When the Hardest Choice is the Right Choice

FullSizeRender (5)Yesterday I had the triathlon tattoo on the inside of my left wrist covered with a new tattoo. In the past 24 hours, I have had a lot of people ask me why I did it, and the reason is this: I have decided to “retire” from training for and competing in triathlon. This decision did not come easy. In fact, it’s something I’ve been wrestling with for a year. The long and short of it is that when it comes to how I feel about training and competing, my heart isn’t in it anymore. I’m not going to enumerate my reasons as to why I have given up this magnificently challenging sport. Those closest to me already know, and if you don’t, I’d be happy to go into detail with you in person why I am moving on from my once beloved racing. Make no mistake: my love for the sport itself has not waned. If anyone ever needs or wants a runner or a swimmer for a relay, you can bet your bippy I will volunteer in a second. Triathlon has given me so much over the years. It provided structure and routine in my life at a time when I needed it most. It challenged me physically, mentally, and emotionally, for which I will always be grateful. Most importantly, I met some of the most incredible people through this sport, and formed friendships I know will last a lifetime. The past 8 years have been an amazing ride, but it’s time for other adventures.

My primary focuses are now running and CrossFit. It’s no surprise that I have fallen in love with CrossFit as I talk about it quite a bit. This new challenge in my life has reinvigorated my competitive spirit, and it has also positively impacted my overall level of fitness in ways I didn’t think possible. I want to continue to explore my new passion, as it has also made me a better runner. My quest to become faster and break a 22:00 5K is within reach, and I owe a large part of that to the strength and power I have achieved through CF. I can safely say that since starting this intense form of training, I have a renewed sense of vigor when it comes to my running.

So, I covered up my triathlon tattoo not because I am ashamed of it, or because I regret it, or because I don’t want a reminder of triathlon. I covered my tattoo because I want a fresh start. I chose the trees because they symbolize the strength and peace I now feel, and I chose pine trees as they encircle my beloved Walden Pond. I will always love triathlon, but the time has come for me to move on in a different direction.

IMG_5110“I found my account in climbing a tree once. It was a tall white pine, on the top of a hill, and though I got well pitched, I was well paid for it, for I discovered new mountains in the horizon which I had never seen before…” ~Henry David Thoreau, Walking

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Don’t Hate

Three months. That’s how long I’ve been doing CrossFit. I remember my first meeting with my coaches Cody and R.E. at CTOWN West. Before I stepped into “the box” on that frigid February afternoon, I felt like I was, for the most part, in pretty damn good shape. “You rated yourself at a 7,” R.E. pointed out to me, all of my personal evaluation information scrawled on the dry erase wall. I couldn’t help but think there was a sassy subtext lurking in what he said. “Yup,” I shot back confidently. A week later I would eat that Yup like it was my job. Though I was coming off a slight post half-marathon injury, I was in the best shape of my life…or so I thought. I had some muscle definition from going to the gym about three times a week, and my running was fairly solid, you know…for February. One hour later, at the end of our meeting and when I realized what was in store for me, I was scared out of my mind. I briskly walked out the door, practically ran to my car, and instantly thought to myself, What in the hell did I just get myself into?

Six personal training sessions later, I was ready to join the big girl and boy classes. Once again, I was petrified. During my PT sessions with Cody, I would watch the classes; I would see all of these amazingly strong athletes completing all of these amazingly challenging workouts. Sure, I had gone through the lessons (and they were hard); I knew how to do the moves, but to put it all together in an actual class was on a whole other level. However, Cody was positive I was ready, and he encouraged me every step of the way. I cautiously walked up to the crowd gathering around the screen that displayed the WOD. Right away, everyone turned to introduce him or herself and welcome me. Were these the same uber intimidating athletes I had seen in the weeks past? They were all so warm and gregarious. What’s more, when I was working out, they encouraged and cheered me on; when it was over, they told me I did a great job. WHAT WAS THIS MADNESS! A “normal” gym experience usually entailed walking in, doing my thing, avoiding eye contact with all other humans, and quietly leaving. This was new and weird…and I loved it.

Now, three months later, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I’ve hit so many milestones that I’ve lost count, but I know I have so many more to go. Typically in my training, I try hard to lose weight, but not this time. I’ve managed to put on a very healthy five pounds while shaving an inch off of my waistline. I was comfortable with the way that I looked three months ago, but now I’m elated! I’ve never had this much muscle definition in my life; moreover, I’ve never been physically stronger. My energy levels have climbed, and I don’t get bored with workouts, something I previously struggled with when I was doing the same moves on the same machines over and over again. But perhaps most importantly, my running game has vastly improved. A couple of weeks ago, I ran a 4-mile race at a 7:30 mile pace. The two weeks leading up the race were insanely hectic for me. I wasn’t getting in the mileage that I typically would leading up to a race, nor did I taper very well. However, I can say with ease that it was due to my newfound strength and stamina that I was able to complete the race in that fantastic time. Side note: I am so friggin’ excited to test out this new body (and mindset) in brick workouts and triathlons this summer!

So, to all of the naysayers out there who knock CrossFit, make faces at me when I tell them how I strength train, or scoff at the methods by which CF runs itself, all I’ve got to say is this: I’m sorry for you. That’s right. I’m not mad or even bothered; I just pity you. I feel badly for you that you think putting down any form of fitness that makes a person look good, feel confident, and live strong is “dumb.” I feel badly for you that you believe you need to mock a thing about which you know absolutely nothing. Sure, I could get hurt. I could also get hurt working out at a regular gym, or during one of my cycling training sessions, or getting out of my bed! My point is this: ignorance isn’t bliss; it’s just another word for stupid.

Thank you to Cody, R.E., and Tyler for being amazing coaches, for always encouraging, for always pushing, and for always being the voices of reason. Thank you to my newfound CTOWN peeps who are just as fun in the gym as they are outside of it; I am completely smitten with you weirdos. And thank you to all of the people in my life who don’t do CrossFit, or triathlons, or run, but who have supported my training every step of the way. You have all contributed to the person and athlete I am today, and for that, I am tremendously grateful. I very much look forward to what the next three months brings.

3 months can make a world of difference

3 months can make a world of difference

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Here’s how I’m basically going to kill it in 2015


  • I’m wearing the boot for my stress fracture, but that means faster healing, which means getting me back to my running game.
  • I’m going to beat my 50 free PR at the Pieter Cath Memorial swim meet, which shouldn’t be that difficult because holy crap, 38 seconds is really slow.
  • AND I’m one of the new writers for the hugely awesome blog Salty Running. No big deal. #ohmygodthisistotallyamazingineverywaypossible


  • I’m seeing Fleetwood Mac on the 18th, and though this is not a direct reflection of my killing it, I will kill it vicariously through Stevie Nicks, who always slays.


  • I’ll be able to check March off of my list of Walden Pond visits as I will be traveling to my home-away-from-home February 27th through March 2nd.
  • I’ll register for the Big Shoulders 5K swim when it opens on March 1st. Gulp!


  • I will submit all of my tax paperwork on time, because I’m prompt like that.
  • I’ll find a local 5K that peaks my interest, and I’ll win my age group. Gauntlet. Thrown.


  • I will begin to prepare for the end of the school year, which is always chaotic and insane.
  • I will put all of my badass swim skills that I learned over the winter to the test as OWS season begins in my beloved Lake Erie.


  • I will steel myself when it comes time to say goodbye for the summer to my juniors, some of whom I’ve had since they were sophomores. I will not cry…in front of them…much.
  • I will travel once more to Massachusetts to compete in the MRA Multisport Summer Solstice Triathlon for the second year in a row, and I will utterly crush my PR. Boom.
  • I will begin watching my adorable new nephew one day a week, and we will go on adventures, and I will read to him the Harry Potter series, and there will be ice cream. Yes, ice cream, I say!


  • I will travel to Hopkins, Michigan to compete in my first OLY of the season (second OLY ever): the 3 Disciplines Dream, Believe, Achieve triathlon. Afterwards, I will inhale a delicious Wolfgang’s breakfast as this race is located only minutes away from my other home-away-from-home, Grand Rapids.


  • I will compete in my second and last OLY of the season: the HFP Racing Linwood Park triathlon in Vermilion, and I will try very hard not to walk my bike up the infamous scary big hill.
  • I will also be volunteering at the Greater Cleveland Triathlon.
  • I will begin my 12th year in teaching high school English. I will wonder, as I do every year, where has the time gone?


  • I will beat my PR at the Big Shoulders 5K swim in Chicago. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…


  • I’m sure I will run and (hopefully) place in at least one 5K this month, but even if I don’t, I will enjoy getting in some long miles on the trails during my favorite time of year.


  • Perhaps another end-of-year 5K win.
  • I will begin putting together my training plan for 2016.


  • I will eat all of the food. All of it.
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Breaking Foot

Because I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t get hurt during a big race. Yup, I have the wee beginnings of a stress fracture on the outside of my left foot a la the half marathon. One week after my glorious domination, I was still feeling pretty darn sore, but only in one foot, and that had me worried. I immediately thought it was one of two things: a stress fracture or the pin in my foot from a previous surgery many years ago had become damaged. Either way, things were not looking good. Once my paranoia peaked, I decided it was time to make an appointment to get it checked out.

To make a long story short, they didn’t see anything on the x-rays, which is pretty standard when it comes to a stress fracture. Still, given the fact that I was feeling pain, that I already have a “weakening” in the bone due to it being held together with a pin, and that I had just run 13 miles for the first time in my life at a fairly speedy pace, all signs were pointing towards fracture. There was some hope, however, that it would heal quickly. The amount of pain I was feeling had already diminished quite a bit (I literally couldn’t walk the week prior). The doctor told me I was smart to have stayed off of it, but then of course he brought the hammer down: no running until I’m completely pain-free. Poop.

I was of course disappointed, and he saw it on my face. “Can I still bike and swim and lift?” I asked. “You can do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t cause you pain, but no running. I can tell you’re a crazy workout person,” he commented.  “You can see it in my eyes, huh?” I asked, laughing. “Yes,” he replied, not laughing. Sigh.

The good news is that I don’t have to wear one of those heinous boots. The doctor and his PA gave me the option since they thought I was already well on the road to recovery, and so I opted not to take it. I had heard stories from my students who have had to wear the boots about how the damn things forced them to limp, throwing off their hips. There was no way I was going to mess with my hips, especially given my history. So, it’s hard-soled Brooks running shoes and my riding boots for the next few weeks. Meh, at least I’ll be comfortable, and wearing jeans and running tights to work has been pretty damn awesome.

Broken foot, but not a broken spirit! It's no cocktail dress and heals, but I am working those flats and leggings!

Broken foot, but not a broken spirit! It’s no cocktail dress and heals, but I am working those flats and leggings!

It has been two weeks since that appointment, and I would say that I am feeling better, though yesterday I may have set myself back a bit overdoing it with the squats (yeah, probably shouldn’t be doing those at all) and then standing all night in flats at my husband’s company holiday party. I’m taking it easy today, and will continue to do so the next few weeks, especially since my holiday vacation is only five days away. So, what am I taking away from all of this? Well, now I really don’t ever plan on doing another half. I think 10 miles is pretty much my limit, and I’m ok with that. But I’m also not going to let this get me down like the last time I was significantly injured. I trained hard, raced hard, and now I’m experiencing a minor set back. It happens. I’m lucky to be healing quickly and to be able to do other types of workouts to keep me in shape while I recover. I miss running, but it won’t be long before I’m back at it.

Food Talk

FullSizeRenderThe Paleo yumminess trend continues as I tried out some recipes from my new book as well as put together a few of my own creations. From The Best Paleo Recipes of 2014, I made Jessi Heggan’s (of the blog Jessi’s Kitchen) Ancho chile Butternut Squash Soup. Heinens’s was out of ancho chiles, so I used hatch chiles instead, but the result was still delicious. The soup is thick and creamy. The coconut milk cooled the spiciness a bit, so I added a little hot sauce to bring it back up. The recipe calls for a garnish of friend plantains and bacon, but I just rolled with the bacon since I didn’t want to overdo it with the fried foods. I divvied the soup into five servings for a week’s worth of lunches. A warm lunch really does make a difference in getting me through my day.

IMG_0443For breakfast, I made the egg muffins from my Racing Weight Cookbook, only this time I went with all egg whites and I added some peppers and onions to the mushroom-only recipe. I topped the mini frittatas with a few slices of avocado and a couple of dashes of Cholula sauce. A side of Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey made the perfect Paleo compliment.

For dinner earlier this week, I had a hankering for lettuce wraps. I have never made these before, but I figured it couldn’t be that challenging. I picked up some chicken tenders, Boston and bib lettuce, and some peanut satay sauce. I swung by the salad bar to get some julienne carrots and bean sprouts rather than buying a bag of each and having the rest go to waste, especially since bean sprouts turn so quickly. I sautéed the chicken in a screaming hot wok and right before it was finished, added a dollop of the satay sauce. I placed a tender in each lettuce cup, added the carrots and sprouts, and sprinkled on a few black sesame seeds. Of course I had to top them off with some Sriracha because, well, you don’t need a reason. It’s Sriracha. It was an easy, filling, and tasty meal that is now a definite part of my dinner rotation.



Lastly, for dessert, I decided to try a Paleo pumpkin chocolate chip (w/walnuts) cookie recipe I found on Pinterest. The cookies came out great, but I would recommend cooking them longer than the recipe calls for. They also got a little mushy as the days wore on, which I’m sure was due to the high moisture content from pumpkin puree. Still, they were yummy and hit the spot for my sweet tooth.



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Race Report: The Fall Classic Half Marathon


Post-dry heaving.

“I. Did. It.” I panted (ok, more like dry heaved) to myself after I sprinted across the finish line. Wow, that sounds way more glorious than it really was. To be honest, the only reason I sprinted across that finish line was because I happened to look down at my watch a few hundred yards out and realized I was about to miss my goal time. After shouting an expletive I won’t repeat here, I mustered every last bit of energy left in my body to haul cookies towards that timing mat. I did not want to go over 1:50, and I sailed over the mat at exactly 1:50. Boom. I proceeded to hop, hobble, limp, and practically crawl past the medal table where they immediately asked for my age. “Uhhhh, um…” and the volunteer kindly repeated this now most challenging of life questions. “Thirty-six. No wait! I’m 35,” and she handed me my medal with a smile.

I stuck the medal, still wrapped in its plastic, into my sports bra. I swung my arms, desperately trying to get the blood to flow back into my fingertips as I lapped the parking lot behind the finish line. And that thought pulsed through my brain with every rapid heart beat: I did it! I ran 13.1 miles and I narrowly hit my goal time. I couldn’t help the face-splitting grin spreading itself across my wind-burned cheeks, arms swinging back and forth, the feel of the cool plastic-wrapped medal pressed against my heart.

But let’s back up a tick. Standing at the finish line, bedecked head to toe in my new favorite Nike outfit, I pressed the buttons on my Garmin watch as we began to move. Mark was by my side, having decided that morning that he would try his hand at completing the 13.1 miles himself. The weather was perfect. My week-long willing of Mother Nature to not rain worked. It was a gray, slightly breezy Cleveland day, and the trees in the metro parks swayed gently around the 500 racers lined up at the start. I wished luck to a few of my friends who stood beside me, planted a swift kiss on Mark, and was off.

The race course was all road, two loops through the beautiful Cleveland Metroparks in Strongsville. The first turn we took was to circle through the parking lot of the Chalet, where I used to go tobogganing with my Girl Scout troop in elementary school. I glanced down at my watch to see I was running at a steady albeit fairly speedy pace, but I felt good, so I decided to keep it up. I passed the first water station and headed back out towards the main road. I had decided to run with my own hydration belt as I have never mastered the art of grabbing cups from volunteers and slugging back water or Gatorade without choking and spilling on myself. I made a mental note to drink my chocolate coconut water/bcaa mixture every 20 minutes to ensure my energy levels stayed up and that I didn’t get dehydrated. I made my way to the outside of the pack so that I could high-five my husband as I passed him. I was glad he was there…and I will admit that I was also happy to be kicking his ass. “Competitive Jenny” – my aggressively ambitious alter-ego – was in full gear, snarling away and ready to dominate this race.

It was during the first six and a half miles that I allowed my brain to wonder away a bit from thoughts of hydration and pace. I became keenly observant of the people around me. I marveled at how many people were carrying on casual conversations with friends while maintaining a steady pace. I quietly counted to myself the number of women ahead of me. I noted all of the racers listening to music. I noticed all of the different race apparel. There were racers wearing sponsored singlets, people dressed for the arctic tundra including balaclavas, people wearing basketball shorts and cotton t-shirts, a group of high school cross-country runners wearing adorable rainbow tutus (who I passed, Competitive Jenny laughing confidently striding by people half her age).

It was during the next three and a half miles that I did not allow my brian to stray from any thought other than pace, stride, form, and hydration. And it was during the last three miles that I wanted to die. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but those last three miles were t o u g h. I tried to convince myself that I was just running a 5K, but my body was not having that shit. In the middle of the course, there was a bend in the road that banked one way then another. On the first loop, I remember thinking that it would be very challenging the second time through. The curve of the road was enough that I felt I was running up the side rather than on a flat surface, so I compensated by using precious energy to cross the road to the flattest area. The second time through, however, was as challenging as I had predicted. By this point, the balls and heels of my feet were beginning to feel quite sore. I had slowed down a bit after mile 8, and was now in need of picking up speed in order to hit my goal time. I also experienced some temporary discomfort in my right knee (no doubt due to the curve in the road), which made it all the more challenging to pick up my pace. I was too stubborn (and a little nervous) to use any energy to zig-zag to a flatter area as I had before, so I painfully stuck it out. It was about this time that I heard a man behind me bust out an impassioned “So if you care to find me, look to the Western sky!” Yes! I thought to myself, as a tall bearded man strode past me, belting out “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked. Competitive Jenny roared to life. Ain’t no one gonna sing my favorite musical and pass me by doing what I do best! I gritted my teeth, did a few high butt kicks to stretch out my knee, lowered my chin, relaxed my shoulders, and fell right back into my stride.

I managed to catch up to a group of people I had been playing cat and mouse with for the past five miles. In the group, there were two other women who I targeted. Competetive Jenny stayed on their heels, silently biding her time. I maintained an even pace, saving my depleted stores of energy for the final dash to the finish line. One of the positives of doing a loop course instead of an out-and-back was that I already knew exactly how the finish was laid out. I knew there was a sharp turn about 300 yards from the finish, so there was no point in killing myself only to have to come to a screeching halt at that right angle. I picked it up a bit, passing most of the group. As I rounded the sharp turn, I took one last glance down at my pink Garmin and a wave of panic sloshed through the pit of my stomach. I was seconds away from missing my target time! Competitive Jenny howled at me to get my ass in gear. I lowered my head, tightened my arms against my body, and sprinted to the finish, every muscle and tendon in my body shrieking at me stop. Competitive Jenny told them to f*ck off. Go! Go! Go!


Probably the coolest medal EVER!

And you know the rest. By the way, it’s a very dirty trick to ask one’s age after they’ve just run 13.1 miles and sprinted across the finish line, but then again, the mental stimulation was a welcome change from the monotonous pace, form, stride, hydration. After walking around, cooling down a bit and throughly stretching, I pulled the medal out of my sports bra, peeled away the protective plastic wrap, and slipped the ribbon around my neck. The heavy square medal adorned with birds and tree branches (which of course I LOVE) gently beat against my diaphragm with each step I took towards the pavilion to retrieve my bag. I limped my way back towards the finish line when I saw the familiar bright orange of Mark’s thermal shirt rounding the second to last bend in the paved trail that weaved up to the finish. He was walking as I approached him, but he ran the last few hundred yards after the last sharp turn. I half ran, half dragged myself behind him, my incredibly sore feet not allowing me to keep up with him, but it was an awesome sight to be able to see him cross the finish line so strong.



We rested for a spell, then made the painfully slow journey back to our car. Wanting nothing more than to curl up into a ball and slip into a coma, my only motivating factor was that I knew I would soon be eating Bay cakes and bacon from Bay Diner: the meal I had promised to spoil myself with after I completed the race. They were, of course, the most delicious pancakes and bacon I had ever eaten in my entire life. Poor Mark looked positively green sitting across from me. The race took a lot out of him, and I knew he just wanted to go home, lie down on the couch, and watch some football. I asked for the check while reaching across the table, snatching the rest of Mark’s bacon: Competitive Jenny was still really hungry. We grunted and sighed as we stood up from our tiny table, the other diners stealing curious glances at this broke-down couple. We practically crawled to the car, then made our way back to Casa de Dietrich where I begrudgingly got out the foam roller and proceeded to torture myself for 45 minutes. After that, I pretty much spent the rest of the day lying inert on the couch. It was glorious – glorious, I say!

So, the burning question is did I like it, and the answer is I did. I loved the course, despite the banked curves that caused me some grief in the home stretch. The Metroparks were beautiful and the weather was perfect. The race itself was very well-organized. I was incredibly happy with my time, and despite the soreness and foot pain post-race, I was elated with how good my body felt throughout the race and how I recovered afterwards. Having said all that, I can easily and safely say that I will never run another half marathon ever again. I have zero regrets, and I am quite pleased that I completed this race and ran it so well; however, distance running just isn’t my jam. Additionally, I thought I would love training for a single sport, and though I did enjoy it, I found myself really missing my swimming. I even missed biking, which says quite a bit.

Now it’s the day after Thanksgiving. I’ve eaten my weight in delectable holiday fare, and am in desperate need of some cardio. December is going to be all about the strength training as I head into the beginning of triathlon training season in January. I can’t wait to sit down during my Winter break to plan out my next couple of months of training and to tentatively schedule some races. But first, another cup of coffee and slice of pie. Hey, don’t judge me, or I’ll sic Competitive Jenny on you.


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This is happening.

Six. More. Days. I can’t remember the last time I felt this nervous about a race. Granted, I haven’t been racing much in the past two years, but as the kids says, this one has me “rattled.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m super jazzed. I’ve been training really hard and I feel ready. But maybe that’s the reason why I’m all in my head about it. I feel ready and I just want it to be here! Meh, patience was never my strong suit.

Treated myself to a new outfit for the big day. I may not place in my AG, but I'll look cute and feel warm!

Treated myself to a new outfit for the big day. I may not place in my AG, but I’ll look cute and feel warm!

Something else I didn’t remember: how much tapering s u c k s. And this is still the early stages. Those of you who have trained for a big race, you feel me right now. Those of you who haven’t, welcome to your future! Here are your basic four phases of tapering. Yours may vary, but for the most part, you will feel all of these feels.

Phase 1: the crushing waves of guilt whenever you eat because you know you can’t “burn it off.” I know in my head that I’m not actually gaining weight, but try telling that to the taper crazies who have nested in the portion of my brain that processes logic.

Phase 2: doing anything to burn off the extra energy. I expect that in a day or two my house will be immaculate once I start cleaning to help release the energy pent-up from reducing my mileage so drastically. The cats will be bathed and their claws clipped. All of the laundry will be done. My closet will be organized then reorganized. Labels will be made and printed for all of my folders at work. ALL OF THEM, I SAY!

Phase 3: raging bitch mode, which is usually and rapidly followed by…

Phase 4: a euphoric giggly mood.

Tapering: it ain’t pretty, but it is a necessary evil. In the meantime, I have a few light workouts scheduled this week in the way of a slow 30-minute jog on Tuesday and Thursday. I will spend Wednesday and Friday walking, no doubt aimlessly, out on the trails. On Saturday, I will pick up my race packet, get all of my gear organized, and question myself several times as to why in the hell did I, a 5K’er, sign up to run a FREAKING HALF MARATHON.

Food Talk

Last week I tried my hand at another Cookie and Kate recipe: her easy brown rice risotto. You’ll note a couple of things, the first being my picture and her picture do not match up. I definitely need to play around with this recipe a little bit, but the flavor was still good. Mine did not thicken up like hers did, but again, I know what I need to tweak in order to get that true, creamy risotto consistency. I also forgot to buy oregano, which definitely would’ve added another (and needed) dimension of flavor. The verdict: tasty, and I’ll definitely try my hand at it again.

Terrible picture, but it still hit the spot

Terrible picture, but it still hit the spot

IMG_0162On Sunday, I downloaded the ebook The Best Paleo Recipes of 2014. For all of you Paleo junkies out there, this is straight up food porn. Oh, the recipes! The book, which is a collection of deliciousness put together by some of our beloved, popular Paleo chefs and bloggers, is carefully organized by meal, but you can also search for recipes by your favorite contributor. So far I’ve only made one recipe, and it was scrumptious. FedandFit.com blogger Cassy Joy Garcia included her recipe for “The Breakfast Salad,” which combines the best of an egg salad and guacamole. Consisting of hardboiled eggs, tomatoes, cilantro, avocado, and miniature sausage meatballs (she calls for pork, but I used turkey), this dish is colorful, creamy, and savory. Though the recipe notes that you can mix everything IMG_0219together and store it covered for up to three days, I chose to prepare all of the ingredients and store them separately. I didn’t want the potent red onion overpowering the rest of the ingredients as they marinated together, and I was afraid the texture of the meatballs would be affected by the acid from the lemon. This morning I woke up 5 minutes earlier than usual, which afforded me plenty of time to combine, stir, and package up an individual portion. I can’t wait to make more of these tasty treats!



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Ranty McRanterson

Let’s just clear something up right now: the timers at the 5K I ran this past Saturday got it wrong. That’s right, I’m diving right into this mini-rant. I just checked my times and they have me exactly 10 seconds slower than my Garmin. What the heck! Ok, rant over. I know what I did, and that’s all that matters.

Cold, muddy, confused, but  hey, I broke 24:00!

Cold, muddy, and slightly confused, but hey, I beat my goal time!

Speaking of what I did, I ran a 23:43, which sliced off  time from my last 5K back in July, but I am certain I would’ve been faster on a regular road course. Did I mention this was the weirdest course I’ve EVER raced in my life? No? Well let me tell you about it. We started out running across a grass field, then made a sharp right onto a mulch-laden path. If you’ve ever tried running on slightly soggy mulch, then you understand my newly discovered hatred of it. The best way to describe it is that it felt as though I was running across a trail of slightly firm sponges. Weird, I know.

We came off of the trail to run on more mowed grass around the outside of a baseball diamond. The grass path cut back around then through a slightly wooded area that I am pretty sure was the private property of the house adjacent to the field. Another sharp turn, this tim to the left, and we shot out on the other side of the other baseball diamond, winding our way over grass, gravel, and dirt. We finally got out onto the paved drive of the park running most of the length towards the main entrance, then turning on a dime, err, cone, to go back the way we had just come. We made one more sharp left back onto a short, wooded, mulch/sponge-covered path, which opened up onto another mowed field, which led to the paved path, which led to the finish line…where they messed up my time by 10 God-damned seconds. Needless to say, I did not love this course. I also didn’t have my trail shoes on, which I think would’ve helped at least little bit. Now I’m making excuses when really I just hated the erratic pattern of that course. It felt thrown together – and that mulch can go f*** itself.

The other great disappointment of the event (other than the windy 37 degree temperature) was that I had planned to use my time to set my pace for the half marathon, but with it being a “trail” race, that’s no longer possible. Sure, I could probably fudge it a little, but I was really hoping to have a solid time heading into this half, which is now only 13 days away. I may or may not run a TT this week, but I also might just let it go. As long as I can finish the half marathon in under 1:50:00, I will be happy, and with the time from this past Saturday’s race, I’m close to 1:49:00. That’s cutting it closer than I’d like, but again, that’s gauging my pace off of the world’s jankiest race course.

The flip side of all of this is that I’m clearly faster, and that’s only after 9 weeks of focused training. I’m in the best shape I have been in my entire life, and it’s only going to get better. Even though December is off-season for triathlon and training doesn’t pick back up until January, I’m planning on keeping up with my strength training. I’m loving the muscle development I’m seeing and I want to maintain that. I’ll also be working hard on my cycling/trainer this winter. I need to. I think I went out on my bike maybe six times this past season, and that’s including my race in Massachusetts. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that. Don’t hate me cycling/tri buddies!

Food Talk

My obsession with being pseudo-Paleo continues. Last week I made a couple of recipes that area already huge favorites of mine. The first was a “No-Noodle” Pad Thai from the blog I mentioned last week, Cookie and Kate. If you love Pad Thai, then you will love this ridiculously easy, no-cook, gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly version. Granted, none of that actually sounds all that appealing, but take my word for it: it was delicious!


The other recipe that I loved so much I made it again this week is from PaleOMG‘s blog. I made her spinach and turkey sausage stuffed sweet potatoes, and OMG (see what I did there?), they are delicious. If you like salty and sweet – and really, who doesn’t – then you will inhale this clean, filling, healthy meal. Note: I did not use bacon fat to sauté my aromatics; I used good ol’ non-Paleo EVO. I made my potatoes and stuffing ahead of time and packed everything separately. It was very easy to warm everything up in the microwave at work, starting with the potato, then the sausage mixture. Several of my co-workers looked at me as if they would shank me for my lunch as they sat eating their frozen meals and cold sandwiches. I could see it in their eyes. Yes, this meal could incite a prison-style murder. You’ve been warned.

Not the most appealing picture, but the taste is where it's at!

Not the most appealing picture, but the taste is where it’s at!


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