Sunday, October 21, 2012

My First Triathlon!

      September 8, 2012 I became a triathlete!!!  The weeks leading up to the race I was feeling nervous, excited, prepared, unprepared. I guess it was all part of the anxiety of the unknown.  I had a lot of hiccups along the way: a week long illness & fever, leg cramps, figuring out how to change my bike gears and then my bike brakes literally cracking in half a week before the race. ugh!   But.... I still did it and the triathlon was one of the most thrilling things I have ever done in my life! 

    Race morning I headed down to Liberty Station in Point Loma at 5:30am & began to set up everything I needed for the day.  I had no idea what I was doing, but thankfully I watched a few youtube videos about how to set up transition.  My mom came down to the start and watched me get ready to embark on this little adventure. 


     Soon enough, they were announcing for everyone to get out of transition area & get to the start line! We headed over to the water, it was a really beautiful day but with no clouds in the sky - people were nervous about the heat. The last thing you want on race day is full sun exposure!

The race started at 6:15am and I was in the 5th wave, set to start at 6:22am. 

     As the waves in front of me started in the water, the feeling of excitement grew more & more.  I couldn't believe I was about to do this!  So I gave my mom a big hug and jumped in the water... The sun was barely coming up (even though it was warm already), so I was nervous about how murky or cold the water would be. It was perfect conditions, or much better than murky Mission Bay!  They called "wave 1.... wave 2..." and so on until "wave 5, please swim to the start line!" Eeek, I looked around at everyone else and just took deep breaths as I prepared myself. And then we were off!

     The first 100 m or so were a disaster, I was so excited and swam off in a hurry, was trying to catch my breath and  occasionally sidestroking. I came up after the first buoy and pulled myself together mentally and just started a methodical routine of stroke, stroke, stroke, breath... I watched as people passed me but I found my groove and just went for it. The swim was freeing and calming. I was one of the slower swimmers in my group but I kept checking to make sure I wasn't last! hehee... As I came out of the water, I found my mom relieved I hadn't drown. 

Now it was time for the bike transition, I think it was about 6 minutes (hey, I am still new to this) and I was off on the bike! My mom was able to see me take off & come in for the end of my ride.

     The bike portion of the race was great. I was reeeeeeally nervous about this one hill that we had to ride twice, and since this part of the course was on the Naval Base, there was no way to see the hill pre-race.  My goal was "don't fall on the hill!" Well, I didn't fall, I passed people who were walking their bikes and overcame my fear of hill climbing (at least for the time being). It was hot out there, but not too bad.  My seat definitely needs to be raised again because I felt like I wasn't moving much for the amount of energy I was exerting.  As I was finishing up loop 1 of the bike portion, I was flying down a hill to see my friends, Todd & Tammy, standing on the corner cheering me on!  What a boost!   I completed the next loop with confidence going up the hill again and just finished up the best I could. 

     As I came in to Transition 2, my friend Ashley was cheering my into the bike finish. Another boost! I ran my bike in, ripped off my gloves and helmet. I took off for the run and I felt like I was sprinting.. then I looked down at my watch and apparently my legs were lead. I was hardly moving!  Running after a bike ride is the weirdest sensation on your legs. I was thirsty, thirsty, thirsty and stopped for every tiny bit of water I could get on this 6 mile run.  Tammy, Todd, Ashley and another surprise guest, Jeff, arrived on the run course and pushed me with positive thoughts. I love that my friends are active and we support each other in our little endeavors!  So as I finished up my run I hauled my little buns to the finish line and collected my sweeeet medal!

  Yipeeeeeeeee! I think I really was saying that as I crossed the finish line.

    Free beer garden celebrations for participants and spectators. 
Todd, Tammy and Jeff were definitely not passing up the free Stone Brewing Co. beer.

Thanks to my mom, Ashley, Todd, Tammy & Jeff for coming out and supporting me!

So... When is the next one?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Paleo Carrot-Cake Muffins

      I got a bag of fresh carrots last week from our school's Farm 2 Kids program and yes, the produce is for the kids buuuuut they always give the teachers a bag too. So... I don't turn down fresh produce when it's offered!  My students were asking me for ideas for their carrots and after suggestion muffins or bread,  I wanted to do a little baking over the weekend.   I also recently threw out all my wheat flour, so I looked for a gluten-free carrot cake muffin recipe.  Thanks to Paleo being all the rage these days, it was easy to find a pretty yummy looking recipe.

     I found this one on MomGonePaleo... The result was nutty, tasty and a little salty!

 Paleo Carrot Cake Muffins:

2 1/4 cups almond flour (I used almond meal, so the texture was a little nuttier)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp each of allspice, clove and ginger
3 tbs melted coconut oil or butter
3 eggs beaten
2-3 tbsp honey (start with 2 then add the 3rd if you want it sweeter)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup shredded carrot (I did a little extra!)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

 Used my food processor to shred up fresh carrots - still had leftovers for salads this week!
 Mix 'er up!
 This recipe made about 16 delightfully, surprising muffins! 
I brought them to work on Monday... mixed reviews because they are different. The muffins turned out extremely moist and fluffy but they are saltier & less sweet than what most would expect of a muffin. I love the way almond meal bakes, but some people aren't used to gluten & (processed) sugar free foods.  BUT I was very happy with a new breakfast treat and I've had one every day this week ;)
If you don't mind venturing away from regular flour and trying more natural ingredients, I highly suggest these little guys. Carrots, almonds, walnuts -- I've convinced myself that I am eating lots of goodness in these muffins!  Now you should to! 


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Power Smoothie!

I have to eat breakfast. It is a meal I can't skip, or else I am sluggish and my appetite is off all day. Unfortunately I don't have time to make scrambled eggs or a fritatta, so I usually go for a protein smoothie. This one is full of fiber, protein & good fats.

Power Smoothie: 
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1/2 banana (about 6 frozen slices)
1 scoop protein powder
1/2 Tbsp flax seeds
1 Tbsp nut butter (almond, sunflower or peanut
Ice cubes, if you like more of a milkshake consistency 

Tips for the day: 

1) Blend all ingredients first except the nut butter, then add nut butter in once smooth - It blends in better without sticking to all the sides of the blender!

2) Slice and flash freeze bananas when you buy them. Then stick in a freezer bag for later use. It makes the smoothie creamier!

Speaking of breakfast, I am hungry and going to make one of these right now!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monthy Update

Well, it's been over a month since I have updated. Here is what's been going on....

School started again. 

Went sailing for the first time. 

A family member passed away = a lot of family time together and celebrating life. 

My tomato & pepper plants are still growing.

I completed my first triathlon. 
      The triathlon was amazing.... look for a full post soon!

       I can't believe it is already October!!!   Although September had some nice & memorable moments, it was an extremely hard month. A lot of sadness & loss, school work piled up over & over, and a mental breakdown with running. I am so so happy for a new month to be here, and hopefully more happiness and less stress in store for me & others around me.

       Things I am looking forward to in October:
    • a trapeze lesson this weekend
    • a possible Disneyland trip
    • Japanese themed dinner club
    • Halloween!
Cheers & wishes for cooler San Diego weather,