Groove Party at Jen’s

Throw a food-savvy all-female triathlon team together for an evening and and what do you get?  Fun times and great eats at Jen’s house! Thank you Jen Ward Barber (and husband, Mark) for hosting the Groove Tri holiday eat and gift swap last night. Mark played keep to an incredible bar with some creative cocktail selections.  Bourbon with spherical uni-cubes prompted a discussion on how to freeze a clear ice cube (still a work in progress at my house—Geoff, this might be an exercise in futility) You never know what is going to make its way onto the buffet table and the potluck did not disappoint—2 kinds of vegan cookies (Ginger-Molasses and Coconut Macaroons); classic Biscotti, Tofu Summer Rolls; Yellow Wax Beans,  Lentil-Bruschetta-Feta Dip, the requisite Kale Salad (what’s a SoCal party without a Kale Salad?); Dates with Coconut Bacon; Plant Based Almond Joy Dark Chocolate Mini Milk Shakes; Cilantro-Garlic Grilled Shrimp and Veggies with Chipotle Guacamole. A gift exchange (complete with optional steals) rounded out the evening.  Hot tickets were Whole Foods and Lofty Bean Gift cards and a stack of dark chocolate bars.  I ended up with a week’s worth of a BeWise Farm CSA share—I can’t tell you Continue Reading →

Training Perspective and Bourbon-Spiked Sweet Potato Pie

The holidays are an interesting time of year as their timing falls in line with the subtle pressure of training for early season races.  While I have a pretty well-laid out training plan for the month of December, I am also smart enough have been in this sport long enough to know that this 5 weeks of merriment can thwart some of my training. A bit of advice?  Don’t burn the proverbial candle at both ends during the holiday season. Put your family and friends first and that way when May-through-October rolls around, you don’t feel as though triathlon trumped everything else. I try to stay healthy and have no problem trading that 3rd early morning swim for an extra hour of sleep + a walk on dog beach over a cup of coffee.  Be mindful (but not militant) of what you consume–nothing sends me into a darker mood more rapidly than feeling like I fell so far away from my goals and training by overindulging in food and drink.  See your friends and family, abbreviate your training if necessary (sorry coaches, but I DO feel strongly about this point), eat mindfully on most days and remind yourself that for Continue Reading →

Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Holiday Training

Brussels Sprouts are the “IT” vegetable.  10 years ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of putting them on my restaurant menu.  I even reversed the norm this a.m. and had a bowl for breakfast. I assume that some of you are cooking them on Thanksgiving, so I thought that I would share a quick and full-proof way to roast them. These are delicious plain or tossed with roasted hazelnuts; drizzled with a sherry vinegar and maple reduction syrup or underneath crumbled smoky (coconut) bacon. This recipe is designed for one 11″ x  17″ pan. If you have more than 1.5 pounds, make sure you use multiple pans as you won’t get the sprouts crispy if you crowd the pan with extra amounts. Tips  Make sure Brussel Sprouts are dry or they will not get crispy on the outside. The more oil you use; the crispier they will become. If you want to add chopped garlic; do so during the last 3 minutes of cooking or the garlic will burn. Ingredients 1.5  pounds Brussel Sprouts; washed and dried and cut in half lengthwise 2-5 Tbsp Olive Oil 1 tsp Sea Salt (plus more to taste if you like them saltier) 2 tsp Continue Reading →

Holiday Kale Salad and Groovy Training

Another early morning.  I love this time of day. The time before day break.  I have one-sided conversations with the dog (who at best cocks his head quizzically at me but most often casts me a baleful look). I’m roasting a bunch of vegetables for the week.  More often than not, Geoff wakes up to a house smelling like Brussel sprouts; not coffee and pastry—I’m such a good partner (debateable DOT DOT DOT).  Martha Stewart I am not, but laundry is done and I reorganized a couple of drawers in the kitchen.   I swear I’m more productive between the hours of 4:00-6:00 a.m. than I am the rest of the day. Good thing that I have a bunch of friends on the east coast and training partners in the west with whom I can talk. I never used to get up this early but let’s face it:  Women 40+ are friggin’ crazy! Yet another Kale Salad in the archives. I absolutely love sherry vinegar as its nutty nuances provide a lovely contrast to the persimmons.   Speaking of persimmons, make sure you use the apple-shaped Fuyu type, which tastes like a cross between a pumpkin and an apple.   The Continue Reading →

Raining in San Diego, Thankgiving Wild Rice-Butternut Squash Salad and Brief Thoughts on Strength Training

I’m sitting at my computer at 5:00 a.m. listening to the rain that is coming down hard.  Yesterday I heard that San Diego was going to be getting rain overnight.  I asked if we were talking “San Diego Rain” (when it barely is spitting from the sky), or “Real Rain”; y’know, rain like everywhere else in the country gets.  For 6 hours, we’ve had real rain and all I’m missing now is a tin roof off of which to hear it ping.  You see, any sort of dampness (aka “San Diego Rain”) typically means that people hunker down like they do in the Northeast when there is a 3 foot snow storm.  Restaurants and retail outposts slow and the freeways will be a mess as San Diegans forget to how to drive in inclement weather (actually, I don’t think that they ever learned).  I donned on a sweatshirt, made myself a cup of tea and sat down to write.  I started thinking…… You know it’s the off season when You go three weeks instead of two weeks between pedicures You go to a show at 10:00 p.m. (that hasn’t happened YET, but I think that I could pull it off) Wine becomes Continue Reading →

10 days post Kona and Chocolate-Oat Energy Bites

Woo-wee it’s the off-season….or the non-comp season…..or whatever this time of year is supposed to be called.    I’m 10 days past racing in Kona.  After a week of barely any exercise and eating whatever (hello beer, grilled bread, donuts and chocolate-peanut M and M’s…….) I’m easing back into some semblance of a daily sweat and eating things made with kale and sweet potatoes.  Actually, I can only take about a week PLUS of the no exercise/eating whatever thing before I’m ready to get back to my normal, albeit dialed back,  lifestyle.    I jumped on the scale what am I…….effin” crazy? this morning to get some sort of benchmark as to how far I’ve fallen where I’m starting.  I’m only a tad over 5 lbs heavier than I was 3 weeks ago (that was the last time that I got on the scale). That’s not so bad for me.  Usually I’m up a dress size 2 weeks after the end of a season so….I’ll take it. Yesterday, my great friend, Heidi Swanson @veganxplorer sent over a recipe for oat-based energy bites:  I had everything in the house to make these and it took me all of 10 minutes from start to finish.   Continue Reading →

Kona 2014 Race Report

The best way to sum up this experience was that is was a fantastic week with this little thing called an “Ironman” thrown in for good measure. I am lucky enough to have raced in Kona several times prior (this was #5).  I wouldn’t call my attitude last week “complacent” but rather, “relaxed”.  I would be lying if I told you that today I was content with my placement;  but on that day, I was very happy with my finish.  I would also say that, for me, qualifying to tow the line is the bigger deal than the actual racing at Kona.  Once you get there, whether you place 4th or 52nd is not necessarily indicative of your triathlon ability and fitness because the race is so unpredictable.  EVERYONE is good.  EVERYONE is fit.  Kona is an interesting beast. I have seen Ironman age group champions crumble and others persevere. On race day, anything can happen. The Week  It was social. By this I mean, “Focused Athlete Social”.  Up 4:30 a.m. every morning, talking to people on the mainland; returning emails, etc.   The day would break about 6:00 a.m., and then we (me and Julie) would rally the other Groove girls (Gina Continue Reading →

THE QUESTION, The Ultimate Veggie Burger and Gearing up for Final Races

Today, I had THE QUESTION. You know, the one eventually asked by most omnivores to most vegans upon opening up a conversation about diet. You know, THE QUESTION. The BIG QUESTION.  Its huge, even G.I.A.N.T by some standards……. Where do you get your protein? However, I’m not knocking THE QUESTION.  A sense of smugness doesn’t come across me when asked THE QUESTION. I embrace THE QUESTION.  Having had (thus far) a very successful triathlon season, I’ve been dissecting my training and on most weeks fire off a flurry of questions to my coach. I’m sure that there are some of them at which he rolls his eyes and he’s been known to send me back a little snarkiness exasparation? immediately followed the real answer with the science to back it up.  But that’s me.  When I’m into something, I want to understand the madness behind the method.  I teach many culinary classes. Anyone can follow a recipe; but having someone guide you through “whys” of the “what” is really important to the development of most skills. I love responding to THE QUESTION.  Because of my passion for food and nutrition, I can rattle off how many grams of protein that I Continue Reading →

Thoughts, Fuel and Protocol for the Double Long Run Day

I’m getting of the last big workouts checked off before IMWhistler (3 weeks away).  One of the run cards that my coach dealt to me a couple of years ago was the split long run.  Instead doing one loooooonnnnnggg run; he splits it into a seemingly manageable double run: 1:30 in the a.m. and 1:20 in the p.m.  Physically, I think that this workout is easier and ultimately of better quality than the straight up LOOOONNNNGGGG run; but the mental part of waiting until the afternoon to pull off the second half and “the work” is extremely challenging (for me). While running twice in one day doesn’t usually strike me as daunting; the split double long run does.  Seeing it as part of the weekly workouts causes me apprehension and trepidation (which is probably why I was so squirrelly all over social media yesterday).  I mean, isn’t it easier more time efficient just to bang out ONE long run in the cool hours a few minutes past day break and then get on with the fun of the day (plans to hit “In and Out Burger” for lunch were postponed, dammit!)?  This is how yesterday’s workout read: Saturday, July 5th Continue Reading →

Basic Quinoa and Tapering for Boise 70.3

What do I do when I taper?  I cook; I drink tea; I rewrite songs LOL; I get a pedicure; I foam roll; I walk the dogs at night (not getting out of that one with the old “I have a long bike ride with the girls super early tomorrow….”); I bring my workout log to date; I take “Intro to Crossfit”, etc. Tomorrow I leave for the Boise 70.3 Half Ironman and I’ve made a concerted effort to pare down what was left in the frig.  I did a pretty good job as all that remains are jars of nuts, corn tortillas, avocados and condiments.  Ooooohhhh yeah,  there are also 2 bottles of wine as I’ve been really boring abstaining for the better part of 2 weeks. I almost always prepare my own meals for travel.  I find airport and rest stop food expensive and not as satisfying or nutritious unless you count Nutterbutters as “nutritious”. Today I cooked some quinoa and threw in the last of the vegetables, lemon, hemp seeds, seaweed, Sriracha and cumin. Strange flavor combination, I know, but it works.  Although I love ‘em, I don’t usually eat garlic and onions the two or three Continue Reading →