Monthly Archives: March 2011

TNT coaching weekend

I am finally getting a chance to post about the amazing weekend I had at the Team in Training Triathlon Coaches certification in Washington DC. I got back on Sunday night and have been playing catch-up with work, sleep, and everything else.

As I mentioned, the course was taught by Dave Scott. Dave is a six-time Ironman World Champion (he won his first Kona in 1980), and one of the nicest, coolest people ever. His passion for teaching and coaching is apparent, and it was a true pleasure learning from “the man.” We covered an incredible amount of information in only two days, and it went by in kind of a blur. Highlights included running down towards the DC Mall on Saturday to an open grassy field to practice running drills. On the way back I got to run and chat with Dave. Now we’re obviously best friends.

What did you do on Saturday? Oh not much, just went for a run with six-time Ironman world champion Dave Scott. You know, no big deal. I’m still kind of geeking out just thinking about it.

Sunday we walked to the local YMCA to learn how to coach swimming. Swimming is my nemesis, so I was hoping to learn some things that would help my own pathetic stroke. We did practice a few drills and learned how to anaylize someone’s stroke, but to be honest I still feel slightly clueless about swimming. I had a really hard time spotting the things we were looking for in our partner’s swimming, but I suppose I will get there eventually.

We covered many topics such as training periodization, marker sets, nutrition, relating to the athletes, strength exercises, and much more. It would have been nice to have at least another day, because there was so much to go over. By Sunday afternoon I was on information overload as I sat in the cab on the way to the airport. Of course I had to get a picture of me with Dave before I left.

I am excited to start coaching for the fall season in the next few months. TNT will soon start recruiting for the Chicago Triathlon that takes place at the end of August. I am going to have a full plate this summer between working, coaching, and training for Ironman. I am a little tired just thinkin about it, but I know it will be great!



Filed under Triathlon

Room service

Wow, it’s been a crazy couple of days. Friday morning I awoke bright and early for my 22 mile run. I was greeted with a balmy 21 degree morning. I’ll admit I was a negative nelly going into the run. Things started badly, very badly. My legs felt like a ton of bricks. My stomach was in knots. (Black bean salad for dinner the night before a long run = FAIL). I questioned continuing at least 14 times in the first 5 miles. I actually turned around early so I could be closer to home if I needed to cut things short.

About 10 miles in my stomach settled down, thank goodness and all that is holy. I was still moving about as fast as a snail, but at least I felt ok. The sun came out to warm me up, and I completed 22 long miles in just enough time to shower, stuff my face, and drive to the airport to sit on a plane for two hours. Thank goodness for compression socks. After a 45 minute flight delay, I was en route to Washington DC. The flight passed with only one incident. I was on Frontier Airlines, which as you may know, took over Midwest Airlines somewhat recently. They kept up the important Midwest tradition of a complimentary hot fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie during the flight. Obviously I was looking forward to this the whole time. I even ordered coffee as my beverage because I knew it would make the perfect companion to my hot fresh cookie. Imagine my dismay when I was handed a previously baked COLD cookie! Unacceptable. I will be looking for a comment card on my return flight.

The cab ride to the hotel went smoothly, until I tried to check in only to learn that I had been dropped off at the wrong hotel. My fault, not the cab driver’s. When I told Steve on the phone later he just said, “Yep, that sounds about right.” Travelling alone is hard. Luckily, the correct hotel was only 3-4 blocks away, so I was able to walk right over.

My cousins that live in the area met me at the hotel with their two adorable daughters, Melina and Raya.

See? So stinkin’ cute!

We enjoyed a few beers in my hotel room before heading out for a delicious dinner at a Malaysian restaurant. I had a shredded mango and apple salad with tofu that was super-tasty.

Upon returning to my room, I had a hankering for dessert. What is a gal to do at 10:15 pm when the urge for ice cream strikes?

Room service of course! Let me just say, I have never in my life ordered room service before. However, I am being reimbursed on this trip for the cost of food, and since I had come nowhere near my limit for the day, I figured why not order a $10 ice cream sundae?

It had vanilla ice cream with banana,  hot fudge, candied walnuts, whipped cream, and cherries. And you bet your butt I ate it in bed while watching tv. This is the life, my friends.

After a terrible night’s sleep last night (which I’m sure had nothing to do with the afore-mentioned ice cream), today was a loooong day at the coaching clinic, but it was awesome. I learned a ton that I don’t have the energy to start talking about right this minute. My brain is on overload, it is almost 10pm, and I have to be ready to head to the pool for swim instruction at 6:30 am. I think it is time for bed.


Filed under Food, The run, Triathlon


That will be my bib number for the Boston Marathon! This means I will be sporting a white bib and starting in wave 2 at 10:20am. Another thing I will be sporting during the marathon:

I picked up a new pair of Kinvaras today in my favorite color. This is my second pair of these slipper-like shoes, by far my favorite running shoe ever.

I had the day off work today, and not only did I sleep for 9 hours last night, I also took a 90 min nap this afternoon. I guess my body needed some rest. I have been having some hip pain this week, and yesterday it was determined that I have an incredibly tight IT band on my left side. I ran 7 easy miles this morning (my first run of the week) and felt ok, so hopefully I can keep this thing under control. This was supposed to be my biggest week for running miles, and it will turn out to be my lowest. I have been swimming and biking, and I hope to be able to do my 22 mile long run on Friday.

Why Friday and not Saturday? Friday afternoon I am flying to Washington DC to attend the Team in Training triathlon coach certification. I am so excited to geek out on everything triathlon related all weekend, but the course starts very early on Saturday and Sunday, so I doubt I will have time to squeeze in any workouts. The course is going to be taught by Dave Scott, six-time Ironman World Champion! Is that awesome, or what? I am so.excited.

I had a request for Sunday’s waffle recipe, so here it is:

Butternut Squash Waffles

Makes about 10 waffles


1 cup canned organic butternut squash
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
¾ cup quick oats
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp raw sugar
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups almond milk (or other milk)
3 eggs, separated
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted


Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk the milk and egg yolks together. Stir in the melted coconut oil and squash.

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. (Note: my brother tried to do this by hand with a whisk and while they got quite foamy, they never held peaks. The waffles still came out great). Fold the egg whites into the batter. The batter will be runny.

Heat your waffle iron and grease with non-stick spray. Ladle the batter onto the waffle iron and cook until waffles are done, usually about 3-5 minutes. I can tell when my waffles are done when the steam stops rising from the machine.

Top with fresh berries, banana, nuts, and maple syrup. Enjoy!

You can store any leftover waffles in the fridge or freezer and reheat in the toaster. These waffles were so delicious and so healthy. Gotta love that!


Filed under Cooking, The run, Travel, Triathlon

Fat Elvis

Woah, what a weekend! This was the type of weekend that left me way more exhausted than refreshed come Monday morning. Saturday I was up bright and early so I could make it to the Team in Training group run at the Milwaukee Lakefront. I ran 2 miles to get there, 14 or so with the group, and 4 more by myself for a total of 20.6 miles. I planned to only run around 15 or so, but many of the group miles ended up being pretty slow, so I still felt good at the end and wanted to keep going. Love that!

I have been doing almost all of my long runs solo lately, so it was really fun to run with the group and chat the morning away. After I got home and refueled, I headed straight to the grocery store to stock up for the week. Then it was back home to do some cleaning before my brother Mike arrived to spend the night.

We went out to dinner with my dad and his girlfriend at The Palms in Milwaukee. I had a delicious beet and goat cheese salad, followed by a margherita flatbread pizza. The food was great, but the most important part of the meal was obviously dessert. Before dinner, I spotted a drink on the specialty martini list that I knew I would be ordering after my meal.

Behold, The Fat Elvis: Cruzan Banana Rum, Castries Peanut Creme, Godiva Dark Chocolate, and banana. I am pretty sure it was put on the menu just for me. And oh my work it was amazing. We also shared a chocolate fondue for the table, but this drink stole the show and I deemed it the only thing truly photo worthy. Me and my little brother:

After dinner we headed home and Mike passed out on the couch at 9:45pm. What a party animal! Steve and I stayed up way too late chatting away, until finally my food and sugar induced coma got the best of me.

I awoke to the first day of spring not to sunny skies and chirping birds, but to cold pouring rain. Super!

I immediately decided that a run would not be happening, so I waited for Mike to wake up (yes, he slept on our couch from 9:45pm until 8am) and we set to work doing what anyone would do while not partaking in an early morning workout.

Making waffles! We sort of followed a recipe for pumpkin waffles, but changed it so much that it really was totally made-up. We used canned butternut squash, coconut oil, whole wheat pastry flour, oatmeal, pumpkin pie spice, almond milk, & eggs. They came out amazingly delicious.

We topped them with fresh berries, banana slices, and maple syrup.

Way better than running in the freezing rain.

The rest of Sunday was spent at my grandma’s 75th birthday party! It was so much fun, and I have about a million pictures to sort through before I can post about it. Get ready for some great X-Box Kinect Dance Party action shots in which I make a complete fool of myself.

What was the best thing you did this weekend? Best thing you ate?


Filed under Family, Food, The run

Hills & parsnips

First off, I didn’t have time to post last night because I was too busy killing my kill workout. It was funny, on the way home from work I completely talked myself out of running. I had a million excuses as to why it would not go well. I was tired. I hate running at night. I ate too much for lunch. My knee might hurt. I’ll just do it in the morning. Pass the M&M’s. Etc.

However, it was 64 degrees outside when I arrived home and I realized it would be ridiculous to waste a warm night not running. I decided I would at least just go for an easy run. Once I got going, a funny thing happened as it often does in these situations. I felt great!

I knew I had to at least try the hill workout. I ran just under 2 miles to get to the hill as my warmup. This particular hill is about a quarter-mile long, and it’s fairly steep. I cranked up some tunes and got to work. I ran up hard and jogged down three times. After the third uphill, I jogged around at the top and then hit a hard interval down. Hal Higdon suggests that when running hill repeats while training for Boston, you should run one downhill interval for every three up. After that I repeated the process with three more up and one down. Around number five I almost lost my lunch. It was hard, but I could almost feel myself getting stronger. I am going to try incorporating a hill workout every week between now and Boston. I can’t believe it’s less than 5 weeks away!

I ran a loop of about three miles to get home at a pretty speedy clip as well. When I finished I felt like a rock star for going out and getting it done. Steve and I were invited out for green beer in honor of St. Patty’s day, but neither of us felt like it after running. Steve did a tempo run while I was running hills so we were both pretty wiped out and looking forward to an evening on the couch. Instead of green beer, I celebrated with a very green smoothie.

Almond milk, banana, vanilla chai flavored Vega (posting about this soon), spinach, mango, and frozen peaches. So delicious after a hard run!

Today was a rest day running-wise, which worked out because my brother Mike flew in today from Philly! We were supposed to meet for lunch, but his flight was delayed (something about shutting down the airport for the Vice President, whatever). We still met for a very late lunch, more of a lupper if you will.

We went to INdustri Cafe in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. It was my first time there, and I had a Groupon to use. We both ordered an IPA from Milwaukee Brewing Co, which is apparently located across the street from the restaurant. To start we were brought bread sticks with two different types of flavored butter, one was spinach, garlic and artichoke, and the other was cinnamon caramel. Both were tasty.

We are both incapable of taking a non-cheezy normal picture. It runs in the family. For my entrée I ordered the Waldorf Salad: greek yogurt. dried door county cherries. tart apples. walnuts. barley. mint. hydroponic frisée

Reading the description again now I don’t know why I was surprised when it was not a big green salad.

It was very good, and filling. I had to bring some home for later. On the side I got maple baked acorn squash with cherries and walnuts.

Oh, and butter. Just a little bit of butter 🙂 It was out of this world.

Mike and I ended up sitting at the restaurant for two and a half hours chatting and catching up, so naturally we eventually had to order dessert. This picture speaks for itself.

It may look like carrot cake, but it is actually parsnip cake! I couldn’t wait to dig in.

It was very similar to carrot cake and the flavor was amazing. I can’t even describe how good it was, so you will just have to imagine.

I am so excited to have my brother here for the whole weekend! Unfortunately my sister-in-law had to stay home and study, but I will get to hang out with Mike tomorrow and Sunday. Tomorrow we are having dinner with my dad, and Sunday is a big party for my grandma’s 75th birthday. It’s going to be a jam-packed weekend, and I can’t wait!

What are your weekend plans?

Have you ever tried a parsnip?

I have had them roasted before, but not in a sweet setting. I may have to attempt baking with one soon though.


Filed under Family, Food, The run

No pain!

Just popping in for a quick update on the knee situation. It felt pretty much back to normal when I woke up this morning. That, combined with the fact that temps in Milwaukee cracked 60 degrees today (!), meant I was going to test it on a run for sure. I decided to push my hill workout to tomorrow and just run easy today. I ran 7.2 easy miles in short sleeves (!) and had no knee pain!

Of course I strapped on the ice pack as soon as I got home. Zooey the cat was there to make sure I kept my knee above my heart.

It is still feeling good now, but the true test will be how it feels tomorrow. The pain didn’t start initially until the day after running. I am crossing my fingers and toes that it will still feel fine tomorrow. If that’s the case, hill repeats here I come!


Filed under The run


Hi, my name is Laura, and I’m an infomercialholic.

Yesterday I mentioned that my left knee was feeling a little cranky. It ended up getting a little worse throughout the day. Every time I get up to walk around, I feel a sudden sharp pain from deep within my knee, and it feels like it wants to collapse. That sounded worse than it actually is, but I am trying to articulate less of a constant pain and more of an acute feeling when I put pressure on it in just the wrong way. I iced it yesterday, and it was fine during my swim.

Side note: did you know that saline pools do not taste salty at all? That really surprised me when I got in the pool at Gold’s last night. I think I was expecting more of an oceany quality. The water really had no taste, which was nice. Steve and I both need to get some clear goggles because it is quite dark in the pool room. Almost like mood lighting, how romantic for our swimming date!

I iced my knee again last night after swimming.

My cat is actually a demon in case you were wondering. Only the camera can capture her true nature.

Anyway, the knee didn’t seem any different this morning. No better, no worse. I decided to test it on a 30 minute spin on the bike trainer, thinking it would probably help to get the blood flowing. I kept the tension very low, and it felt absolutely fine. I passed the half hour on the trainer watching my favorite type of early morning programming…the infomercial!

You guys, I am obsessed with them. Today’s paid programming was a 30 minute advertisement for the Magic Bullet. I know what a Magic Bullet is, I know what it does, and I have probably seen this exact infomercial before. Yet I can’t peel my eyes away. Did you see that? It made alfredo sauce in 10 seconds! OMG, milkshakes! And it’s got a juicer attachment! I NEED one! But wait, call in the next 18 minutes and they will double my order for free. Two Bullet’s for the price of one! Where’s my phone?!? Etc.

Of course I never actually order anything. Except there was that one time when I was so enamoured over the Ultimate Chopper that Steve ordered it for me for my birthday.

The day arrived was full of excitement as we poured granulated sugar into the thing to see if it would really make powdered sugar. It did! It also made chocolate mousse and many other things in that first few glorious days, but alas, it now sits untouched and unloved in the cabinet.

No matter the infomercial, I cannot turn away. There’s the Ronco Rotissere (a classic, Just Set it…and Forget it!), The Slap Chop (You guys are gonna LOVE my nuts!), The Snuggie (I own one), Oxy Clean (oh Billy Mays, you will be forever missed), the Gazelle, who’s picture says it all:


If you want to get really old school let’s not forget Space Bags, the Thigh Master or The Clapper. Clap on Clap off baby!

Somehow each infomercial penetrates deep into my brain and convinces me that I must have the product. Sometimes Steve gets stuck watching them with me, usually on a weekend morning in bed. It was when he saw my true infomercial freak flag fly and didn’t run for the hills that I knew he loved me.

When I got to work this morning I consulted with my PT, aka my boss. She took a look and could tell that my knee is a bit swollen with fluid. She checked all of the tendons and ligaments which are all fine. This is most likely just an inflamation response to the pounding of all the running I did over the weekend. She put some kinisio tape on it to help with the swelling. FYI kinisio tape is pretty awesome and can be used for a variety of things. It can be used to change muscle tone, move lymphatic fluids (me!), correct movement patterns, and improve posture. I used kinisio tape in the fall when I had a hamstring strain to lift the muscle and take pressure off of my knee. It worked like magic. Here is today’s tape job:

Those wrinkles in the tape are helping to create a low pressure zone in the knee which will help flush out the lymphatic fluid. I have been cleared to try an easy run tonight if it feels ok, otherwise I will be back on the bike or on the elliptical. Either way my planned hill workout will have to be postponed until tomorrow. Grrr. The last thing I need right now is an injury, so I will proceed with caution.

Have you ever bought anything from an infomercial? Do you like to watch them?


Filed under Miscellany, The run, The swim