Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: May 2015

Cap Tex Tri… er… Du Race Report

I don’t know if y’all have seen us in the news, but Texas is having some WEATHER.


The last four years, we’ve been in a massive drought.  This year has been so wet, among other more important things, whether a triathlon is going to get cancelled or at least modified is kind of a coin flip.  We were lucky enough to get good weather for Rookie, but since then we’ve had storms days than not.  This is our wettest May on record, by 2 inches, and it’s not over yet.

The weather was kind enough to stop the spitting and thunderbooms for one morning for us to be able to race, but Ladybird Lake was in NO condition to have bodies in (that shit was naaaaaasty, not to mention a strong current and debris all over), so the day before, they announced that the race was moving to a duathlon – a bike/run in the same distances as before, in a time trial format.

I was kinda bummed because I was all ready to crush a sub-3 and this is my only chance at an Olympic this year, but quickly decided holding the correct effort on the bike and the run (and extrapolating what a reasonable swim would have been) would be just about as sweet.  So, I set a stab in the dark goal of 2:20, which actually was actually my bike + run goal time (ignoring transition), and decided the M.O. was:

  • Go out fast on the bike
  • The run starts the minute I get off the bike, not at the end of transition.
  • Hang on for the run

Also, it afforded some potential changes, like I didn’t have to wear contacts (did anyway just in case it rained), didn’t have to wear a tri kit top (did anyway), could stash stuff in different places, and decided to wear bike gloves since I didn’t have to put them on, only take them off.  I also wore my fitbit and got all the steps. 🙂

The morning logistics went just as planned.  Kind bar, purple stuff, some coconut water, warmup run, bathroom, setup, another warmup run, and then we were corralled INSIDE transition instead of locked out of it, and had to wait by our bikes until our wave was called.


Zliten was one of the first age group waves out, so I cheered him on as he went by in the line, and then… waited.  Made friends with the gals around me.  Kept my run shoes on as long as humanly possible because my stupid heel was cranky.  My wave was supposed to go at 7:47 and at 8am, we weren’t even close.  Sigh.

I felt off.  I didn’t feel excited.  For some reason, the only thought that gave me a slight sideways grin was “y’know that new bike you’re always talking about wanting but don’t feel like you deserve yet? Let’s go attack that like you want to earn that new bike.”  I don’t know if it makes sense to anyone but me but whatever.

Finally, we all lined up and they sent us across the bike mount line every few seconds.  They told us to clip in one shoe and move up to which I was like… um… you don’t know my track record with that but I managed to stay upright and it was like… 3, 2, 1… GO!



My goal for the first lap was to go as hard as I could fathom holding for 25 miles, but not pay too much attention to metrics.  Up and over the bridge, up to the capitol and back down, a loop down 1st street and I saw Zliten and shouted hi at him, then under and around and then up the hill that’s probably not steep enough to get out of the saddle for but it felt good to change position and jog up it anyway and dowwwwwwn the freeway exit and back and do it again!

And 1/4 laps down, I noticed I was holding about 19 mph.  That’s not exactly a speed I see outdoors, like, ever.  I felt like I was working but not cooked so I was like, ok, let’s do this.  3 more like that.  And pretty much, that’s how it went.

I could tell you about Coeur girl (that had the kit I wanted last year) and how we chased each other around the whole course.  I could tell you how how my bottle came out of my cage on a bump and like a ninja I fucking caught it and put it back in.  Normally, I can barely fumble to grab it when I’m riding.  I could tell you about the poor guy on the b-cycle (rental bike with a basket on it) doing the international course.  I could tell you about playing gel roulette in my kit pockets and coming up with salted watermelon on lap 3 (caffeine!!!!)

But what I really want to tell you is that I spent four laps doing some good solid work on the bike.  I was able to ride aggressive without being aggressive like Rookie.  I didn’t sit behind anyone that was going slower than I wanted to go just because I didn’t feel like passing.  I only yelled at one guy who buzzed me REAL close while passing, and all I said was HELLOO!!!, not anything I could have been… reprimanded for.

I also made it into the dismount line a full 3 minutes and 20 seconds faster than my A goal, which I already thought was kinda far above me.  What???

Bike time: 1:16:40 for something like 24.8 miles, official course pace of 19.45 (13/36 AG).  Again… what???  I am over the moon.  Me, on my entry level road bike and the engine a little heavy and biking being the sport I’m least comfortable at… I can’t really say it’s my weakest now after this year.

And… while I decided to hold off on the new bike – we did pull the trigger on two new Garmin Vector 2 power meters today. 🙂


I dismounted and ran my bike in and had to run around a girl who was completely strolling and dazed.  Those stupid gloves tripped me up for a while (they’re new and pull off differently and I left my rings on) but everything else went as planned.  I wasn’t sure where transition stopped and the run started after the racks, but that’s ok.  Because for me, the run started when I got off the bike.

I was at the rack for 30 seconds per Garmin data.  I could have done better without the gloves but it is what it is and was under 2 minutes so I couldn’t complain too much.

Transition official time: 1:56 (15/36 AG).  It was a pretty large transition area too.  Just next time, leave the rings at home and/or get the gloves off in the last few miles of the bike.



Well, in the biggest shocking surprise to probably no one except me at that very moment, a bike PR by over 1 mph on anything I’ve ever ridden ever and a VERY VERY VERY humid day meant there were literally zero of these miles, literally zero of these inches that were going to be comfortable.  They varied from hell to maybe-in-the-suburbs-but-still-in-hell-county and mostly in the fire and brimstone proper.

I accepted any pacing strategy was out the window beyond running as fast as I could without hurling.  I can barely remember what I was thinking about, it was so hazy.  Couer girl passed me before mile 1 and was off, and I was like, yep, you’re skinny, of course you’re going to run faster than me.

While that sounds kinda down on myself, it really wasn’t, it felt factual when I thunk it.  I didn’t get really negative, I tried to stay out of “sorry for myself” territory, I just tried to acknowledge that a) yes, this run sucks b) you’ve gotten through runs that sucked c) everyone else is out here suffering and doing work so do yours and d) x more sections (sections helped more than miles) and then you can lay down wherever you fucking feel like but for now you are running as fast as you can.

I took a gel after mile 2.  If I thought the caff would have made any difference, I probably would have done that and then been awake for 2 days, but I just felt like I needed sugar. Most of the aid stations were 1-2 waters on the head, 1 of *something liquid* in the mouth.  I was SOAKED by the end.

There is a run up and down a bridge which last time I ran this course killed me, but this time, I kind of liked it.  The uphill made sense that it was hard and it sucked, and the downhill was a bit of relief, and then the lap was almost over.  I saw Zliten and he was all “woohoo! go finish strong!” and I was like “nope, another lap” and “give me your damn gatorade” because I finished my gel and hadn’t hit an aide station and then yelled back “I started an hour after you” so he wouldn’t think I totally bonked.  It was a chaotic 5 seconds.

Oddly enough, I wasn’t completely demoralized by all that.  I wasn’t moving terribly quickly, but I was like, ok, self – one more lap, you got this, just keep the same effort.  I switched over to total time and just got to work on trying to get in at 2:20.  It started the lap on the fence, and became more and more out of my reach as I wasn’t able to put together a mile under 10s.  I felt ROUGH, but I never hit despair.  I just kept at it, the best I could, in robot mode.  Pain face robot mode but still.

The last mile I found a little extra – it had the most downhill which made it ok to push the uphill and then I headed down the last stretch and couldn’t quite figure out where the finish was but then figured it out.  The last few meters were grass and it was so wet I was like OMG DON’T SLIP but then I was across.


Run time: 1:03:16, official pace: 10:11 (25/36 AG).  It wasn’t the A goal of 1:02 and it wasn’t the pixie dust time of sub-1 hour, but it was the best I could do and I wouldn’t have traded that bike for anything.


Official time: 2:21:52 (17/36 AG).  I would have had to do a 38 minute swim + T1 to sub-3 hours and barring something especially wrong, that wouldn’t have been a problem.  I’ll get it officially someday! 🙂

After, I was a bit of a mess.  I sat down.  I laid down.  I stood up because I was afraid that I wasn’t going to get up.  I went to the med tent and asked for an ice pack since I wasn’t cooling down well.  I took a picture.  I barely held it together to get all my shit from transition and walk a billion miles back to the car.

bazu-6295527 (2)

I felt that weight, that shortness of breath that stomps down on your chest in the heat and humidity when you run, for HOURS.  I can say that I suffered sufficiently.

Also, once I got over the initial just-raced heat induced nausea (doesn’t my sport sound so fantastic!), I had the appetite of a basketball team of teenage boys.  It wasn’t like “yay, I splurged and ate pizza” it was like “if I don’t eat pizza right now I am literally going to faint”.  After I replaced the calories I figured out I needed salt like woah and a cup of chicken broth finally perked me up.


Cap Tex Tri Goals

So, I spent a lot of time belaboring this point here, but since this is my corner of the internet, I want to jot down how I’m going into and what I plan to take into this race.

Our spin teacher (also profesh cyclist) said something that stuck with me.  Don’t feel sorry for yourself out there.  At first it hit me as a weird sentiment, and oddly unmotivational.  Then, I considered the hippie rainbows and flowers “be grateful you’re able to do this triathlon thing” which is a nice thought, but when you’re killing yourself on the second loop of a run after 2+ hours of pushing yourself in the heat and humidity, you don’t feel lucky about anything. Trying to shove that in my head to pull out on lap 2 of the run will result in racing me giving past me a few middle fingers.

2014-09-28 15.53.13

I really think it’s more literal.  Don’t feel sorry for yourself.  Just do the work.  Just carry yourself through the day you have worked for, and deposit yourself across the line according to plan because you know you can fucking do it if your head stays out of the way.  When you get to the SUCK part of the race (and if you don’t get there, you’re not racing hard enough), emotions are the enemy.

So, the overall goal, is to spend just a smidge less than 3 hours, if all goes ideally well, out of the inner caverns and craters of my head, just executing on paces I know I can do but have yet to put together.

I feel like racing my 28th triathlon, these things should be rote, but they’re not.  Every race is a different beast.  I felt like I was less specifically trained for this one, but then I rocked the fuck out of an Olympic brick in practice on Saturday, so maybe it’s just taking what went right at the last one and expanding upon it.

Race Week:

Monday: easy 4.25 mile treadmill run with a few race pace pickups.

Tuesday: up early to get cavities filled (yay?) so no lunch workout, but legs smashed at endurance cycle for 90 minutes.  Good stretch after.

Wednesday: off.  Needed it.

Thursday: Double bricks (15 mins bike/1 lap around the school x2) with 1 mile run cooldown.  Mixed these with race simulation bricks so I practiced each transition twice.  I was holding below race pace like a champ.

Friday: Now, it’s time for the part that many athletes don’t like, but I actually do – the rest part.  I finally feel like the fatigue is starting to clear.  Just a little.  And I’ve got 3 more days before the race.  Today’s goal is one more OWS in my wetsuit to practice taking it off quickly.  And that’s IT.

Saturday is a day off.  All fun stuff, no workouts, but also no beer or staying up late.

Sunday, after a quickie spin to keep the legs loose in the morning, we’ll pick up our packets and drop off the bikes and then do something inside and quiet for the rest of the day.

Monday (Race) morning – the norm is a kind bar, coconut water, and purple stuff.  I’m super happy they changed the timing – last year, my wave was set to go off at 8:40… this year it’s 7:47.  One hour cooler.  Fuck yeah.

The weather is… curious.  Looks like the forecast calls for a cloudy morning (good) but high for the day is 85 and it’s going to be 80% humidity (yuck).  I can’t control the weather, but I know I got out in worse conditions last week and ran a 10 minute flat pace off a very challenging bike ride, so I’m not going to stress (too much).

And, for the three hours I’ll be out there, here is what I intend to hold in my head.



This swim is a time trial start (yay) so it doesn’t really matter where I start in my wave, though any extra minutes I can bank against the climbing heat and humidity is probably best.

Right now, the difference in my fast and steady intervals are really negligible in the pool.  I want to make sure I stay focused and don’t day dream, and definitely be breathing hard, but I think trying to redline this swim would be a mistake.  I want to skirt the line between steady and hard.

That usually nets me about a 28-29 minute 1500m swim in the pool, so I’m going to aim to see a 1:42-1:46 per 100 YARD (1:52-1:56 per 100 meter, but my OWS watch shows yards), which I think is realistic.  I don’t look at my watch a whole lot in the water, frankly, last tri I didn’t at all, but if I’m looking for a metric to aim for, here it is.  I’m hoping this is 33 minutes all said and done accounting for the swim course maybe being a little long and the timing mat being somewhere between exit and transition.

Transition 1:

Looks like we lucked out and it’s closer again this year (same spot I’m accustomed to, not moved due to construction).  This should take about 2 minutes off my transition expectations.  Ha, wouldn’t this be funny if this is what gets me under 3? 🙂

I’ve practiced getting my wetsuit off and I *think* I’ll be ok.  First race without a peeler… hold me!

Otherwise, my goal is to go minimal.  Socks, shoes, helmet, glasses, go.  I plan to have two bottles full of heed and a few gels in my bento box to pick from.  I’ll stuff my bike gloves in my bento box JUST IN CASE but I think I can deal without them for 25 miles.  Especially if I’m spending most of my time in aero.  Which I should be.

I’m going to try and carry the same thought as I did through Rookie – the first segment of the race is swimtranstion1.  The first time I will allow myself to catch my breath will be on the first bike flat section.

2014-09-27 16.24.12


I want to cook this hard like Rookie.  This course is one of my favorites, and while not totally flat, definitely has sections where I can fly.  It’s one of those ITU type 4 loop courses.  There’s one decent incline at the beginning of each lap and one short “get out of your seat” on the second half, but they took out one of the BRUTAL hills from Tri Rock, so I see good things happening.

My goal, actually, is to post my best triathlon bike speed ever.  Like, by a lot.  I like to set reasonable goals.  However, my husband pulled this out of his ass legs in 2013, and we are both the best cyclists we’ve ever been, so I can do it.  It’s just about keeping high cadence, riding aggressively (hopefully not aggressive to other dumbasses like last time, but it is a very crowded course so we’ll see), and remembering what those endurance intervals at Pain Cave feel like, and, uh, staying there for 80 minutes.

I want to beat 1:20, which would be 18.75 mph.  Two years ago I did 1:24 – or 17.6 mph.  I was recovering from being sick.  I think if I beat my Rookie time by 2 mins, I can beat this one by 4, especially since that probably wasn’t my top form.

Basically, this is the pace I’m having the most difficult time talking myself into, but I think I can do it.  Rock and roll, let’s  push THOSE WATTS (sadly, since my power meter is not waterproof, I’ll be going without, so I guess THAT EFFORT).

The last 1-2 miles, no matter what, I reduce the effort a little and spin lower resistance and higher cadence to get my legs ready for the run.

Planning on gel #1 at about 20 mins in, and then assessing how I feel, if I want another closer to the end.

Transition 2:

Copy and paste from Rookie: Every. second. here. is. a. second. I. have. to. run. faster.  Helmet off, shoe, shoe, shoe, shoe, visor, race belt, effing GO.  The run starts the moment I get off the bike and anything that impedes that is a rude interruption that should be done away with.  This is not relaxytime, this is BUSINESS time.



I really and truly believe I can make unicorns and rainbows explode here if I can just keep my head on straight.  This specific run course has been a party to one of my most spectacular fizzle-booms where I PW’d my 10k run by about 2 minutes per mile, or something.  However, I kinda want to show it who’s boss, so that’s something.

Mile 1 will be all about settling.  Getting the run legs.  Focus on cadence.  I expect this to be slower than race pace.  Maybe by even 1 minute per mile.  This will not freak me out.  This is normal.

Because, then it’s time to mother effing descend.  This is what we do on runs.  This is rote.  Every run finishes faster than it starts.  This is how I want to race, so this is how I train.  Once I settle in, I’m going to start gradually work my way down to race pace and then really push it on the second lap.  I’ve tended in the past to get demoralized on two loop Olympics and slow down at the end.  This time, I want the second lap to be the best because I’m ripping up the pace.

My goal with the run is to not question if I left anything out there.  I’d like to beat 1:02.  I’d love to go sub-1 hour.  I’d super love to PR my standalone 10k from 2009 at 56:54.  The last result is unlikely, but I really think if my head can stay out of my way I can do myself proud here. And definitely not be feeling sorry for myself.

If I only have 1 gel on the bike, I’ll have another one in mile 1.  If I’ve had 2, I may gel closer to 3-4.  But I think I need at least one to properly push a 10k.


I want a sub-3.  Real bad.  So I’m going to go for it.  I keep wanting to caveat this with… but if I get close it’s ok… or other such backing down from the big goal.

But, that’s not fair.  In summary, my goal is to continue to move forward at a pace which brings me across the across the line in less than 3 hours.  Sounds simple, no?  Let’s see what Monday brings.

Recipe Post!

I’ve posted a random few comments (ok, maybe more than a few, I love food) on social media and had some questions about some of the healthy foods I make on the reg.  So, here’s a recipe post with some healthy food meals/sides.

Disclaimer: my version of healthy is using high quality ingredients as much as I can, on the lower carb side because I typically cut out grains/rice but not really low carb because I use a healthy dose of potatoes and corn to fuel my endurance workouts, and… I am team omnivore.  These are not necessarily all low calorie foods but they’re good calories!

Disclaimer 2: I tend to eyeball a lot of stuff.  I generally know what the measurements are, so if it doesn’t come out perfect for you the first time, experiment (especially the waffles – they take some love to get right).  Google is your friend for assessing mishaps or different desired results (i.e. what makes waffles less spongy helped me out).

Chocolate Protein Powder Waffles


I’m still working on perfecting this recipe, but I’m getting close.


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 scoops protein powder (any flavor will do, but you will taste it so make sure it’s something you like)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • about 1/2 cup liquid (any type of milk or water).
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder


  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder (gives it a chocolatey taste, I use it with cookies and cream)
  • packet of apple cider mix (great with vanilla or cinnamon protein powder)
  • You can add a third egg but I found that to be too spongy for me as an egg hater.
  • Go wild!

This makes 4 waffles.  I eat 2 for a serving.  That’s approximately 300 calories without toppings.


Plug in and heat up your waffle maker

Combine all the ingredients except about 1/2 the milk/liquid and whisk together

Assess the thickness.  It should be a little thicker than pancake dough, but not as thick as cookie dough.  Too thick, it will be a little gritty.  Too thin, it will fall apart too easy.  You’ll probably need the extra liquid, so whisk that in if you do, but I always double check.

Let your waffle maker do it’s thing.  This is a great time to cook up some sausage patties and a broccoli pancake for the side.

Once they’re done, I top with a *little* butter, a drizzle of real maple syrup… and a pinch of salt.  I am kind of a salt fiend, so I may just be weird, but I think it brings out the flavor of everything.  If you’re anti salt for health reasons, totally skip it.  If you just think it’s weird – give it a try on one little square and see if you like it.  You could certainly top with anything you’d like – I can see nut butter, jam, yogurt, fruit, ice cream (lol), etc.  I’ve just been enjoying scratching that traditional-breakfast-without-all-the-carbs itch so I haven’t branched out.

Lettuce boat club sandwiches

One of my favorite foods in the world is a club sandwich on sourdough.  It used to be my pre-race food until I realized that I was often feeling gross on race day.  I’m trying to avoid bread, so I thought I had to give up one of my faves… until I had a revelation!  This is a super easy lunch, dinner, snack… anytime.  And… once you remove all the bread (which you won’t miss much, I swear), you’ve got plenty of room for whatever side you want to pair with it.

Approximately 300 calories with cheese, turkey, and bacon (and all the veggies).


  • 1/4 lb (or like 6 thin slices) of turkey.
  • 3 strips bacon
  • 1 slice of cheese
  • Tomato, onion, pickle (or whatever else you want to top with… haven’t tried avocado but that would rock too!)
  • Lettuce that comes off in solid leaves.  Romain or butter lettuce work.  Iceberg is iffy, it’s real thin.  Bagged pre-chopped salad doesn’t work unless you want to make it a club salad instead.


Cook the bacon ahead of time if you want to save time.  Or use precooked bacon, but really, you want good quality pan cooked bacon since it’s not hiding in bread.

Pick out 4-6 lettuce leaves (depending on the size/how hungry you are).  Use them like you would bread.

Put down one leaf, layer cheese, turkey, bacon, and then toppings.  I suggest this order because I think it hold things in better, but, it’s your lettuce-wich!

Put your second leaf over the top.  Repeat as many times as you want!

Bonus: without the bread, I don’t think this needs any sauce like mustard, mayo, dressing, etc, but you can certainly add it.

Zucchini Lasagna


Ignore the shoes, and look at that luscious lasagna-y goodness.  I was even able to leave out the zucchini on Zliten’s side (and add just a few noodles) and we had a dish we could share.  Note the great noodle wall up there.  It actually worked out really well!

Notes: I’ll direct you how to make it like I did (half for a veggie hater/noodle lover).

This is about a 500 calorie GIANT meal (if you divide it into 6).  You can go smaller with 8 servings for about 375 calories and pair with a salad for a smaller meal. You can also eat one, 3000 calorie giant pan serving.  I won’t judge.


  • 1 1/2 lb organic ground beef
  • 1 lb spicy chicken sausage
  • 1 cup ricotta
  • 4 cups of tomato sauce
  • a lot of mozzerella (was working with a big bag so hard to judge – probably at least 1 cup)
  • 1 zucchini (2 or 1 large if you’re not using noodles)
  • about 6 large lasagna noodles (omit if you’re making all with zucchini, or double if you’re making it all noodle-y)
  • 4 cups of spinach
  • 2 bell pepper
  • 1 large onion
  • black olives (to taste)
  • a handful of pepperoni (optional)


  • Garlic Powder
  • Salt (to taste, or omit if you’re trying to cut back)
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes


Brown the ground beef and chicken sausage in a pan.  Halfway through, dice up and add onions and peppers and seasoning.  Add ricotta and tomato sauce and let thicken for about 5 mins.  Add the spinach, pepperoni (i dice this), and olives and mix in.

Now, preheat your oven to 350 and assemble.  Lay down one layer of the mixture, and then you can choose zucchini or noodles, and then a layer of mozzarella and so on.  I won’t tell how how to live your life, but my ‘zagna goes: mix, noodle/zucc, cheese, mix, noodle/zucc, cheese, mix, cheese.  I don’t put a crust on top.  The cheese gets yummy and crispy and works for me.

Bake in the oven for 45 mins with foil on, and then 15 mins with foil off.  Obviously, it’s best right out of the oven, but reheats like a champ, even from frozen, with a few minutes in the microwave per serving.

Tortilla pizza

Oddly enough, I have no tortilla pizza pictures because I’ve made them a million times, but dang if it doesn’t look and taste very similar to this (just with a thinner crust).


I have this conundrum where I crave the taste of pizza often, but it is so unfilling to me.  Seriously, without the nagging thoughts of how many calories I was putting down, I could probably take down a whole medium myself because there is no… substance to it.  And then, of course, I would feel super duper gross all day.

Enter the solution – personal pizzas on a corn tortilla.

The first step is to get your tortilla crispy.  Here’s where your choice lies – you could bake the crap out of the tortilla in the oven… or you can coat each side of your tortilla with a little olive oil and pan fry it.  I choose the latter.  It doesn’t take much oil and is soooo good.

Do NOT put any toppings on it until you have your tortilla crispy, or you won’t get crust.  You’ll have a limp tortilla with stuff on top that will fall off.  This is not what you want.

Once you have that crispy tortilla, you can top with anything!  My fave is:

  • tomato sauce
  • mozzarella (or whatever cheese you have around the house, I’ve done everything from cheddar to feta)
  • turkey pepperoni
  • black olives
  • italian seasoning
  • red pepper flakes

As discussed, with a half tbsp of olive oil, a modest sprinkling of cheese, this comes in about 225 calories.  If you go heavier with the cheese – maybe about 250.

Just continue to let it heat up in the pan and let the cheese melt, and in a few moments, you’re eating a personal pizza for less calories than a thin crust slice (depending on toppings and how cheesy you make it).

Two of these are really filling.  Even on hungry days.


Sides are a big deal to me.  I’ve been known to prefer one restaurant over another due to their sides (not the main dish).  I’ve been known to eat a meal of mostly, or sometimes all, sides.

My husband, however, thinks sides are less important.  He’s been known to cook something like a piece of chicken for dinner, and when I ask what else goes with it, he’ll shrug at me and say “another piece of chicken?”.  So, our cooking teamwork style involves him handling the main dish and I get the sides.  It works out.

Here are some sides that are so blissfully simple, healthy, and delicious that they’ll become staples in your kitchen.



Mashed potatoes are my favorite.  Well, so are fries.  And chips.  And loaded baked potatoes.  And… ok, I love potatoes.  However, even as an endurance athlete, I do not need to be loading up on scoop upon scoop of potatoes on a daily basis.

However, enter the noble cauliflower.  Combined with a small amount of potato, and treated right, it will rival the most yummy mashed potatoes with less calories and more veggie power to your day!


Take head of cauliflower and 2-3 potatoes.  Chop up. Put in pot of water.  Boil for 1 hour (or until the cauliflower comes apart easily with the press of a fork).  You can’t reasonably overcook this – unless you let all the water burn off.  I, uh, haven’t done this, but I’ve heard it’s possible.  Yeah.

Once you have the mush, completely strain it.  When I make mashed potatoes (no cauli), I make sure to leave a bit in – but cauliflower holds onto a lot more water, so get rid of it all.  That’s why I don’t skip the potato completely, I think it needs at least 25% potato to have the right texture.

Now, you could just mush this up and call it a day, but it would taste pretty bland.  I’ll usually just see what’s in my fridge and toss in a few things in this category:

  • Cheese (any)
  • Sour Cream/Greek Yogurt
  • Ranch/creamy dressing
  • Butter
  • Seasonings: dill, garlic, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, rosemary, onion flakes/powder, etc

The ones I made yesterday? Half a cup of ricotta, 2 tbsp butter, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Last week’s? Leftover bacon grease, ranch, salt, pepper, handful of cheddar.  Earlier this year? Sour cream and I threw in leftovers of a bacon cheeseball appetizer.  Anything that adds creamy/cheesy flavor is good.

Mash with a hand masher if you like lumps (I do), or whip with a food processor or hand mixer if you don’t.

The calories in this depends on what you put in it, but I’ve found it averages out to about 150 calories for a BIG serving (like, this makes 6 and is probably a larger scoop than a restaurant would give you).

Wilted Spinach


It took me about 35.5 years to figure this one out, but it’s SO FREAKING EASY and you have a delicious veggie side dish in about 2.5 minutes.

  1. Put olive oil in a pan
  2. Throw in fresh spinach
  3. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parmesan cheese and let it wilt down.

Enjoy.  Shown above with meatballs, caprese skewers for a super easy delicious dinner that took less than 10 minutes.

The only real calories in here are the olive oil.  You probably need about a tablespoon to coat it, so you’re looking at ~120 calories for all the spinach you can/care to eat.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

My husband HATED brussels sprouts.  I didn’t love them either.  Both our parents made them boiled/steamed with no seasoning.  Yuck.  Who would do that to a poor veggie?  Not me, anymore.

But then, we had them out at a restaurant once fried with bacon and they rocked our socks off. With a little bit of experimenting, I figured out how to make em awesome at home without always pulling the bacon card.

  • Preheat oven to 450
  • Cut the brussels in half and if they’re big enough, cut off the nubby part at the bottom.
  • Toss in olive oil.
  • Season with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and parmesan (you’ll note this is the same as the spinach above – I may just be addicted to this flavor, but I think it goes great with just about anything.
  • Lay out on a cookie sheet (or if you’re lazy like me, on foil on a cookie sheet so you don’t have to wash it).
  • Put in the oven for about 25 minutes.  If they’re not a bit brown, try 5 more minutes.

Voila!  Crispy crunchy tasty brussels.  Again, the real contributor to calories is the olive oil, so you’re looking at under 150 calories for all the brussels you can eat, if you keep the oil to 1 tbsp.  However, it is VERY important here that the veggies are fully coated, or no flavor will stick to them and they’ll get all yucky in the oven.

To vary the flavor, you can do everything from salt and vinegar, to buffalo sauce, to more herb-y (rosemary, oregano, basil, salt, pepper), to spicy (cayenne, chili powder, smoked paprika, salt).

NOTE: While we’re talking about a specific veggie here, I’ve found this works well (with temperature and time adjustments) for lots of different things.  To vary the veggie, you just need to keep in mind of the composition of the veggie and how you want it to come out.

  • Kale: same temp, 5 minutes.  Kale is a lot thinner, and we want it like a chip.  Pull off the ones that are done at 5 minutes, cook for another 5.  Repeat until they’re all crispy.
  • Broccoli/cauliflower: 400 degrees, and 15-20 minutes.  For these, you’re looking for a little roast, but not chip-like, so you want to turn the heat down.
  • Sweet Potatoes: same temp and similar time to brussels, depending on the thickness (thin fries, chips, steak fries, etc).  Potatoes are similar to brussels, so the time is about the same for CRISPY fries or chips.  If you want them less crispy, try 15-20 mins and mayyyybe consider turning the heat down to 425.

As you can see, it’s not all that time consuming or intimidating to whip up something healthy.  It just takes a little bit of (delicious, delicious) experimenting.  It usually takes me about 2 hours of prep on a Sunday, and I don’t spend more than 5-10 mins in the kitchen for the rest of the week.

Question: What’s your favorite veggie?  How do you prepare it? (always looking for new ideas!)

Math and Mettle

In a perfect world, my triathlon schedule for Season Part 1 would be super sprint, sprint, olympic.  However, since this is the real world, my next race is an Olympic on Memorial Day (Cap Tex Tri).  So, that’s some interesting gear shifting (and not just on the bike, har har).

While I’ve never done this race before, it’s on a very similar course to the Tri Rock which I’ve done twice.  And, it’s actually one that I liked a lot, except for the SEARING HEAT of Labor Day in Austin.  Hopefully late May cooperates a bit more.  2013 was pretty wicked hot.  2014 was torrential downpours.  Hopefully we get something in between.

My two showings previously were 3:25 and 3:28.  The first, in 2012, was a pretty proud and shining moment in my triathlon career with a 40 minute PR over my first Olympic. The second, in 2013, was a huge bonk after a week of some mix of heat exhaustion and a stomach bug.  I probably lost at least 10 mins on the run from walk breaks I shouldn’t have needed in a normal situation, sadly, after a pretty stellar swim and bike where I was on track to PR by a lot if I could even maintain what’s normally an easy jog for 6.2 miles.


I may look like I’m smiling here, but really I’m pretty much saying fuck you road, fuck you sun, fuck you hill I’m about to run up, fuck you triathlon, fuck you right off.

I took a break from it last year, volunteering for both instead.

This year, we decided that A) we wanted to do an Olympic and B) we didn’t feel like traveling so much after the last 3 races (before Rookie) in a row were out of towners followed by a vacation and C) Gatorbait was cancelled – which sealed the deal.  We’d give Cap Tex a try (a tri? …the puns are strong today…).

So, I’m starting to look at goal times for each leg.  My excuse is that I want to establish training paces, but really, I’m just on a pretty good high after Rookie and looking forward to crushing another race and… sometimes I just want to math nerd out over projected times.

And it helps when some of those A++++ type goals start looking like they have a 2 in the beginning of them instead of a 3.  Maybe like a 2:59:59, but still.  Exciting times.

Some maths to prove I’m not out of my mind.

I improved my last Rookie time by 5 minutes 15 sec, or about 7.6% of 69 minutes.  My last Rookie in 2012 went actually quite well, a 3 minute PR.  I didn’t have any real setbacks so no need to normalize.

If I put together my 2013 Tri Rock swim and bike, and the 2012 run (to give an accurate estimate of what I could do if I hadn’t bonked like crazy), that’s 11 minutes off the top of 3:28, so 3:17 normalized.  If I can also improve here by 7.6%, that’s a 15 minute PR, which accounts for a 3:02.

So, while a 3-and-some-very-small-change Olympic would be a party in it’s own right,  I’m within spitting distance of a sub-3 Olympic.  That’s a pretty fun number to chase.

So, what has to go right?


I’m leaving 7 minutes for transitions.  My transitions in 2013 at Tri Rock were just 5 minutes, but the results look like they were set up differently and longer here.  I’ll take any extra time here as a nice surprise but I will be prepared mentally to book through transitions and just take the beginnings of the bike and run courses a wee bit slower to recover if needed.

My goal with gear is to simplify as much as possible.  I can *probably* deal without gloves on the bike.  For the run, I’m hoping the weather will not necessitate a handheld (there’s plenty of course aid) but if it does, you bet your ass it will be frozen.


Analyzing the results, I don’t think that it’s particularly long or short.  My swim was 5.8% faster than last rookie, so extrapolating to this swim, it only looks like a goal time of 35 minutes is possible.  I think that’s probably sandbagging, considering I can swim this distance in the pool 7-8 minutes faster without getting out of breath.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say 33 sounds reasonable unless the course is indeed stupid long.


This bike course isn’t particularly challenging – it’s not pancake flat like Play Tri, but it’s definitely one of the faster speeds I see during the year.  Using the reasoning above, my improvement over last Rookie was 6.25%.  Further extrapolation shows I can expect a 5 min 15 sec PR, which solidly gets me under 1:20 for the bike.  Zliten actually went sub-1:20 in 2013, and we’re both better cyclists now, so it’s not beyond expectation for either of us.


This one is harder to predict, and this is where it gets more exciting.

My run at Rookie improved over NINE PERCENT.  While I really looked at the bike as my breakthrough leg at Rookie, I really should be calling out the run.  I guess an almost 2 minute PR on a 2 mile run is pretty significant, actually, but it didn’t hit me until now because it was the only goal pace I didn’t actually hit.

Now, let’s throw that stupid 1:19 for 10k out in the trash.  That was a silly bad run for me.  In 2012, I ran a 1:08, which seemed like a solid, though not spectacular performance.  Looking at the Cap Tex results over the last few years, 1:08 is wayyyyyy down there in the bottom quarter of the runners.  So, I imagine the course is either spot on or short.

Doing the math the same way as I did for the bike and the swim, my predicted time comes out to about a 1:02.

Here’s those two minutes I need to shave off to get my sub-3.  Here is where I’ll really have to dig deep and push myself to bridge the gap between what is mathematically realistic and what I really want.

I’m pretty sure it’s physically possible for me to run 9:40s instead of 10s off the bike for 6 miles.  I just have to be ready to hurt for it.


So, who knows?  In a world of 2 minutes, a lot can happen.  I can swim closer to my pool times and make it all up there and come in significantly under 3.  I could have a mechanical on the bike and have to spend 10 minutes fixing it and have my goal time shot right there.  We could be blessed with mild, overcast, and breezy weather on the run where 9:40s are pretty reasonable to run.  It could be stormy like last year and I could get pulled off the course or get sick and not even start.

No matter which way the protein powder waffle crumbles, what’s exciting to me, like goosebumps-type-exciting, is that I’m doing math to get a time that feels crazy fast to me, but is really only a pinch of fairy dust from a solid day away.  Feels good man.

Maybe running those marathons over the winter wasn’t a waste after all, because for some reason, the best way for me to get better at the bike and the swim (and, ok, the run too, 9% improvement is NOT insignificant) was to run all the miles and ignore any sort of other training and not see a whole lot of actual improvement but go through a lot of personal development and get a lot stronger mentally, then take a bit of a breather and then start working on something completely different.  It feels like saying because blueberries are blue the dogs bark at midnight, but if it works, then bring it on the fruit and loud nocturnal canines.

And, maybe I’ve hit it on the head just right there.  I’ve had a lot of frustration with triathlon over the years in that it’s hard for me to put together a great day on all 3 disciplines.  However, with my season opener this year, I just ran a race that pretty much went all sorts of A++++ all over the course.  It could be a fluke, but just maybe, maybe it’s not.

Maybe this is the shit I have had in me for years, but running a marathon the whole way brought it to the surface.  Maybe I had to beat myself up running in the heat and the rain and the cold and for a week without seeing a ray of sunshine and by myself and without music and every day for 5 weeks in January to make me a bit more of a hardass.  Maybe something changed in me this winter, that when a 2 or 6 or 13 mile run off the bike starts to get painful, I have a little more “suck it up buttercup” in me than I ever have.

I’m pretty sure the cardiovascular endurance gains of running an average of about 40 miles per week for 5 months doesn’t suck either.  But, as I’ve seen, you can negate all that fitness by a brain that just decides not to show up or check out halfway during the run.  This year, I’m not requesting that my brain show up.  It’s coming with me, kicking and screaming if necessary, all the way to the finish line, on the remaining 5 race days in 2015.  No surrender.  No escape.

Rookie Tri Super Sprint: Catching Fire

I set really high A goals for myself, and I’ve taught myself to not be disappointed if I at least get in the neighborhood or put forth a reasonable effort.

Some days, you just fucking lay it out there and perform up to those high ass expectations.  Rookie day was that day.


Last week honestly went according to plan for the most part, with two exceptions before the race start.

1. Zliten rolled his ankle on our warmup run (about 3/4 mile with strides) and went down.  Luckily, we were right in front of the med truck and they poked and prodded him and told him it was fine to run on, it just might be a little cranky, but he couldn’t make it worse.  Whew.

2. I cut the last porta potty trip a little close, and ended up walking an extra mile out of my way to get to the secret ones with no line.  I was worried about so much time on feet, but honestly?  The other option was standing around, and it was a nice warmup after the warmup.  The bad was I missed the swim warmup but *shrug* oh well.  Saved me from standing around wet and cold.

Soon enough I was standing around with friends, and then it was Zliten’s turn, then B’s, and then I was on double deck and all the blue caps decided to just zip in front of me so I was one of the last in my wave through the arch (less problematic in a TT start).


When you’re used to swimming more, a 300m course is absolutely adorable from the shore.  However, if you’re pacing it right, it’s plenty.  I ran down the chute as quick as I could after I got the GO! while not bruising/twisting my own ankle and dove in and got to passing girls.  And not being side swiped by breast strokers.

It didn’t feel like my finest form, but I held the effort and pace I wanted.  My watch?  It said 6:46 for 380m, which works out to 1:47/100m, which I am perfectly happy with.

Official result: 7:08 for 300m (2:23/100m)

Looks terrible (for my training paces) on paper, but considering that a) the best result in my AG was 5:55 – I think more than 1 person can swim under a 2:00/100m and b) this was my highest result ranking me 9/25th in my AG and 178/391 overall… the course was long and I did well.  I’ll leave it there.

Transition 1:

I was mentally prepared to be winded and continue to stay winded as I ran up the hill.  I wasn’t prepared to deal with sandals, but after getting a few stickers on my feet before the race, I think it was the right call.  I think I will always on this course.  I fumbled with my right sock for a few extra seconds but got everything done fairly expediently and made my way out quickly.

Looking at my data, there’s always room for improvement, but I’m perfectly happy with how fast I made my way through.  No gravity.  It really helped that I didn’t mentally focus on the transition as my rest point from the swim, but just another segment to the whole race.

Official result: 2:47

It’s my best showing by far at this course and the only thing I can think of in the future is to push the run up the hill a little faster since I did just fine the rest of the race.


My goal was to get under 40 and I was pretty confident I could do it. Then, we drove the course the day before and holy wow, I forgot how hilly it is. Erm, yeah. Well, best you can do is your best, right?

I went into this bike ready to take no prisoners. I’ve done some tough cycling this spring and have run pretty well off it, so I decided I’d just go for it on the bike and let the chips fall where they may.

I barely looked at my garmin, I just RODE HARD. I pushed up and over the hills. I pushed the flats. I coasted a few downhills but I was breathing hard almost the whole ride. I got my gel down in the middle of the bike like planned.  I felt strong and confident and actually kind of aggressively, which is new for this scared-y biker.

The only negative of this ride is people not knowing passing rules, etiquette, and… common sense. I had one chick continually ride up along side me in the middle of the race and the first couple times, I was like, crap, I guess I’ll drop back and then found myself in chill mode to do so, so I passed her back. The last time I just went ahead and sped up again and tried to lose her. I don’t remember seeing her again.

Then, there was this older dude that was riding in the middle of everything. I had to pass him on a downhill or put on the brakes (right before the WORST hill, which would have left me with zero momentum), and after yelling ON YOUR LEFT quite a few times I ducked slightly into the other lane (not legal, but neither is obstructing a pass) and hit the rumble strip and it scared the crap out of me and I straight up swore at him. And then he rocketed past me going up quad buster.  He was probably pissed.  I don’t blame him, but sheesh.

And then it happened AGAIN the exact same way on the next downhill and I passed him on the right since there was PLENTY of space and then really cooked it to get clear of him. Not my proudest moments on the bike but man oh man, don’t ride like a fucking asshole.

I saw Joel on the run as I was rolling in on the bike and was very happy to see that he was doing well, and about a mile from the finish.  Rolled ankle be damned!

Through all the hills and the drama, I crossed the mat 9 seconds under my goal so it was all worth it. This is almost 1 mph better than my best showing on this course so I’m completely happy.

Official result: 39:51 for 11.2 miles (16.9 mph)

Thrilled.  I know I have more in me on the bike this year since I just picked up seriously training on the bike six weeks ago after six months off.  I’m really excited to see where my riding goes by September.

Transition 2:

I was a little shelled from the bike but the power of the salted watermelon caff gu propelled me through.  I was keeping an eye on overall time, and I knew I was definitely in spitting distance to my goal, and the best way to do that was book it out of transition.

Official result: 1:28

Yeah, buddy.  No stopping to walk or slowing down there.


I was a little worried about what I had left after ripping up that bike course but all you can do is get out there, right? I did my best not to let transition gravity affect me and just got going.

And I saw the 8s and 9s I was looking for. It wasn’t easy, by any stretch. My legs were TIRED, yo. But I’ve ran a few miles on tired legs enough times that I knew I could handle it. I just kept running as fast as I could at the “not able to talk but still kind of breathe a little” pace.

Once I got to half a mile to go I flipped over to multisport total time and it was a matter of “I think I can make my goal” to “I know I can make my goal” to “can I come in a minute under my goal” and I don’t think I sped up that much, but I definitely went for it with what I had left in me and then there was the finish line and…

Official run result: 17:41 for 2 miles (8:50/mile).

I *think* this one was a little short, my garmin clocked 1.93 (Zliten got 1.98, so maybe I just started it late) and it showed my first mile pace at 9:40.  Though I definitely sped up a lot in mile 2, I don’t think it was low 8s like I would have needed to actually get this average so I think I was actually in the low 9s.  Still.  Best showing at this tri, or any other tri, even at the slower pace, so I’ll take it.

It took 3 years to get my chip off because of the safety pin but then I found my Zliten and got sprite and chips and cheered B in and M in and went to the results tent and realized I had not only beat my goal of under 1:09:xx but also beat 1:09 with a…


Official overall result: 1:08:57 

My A+++ pie in the sky goal had me in at 1:07:30 and if the swim wasn’t long, I would have been there exactly.

In a normal tri, I would have been top 25% of my age group, but since they split out the rookies into a separate one, I was right there in the middle (13/25). I actually would have WON my age group if I was in the rookie division by 10 seconds. I mean, this is, like, my 27th triathlon, so I have an advantage, but hey, that’s something!

Parting thoughts:

My legs woke me up at 2am as if they had caught fire.  It was… unbelievable.  I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever been in that much acute pain after a race in my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I had some wicked dull ache after my first 70.3, or marathon, but holy hell, I guess I have never put so much whoop ass into under 70 minutes of racing because OW.  However, I woke up the next day, and things were relatively fine.

I feel like there’s a spark.  Some momentum.  It’s been so long since I put together a swim, bike, run, and two transitions that I have been solidly proud of without caveats.

There’s still the “how did my swimming and biking improve so much when I spent the winter running and largely ignoring them?” question and the “why did 6 months of focusing on running mean that I’m only marginally better and ranking lowest in it?” question, but perhaps that’s a mystery best left to the universe.

And, you always think later… could I have pushed more?  Not on the bike.  I fully believe that I did that up to the best of my capacity right now.  On the swim, I’m pretty sure I gave it the proper oomph.  Is it possible I lost a little focus in the middle?  Maaaaaybe, but I really think I stuck with it well.

The run is where I have question marks.  I mean, I was going fast and sucking wind, but I did lose myself behind a few people and may have been coasting a bit at some points.  Maybe I could have found another half a gear on some parts, but I did not speed up into the finish, meaning I really did lay at least most of it out there.

Overall, I believe I showed some SOLID promise for the potential to put down some major PRs this tri season.  This is the first triathlon in a while where I really feel like I got out of my own way and just did it.  At no point did I mentally pull back and stop racing hard or get down on myself or not aggressively continue to pursue the finish line.  It sounds easy on paper, but in the moment, when you’re tired and hot and not-quite-almost-there, it’s really fucking hard.

And while it’s a lot harder to do it for 6 hours in a 70.3 than the 69 minutes it took me to do a super sprint… it’s definitely a start.

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