Late Summer Recipes

I know, it’s already fall in some places, but it’s still been hot here in Texas, so I wanted to jot down a few of our end-of-season eats delicious eats.  I’ve had a special treat of David helping me in the kitchen lately (he knows I love when we cook together), and I like the new ideas and flavor combinations he brings.

Breakfast: I am still on a major smoothie kick; can’t stop, won’t stop.  They are too delicious and there are too many possibilities!  Plus a great way to get all my vitamins + antioxidants straight away.  I’ve been making green smoothies when I have time at home on the weekends and/or if I don’t go to the gym on the way to work.  If I swim in the  AM and drive to work directly afterwards, I usually drink a small kid’s Horizons organic milk to refuel immediately, then I have some overnight (soaked) oats once I get to my desk.

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The overnight oats the the bottom right above were spectacular: oats, chia seed, pumpkin seed, flax seed, soaked in milk and topped with frozen blueberries, fresh raspberries and fresh figs.  And spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and a little maple.  Maybe I went overboard, but it was SO good.  I like them served cold or at room temperature during the summer.

Lunch:  I normally pack my lunch for work, but when we have time on the weekends, I love to make a colorful creation.  Below left is an adaption of Oh She Glow’s the Big Vegan Bowl.  I think I had this two days in a row it was so good.  Who doesn’t want a big dollop of hummus on everything?!  I am also having an obsession with purple cabbage.  It brightens my plate.  Below right is a standard egg-veggie-rice scramble that we do around here.  I like 1 egg + 2 egg whites with nutritional yeast and a stir fry of whatever veggies I have with a little soy or tamari and sesame seeds over brown rice.  David said he could eat this everyday at work if only they had a kitchen.

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Dinner:  I had been doing some reading on how great lentils are for you (fiber, folate, protein) and decided to cook more of them lately.  By chance I whipped up some lentil tacos (or fajitas?) with onion, bell pepper, jalapeno and some taco seasoning (which I keep a little bag of on-hand).  These were a hit!  We ate them twice in one week and served them with a side of fruit.  Dragon fruit is pictured below.

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I also decided to get some variety in my dark leafy greens and get collards instead of the usual kale.  I always forget about collards, then when I get them realize how versatile they are.  They were awesome for burrito wraps (see this tutorial), with lots of veggies, brown rice, tofu and hummus inside.  They also worked really well in smoothies.

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We’ve also enjoyed pizza night lately using Whole Food’s pre-made frozen pizza dough.  It’s not homemade, but it’s one of our favorites.  We like that we can add our own toppings and usually end up with some sort of margarita-like pizza with dollops of cheese (not too much!).

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And lastly David surprised me by picking out a recipe and cooking this amazing Mango-lime Ceviche!  We used poached Swai fish (Asian catfish which I preferred to US catfish – still a “Best Choice” at Seafood Watch). It was so fresh and flavorful, and I already asked if we could make it again.

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Dessert: David and I cannot find dark chocolate better than Equal Exchange Extra Dark Chocolate 80% which I buy on Vitacost or iHerb.  It is the BEST, and it is organic & fair trade.  I also found the trick to suck on chocolate instead of chew it.  It lasts longer and you get to taste all the flavors.  Don’t knock it until you try it!

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Post-Ironman & Triathlon Reflections

Hello everyone!  I never really posted about ironman and on reflections on my 2014 triathlon season in general, but it’s something I had intended to do months ago.   I did have mixed emotions in the months post-ironman.  I didn’t get what some might call the post-ironman blues (I was more than happy to let my body relax and recover for a couple of months), but it did leave a lot of questions in my mind.  After the HUGE feeling of accomplishment and success, what would be next?  I had put years of work into getting to that finish line, so after reaching it, I did feel a bit lost as to what my next big goal would be; should it be triathlon-related, something new, or did I even need a goal?

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Beyond my dreams… But then what?

The post-race high was by far the best and I basked in that glory as long as I could (maybe a couple weeks?).  Though soon enough, reality set back in and the excitement and conversation about the  race subsided.  I was and am still very proud of the accomplishment, but it was less and less a topic of conversation.  As far as my free time went, I certainly had enough going on: a couple of weekend trips, house hunting, and hobbies such as cooking that I was looking forward to again; so I was never bored nor did I feel like I needed to sign up for another long-distance race to fill up my time.  My motivation for racing was just not as strong as it had been prior to ironman.  I still loved training, but wasn’t ready to sign up for another race immediately.  At the same time, I didn’t have anything on the horizon and was kind of in no-man’s land.  I loved the gadget-free workouts and time to workout with friends (and I needed that time to recover mentally and physically), but the change in mindset was an adjustment for me.  I also knew what it felt like to hit my “peak fitness” in April, and now I wasn’t (and still am not) there.  But I’m okay with that for now.  I know I can get there again someday if I want.

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And if I’m totally honest I will say food and eating was a little bit of a challenge in the months post-ironman.  I went from being a food disposal that could never get full during ironman training to eating like a normal person and remembering I didn’t have to eat extra snacks/servings or eat copious amounts of nut butter.  I still love my nut butter but I am trying not to finish the jars too quickly.  It shouldn’t be so difficult, as I should be able to listen to my body/fullness more, but I do love food and I  had mentally conditioned myself to larger portions to get the calories I need and not wake up at night.  Some days I still want to go back to endurance training so I can have that wonderful feeling of exhaustion.  I adored coming home physically spent from a long brick and throwing on my compression gear and refueling, though I know that this is not the only reason I should be training (still, one of my favorite things is a big breakfast or smoothie post-ride, run or swim!).

I also had a lot of people who wondered what my next ironman would be, but I don’t see ironman races as a frequent occurrence in my life.  If and when I do them, they will be calculated and deliberate.   I love my body and it serves me well for endurance efforts, but I feel that it needs time in between long-distances, specifically for the run portion.  I feel marathons are a lot of stress for my hips/knees, and if you’ve ever seen me run you know by my form that I’m not a born runner.  I feel I have to be careful with how many long distance runs I perform over a given time period.  I also very much love my husband, and while he is a number one supporter, a hobby such as ironman has me away from him a lot.  I would venture to say the biggest culprit is the bike, purely due to time required.  It’s just a lot of commitment if you do things right, and if I commit I like to do things right.  I absolutely LOVED my ironman training & race (I feel that Marni prepared me so well and gave me the best balanced plan possible), and I’m not saying I will never do an ironman again, but it just won’t be in anytime too soon!

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So since IMTX I had felt a little “off” or not as focused on the triathlon front.  I eventually signed up for an Olympic distance race on Labor Day (with David & some of our friends) which I did some fairly solid yet less volume training for and it was a great success for me.  After finishing it, I knew it was the perfect way to end the season.  I had completed both an ironman and also a shorter distance race in which I finished competitively within my age group, something I had hoped would someday happen.  I had debated signing up for a half ironman in the fall, but it never felt right.  My heart is just not there to train for another endurance event this year.  I don’t think this is a bad thing; I think every athlete needs breaks and time to refocus.  I still love training and will train and enjoy staying fit even if I don’t have a race on the calendar, but I don’t want to sign up for a triathlon because I feel like I have to.

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Where is my heart?  What I do know is I want to spend more time in the pool and to sign up for something different and fun –  maybe a long swim?  Swimming just feels right lately.  I’m not always at my fastest, but there are days where I feel one with the water and it’s like when I first started bike riding: Zen.  The fluidity and ease of the water yet the challenge of the workout are the perfect juxtaposition.   I love starting my day in this happy place, knowing that I’m getting to watch the sun rise from the water.  I also want to explore some creative and expressive hobbies: maybe journaling, yoga/meditation, and art.  Or whatever I yearn for during this extra time on the weekends.  I guess I’ll let my heart be my guide and see where next year takes me.

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Sunrise is my favorite part of the day – fresh beginnings and new adventures

Have you ever had these feelings after a big accomplishment or event?  I have a hard time translating these thoughts to paper.

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