Monday, July 27, 2015

24 Hours of Booty

There are so many Charlotte events that I look forward to each year, but 24 Hours of  Booty is definitely one of the highlights of my summer.  This 24 hour cycling event in the heart of Myers Park is a staple of the Charlotte community and draws together a mix of cancer survivors, families affected by cancer, members of the medical community, elite cyclists, and volunteers for one common cause - beating cancer.  

Friday evening, 1200 cyclists gathered to kick off the big event.  For the second year in a row, I rode with the Levine Cancer Institute team.  Our fearless leader - Dr. Kneisl - leads our team, and together with Dr. Vanderhave, we represented the CMC orthopaedic department.

The build up to the 7pm start is filled with heart-wrenching stories of patients and their families who are currently battling or have lost loved ones in the battle against cancer.  After the national anthem and raising our hands to the common cause of "beating cancer," the ride began.  The first couple laps (each 2.84 miles) were slow moving with tightly packed group of cyclists, but eventually the riders became more spread out and I knocked out 40 miles before returning to Bootyville for dinner and then riding a couple miles back to the house to sleep for several hours.

I was up bright at early to begin my ride at 5am.  Last year someone had recommended riding in the early morning darkness, and it is without a doubt my favorite time to ride.  The course is quiet, roads are lit only by some spotlights and blinking bike lights, and the summer air is relatively cool.  

By sunrise, I was 28 miles into my ride and took a short break for breakfast.  Between scrambled eggs and fruit, pecan swirl bread with peanut butter from Great Harvest, half of a glazed chocolate donut, and iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts, I was energized for more riding.

I rode another 42 miles before making a very quick stop for a bathroom and to refill my water bottles.  Bootyville is filled with tents of participants who camp overnight on the football field at Myers Park Traditional school.  The benefit of living nearby = no need to sleep on an air mattress.

The final 42 miles grew increasingly busy on the course and required extra effort to maintain speed while remaining safe in the crowds.  Sadly, I witness a car pull out and hit one cyclist on the course, and although she appeared not to be too severely injured, I was more cautious the last few miles.  With 20 miles to go I was really starting to overheat and grabbed a few sips of ice cold coke hoping for a boost.  Just after 6 hours, my odometer hit 115 miles for the day and 155 miles for the event , and that meant my 50+ laps around the Booty Loop had come to a close.

The heat took a toll and I felt a little woozy getting off the bike, but after several minutes in the shade with cold gatorade, I was ready for lunch.  The taco bar catered from Moe's satisfied many hungry athletes bellies.

Compared to last year's Saturday long-ride, this year's 115 miles felt dramatically easier.  I spent far more time in aero, averaged more than 0.5mph faster pace, and was comfortable on my bike the entire time.  Last year I rode 87 miles before my base bar split, causing me to crash, and recall those last 20 miles were pretty painful.  Hopefully my improved bike fit and fitness will translate to a faster bike split in Louisville in October!

24 Hours of Booty concluded on Saturday evening and a total of $1.34 million was raising by the event to donate directly to local cancer beneficiaries (Levine Cancer Institute) as well as national cancer outreach programs.  Congrats to the 1200+ riders for dedicating their weekend to a phenomenal cause!  If you'd still like to donate, here's the link to my fundraising page.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Stumpy Creek Aquabike + Recent Eats

JULY 11, 2015

1500M SWIM

Swim - 26:31 (1:46/100m)
T1 - 1:00
Bike - 1:20:57 (20.7mph)
Finish Time - 1:48:26
2nd Female Aquabike

Six weeks ago when I signed up for this international distance triathlon, training was going great, I was recovering well from the building volume, and I had absolutely no clue that an injury would pop up when I least expected it.  Fast forward a few weeks and suddenly I can't run at all due to pain in my hip.  I'm now 3 weeks into "no running" and the hip has started to improve significantly.  As much as I wanted to do a triathlon and not an aquabike, I also know that this race is only a blip on the radar as I focus on Ironman Louisville in October.  Since I had already paid my race fee, I had decided that I'd make the most of the situation and get in a quality swim+bike brick in a race environment.  In the back of my head, I kept wavering with the potential of trying to run, but ultimately on race morning I left my running shoes in the car so that it wouldn't even be a temptation. Breakfast was a PB&J Bonk Breaker and half a banana.

Water temperature was announced as a balmy 85 degrees.  I opted not to wear my swim skin, doubting how much extra speed it conveys at that distance and figuring that the last thing I wanted was extra warmth.  I was in the open swim wave with about 15 other athletes and we were the first wave to start.  Despite the few number of us, I couldn't get out of traffic and settle into a rhythm for at least 500 meters.  I kept trying to hang with the feet ahead of me, but constantly found myself slightly faster and needing to pass.  Finally I found some clean water, but still struggled to find my usual comfort in the water. The Stumpy swim course is a rectangle that incorporates the international distance athletes as well as the sprint racers, who swim a shorter rectangle.  This means that for the last few hundred meters I was suddenly in the middle of a pack of slower swimmers and once again fighting for clean water.  I exited the water and my Garmin read 26 minutes, which is 1:35/100 yards, a pace that is about 10 seconds/100 yards slower than what I'm swimming in the pool for that distance.  However, it was also more than 2 minutes faster than the same swim 3 years ago.  4th fastest female swim split out of 77.

It's a short run into transition and since I had opted to skip my swim skin, I was in and out very quickly.  3rd fastest female T1 out of 77.

I did this race three years ago, and remember hating the bike course.  It had been described as fast with rolling hills, and I remember cursing each and every one of the hills.  Looking back at my previous race report, I had also crashed coming out of transition, so perhaps that contributed my negative view of the bike course.  This year, however, I loved the course.  With the exception of some terrible stretches of uneven pavement (in some of the fastest areas), it truly is a challenging, yet fast rolling course.  Since I wasn't running, I told myself that I had to hammer the bike and put out my best possible effort.  I was back and forth in the first 10 miles with the girl who would eventually take 3rd overall female in the triathlon, before passing her and staying ahead for the remainder of the race.  I was passed by a couple guys, but otherwise rode without sight of anyone else for the majority of the 45k course.  Nutrition included approximately 24 ounces of Skratch pineapple.  NP 236 with an average HR 168 highlighted that this was the hardest effort I've put forth on the bike in a race.  And the end result was a time 5 minutes faster than 2012 and 4th fastest female bike out of 77.

I can't even begin to describe how tough it is to enter T2 and just stop, especially since I was 3rd overall at that time with a several minute buffer on my next closest competitor.  There is no official finish line, no announcement of your name, and no one removing your timing chip.  Instead, I packed up my gear and rolled my bike back to the car before wandering over to the finish line to claim my medal and some food and drink.  Although I wanted nothing more than to run (especially since that's my strength), I'm happy with my decision not to ruin the past three weeks of recovery and restart the clock on six weeks of no running.

Since I was already in the Lake Norman area for the race, I took advantage of the sunny Saturday morning and wandered through the Davidson Farmer's Market and shops, picked up coffee at The Fresh Market (sea salt caramel - so good!), and some cleaning supplies from Publix.  You can imagine my excitement when I walked into Publix and they were scooping bowls of their new organic ice creams!

Back at home I spent some much needed time degreasing and cleaning my bike.  It's a tedious task and one that I neglect, but worth the effort.

After an afternoon at NoDa Brewery with a large group from work, I arrived home starving and quickly whipped together this meal.  The plate included a veggie burger on Mom's home-baked hamburger buns, kale chips, and a cold corn salad with avocado and fresh basil.  It's was a perfect summer meal enjoyed on the deck.

Since my regular schedule means a 4am alarm on an almost daily basis, it's a wonderful feeling to curl into bed at night and not set an alarm.  Despite needing to bike for three hours, I had decided that Sunday morning was going to be a lazy one.  After enjoying a latte in bed, I made french toast with a cranberry walnut bread from the farmer's market.  Next time you make french toast, try adding almond extract rather than vanilla extract into the egg mixture!

Tonight's dinner was straight from the farmer's market with a great selection of local summer produce.  The coconut crusted mahi was the highlight of the plate and paired well with sweet chili sauce.  The okra was tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roasted at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  The other plated component was braised radishes.  I started by sautéing sweet onion in Earth Balance before adding the diced radishes to begin to cook.  Then I added a braising liquid of 1/4 cup vegetable stock, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar, and 1 tsp sugar and simmered uncovered for 10 minutes.  For the final few minutes, I added the chopped radish greens and a tablespoon of chopped rosemary from my garden.  I've never cooked radishes this way in the past, but will definitely make it again!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Peachtree Road Race

July marks the official end to my 4th year of residency, and start of my 5th (AND LAST!!!) year as an orthopaedic resident.  After clinic on Thursday, I hit the road bound for Atlanta.  Traffic was horrendous, but ultimately I arrived 5.5 hours later.  Friday involved an early morning swim - 4000 wonderful long course meters.  Then, Mom and I wandered through the Peachtree Road Race expo and picked up our race bibs for the 4th of July 10k.  Our pre-race meal was a carb-fest of spaghetti with vegetable marinara, salad, and garlic bread.  The Italian feast is one of my favorite meals!

Royce and Erin joined us for dinner and brought the newest addition to their family.  Kona is an 11 week old chocolate lab puppy and is absolutely adorable.  She's quite a spitfire when she's awake and full of energy, but then crashes hard when she naps.  Evidently a single Kong was not sufficient and she had to keep both hers and Bailey's close while she slept.

Saturday morning we were all up bright and early for a 5:30am departure toward downtown Atlanta.  After 10+ years doing this race, we have a well laid out plan to park near the finish, ride Marta to the start, and then walk back to our car.  We learned the tough way that riding Marta from the finish back toward the start is a miserable experience of being herded like cattle into very close proximity with hundreds of your favorite stinky and sweaty friends.

We woke up to heavy rain, and that was the forecast for the entire morning.  Garbage bags helped to keep us dry while we waited for the start of the race.

This year's race was much different for me.  Two weeks ago I had a rather sudden onset of hip pain, and since then I've been unable to run without significant pain.  Thus, running and I are on a temporary break.  A few weeks ago I was cursing my evening runs in the 95+ degree heat, and now there's nothing I want more than to lace up my Mizunos and pound the pavement.  With Ironman Louisville just 3 months away, I'm crossing my fingers that this is just a temporary set back.

Although I really wanted to run, I had fun walking with Mom and taking in more of the sights and sounds of the race than when I'm racing.  Unfortunately, the pouring rain meant that none of the live bands that usually provide entertainment were on the course.  The light drizzle lasted through the first 3 miles, but around mile four started to become heavier.  Lightening struck around mile 4 but fortunately was an isolated strike and then seemed to pass.  Later we learned that race officials had halted the race for approximately 30 minutes due to bad weather.  6.2 miles later, soaked from head to toe, we crossed the finish line and entered Piedmont Park to gather our coveted Peachtree t-shirt and snacks.

Later that afternoon the sun actually came out and we all gathered for a 4th of July barbecue.  Kona joined us again, and after playing fetch, eating plants, digging holes, and playing in the pool, made herself comfortable on Dad's lap.

Mom and Grandma prepared yet another fantastic meal for us all to enjoy.  The spread included veggie burgers, slaw, potato salad, watermelon, and homemade vanilla and lemon blueberry coconut ice creams.

Sunday morning brought the lazy morning I had been craving, featuring sleeping in, reading the newspaper, sipping a tea latte, and a casual breakfast.  Papaya topped with yogurt, a squeeze of lime, and coconut chips was Mom's creation and brought me back to our trip to Hawaii.  To accompany it, I made french toast topped with almond butter, raisins, chia seeds, and bourbon honey.  Terrific breakfast!

In typical fashion, the "long" weekend flew by in the blink of an eye and before I knew it I was packing my bags and driving back to Charlotte.  What happened to the weekend?  I guess we were too busy having fun and enjoying time together.  T-minus 1 year until Atlanta is home yet again!