Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The W Factor

This morning's swim was a gentle breeze compared to tonight's wickedly cold and windy ride. The temperature at 7 PM was forecast to be 48 degrees with winds at 20 mph and gusting, with a "real feel" temp of 42 degrees.

That's a bit cold for this triathlon mama, and precisely why I head indoors to a spin class when the temps dip into the 40's (not to mention the snow and ice we get on the roads in this area during the winter months). So, I was all for bagging the ride and, since a sitter was already lined up, perhaps heading out for a dinner date with my husband, like normal people do.

But, oh no. My dear husband/training partner wouldn't hear of it and talked me right out of my common sense and into that ride.

This is where the list of "W's" started running through my head:

"Why?" Because I can. And, because I'm not one to back down from a challenge.

"Wind." And I do mean, wind! What my 6'2", 210 pound husband doesn't appreciate is that he weighs almost twice as much as me. If you put a paper cup and a glass cup in front of a fan, which one do you think would blow over? When those wind gusts hit me directly from the side, I'm literally almost knocked off my bike. It took so much concentration to stay on the road and in control of my bike that I forgot about being cold. When I'd hit a stretch in the road that was bordered by rolling fields, I felt as vulnerable as a Kansas farm house. Small airplanes are grounded for lesser crosswinds than we had tonight. Much as I hate to admit it, my husband is also a bit faster than me so his forward velocity also helps him to counteract the impact of the perpendicular wind. Riding in the aero position was nearly out of the question for me tonight; I could not stay in control with my elbows tucked in.

"Wham." Here's a physics word problem. If a biker is traveling at 15 mph and encounters a direct headwind of 20 mph, what is the direct impact/force between biker and wind? Yep, that cold air hitting me in the face actually felt like a 35 mph icy blast. Actually, I was lucky if I was still going 15 mph at that point. The wind slowing my speed increased the total ride time, so the sun was well past set before we got home, leaving us riding our last leg in "too dark for comfort" conditions for me. At which point I was thinking . . .

"What?" As in, "What the $@&* am I doing out here?" Then I remembered . . .

"Wasabi." Shamefully, my husband bribed me with a take-out sushi dinner if I toughed it out with him. I fell for it.

"Warm." It's how I'm finally feeling two hours post-ride and after a hot shower and a nice sushi meal in front of the fireplace.

"Wiped out." How I feel at the end of every day.

So, to recap the day's workout(s) and fuel:

Pre-swim: Herbal tea and toasted whole wheat English Muffin with almond butter and honey.

Swim: 1800 yards (workout to follow)

Post-swim: Lots of water. Hard-boiled egg, leftover cooked cabbage and spaghetti squash (and, I must admit, a small plate of tortilla chips with melted cheese. I am so addicted to the stuff! Plus, there's protein in the cheese, right?) Small handful of dark chocolate-covered almonds for dessert.

Snack: Plain Greek yogurt with homemade granola (recipe to follow)

Pre-bike: Small slice of whole wheat white pizza

Bike: 20 (hilly, windy, cold) miles

Post-bike: Snap peas, edamame, sushi, and a few more chocolate almonds for dessert.

Swim Workout 3 (1800 yards)

350 Warm Up (choice)
4 x 50: Fly down, backstroke back
5 x 50: IM order down, Free back on a 1 minute interval
3 x 50: Underwater swim down as far as you can, then fly the rest of the way, streamline kick back @ 10 sec rest*
350 Pull
2 x 50 Scull down and back in a "V" shape; pull-ups/push-ups/dips at the walls.**
5 x 50 Kick--Free down, Breast back @ 10 sec rest
50 Free, easy
100 IM cool down***

*Underwater swimming builds lung capacity
** V-shape scull works arms as well as core/abs
***Always stretch before leaving the pool

Note: If you print these workouts and put the paper in a Ziploc bag you can keep it dry at poolside; or copy onto your pool's dry erase board. I will post/compile all swim workouts in the April 2, 2011 blog entry titled "Swim workouts" so you can find them all in one place.

Move over Bare Naked Granola! This healthy, homemade granola recipe from my friend Jen, a baking whiz (and provider of the Ginger-spiced pumpkin muffin recipe, by the way), is the best of its kind out there. It's good on everything--yogurt, ice cream, cereal, oatmeal, milk--even by itself! I can't keep the stuff in my house. Enjoy!

Crunchy Granola

1 1/2 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. water
4 t. pure vanilla extract
1 t. salt
8 c. rolled oats
2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts, or slivered almonds
1/2 c. wheat germ
2 T. ground flaxseed
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds and/or sunflower seeds
Add golden raisins, Craisins/dried cut-up fruit, and dark chocolate chips at the end if you wish.

Preheat oven to 275 degrees
Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper
Combine brown sugar and water in a 4-cup microwave-safe dish and cook on high for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave and add vanilla extract and salt; stir until sugar is completely dissolved.

In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, nuts, wheat germ, flax and seeds. Add brown sugar mixture and stir until thoroughly mixed. Spread granola onto cookie sheets and bake for 1 hour.
When granola comes out of the oven, add fruit/chocolate and toss. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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