Monday, April 26, 2010

Gluten Free Cornbread

After going Gluten Free I really started paying attention to what bothered me and what didn't and I have found that corn is an okay thing for me.  And one thing I have always loved is corn bread.  So when I went gluten free I thought, perfect, I can still get the corn bread mixes I love and be fine.....this gluten free thing isn't a problem after all.  Boy was I wrong.  Look at the package mixes in the grocery store, every one of them contains wheat.  Crap!  So the search was on for a good gluten free corn bread mix.  I really like this one as far as mixes go, but because gluten free mixes aren't everywhere I have to stock up on the mix to make sure I had some available when I wanted it.   Instead I wanted to find one I could make from scratch on my own, it's so much easier.  So this is what I use instead:

Gluten Free Cornbread
(adapted from this recipe)

1 1/4 c. cornmeal
1 c. flour (I use this gluten free flour, but you can use any kind of flour you choose)
1/4 c. evaporated cane juice (I use this instead of sugar)
2 eggs
1 c. almond milk (or any type of milk you want)
1/3 c. melted butter

If you use regular flour you need to add the following (you don't need to add these if you use the flour I specify because it already has these in it):
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix all the ingredients together.  I usually do the wet and then the dry but you can do it however you want.  I like to put this in either a loaf pan or an 8x8 pan.  You can also make muffins out of it if you want, just be sure to reduce the baking time a bit.  Spray whatever pan you want to use and pour the mix in.  I usually bake it about 30 minutes but make sure it's done all the way through and the top is brown before you take it out.  It's great with butter and/or honey.  Enjoy!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Dogs 'a Barkin'

Now that I have been able to bike outside more I am remembering all the "fun" things about biking that don't watch for bikers, cars that think bikers don't belong on roads (not sure where they want me to go when I'm on a country road with a gravel shoulder), nasty head winds and farm dogs that chase you (this is possibly my favorite of them all).  Some of the farm dogs are fast, some are big, some have large snarly teeth, and some have it all, fast, big, black and large snarly teeth that like to chew on bikers.  Keep in mind these farm dogs have trained all winter to be in top physical condition to chase a biker when they get the opportunity, 6 months they've waited to sink their teeth into our leg.  So when one comes barreling at you like it's the biggest thrill in the world, push on those pedals like you've never pushed before, see what you really have and hope like heck the dogs endurance isn't nearly what they think it is.  Wednesday night when I rode I had a fun one.  I got chased by a big black dog with snarly biker eating teeth while his owner proceeded to rake a patch of dirt and pay no attention to his dog that took off after me like I was his next meal.  I was like WTF!!!  Now I have a big black dog

Who has also been known to chase bikers

But he doesn't have snarly biker eating teeth and I don't rake dirt while my dog chases people (look how much fun he is having running with those bikers).  Some people just downright scare the heck out of me.  So as we all spend more time on the roads running, biking or walking be careful for inattentive Big Mac eating cigarette smoking drivers and dogs with snarly endurance eating teeth.  It's a crazy world out there!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Newly Overhauled

I did something really dumb on Sunday.  I was walking upstairs from my long ride on the trainer, getting ready to take Asher out and do our brick (run after the bike) and I dropped my new (in November) Garmin on the tile floor cracking the glass on the face of it.  I was sooooo mad at myself.  It still worked but wasn't going to be around long in its current state.

So Monday morning I called Garmin support to see if this was something they could fix or if I had to buy a new watch.  I was explaining what happened to the gentleman on the phone and he said this was something that didn't happen very often and shouldn'tnd he would cover the watch under warranty!!  Heck ya!!  I was so happy.  He did say it would cost $99 to fix the screen or buy a new one at $400.  Ugly numbers for a stupid error.  So yesterday in the mail came this:


A package....stating something inside was "Newly Overhauled".  I loved it.  Great.  And in that fun package.....

my new (refurbished/newly overhauled) Garmin.  I was able to use my old one (I put one of my iPhone screen protectors over it so the glass wouldn't fall out while I was running or biking) but this new one is good to go.  Ready to take the abuse of being in my posession.  At least this time Asher didn't chew it up like the last time I had to get a new one.  The fault was definitely on me.  Thanks Garmin support for being so awesome in all this mess!!!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Training April 4-10, 2010

Sunday: Easter
am) Run: 10 miles 1:27:27

am) Swim: 3200 yards 1 hour
pm) Bike: 34 miles 1:40:10 Outside

am) Run: 6 miles 45:49 Intervals
pm) Bike: 27 miles 1:22:55
       Weights: 50 minutes

am) Run: 8 miles 1:07:14
pm) Bike: 50 miles 2:32:18

am) Swim: 3200 yards 1 hour
pm) Bike: 35 miles 1:46:42

am) Run: 5.5 miles 50:00

am) Run: 20 miles  2:57:24

Swim: 6400 yards  2 hours
Bike: 146 miles  7:22:05
Run: 49.5 miles 7:07:54
Weights: 50 minutes

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Training March 28-April 3, 2010

am)  Bike: 71 miles  3:35:28  Long Ride
        Run: 5.2 miles  44:41  Brick outside after the ride

am)  Swim 3200 yards  1:00:00
pm)  Bike: 33 miles  1:41:27  Tempo

am)  Run: 6.1 miles  47:18  Intervals
pm)  Bike: 27 miles  1:23:08  Intervals
        Weights: 45 minutes

am)  Run: 9 miles  1:16:12
pm)  Bike: 35 miles  2:01:51  First ride outside for the year!!

am)  Swim: 3200 yards  1 hour
pm)  Bike: 31 miles  1:30:52  Rode outside

am)  Run: 5.5 miles  50:28  Recovery

am)  Run: 18 miles 2:43:30  Long Run

Swim: 6400 yards  2 hours
Bike:  197 miles  10:12:46
Run:  43.8 miles  6:22:09

An interesting week to say the least.  The weather has been unseasonably warm here.  I got to bike outside on both Wednesday and Thursday this week and ran in short sleeves and shorts a couple mornings and for our long run.  And we got rained on during our long run on Saturday.  This is great! 

I got to ride my first ride of the year outside with Erik.  It was a blast.  Super windy from the South so we rode south first and flew home.  It was awesome.  Biked a nice moderate/hard ride on Thursday night.  It felt great to be outside again.  Saturday Mark, Asher and I joined the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon training runs.  Asher was so excited with all the people he could hardly contain himself.  It was hilarious.  There were just a ton of people there.  It was great to see such a huge turnout.  We are really lucky to have these runs, they are great.

April Snow

Woke up to this outside:

That's right....snow...on April 8th...we got somewhere between 2-4 inches last night.  Last week Thursday it was 75 degrees and I went biking outside, not sure what happened.  I guess this is spring in Wisconsin.  Gotta love it!

(The first picture is Asher at home.  The next three are out our window at work.  We have an awesome natural area behind our building.  It's very pretty with the snow hanging on the branches.  In the fall you can see deer every day back there.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

LA Pictures

While in LA for the marathon we got to do quite a bit of sightseeing.  We spent quite a bit of time in Venice and Santa Monica.  We also drove up to Malibu but couldn't even afford to look in any stores so we came back.  (The houses on the cliff over-looking the ocean are crazy!!)  Tuesday morning we ran on the beach down to Manhattan Beach.  While running we saw lots of Dolphins and Surfers in the ocean.  It was really cool.  We ate at a Pinkberry and hit the Farmers Market in Beverly Hills too.  Both very neat and nothing like we have here.  We really got to see a lot for being there for such a short period of time.  Lots to do and see there though.  Here are a few pictures from the trip:

Venice from Venice Pier

Sailboats out on the ocean

Me, doing my best Baywatch pose on Venice Beach

Malibu, CA
(From the car window)

Downtown LA
(From the car, look at all the traffic, and this is only a casual Saturday afternoon)

(The pits were interesting, this was the biggest, but we didn't do the museum.  The museum has all of the fossils that they dig out of the pits)

La Brea Tar Pits
(See the bubbles in the tar, the tar isn't hot though)

Venice Beach
(I'd show up this guy's 6-pack but I didn't want him to feel bad. :)

(All the beaches we went to were very nice like this.  Well groomed, big and really nice.)

Venice Pier and Venice Beach

Venice Beach

Venice Canal

From our morning run, tanker boats unloading off the coast.  We also saw Dolphins as we were running.  Also there were a lot of surfers catching waves before work.  Really awesome!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

LA Marathon March 21, 2010

26.2 miles, Los Angeles, CA, March 21st, 2010.....been there, done that.  A couple weekends ago I went to LA and ran the Los Angeles Marathon with my training partner Mark, his soon to be son-in-law Sam and Sam's roommate Laura.  This was to be Sam's first marathon and Laura's 2nd.  We were all excited.  Sam and Laura got to train in balmy LA while Mark and I gutted it out in another fun Wisconsin winter.  We were trained, tanned (well some of us) and ready to race. 

We flew to LA late on Friday night and went to the expo at Dodger Stadium on Saturday afternoon. 

Entrance to Dodger Stadium

Dodger Stadium is on the top of a hill, there is pretty much only one way in and one way out.  This resulted in some interesting traffic on Sunday morning.  The race filled to capacity, 25,000 runners.  This was the biggest marathon Mark, Sam or Laura had ever done (I did Chicago with 45,000 runners in 2008) so we were expecting big things.  We had been receiving emails everyday with important race information for us and our families and friends so we were getting lots of good information about the race.  Dodger Stadium was nice.  We got to walk about the stadium and take pictures of the field.  It's amazing how green everything was there.  Awesome to see. 

Dodger Stadium

They had a nice big expo, lots of stuff to do and see.  Picked up our packet and found out they ran out of some sizes of shirts, the shirts came in really small so everyone was sizing up.  Huh.  From there we checked out the start line and start coral. 

From Left to Right: Sam, me, Mark at the start line

Seemed really small to push 25,000 runners through.  And then we saw the porta's.....this was definitely going to be an issue race morning.  Not nearly enough.  Left Dodger Stadium and hit Hollywood for dinner and then home to rest the feet and mind for the next day.

Race day, beautiful weather, was supposed to get up to the mid 70's by the afternoon and was sunny (I guess it's always sunny in LA).  Good stuff.  We left the hotel at 5:30 and the drive was supposed to take about 20-25 minutes so we had plenty of time.  We were doing great until 2 miles from the Dodger Stadium exit and then we were in a huge traffic jam and totally stopped.  Not good.  It took us about 45 minutes to go those next 2 miles.  Again the problem, one way in and one way out for 25,000 people.  Not a good plan.  They race organizers encouraged people to park at the finish (there was not much parking at the finish) and shuttle to the start.  Well the shuttles were stuck in the same traffic we were.  Our rides were just going to go in and drop us off but it was still crazy.  People were starting to panic and were getting out of their cars on the interstate and running or walking to the race start.  We even saw people ducking behind bushes and trees doing to the bathroom alongside the freeway.  This was crazy.  Plus like I said before, Dodger Stadium is on a hill so to get there you have to climb the hill.  I didn't want to waste extra energy doing this, as did our other racers so we waited the line out and eventually got in.  The drop off was very smooth, just tough to get into the stadium for the drop off.  As soon as we got into the stadium we headed for the porta's and the line was forever.  They didn't have nearly enough porta's for all the people in the race.  People were climbing a hill and going behind bushes.  My luck is I would hurt myself doing that so I waited out the line.  45 minutes later we were all done and ready to head to the start line.  The race was supposed to start at 7:20-7:25 (I saw different times on this the weeks leading up to the race as well) but it started about 7:45, at least our portion of the race did.  This is a bit of a unique event, the women get a head start, this time it was around 18 minutes, on the men and the first individual to the finish line wins $100,000.  Last year a man won but it has traded hands between the men and the women for the last six years.  Kind of a cool thing.  Because the start chute was so small we had to wait outside the chute until the start.  Finally after almost 15 minutes of waiting (and hearing the kick off song 5 times) we crossed the start line. 

Our first mile was around Dodger Stadium, up a hill then down a hill.  We were passing people like crazy in the first few miles.  Because we started so far back we were with racers that were a bit slower than us so we passed a ton of people.  That feels good but it's also hard to get a rhythm dodging people all the time.  This race had a band at every mile, water every mile and Powerade every other mile.  The aid stations and volunteers were awesome.  Even with that amount of runners they did a great job.  They had lots of cups set up ahead but that goes quickly with 25,000 runners and they handled it well.  Mark and I carried our hand held bottle with Gatorade in it instead of using the Powerade on the course, I prefer Gatorade.  This worked out well.  We were clipping along at a nice pace, a little slower than we had planned, but with the amount of people and with us dodging people all the time this pace was suiting us just fine.  The first 6 miles are a loop around downtown and then we pass Dodger Stadium again before heading on Sunset Blvd into Hollywood, Beverly Hills and finally to Santa Monica and Ocean Ave for the finish.  The first 6 miles turned out to be pretty hilly, and not just little bumps in the road but some pretty steep things that were at least 1/4 mile long.  My heart rate was climbing with these hills and it getting warmer and I was having trouble keeping it down.  Even when we would walk through a water station it still didn't want to stay down.  I was getting worried and more concerned about it which wasn't helping to keep it down.  So far all 4 of us were staying together, chatting and Mark and I were learning about the city as we passed things from Sam and Laura.  We were having a blast.  At about the mile 10 mark, Mark and I got separated from Sam and Laura.  They were cruising along really good, my heart rate was high and we just lost them in a water station.  They were just ahead of us but we didn't push to catch up to them.  About mile 13.5 Mark and I passed Sam and Laura.  Sam was walking as he was having a calf cramp.  We were supposed to meet our support crew (Jeff, Sue, Michelle and Stephanie) at mile 14 to refill our water bottles with Gatorade and get more nutrition if needed.

Sue, Michelle and Stephanie Smith - Mile 14 Support Crew
(taken by Jeff, also in the support crew)

So we passed them and told them we would meet them just ahead.  We caught our group and waited for Sam and Laura to get there.

Mark and I at mile 14

They never showed so Michelle called Laura's cell phone, they missed them and were going to keep going.  Okay, so we headed out.  I felt good for the next few miles, before that I was not feeling real spunky to say the least.  About mile 17 I really started to fade.  My heart rate kept getting higher and higher.  I was doing okay on my nutrition (I was taking honey stingers and sucking on them, when one was done I would pop another one in and gatorade and water) but I was feeling a bit weak and my heart rate was high.  So we walked a bit, got it down and then kept going.  Mark was great, he just kept encouraging me to keep going and was okay with a few walk breaks.  We would walk through the water stations which helped.  Mentally I was doing okay but was warm and ready to be done.  We kept this up until we ran into Sam and Laura again at mile 24.  She looked great, Sam on the other hand was walking with major cramps in his legs.  Based on the fact that we had his nutrition because he didn't stop by the crew it was either nutrition or fluids or a combination of both that was getting him.  We told Laura to take off, there was a bet on the line with major money depending on how she finish, Sam was going to walk and Mark and I just wanted to get done.  The finish down Ocean Ave was long (almost 2 miles) and really played with you mentally but we did it, even picked it up in the end and finished strong.  We were happy to be done!  Our time: 4:30:19 (4:30:18 for Mark because he pushed me out of the way to beat me....not really but that's my story and I'm sticking to it!) didn't seem like a great time but now that the race is over and we saw the results we had an overall place of 5700 out of 22478 finishers.  Not bad when you look at it that way!  And a woman was first to the finish line and won the $100,000.  Super cool!!

After the race
From Left to Right: Sam, me, Laura, Mark

Final thoughts on the race.......not well organized at all.  If they are going to let 25,000 runners in, then they need to be ready for 25,000 runners, not 10,000.  The start and finish need to be more accessible to spectators and racers.  The stadium start and ocean finish are really cool but when it takes you 2 hours to get to the start and 2 hours to leave the finish it kind of takes some of the fun away from it all.  Volunteers were awesome.  Company was awesome. :)  I wish I would have felt better, but I did accomplish my goals for the day, to practice my new nutrition, run an early season marathon and finish, and just have fun.  Mark and I did get to mile 25 and Mark said to me, I like we forgot to look around for the last 25 miles like we planned, so next time I would like to make sure to focus on relaxing, having fun and enjoying the race.  Glad to get one under my belt for the year and ready to improve in Green Bay.

Here are some other random pictures from the race:

Wheelchair athlete

Mile 14 water stop - check out all those cups!!

The professional women at mile 14

The professional men at mile 14

Here is the elevation chart from the race:

Doesn't look so bad when you look at it like this but the elevation gain was 3,168 ft.

Training March 21-27, 2010

am) Run: 26.2 miles 4:31:19  LA Marathon

am) Bike: 10 miles  35:00 
       Elliptical: 35 minutes about 3 miles running  

am) Run: 6.2 miles 56:02  Run on the beach in LA

am) Swim: 3200 yards 1 hour
pm) Bike: 27 miles 1:22:40

am) Run: 5.5 miles  46:08
pm) Bike: 33 miles 1:40:12

am) Run: 5.5 miles 48:12

am) Run: 14 miles 2:04:36
Dick Lytie Half marathon 1:55:06  12.8 miles

Swim: 3200 yards  1 hour
Bike: 70 miles  3:37:52
Run: 60.4 miles  8:55:09

Kind of a crazy mixed up week with the marathon and traveling to and from LA.  Did the marathon on Sunday and the Dick Lytie Half Marathon on Saturday.  Only 6 days apart and I felt 1,000 times different.  More on the Lytie in the race report.  I seemed to recover okay from the marathon.  Lots of walking in LA on Sunday and Monday I think helped that a ton!