Thanksful & Random Thoughts Thursday

Happy Thursday! Who else is ready for this weekend?  This week has sped by, and while I’m looking forward to the weekend, it will be busy too!  Road trip to Madison, a computrainer Newbie class on Sunday, and getting my tri-bike sent out to Puerto Rico! Here’s a bit about what I’ve been thinking about lately:

Thursdays are for Thinking out Loud

Elimination Diet.

Things have been going really well on my “no wheat, no yeast, no beans, no mushrooms” diet, and I have decided to go through the “Challenge Phase” prior to my March spring vacation in Puerto Rico.  Today is “beans” so I had refried beans (TJoe’s, gluten-free and fat-free) with rice for breakfast and will incorporate more beans in today.  We’ll see how this goes, go back to “clean eating” for a few days, and then introduce yeast in (i.e. gluten-free baked goods & beer).  See how that goes- how do I feel?  I’m still trying to figure out if there is a way to introduce gluten while remaining yeast-free, but I am not sure if that’s possible.  Let me know if you have any knowledge on this!

Loving Lately.
Hammer supplements!  It’s either been the full elimination diet, but I think also the hammer supplements, that have been making me feel really good lately!  I’ve been taking their daily supplements, and adding in recovery boosters and also some anti-fatigue caps.  I had been struggling on my longer rides in early February, partly from my cold, not sleeping well, but I think also some of it was energy.  But when I took Anti-Fatigue caps throughout my ride, there was NO flagging of energy.  I had the best and easiest-feeling ride I’d had in months!  I’d been liking their gels & perpetuem, and am now a fan of the supplements too!


Friends are Awesome.
I’ve been talking with various people, adn realizing hwo part of what I love about triathlon is the community and friendships I made.  I truly love being at the Wellfit gym in the evenings (or mornings) for the camaraderie, and also getting together with my CTC peeps.  Shooting the breeze post workout while we stretch or do strength exercises, commisserating on the computrainer, adn learning from each other.  Friends who think that a beer mile should precede a happy hour.  Or friends who think a fun Saturday evening includes running from bar-to-bar.

2015 Feb CTC Bar Run

FTP Testing.
I did a bike FTP test on Tuesday, and used a playlist I crated to help keep me pushing as hard as I could through the set.  (If you aren’t familiar with cycling, an FTP Test is an all-out 20 minute time trial where you go as hard & fast as you can.  It helps set your benchmark for doing interval workouts later on, and is a key part of indoor cycling training.)  I also seem to not follow the standard MO of “first 5 minutes lower than FTP, then stay at FTP, then push for the final 5 minutes to improve FTP.”  What I’ve done the last several times, and what I have found easier for me is to start out hard (while its easier) and try to hang on.  It’s been about 6 months since I did an FTP test and during the first 5 minutes when I’m easily pushing well higher than my FTP and my goal FTP, I was thinking “maybe I’m magically a cycling rock star now.”  Well, at least I’ve got to keep that up when I’m in front of my coach! That was motivation enough to keep going.

Training motivation. 
I’ve been really thinking about how to motivate myself during training, especially pushing myself to go harder and to really improve.  A few thoughts on that:

  • Kecia, a fellow Coeur Sports ambassador, psoted about her Motivational Arsenal.  I’ve been reading/re-reading (I never finished the book last summer) Carrie Cheadle’s mental training book and this sounds similar.  Come up with what your arsenal of motivational tools are to get you out there training and pushing yourself.
  • I follow Julie Dunkle’s ironman training.  She’s been facing some tough workouts, and her coach had the following words of wisdom:   “Well. Look at the workout as an opportunity to challenge yourself and just enjoy the process, not the result. Always focus on the process. “
  • On my computrainer workout last night, which was a bit mentally tough for me (95%x10 minutes, day after an FTP test). Coach Ted wanted us to be cycling with a high cadence, or frequency of pedal strokes.  I easily do 90-95, and he was hoping for 100+ at this effort& length of time.  That was hard for me, and I tried something new for me— Mission Impossible:  Keep your cadence up! This helped me out. I couldn’t keep up perfectly, but kept trying.  “Just one thing.”
  • Don't spin slower than 90 RPM

I’m linking up today with Katie for (a late) Take Time Tuesday, and Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursdays! Happy Thursday!


Weekend Activities & Self-Care

This weekend was all about taking care of myself.  That and Valentine’s Day!

Friday evening Mike and I went for a swim together at Sheridan Park Pool.  I don’t swim often on Friday evenings, but when I do, I enjoy focusing on the feeling of gliding in the water and doing some drills.  This was an easy night since I was still getting over that stupid old cold.

Mike's Pizza at Three Aces

We then headed out for a Valentine’s Date at Three Aces. Mike got a pizza, and I got a delicious chicken thigh sausage & polenta dish.  I don’t think I’ve had anything quite so delicious in a while!

Three Aces Polenta

Saturday we spent the Valentine’s Day morning at Well-Fit‘s computrainer studio, cycling our hearts out together!  I could only last an hour-twenty before I started feeling the effects on my lungs from the cold.  So I switched and started up doing some strength work (which I promptly forgot to record in my training log!)

Valentine's Computrainer 2015

We spent the afternoon doing some things around the home, and then headed out to babysit for our favorite little baby!  Our friend’s Ali & Rich haven’t had much date night time since baby J came along last year, and they are always so helpful with us ( Rich helped re-install all of the smoke detectors at our new home), so we recommended/ forced them to go out on Valentine’s Day while we stuck around with this little bugger:

Babysitting on Valentine's Day

And then Sunday was a sleep-in day (I’m still needing the extra sleep!) with around the home stuff again.

I focused on doing some meal prep and preparing a dinner meal for Sunday.  Here’s what I did in the kitchen… I’m almost a home ec diva!

  1. Hard-boiled eggs in the oven
  2. Bake sweet potatoes
  3. Riced cauliflower (for a paleo baking activity)
  4. Made coq au vin in the slow cooker

In addition to these things, I’ve been incorporating some of the things I learned at the Rooted Center’s “Be Your Own Valentine” event that I attended last weekend.  While I had a #bloggerfail and can’t find the photos I took from the event, I learned a few important techniques that I’ve been incorporating into my everyday:

  • Breathing techniques to calm, and breathing techniques to energize.  You may know these, as they’re the different breathing techniques you use in yoga, but applied to “real life”.
  • Basic stretching to help loosen you up and avoid strains.  “Shake it out” is true — that is the basis!

I hope everyone else is having a good Monday!  Enjoy the Presidents’ Day!

I’m linking up with Tara for the Weekend Update, Katie for Marvelous in my Mondays, and Erin for Weekend Snapshots.


Valentines Day Ideas for the Athletic Couple

Valentines day is a holiday full of chocolates, rich foods, and time with a special someone.  I’d like to share with you how you can celebrate Valentine’s Day with a special someone and keep it active.

Have an Active Valentines Day

This is my husband Mike & I.  For those of you who know my husband, he’s an active guy. He’s not one to sit and just chill, he likes to be doing things.  It’s good for me – he pushes me to get going and moving when I’m down or moving slowly.  He supports me in my crazy endeavors, like Ironman training. It helps that he likes training for things too!

So when we think about Valentines Day, we usually plan not just a date night but also something else active.  This all started when Valentines day was on a weekday and we had a computrainer class scheduled.  Instead of cancelling the class and going out on a Tuesday night, we went to class and biked next to each other. And then ate some Chipotle.

The following year we went to an indoor pool and went swimming.  And then ate some Chipotle.

Since Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday, we haven’t figured out what our active thing will be.  (Usually Saturdays we work out separately in the mornings).  We know we’re babysitting for a cute baby on Saturday evening, so we’ll figure something else out for our date night.  Maybe we’ll go swimming on Saturday AM again!


Ideas for an Athletic Valentines Date:

  • Swim together!  If you don’t already have a pool, the Chicago Park District offers $40 lap swim for 3 months.
  • My old gym used to host a “Couples Yoga” around Valentines Day. I never went (as the hubs wasn’t a member) but that sounded interesting! I’d be curious what types of yoga poses were used for a couple already familiar with each other!
  • Enter a 5K race.
  • Do an Indoor Triathlon
  • Go for a run together if you can! (Mike & I run together very rarely)

Some other active ideas:

  • Go bowling
  • Go for a walk (indoor options could include a museum or local botanical garden)
  • Go to a trampoline gym :)
  • Yoga class, bootcamp or other group exercise class
  • Do a cooking class together – it’s not athletic, but you are moving around and doing something fun together.

And don’t forget to get your sweetheart a nice little something!

Some Athletic Valentines Day Gifts:

  • Chocolate gels! Hammer Gel has Chocolate, Chocolate Hazelnut, and Peanut Butter Chocolate.  There’s also Raspberry too!
  • Pink something :)  Swim Cap, workout top/shorts/ capris.
  • Let’s stay away from sporty lingerie. As much as I need new sports bras, I’d rather he not pick them out for me!

And guys, if you’re reading this, take this below photo as a lesson learned!  He should have said “your legs” :) haha



What are you doing for Valentines Day?  Athletes, what else did I miss to make it a sporty holiday? 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  This is moving weekend, so my spare time this week has been consumed with packing, packing packing!  Despite that, I wanted to drop in to say hello and share a few things that I’ve been liking this week!

Favorite dress-up: 

Jewelry Selfie CollageI got this necklace and earring combo from my sister-in-law for Christmas.  I’m not usually a “big jewelry” person, but wore it out to my company’s holiday dinner this week… and was surprised that I liked it so much! Thank you Anna!


Best Cooking:

For the past two weeks now, I’ve made this Five Ingredient Pizza Spaghetti Pie from PaleOMG. I’ve even gotten Mike to eat it for dinner despite the fact that he is a professed non-spaghetti-squash eater.  I’ll call that a win- he wanted me to make it the second time!

Pizza Spaghetti Pie from PaleOMG


 Favorite New Blog:

I used to run with Meg back in 2010 and 2011 with the Running Away Fun Runs, and I’m happy to have found her online again!  She’s started a design-ey type blog, and I’m filing away her winter gear essentials post for next season’s purchases.  When it was so cold last week, I literally came home one evening and spent an hour searching online at how I could get those boots and coat!

Winter Essentials from Sweet Home Chicago

Favorite New App:

I started using the Goal Streaks app on my iphone/ipad to track how I am doing toward some key goals I have (working out consistently, flossing) as we’re in new year’s resolution land.  I’ve been liking this app and the concept of visually seeing my streaks!  You can set a goal to not require streaks of every day, or “days off” which I like.  The one downside I see is that currently the goals do not sync between devices, e.g. between my iPhone and iPad.  So I’m using my iPad.  But I emailed the developers and they said they are working on it and hope to push out an update in the next few weeks with this enhancement!

Goal Streaks App keeps me on target with tracking my new year's resolutions!


Well I hope that you’re having a nice Friday… I just hope I can find my toothbrush, underwear and some running gear in order to not go crazy in this moving weekend!

What’s your favorite thing to share this week? How are you doing on your new year’s resolutions? 

5 Things I like about San Francisco

Today I’m linking up with Cynthia, Courtney and Mar of the DC Trifecta for a Friday Five on our favorite cities! I love San Francisco. I know I could probably never afford to live there, but I love visiting and have been fortunate to be able to travel there for work several times plus my own visits for family or races.  I first went there in 2009 and have been back almost every year since!  dc_linkup

2009 – first work trips in February (two trips, pre-blog)
2010 – no trip :(
2011 – June for work
2012 – 3 trips! June, October, November
2013 – no trip :(
2014 – January trip for hubby’s work

1. Running in San Francisco!

I love running in San Francisco every chance I get.  I’ve done the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, and also a turkey trot out there.  I’ve run most of the Nike Half Course 3 times over the course of my trips, as it’s a beautiful route.  Just don’t get lost at the end! Tour de San Francisco



2. Good Food & Drink

I love eating in San Francisco.  There is a lot of good food, and when I visit people there, they are always foodies!

3. Better Weather than Chicago (at least when I visit)

Generally every time I visit San Fran, the weather is better than Chicago. I am not complaining. I’ve gone several times in January/February when it’s #chiberia in the Midwest, or in June, when it’s getting hothothot in Chicago.  San Francisco is a nice and moderate change!

4. Hills :-)

I know I’m a Chicago girl and am used to the flats, but I really enjoy the change in topography when I’m out in San Francisco! I enjoy walking and running up the hills and getting a bit more of my glute into my locomotion.  And it makes the landscape more visually appealing.

5. Good Shopping

I usually get in some shopping when I’m in downtown San Francisco, if only as a treat, but logistically its easier to go shopping closer to the hotel than trekking from home to the Mag Mile, as well as keeping it as a treat.  The San Francisco Treat!

Well that’s it!