Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stuffed Chicken with Rosemary Polenta

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Yield: Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
4 ounces sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
5 ounces baby spinach
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
4 boned, skinned chicken breast halves (8 oz. each)
4 slices (4 oz. total) Italian fontina cheese
1 cup polenta
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a large ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened and starting to brown, 4 minutes. Add lemon juice, spinach, and 1/4 tsp. salt; cook until slightly wilted, 4 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

2. Bring 4 cups water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil. Cover; turn off heat. Meanwhile, cut chicken breast from the side, stopping halfway through; unfold to lay flat. Place each between 2 pieces plastic wrap and, with a mallet or small saucepan, pound until 1/4 to 1/2 in. thick.

3. In frying pan, cook chicken in 2 batches, 1 tbsp. oil per batch, until brown on 1 side. Sprinkle each with 1/4 tsp. salt and transfer, uncooked side up, to a cutting board. Scoop 1/4 cup spinach mixture onto half of each breast, then top with a cheese slice. Fold chicken over filling like a taco shell; press to close.

4. Return chicken to pan (with juices) and bake until cooked through and cheese is melted, 10 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, return water to a boil. Add polenta and cook, stirring constantly, until softened, 10 minutes. Stir in butter and rosemary. Divide polenta among 4 plates and top each with a chicken breast. Spoon broth over chicken.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 704 (39% from fat)
Protein: 67g
Fat: 31g (sat 12)
Carbohydrate: 38g
Fiber: 4.8g
Sodium: 1681mg
Cholesterol: 183mg

Monday, February 22, 2010

Nine Miler, Cold & Echinacea

On Saturday I had a nice run. Longest run of the year thus far, a crisp nine mile effort at 7:59 per mile pace with negative split on the back half. And this was over a very hilly terrain.

Locals can review the route I took at GarminConnect.

I was duly impressed as the hills came and went without really any effort. After the injury plagued run year in 2009, I am well on course to rebound with my run effort in 2010.

I was neither overdressed or underdressed for this run which was at 33-degrees F under blue sky. But I did work up a lather. And by Saturday night I knew a head cold was coming on.

I took the day off on Sunday and started in on my old remedy of Echinacea.

Echinacea species are herbaceous, drought-tolerant perennial plants growing up to 140 cm in height. We have a ton growing in our many gardens. If you live in the upper midwest, you have seen the plant which is also known as coneflower and comes in many colors and varieties.

Echinacea is popularly believed to be an immunostimulator, stimulating the body's non-specific immune system and warding off infections. A study commonly used to support that belief is a 2007 meta-analysis in The Lancet Infectious Diseases. The studies pooled in the meta-analysis used different types of echinacea, different parts of the plant, and various dosages. The review did not inform recommendations on the efficacy of any particular type of Echinacea, dosage, or treatment regimen. The safety of Echinacea under long-term use is also unknown.

A 2007 study by the University of Connecticut combined findings from 14 previously-reported trials examining Echinacea and concluded that Echinacea can cut the chances of catching a cold by more than half, and shorten the duration of a cold by an average of 1.4 days.

However, Dr. Wallace Sampson, an editor of Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine and a Stanford University emeritus clinical professor of medicine, says that the referenced trials lack the similarities necessary to provide definitive results when combined into one report. “If you have studies that measure different things, there is no way to correct for that. These researchers tried, but you just can’t do it.”

A controlled double-blind study from the University of Virginia School of Medicine and documented in the New England Journal of Medicine stated that Echinacea extracts had "no clinically significant effects" on rates of infection or duration or intensity of symptoms. The effects held when the herb was taken immediately following infectious viral exposure and when taken as a prophylaxis starting a week prior to exposure. In a press release, Dr. Michael Murray, the Director of Education for Factors Group of Nutritional Companies, a manufacturer of Echinacea-related products, called the study "faulty and inaccurate."

According to Dr. Murray, none of the three extracts used on the 399 study participants contained all three of the components of Echinacea responsible for its immune-enhancing effects: polysaccharides, alkylamides and cichoric acid. In addition, Dr. Murray said "the standard dosage for dried Echinacea angustifolia root is normally three grams per day or more and this study used less than one gram."

An earlier University of Maryland review based on 13 European studies concluded that Echinacea, when taken at first sign of a cold, reduced cold symptoms or shortened their duration.

Where did this theory all start? Echinacea angustifolia was widely used by the North American Plains Indians for its general medicinal qualities. Echinacea was one of the basic antimicrobial herbs of eclectic medicine from the mid 19th century through the early 20th century, and its use was documented for snakebite, anthrax, and for relief of pain. In the 1930s Echinacea became popular in both Europe and America as a herbal medicine. According to Wallace Sampson, MD, its modern day use as a treatment for the common cold began when a Swiss herbal supplement maker was "erroneously told" that Echinacea was used for cold prevention by Native American tribes who lived in the area of South Dakota. Although Native American tribes didn't use Eechinacea to prevent the common cold, some of the tribes did use Echinacea to treat some of the symptoms that could be caused by the common cold: The Kiowa used it for coughs and sore throats, the Cheyenne for sore throats, the Pawnee for headaches, and many tribes used it as an analgesic, including the Sioux from South Dakota.

Native Americans learned of E. angustifolia by observing elk seeking out the plants and consuming them when sick or wounded, and identified those plants as elk root.

So, whether it is to be believed or not....I don't care. I know it works for me. How about you? What do you do or reach for when you first feel a cold coming on? Leave a comment and share your secrets with your triathlon brethren.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Trader Joe's Products for the Triathlete

Trader Joe's grocery stores feature fabulous quality groceries at reasonable prices. TJ's is earth friendly, nutrition friendly, budget friendly and the employees are super people friendly!

So why am I featuring a grocery store on a triathlon blog? Well because two of my favorite beauty products can be found right there (and only there) on the shelves: Trader Joe's Moisturizing Cream Shave (in Honey Mango) and Trader Jacques Savon de France Ginger Almond Oatmeal Exfoliant soap.

The cream is what I use to shave my legs in the shower. This unique blend of lubricating emollients maximizes absorption of water. Lifting and softening unwanted hair for effortless razor glide and reducing the risk of nicks, cuts and irritation. Enriched with pure aloe vera, nourishing vitamin E and botanical skin conditioners that help deliver a smooth and soothing shave with lasting comfort.

To begin with, the price is $3.49. You read it right - $3.49 (plus tax) for an 8oz. tube. It’s paraben free, cruelty free and 100% vegetarian. The honey and mango fragrance is nice as well. It’s thick, creamy and comes in a convenient flip top tube. The creaminess soothes and softens -- and also helps dissolve any antiperspirant residue. I really do get a closer shave when I use this and I don’t get soap buildup in my razor. Good for both men and women. I've tried other shave creams and I always go back to this one.

Trader Joe's also carries other bath and beauty products. Stuff like jojoba oil, tea tree oil, scrubs, bath products, haircare and skincare products. All at reasonable TJ prices. And my fav soap: Trader Jacques Savon de France Ginger Almond Oatmeal Exfoliant.

Nice soap for around $3. I love that it's natural and has bits of oatmeal inside the bar. I use this both on my face and body. It lathers up real nice into a milky, almost creamy consistency and doesn't strip my skin. I can't really smell the ginger but I bought it primarily for the almond scent. I'd definitely repurchase and would recommend it to those with sensitive skins.

So after a long day of workouts and you want to treat yourself to something nice in the shower, try these two products.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whoa There, Cowboy!

I did not set out to log 14-hours (actually 14 hrs 8 minutes 40 seconds) of workouts last week. It just sort of happened. I got to nine and a half hours and still had two days left so I thought, "I'll go for twelve." Got to twelve and had a day left and should have ignored the voice in my head and shut 'er down and taken the day off. But the Type A in me decided that 14 hours sounded really nice and who knows when I might have that kind of week again. The next few weeks are full of Real Job requirements and travel. So I just went for it.

Now, I'm tired. I have no enthusiasm for working out. I find myself wishing I would not have increased my hours by 25% in one week. I'm not hurt, mind you. I strained nothing. My late week runs (back-to-back 10K's) were really fab.

Fact is, my legs are feeling very good. But my mindset is very non-gladiator. Perhaps it is the February 'blahs' but I think I just sort if sucked my own wind out of my sails. I'm going to take a step back this week. We'll see how I end up the week: refreshed or toast.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Triathletes Do on Their Off Days (aka The Man Cave)

I had another long week in which I somehow found time to put in 14+ hours of triathlon training on top of a 52 hour work week at the Real Job. On Presidents Day, the Well Kept Wife™ had the day off, the Boy® was off from school and I opted to be off work as well. So, what do triathletes do on an off-day?

See for yourself.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Events

I'm not sure these are all new events, but since I have not heard of them before I thought I would share in case any of these fit your training/racing requirements as we draw closer to The Season.

OSE Shamrock Shuffle 5K
Saturday, March 13, 2010 @ 9:00 AM local time
Chanhassen High School
2200 Lyman Blvd Chanhassen, MN
Web Site

Brief Description
Come celebrate St. Patrick's Day by participating in the OSE Shamrock Shuffle 5k run/walk produced by Outdoor Sports Events. The USATF-certified course starts and finishes at the new Chanhassen High School and features wide, scenic trails. Race perks include: 2010 Nike technical shirt (women's and men's sizes), pair of Fitsok performance socks, professional timing, on course water/All Sport stop, post-race food and beverage, and overall, age group and best Irish costume awards.

Green Lake Duathlon
May 22, 2010
Web Site

Brief Description
2.5 Mile Run. Approximately 17 Mile Bike. 2.5 Mile Run. For those not doing the Fargo Marathon or Half-Marathon (like moi) you should consider this event. -- Please join us for our inaugural year and enjoy great ribs after the race, high quality t-shirt, and much more. So many of our great athletes for the Green Lake Tri have asked for an event like this so we’re off and running!

Looking for something out of the area? How 'bout even doing a double-du..sort of? And this one is not new as it will be enjoying its 9th year. Thanks Tim for the heads-up...this one, along with the event in Collge Station would have been a fun weekend.

Fast & Furious Duathlon
Sunday April 11th, 2010 8:00AM
Lynn Creek Park @ Joe Pool Lake
Grand Prairie (DFW Metroplex), TX
Web Site

Brief Description
Race conducted completely with in Lynn Creek Park. No vehicular traffic at all. 2 mile run-11 mile bike-2 mile run-11 mile bike with a "run to the finish" is unique and a fast course. Flat & Fast course, guarantees PR performances. USAT Sanctioned. I'd be looking hard at this but it is The Boy's® birthday weekend. Family wins out every time.

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Very Expensive Pee Revisted

I first posted this back in September of 2009 and just wanted to follow-up with an update as well as bring the blog entry forward for those new readers.

I have been using Hammer Nutrition products for two years now. I have needed extra nutrition and careful fueling due to my health issues (see My Triathlon Story for more info on that). In fact, if you are a member of USA Triathlon you may have noticed that story was recently published on their site this week. A very nice honor.

I have experimented with just about all of Hammers products and have mixed and matched the best time of day to take each. And I think I now have it nailed. And I decided to add up just how much this is costing me each day. So, without further ado, here's the tail of my pee.

Premium Performance Multivitamin (Costco, $13.99 for 300 tabs) - Every one needs a good multivitamin that is not too heavy on the minerals. This one suits the bill for me.
Regimen: One each morning.
Daily cost - $0.05

Vitamin D 1000 I.U. (Costco, $13.49 for 300 tabs) - I live in the Tundra where we are lucky to see the sun every six months. Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight. More and more reports are suggesting to take in excess of the recommended daily allowances. The RDA for children and men and women up to age 50 is 5 micrograms (mcg) or 200 international units (IU); 10 mcg (400 IU) between ages 51 and 70; and 15 mcg (600 IU) after age 70.
Regimen: One each morning and each afternoon.
Daily cost - $0.09

Citrucel (Costco, $21.19 for 220 tabs) - Citrucel with SmartFiber is smart fiber therapy that's been specifically designed to be less harsh on your system. It helps you get the fiber you need. As Americans, we don't get enough fiber. Fat, yes. Fiber, no. If you don't eat much veggies...add a fiber supplement to your diet.
Regimen: Two each morning and two at bedtime.
Daily cost - $0.39

Mito Caps (Hammer Nutrition, $24.95 for 90 caps) - This is Hammer's Anti-Aging formula with powerful athletic benefits. It improves energy production capabilities and aids in fat metabolism.
Regimen: One at noon, one in afternoon, one at bed.
Daily cost - $0.84

Anti-Fatigue Caps (Hammer Nutrition, $18.95 for 90 caps) - Anti-Fatigue Caps are designed primarily for ammonia reduction in long distance events, many of the nutrients in the formula are excellent for helping counteract everyday fatigue, even chronic fatigue symptoms (one of my possible health issues).
Regimen: One at noon, one in afternoon.
Daily cost - $0.42

PSA Caps (Hammer Nutrition, $24.95 for 60 caps) - The benefits of PSA Caps are to promote optimal prostate health and prevent or reduce prostate enlargement. Beta sitosterol, in addition to its prostate-related benefits, is also beneficial for helping lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.
Regimen: One at noon, one at bed.
Daily cost - $0.83

Boron (Hammer Nutrition, $14.95 for 90 caps) - The benefits of Boron Caps are to restore exercise depressed hormones, enhance bone health and osteoporosis prevention, and aid in prevention of prostate cancer.
Regimen: One at noon.
Daily cost - $0.17

Chromemate (Hammer Nutrition, $9.95 for 100 caps) - Simply put, this puts the end to the 3 PM fade. The benefits of are to enhance glycogen synthesis for superior recovery; improve cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels; and help curb sugar cravings.
Regimen: One in the afternoon.
Daily cost - $0.10

Race Caps Supreme (Hammer Nutrition, $47.95 for 90 caps) - These caps enhance energy and endurance. Idebenone, one of the cornerstone nutrients in Race Caps Supreme, is considered by many experts to be an important anti-aging nutrient, perhaps the most important one yet discovered.
Regimen: One in the morning.
Daily cost - $0.53

Endurance Amino (Hammer Nutrition, $29.95 for 120 caps) - Amino ammunition for your muscles. Endurance Amino is ideal to use after all workouts and races, and really shines (and is the perfect complement to Anti-Fatigue Caps) when taken hourly during training sessions and races that extend beyond two hours. Endurance Amino gives you a wide range of powerful amino acid benefits, without you having to break the bank.
Regimen: One in the afternoon.
Daily cost - $0.25

The following product is new to my regimen.

AO Booster (Hammer Nutrition, $29.95 for 60 caps) - With AO Booster you now have an arsenal of powerful fat-soluble antioxidants to provide even more immune system-boosting power to the water-soluble ones provided in Super Antioxidant. In addition, with AO Booster you'll also notice benefits for your eyes and skin, reduced muscle soreness and inflammation, as well as potentially increased endurance via enhanced fats-for-fuels utilization.
Regimen: One in the morning.
Daily cost - $0.50

One Month Total Cost (30-days) - $125.10
Annual Cost - $1521.75

Yep, that's a lot of money. But I can't argue with the results. Some select highlights from the 2009 season:

Waseca Triathlon - Waseca, MN
4th overall (134 total), 1st in 45-49 (6 total)
Note - Won AG by almost four minutes

Young Life Triathlon - Detroit Lakes, MN
5th overall (215 total), 3rd in 40-49 AG (27 total)
Note - Top 5 overall were all over 40, all Hammer products users

Minneapolis Duathlon
35th overall (813 total), 1st in 45-49 AG (44 total)
Note - Won AG by three minutes forty-five seconds

West River Triathlon - Dickinson, ND
3rd overall (44 total); 1st 40-49 (5 total)
Note - Fastest bike split

Plymouth 5K - Plymouth, MN
3rd overall (297 total)
19:31 (6:19/mile pace)

If you are interested in Hammer Products and want to give them a try, be sure and take advantage of their referral program. You get 15% off your initial order. Contact me for more information on how to take advantage of that offer. Email Brian.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

iPhone App of the Month: Runmeter 2.0

Runmeter GPS Stopwatch is a iPhone application that is entirely iPhone-centric which means that all functions use the iPhone built-in functions. There are no required website logins or monthly subscriptions and it is entirely ad free.

You can save all your regular routes as official routes, and use your results as a comparison tool to see your progression or race against yourself.

Runmeter continually records your time, location, distance, elevation, and pace for runs up to six hours on a iPhone 3G. Listen to voice announcements of your progress while you run. View your results on maps, graphs or calendar all organized by routes and activities. Icons on the calendar display shows your best, worst, and median times.

Other features include direct sharing of your run through Google Maps via email or Twitter and exporting your results for use in a spreadsheet. Runmeter also offers a built-in Twitter text-to-speech, so runners can hear Twitter replies during training from their coaches, friends and family.

One especially nice feature is the ability to start or stop the application from Apple's earphone remote which allows for hands-free experience with your iPhone while running.

Seems the only gripe is general limitations of GPS technology due to weather or obstacles would hamper the accuracy of the readings.

Runmeter works only on iPhone 3G or iPhone 3gS with OS 3.0. It will also need WiFi, Edge or 3 G connectivity to view maps.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seafood Curry

This is one of my favorites. Even the Well Kept Wife™ and The Boy® love it. And the WKW™ is not particularly fond of seafood. This one is just simply splendid.


- 2 lbs seafood. You pick what you like from assortment of shrimp, scallops, or any firm fish such as sword, marlin, tuna, monk, grouper, monchong, opah, ono or wahoo. I opt for some nice brownies (shrimp), scallops and wahoo. But really, it's personal taste.
- 8+ oz curry paste (I prefer Patakas with the purple lid)
- 2 cans coconut milk
- Optionals: mushrooms, onions, spinach (one whole bag), and garlic

If you have a nice fish monger, ask to have the fish cubed to approx, 3/4 to 1 inch.

Marinate the seafood in curry paste for at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. I usually marinate for 4 hours. For this, use 1/2 of the curry paste jar and simply mix by hand in a bowl. Please be careful as curry paste will stain. Wear an apron if you are fond of that IM 70.3 short you are wearing! Mix until yellow throughout.

Sauté the optionals in oil or butter. I like to add just a bit of olive oil. Add the onions first, then the mushrooms, then garlic and finally the whole bag of spinach. The spinach will seem like a lot so use a lid to simply squish the spinach down. Add the additional curry paste on top of the spinach. Trust me, the spinach will seem like a lot but it does shrink. When the optionals are cooked up nice and the aroma is starting to make you drool, it is time for the next step.

Here's the important bit - pour in the coconut milk 1/2 can at a time. Just do a 1/2 can as while the recipe calls for 2 cans the desired thickness can be from soupy to pasty. I like a nice thick curry so I usually end up using one can.

Add your seafood and simmer for five minutes over medium high. When you see the shrimp tail touching the head, the curry is done.

Super good. Super easy. Have fun making it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Hamel 5K Race Recap

"To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Sir Isaac Newton

Unless you are running a race in Minnesota in winter. Then, this is not true. One wonders if one is actually running on a bed of banana peels.

Actually, the Hamel Freeze Your Buns 5K Run held on February 7, 2010 had fairly decent conditions. Starting gun temp was 18 above (F), felt like 9 with wind from SE at 7mph. The roads thru 3K were dry and decent. The last 2K road conditions had a film of ice as we had turned the corner on this one loop course placing us on the north side of the shelter belt, and the sun had yet to work its magic.

You can play the race, via Garmin Connect here.

Goal: 21:17 (6:51 per mile pace)
Actual: 20:14 (6:30 per mile pace) official. 20:16 per my Garmin as I hit the lap button instead of the stop. Idiot!
Overall: Fifth (est, 150+ total)
AG Overall: First
Best Pace: 05:29 min/mi
Calories: 363

Mile 1 Split: 06:20, Avg HR - 169

I felt very good during the first mile. No calf issues. No Achilles issues. Nice and comfy. We were going out into the wind for the first 2K and I could not find anyone to tuck behind so I decided to separate as we went up a hill. I decided to separate as people had tucked behind me to take advantage of the wind. Yeah, a small pack of three to four youngsters were tucking behind a 48-yo old man. I was in fourth overall at this stage.

Mile 2 Split: 06:34, Avg HR - 180

With the wind behind us, I tried to stay loose and float. Really, no issues here. I guess I am surprised at my HR as I was not laboring. Still felt very good. Was passed and settled into fifth.

Mile 3 Split: 06:45, Avg HR - 186

As mentioned before, we hit icy roads. Traction was not ideal. Compounding the traction issue was a uphill climb. I should have broken 20-minute mark fairly easily, instead I did not want to slip myself into a pulled muscle so I stayed as controlled as possible. I was now laboring.

Avg HR: 179 bpm
Max HR: 189 bpm

Elevation Gain: 151 ft

Overall, I am very pleased. I'm starting to think 2010 could be a very good season for me. I have yet to begin to incorporate any speed workouts so to be running nearly under 20-minutes in early February is very good news for this old man. Extra layers of cloths, two pairs of socks (thin), and muscle tightening cold temps.....yeah, I'll take it.

Note - I finally got around to putting up my previous years results. You can see them on the right side navigation area. This is since I started my 'comeback' in 2007 after a significant, um, break from the sport. I think 14 years counts as a significant break. I'd have to really dig to post my tri-du race results dating back to 1987.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Twenty Questions with Race Director Steven Aesoph: XTERRA Pipestem Creek

So, let's start something different. Enough about me and what I'm doing....let's check out some other action. Note - I did sign-up for this event just this past first XTERRA triathlon. And it will take place in my boyhood town.

XTERRA Pipestem Creek presented by Buffalo City Grille is an off road triathlon in the Mountain Region of the XTERRA America Tour. The intent of the race (apart from suffering) is to showcase what the Jamestown, ND community has to offer and to raise money for local youth sports organizations.

Held at the US Corps of Engineers Pipestem Dam and Lake Project, the race features a 1000 meter swim with a short exit at the halfway point, a 13 mile mountain bike on a lap and a half of the Pipestem Trail, and a 5 mile run incorporating most of the North Ridge Trail. Pipestem Dam and Lake Project is located 4 miles North of Jamestown on US Hwy 281 and offers a number of recreational activities highlighted by the 13 miles of mountain bike and hiking trails.

The race was founded in 2009 as the Pipestem Creek Off-Road Triathlon and Trail Run. The race date is June 26, 2010 with packet pick up and athlete social June 25 at the Buffalo City Grille from 5pm-10pm.

So, I went to race director Steven Aesoph and asked him twenty questions. Here's how it went.

1. Why XTERRA? When I first wanted to get into biking in 2007 I went searching for a bike to purchase. Whether it was a road or mountain bike, I didn’t care, I was looking for the best deal. It ended up being a hold over 2005 Stumpjumper FSR, so from that point on I became a mountain biker. It’s my first love. XTERRA is also so much different than the button down, clean and shiny world of road tri’s. XTERRA is savages ripping through the forest with blood, sweat and dirt smeared across their pained expressions. If cavemen still existed, they wouldn’t sell insurance, they’d ride shirtless on frickin mountain bikes and run on trails!!
2. Has the downturn in the global economy affected XTERRA and/or and future plans? I think it may have on a “global” or sport wide basis, but not really my race. The XTERRA point series organizers felt it last year, but I only know that because they said so.
3. How did you get your start in multisport? Wow, I don’t want to type a book here, but I’ll give you the Cliff Notes: I was a three sport (well, technically two, XC and Track are only different times of year, not really different sports) athlete in high school and ran track in college at Jamestown. After my senior season, I was sick of running and gave it up. Completely. I also gave up virtually all other forms of exercise as well and went from 145 pounds to eventually 220 in a period of inactivity from 1999 to 2006. Not pretty. My brother in law is an avid cyclist and I was intrigued by the sport. In 2007 I bought a MTB, 2008 I bought a road bike and between the two did about 2500 miles. May of ’08 I signed up for a 3 mile trail run even though I hadn’t run a step in about a decade. I finished 1st, threw up, and wondered if I could still be fast (I averaged 7 flat pace for my time with no training and about 15 pounds overweight). December 08 I started on the long road back with 15 minute, mile and a half trots on the treadmill. February I signed up for a sprint triathlon in May, The Chain of Lakes tri in Alexandria. From there I did two Olympic length races, my off road tri, a few MTB races, a half marathon and finished the year with a half Ironman distance tri in Stillwater, MN. It was an abbreviated timeline, but a really fun and challenging year of racing where I learned a lot about my limits.
4. What has been your greatest Triathlon Moment so far? When I rode past a spectator during the bike portion of my off road triathlon last year and he yelled “Excellent event, Steve!!” I had a huge smile on my face the rest of the bike, which I would assume led other spectators to think I was a either a masochist or just plain crazy.
5. What would you suggest to a fellow competitor that wanted to “get involved” or help your event grow? The biggest impact someone can have on any event is to talk about it to other athletes, get other people interested in the race. Talk, talk, talk, talk, talk!! Unless, of course, you’re independently wealthy, then call me about a sponsorship. I’ll name the race course after you for $750. My God, I’m shameless.
6. Things have changed quite a bit in the last 15 years. Triathletes have become a lot more specialized since then. What do you think are the attributes that make a successful XTERRA Triathlete? Toughness is number one. XTERRA is so much more challenging than road triathlon because you cannot avoid the “Red Zone” efforts on the bike that totally thrash your legs for the run. Another attribute is adventurous. EVERY off road race course is different and presents a new challenge. You have to embrace the course for what it is and determine how to play your skills to produce the best result, not bitch about how the course is too hard or there aren’t enough technical sections. Shut up and enjoy the terrain!! Whereas, pavement is pavement, you’ve seen one highway, you’ve seen ‘em all.
7. Do you have a good bike mechanic? I do most of my maintenance other than fitting. For big jobs I enlist the help of a friend who’s been cycling for decades and is very much like Spicoli’s dad in that he’s got the ulllltimate set of tools, he can fix it.
8. Are there any other triathletes you hang out with when you are not swimming, biking or running? Or do you just train with them? I wish there were other triathletes in Jamestown. I do virtually all my training solo. Either schedules don’t match up, intensity levels don’t match up, or maybe people just don’t like me. For whatever reason, I cannot find a consistent training partner other than one night a week on our mountain bike group ride.
9. Can you give me your typical pre-race taper? I’m still pretty new to the game, so I didn’t really nail one down last year. I like to do short, speedy workouts the week of the race and dramatically reduce total volume to make sure I’ve got snap in my legs. I usually travel the day before the race, so there’s at least one day off in there. Most important for me is quality sleep the entire week prior to a race along with mental preparation/visualization.
10. You are in the event. When do you make your move? On the run, definitely. It’s the only event that there’s nothing to save anything for. That, and it’s by far my strength.
11. Pipestem water quality? Crystal clear or ‘I can’t see my hand’ murky? It’s between the two, somewhere. It’s not a mud puddle, but it certainly isn’t crystal clear.
12. In one word, describe the bike course. Intervals

13. Who will be first out of the water on June 26? The relay teams who opt to use kayaks. But as far as swimmers, probably Matt Wenzel. He was out a full two minutes ahead of everyone last year, I think about 17 minutes for an open water 1000 meters in very rough conditions. Oh, and he had the fastest bike split by 4 minutes last year as well. The kid can fly on a bike. From what I hear from his parents, he drastically improved his run as well. He’s one to watch.
14. Any plans for a ‘regular’ triathlon or duathlon in the Buffalo City? I’m kicking the idea around for a sprint tri for 2011 at Jamestown Reservoir. The area lends itself perfectly for that distance with the twisty reservoir road/Hwy 20 loop and the running path. I definitely have the support of the community leaders to produce events, I just don’t know if I have the energy to put on both races. Sprints are pretty popular and they’re definitely an attainable distance even for beginners, so I think that would promote decent participation.
15. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Well, I’ll be an empty nester in two years, so in ten I hope to have checked off several of my “bucket list” adventures like cycling in Europe, a bike tour of New Zealand, backpacking unsupported in Glacier, MT, the BC Bike race, a Canadian Alpine Club climbing trip, and completion of La Ruta de los Conquistadors in Costa Rica to name a few. I want to experience as much of the Earth as possible. By bike or foot. Or kayak. Basically self-powered.
16. If off-road triathlon (Xterra) became an Olympic sport, would you start looking for a mountain bike sponsor or a seat in the grandstands? My dream would be to be paid to train and race all over the world. But, turning 35 last week, I think I’m closer to a “has-been” than a “rising star.” Where’s the beer garden? I’ll pull up a seat closest to that.
17. What measures do you take to preserve your sanity? Working out is a great release of aggression and stress. I used to listen to metal all the time, but since my training volume exceeded 8 hours a week last year I’ve started listening to considerably more mellow stuff. Lots of Ben Harper, Richard Ashcroft, Black Crowes, and things like that. Less Hatebreed, Sepultura, In Flames and Slipknot. They still have their place, but they’re no longer staples on my iPod. I like to chill out when I workout if that’s possible. Put it this way, the music no longer needs to supply the intensity, that now comes from within me.
18. Who does the cooking at your house? I married the greatest cook. My wife, Korri, does all the cooking. We have great suppers that spawn left overs for me to eat for lunch the next day (or next three days in some cases). She makes homemade soups, hotdishes, the greatest sandwiches, massive burritos, and more. I am ridiculously spoiled in that department.
19. What would you say is your most annoying habit? Correcting my wife. I can’t help it if she’s wrong a lot, but I could just bite my tongue. I’m kind of a stickler for details and it bugs me when things aren’t right.
20. What is your event plan for 2011? Gain a national equipment manufacturer sponsor for the race, increase entries to 200, and have a true pro field (10 or more pros).

If you are like me, and you want to try something new each year instead of doing the same road triathlon formats, the same road runs, the same training....try this XTERRA event. You never know when a new love will bite you. Trail runs are easier on your legs both training and racing. And even Lance trains and races on Mountain Bikes...and so far he has done OK.

Jamestown is located 100-miles directly west of Fargo on Interstate 94. From the Twin Cities you can be there in under five hours (320 miles). If you have any questions on the race, feel free to ask me. Or ask Steve. You can also follow this event on Twitter at: pipestemoffroad

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Time for Some Seafood

About four years ago, I discovered a little seafood shop in the Wayzata area. Coastal Seafoods is a staple in the Twin Cities area and supplies many of the top restaurants in the area as well as the general public.

They were holding seafood cooking classes. I was in like bass on a grill. I learned how to prepare and cook anything from Blackened Cajun Marlin to Baby Octopus Tacos. And then they closed that location. But I had learned what I needed to.

This past Sunday, I celebrated the end of January....and being closer to spring! preparing (with the help of the Well Kept Wife™ hunting down supplies) these two loved and time-tested recipes.

Chili Garlic Scallops

1-LB dry packed sea scallops (dry packed are not treated and never frozen)
4-oz Lee Kum Kee chili garlic sauce
If you are brave, toss in 1-2 minced jalapenos or habaneros

Heat up the chili garlic in butter for a few minutes then saute scallops for 1 & 1/2 mins each side and no longer!

Finishing touch - place a scoop or two of fish roe on top of each scallop prior to serving.

Grilled Shrimp with Teriyaki Sauce

2 LBs of shrimp: I prefer brownies but you need to ask your seafood person to devein them first. Otherwise, you want large deveined & peeled shrimp. Grilling in the shell is better but messy when it comes time to eat.
2/3 cup Soy Sauce
2 TBLS brown sugar
2 TBLS honey
1/4 cup sake - The sake is useful but optional
2 TBLS ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients, except shrimp. Mix well.

Add shrimp and marinate for 45 minutes. I like to skewer first and then marinade while on the skewer. Do this by alternating tail to toe. Recommend to double skewer so the shrimp don't flip around when you turn them on the grill

Grill for 4 to 6 minutes over medium-high. Turn shrimp and brush with marinade. Cook until done. I like to grill about 2-3 mins on each side

I also like to throw in green onions.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Totals: Month Ending January 2010

Forgot to post last week's totals. Only worked out one day. Vikings lost. Bad mood. You know the score. I think I will just post month ending totals here on out. So here's what I racked up for January, 2010. All per Garmin expect where noted.

January 2010 Total Numbers
Total Workout Hours: 28:01.11
Swim Miles - 11.42
Bike Miles - 202.43
Run Miles - 64.23

compare to last year

January 2009 Total Numbers
Swim Miles - 3.2
Bike Miles - 201
Run Miles - 61.74 (Nike Plus)