Tuesday, August 19, 2014

IMBoulder Race Report 8.3.2014

Ironman #4. Boulder Colorado. August 3, 2014. 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run in 17 hours or less. This race, this training cycle was a little different that then last three IM races--this time I was training and racing to raise money for Whole Planet Foundation and specifically as a way to give back for the magical experience I had visiting microcredit loan recipients in Peru last fall.

I decided to raise funds for Whole Planet Foundation while I was still in Peru. I remember having a conversation with my roommate in our hotel in Cuzco about how selfish and frivolous (and expensive) training and racing and Ironman can be. It seemed absurd/privileged/selfish to do something like _another_ Ironman when we were building rooms out of bricks made of dirt gathered in the yard of a home at 10,000 feet in the remote country side of Peru. "What if you trained and raised money" she wisely said. Great idea.

Long story short I ended up raising about $3800 dollars for Whole Planet Foundation. About $300 over my goal. I was thrilled. I was also really nervous--I was about to put myself out there and race with all those people who donated watching. What if I didn't make it? What if, what if...what if? All of this thinking and then my focus was abruptly shifted.

On my way to work at about 7.35 in the morning Monday July 21st I was in a car accident. Less than half a mile from home I hit a car that had run a red light. My car was totaled. I was unharmed, admittedly very shaken, but not a bump or bruise which seems rather miraculous given the shape my car was in. So rather than relaxing and enjoying my taper I was running a little north of stressed, bike commuting daily and dealing with insurance stuff. Not the best way to spend the two weeks pre-race.

Given all of that we arrived in Boulder the Thursday pre-race with no problem. J had booked us business select on SW airlines so check in and security were a breeze. We arrived in Boulder just after 9am and spent the next few days reading and enjoying the cooler air. I did the obligatory 20-30 minute swim, bike and run just to remember how and to make sure the equipment was working properly. All systems were a go and Saturday gear drop off commenced.

Boulder was unique in that it was an Ironman with two transitions areas. I had done the Vineman half that had two transitions locations, but this was my first IM with this set up. T1 from swim to bike was at the Boulder Rez.. T2 from bike to run was at Boulder high school right downtown. Logistically it sounded like it was going to be a cluster but it was actually one of the smoothest races that I have participated in.

The race director was awesome in posting videos outlining all of the logistics of the race. I was glad to have watched them as I knew where and when and how it was all going to happen.

They were not letting cars into the start area at the Rez--only school buses that you picked up at the high school so race morning was even earlier than normal so as to have as little stress as possible pre-race.  After a 3.30 am wake up (I actually got some sleep), race gear on, sweats on top, starting to eat first breakfast (oatmeal--got 2/3 of it down) with coffee and out the door by 4:15am with the rest of breakfast in my pockets to try and get it all in before race start. I hugged Jon bye and he said he would see me at mile 11 on the run--something to look forward to--and headed out with Coach Carrie to the high school.

We easily found a spot to park near special needs bag drop. I dropped my bags and we headed to get in line for the bus. A quick port o potty stop while there was no one in line and on the bus by 4.25 We had a tri-know-it-all talking to the bus driver. I told Carrie I was sorry to be rude but I was going to put my head phones on--those guys, I don't like to listen to them on a regular day let a lone 4.30 on race morning. My IM mix was blasting and got me in the proper head space. Easy ride to the Rez. Dropped off, it was cooler out there than in town, the water looked calm and still, the sun was starting to peek over the horizon and races and Sherpas were flowing over to transition.

First thing after dropping my bag and bottles near my bike was to take my trusty rocketship over to the bike tech to get the tires filled. Easy. Done. Back to my rack position, checked gearing, brakes and shifters--good to go. Loaded up the ride with fuel, filled the areo bottle with water, checked electrolytes and was done with plenty of time to spare.

The rest of my pre-race was spent getting away from other people, calming my nerves and trying to get more carbs and fluids down before getting in the water. Around 6 I wiggled into my wetsuit (short sleeve), gave my morning bag to Carrie, hugged her and went to line up for the rolling swim start. This was my first IM where swim safety measures were in place. We were self seeding behind projected finish times for the swim. Also they said there were floating rafts and lots of kayaks where swimmers who were needing it could rest without penalty. I was hoping for a smoother start than my last three IMs and hoping for a much smoother start than the half IM I had done in Boulder in June. I swam out way too fast for the high altitude and spent several minutes trying to catch my breath before proceeding.

The cannon went off at 6.20 for the pro men to start. Then another for the ladies a few minutes later. Then it was our turn. We were slowly shuffling forward towards the inflatable arch that made up the swim start line. Someone said wave at the camera because it was on IM live .com everyone waved and hooted. I kicked off my 1$ flip flops as we crossed the timing mat and tossed my water bottle in to the pile that had accumulated at the start line and waded in the water. Here we go...

There were over 2500 people racing, but this was the easiest swim start I have experienced in a long time. and WAY better than the 70.3. I just started my watch, put my head down and started swimming. I try and stay focused on the task at hand...it is after all 2.4 miles of swimming so the mind does wander some. I counted strokes and breaths and buoys and got to the first turn. This was the shortest leg of the swim, but I was thrilled to be making progress without much contact from other swimmers. Most of the contact was when sighting...the person drafting off me would run into me then move on. After the first turn I found some clear water on the inside of the buoy line. Had a little pep talk with my self about half way...that actually would become a theme in my day "just keep swimming" was my mantra. Swam without incident the second turn and was on the final stretch of water. This TAKES SO LONG! you can see the arch on the shore...you can begin to hear the music fading in and out as you take a breath. You can feel the other around you trying to surge ahead then pulling back when they realize it's a lot farther than it looks. But I was making progress and swam until my hand touched the bottom of the Rez. I heard a volunteer say 'way to swim it in' I smiled and looked at my watch. I was pleased with the 1:26 I saw on there--trust me it always feels like you are swimming through molasses. I said 'oh hell yeah!' and was thrilled to be off to a good start. I ran over to the wet suit strippers and actually found volunteers I knew!! Thanks ladies :) and was off to T1 where I ran into Dina!

2.4 mile swim: 1 hour 26 minutes 34 seconds

I dumped my stuff on the ground. Dina shoved my wetsuit, cap and goggles in the bag, asked me if i needed any help. I was good so she was off to help others. Did a quick dry of the feet, socks, bike shoes, chamois butter, helmet, shades on and out the door. Hit up the sunscreen ladies and jogged over to the bike

T1: 6 minutes 49 seconds

And we were off on the bike. I jogged it up the hill to the mount line and a little beyond and I was riding. I'm always thrilled to get on the bike. We are friends, me and my bike so I knew we would have a good day together. I saw some friends cheering...always a thrill to hear your name. Left out of the Rez and it was time to take stock, see how I was feeling and start hitting up the hydration and nutrition strategy ASAP. Water first and the plan was start nutrition at the first watch beep (15 minutes in). This would turn out to be a great strategy. I knew I needed to do something more than I had on the half in June where I finished dizzy and dehydrated. The morning was cool and sunny and I was taking it easy on the front half of the course because I knew I would be tired and there would be some challenging sections on the back half of the course.

Saw Scott a couple times here and there at the beginning of the course! Yeah! and was keeping an eye out for others that I knew too. Though about 10 miles in I started to have the feeling that my rear wheel was slowly flatting. Hmm...I kept riding through to the first aid station....WEEEEE down the hill to a tight turn then through the aid station then oh crap the HUGE up hill that was so much fun coming down. Ah well. I was passing people on the hill so I figured I was not flatting and I WAS actually experiencing the 'false flats' that were all over the course. Spots on the road that look like they are flat, but are actually ever so slightly up hill that make you think you have a flat/are riding into a headwind/are tired and bonking. After that thought I just settled in for a long ride. The day was starting to heat up and I was glad to have trained in the Texas heat all summer. It got me through a lot stronger on the back half of the course. Thanks for that TX.

I focused HARD on hydration and nutrition the whole bike. I was religious about drinking my whole 22oz aero bottle every 15 miles (this was not the best when there was one aid station farther than 15 miles!) and taking in several ounces of carbo-pro every 15 minutes. I was really glad I was only relying on liquid calories. I know that I'm terrible getting solid food in on the bike (can't breathe) so I made sure to have plenty in my bottles. At one point the bottle was hot, nutrition hot, plastic tasting and I was pretty sure I swallowed a bit of mold that had been in the bottle...but I KEPT TAKING IT IN. This totally saved my ass. I did try and look around on occasion to see the mountains, farms etc. I also remember at one point, again on one of those false flat sections I said out loud 'just keep peddling' as some guy was passing me. He must not have heard me or he was having his own internal dialogue, but he said nothing.

Saw Bekah near mile 100 ish. She gave me a great tip (having been out in Boulder for a month she had ridden the course a bunch) of down shifting before hitting the three sisters/bitches climb. Spin, spin, spin it up the hills. It was HOT by this point, but it's not quite Texas heat so I was feeling tired but pretty good. I kept waiting for that fuzzy/incoherent point in the bike, but that didn't really come. I was thrilled when we started making the turns in and around the Boulder downtown. I was going to survive this bike on schedule--I had dreamed of a 6 hour bike. But on the back half of the course I knew I needed to be conservative in order to have something left for the end. Finally rolled up to the dismount line near the high school and began alternately jogging and walking with my bike. What I really remember was 'when can I take this damn helmet off.' We ran what seemed like half a mile until we got into the track of the high school.

112 mile bike: 6 hours 31 minutes 15 seconds

Got to see the wives of Chuck, Scott and Tim in the stands in the track 'HI Ladies!!' I asked if any of the boys were in yet and they said not yet. I smiled and waved and was off to grab my bag.

Quick change of shoes and hat and was off onto the run. The run was called the 'flux capacitor' basically 2 x 13 mile Y shaped loops all along the boulder creek and on the creek path. As soon as I got out on the run I was very excited to see so many people. Lots of folks cheering. Turned right and just plodded along. I felt actually pretty good. I was glad to be out of the aero position--my neck and back were pleased to be in a different position. Legs were tired but not fried--I was happy I held back a bit on the bike. My nutrition strategy was a gel every 30 minutes, sports drink at every other aid station (there was one every mile) and a salt tab every hour. Then it was 'just keep running.' Every step getting closer to completing the 26.2.

It was a hot day out there and I was glad that there was a good portion of the run in the shade. The parts that were not shaded were very, very hot and it seemed like these portions were also the hilly portions. But flat courses can be boring and my legs seemed happy for a change of pace. I'm not gunna lie...this was a tough run. A huge amount of mental toughness was on display out there and I had to repeat 'just keep running' many times over those miles. Keeping my head in the game and sticking to my nutrition plan were the steps that saved me.

Saw Jon at mile 11! yeah! It was what I had been looking forward to all day. He was smiling! and asked if i was sticking to my nutrition...yes!...okay he said...see you in a mile. Off to run through to 13. Quick out and back and saw him again. Keep going on the nutrition he said and I'll see you at the finish. Okay one lap down one to go.

I reached for my salt tabs and realized they were gone. Crap! Of all days...i needed them today. I knew I wouldn't find them so I started looking to see if I could find any on the ground. Not a mile when by until I found some! A little baggie with the same looking salt tabs that I take. SCORE! I knew someone would have picked mine up so karma right?! If you haven't figured it out by now, at times Ironman calls for doing things you wouldn't normally do in daily life like pick up and ingest random pills in zip lock baggies.

I saw some friends having fun and I also saw some friends struggling. I saw a LOT of grit and determination. I saw some crazy signs (chuck noris never did and ironman. ironwomen are sexier than ironmen), I saw athletes sitting in Boulder creek, I saw ladies in matching outfits walking together, I saw a man pushing another in a large running stroller, I saw a fireman in full fire gear--helmet and all, I saw an athlete amputee, I saw the first place female running a killer race and I saw the little kids cheering who would be out there some day too. I saw lots of Austin folks out there cheering (thank you!) I saw my name in chalk under the bridge on 6th street (appropriate) I saw a large group of gutter punks/hippies on the grass. It was quite the event. And then I eventually say mile 20, then 22, then 24. JUST KEEP RUNNING.

At 26ish we turned off the main path and back up onto the streets of Boulder. I heard a HUGE cheer from Joey and gang as I started down the (what seemed like a mile long) finishers shoot. I had a giant smile on my face and was looking around at all of the spectators. I heard all of the cheering and I was looking around to see who they were cheering for--and it was just me. They were just as excited as I was to be finishing!! Then I heard Mike over the loud speaker...'from Austin Texas, Jess Kolko, YOU are an Ironman' Woot! #4 in the books.

26.2 mile run: 4 hours 55 minutes 21 seconds

140.6 mile total time: 13 hours 6 minutes 2 seconds
(clock above shows 13.15.51 race time which means i started 9 minutes after the fastest swimmers got in the water)

Stats: 790/2788 overall
          34/136 age group

It was a tough day. But I felt both physically stronger and mentally more tough through this race thanks to my work at Atomic Athlete. I arrived at the starting line much stronger than I have ever been and completely injury free. I could not have done that without Carrie Barrett at FOMO training, Jake, Kara, Brandon and the whole crew at Atomic Athlete, the magical fingers at Austin Body Worker, and last but not least the amazing PT Jessica Tranchina from Primo Rehab who kept me on the up and up.

Finally I have to thank Jon for putting up with yet another cycle of training for and racing Ironman. His support is unwavering and so very much appreciated. And bear I'm sorry for everything I said during my taper. I love you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

conscious leadership workshop and the search for authenticity

it's been over a year since i have looked at this blog or even thought about writing anything in it. though in the last few weeks i have been examining a few things which culminated with--or perhaps just marked the starting line of further exploration with this post. (it has little to do with racing and training fyi since that is what this blog has mostly been about...just fair warning)

the examination started with a sense of being less than satisfied with the expression of my authentic self. there have been a few points, touch points if you will, that i come back to as being expressions of my true and authentic self in all aspects. i am blessed and challenged that one of these moments that had a huge impact came when i was in my teens. i went on these summer hiking trips that really shaped showed me who i really was/am apart from my family unit. the blue ridge mountains hold a place in my heart (and are tattooed on my lower back) that will be forever held.  these trips seemed to bring out qualities i never believed i had and never tried to cultivate. they were just somehow known to me. expressed without trying or being conscious of trying. concretely leading without saying to myself "self we need to lead this situation," it was organic and genuine. there are other qualities but that is not the point.

my recent contemplations have had to do with two okay really three questions. one: why am i not expressing my authentic self in some life aspects...two: what is holding me back from kicking the "why" to the curb and just being truly authentic and three: how can i get back to that expression of authentic self i felt in the woods.

i must admit that this musing is not a fully formed idea however it's more of a visualization and externalization of ideas and insights in order to gain the ability to leap over the chasm as it were for a solution and innovative way to solve the problem. one idea per post it note...

there are several thought paths that i have been going down and these will be externalized in no specific order. since i have felt like i have been expressing less than my authentic self one path of thought has been okay so how have i been _thinking_ i am doing to express my authentic self. what comes to mind is sport. four marathons, three ironmans and countless other races and months of training interspersed in there are/were supposed to be and expression of who i am. yet i have lacked much satisfaction from the completion of these events save perhaps the first time in each event and  IMWI in september. i was really genuinely happy--felt true, pure joy and pleasure--when i completed the race in WI--my worst time of three IM races. now that i am reflecting upon this race i see that i "allowed" myself the space to say this can be the last one my last IM--you don't have to push yourself to race three more to "catch up with" others in the community who have done more. i let my self off the time goal hook and allowed myself to really just think about what i was doing. 140.6 miles under your own power is incredible and i don't care how many other longer races there are that is an f-ing long way to go. my finish line picture shows this emotion (to my surprise this is the first time i really felt it) so why do i race or rather why have i raced in the past. because reflecting on a lot of the racing (and training for that matter) that i have been doing has not been a fun or fulfilling experience. do i continue do i do something new? trying trail running/racing....we will see... 

so great--now what. what other ways have i been expressing my authentic self...learning and knowledge come to mind. i have moved away from a career as a chef and went back to school to learn and grow in nutrition. great done. what else...well reading lots of books about food and sport and the combination of food and sport...okay i see a theme i need to branch out from food and sport!  and i have been in some ways and i feel those can be further explored as growth opportunities. a lot of what i want to cultivate is more of a sense of how to navigate my new(ish) career and my personal values in a setting of business and as j calls them wicked (social) problems. he's been really integral in helping me understand and start to embrace this concept...more to learn 

what else. okay there is service. the nutrition hotline which is great but sporadic in my ability to feel that authenticity come through. and there is writing and blogging for other organizations. ahh we are on to something there.part of that missing piece of self comes from a disconnect with the writing that used to quite and still my mind as well has help me to reflect on themes and moments that i want to remember. okay i'm now in the present moment embracing the lack by writing...feeling a little more authentic now ;)

another expression is yoga. it's been gone for a couple years but it's beginning to return slowly but surely. however i started by approaching it as sport realizing (with the help of a friend) that i wanted a challenge but not unconditional following of someone else's path. my practice is slowly becoming more regular and more about my spiritual intelligence...however it's still a lot about sweating profusely for an hour. 

today i had an "ah ha" (ooo palindrome!!!!)  about all of this. and really i have to thank whole foods for creating something called the academy for conscious leadership and giving me the opportunity to participate because this is huge to me. perhaps i was just open to this at the "right" time. the questions was asked "what personal challenge do you need to realize your potential in life?"

hmmm....and of course i answer the question with a question...damn. here is my question

are all of these physical challenges i have taken on (and think i want to take on) helping me realize my _true_ potential? what else other than these physical challenges (which i really have been focusing most of my time on outside of work and husband) will really (really, really really) bring me to realize my potential?

the answer to this questions is still up in the air and up for discussion but this ethereal answer also (i think) will lead back to the expression of authentic self. so perhaps we (well I) need to examine the qualities of the earlier authentic self in the blue ridge mountains to understand more of what i am missing presently in expressing authentic self...

camping feels like it's in order at some point in this process and perhaps a spirit animal....

lots to do...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

San Antonio Marathon 11.13.11

The Tuesday prior to race day was my last quality workout before the big day...three miles at MGP...with about 1.5 warm up and cool down...a small group of us who were still left (as SA is the last of the fall marathons) gathered at our usual spot outside of Rogue to chat a bit before heading out to run...the talk was all about the weather...apparently it was going to be hot on race day...people we chatting about what they were going to do and what was going to be different...now if you are one who races you know that as soon as there is a weather report that touches on your race day you begin to obsess over it...you check it daily...sometimes multiple times a day...you check several different weather sites just to make sure that your trusty bookmarked site is giving you the best predictions...and then you talk about it with your training mates...

for some odd reason...i'm one of those athletes that only half listens to the talk that is going on...i do not check the weather..okay only once a few days out to make sure i have the right amount of clothing planned...but that is it...why you ask? well...there is nothing that i can do about the weather...i can't will it to be colder or warmer or less windy or less wet....i can only adapt to what it's going to throw my way...i know how to do that...

so it was going to be hot on race day...i trained this season through days that were 104 degrees...i ran long runs for 6 months starting at 5.30 in the morning just to finish before it hit the 100 degree mark...humidity was also high all summer...lots and lots of heat....lots and lots of salt pills...and lots and lots of fluid...i had that under control...

my training had been solid...consistent...strong...injury free...and i successfully ran 7 20+ mile runs 19 without pumping gel in me every five minutes... i ran several weeks at 60 miles...several more at 50...i felt really strong...and like i had achieved a new level of running...i was ready to kick butt in san antonio...

i was nervous leading up to the race...i had goals...time goals and other goals...that i had trained very hard for...and i was keeping my fingers crossed that it would fall together come the morning of the 13th...

j and i had driven down saturday morning after my 20 minute shake out run...had an easy, uneventful ride down went right to the expo...spent about 15 minutes there...got everything i needed...and checked in early to the hotel...after a carb heavy lunch...we walked down to the river walk...found some overly expensive mediocre coffee and settled in to some chairs...me to go over my race plan and maps again...j to write some more of book #4 that he had intently been working on the past few weeks...on the river walk it was warm but felt a bit of a chill in the breeze...i was hoping that a cool breeze would stick around...spent some more time reading and relaxing until dinner of takeout pasta from a spot that had a 2 hour wait for a table...takeout was just fine with me...overheard someone say the night before the marathon was their busiest of the year...i believe it...

in bed before 9 and actually got some sleep...not super great...but good enough to feel well rested...morning breakfast...1/2 cup big bowl cereal 1/2 cup oats, almond milk and strawberries...and coffee of course...checked the weather one last time 55 degrees...yeah! i even put on my sweatpants to walk to the start line...it still might be okay...out the door just before 6.30...we walked out the door and i was hit by a wall of humidity...ugh...i looked up and saw a haze hovering around the second story of all of the buildings...we walked though gear check...found my corral...i stood in line for the bathroom...and sat on a curb...by that point i was sweating...so i took my pants off...but kept my sweatshirt on...

hung out on the curb...hit the bathroom a couple more times....drank my vespa...off with the sweatshirt...one more bathroom break...and it was time to go...it took about 8 minutes to get to the start line...they were stopping groups of people letting the group ahead run for a few minutes...then letting the next ones go....there were supposed to be volunteers leading the corrals...but i never saw any...when it was my turn to go i was in the second row...kind of a cool feeling :) and off we went...

i took the first mile super slow...i knew a lot more people were running the half marathon...and coach and i had discussed that a lot of people would pass me at the beginning...i was okay with this...i was not going to go out too fast...was smiling and feeling good...hit mile 1 just over 9.00...a little slower than i had planned but not a big deal at all...i hadn't gone out too fast and that was one check off the list of goals for this race...good!...next few miles were uneventful...i was hitting my goal times and feeling really good...yeah it was humid...but over cast so that was a plus...the miles were ticking along 8.30s...getting a little under 8.30 it was going well...through the split with the half marathoners...at about 11...i was feeling good....

but then felt the chills...grr...not a good sign for this early in the race...i had taken 2 salt tabs at the start and had 2 an hour for the rest of the race...i was taking two cups at every station alternating water and cytomax...dumping some water on my head to keep the core temp down...by this point i was starting to have to battle the sun...the clouds were dissipating and the sun was coming out in full force...the humidity had dropped (i learned later it was at about 96% at the start of the race!)...by the half i was down by 4 minutes...by 17 i was down by 6...my time goal was out of reach...but there were still other goals to reach for..this was going to be a race of mental toughness

at this point a tightness in my hamstring was pretty persistent...my mantra for the next couple miles was loosen up loosen up...i heard quick-light-feet repeat a few times as well...trying to change up my stride...quicken the pace a bit to give some relief to the tired muscles...my splits were getting slower and slower...and the shade was getting smaller and smaller...and it was really hot...the race course was a mess...there were people walking and wobbling all over the place...volunteers couldn't keep their hands full of water cups...i grabbed some off of tables a few times...city buses were placed all over the course for people to jump in an cool off...it was tempting at a few points...people were spraying hoses at runners to try and cool us off...they were handing out salt...not electrolyte tablets...just plain salt...like those packets you get in your fries...that was weird...

i had never seen so many runners so beaten down...the majority of people were walking...i was "running" it was not pretty but i was running...by now we had gotten back to a segment of the course where it was out and back on the same road...i looked at those going out...and felt some sympathy...they had about an 8 mile loop out that way with no shade...i heard a guys say "we must be getting close to the turn around" oh...he had no idea...i was so surprised by how many runners were still going OUT...i was thankful to be headed back IN...

at some point the half and the full joined back on the same course separated by a fence...i think it was about 3 miles to go...i was suffering...i grunted out loud a few times...just that grrrrr keep running...finish this race kind of frustration...then i saw amy, jess and cheryl...amy jogged up along side of me...and i had to do everything in my power to not cry... "keep it together" ...thanks amy..she always knows what to say...i was just so frustrated...sad and angry...i knew i had let her down...and let myself down...but it was not for lack of trying...that is for sure...

got my head back together...and slogged out the final 2.2 miles...getting more and more excited as i got closer...just because i knew i could stop...and get something cold to drink...someone had ice at the final water stop...i could not have been happier with that...turned the final corner...and went UP what felt like a huge hill saw a few teammates (thanks guys!) cheering....and hit the finish line (arms up!) done...4.07.00

not the 3.40 i was going for...but also not my worst marathon...i don't think i could have finished with that time had a not had a great training season given the conditions....of course i'm pissed that the stars did not align for me last sunday...but here are somethings that i am proud of...
-consistancy in my training
-huge mileage milestones
-that one 24 miler matt and i ran together where we had a HUGE strong finish
-running a 4.07 on a really crappy day
-not going out too fast
-hitting my nutrition spot on

so now what...i have some time before i start training for IMWI 2012...i know i will again run a marathon with the goal of a 3.40...i'm pretty fit...and there is one here in Austin in a few months...hmmm....it's a thought...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dusting off this blog

I know it's been forever since i've done anything over here...so this post is as good as any...I've signed up for ironman #3...Ironman Wisconsin September 9th 2012....i love that the nickname is IMmoo...and one of my facebook friends just informed me that it's rated the second hardest IM....awesome :) BRING IT!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reflection on 5 days of Food Stamps

I began this assignment with a plan of how I was going to be able to make it through the week while at my rotation and in my fourth week of marathon training. I knew that I needed to have a plan in order to make everything work together. Typically I write out a week’s worth of dinners and use that as the bases of my grocery list. I estimate possible leftovers then add additional items to the list to fill out both lunch and breakfast. I did the same for my week of food stamp meals however I was much more conscientious of what I was going to add for breakfast and lunch due to the cost associated with my typical choices.

One of the major changes to my normal routine was one shopping trip for the week at HEB. I normally shop at Whole Foods and get most staples, fruit and vegetables on one day I typically will go to the store at least one other time to pick up something else like fresh seafood or other item that does not keep well. This past week I only shopped Sunday for the remainder of the week.

Lunches normally consist of leftovers or big fresh salads (mostly bought from the Whole Foods salad bar when I am working at the office). I knew that this was not an option for this week as I would be at Cedar Springs. I decided to make a bulgur based salad with chickpeas and veggies dressed with a red wine dressing for my lunch for the week. I also added a few slices of bakes tofu to the dish to add some more protein. Both recipes I found on the Snap website.  I portioned out the tofu and salad for the week in five to go containers and was all set for lunches.

Breakfast was also changed during this week. I normally have a smoothie with oats and spinach added after I workout and a mid morning snack at about ten. This week I went for something I knew was affordable and hopefully sustain me through to lunch—oatmeal. I added peanut butter and banana to it in order to make the meal more balanced.

I found most of the recipes that I used for dinners this week on the snap website with some slight variations. The arroz con pollo turned out to be a big hit with the addition of some oregano and a jalapeno. Typically I don’t use recipes when cooking dinner. This week I felt that it would be best to follow some from the snap site due to cost savings.

While the plan got me through the menu planning, shopping and some preparation it was defiantly not a fool proof option. Most of the time I am fine having the same things a few times during the week, but not being able to have a choice for my meals this week made me reject both my breakfast and lunch by Wednesday. On my run Wednesday morning all I could think about was how much I didn’t want oatmeal and what did I have that would fit my budget so I could have something different. I ended up with a one egg breakfast taco that made me much happier. Lunch Wednesday turned out to be peanut butter and jelly since I couldn’t do another day of the bulgur salad. It seemed so strange to me that this rejection of my own food occurred. Most days out of the week I have the same smoothie over and over again while I have plenty of options around me. When I was restricted with my choice (ie only oats) I wanted nothing to do with it.

It was interesting to me to be working in an eating disorder facility during this experiment. I felt that I could begin to understand the prison that restriction is. It was also difficult to pass up a cupcake that was offered due to a birthday in the office. When my five days were over I was seriously craving many of the foods that I had to say no to during the week.

It was also rather difficult to maintain proper nutrition for my marathon training. I was not able to have my normal pre run snack, recovery drink, typical amount of food and my electrolyte replacement tablets. I run about six days most weeks and meet with my group one of those days for a quality workout. This Tuesday’s quality workout was really lacking in quality. I came to the run knowing that it was going to be tough. I didn’t have enough time to get in a snack between my lunch and my run. While normally I would have popped a  gel I did not have that option this week. Also, I had been drinking water all day as I do normally however my food stamps meal plan lacked the electrolyte replacement tablets that I put in every other liter of water. I was a little nervous of the consequences of that move. We had a six mile run Tuesday evening and it was the hardest six miles I have run in an extended period of time. By the end of the run I was experiencing symptoms of heat stroke and dehydration. I was glad that I was familiar with the signs and symptoms and knew what to do to get through my workout. I really hope I don’t have to try that again.

I don’t think that the diet that I followed was nutritionally adequate for the week. It was lacking in vitamins and minerals while I even made an effort to add vegetables and fruits where I could. I know that I am not the typical food stamp user and was thankful for my knowledge of cooking during this process. I know that my culinary background was helpful in stretching the budget and using the carbohydrate base of most of the week’s dishes like a blank canvas and squeezing in nutritionally dense foods where I could.

This project was just as difficult as I had imagined and even more difficult than I thought it would be in some respects. I knew that it would be difficult to work on a budget, but I was able to overcome that and get some variety in for the evening meal. Aspects that were more difficult than expected were the repetition of foods and the lack of adequate quality as well as quantity for my training. I am glad to have done the experiment and had fun coming up with creative dishes based on the snap recipes I found. I’m sure that the three others that I ran with on Tuesday are glad that I can get back to being the one who doesn’t mess up her nutrition and has solutions for their nutrition issues. Now I’m headed to Whole Foods to restock the pantry. 
Day 4
Breakfast: two egg breakfast taco with spinach= $0.74
Lunch: left overs + apple = $1.53
Dinner: Turkey Burger and baked sweet potato fries= $2.08

Day 5
Breakfast: oatmeal with pb chopped apple and cinnamon= $0.42
Lunch: left overs + apple= $1.82
Dinner: homemade mac-n-cheese (nondairy) with broccoli and not dogs=$2.36

Total for the week= $20.09 
total i had to spend =$21.90 
lets go celebrate with the $1.81 i have left :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 3

on my wednesday morning run...i thought about breakfast...and the thought of the same oatmeal again was not at all appealing...so i decided to switch it up...which is strange because normally i would choose oatmeal but knowing that i kind of "had" to choose it made me not want it at all...so i made an egg/spinach/salsa breakfast taco and crossed my fingers the cost was okay...it was almost $0.40 more than the oats but i was happy for a change...

same thing happened with lunch...so it was pb+j with veggies and an apple...which turned out to be not filling enough...i'm starting to get how it would have to work in order to stay satisfied...it's keeping it carb heavy...as i had been the first two days...

Breakfast: egg, spinach, salsa, tortilla=$0.94
Lunch: pb+j on wheat, 1/2 cucumber, 1 normal carrot, 1 small apple=$0.57
Dinner: arroz con pollo = $2.13
treat: 1 liter sparkling water $0.53
total so far =$10.96

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 2

I knew now that the hunger level was going to be okay...so i knew that i could get through the next days...but i was a little worried about how my workout was going to feel with no electrylyte supplementation during the day or pre run...i had made sure to save my apple from lunch for an afternoon snack to help the run...but unfortunatly i never got around to eating it...by the time i did i was on my way to run practice so that was not a good choice either...mild dehydration symptoms by the end of the 6 miles....made it through strides and strength...then home for something...and fast...turned out to be left overs from last nights pasta (it was just sauce left) so i made more noodles to go with...and added salt...

Breakfast: oats+PB+almond milk+banana (i ate as a morning snack) $0.59
Lunch: bulgur salad + Tofu - apple (i never got around to eating) $1.03
Dinner: left over sauce (i counted all ingredients in yesterdays total)+noodles+spinach= $1.25
Total = $2.87
running total =$2.87+$3.92=$6.79