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!

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