Monday, February 29, 2016

Base Building: Round 2 - Week 3

It finally happened. I missed a workout - but we'll get to that in a minute.

Rest day!  As usual this was a much needed day off.  Mr. R&R and I made a mad dash across town after work to pick up Walter's medication refill from Dr. Beast's office and while we were on that side of town, we made a pit stop at Whole Foods to pick up greens for the boys.  Neither of us have been to Whole Foods in forever, so we grabbed a couple slices of pizza for dinner (I went with a slice of cheese-less veggie and a slice of vegan) and picked up hummus and baba ghanoush to go with our Tuesday and Wednesday night dinners.  When we got home, Mr. R&R got busy cleaning up Walter and Spot's cage and I hit the kitchen to make spanakorizo (this one's been on the menu a lot).  When the rice was done, I dumped it in a bowl and left it on the counter to cool a bit.  

Guess what I forgot to put in the refrigerator last night?  If you said: the bowl of spanakorizo, you're right.  I. Was. Pissed.  Fortunately, I was able to come up with a reasonable alternate dinner plan when we got home from the pool, so the hummus and baba ghanoush didn't go to waste.  

Speaking of the pool, I think I may be developing some sort of weird chlorine allergy.  About 2-3 hours after I swim, I start sneezing uncontrollably, my nose simultaneously runs and stuffs up, and I'm all around miserable.  This has happened twice now, but I'm still hoping that maybe it's just some sort of weird cold thing that's exacerbated by the pool chemicals.

I went another round with Ericcson and felt awesome. I think I'm definitely starting to get the hang of this whole 'training with virtual power' thing.

It's been something of a struggle to make myself get on the bike after a long day at work, but having a good action movie on in the background makes it a little more palatable.  In the past few weeks, we've watched all three Ironman movies, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers, and X-Men: Days of Future Past.  This week we moved away from the Marvel universe and on to Pirates!

Some people celebrate their birthdays by throwing parties, going out, or taking a day off.  I celebrated the big 3-6 by working, going for a run on the treadmill, and making homemade margherita pizza with Mr. R&R - and polishing off half a box of Girl Scout cookies!

New gear always makes working out more fun, so when my order showed up a day early, I was a little more willing to go to the pool.  I really love both of my Speedo suits, but those things are expensive and chlorine is murder on spandex.  I ordered a $23 Sporti suit and as long as it holds up, I may never buy another Speedo.  It didn't ride up. It didn't cut into my shoulders. It was so light that I practically felt like I was skinny dipping!  I also ordered a really cheap silicone swim cap because the two I have are starting to wear out and a new pair of goggles because I'm really tired of feeling like my eye sockets are bruised after 1000 yards!  The swim cap was another huge win.  I'm never paying $11 for a swim cap again.  The jury is still out on the goggles.  They didn't leak, but they still started to hurt after a while and the excess strap kept brushing my shoulder in the water.  I'm going to try a few things before making a final decision on them.

Sometimes you just need a day to do nothing and today was that day.  I slept like crap last night courtesy of another bout of post pool sneezing and sinus issues and woke up feeling like I couldn't really breathe through my nose.  The day was spent laying on the couch with a blanket and a good book.

Eventually I managed to drag myself to the shower and put on a dress before Mr. R&R and I met friends for dinner.  Our original plan was to hit the bikes when we got home, but dessert and a second glass of bordeaux won the day.


I really did not want to adult today.  Maybe that second glass of wine wasn't such a good idea?  Mr. R&R left for his run/training appointment and I dragged my ass out the door by 8:30AM to run errands.  My stops were: Stone Creek (2 lbs coffee beans + huge cup of coffee), Fresh Market (rabbit greens, berries, spinach), Trader Joes (groceries), and Target (a couple things I can't get at TJ's and household crap). 

My To Do list was ridiculous: food prep, a frightening amount of laundry, planning for next week (which is so jam packed that I felt like I was planning the invasion of Normandy), 3 miles to run, and yesterday's missed bike ride.  Ugh.  

Mr. R&R got started on the laundry while I hit the kitchen to do food prep.  Nothing new from the kitchen this week; just yogurt messes, spanakorizo, chicken, and another batch of wonton soup since last week's was a big hit with both of us.  2 1/2 hours later I emerged from the kitchen with a full refrigerator and we continued to work our way through the apocalyptic piles of laundry.  It was quickly becoming obvious that I was going to have to choose between the bike and the run since I was running out of hours in the day.  The bike won and my Perfect Week Streak came to an end.  I wasn't happy about the streak ending, but that's life.  Sometimes workouts get missed - I just have to make sure it's the exception, not the rule.

60 minutes of Carson was followed by our traditional Oscar Night nachos, folding more laundry, and bed.

Round 2: Week 3 Totals:
Swim: 2,675 yards (1.52 miles)
Bike: 21.6 miles
Run: 3.01 miles
Strength Training: 1 session
Total Miles: 26.13 miles
Total Time: 3 hours, 49 minutes

February Totals*:
Swim: 6,800 yards (5.1 miles)
Bike: 86.24 miles
Run: 22.46 miles
Strength Training: 6 sessions
Total Miles: 113.81 miles
Total Time: 17 hours, 19 minutes
*Since I'm publishing this post on February 29th, I'm including tonight's workout in my totals even though it's not accounted for in the weekly totals - yet!

Did you watch the Oscars?  What'd you think?

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Base Building: Round 2 - Week 2

R2W2 was a weird one.  Nothing particularly horrible happened, but it was one of those weeks where a series of small things go wrong and after a while it really starts to mess with your head.  I think this happens at least once in every training cycle, so it's not completely foreign to me - just really &*$% annoying.

My regularly scheduled rest day - and boy did I need it.  I was still really sore from Saturday's triple workout and I arrived at the office to discover (weird occurrence #1) that out of 16 people in the department: 3 had called in sick, 1 was so sick that I sent her home, 2 more left early because they felt so crummy, and 3 more were sick, but functional.  I spent my day feeling a bit like a kindergarten teacher; running around with Clorox wipes and a can of Lysol - and praying that I didn't catch whatever they all had! My lentil soup/stew was pretty good at lunchtime.  I didn't mind the 'stew-ish' texture, but I'm standing by the plan to add more balsamic vinegar next time.

By the end of the day all I wanted to do was go to bed.  Mr. R&R ended up having to attend a last minute business dinner, so I was on my own.  I contemplated picking up a sandwich from my favorite place, but I had all the stuff I'd spent time making on Sunday in the refrigerator, so I behaved myself and ate at home.  I scooped some of the mushroom rice into a bowl, stirred in some leftover crockpot chicken, added some freshly grated cheese, and threw the whole mess into the microwave.  I can't say it was the best thing I've ever eaten, but it did the job and let me spend most of the night on the couch with my Kindle.

Mr. R&R and I hit the pool after work for 1000 yards and the series of weird occurrences continued.  My Garmin (the 920xt) decided it didn't want to record all my laps - and thus messed with my /100 average.  I noticed the issue, swam a little extra to try to make the watch show the right yardage, but it kept coming up short!  Grrr. On the ride home, I googled the problem and it sounds like I'm not the first person to experience this nonsense.  There are a couple of possible fixes: stronger push off the wall, using my right arm to take my first stroke (since I wear my watch on my left arm), and trying to glide off the wall as long as possible.  I'll be implementing those on Friday.  Dinner was leftover mushroom rice and chicken - again.  The combination isn't bad, but it's not earth shatteringly amazing either.  I think the rice recipe needs some tweaking if I make it again.

Whatever plague is going around has continued to ravage my office.  This week has been a nonstop parade of: sanitizing workspaces, covering for those who are out, and trying to do my own job.  I seriously considered skipping tonight's bike workout when Mr. R&R suddenly had another work dinner to attend.  Eventually I convinced myself to put my book down and dragged myself down to The Cave.  Tunnabora was, as expected, 45 minutes of leg-burning sweatiness - with American Beauty as background entertainment.

Afterward, I made myself some macaroni and cheese and threw a meatloaf in the oven to bake for dinners later in the week.

Most of the office was back in today (with the exception of one who had to be sent home due to a positive strep test), so I was able to do more actual work, so that was good.  I got home later than planned and Mr. R&R and I packed ourselves off to the gym to run and lift. What a run - those splits made me beyond happy!  The whole thing was only 8 seconds off of PR pace.

Takeout was on the menu tonight - a stupid move - but a really tasty one.

I thought that perhaps the weird occurrences were done for the week. Nope. Friday morning started with a 5:30am text message from a sick minion, oversleeping, and then Mr. R&R broke the news: the coffee grinder had committed suicide.

My usual weekday morning routine looks something like this:

  • pour coffee just before walking out door
  • allow coffee to cool to drinkable temperature on the drive to work
  • consume half of coffee while checking email/getting situated for the day
  • consume remaining half of coffee over the course of the next hour
Obviously an emergency Starbucks run with my fellow coffee-addicted coworker (in windy, but unseasonably warm weather) was in order!  Once caffeinated, the rest of the day passed quickly and by 5pm I was on my way home. 

The initial plan was to lay on the couch with a book until Mr. R&R came home and we headed for the pool, but no sooner had I settled myself onto the couch, a text message had me hoofing up to the bar for a quick beer with Mr. R&R, Who-Ha, and another friend.  I can count on one hand the number of drinks I've had in the last 6 weeks, so I was careful to limit myself to one beer since I still needed to swim.  I'm not the most social creature on the planet, but it was nice to see people for a little while - the whole triathlon thing is kind of murder on your social life.

We got to the pool around 7:30pm and discovered that instead of the usual Rugrat Night in the exercise pool it was RUGRAT NIGHT ON STEROIDS. There was some sort of kid-related pool party going on and that meant that the locker room was a wasteland of puddles and dirty towels thrown everywhere.  The pool deck was overrun by kids and there was nowhere dry to put down our towels and keys.  Fortunately, there were no kids in the lap pool, so the workout was still able to happen.  My Garmin cooperated by registering all my laps, but my swim cap and googles decided to act up instead.  Within the first 100 yards, I could feel my cap creeping upward and trying to escape from my head.  Grr. I stopped, fixed it, put my goggles back on and continued my warm up.  Then my goggles started leaking.  I swam the last 50 of the warm up with my eyes closed.  It was all downhill from there.  Despite my best efforts, my googles continued to leak approximately every 50 yards (time to order new ones) and my calves decided that mid-drill was a great time to cramp.  The end of the workout could not come fast enough!  Despite a less-than-stellar performance, it wasn't a total loss. I attempted exactly one flip turn after I shut off my watch and it. was. perfect.  

We got home around 9pm, ate (read: inhaled) some meatloaf, gave Walter his weekly bath, and took both boys upstairs to snuggle and listen to music.  Bunny snuggles pretty much make everything right in the world. 

I awoke to a nose that was both stuffed up and runny. So much for avoiding the death plague entirely, but I'm hoping this is as bad as it gets.  I spent most of the day lounging on the couch with a blanket - moving only to do my bike ride and take a long, steamy shower.  I did manage to make more progress  on the book I'm reading and I watched the Imitation Game (if you haven't seen it, watch it), so I wasn't a total waste of carbon. Oh, and the replacement coffee grinder showed up on my doorstep so Mr. R&R/I don't have to make a coffee run in the morning and the world will be a slightly safer place on Monday morning.

Many thanks to my friend April for posting this on my Facebook page because it's true!
I had another appointment with my trainer today - and a run to do.  I got to the gym early and hit the treadmill. I've been bad about adding to my mileage and had plenty of time so I ran 4 miles - the most I've run in a while.  Good god I love negative splits - and I really love them when they're fast!

Post run I cleaned off my treadmill and promptly walked straight outside in an attempt to stop the torrents of sweat pouring out of me before I met up with my trainer.  When I met up with her (she needs a blog name - any ideas?), a 30 minute beating ensued.  There were squats, lunges, all manners of abdominal work, and oh yeah...shoulder touch push ups.  I was absolutely wasted by the time we were done - and I loved it.

I stopped in the locker room long enough to put on street clothes and jot down all the moves I just did while they were still fresh in my mind (otherwise I have no chance of remembering them so I can do them on my own) before dashing over to my mom's house to shimmy up a ladder and help her out with a little home repair.  I mentioned that I was planning to go to Trader Joe's afterward and she ended up coming along for the ride.  Holy crap that place was packed.  If my refrigerator hadn't been naked, I would have turned around and walked out. As it is, I still managed to forget one thing on my list so I'll have to make another trip at some point this week.

In need of replenishing

When I got home, Mr. R&R and I put the package of Italian sausages (second shelf down on the right) to good use.  We've had an unseasonable warm spell this weekend, so Mr. R&R fired up the grill and 45 minutes later we were feasting on sausages and veggies cooked in beer.  I can't wait until 'Use-The-Grill-All-The-Time' season arrives for real!

While the sausages were cooking, I started my meal prep for the week by making a pot of wonton soup.  I used a hybrid of a couple of recipes, so I'll reserve sharing until I've eaten the final product for lunch next week.  I probably should have done more prep, but there were some other chores that needed my attention more, so I'll make chicken and spanakorizo tomorrow night when I get home from work and I'll throw together some yogurt messes and proatmeal before bed tonight.  My lunch/dinner plans for the rest of the week involve using up stuff that's lurking in my freezer, so that should keep the work and maybe the dishes to a minimum.  I swear, the dishes will be the end of me.

Round 2: Week 2 Totals:
Swim: 2.125 yards (1.21 miles)
Bike: 18.48 miles
Run: 7.15 miles
Strength Training: 2 sessions
Total Miles: 26.84 miles
Total Time: 4 hours, 33 minutes

What'd you do this weekend? Seen any good movies/read any good books? Recommendations?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Base Building: Round 2 - Week 1

I'm going another round with base-building.  After 4 intense weeks, I feel really good, but there are some weak spots and I have the time before racing season, so I've decided to continue to build my foundation before I start constructing a house/tri season on it.  The workouts are essentially the same as Round 1, but I'm planning to add some yardage to my swims, a little distance to my runs (since there's less than a month until the next Chilly Willy Series race), and more consistent strength training - so don't be surprised if the numbers change a bit this round.

Rest day? Hah!  Mr. R&R bundled up and headed out to shovel snow and I got to work on the last bit of my meal prep for the week: spanakorizo, Greek-seasoned chicken, and tzatiki sauce. After a false start (I grabbed 2 bunches of Walter and Spot's dandelion greens and started washing them instead of the 2 bunches of spinach) the spanakorizo simmered away on the stove, the chicken went into the oven, and I threw together the tzatziki sauce.  Total time in the kitchen: 1 hour.   Dinner: Awesome!

After dinner, we gave Walter his weekly bath and then took him and Spot upstairs to listen to music while Walter dried off.  All four of us were dozing off!

It's cold and crappy outside.  Must be swim night!  The original workout called for 850 yards, but I tacked on another 100 yards because...well...goals.  Dinner (at 9pm - ugh) was identical to Monday's dinner and I was super excited about eating leftovers. If you want to try it for yourself, here' are the recipes for the  Spanakorizo and the Tzatziki  

Bike assessment time. Tonight was all about seeing if the last 4 weeks of getting my ass kicked at high cadence/low speed and sweating buckets translated to an increase in my functional threshold power (FTP) - the power output I could theoretically maintain for an hour.  According to TrainerRoad, an increase of 2-3% is to be expected.  My increase in FTP, after a really friggin' brutal assessment, was on the low end: 2%.  Mr. R&R and I were both ravenous and big bowls of whole grain spaghetti, puttanesca sauce, and freshly grated parmesan cheese seemed like the quickest way to satisfy the raging hunger beast.

It was my night to work late.  Fortunately things went quite a bit faster than usual and I was able to escape a little earlier than normal.  Mr. R&R and I hit the gym around 8:00pm for a 3 mile (treadmill) run and a brief strength training session.  The run sucked beyond suck.  Midway through Mile 1 I started getting a weird knot in the front of my abdominals.  This wasn't like a regular old side stitch - it was in the front, not the side.  Okay. Fine.  I dug my fingers into the knot in an attempt to release it and maintain my pace.  That didn't work.  Mile 2 was just an exercise in pain.  The knot basically felt like a someone was pinching the muscle and twisting it any time I tried to go much faster than walking pace.  I must have managed to dig my fingers into it just right because as much as it sucked, I was able to pick it up again a little for Mile 3.

Afterward, I dragged myself into the free weight area for some dumbbell rows and raises and then over to the mats for plank shoulder touches while Mr. R&R finished up in the weight room.  It was well after 9pm by the time we got out of there, so we listened to the Bernie/Hilary debate while picking up burgers for dinner.  Politics and burgers...makes me feel like I'm in college again!

So, that nasty little knot from last night had lasting effects.  I actually had a tender spot on my stomach from how hard I dug my fingers into it.  In an unusual turn of events, I actually left work at 5pm, stopped at the grocery store that's on my route home to procure a whole chicken, and had time to lounge around and read for a while before Mr. R&R and I headed for the pool for our Friday night swim date.  The prescribed workout was 850 yards, but in the spirit of trying to add a little more distance this round, I ended up swimming 1050 - and at the fastest average pace I've swam yet!  Granted, I still inhale/swallow a gallon of pool every time I try to do a flip turn, but speed is slowly, but surely improving.  We came home, chowed down on some italian beef and mashed potatoes from my freezer stash, read a little more, and crashed.

I had grand plans of sleeping in today, but that went out the window when I woke up at 7:30am and couldn't get back to sleep.  I ended up having a good breakfast (egg tacos), drinking coffee, and lounging around with a book for most of the morning.  That was the calm before the storm because somewhere around 8am, I had hatched a plan.

My plans for the day had originally involved a training session, a bike session, and a bunch of errands.  I had planned on getting to the gym a little early to squeeze in a 1 mile warm up run before my training session because I didn't want to waste time/money on a supervised warm up - and then I got the bright idea that I'd go in even earlier, do Sunday's planned 3 miler, go to my training session, run the errands, hit the bike, and end up with two back to back rest days.  I was a little behind schedule, so I was only able to cram in 1.75 miles before I met with my trainer (who totally kicked my ass).  I debated calling off the whole plan, but the thought of two solid days off drew me back to the treadmill - and I'm really glad I did.  I ran a really awesome mile and a half!

I stopped off at my mom's to drop off some freezer jam and pick up a ladle I'd left there after a family holiday event, picked up two pounds of coffee from a local roaster, and then Mr. R&R and I made a trip to Trader Joes to pick up everything we needed for the coming week and a special treat - the makings of prosciutto and caramelized onion pizza.  Happy early V-Day to us!  Of course before the pizza could happen, the bike workout had to happen.  Let me tell you - getting on that bike did not sound like fun - and it wasn't. 45 really uncomfortable minutes later, Goddard was done, and it was time to eat!

I'm pretty sure that the first thing out of my mouth this morning was: $*%&ing OW!.  My abs and legs hurt!  I didn't really want to get off the couch, but when Mr. R&R left for his run and training session, I dragged myself out to the kitchen, put on a pot of coffee, and threw a chicken in the crock pot to do its thing for the rest of the day before retreating back to the couch to enjoy my coffee, a new book, and to temporarily silence my aching muscles.

My food prep/attempt to cook my way through my Pinterest boards for the coming week included:

- A whole chicken in the crockpot (9 hours on low and the thing practically carved itself)

Damn Delicious' One Pot Mushroom Rice: Pretty decent, but not sure I'd make it again.

Epicurious' French Lentil Soup: Turned out way more like a stew than a soup.  I think next time I'd add more liquid and a bit more balsamic vinegar.

Six servings? More like 5.
Pastry Affair's Beer Bread: OMG. I will never buy a box mix for this stuff again.  6 ingredients, 5 minutes of prep, and so damned good!

I also threw together a few yogurt messes and mixed up the dry ingredients for proatmeal, so I'm all set for breakfast this week too.  My refrigerator is packed - and will be nearly naked by Friday night!

The chicken was still in the crockpot and took up the last of the available real estate
Round 2: Week 1 Totals:
Swim: 2000 yards (1.14 miles)
Bike: 21.07 miles
Run: 6.28 miles
Strength Training: 2 sessions
Total Miles: 28.49 miles
Total Time: 4 hours, 36 minutes

Do you ever cook any of the things you pin?  If so, what's the best thing you've made?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Back to Basics: Week 4

4 weeks. 24 workouts. Over 100 miles. And I did them all!  There have been days where I hurt like hell, but overall I feel incredible and I'm really looking forward to going another round with this base building plan. (Yes, I know this is a week late. Life got in the way of blogging.)

Rest Day.  Sometimes I swear that the only thing getting me through the week is the prospect of a day off!  I worked, came home, got a 90 minute massage, scarfed down shrimp fried rice, and spent some quality time with Mr. R&R and the boys - listening to Nirvana and Jethro Tull on vinyl.

1000 yard swim.  This is one of the best swims I've had yet - even if the drills felt like they were trying to kill me!  Leftover shrimp fried rice was on the menu again tonight - along with some really yummy chicken and cilantro wontons from Trader Joe's.  I think this whole 'cook a bunch of stuff on Sunday' thing is definitely helping.  I love not having to wait more than 5 minutes for food after a long day - and it keeps me from doing really stupid things like hitting the drive thru.

Today was a 45 minute bike workout called Geiger. 3 blocks of Sweet Spot (just below FTP) work.  Really good, but really sweaty!

It finally happened.  I had to make peace with my nemesis: the treadmill.  It was cold, dark, and late by the time I got home from work, so my choices were track or treadmill.

I haven't been on one of these devices in a few years and once I settled in I ended up having one of the best runs I've had in a while and the people watching was pretty good too!

I also crammed in a quick strength workout after my run - trying desperately to remember all the things that my trainer had me do.  I think I need to take notes or something at my next session.

The toughest swim yet. 1200 yards. Sets of 200. By the time I finished, I was exhausted, but happy. I'm definitely starting to feel more of a 'pull' with each stroke as opposed to just thrashing my way down the lane.

Last bike ride of Base Building: Monitor.  5 blocks of sweet spot work and I'm happy to say I. Nailed. Them.  I crawled off the bike, mopped up the puddle of sweat, stretched, and dragged myself up to the kitchen.  I stared at what was supposed to be dinner (a bunch of raw ingredients) and promptly reached for a package of refrigerated mushroom ravioli and a jar of puttanesca sauce.  Dinner in 20 minutes, 2 pots, and no chopping!

I also did some of the food prep for next week tonight because we've got Super Bowl plans for tomorrow.  I made a pot of Post Punk Kitchen's  Snobby Joes and a bunch of yogurt messes.  Snobby Joe's are a tried and true dish around here.  They're quite versatile in that they can be served sandwich style on a nice, crusty roll or eaten straight from a bowl - which was the plan for this week because rolls seem to go stale around here before they all get eaten!  My only modification from the original recipe is to increase the yellow mustard from 1 tablespoon to 3 tablespoons.  This was an accident the first time I made them, but it turned out to be a good accident!  I'll do the remaining food prep on Monday - my rest day.

Sweet, Spicy, Lentil Goodness 

It's 40 degrees, sunny, and the only wind is a light breeze.  Easy choice: Run Outside.  I suited up and hit the roads.  It was a little disheartening to get passed by a septuagenarian in shorts with calves like tree trunks, but he was super nice and cheerful as he bounded past, so that helped a little!  I wasn't really planning on doing a tempo run, but that's how the splits shook out.

I got home from my run just as Mr. R&R got home from his training session and after brunch and showers we got to work making a really naughty macaroni and cheese to take to Maverick and Goose's house for the Super Bowl.  This dish contains 5 kinds of cheese, thick cut bacon, onions caramelized in bacon grease, and roasted portabella mushrooms.  It was a hit - even though the game was a miss.  2 beers, a serving of mac and cheese (with a healthy dose of Sriracha), and 4 of Goose's famous spicy jumbo shrimp later - I nearly lapsed into a food coma on the way home!

Maverick and Goose's parrots observed and commented on the proceedings

Week 4 Totals:
Swim: 2200 yards (1.24 miles)
Bike: 15.84 miles
Run: 6.02 miles
Strength Training: 1 session
Total Miles: 23.1 miles
Total Time: 3 hours, 33 minutes

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Back to Basics: Week 3

Another 'perfect' week - this is getting addictive!  This is the peak week (read: highest volume) week of the base-building program, and I felt every bit of it.

I worked pretty late, came home, scarfed leftover Mongolian Beef Noodles, did laundry, and crashed early.  Rest days are really supposed to be about resting, but I always end up using them to catch up on things that fell by the wayside during the previous week. #TriathleteProblems

Longest swim yet.  There were some really funky drills in this workout - some of which left me wondering if I know how to swim at all, and others that made me feel like I'm getting stronger.  It was a pretty good mix.  We rolled through the door around 9pm and dinner was 'Breakfast for Dinner': eggs, toast, chicken apple sausages.

The name of tonight's bike workout, Ericsson, made me laugh.  I kept picturing Marshall and his dad from How I Met Your Mother shouting 'Eriksen!' through the phone to each other. 

The workout itself was no laughing matter.  It was 4x8 minute intervals with  a quicker than normal spin for the first minute, increased cadence for the next 3 minutes, followed by 1 minute all out.  I was toast by the time I climbed off the bike and I ended up making tacos (again) instead of the planned meatloaf because I wanted to eat and crash - not wait another hour while the meatloaf cooked (because I was too lazy to make it and put it in the oven before going down to The Cave).

I've gotta remember that Thursday is the perfect night to go to the indoor track.  The place was a ghost town!  It still took a solid mile and a half before I was sufficiently warm and able to breath well, but the speed was an improvement over last week's attempt.  Still, it's more than a little frustrating knowing that my body is probably capable of better, but being unable to deliver.  Dinner was a hastily thrown together chicken stir fry - which would have been better had I remembered to throw in the garlic and ginger.  Instead it was kind of bland - even when doused liberally with Sriracha.

I'm pretty sure I don't work for Barnum & Bailey, but today sure as hell felt like a three-ring circus at the office.  As hard as I tried, I couldn't get everything done, so it looks like I'm going to have to put in some time from home this weekend.  Bah!  

Mr. R&R and I hit the pool for 1000 yards (at the best per 100 pace I've averaged yet) and then spent some more time attempting to teach ourselves how to do flip turns.  Perhaps someday I'll figure out how to simultaneously flip over, actually make foot-to-wall contact, and not attempt to inhale a gallon of chlorine.  The drive home was spent discussing a) how the planned spaghetti dinner sounded unappealing, b) why we shouldn't go out for dinner, and c) justifying the idea that eating something junk-y at home was still better than going out.  A quick run through Target and 25 minutes later, we were enjoying fresh from the oven nachos - and were full much faster than expected.  We were both asleep by 11pm.

I think this could be called: The Day of All. The. Things.  It always seems like events like to crop up on the same day, so it was all about careful timing, powering through, and a couple of wardrobe changes (fortunately I didn't have to pull a Superman and change in a phone booth - do those even exist anymore?).

Event/Wardrobe Change #1: Marquette vs. Butler Game - 

I don't think I've been to a Marquette basketball game since about a year after I graduated - and that was a long ass time ago. When Mr. R&R's company invited us to enjoy the game from a luxury box, we jumped on it. 

It was a good game (Marquette won), the food was decent, the beer was great (note to self: 2 beers at 11am makes for a rough rest of the day) and we got to enjoy it with WhoHa, Maverick, Goose, and a handful of other friends.

Event/Wardrobe Change #2: Great Lakes Pet Expo - 

After the game we hightailed it home so Mr. R&R could make it to his massage appointment and so I could change into less dressy jeans, a sweatshirt, and sneakers, pick up my mom, and hit up the Great Lakes Pet Expo.  This annual event is a showcase of animal rescues and pet product vendors from all over the state.  It holds a special place in my heart because it's where Mr. R&R and I met Walter 6 years ago!  I try to go back every year to say hello to the nice ladies who run the rescue we adopted Walter and Spot from and to update them on how the little fuzzballs are doing.  The had a bunch of baby bunnies (about the same size Spot was when he moved in here) and while most people were relegated to petting them through an enclosure, they scooped up Spot's doppelgänger and let me get my fill of baby bunny snuggles!  This little peanut snuggled right up to me and then proceeded to climb onto my shoulder and hide in my hair!  They had the most adorable coasters for sale as well (all proceeds help them continue saving bunnies), so I picked up a set and so did my mom.  I also acquired a handmade blanket and a washable fleece pad for the boys.

We also stopped to pet a rescue husky - which made my mom a little nostalgic.  Fun fact: My parents had a husky (that ended up living with my grandparents) when I was very young.  I think she really enjoyed her husky snuggles.

Event/Wardrobe Change #3: Personal Training - 

After the Expo, I drove my mom home and realized that I had enough time to stop home and put on warm gym clothes instead of changing into the ice cold gym clothes I'd thrown in the car in case I ran out of time!  

I met with my potential trainer and I'm 90% sure she's going to be a keeper. I explained what I was looking for in a trainer (someone to help me build a strength training program that compliments my tri training and possibly someone to refine my swim skills).  It turns out that she swam competitively for years, taught swim lessons, has done a sprint trip, and is now an MMA fighter.  After 30 minutes working out with her, I was hurting in the best way possible.  I think I might have to keep her around for a while!

Event/Wardrobe Change #4: Bike Workout - 
I really meant to do this workout in the morning before the Marquette game, but sleeping in won, so after a quick dash to Trader Joe's to acquire all the stuff I need to do meal prep on Sunday and eat for the week, I did my 4th change of the day into bike clothes.

Carson is a Mean Girl!
If I thought Ericsson was hard on Wednesday, that's just because I hadn't met Carson yet.  Carson is one mean bitch! It's 6, 5-7 minute long intervals at about 85-95% of FTP (functional threshold power) with very short recoveries between intervals.  Oh - and there are hill climbing drills thrown into each interval.  I could barely walk by the time it was over.  Mr. R&R and I finally caved and got takeout for dinner.  It was burgers and fries - followed by Wardrobe Change #5: Pajamas

The only thing standing between me and Perfect Week #3 was a three mile run - and it was raining.  The indoor track wasn't an option due to an event.  My knees hate the treadmill - and so do I. So that left 1 choice: run in the rain.  The first 2 miles weren't too bad - other than my glasses fogging up constantly (heavy breathing will do that). The final mile sucked since that's when the water finally seeped through my shoes and soaked my socks.  To summarize: Uphill. Rain. Foggy Glasses. Wet Socks. Ugh.

After a very long, hot shower, I got to work in the kitchen on this week's food prep.  I'm trying really hard to do a mix of the approximately 8,000 things I've saved on Pinterest and tried and true recipes.

This week I made Iowa Girl Eats' Crockpot Italian Beef.  I've made this before and both Mr. R&R and I are fans.  It's ridiculously easy - just toss a bunch of stuff in the crockpot, set it to low, and forget about it for the next 9  or 10 hours - or at least try to forget, because the yummy smells will keep drawing you back into the kitchen.

While the beef was doing its thing in the crockpot, I made Cooking Light's Carrot Ginger Soup.  The end product tasted fine (although really similar to the Sweet Potato Carrot soup I made a few weeks ago), it was not the beautiful, bright orange color I expected.  I think this was due to using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth - the vegetable broth was pretty dark.  Long story short: It sort of resembled cat sick in a bowl, so I'll spare you the photo.

Finally, Mr. R&R joined me in the kitchen and together we tackled Skinnytaste's Spicy Shrimp Fried Rice.  I don't think the actual dish was at all spicy (and I love spicy food), but adding cayenne pepper to hot sesame oil caused me to have to open multiple windows just to be able to breath!  That was some seriously crazy $#!*.  I'd definitely make this recipe again - as long as I have some Sriracha handy to spice it up.

And last, but definitely not least, Week 3 and January Totals:

Week 3:
Swim: 2,200 yards (1.25 miles)
Bike: 21.82 miles
Run: 6.07 miles
Strength Training: 1 session
Total Time: 4 hours, 29 minutes

Swim: 5,925 yards (3.36 miles)
Bike: 73.24 miles
Run: 18.4 miles
Strength Training: 1 session
Total Distance: 94.95 miles
Total Time: 12 hours, 56 minutes

What's your favorite workout?  Cooked anything good lately?