Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wear the shirt. Drink the gatorade. Eat the cookies. (Not really a race report.)

I spent all last week trying to forget that I had a race on the calendar for the weekend. Anytime someone would mention it, I'd act surprised. Oh! A race! It's this weekend? Gosh, I don't know about that. I haven't been running with my bad foot and all. Also, the water sounds cold. It's so far away, we'll have to get up early. I should probably do a long ride instead. I don't know. I might skip it.

I kept giving myself mental outs. You don't have to go. Who cares. It didn't cost much. It's just a practice race, and you can't even finish the full run anyway. The thought of spending that much time in the car after a long road trip the weekend before didn't help.

Part of me was on board with bailing, since no one really cared if I went or not and I clearly just didn't want to deal with it. The other part of me, the cheap part, thought, Geez. You paid for it. Go do it. Get your money's worth. Wear the shirt. Drink the gatorade. Eat the cookies.

The tipping point was an email from my friend Kimberly. She offered to DRIVE. Gah. The nerve. I said ok.

I still wasn't mentally in the game Friday night when I threw everything I could think of into a giant bag and put it by the front door. Just because I packed didn't mean I had to GO.

When I woke up, I sat on the bed and considered texting Kimberly that I was sick or that gosh, it looks like it might rain, or that my foot hurt. Those were all lies. I just didn't want to go.

I confessed to Kimberly about an hour into the drive that I had no desire to go do this race. She about killed me. Apparently she felt the same way. We laughed and considered turning around.

Why was I so grumpy about this whole thing?

We got to the race site super early and picked up our race numbers, chips, t-shirts and socks. We got back in the car.

I turned to Kimberly, "We don't have to do this you know. We can still just go home."

But neither of us really wanted to go home. We didn't feel like racing, but we didn't want to leave.

Finally we had to get moving. Bikes, helmets, shoes, drinks, garmins, caps, goggles, wetsuits, and various snacks all packed up and headed to transition.

I overheard a lot of "This is my first race! I don't know what I'm doing! I'm so nervous! This is freaking me out!" I saw a lot of race wheels and aero helmets. I realized my friend Jen was on my row. I had forgotten how much I missed it.

"This is so cool," I thought. "What on earth was my problem?" I wondered as I set my socks in my bike shoes and put my race belt underneath my running shoes so it wouldn't blow away. I turned my Garmin on, grabbed my wetsuit, cap and goggles and left. My bad attitude was gone. I  was finally excited.

By the time I got on my bike, the song that settled into my head on repeat was perfect. Over and over I sang

The sun goes down, the stars come out,
And all that counts is here and now,
My universe will never be the same
I'm glad you came, I'm glad you came

Cheesy or not, I was glad that I was riding my bike, glad that I had defeated the don't wannas to get into a 65 degree lake that morning and glad that I was going to run after my bike ride. I remembered, finally, why I keep doing this. It's because I love it.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Rice? In the morning? {The Feed Zone Cookbook}

Food actually bores me. I like it ok, and I eat it a lot, but when you are seemingly always hungry, food gets boring. Oh, hi, look, another banana. Great. What's for breakfast? PB and J? Again? Fine. Oatmeal. Fruits. Veggies. Chicken. Ice cream. It ALL gets old. I even threw away 10 cupcakes once because they went bad before I could eat them. I didn't eat them because they weren't interesting to me. That is just sad, you guys.

RIP, cupcakes.
The other problem is that eating crap all the time doesn't produce the best sporty results and can leave you dragging, tired, and crabby, so eating plenty of good for you foods like fruits, vegetables, lean meats and brownies is essential. When you are training for a long race, your food is your FUEL.

Great. So, healthy foods then? I hate cooking. Like, really hate cooking. A lot. I hate making a mess. I hate cleaning it up. I hate chopping. I hate mixing. I hate taking things out of the oven. I hate tupperware. I hate measuring things. {Note: I don't measure things.}

The only thing I like is knowing there is a freezer full of food when it's all I can do to carry my bike back up 3 flights of stairs, drop everything and put something into the microwave before I fall on my face from hunger. So, cook I must. {I've often said I'd like a nanny. My mom is like, but you don't have any kids! And I'm like, MOM. You are missing the point. I want a nanny for ME.}

I had long been hooked on Rachel Ray and her easy 30-minute one pan meals but they weren't always quite as healthy as I would have liked. A bag of cheese? Ok, if that's what the recipe calls for! I'm still hooked on a lot of her recipes and have a bunch memorized. There's a cous-cous, broccoli, chicken dish that is out of this world (and healthy.) (and only requires one pan to clean!!) She's got great stoups (not as thick as stew, but thicker than a soup) that are perfect for freezing and reheating. I'm not abandoning Rachel. It's just that I found a new love.
New book! Still wrapped in plastic!
Enter: The Feed Zone Cookbook: Fast and Flavorful Food for Athletes. It's written by Chef Biju Thomas and Dr. Allen Lim. They both have experiece working with professional cyclists, including Lim's work on Team Radio Shack and Team Garmin-Transitions. Thomas also developed menus for successful restaurants in Denver and Boulder, CO.

I went on a quest for this book after a fellow morning computrainer classmate brought in some of the rice muffins made from one of Lim's recipes. They were interesting, because, rice? In the morning? Who would have ever thought of such a thing? But, also, they were good, and filling and, hey, maybe this Lim guy is on to something. If he can properly fuel Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong, probably there are other good ideas in there. I was, surprisingly, excited to cook.

As promised, the recipes are easy to make, good to eat, and perfect for someone who does a lot of sportz. I even sampled one of the recipes out on the girls of The Off Season Tri.

Rice cakes w bacon, anyone? #Yum
My recent foot injury provided me with way too much free time freed up some weekend hours to spend some quality time in the kitchen, so I decided to use that time wisely. I think I spent around $150 at Giant and 4-5 hours in the kitchen one Saturday. I came away with 3 pots of soup, some quiche, a pan of chicken fried rice and a batch of cookies. Not bad for someone on the bench! I'll post some more reviews but here are some of my favorites. 

Veggie Quiche. I think I heard my mom's mouth drop open when I told her I made a quiche from scratch. I quickly explained: bread crumbs, lots of eggs, mini veggie chopper, some shredded cheese: bake. She recovered. One quiche went directly into the freezer for a brunch a week later (where it was quickly gone.) One was cut into bite sized pieces and put into a tupperware for mid morning post workout snacks. APPROVED.

There's cheese in there, too!
Red Lentil Stew. I like curry. I wasn't so sure about lentils, but they seemed harmless, and it's the #yearofGeorge, so I figured what the hell. Yadda, yadda, yadda...I made a second batch this weekend. Topped w a bit of salt, some greek yogurt and fresh tomatoes, and...APPROVED.

Greek yogurt goes on everything, amirite?
Chicken Fried Rice. I know. It doesn't *sound* healthy, but really it is. This one is perfect for the freezer. Aside from the fact that I try not to handle raw meat, like, ever, this is another one of my favorites. I'm going to make another pan of it this weekend. APPROVED.

Giant bag of frozen veggies FTW.
And, right on cue, now I'm hungry. Any favorite quick, healthy recipe sources to share?