Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Perfect Banana Mango Smoothie

I had an awesome banana mango smoothie at a restaurant recently, and asked for the secret to how it was made. They said that the secret was frozen bananas, a little orange juice, and a little soy milk.

Here's what I came up with: 1/2 cup frozen banana, softened in the microwave, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 2 oz soy milk and 2 oz orange juice. Throw it all in the blender, and yum! 160 calories.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rock N Roll Half Marathon

I've been working hard with my running and nutrition, and it's definitely paying off.

I traveled to Arizona this weekend for PF Chang's Rock N Roll Half Marathon. My goal was to finish in under two hours. After all, I ran the City of Angels Half Marathon in 2:06:42, and a few weeks ago, I did an 11-mile run at a 9:30 per mile pace.

Then again, things don't always go perfectly as planned on race day.

I was wearing a race bib on my back with "2:00" on it. I planned to run with the 2-hour pace group. Unfortunately, we couldn't find the start, and when we finally found it, there were just thousands upon thousands of people there. I got into the start corral, but could get nowhere near the 2-hour pace group. However, I could see their wooden stick with "2:00" on it and planned to keep it in sight and catch up in a couple of miles.

Finally, our corral is allowed through the start line. It's a mass of people, and fortunately, I was in a corral with people who run about my pace, so I didn't have to dodge around walkers or get knocked over by misplaced Kenyans aiming for a world record.

The first mile went well. I knew I had to keep a 9:10 per mile pace to finish in under 2 hours. The second went well. Right on pace. The bands were entertaining, and every so often there was a crowd cheering us on. Then during the third mile, I felt something under my feet, particularly my left foot. It was annoying, kind of burning, like a part of my sock that was bunched up. I ran through the pain. But it got worse. I gritted my teeth and kept on running.

Finally, at mile seven, I thought to myself, I need to do something about this sock! I stopped at the side of the road, pulled off my shoe, and to my dismay, my sock was perfectly stretched out over my foot. I stretched out my toes and discovered the issue: My plantar fasciitis was acting up at an inopportune moment. Was it the relatively new shoes? I had worn them for three runs, though they were all relatively short. Or could it be my forgetting to take my usual ibuprofen in the chaos of race morning?

I quickly laced up my shoe, stood up, muttered under my breath, "Go girl go!" and took off. The pain got worse as I went, and by mile eight I could feel absolute agony in the bottom of both feet. I found that by flexing my toes with each step that the pain would subside slightly.

Unfortunately, the discomfort of my feet slowed my pace to 9:30-9:40 per mile. By now I lost sight of the pink "2:00" sign. I pushed on, occasionally gritting my teeth. If this happened on marathon day (which is in two weeks), I'd have to drop out. But this is only a half marathon. And I have to push on.

Adding to the annoyance of the pain in my feet, I had the "2:00" bib on my back. Random people would ask me if I was the pace group leader (obviously not!) and if I was on pace. Finally, one girl at mile 11 inquired, and I knew that 2 hours was a lost cause. As she ran by me, I reached to my back, pulled off the safety pins, and at the next water stop wadded up the pink "2:00" bib and threw it in the trash.

This is one of those races that just wasn't fun for me because of the pain. I had to keep reminding myself, only three more miles, only two miles, only 2 kilometers, only a quarter of a mile, and so forth. As some put it, it's one of those races where we "dig deep", to find the emotional energy to just get through. I remind myself of the things I've accomplished -- and know that if I could get through those things, I can sure trudge through one more painful mile of a race.

My finishing time was 2:03:24. I didn't meet my goal, but it's a personal record for me for a half marathon. And I'm still proud of that performance, knowing that under better conditions, I can go even faster.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Crock Pot Magic

I have a new toy: a Crock Pot.

They're amazing! Basically, you add a bunch of ingredients, turn it on, go to work, and magically hours later you have a healthy, tasty meal!

I made chili by mixing tomato sauce, black beans, chick peas, and vegan burger crumbles, and setting the Crock Pot at low for eight hours. Another day, I added some frozen vegetables to a bottle of pasta sauce and cooked for four hours. The veggies added great flavor to the sauce.

This is my most recent creation. Two cans of chick peas, one pound of baby carrots, onion, veggie broth, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and oregano, mixed up in the crock pot, cooked on low for seven hours. Then the mixture was poured into the food processor and voila! A healthy side dish with veggies (carrot) and protein (chick peas).

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Bike Ride Calamity

Today I have decided that I need a RoadID for my bike shoes. Here is why.

My tri club had a New Years Day fun ride today. About twenty or so riders met up, including a woman who had just moved to the area and was new to the club. I introduced myself, welcomed her to the club, and we chatted for a few minutes before we headed out onto the ride.

She was about 50 feet ahead of me. About a half a mile into the ride, I saw her fly over her handlebars, flip in the air, and hit her head on the ground.

I dropped my bike and ran toward her. She was unconscious, and gasping for air. I prevented anyone from moving her, checked to make sure she had a pulse, and then very gently lifted her jaw to open her airway. There was another physician riding separately who also stopped to help. Another rider called 911.

While she lay unconscious, other people in our group searched her bike for some identification, as we had all just met her for the first time today and all we knew was her first name. Unfortunately, we could not find any ID.

It seemed like a long span of 2 or 3 minutes before she opened her eyes, and even then, all she could tell us was her name. Shortly after, she could tell us her parents' phone number, and we contacted them. The paramedics arrived and took her to the County Hospital.

She was pretty banged up, with some scrapes and bruising to her face, left shoulder and elbow. Fortunately, she was wearing a helmet -- I believe it is our club's policy that to come on a club ride that you need a helmet, but I see so many people riding without one -- and she sustained only a minor concussion. She does not remember the accident.

The lessons I've learned today are:
Carry ID when you ride.
Always wear a helmet when riding.

Image from torontoist.com