Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Pumpkin Please!

Sara brings us a tasty treat for the dark, cool mornings:

I don't know about you, but when October hits, I become OBSESSED with pumpkins.

Pumpkin spice lattes?


Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pancakes?


The trouble with this is that all of the above are really pretty loaded with sugar. And that plus the fact that it's easy to just throw on the yoga pants and oversized sweatshirt (it's cold, right?) makes it oh-so-tempting to succumb to the waistline-wrecking ball that is pumpkin flavored pastry or caffeinated goodness.

But stay strong, brothers and sisters!

I have found something that is just as tasty and is not nearly as full of sugar as all my favorite pumpkin goodies. AND, it's awesome after an early morning (or late evening if your schedule is as crazy as mine!) crisp fall tempo run. (Disclaimer: I rarely bake, because I hate measuring things. But I love to cook, because food is art. You just keep throwing things together until you get what works best for you. That's my kind of recipe! So I do a little-of-this-and-a-little-of-that, but for the sake of a recipe here I've given my best estimates at measurements. Just try it out until you find the right pinch of everything for you!)

Pumpkin Cranberry Oatmeal
You will need:

  • 1/2 C Quaker Oats
  • 1 C water or skim milka pinch of salt, if you so desire
  • 1/4 C or so of canned pumpkin (you can always add more!)
  • a healthy spoonful of brown sugar (more or less depending on your taste...and how concerned you are about sugar! I usually do about 1 TBSP or so)
  • a few pinches of pumpkin pie spice (maybe 1/2 teaspoon?)
  • a handful of sweetened dried cranberries (or any dried fruit, really!)
optional: add some chopped pecans or walnuts to really make it a hearty meal and add some healthy fats!

It's really easy, and takes just a few minutes! Simply prepare the oatmeal, using water or milk (and salt if you desire) in the microwave according to the directions. Then, add a glob of pumpkin puree, a spoon of brown sugar, the pumpkin pie spice, and your cranberries. Mix it all up, and enjoy your healthy pumpkin creation.

Now you can save your extra calories for something even better!


Enjoy, and happy fall running!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Stu interviews Cait Snow

Listen in as Stu interviews fellow Quintana Roo athlete Cait Snow, who split a 2:53:50 in Kona. Find out how she got into long distance triathlons, how she prepared for her 2011 season, and lots of other great stuff!

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Monday, October 24, 2011

On Being a Race Angel

Sarah shares her story from her 12th consecutive(!) Twin Cities Marathon:

There will be races when you show up to the start line and know you're not in for a PR. Usually this is from being under-trained -- life or injury/illness got in your way. Whatever the reason, at that point you need to finalize your race strategy. Do you aim for a PR anyway and risk falling on your face? Do you assess your training and aim for a more appropriate finish time, or do you throw time out the window and decide to enjoy yourself? For my 12th consecutive Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon earlier this month, I chose that last strategy. At 16 weeks postpartum, I wasn't anywhere close to PR shape. I had squeezed in training that would get me to the finish line, but I knew my time would not be spectacular.

After seeing my brothers and husband off at the 10 mile start, I got in line for Corral 3. When they sang the National Anthem, I said a quick prayer thanking God for the opportunity to be out there running, for my health, and for my VERY supportive family. They played "Everybody Looks Good at the Starting Line," and we were off! My plan was just to go at a comfortable pace, have fun, and hang out at the back of the pack.

At around mile 0.5, I complimented a woman on her shirt. It had the tracings of her 2 kids' feet and said something to the effect of, "We're behind you mom!" With that, I met Shelley. She was running her first marathon ever. We talked about our families. I told her some of the fun parts of the course to look forward to and where the hills would be. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we just ran together. We were very matched in pace, so we just stayed together. Around mile 12, John joined us. He had been running near us for most of the race. It was also his first marathon. His son was born on the exact same day as Henry but had had some initial complications, so his training wasn't what he'd hoped. Twelve miles was his longest run. I invited him to run with us, so he did. We ran along the river together telling stories and jokes and enjoying the gorgeous day. Normally, I would have thought it was much too hot, but this year I was glad it was a little warm so Henry wouldn't be cold while he was out cheering. I was so happy to be running, and though the typical aches and pains of a marathon snuck up on me earlier this year, I was having a lot of fun. In contemplating my goals for the race earlier that week, I had decided it would be to hang out with people at the back of the pack and to enjoy myself. If I could find a newbie to cheer on, that would be an added bonus.

John ran with us until mile 22 or so. He was stronger up the hill. I saw him look back a couple of times while he was ahead of us, but by that time, we were on Summit Ave - the home stretch. I hoped he'd go on without us if he was feeling good, and he did. Shelley and I ran Summit together. We never had to stop and walk, though our pace was slowing down. I was just so happy to still be running and to still be feeling relatively OK. We looked for her family around mile 24 and then looked for mine at mile 25.5. I beamed when I spotted them! I high-fived my family and smooched my baby.

Shelley and me at mile 25.5
I spotted the giant flag near the finish line as I crested the hill by the Cathedral. Shelly and I picked up the pace and ran to the finish line together. When we crossed, I congratulated her and asked if I could give her a hug. "I wish you would!" she exclaimed. We hugged twice.

A screen shot of the finish video - our hug was caught on camera

I congratulated her again, and I made my way up to find my family. This was my second slowest marathon ever, but honestly, it was one of my most fun.

This week, I checked my mailbox at work and found this:

This letter made my day!

A closeup of her thoughtful letter

Next time you show up at a start line with a sinking feeling that you're not about to see your best time, consider being a "Race Angel." You may help someone fall in love with the sport and have a blast in the process!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

JP's Ironman World Championship Race Report

JP just published his Ironman World Championship race report in three parts. Like any full distance event, there are good times and there are bad. Here's a snippet of the second post to give you a taste of JP's day:

I moved off the bike feeling fresh in the legs but rotten in general. I couldn’t figure it out. The pace out onto the run was slower than normal but I still ticked off a 7:30 first mile. The second mile was completely torpedoed and I staggered to a stop. I was like a beater car, dying on the side of the road. I saw my Dad and said, “I am completely fried. I'm overcooked.” He said it would come around, but I was convinced it was over. It was the first time in a race where I nearly pulled the plug. I had concrete thoughts of the dreaded letters DNF. For those of you not of the triathlete persuasion, this is the abbreviation for “did not finish” and is a source of incredible shame for us. I prayed again for anything.
Make sure you read all three entries: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 to find out how his day turns out.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Enter the CycleOps Kona Challenge

Have you entered the CycleOps Kona Challenge yet? Pick winners for fastest swim, bike, run and overall on both the men's and women's PRO fields. But, (Twist alert!) do it without any duplicate answers. Tricky, tricky! (Sadly, JP is not included in the list!)

Then, pick winning times on both sides. Points are given for each correct answer with tie-breakers going to closest cumulative times. After the race is done, CycleOps will be able to sort through the entries and figure out the winners. And of course, there are some sweet prizes!

So whether you know a little or a lot about triathlons and the Kona PRO field you can create a team and be entered to win. Check out the entry page for all the details. Hurry! You only have until 11:59 PM on October 7th to submit your entry! What are you waiting for? Do it now! Good luck!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Your Kona Qualifying questions Answered!

Thanks for your submissions, everyone! JP, Michelle and Chris had a great conversation answering all sorts of things related to triathlon - some serious, others not-so-much. Take a listen in and keep an eye out for JP as he takes on the lava fields surrounding Kona as he competes against the best of the best at the Ironman World Championships on Saturday, October 8. He's bib #1824

(Save MP3)