Thursday, July 10, 2014

Coconut Rice Pudding

Don’t ask me why but I have been having a major craving for rice pudding. Most of it is because I am not getting enough calories at lunch. When I am at work there isn’t much I can do to satisfy my sweet-tooth while getting in good calories as opposed to crap calories. At some point I made up my mind that a vegan rice pudding was the answer. After sorting through a number of recipes, I threw together one of my own using simple ingredients I have available in my cupboard:

photo 1 (2)

- 1 bag of boil-in-bag brown rice (because I am lazy or 2c. of cooked rice for you over-achievers)

- 1 can of coconut milk

- 1/4c. of coconut sugar

- 1/2c. raisins

- 1/4c. shredded coconut

-1/2tsp. each of cinnamon and ginger

-1tsp vanilla

While the rice was boiling I heated the coconut milk gently over the medium/low setting. I added the raisins and coconut to give them time to plump and soften. I added the cooked rice and spices and cooked the mixture over low heat until the majority of the milk had been absorbed. I turned off the heat and added the vanilla. I allowed the mixture to sit briefly before I packed the stash in small containers for eating on the go.

photo 3 (2)

If you do not have coconut sugar you can omit the sugar entirely or use plain sugar. I decided to use the coconut sugar since it has a lower glycemic index than regular sugar. That just means I satisfy my sweet tooth without creating a spike in my blood sugar. The rice pudding would have been the traditional white color if I had opted to use regular sugar but the coconut sugar really compliments the nutty flavor of the brown rice. I am going to call it a winning combo.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Race Report: Ironman Raleigh 70.3

Ahhhhh . . . the Raleigh race report. I was pretty excited about this race and I was equally excited about writing my race report. Now, more than, oh a month later, not so much. I spent the Monday after the race relaxing at my Dad's house in Raleigh. Unfortunately by the time I drove back to Charlotte I had developed the mother of all sore throats and spent the night tossing and turning with fever sweats. Stuck at home for two days in a fever induced delirium, I made a lot of questionable decisions. Washing (and ruining) 5 pure silk drapes pretty much exemplifies what happens when I am left to my devices and not exactly thinking clearly. In hindsight, I should have written my race report at the height of my fever. I bet it would have been a lot more entertaining.


I decided not to drive to Raleigh until Saturday morning before the race. I did not get a lot of scheduled down time in the week leading into the race and I really don't enjoy trying to get everything together Friday after work AND then hitting the road. I woke up Saturday morning, enjoyed a nice breakfast, and put some finishing touches on my gear. After a short rain shower blew through Charlotte I kissed my cats and hit the road.

While driving to Raleigh I made the executive decision to drive straight to the swim and then drive the bike course into town and to packet pick up. While it was great to see the entire course, driving 56 miles takes a really long time and is quite boring, especially after 2.5 hours of driving. The course seemed to showcase NC's finest foothills and lake views. It snaked through the countryside and dipped into the forests before emerging loud and proud in the middle of downtown. Even though I grew up in Raleigh, I recognized none of it. Hahaha, oh well.

I spent the rest of the day gathering stuff and dropping it all off again. And by rest of the day I really mean all day. I was once again reminded why point-to-point races are everyone's favorite . . . but not mine.

T1 and the start of the swim at Jordan Lake
Swim:
I wasn't expecting the swim to be wetsuit legal, at least for the pro field, but I learned the day before WTC has a different wetsuit cut off temperature than USAT.  This sparked quite a bit of confusion at the pro meeting the day before but in case you are curious WTC wetsuit temperature is 76.1 for all fields. For all USAT sanctioned events the cut off is 78 degrees for age group fields and 68 degrees for all swims under 3K in the elite field. Seems silly but I don't make the rules, I just have to follow them.

Despite having a swim background, I don't hate wetsuits. Wetsuits are fast, especially my Blueseventy Helix, but they also make swimming quite a bit easier. The flotation they provide takes a lot of stress off your core, hips, and legs. In short, wetsuits make it easier for everyone. However, when you combine a hard effort, borderline temperature conditions, and a full sleeve wetsuit things get toasty and in my opinion, unpleasant. Quite a bit different from my swim in Chattanooga!

Nothing but wetsuit love right there
I was in the water with plenty of time to warm-up. The water was calm and the course was a straight forward two-turn triangular shape. No one seemed happy to be in a wetsuit and for a moment I enjoyed being around ladies who were equally enthused by the day's wetsuit swim. Nonetheless we quit our bitchin' in time for the count down and I took off in my customary sorta-pseudo-swim sprint. I was with the lead pack of ladies until the girl in front of me dropped off. Since I was right behind her I could not get around her fast enough to latch back on. This, folks, is why it is better to swim off to someone's side rather than their feet (but ultimately you do whatever you can). At the time I remember thinking how mass start swims are a lot like bike racing. It is all about being in the right place at the right time and being prepared to tap into your fitness when required.

The leader had a SUP lead which I could sight and follow but the lead was growing and I was starting to feel sick to my stomach. My legs felt hot and I stopped trying to kick.  I felt so gross. I excited the swim feeling spent but still had to run up the hill to transition. I only caught a glimpse of one of the ladies ahead me exiting on her bike. I struggled a bit to get through transition but once I did I was happy to let the air cool my core as I headed out on the bike course.

Bike:
Since I painstakingly drove the bike course the day before I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. I did not research the weather, however, and did not anticipate a headwind for most of the course. I was given a target power number and I was eager to see if I could still hit it given my new bike position. I have been working with James Haycraft on my position and once we got it dialed in we had to make some small equipment changes. Some of which I tried to do myself resulting in the fork falling out of my head tube right before I was supposed to help lead at the Carolina Half course preview ride in Davidson. I learned my lesson and took Sam to Inside Out Sports the week prior to the race and let James and Greg handle the last minute tweaking and race prep.

My custom Cervelo P2 thanks to a couple of auto decals
Linsey Corbin's custom Trek Speed Concept (probs not auto decals)
I was a little nervous about the bike course or my ability to ride the course without getting a drafting/blocking penalty. The race officials were very adamant about enforcing the rules. Each rider has a 10m drafting zone beginning at the front of his/her bike wheel and extending about 9 meters back. If you get in that 10m drafting zone you have to pass and if in passing you get into someone else's drafting zone you have to pass them too so if there is a long line of riders you have to pass everyone . . . in one go. Ouch! They also discouraged slipstreaming and a whole long list of other tactics commonly used in racing. I did my best to keep a low profile but I ended up catching up with another female who was riding the hills hard and the flats easy. This was pretty much the opposite of how I was riding. I was having a hard time deciding what to do. I did not want to blow myself up going too hard on a hill but I was getting tired of soft pedaling the flats. She was also riding on the left side of the lane. An official rode behind her forever and I thought for sure she would get a blocking penalty because I could not pass her on her left without crossing the yellow line. She didn't. I guess WTC picks and chooses when they will enforce the rules.  Eventually Linsey Corbin passed us and I decided to make my move. My motivation? I wanted to tell Tim Ferguson I rode with Linsey Corbin. I counted each minute so I could tell Tim all about it. 43.

My kit has no pockets so the taking
of this picture was well timed.
Eventually I got stuck behind a dude during intervals on the course (dudes are so freaking weird). I am not a fan of wasting the energy of going back and forth with another racer and since I was starting to catch some of the ladies ahead of me I was confident and content in my positioning. Coming into the city was mostly uphill and as the wind started to pick up I realized just how much I wanted to get off my bike. It is funny how you can hit mile 50 and feel this sense of relief, "pheeeeeeew almost done! I made it!" and then have the last 20 minutes just crush you. Thanks Raleigh! Coming into the city I had to get over some tough hills and the wind was dead set against making it easy. While I was more than ready to get off my bike I was also thankful I had not pushed the pace early in the ride. I really needed my legs to get up those last three hills and I ended up coming into transition with 3 other ladies. Of course I was the last one to leave transition . . . I still have some work to do there. I blame the socks.



Run:
Oh my gawd, heading out onto the run my legs felt so heavy. The other girls were already gone and I was struggling to get my feet off the ground. The new run course consisted of two loops with the first half of each loop heading up a long low grade hill. After seeing my mom, dad, and stepmom out on the course I felt pretty alone. Luckily some of the spectators I knew from back in the day started to cheer for me after seeing the "LEISER" scrolled across my butt. While I was having trouble locking in on faces from the depths of my very own personal hurt locker the crowd's energy put a HUGE pep in my step and by the second loop I was feeling much much better. I was feeling light on my feet as my legs were finally starting to turn over. I was also starting to see some of my friends and teammates from all over NC. It was really cool to encounter one familiar face after another. The sun was finally shining in full force but the breeze kept the temperatures from truly escalating. And guess what!! I passed someone! In the last quarter mile I passed a competitor . . . on the run . . . in a race! Oh yeah!

Go ICE and Team Ferguson!
I wish I could have pulled my run together a little earlier but overall I am happy with my race. Every race is a challenge and presents a new opportunity to learn something about myself. While I am a little disappointed with my position coming out of the swim I challenged myself to be a little more aggressive on the bike. Just because I do not like to yo-yo with other athletes on the course does not me I am content to let the race ride away from me. I was still smart and allowed my watts to slowly build over the course. I probably could have been a bit smarter the last 6 miles but I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and that was all I was focused on. Last year I would have been super happy with my run and the fact that I am slightly disappointed shows just how far I have come. Still work to do but I am on it. Next up Challenge New Albany!

Check out my interview after the race! I had just just finished and could barely talk. Thanks guys.


I just want to take a second to thank my family to trekking out to the race course. Spectating is both hard and exhausting. It is probably worse than spectating during my swimming days -standing out in the heat for hours only to catch a glimpse of me rolling by for a second or two . . . that's dedication. I would also like to thanks Inside Out Sports for all their support. I rely heavily on James, Melissa, and Greg to get me ready for race day. Charlotte is so fortunate to have a store that specializes in making you a better triathlete. I do not want to spend all my money on products that are all flare and no function. Their combined experience and knowledge is unparalleled.