Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bones and bacteria

It's been a great feeling to check things off the list first thing in the morning.

Today I squeezed in my 2-mile taper run before my yoga class. Check!

Now, all that's left is a short taper ride tomorrow and Columbia, here I come!

But, first things first . . . here is the special notice that is now posted on the Columbia Triathlon's website:

During the last two decades, Howard County’s Department of Recreation & Parks has partnered with The Columbia Triathlon Association in bringing triathlon events to the County. In charge of overseeing and maintaining County parks, Recreation & Parks performs water quality testing on Centennial Lake (home to Columbia Tri events) on a regular basis throughout the year. In the weeks leading up to any swim event, this water quality testing is done more frequently. In testing completed over the last couple of days, some sample results have shown an increased level of transient bacteria, due in part to the significant amount of rainfall and run off we have experienced these past weeks. These levels are temporary and do fluctuate with environmental conditions, but we cannot predict what those levels may be in the next few days. As a result, we will keep you posted should any changes occur to this Sunday’s Columbia Triathlon.

What this actually means is that there is a chance that the triathlon could become a duathlon--Run, bike, run--and I can't begin to say how many ways this frustrates me, but here's the short list:

1) I don't really like to run. I don't hate it, but it's definitely my weakest link and definitely the area that I've struggled with most in terms of performance and injury. Now way do I want to swap the swim segment for another run!

2) If I wanted to do a duathlon, I'd do one. I don't.

3) One of our races last year was changed to a du because of a crazy early AM thunderstorm that passed through right at race start time. I'd been injured and had only run up to 3.5 miles before that race; I was prepared to run 5 miles that day, but not 8! To make matters worse, I ran those 8 miles on a broken foot! (I'd hurt it in a previous race but had not yet learned it was a metatarsal stress fracture.) Not exactly the high point of my 2010 race season.

Now that I've wandered over to the topic of broken bones, let's talk injuries for a moment. How many broken bones have you had? How many of those have affected your fitness routines? Post a reply if you have a good broken bone story to share . . . especially if you had a creative way to still keep the workouts coming . . .

Luckily, I've had very few broken bones. The first and worse was in December 1994 when an oncoming vehicle lost control and crashed into my car. The flat bone under my left ankle was shattered and three metatarsals were broken. I was in a cast for three months. When the pain subsided and I was solidly into the healing phase, I hobbled my way to the gym after work (after hobbling around Baltimore city on crutches all day as a transportation sales rep) and rode the bikes, cast and all; getting some form of exercise was the only thing keeping me sane.

I've since broken three toes--one when I saved my infant daughter from falling backward off a couch and onto a table; I sacrificed the toe for her skull; one of my best wagers to date.

The second one was the pinky, taken out during a backyard game of volleyball just a few days before a sprint triathlon; I taped it up and raced anyway.

The opposing pinky toe was close to following in the other's footsteps (haha) when it collided with the back leg of my boisterous Labrador. I think it was only a sprain.

However, the Labrador was not to be denied. Just a few hours ago she made an attempt on my left hand; the jury is out as to whether or not she was successful. During a rowdy round of rough-housing, I swung my arm out to reach for her just as she swung her big head, open-mouthed, in my direction and hand collided with tooth. The thumb is now stiff, swelling a bit, and quite uncomfortable to the point that packing lunches proved a minor challenge. In fact, trying to type this post is causing the ache to travel down to the wrist.

So, with that, I'll wrap it up. If my hand turns out to be broken, or sprained, I'll still race on Sunday. Unless, of course, it's a duathlon, in which case the pain will surely be too great.

Today's workout:
2-mile taper run; 248 cal
60 minutes yoga
30 minutes light lifting and stretching

Today's recipes: (compliments of the American Institute for Cancer Research on how to Make Your Cuisine Green)

Barley and Spring Greens

Canola oil spray
3/4 cup chopped onions
1 fennel bulb, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
1-3 cloves garlic (or to taste), finely chopped
3/4 cup thin slices of red, orange and/or yellow bell pepper (about 1 medium)
1 cup pearl barley
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried marjoram
4-5 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup spinach leaves, torn into pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. finely-chopped fresh basil

Generously coat large, heavy pot with spray oil and place over medium-high heat. Add onions and fennel and sauté until tender, 5 to10 minutes. Add oil and heat until hot. Add garlic and bell peppers and sauté lightly for 1 to 2 minutes.

Stir in barley, thyme, marjoram and broth. Bring to boil, immediate reduce heat to low and simmer until liquid is almost absorbed, stirring occasionally, 40 to 50 minutes or until barley is tender. Midway through cooking process, add salt and pepper to taste.

When barley is cooked, add spinach, cheese and basil. Stir to blend and adjust seasonings.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 172 calories, 3 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat), 32 g. carbohydrate, 7 g. protein, 7 g. dietary fiber, 464 mg. sodium.

Swiss Chard with Dried Cherries and Pine Nuts

3 Tbsp. dried cherries*
1/2 lb. fresh Swiss chard, washed well and dried**
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. pine nuts
Salt and pepper, to taste

In small pan, place cherries with water to cover. Bring to boil, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut chard leaves away from stems and central rib. Cut leaves into 1/4 inch slices crosswise. In large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chard leaves and garlic. Sauté, stirring frequently, 6-8 minutes or until chard is tender. Drain cherries and add with pine nuts to chard. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

Per serving: 91 calories, 6 g. total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 8 g. carbohydrates, 2 g. protein, 3 g. dietary fiber, 121 mg. sodium.

*Dried cranberries may be substituted for dried cherries.
**One package (9 oz.) of pre-washed baby spinach leaves may be substituted for chard.

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