletes we all have varying levels of of dedication.  But we are all dedicated.  Many of you (us) get up in the wee hours of the morning  - hours before the sunrise.  We run in the rain, the wind, the snow.  We cycle in hail storms.  We have crashes and the road rash and battle scars to prove it.  We swim in lakes that are full of floating trash and unseen sea monsters.  But would we - would you - do this?

Some of you out there would be just like Azizulhasni.  You would finish a race no matter what.  You would crawl to the finish line!  You would do anything in the name of your sport. Last summer I rode my bike through a major hail storm.  It was crazy!  I'm not sure if I would call it dedication, more like stupidity.  I was with a group of two other people.  We really wanted to get our ride in.  The sky was pitch black, but we thought we could beat the storm.  And we did for awhile, but then we turned this corner, and you could see the rain up ahead - you knew you were riding right into  it and it looked scary.  There really was no place to take cover, the best thing we could do was keep riding and hope we got back to our cars as soon as possible.  First the wind started blowing hard, I could hardly keep the bike on the road.  Then came the stinging rain, and then it started only a few pieces at first - HAIL.  Then the hail really started falling; it felt like someone was throwing rocks at me.  I look down at my arms and legs and I had small red circles all over my body.  By the time we reached the car I looked like I had measles or something.  Later that afternoon I developed several small bruises as proof of my insane ride through the hail storm.

So what drives you to keep going, even when the going is tough?  What's the craziest thing you have ever done for the love of your sport or because you just weren't willing to quit?  How do you define that fine line between stupidity and dedication?

February 22, 2011

4 day “Weak-End” Recap


Well, I had Monday off as a holiday so I decided to take Friday off too – make it a nice long 4 day weekend.  The weather was supposed to be in the 60s and 70s all but one day.  It would be awesome.  I would get in some great workouts, clean up the house, clean out my closet, relax, get a pedicure – all kinds of stuff.

Friday goes well.  I get some errands done and hang out with my sister.  I also get a nice solid 4 mile run in.  Saturday morning I head out to my favorite KMA cycle class.  At some point during the obstacle course portion I feel a slight twinge in my back.  When we finish the obstacle course I head over to change my tennis shoes out for my cycling shoes and wait a minute – I can’t bend over – that really hurts.  Uh oh, I think I hurt my back.  I take some time to do a little light stretching and hop on the bike hoping that will help work things out.  About 5 minutes in, I realize I’m done.  I jump off, stretch and head home.

By the time I get home I can’t get out of the car.  My back is out.  It’s going to be a long weekend.  To make a long story short, I injured my back 5 years ago and have never fully recovered (I think once you have a back injury you always have a back injury).  I generally have a good idea of what I can and can’t do and I’m extremely careful.  But all it takes is a second, one move the wrong way, and I’m back in bed again.  In 2006 I herniated 2 disks in my low back and also damaged the ligaments that hold my sacroiliac (SI) joint (your butt bone) in place.  It causes my SI joint to shift in and out and can cause extreme pain.  It’s actually more common than you might think.  It can be manually adjusted by a chiropractor which provides some immediate relief, but it’s Saturday and I can’t find anyone to get into.  So I spend the rest of Saturday and Sunday in bed.  Standing, walking, bending, you name it – it’s hard to do and painful.  Monday I get in to see the Chiropractor and like I said – immediate relief, not complete relief, but definitely improvement.  But for a few days I am even more susceptible than normal to reinjury.  So I have to take it easy for several days. 

So here it is Tuesday morning.  I am feeling a lot better, but still not 100%.  I spent 3 of my 4 weekend days in bed.  What a bummer, but on a positive note I am feeling better and hope to be back to a more normal routine in a few days.  I am bummed, because I missed my Monday run yesterday, and I’m missing my Tuesday cycle and swim today, but hopeful if I just give my body ample time to rest I will recover quickly and be back to running tomorrow.  We’ll see.

Do you have any injuries that just sideline you?  How do you deal with it mentally?

February 21, 2011

My Step Daughter is a Rock Star

My step-daughter Madi is a ROCK STAR!!!  I know alot of you follow my husband's blog - 50 after 40, so you've heard alot about Madi.  She really only started running a few months ago, but she is a already AWESOME!  She signed up for her first half marathon without ever running a single race.  Now that takes some guts!!

For some racing "practice" she signed up for the Ground Hog race here in Kansas City at the end of January and completed her first ever race -  a 10K.  She was awesome, setting a PR of course.  She even got to "chick" several guys.
Madi and her Dad (Jim) at her first race
She has completed almost all of her runs on the treadmill - so major kudos for being able to endure the torture of the treadmill.  She also does a lot of long runs on the weekend with her Dad, which is totally cool.

Madi ran 10 miles on Saturday for the first time- 10 miles!!!!  And her race is still 10 weeks away.  She is going to have no problem at all running 13.1.  That girl's going to be running a marathon any day now!  Seriously Madi you are awesome - keep up the GREAT work.

I think Madi comes by the running thing naturally because her Dad is a super stud!  Jim finished his 9th marathon yesterday on his journey to finish 50 marathons in 50 states.  It was a super hilly course and he did great.  He said he felt better and stronger than ever.  I am so proud of you honey!

I wish some of their greatness would rub off on me soon.  Madi and Jim - You were Both GREAT Today and Everyday!!  You are both my inspirations.

What about you guys - who or what inspires you?

February 20, 2011

Does this Post Make my Butt Look Fast?

Can you tell the speed with which I am writing this post?  Ahhh......a new computer!  There is nothing like a new computer.  It blazes through the internet with lightening fast speed. It doesn't lock up and have to be shut down in the middle of a post.  It's awesome!

Now, if I could just be as fast as my new computer.  Speed is a funny thing when it comes to running.  I have people tell me all the time - speed is just relative to where you are.  Well, that's easy to say when you are fast.  I am a very SLOW runner.  I have been running now for just about two years, so really not very long.  And unfortunately I've had a few injury setbacks that have kept me from running consistently during that period.  But for the most part I have been running 3 days a week or so for about 2 years, but I never seem to get any faster.  I can look back at my race times and see some improvement, but it's easy to improve from a 12ish minute mile.  No matter how hard I push myself I just can't seem to go any faster.

Sometimes I think I have some sort of genetic mutation that keeps me from running fast.  Like maybe the top half and bottom half of my body don't really go together - when I was on the assembly line maybe my parts  were switched for somebody else.  Or maybe my legs are really made of lead instead of bone.  At least then I would have an excuse for being this slow.  Most people I know who pick up running automatically run around a 10:30 or 11:00 minute pace or even faster.....running seems to be easy and natural for most people.  Why not me?

I do incorporate speed workouts in my training.  I do intervals of 1 to 2 minutes at a faster pace, but usually that wipes me out and then I have to walk for 1 to 2 minutes to recover.  I am thinking about taking some speed classes in the Spring.  Maybe this will push me farther.  How about you guys any thoughts, ideas or suggestions?

Lastly, I thought the title of this post was pretty clever.  A play on words - does this dress make my butt look fat - does this post make my butt look fast.  That's funny right?  My husband didn't understand it, but of course he doesn't understand alot of things :)

Go Jim - Be Great Today in Austin!!!

February 19, 2011

Top Ten Things You Might Not Know About Austin, TX

Top Ten Fun and Interesting Things you may not know about Austin, TX.  Why am I writing about Austin, on!

10.  It's home to North America's largest bat population (about 1.5 Million) - that's alot of bats!

9.  They have an average of 300 days of sunshine per year - wow that's alot of Vitamin D.

8.  It is known as the live music capital of the world.

7.  Is home to the largest State Capitol in the US - everything's bigger in TX.

6.  First Lady Laura Bush, daughter Jenna Bush, Walter Cronkite, Matthew McConaughey, Renee Zellweger, Farrah Fawcett, and Roger Clemens are all University of Texas alumni (UT is located in Austin).

5.  Sandra Bullock owns a home and two local businesses in Austin, TX.

4.  Both the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Office Space were filmed in Austin, TX.

3.  It was rated the #1 drunkest city by Forbes in 2008 (see # 2).

2.  Matthew McConaughey was arrested in Austin in 1999 - remember the famous drunk, naked, bongo drums incident.  Yep, that happened in Austin.

1.  The World's Most Awesome and Drop Dead Sexy Man (no not Matthew McConaughey) will run his 9th marathon (the Livestrong Austin Marathon) in Austin, TX tomorrow.

I love you babe!  Go Jim - Be GREAT Today Tomorrow!! 

Jim kicking some Austin booty!

Friday Workout Summary

Miles:  4
Total Time:  48:32
Average Pace:  12:08
Splits:  11:16, 11:32, 12:45, 13:01

I did my first 4 mile and outdoor run since September yesterday!  Wahoo.  Last September I was diagnosed with a tibial stress fracture, so even though it's been healed for awhile now I haven't done any real distance running - plus it's winter and I have to  run on the treadmill - WHICH I HATE.......It's truly the worst.

This is the first week of my official half marathon training schedule, so this was my first "long run".  I wasn't supposed to do my long run until Sunday, but it was nearly 60 degrees on Friday and I had the day off (Sunday is supposed to be much colder) so I decided to move it and take advantage of the weather.

It felt GREAT to run outdoors.  It was so much easier than the treadmill.  I completed all 4 (while slowly) with no walking breaks.  I felt pretty good about that since it was kind of my debut back to running.  I have been doing 3 miles 3 or 4 times a week on the treadmill, but no matter how hard I try I can rarely do it without stopping.  I don't know what it is about that treadmill - mental I guess.

I started out strong (well strong for me) but my miles got slower each mile.  The last mile was tough for me because it is about 1/2 mile uphill.  I still have a long way to go, but overall happy with my first outdoor run of the season.  Hopeful to get more in soon.

February 18, 2011

Kick My A..naerobic Threshold

Every Tuesday and Thursday night and Saturday morning I take an indoor cycling class.  The name of the class is KMA.......Kick My A..naerobic Threshold.  And it does just that.  Each class is two hours of pure torture.  It is mostly cycling on your own bike on an indoor trainer, but he also likes to throw in some strength training as well.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays we do resistance band work.  Our coach thinks it's really fun to make us do isometric exercises with the bands.  For instance recently we did a 4 minute isometric squat.  I literally thought I might die.  I think he was a sadist in a previous life.

That's me in the hot pink....kicking it!

In spite of the pain, it's kind of fun in a way.  As I've said before I'm not the strongest or fastest athlete.  My class is made up of about 90% men and 10% women.  Alot of the men are serious cyclists, but the isometric exercises are an equalizer.  Those guys legs are shaking just like mine.  They are breathing hard, and alot of time there are a few curse words being expressed.  It's kind of funny to watch.

On Saturday's the coach likes to put together an obstacle course......oh gee more fun.  We spend about 30 minutes on the bike, then about 45 on the obstacle course and then complete the class on the bike.  It's a great way to break up the bike, but the obstacle course is tough and he changes out the exercises every week.  We do fun things like jump rope for 2 minutes.  Now that should be easy right?  I could jump rope for like 20 minutes when I was a kid and didn't think a thing about it........not so much anymore.  Have you jumped rope lately - man that can get your heart rate up in a second.  We also do agility ladder exercises and hip extensions on the ball, but my FAVORITE one that we've done for the last few weeks is where I get to crawl on my hands and knees with a partner behind me who has a resistance band around my waist and gets to pull me in the opposite direction (really wish I had a picture of that) is my sarcasm font working?

I know that's just a ringing endorsement for the class right, but honestly it has been great for me.  I do dread every workout, but I know it has pushed me farther than I probably would have gone on my own this winter.  I would never have sat on a bike and ridden this many miles (even if it is indoor) on my own.  So thanks Coach Goodman Goodpain.

On a side note, I decided to get clipless pedals installed on my bike prior to the class starting.  I figured if I was going to be indoors on a trainer for 3 months I might as well try them out and start getting some practice clipping in and out in a safe environment.  Even that wasn't easy.  The first time I clipped in, there was no way I was clipping out - they were set too tight.  So I had to get off and on my bike with my shoes still attached to the bike pedals - "Pro Style".  I'm not sure if this "practice" will translate from trainer to outdoors, but we shall see soon enough.  I'm sure my klutzy self will have lots of fabulous stories to share when I first start riding outdoors with those things.  I am just hopeful I don't seriously injure myself.

Anyway, I do feel the class is making me stronger.  I'm hopeful to see some improvement in my cycling speed when I start training outdoors again.  Very, very hopeful.  Biking is my strongest sport, but I'm still well below most people's average.  I think with some extra effort I'll be an AVERAGE cyclist any day now.

How about you ?  Any one do the group exercise thing or are you the lone wolf?

February 17, 2011

Barely Tri-ing

Between illness and travel my training for the last two weeks has been almost nonexistent.  If I don't get back in the swing of things soon I'm going to have to re-title my blog Barely Tri-ing.  My normal/ideal weekly training schedule includes 2 swims, 3 bikes, 3 runs, yoga and strength training.  Let's see over the past two weeks I've gotten in most of my runs, a couple bikes, and absolutely no swimming or other activities.

To be completely honest I haven't been to the pool to swim in almost a month.  I was doing so good at the beginning of the year, but if I decide to skip a workout it's always the swim.  I DREAD the swim - every time.  It's my weakest sport, so it should be the one I work on the most, but instead I do the opposite, which makes me struggle even more.  Now when I finally do get back to swimming I will be back at square one again!!  ARGHHH.....why do I do this to myself?  I have several very good excuses of course.  My main one is that I don't have a good place to swim.  My gym has a terrible pool.  It only has 2 lanes, and it's only 20 Meters long and like 3 feet deep.  So most of the time I have to share a lane - which I hate and there really isn't enough room to make this work anyway.  If I want to avoid the lane share, I have to be there by 4:30 am (which I am fortunate they are open this early), but even then sometimes you still have to share because people have figured out that it's a "slow" time for the pool.  Of course it's a slow time, it's the freaking middle of the night!!  So, even if I get lucky enough to have my own lane the pool is so small and shallow it just doesn't seem like you get the best workout in, but better than nothing I guess.  So I stress and worry that I will have to share a lane, and I just end up skipping it.  To top things off, right now I don't have a triathlon scheduled until the end of July, so I don't have a sense of urgency about building my endurance which gives me a built in excuse.  So you are asking yourself, why don't I just find a new gym, well unfortunately where I live there aren't alot of other pool options.  The few places that have nicer pools have hours that aren't conducive to my schedule.......I know excuses, excuses!

Next week I'm really going to make an effort to get back to my schedule.  I will blog about it to keep me accountable.  Give me crap if I don't get my workouts in. 

This week officially kicked off my half marathon training too.  I had planned to start last week but I was too sick to get in more than a couple of short runs.  I only have 11 weeks to train.  I got a decent 3 mile run in this morning on the treadmill although I still lacked a little energy.  Running is not my strength either - did I already mention my half marathon PR is 2:50 - in case you can't do the math that's a lightening fast speed of 13:08 per mile.  On a positive note, the weather is FINALLY getting a little warmer and I am hopeful to do my "long run" (only 4 miles this week) outside this weekend. 

As for biking well we can talk about biking on another day.  But, like I said in my first blog, unfortunately I don't have a "strong sport".....but I keep tri-ing!!

What about you guys, do you ever have problems with motivation or a specific sport that really challenges you?  What do you do?  What motivates you?  Any tips or tricks?

"Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, or an hour, or a day or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever." Lance Armstrong

February 16, 2011

The Chicken is out to GET Me!

courtesy of

When I was young, I was a very picky eater.  My Mom always told me the only reason I survived my childhood was because I liked milk.  She forced me to eat vegetables a few times, but that never ended up well for either of us.  I generally threw them back up.  I just couldn’t stand the taste.  As a teenager my tastes grew more sophisticated.  I pushed passed pure milk and became a meat and potatoes sweets kind of girl.   Vegetables were for losers!

As an adult I better understand what it means to eat a healthy diet and I have begun to experiment a little bit more with my food.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not a solid veggie eater, and as a general rule of thumb if it’s green and it’s cooked I don’t like it – this includes brussel sprouts, peas, lima beans, and broccoli to name a few.  Now there are a few exceptions, I do love spinach and asparagus – although these have only been discoveries I’ve made in the last 10 years.  I can also tolerate almost any raw vegetable, it’s just when they are cooked that something bizarre seems to happen to them.

So this story might shock a lot of people who know me, but a few weeks ago I decided to try my hand at being a vegetarian for a week.  I ended up going 9 days!!  Yep, this meatatarian maintained a vegetarian diet for 9 days.  I’m not exactly sure why I decided to do it.  Mostly I just like trying new things and seeing if I can do them.  I was also really inspired by Jason at Cook Train Eat Race (formerly Life of an Aspiring Triathlete) who has had a fairly recent transition to a vegetarian diet and posts great weekly recipes every Thursday on the Athlete’s Plate.  I really wanted to just try out a few items.  They looked delicious.  It also caused me to branch out and try new things….like eggplant for the first time in my life!  It was awesome!  I also made this fabulous veggie pizza (I know some of you have seen this pic before on my hubby’s blog but it's worth sharing again).  I was really surprised by the experience.  First off, I hadn't died.  Second I had tons of energy and felt great….hmmm….maybe veggies aren’t for losers.

I say all that to get to the point that I think the chicken is out to get me.  I had no intention of completly switching to a vegetarian diet, so I knew I would eat meat again sometime.  Last week during my trip to Chicago I finally succumbed to some rotisserie chicken.  The next day I ended up with a severe head cold that I’m still fighting.  Now, I don’t think there was a direct correlation between getting sick and eating chicken…..but I think that chicken was sending me a message J

Then yesterday at work I ordered a chicken panini (I am very fortunate to have a good usually good onsite cafeteria at work).  About two bites into the sandwich I look down and what do I discover……..I am eating RAW chicken!  That’s right, it’s not just a little pink, it’s RAW……..ugh…I feel sick already.  I’ve definitely lost my appetite so I head back upstairs to my desk where just a few minutes later I throw up.  There is nothing better than throwing up at work in a public restroom.  I’m telling you the chicken is trying to tell me something.

Needless to say, my lunch today was brown rice, steamed vegetables, strawberries, and a side salad.  I’m not going anywhere near meat for a few days. 
So, what do you eat?  If you are a vegetarian how do you get enough protein for an endurance athlete (aside from beans)?  Have any nutritional information or recipes to share?  And last but not least answer me this - can a vegetarian eat animal crackers?  Hopefully that's not offensive to anyone, I just thought it was funny!

Remember, you are what you eat!

February 15, 2011

Misadventures in Shopping

I know by the title I've probably lost most, if not all of my male bloggers.  And I have to be honest, this post is mostly about shopping, but it is kind of funny and eventually has a message.  But, if you decide to read this just remember you were forewarned. 

I was in Chicago last week on business and my hotel was conveniently located just 2 blocks away from “The Magnificent Mile” on N. Michigan Ave.  For those of you who have been to Chicago, you know that N. Michigan is the shopping mecca.  I was making the rounds at Banana Republic, Bloomingdale’s, and Bebe, etc. (wow those all start with B) - window shopping of course, since all of those stores are a little out of my price range.  And then I spot H&M – a very trendy yet inexpensive store.  I could do some real shopping here.  It is 3 stories of AWESOMENESS.

H&M Chicago

My cute new $5 top
 So I meander through the store picking out a few cute new items for Spring.  Don't worry honey, my per diem paid for most of it :)  As I’m heading to the cash register with my purchases I spot the CLEARANCE rack.  Well, I better take a look before I leave, right?  So I thumb through the previous season items, but nothing too spectacular.  Then, I see this really cute black ruffled top.  It's high waisted, totally in style, my size and it’s only $5.  That’s right, only $5, this is a bargain I can’t pass up.  No need to try it on.  For that price if it doesn’t fit I’ll give it to a friend.  Someone will love it.

Sunday night after I get home I start unpacking my suitcase and find the H&M bag.  I had already forgotten about my last minute purchase.  Well I better try it on and see how it fits.  I try to fit it over my head and can’t.  Hmmm…the liner must be twisted or something.  I try again - nope still can't get it over my head.  Well maybe that’s why it was $5, it must be sized wrong or something.  I fiddle with the buttons to see if that will help and finally discover it’s not a top at all – it’s a FREAKING romper!  Dummy me has been trying to put a pair of shorts on my head.  I’m cracking up laughing at myself.  How did I not notice this before?

Are those shorts? 

Now, maybe if I was much younger, or Lady Gaga or Beyonce I could get away with a sexy, short, black romper.  But I am not…I am a 36 year old woman who is not stick thin.  But I still have to try it on anyway -of course.  I look ridiculous – I am cracking up at myself again.  I walk in the living room to get the hubby’s response.  He just stares at me.  I know he is processing….don’t tell her she looks stupid…..she probably thinks she looks great….don’t say anything dumb.  I let him off the hook pretty easily by laughing again to which he comments “Uh, what is that you have on there honey?”  I tell him the story and we both get a good laugh.  Good thing it only cost me $5.

Lady Gaga in a slightly shorter romper

Anyway, I tell this story because it’s funny, and because I think in a random way it relates to racing and training.  Maybe on a whim you signed up for a 10K, half marathon, or marathon, but you didn’t prepare like you should have (i.e. trying the item on before you bought it) and your end result was disappointment, injury, or maybe you just couldn’t finish the race.  A lot of times we want the medal at the end of the race (or that great bargain) but we aren’t willing to do our homework.  We don’t want to spend endless hours training (or standing in long lines at the dressing room), we just “hope” it will work out in the end, but unfortunately it doesn’t usually turn out that way.  Hope your shopping and training ventures turn out better than mine!

“Focus on the journey and not the destination.  Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it”. – Greg Anderson

February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day....Twilight.....and Racing

Valentine's Card from Cindy

"I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon." - Author Unknown

 Well, it's arrived once again....Valentine's Day.  A day of love and wonderment to some; a day of torture to others.  I suppose race day is like that for many of us.  Some people can't wait for race day, it's the icing on the cake, but for others it's stressful - will all their preparation pay off, will they be disappointed?

Flowers from Jim
I'm personally not a huge fan of Valentine's Day.  I hate for someone to tell my husband that he should get me flowers.  I would rather just receive them unexpectedly.....but who can turn down flowers right?

This year I received two Valentine's surprises.  Flowers from my hubby and a plate full of cookies and cupcakes from my best friend Cindy.  Hmmm....well she claims to be my best friend, but she know I can't resist sweets.  I also received the awesome Valentine's Day card above from Cindy.  I know, I know, most of you are snarling right now, but I am a self proclaimed Twihard.  Urban dictionary gives this very flattering definition of a Twihard:  Stupid obsessive people (mostly teenage girls) who are "in love" with fictional characters and wouldn't know a good book if it punched them in the face.  They also give this second definition "A serious/obsessive reader of the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, one leap above Twilighters."  I relate to the second definition thank you very much!  
Me, Cindy & Jacob

Laugh at me if you will for being "obsessed" with Twilight, but how many of you are obsessed with running, training, racing, or blogging?  We all get pulled in to things that fulfill something inside us.  Maybe it's that inner romatic that wonders what it would be like to be Edward and Bella....I have my Edward - his name is Jim.  But most of us who compete in endurance events have a drive and motivation to continually challenge ourselves.  How do we get to that next level; how much farther can we push ourselves?  I think we are all just a little obsessed with something.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  I hope you all find your true obsession.

Cookie Tray from Cindy

February 12, 2011

Just a little bit about me this blog is a work in progress.  But I figured I have to start somewhere, so here goes.

First, I have to say thank you to my husband Jim at 50 After 40 for 2 things:

1.  The absolutely awesome design of this blog!!  It looks great right?

2.  For inspiring me daily!  If it weren't for Jim, I probably never would have taken that first step toward racing.

Now a little bit about me (I'll put more info in the "About Me" section later):

Last year I signed up for my first triathlon.  It was an all women's sprint distance triathlon with about 800 participants - of which about 400 were first timers.  It was a great first experience.  I enjoyed it so much I ended up doing 3 sprint distance triathlons last year.  Not too bad for my "rookie" year.  I experienced so many things last year - my first bike ride in a hail storm, my first open water swim, my first run across the finish line - and I wished I had journaled about them, but I didn't.  So I decided to start this blog...more for me than anyone else.  I want to remember my experiences and the journey I will take again this year as I train and complete my first Olympic Distance Triathlon.......and possibly sign up for my first marathon.  What new experiences do I have in store?

I need to say this upfront.........I AM SLOW!!!!  And when I say slow, I mean SLOW!!!  I currently run about a 12:30 minute mile.  My PR is an 11:15 minute mile for a 5K for crying I am slow.  So maybe you think I am a strong swimmer or biker.  Nope, not strong in those sports either.  Before last year I hadn't been on a bike for 10 years, and I had never swam (except as a kid for fun).  People ask me all the time, so what is your "strong" sport.  I always have to just laugh and say I don't have one.  So, if you are a super athlete this blog is probably not for you.  This is for those of us who may not be great, but at least we are out there Slowly Tri-ing!!