Monday, February 25, 2008

Sooner than Later

Well I kinda did it a whole lot earlier than planned!

On Friday at the gym, after my workout, I noticed that they were holding the indoor triathlon on Saturday. The entires had already closed by one of my friends who works for intramurals told me to go ask if there were still any spots open. I went in and somehow signed up for the "recreational" division with a 10:30 am start.

I immediately headed to the bike shop where S was at work and told him. He turned around and asked if he could have 2 hours off the next morning to come watch and she said with a huge smile on her face "If its important".

The distances were:
  • 450 Meter swim (9 laps in a 25 m lane)
  • 8 Mile bike (on the worst stationary bike ever! Huge seat)
  • 2 Mile run (22 laps around the tiny indoor track)
I did it!

The gym opened at 10am so I only had 30 min to set up. At breakfast S made a new playlist for me on my iPod and I went to work with him to get a cycling jersey to carry my iPod and GU in. S rode his bike over from the shop a few min before the start time and I was so excited to have him there. My friend L that works intramurals was working the triathalon and everyone was really nice.

On the swim I started a little to fast with no warm up. I tried to keep pace with the guy next to me and after 1.5 laps it became obvious that I could not keep it up. I had to stop and tread water for a min to catch my breath. But then I slowed down a bit and breathed a lot more often and it wasn't that hard, just wore me out pretty good. I looked like a fool trying to get out when I was done. Oh- and I was the last one out in my group of 4. I think I was still only in the pool for around 7 minuets.

On to the bike! They only guy in my group got out of the pool a little before me and was still putting on his shoes when I got to mine. He sat down to do it- rookie mistake (I know I am a rookie- but at least I have read the books!). I beat him onto the bike by a few seconds. I was pretty bummed we were using the exersize bikes instead of the spin bikes. The seats were so huge that I sat on the front just so my legs could move freely! I at a pack of GU (mint chocolate- um!) after about a mile on the bike. I put my iPod on and just zoned out and kept my cadence up. S and L brought me new water bottles and keep to motivated. When I got off after 28 minuets everyone was cheering as I ran up the stairs to the track on the 3rd floor.

Running up the stairs was not as hard as I thought it would be. It was just like being on the bike! I was the only one in my group to run up the stairs. They laughed because they said I was "bouncing" up them. Then started the 22 laps. I just turned my music up loud, laughed at the songs S had chosen and gave a big smile every time I passed my counter and S. I know I ran pretty darn slow, but I didn't walk at all! That was my biggest accomplishment. The day before I had not been able to run 1.5 miles! I think having people cheering was the biggest motivation. The counter would tell me how many I had done when I came around and I would just calculate fractions. I don't even remember the first 4 but at lap 5 I was like- almost a quarter of the way done! Then, 2 laps later at lap 7 I was almost a third of the way done! At 11 I remeber being like "only half way!" and getting a little stressed, but at 14 I was two-thirds of the way done! At 18 I knew I had done it and started to get really excited. On the last lap I picked up the pace and zoomed around to the home stretch where S was standing and L was there counting my total time. They cheered and I sprinted to the finish. S and I then walked 2 laps and laughed and I almost cried.

It was an amazing feeling that I am so much more motivated to work towards now. My sister-in-law G and I laugh that working out is our Crack- we are hopelessly addicted and cranky if we don't get some. (Not like I know what doing crack is like, just a silly joke).

Best of all- it was all FREE! S took about 1.5 hours off of work ($12) but is going to be putting in some extra time this week. We already had my shoes, the GU and all the water bottles anyone could ever want. I did by the jersy for $30 at the shop (regularly $60 before S's discount) and lunch by myself as a congratulations (soup, I was so hungry!)- $5.

Well worth it, so much fun. I have a lot more confidence in myself now. Looking forward to todays workout!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

(Almost) Free Motivation

One of my goals is to do a sprint length triathlon before this year is over. I really would like to do it before July, so we will see how that goes.

Sprint length triathlons are normally
  • 500 M Swim
  • ~20 Mile Bike Ride
  • 5K (3.1 Mile) Run
I have been swimming every so often since November or such. Being in college I have free* access to a great indoor pool with lap lanes that is open every day. I even have a locker at the gym which makes all of this much easier. I have a good racing style swimsuit that I bought a few years ago and still fits great.

For Christmas I got my road bike! I was so excited! S had told me I wouldn't be able to have it until February because they were so popular but the owner of the Bike Store where he works pulled some stings and got it mid December. Honestly I wouldn't have minded waiting till now to get it because it is still too cold to ride outside. I have been using it on the trainer at home with the workout videos S borrows from the bike shop.

The last piece I had been needing was some really great running shoes. I have such picky feet so for Valentines day S took me to the "nice" shoe store where they measure your feet and help you pick out what you need. So in we went with no budget in mind and out I walked with some orange and white Asics for the not-so-responsible price of $135.

I had a little bit of sticker shock at the price, the most I have ever paid for running shoes was about $110 and I was hoping to get off with around $90. But I have realized there are some advantages to spending more up front for these shoes.

  1. The shoes cost so much I HAVE to use them of I feel guilty! I ran a little under a mile on Monday and yesterday did 2 miles of run/walking!
  2. I can't bring myself to use them for anything but running! S told me when I bought them that I could not mess with horses or go to the store or anything in them. They live in my locker at the gym so I have to actually GO to the gym to use them!
  3. They are very comfortable and fit really well so I think the money was worth it. I am keeping track how many times I run in them and it makes the money feel worth it also.
Another thing about the money. We went to another shoe store in town that focuses mostly on dress shoes but the do have athletic shoes (but don't really know a thing about them) and my shoes were the same price there. I know that the service was worth it, but if they would have been $30 cheaper, I would have felt a little bad!

So I figure if they last me several months and into a triathlon or two they will be great shoes, plus they are orange! Yeah!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Muffin Master!

This weekend I was asked to make 100 muffins and cupcakes for our local winter mountain bike event (remember- S works at the bike shop).

I made 8 dozen in one day! I didn't mind because it rained all day Saturday anyways.

  1. Banana Applesauce Muffins
  2. Banana Applesauce Muffins
  3. Yogurt Muffins
  4. Peanut Butter Muffins
  5. Blueberry Muffins
  6. Vanilla Cupcakes
  7. Vanilla with mini chocolate chip Cupcakes (now named Dalmatian Cupcakes)
  8. *My Famous* Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
All supplies cost under $20 including new all-pupose flour (10lbs), whole wheat flour (5lbs), and sugar (5lbs). I did not buy any new spices or extracts. I have over half of the all purpose flour and a whole lot of the whole wheat sugar left! The local bike club is paying me back for the ingredients and so I am going to give them the $20 receipt! I get to keep the left over flours and I didn't charge them for my stuff or time!

Things I learned:

Mini Chocolate Chips are AMAZING! (Now that I think about it I didn't charge the club for these because I was not planning on using them- oh well, still "free" flour!). I used them in the second batch of vanilla cupcakes for something more exciting than plain and they were a hit! One of my friend named them Dalmatian and I think the name will stick! Oh! The reason I bought the mini ones- they were one sale! (Cha-Ching!).

Even though I named them *My Famous* Pumpkin Chocolate Chip, they are the ones that go the fastest and people keep coming back for. Although they are the strangest sounding, I should always make 2 dozen!

Yogurt Muffins have possiblity- maybe I should have experimented first. I wanted to make these because they sounded amazingly moist. I only had plain yogurt so that its what I used, the recipie claimed that pineapples yogurt is very good. I think I will have to try it!

Yes, Bananas that are not quite super ripe can be helped along with a teaspoon of vinigar- it makes the muffins not so sweet. Bummer! My favorite new recipe I posted a while ago didn't go over so well because they were super bland. I guess the ripeness adds sweetness (where as the vinegar defiantly negates that) they also add moisture. For the two dozen that I made I also cut the moisture by lowering margarine to 1/2 cup from 1/3 cup and subbed 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat. Bummer- now S and I have about 20 muffins we have to finish off for breakfasts. I added jelly to mine today!

Yeah! I accomplished blueberry muffins! I am so proud of myself! I went ahead and used frozen blueberries and I even coated them in flour so they wouldn't sink. They didn't! But I should have rinsed them first, they did leave blue streaks in my batter and muffins but they were still appetizing looking and people ate them!

I might work on posting recipes soon- but we will just have to see how much of my amazing-ness I want to share!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Navagating the Airline Industry

The cruise thing is getting kinda crazy. Thanks grandpa for paying for the thing but I am still having to miss an entire week of school, get myself to port, need a new swimsuit (thankfully its not a "fancy" cruise), passport and a whole host of other random expenditures.

In early January I started looking for flights from Tulsa to Houston. My other grandfather is retired from American Airlines so we often use his passes to fly standby- but trying to catch a boat is a pretty important event. Because I normally fly American- flying Southwest (which I have only done once) feels like I am being loaded onto a slave ship. The whole get a group number, stand in line, pick your own seat is very uncivilized to me- but unfortunately its a great deal cheaper.

While looking at dates I discoverd that the day I get off the boat is my annual convention in Dallas, where my grandparents live. They will be driving to port so I am just going to come home with them and they are going to take me to my convention and then S can drive down and pick me up, or my grandfather said he would take me half way. (Saturday is a triathlon in Dallas and I am considering doing it- but that seems like a lot of stress for one week)

During my search for tickets it seemed that Southwest was running a special for specific cities and where I was flying was one of them. I only needed a one way ticket and the website said $79! Wo hoo! With taxes and security fees it came out to $88. I was pretty proud of myself and my mom was so happy she offered to pay for the flight!

For some reason this morning I decided to check and see what the rates were. $65! Yes, that is right, $14 dollars cheaper! With taxes and fees it comes to $74- still $14 dollars cheaper than what I bought about 3 weeks ago.

Now I understand economics, and supply and demand and all the ways that Southwest uses price as a driver to fill their planes but I still cant help but feel I got the shaft!

I booked under the cheapest category (duh!) and read the rules. Apparently I can cancel my flight and receive 100% in credit for flights at a later date. Does this mean I can cancel- get my $88 back and then book the same flight again? You have to figure if they are this smart then you probably can't do it and it has to do with "later fight" thing.

The only good thing is I didn't pay for the ticket- but I still fell like I flushed $14 of my mom's money down the toilet. Bummer!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Cheap, Fast and Easy!

I am sitting between classes thinking about how hungry I am decided to post my ultimate favorite easy and cheap recipe.

Broccoli Cheesy Ricey Casserole

1 10oz. bag of frozen cut broccoli
3 tablespoons water
2 cups uncooked brown rice
1 3/4 cup water
1 can condensed soup (cream of celery, cream of mushroom, reduced sodium cream of mushroom)
2+ cups of shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 an onion chopped
1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon oil

Cook rice in water according to package directions. While rice is cooking put frozen broccoli in large plastic, glass or ceramic mixing bowl with 3 tablespoons water and microwave on high for 5-6 min until completely thawed. Let rice and broccoli cool. If I feel like this is when I heat the oil and brown the garlic and onion. This gives the casserole a fuller taste, but it really good even without. Once broccoli and rice are cool combine with soup, onions (if you have em), and shredded cheese. Save a little cheese for sprinkling on the top. I have a great round caserol dish that I stuff the mixture in and then cover with foil. I am sure that a 9x 13 glass pan would work well also. Bake at 425* for 20 covered then remove the foil and cook for 5 more min.

I am constantly just playing with the perportions of everything. There is honestly no way you can mess this us! More cheese, less broccoli, more or less rice- it always works!

S and I eat this with MorningStar Mock Chick'n Nuggets. I am pretty sure that is what we are having tonight!