Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Supersize me

The tray is smaller than standard size. I swear.

Tofu, noodle, lettucey goodness.

"I'm eating the other half." That's why I love her. Because I wanted my other half, too.

There's really no comment for this.

My friend Heather and I had lunch at Longboard’s today, a place that epitomizes American-size food servings. Wraps as big as your head and they are oh-so-good. We used to eat there regularly, but traded out for healthier fare a couple years ago. But today was an “I can eat a horse” day. And if horses can be made out of tofu and rice noodles, I did.

My watch battery died so I stopped at a jewelry store to have it replaced. While waiting, I hesitated next to the counter with a Panerai Luminor, my dream watch. The sales lady ever so kindly offered to place it on my wrist. “Run! Abort! Leave now!” My mind screamed. My feet, however, remained planted as I stared longingly at the timepiece I’ve wanted for a decade.

She could negotiate some off the price. They could ship it to save on sales tax. It was so tempting. I thought about it over lunch, even asking several people whether this was a good idea. (My friends, not just random people.) Surprisingly, even my most frugal friend said to go for it.

Back to the store I went. (I still had to pick up my old watch.) The Panerai was waiting on a plush tray. The sales lady was smiling and eager. And I decided….


Ugh. Practicality trumped spontaneity. I heard my friend Judith’s voice in my head, “When you have money in your pocket, you have options.” When I have a Panerai on my wrist, I just have a really amazing watch. I chose options.

On the training front, I’m cramming a full week of workouts into four and half days. Next weekend looks to be more social/less workout as Boyfriend and I head to Chicago. His friend is having a wedding reception on a yacht on Lake Michigan on the 4th. (I like to say yacht. It’s very Thurston Howell III.) Somehow I think there will be delicious beverages involved. I love a good holiday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

In favor of naps

Yesterday was one of those days when intentions are good, but energy is nonexistent. Training schedule said 80 min. bike; body said nap. I napped.

There's a fine line between pushing through minor fatigue and ignoring my body's warning signs. It's only taken me decade to recognize this. And 58 different injuries. My mentality used to be "if some is good, more is better." While I still apply this to cookie-eating, I don't when training. And my normal injuries seem to be staying at bay.

Since yesterday became a rest day, I hoped to awaken this morning with some zest. Despite being only mildly refreshed, Axel and I were at the downtown airport by 5:30A where I knocked out a 25 mile ride and 2.5 mile run. It was a gorgeous morning. While riding loops gets monotonous, watching the sunrise reflect off the skyline never gets old. Sometimes the workout itself is the reward.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thank god for treadmills

When the humidity is so high that a run feels like a swim, it's time to take it inside. Which is what I'll be doing in the next hour. On a treadmill.

Physically exerting yourself in this heat makes no sense. (Unless, it's a job. People gotta make a living.) But running in this? There's no prize for most dehydrated.

That's all I've got today.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Racing for booze

I survived my first triathlon in three years. I laughed, I cried, I puked. Kidding. I didn't laugh or cry. However, I did throw up after crossing the finish line. Hate sprints.

The swim was great, the bike was good and the run simply sucked. Out of 125 short course female racers, I was 2nd on the swim, 2nd on the bike and...wait for it... 17th on the run. No big secret what I need to work on. Final placement was 4th overall and 2nd in my age group, though I was awarded first since the overall winner was in my age group. (Love how that works.) Prizes were specially labeled bottles of wine from Les Bourgeios Winery.

Last week I was motivationally deficient. I whined to Boyfriend (and anyone else who would listen) about how I didn't want to race. At all. For the rest of the summer. I was ready to retreat to yoga-world and put Axel (my bike) on Craigslist. But Boyfriend appealed to my frugality, pointing out I'd already paid for the race, so may as well do it. I conceded.

Nothing like spending a morning with sweaty, intense type A's to suck you back into racing. But it did. I'm pleased with my results, but anxious to improve. So looks like Axel has received a stay of execution. Lucky bike.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Setting the bar low

So tomorrow’s my first race in, oh, about three years. I have squelched all expectations. Here are my excuses:

1. My running has been minimal.

2. My bike training has lacked hills.

3. Two nights this week I’ve had cocktails with friends and woken up a mild hungover, one of which is this today.

4. My nutrition has been crap and included way too many gem doughnuts.

5. This is the shortest possible distance I can do and still consider it a race.

6. I’m not familiar with the race course and clearly don’t care enough to go drive it ahead of time.

7. Racing a sprint hurts.

8. I don’t like pain.

9. I’m old.

10. For sprints I like to wear a one-piece swimsuit with a chamois. But they must not make them anymore, because I can’t find one anywhere. Damn it. So I will be chamois-less. Post race should be interesting.

So why am I even racing? I’m not sure. Maybe just to see if I still enjoy it after a three-year layoff. Should know the answer by 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

For the love of all things chocolate

Last night, I lounged in my recliner reading Women’s Health while eating a Heath Bar. Ah, the irony – reading about fitness while fattening my ass.

But it got me thinking about the whole workout/nutrition/body composition situation. One of the biggest reasons I exercise is to eat. And by eat, I mean food I love. Like wedding cake. Or cheese dip. Pizza. A protein shake is not food; it’s a punishment.

I love food, always have. You know those people that say they “forget” to eat? Huh? That’s incomprehensible. I’ve forgotten to bring my lunch to work a couple times, but it wasn’t on purpose. And I still managed to eat. (Popcorn, oatmeal and a Twix make a perfectly fine lunch.)

Even as a kid, I was a huge eater. My dad nicknamed me Horse after I literally made myself sick eating roast beef and mashed potatoes. His comment went something like; “I hope you’re always into sports because you sure eat a lot.”

It stuck. At 37, I’m still a big eater. (According to Boyfriend, the biggest eater he’s ever dated. Awesome.) Fortunately I still work out. An extreme version of this is actually an eating disorder – diligently tracking calories and making sure exercise burns them all off. I’m not this extreme, mostly due to laziness. Tracking calories is tedious.

To be clear, there are many workouts I love just for the activity itself. Swimming. Yoga. Short runs. Saturday morning bike rides. But then there are those 60-minute sessions on the elliptical that are good for nothing more than calorie burn. I would like to make a sweeping statement like “Never again!” regarding this type of workout. But it would be a lie. And if I lie on my blog, it will be on the Internet to haunt me forever.

There’s no tidy way to wrap this up. No behavior will change. I pledge undying love to all candy bars and cheese items. I still plan to workout. But maybe I’ll cut down my elliptical time. Just a couple of minutes.

Monday, June 14, 2010


In honor of my dad’s 73rd birthday, here are some of his finer words of wisdom:

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” Yelled to my sisters and I first thing on Saturday mornings.

“Patience is a virtue.” Whatever.

“Jennifer Rebecca….” That meant go to my room. Quickly.

“Sitting in a chair, twirling a whistle and working on your tan is not stressful. Quit complaining.”

“Always ask for extra malt.” When ordering a malt at Baskin Robbins.

“If you don’t find a summer job by Friday, Popeye’s is hiring. I’ll fill out the application for you.”

“You missed a spot.” Yelled at me from the deck when I mowed the lawn.

“Jennifer, you can do many things. But under no circumstances should you major in sociology. You are the most unempathetic person I know.” Good call.

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Also a Billy Ocean song.

“Easy Money…” His name for an individual whose name he forgot.

“Nothing good happens after 11:30 p.m.” Which is why this was my curfew until high school graduation.

“There’s a ham sandwich on the table.” My dad believed BBQ healed a broken heart.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Eating - or not eating - animals

I finished Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer this week. A quick read if you find factory farming interesting. Or horrifying. This is the latest attempt to better educate myself about the journey food takes in getting to my stomach.

Gory details aside, Foer lays it out there. You do not want to know how a chicken breast becomes juicy or the actual amount of waste that is produced on a factory farm and what’s done with it. (Maybe a fecal fountain to go with a side of asthma?)

No judgment is being passed, since I have eaten meat in the past month. The occasions are few, but it’s easy to fall back to the “I eat it because it tastes good” mentality. Or when my dad grills steak because he still thinks it’s my favorite meal. (I loved steak so much as a kid I would eat the leftover fat.) Clearly my convictions are not stronger that the desire to please my father.

My journey to vegetarianism is obviously not complete, but is getting close. The more I learn the less meat I eat. It’s becoming harder to ignore the terrible treatment of the animals, appalling factory working conditions, massive environmental effects and resulting health issues. (Read The China Study by T. Colin Campbell.)

But not everyone wants to know. It’s easier to stick fingers in one’s ears and sing la-la-la. (My dad did this when my sisters and I discussed the movie Food, Inc.) At 73, no way is he giving up pork products.

So I’m on a farewell to meat tour, which should wrap up by 2011. On the schedule: filet at Capital Grille, Kobe burger at Blanc, Paco shrimp at JJ’s, chicken at Stroud’s and maybe even a few Taco Bell Tacos. (I’ve been told their meat comes in boxes stamped “Grade D Edible,” but maybe that’s a myth.) And I’ll wrap the whole thing up with bacon ice cream.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I love Russell Brand, even in skinny jeans

Training is about a B- right now. Running has been minimal due to some calf issues. I blame the feet shoes.

Boyfriend and I saw Get Him to the Greek last night and found it surprisingly good. (Unlike Hot Tub Time Machine, which we had high hopes for and was only ho-hum.) Laughed to the point of tears several times. Russell Brand can actually act and P Diddy is hilarious. If you like Superbad type humor, you will like this. I ranked it above The Hangover, though Boyfriend didn’t quite agree with that assessment.

Followed movie with a scoop of chocolate-peanut butter from Baskin-Robbins. Perfect summer night.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Weekend Highlights

1. If you have a temporary crown, do not eat Milk Duds. If you ignore this, know that Fixodent may be required to reattach the crown to your now nubbin tooth.

2. The Sunflower Bike Shop in Lawrence is fantastic. Their people are helpful, but don’t hover. I will not specifically call out any Kansas City bike shops, but several could learn tips about customer service from Sunflower.

3. My old tri shoes were starting to mildew, so I bought a new pair. They remind me of the shoes Uncle Eddie gave to Clark in the movie Vacation.

4. A new helmet was also purchased. My old helmet was involved in an altercation involving a “Road Closed” sign. (Yes, my head was in it at the time.) I used it for three more years, not realizing helmets are good for one collision only.

5. If a restaurant is good enough, I have no problem eating there two days in a row, as was the case with Esquina in Lawrence. The tofu tacos are especially good.

6. While I like the concept of open water swims, I am squeamish about things touching me while in the water. Twenty of us showed up to swim 3,000 meters around the perimeter of Weatherby Lake yesterday. Problem is, the perimeter is where all the lake crap (seaweed, lakeweed, whatever) is floating. Love the people, love the lake, but do not love having tentacle-like vegetation brushing against my face.

7. Do not leave cupcakes with buttercream frosting unattended in your car when it’s 80 degrees out. That’s a no-brainer, but I’m a slow learner.

8. When riding yesterday on an unfamiliar bike path, I see a sign showing a bicycle on a steep descent. So I ride my brakes and proceed slowly down the hill. To a large creek. So while someone thought to alert riders to steep and technical, they didn’t think the fact the path ended in a waterway was important. Huh.

9. Boyfriend and I met some friends Sunday for a bike ride. It was going to be Sundae’s debut. (Sundae is a mountain bike that Boyfriend built for me out of his bicycle graveyard.) It took me .38 miles to break the chain. I felt awful because, well, I broke it. He felt bad because the chain was defective. Clearly, we're newly dating since we both assumed responsibility. If this had happened a year in, the conversation would’ve been much different.

10. Finally, we watched a show last night on KCPT about international cemeteries where U.S. vets are buried. It was touching, sad and beautiful. But mostly, it was a nice way to remind me of what the holiday is about.