Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tri For Abbey 2012

 500 meter swim, 14 mile bike, 5k run

September 22, 2012
Rock Hill, SC

A Quick Recap
Swim:  8:08 - second fastest of the day
T1: 0:55 - add an extra thirty seconds of run from the beach included in the swim time
Bike: 39:43 - short and sweet, I love it!
T2: 0:32 - welcome to the pain cave.  racing fast hurts!
Run: 21:37 - endless ups and downs
Finish Time: 1:10:53
Finish Place: 2nd overall

The course was a short and sweet 500m and water temperature was 75 degrees. The big decision of the morning was wetsuit vs. no wetsuit.  I initially had no intention of wearing a wetsuit or skin given the short distance, but spent some time second guessing myself when the majority of others were wearing their wetsuits.  Eventually I settled on my swim skin to add a little extra speed without the production of peeling myself out of a thick layer of rubber.  I got off to a good sprint and found clear water for the majority of the course. The water was quite shallow and many people made the mistake of trying to run the last 50m, but I kept with my swim stroke and passed a couple dozen people.  With a time of 7:45 as I exited the water and the second fastest swim, I was very pleased.

Ebeneezer Park

View from the swim start area
In general, I much prefer the Olympic distance to Sprint races.  Sprints are over so quickly and lack the same sense of satisfaction that I crave given the volume of training that is dedicated to racing!  However, I couldn't help but be excited for just 14 miles on the bike!  The course was rectangular in shape, had a mix of rollers and flats, and featured a few railroad track crossings and speed bumps just to add a little excitement.  My goal was to push harder on the bike than I ever have in the past, knowing that I can generally run well off the bike.  My time of 39:43 was third fastest of the day, and just 5 seconds shy of second fastest.

As soon as I stepped off my bike, my quads were feeling the result of pedaling hard and fast.  Exiting T2, I was overcome with nausea and was concerned I was going to have that first experience of crossing the finish line and then making a bee-line to a garbage can.  However, when they announced that I was the first place age-group women, I knew I had to dig hard and hang on.  Fortunately, once I focused on my run cadence and breathing the nausea passed.  The out and back course allowed me to keep an eye on my competition.  I passed one woman in the open division (their swim wave started 6 minutes before mine) and then saw the lead open division female approximately one mile ahead of me.  I hung on to a sub-7 minute pace despite the 700 feet of climbing over the 5k distance and made a hard sprint the last quarter-mile hoping to dig in to the deficit of the lead open female.

Ultimately, I came up shy of beating the open female, but took the win for age-group women.  I'm always striving to race faster and can't help but wonder if I could have pulled off the win if I owned aerodynamic race wheels and an aerodynamic helmet (both of which my competition had).  Such is the fun, yet frustrating, aspect of triathlon - so much expensive technology!

Always love the feeling of finishing a race, changing into clean clothes, and refueling with a Mix1.
And that wraps up the 2012 triathlon season.  I had initially intended to race Rev3 Anderson, but the combination of early bike check and the race coinciding with my vacation, didn't jive logistically.  I'll be glad to enjoy some less intense training, especially given that my two month stretch on trauma starts soon.  The goal for the early off-season is to rediscover my passion and enjoyment in the simple pleasures of running and biking.  2012 was a great season with a couple overall podiums, and I'll be excited to build on that moving into 2013!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Signs of Fall

I just spent the past four hours sitting outside on my deck studying for the OITE and enjoying the most perfect sunny 75 degree afternoon.  I need more afternoons like that in my life.  Of course curling up with a great book rather than Miller Review and upper extremity assessment questions would have been just a tiny bit better, but I'll take what I can get.

On that note, here are just a few pictures I've captured over the past week that indicate that summer is a long lost memory and fall has arrived.

Chestnut Tea Latte
While I am one to enjoy a latte regardless of the season, the cooler weather makes me crave a warm mug of tea or coffee that much more.  Pumpkin spice lattes anyone?  Although currently I'm more than a little irked with the recently announced Starbucks Card changes.  No more free soy milk or syrups - really?!?

Open Windows and Fresh Fall Air
Last weekend I soaked up the cool night air by leaving my windows open overnight.  Sadly, my neighbors decided to have a very loud domestic dispute at 4am on Saturday morning.  Not exactly the the time I was ready to be awake or the peaceful nature sounds I thought I'd be awakened by.

Apple-Cinnamon Pancakes(am I making you hungry?)
Apples, pumpkin, kale, and butternut squash are just a few of my favorite fall foods.  Seasonal ingredients will definitely be finding their way onto many of my plates in the upcoming months.  
It's hard to imagine how we spend our Saturday afternoons any other way.
My birthday, Mom's birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.
All of these festivities translate into quality family time, which I love.
Plus, my first vacation of second year is coming up in October!  I can't wait!

One-Dish Meals
This particular meal included a pesto quinoa salad base with  pan seared salmon topped with a mango salsa.  It won't be long before I break out the crock pot for chili and soup.

How are you planning to enjoy the first weeks of gorgeous fall weather?  
Any great pumpkin-inspired recipes?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dinner at Salud

Whole Foods has officially arrived in Charlotte, and I couldn't be more excited!  How lucky could a girl possibly to have both Earth Fare and Whole Foods within 2 miles of my house, not to mention the multiple farmer's markets just a short drive away?

Tonight, I attended a Salud cooking demonstration at Whole Foods.  Justin Balmes, a previous Whole Foods employee and prior contestant on Food Network Star and Chopped All-Stars, prepared a "Farm to Table" dinner.  After a hill climb bike workout, I arrived hungry, excited, and ready to enjoy a decadent meal.

The kitchen is impressive, and I can only wish that I will be able to stock my kitchen with similar cookware and appliances in the future.  Just a little bit (wishful thinking) crap-ton of medical school debt to pay off first. It's only money right?

While the food was generally okay, the chef struggled to interact with the audience and there was lots of awkward silence that left the audience visibly frustrated to have invested in such a lackluster evening at the cooking school.  The class was scheduled to end at 8:30pm, yet at 9pm we were being served only our third of four courses.

Here is a peak at our dinner:

Panzanella Salad
Local Tomatoes, Fresh Mozzarella, Torn Croutons, Basil, Arugula, and White balsamic

Pan Roasted Grouper
Shrimp and Corn Succotash, Smoked Tomato Grits

Grilled Pork Chop
Sweet Potato and Gouda Mac, Spicy Kale
After several plates of rich food and three pours of wine (a near-record for this lightweight), I was more than ready to be done eating, and had just a couple bites of dessert and failed to snap a picture to share.

Despite my frustrations, I'd definitely consider going back for another class at Salud.  The key to the classes is finding a great chef who has a captivating personality and can multi-task in the kitchen to whip up an enjoyable meal while simultaneously engaging the audience.

This girl is ready for her bed.  It's already in the upper 60s outside and my windows are opened to enjoy the cool fall air.  A sound night sleep is guaranteed!  Good night.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor-less Weekend

Is there anything better than a three-day weekend?!  Seriously, who do I need to talk to about redesigning the work week to four days rather than the traditional five?  I somehow managed to get all three days off work and relished that opportunity to accomplish a mix of chores, fun, workouts, studying, and relaxation.  It was a beautiful thing!
MISSION #1 - Sleep in and enjoy a cup of coffee on the deck while catching up
with my multitude of magazines.

MISSION #2 - Lazy brunch after the afore-mentioned cup of coffee and a 6 mile run.
Breakfast at 10:30am . . . I don't remember the last time that happened.

MISSION #3 - Whip up a fresh veggie salad using farmer's market produce.

MISSION #4 - Party it up with all of the orthopaedic residents and their spouses at a Labor Day BBQ
Even the dogs joined in on the party.  Bailey would have fit right in!

MISSION #5 - Celebrate fall with a pumpkin spice tea latte
MISSION #6 - Study . . . OITE review questions, shoulder anatomy, arthroscopy techniques, etc.
Two months of sports medicine starts tomorrow!

MISSION #7 - Experience the grand opening of Whole Foods Charlotte!
I have been awaiting this day for more than a year, as they had just announced their
future location when I was moving here last June.

This picture does no justice to the insane crowds.  There were police directing traffic, valet parking services, and parking that overflowed into neighboring shopping centers.  

Let me just get on my soapbox here for a moment.  With the arrival of the Democratic National Convention to Charlotte, and the recent completion of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, it seems there is non-stop talk by the media about which candidate will successfully bring our economy out of the dumpster.  While I don't doubt that some parts of the country are struggling, I'm here to tell you that there is no suffering here in Charlotte based on the money being thrown around in a grocery store.  People had carts mounded over with food as if it could possibly be their last opportunity to shop before they are shipped to a deserted island and stripped of nourishment.  Not to mention the crowds in the prepared foods section filling their plates with pounds and pounds of food which may very likely cost them more than a meal out at a fine dining establishment.  Mr. President and Mr. Romney - I'm no economics major, but I don't think you can call this a depression.  And lastly Mr. President, thanks to your comment about over-priced arugula at Whole Foods, you created arugula-feasting monsters (many, I'm sure, have never before even heard of the leafy green) who grabbed up each and every bunch of the 99 cent vegetable that our Charlotte store could put on the shelves.

MISSION #8 - Reward myself with a Whole Foods lunch after a morning of shopping

MISSION #9 - Put an end to "recovery week" and get back to some tough workouts
Friday - swim, run
Saturday - strength, bike
Sunday - run, swim (3000m in the outdoor pool with the sun shining)
Monday - bike (power intervals, I hate you!)

MISSION #10 - Cook a meal that requires more than two minutes in the microwave
Seared tofu over mustard-glazed green beans and adzuki beans 

Inside out spring roll salad and red-wine braised turnips