Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Rev 3 Knoxville Triathlon

At the end of the day I feel pretty lucky to look back on some of the cool things I get to do on a pretty regular basis. As I reflect back on the REV3 Knoxville race, this was an event that falls into the “cool category”.

The cool factor for this Triathlon actually starts with my journey to the race! See, a friend of The Boss is a pilot, and a really cool guy to boot. Not only is he a pilot, but a big fan/supporter of The Boss and I and all of our racing endeavors! So for this particular race, the airline tickets were getting pretty outrageous and Tennessee airports (serving JetBlue and Southwest) still didn’t put us within distance of the race. For any readers unfamiliar with Triathlon and Cycling, the fees for travel with a bike can range from $100-$180 one way! Now causing airfare+ bike ticket+baggage to be pretty unaffordable for a race that cost anywhere from $80-$250 (or $500 for Full Ironman) to register for. So I think now you may know where I’m going with this….

IMG_6914 800 x 533 Packing up the Plane!

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Yup! We hitched a ride on a very own plane escort to Knoxville! Knoxville conveniently has a private airport about 3 miles from the start line! Once we are all aboard it’s time to take flight! And then since I was secluded in the back… I figured once the plane took off, it would be a fine time for a NAP!

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Take off…

IMG_6951 800 x 533 800 x 533Sleepies!

We all agreed that it was super slick that we could actually fit both of our bikes, transition bags, helmets, wetsuits, and all of the other junk we have to take to the races in the plane! … however we also agreed that this would not have been possible if I actually rode a bike that was bigger than a 48 frame! The Boss calls it the “Doll Bike”, or more recently he has referred to it as the “Circus Bike”… I think he’s just mad because although my bike might look like a little circus toy…he actually lives with Real Live Clown Feet! hahaha

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Moving on! I woke up to some pretty terrifying turbulence, but then I saw an incredible view! Pretty soon after that we had landed and we were in full race mode!

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I’ll skip ahead to race morning! This is were the nerves start to settle for me. I get to my bike rack, lay out all of my stuff, and start to focus! I love the transition area... I lay everything out just the way I want it for the most efficient transitions I can throw down!

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I'll go ahead and insert here a great tip that my Coach taught me. "Put your socks on and then roll them back half way before leaving them in your bike shoes". That way they are ready to roll come transition chaos!

IMGP1536 800 x 451 800 x 451 I lucked into a GREAT end rack! Woohoo!

Once I was set and ready to roll, The Boss and I actually had 20 minutes to burn before walking down to the the swim start. So, what better fun than to go check out the Pro’s transition set up! Those guys and gals are something else!

IMGP1528 800 x 450 If you ever want to learn more about efficient transition set ups, flying mounts, and absolute speed through out this portion of the race I HIGHLY recommend finding the opportunity to get to a pro race and see them in action! WILD is all that I can say! WILD!

So, after a few long minutes of staring and awing at the Pro’s and their “stealth” like presence that surrounds them, it was time for me to head down to the swim! Her e I stood and waited. And Waited. Did I mention waiting? Yeah, there were close to 35 minutes of waves to go off ahead of me! The Boss was actually out of the water and on his bike before I even cannon balled off of the dock and into the river! And for some sick reason, the race director thought that putting the 25-29 year old females in the same race as the CLYDESDALES was an excellent distribution of categories!! Great, I can’t wait to get mauled buy the bear size men (who are traditionally pretty strong swimmers- ahem, they do have a little extra flotation!) before I even make it to the first swim buoy. I’m not going to lie, I had myself pretty worked up about the sound of the air horn, and the mass of men who were going to thrash me in the water!

IMG_0724 800 x 533 800 x 533 In the end, I guess the swim wasn’t so bad after all. Scared by the thought of the wave that surrounded me, I was actually propelled to my fastest swim time to date! Woohoo!

bike Then it was off to the bike course! I thought that this was a really great course, lots of rollers, twists and turns; a very technical course. I will say though, that there were some moments on the bike that I had to hold onto the aero bars as tight as I could and just hope there wasn’t going to be a car coming from around the corner! There were some really tight turns while descending at a very fast pace… knowing that the loop was closed would have made the race much more satisfying!

IMG_0838 800 x 533Before I knew if I was off and running! Unfortunately I have been disappointed by my run results during my past two races. I keep getting really sick on the run. I should be posting paces that are close to 6:30-6:40, and instead I’ve been averaging 7:24 and 7:04min/mile. Both unacceptable in my mind, but both affected by the one part of our body that we don’t really train… our stomachs. I get a crazy stitch in my stomach.. that’s right in my stomach, not my abdomen or side…right in my stomach. This stitch keeps leaving me hunched at a 90 degrees in the middle of the road. Errrr to go from a 6:28 to a 7:48 with only 2 miles to go really hurts my feelings. Especially when I see the results later and am made painfully aware that I was less than 10 seconds from 4th and under 50 seconds from a spot on the podium with 3rd place.

But you know that’s that, and next time I either have to push through the pain or just not look at the results! haha You can’t sit in front of the results screen and penny-pinch seconds of your race, it’ll drive you nuts! Overall I am really pleased with my race, and I learn a whole lot from each race that I enter.

IMG_0906 800 x 533 Anyways, when the race was over I was really lucky to bump into these cool cats! What an honor! Do you know who these guys are? If not it’s time to do your homework! Then on the opposite end of the spectrum I also bumped smack into…

IMG_0078 800 x 600 That’s right! Tara from the Biggest Looser! One of my favorite shows; I freaking watched every pound this young lady lost that season and now she’s still tearing it up!

I’m sure by now you’re thinking, “alright enough about you, how did The Boss do?” well… if you really want to know, you’ll have to read for yourself! But here’s a hint… IMGP1575 800 x 450

Anyways, until next time. Ride safe and bake often!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Momma said There Would be Days Like THIS!

You know it’s one thing to say “I’ve had a bad day” and it’s another thing to REALLY experience a BAD DAY! And although the Boss might argue differently, I’m not one to complain about too much (excluding out of control high school students, sore muscles, and getting a flat tire on a long training ride!). But I am going to take a moment to challenge you to “beat” my bad day experience on this lovely Friday afternoon!

For the record this is what I have looked like for most of the day today!:

SadBunny (Sad Bunny = ME)

So for the information of the “non-teachers” out there, this week was Teacher Appreciation Week. I teach at a fairly rough school, one of the more lower performing schools in the area – and sometimes the ‘teacher appreciation’ part isn’t quite visible. Now, I’m not complaining about this, just simply putting into perspective that it’s a rough day-to-day situation that can have very inspiring success stories paired with some very sad and frustrating situations. So now that it is “appreciation week” I decided that come Friday I would “appreciate” a day off! A personal day! A STRESS FREE day, whereby I can rest up and mentally prepare for my race this weekend (That would be Knoxville Rev3!!) Well that went to sheeeeet in about the first 5 minutes of my Friday.

It started off with an elaborate fight with the manager at a certain spa were I had booked my very first massage for Friday at 3:00! I had planned to sleep in, run a few errands, swim, and then head off to a good ol’ rub, followed by a whole lotta nothing! Unfortunately things did not go as planned! *Sad Bunny*

I receive a phone call on Friday morning from the “said Spa” informing me that I missed my appointment YESTERDAY and because the masseuse needed to be paid I was being charge IN FULL for the massage!?!?! At this point I actually laughed a little and told the lady that this was a mistake, I’m a school teacher and I would never have booked an appointment for that time because I would still have been TEACHING students at that time! A long story short I eventually had the manager on the phone who “assured me that the receptionist has worked there for a long time and she doesn’t make mistakes…” this continued for an extended period of time whereby he was refusing to do anything for me because I was wrong and I DID in fact book the appointment for Thursday BUT he’d be willing to compromise and only charge me 50% of the appointment since I’m a new costumer and they wanted to try to accommodate me! Eventually I told him that I was going to the Better Business Bureau and I needed to talk to the General Manager! I also inserted that I knew that he had a boss above him since he was clearly not capable of running a business with such poor understanding of how to treat costumers and maintain costumer satisfaction. I was then put on hold… (this story is To Be Continued)

From here I stormed out of my house to another Rite Aide to get my passport picture taken. My passport does not expire until DECEMBER but apparently you can’t travel anywhere cool if there is less than 6 months left on your passport? Well Rite Aide took a look at my passport “requirements” as they are deemed by O’Canada. Well here in America the standard is 2”x2” where as Canada is 2”x2 3/4” BIG DIFFERENCE! So the lady at the counter says “yes we can do that here” and proceeds to take my picture. I pay for the pictures and wait for them to process. WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENS? yeah the pics were 2”x2”… unacceptable for what I needed. So I told the lady:

ME: “these pictures are 2”x2” and they are not what I need.”

Lady: “Oh”

Me: “well what can we do about that?”

Lady: “Do you want me to take another picture?”

Me: “Are you going to change the size?”

Lady: “No”

Me: “What?”

Lady: “That is what the camera does, just 2”x2””

Me: “Well I showed you exactly what I needed, I gave you the specs that I printed out from the passport website and you said that you could do it”

Lady: “Oh, well do you want me to take another picture?”

Me: “Why would I want another Picture? No, I just want my money back”

Lady: “Well I’ve already given you the pictures”

….at this point I was SO “perturbed” (and that’s scaled down a notch!) by the way I have been treated so far that day that I actually snatched the pictures out of the lady’s hand and stormed out of the store!

“Breathe” was all I could think, “just breathe”. So I left Rite Aide and headed for the highway. Going south to my favorite store of all…. Michaels! I was signing up for the class I have waited ALL spring to take!

Untitled I have waited and waited for so long to take this class, but I had been really busy for the last few months with Coaching at the high school, my own training, and my LAST set of grad school classes!! finally MAY is here and I can sign up!!… well I guess everyone else and their neighbor had the same idea because the class was SOLD OUT! OVER BOOKED! DO NOT ADMIT MORE STUDENTS!!!

Me: “What? WHY? HOW? Fuuuuuuuuuuuudge” (except that last word wasn’t really fudge)

Me: “Fine, I’ll do it in June. It’s okay!”

Michaels Lady: “I’m sorry, I guess everyone is gearing up for summer BBQ’s and fun parties”

Me: “Hey, where are my keys?”

I’ll cut to the chase on this one… they were locked in my car! After muttering a few more bouts of “fudge”, crying on the phone with The Boss, then crying in person with The Boss (he came to pick me up to go to our swim workout), and then after a few loooong minutes of feeling bad for myself, I semi-pull myself together enough to get in the pool for a workout.

After the pool The Boss informs me that he’s booked another massage for me (at a different location!… I know, what a guy!!) so we went a picked up the spare key for my car and he sent me on my way to “try” to relax after such a ridiculous day!…

I went to my hour long appointment of “rub, rub, ewwww-ahhhhh, yep that’s the spot”…..life isn’t that bad after all. Well until I got back into my car, pulled out of the parking lot only to get rear-ended at the intersection!?!?! WTF…

And that’s that folks… “I had a bad day”.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

“Absolutely the Best Cookies he’s ever had!!”

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a cupcake drought. Instead, I’ve been exploring another facet of bakery options… Cookies!

IMG_1477 800 x 533 Delicious, Tasty, …Mmmmm

The last batch of cookies, although creative, were awful! Then, I toyed around this this recipe from Pioneer Women. Although they were good, they weren’t really really knock your socks off great. Side note: I don’t feel bad about saying this because most EVERYTHING this lady creates in the kitchen is fabulous!!

Anyways, like the saying goes “Third time’s the charm”. With a few tweaks of the PW’s recipe and a few additions… I created what The Boss said to be “possibly the best cookie that he has ever had”! While you might think “but he said Possibly”, I did give him immediate grief about his initial wording and then he retracted his words to rephrase with “Absolutely the best cookies he’s ever had!”

Since one day I hope to make the bakery a reality, I’m afraid to actually give away the recipe to my new creation!... Nobody will come to my shop! So the recipe will remain classified… in the mean time I will taunt you with the steps!

IMG_1427 800 x 533 The Gang

IMG_1430 800 x 533 Please folks… use REAL vanilla and Real Butter!

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My step by step, 1 handed egg break!

I would love to insert here, that if you DO NOT know how to break an egg with one hand, it is SO worth the time and $ (what… like $2) to buy a carton of eggs and just practice! Or if you get stuck with those last few eggs in the crate that have expired…PRACTICE! You feel like a rock star in the kitchen if your friends are around and you casually are in mid conversation using one hand for gestures and the other hand is cracking eggs!

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Oh yeah!

Sorry… back to the cookies!

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Get everything good and fluffy.

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Here, I like to add the rest of the gang to the batter by simply adding the “dry ingredients” to the top of the fluff! I know that recipes often call to “mix dry ingredients in separate bowl; set aside”, but from my experience behind the mixer I can tell you that carefully plopping it on top of the creamed batter and then mixing it without drawing in the bottom parts, works just fine!

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Mix it up, add plastic wrap, and refrigerate!

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30 minutes later, scoop and platter…. Mmmm Try not to eat too much of the batter!

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These bad boys didn’t last long around our parts, and hopefully they won’t last long at the shop either!

Thanks all for now! I have to go find some milk for my cookie!

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