Tag Archives: Baking

Triathlon Training Log – Base Building, Week Four (Dec. 21)

For the first time since the 1920s, CNY saw a green Christmas.

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Lakeside bliss

Being home for the holidays sans snow was strange. We tried (and failed) to cut down a Christmas tree. Granted, we had an artificial one set up already, but still. And can we talk about how warm it was? I wore shorts for each of my three runs, and sure, it rained a bit, but now snow. Totally unprecedented.

General training notes: I spent nine days at home, so Earl structured this week as a recovery period. Although I could’ve brought my bike home and rode outside (it was 67 degrees Fahrenheit on Christmas Eve!), my wheels stayed in NYC, and I focused on running and strength training—and baking cookies with Grandma. #priorities

Monday – off

Tuesday – a.m. run

Easy 45-minute run in the rain

Wednesday – a.m. strength train

There’s a college in my hometown, so I went to its fitness center for my full-body strength training workout. (I usually swim when I’m home, but I’m still avoiding the pool for another month.) Anyway, this was my first time in a legitimate weight room (vs. gym or fitness facility) in a long time. And although I love getting stronger and getting after it, I did not miss the creepers. My earbuds may be in, but I can still see you trolling around, dude.

Thursday – a.m. run

Earl programmed a six-mile hill run, but I had time for only four. When Christmas cookie baking, frosting, and arranging calls …

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Just a “modest 1,000 cookies.” Direct quotation, folks.

Friday – off

Saturday – a.m. strength train

Abbreviated session at home because the fitness center was closed

Sunday – a.m. run

Sub-par planning and a late sunrise led to a shorter run—but a handful of miles are better than none.

All right. Back to the grind …

What did you do for the holidays?

A Silver Lining

Greetings, friends!  Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments on yesterday’s post.  Obviously, Sunday’s race was a very scary experience, but I learned a lot.

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From what more experienced triathletes said (*cough* Victoria *cough* Katelyn *cough*) blowing up is the nature of the sport, as is figuring out nutrition.  Looking forward, I plan to sit down with my coach, discuss the meltdown in detail, and start to develop a new hydration plan for the run (and potentially the bike).  And speaking of Sunday’s episode, a race representative called me yesterday at work to make sure I was doing OK—and to let me know that since I didn’t cross the finish line (womp, womp), I qualified for guaranteed entry for next year.  Woohoo for a silver lining!

My road to redemption officially began this morning, although it almost didn’t.  I was tempted to sleep a little longer, but then I remembered this video that went viral (in terms of my teammates) yesterday.

So the run happened.  It wasn’t fast, and it wasn’t far, but I got it done.

Seeing as this was my first “workout” since Sunday’s race, there clearly hasn’t been any swimming, biking, or real running.  So what have I been doing?

Drinking … smoothies. (Hey, I was severely dehydrated and all.)

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It’s been so oppressively hot in New York City that smoothies sound super appealing.  The one I had this morning (look familiar, Alex and Hollie?) contained kale, spinach, frozen banana and blueberries, protein powder, plus lots of almond milk.

Cleaning … because I’m OCD just because.

Baking … because I’ve been bored.

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Paleo chocolate chip banana bread, anyone?

Admiring tri bikes … because a girl can dream, right?

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On sale at Zen Bikes.  And it’s my size.  Just sayin’.

Doing laundry … because it’s somewhat therapeutic.  And needs to be done.

Shopping … sort of.

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Uh, where were these when I was in college? (OMG, I sound so old!)

Hope you’re having a great Thursday!

My First Wipe Out

A rainy day in New York City (and a day off from work at JackRabbit Sports) calls for baking and napping.

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I made a loaf of Paleo chocolate chip banana bread and enjoyed a brief siesta this afternoon.  After a late night JRab shoe biomechanics class and an early morning brick workout, I needed a nap.

So switching gears a bit, remember way back when I blogged about my Chinese horoscope?  Remember the injury projection and how I predicted a bike wipe out?

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Well, it happened yesterday morning.

Our bike session in Central Park started off great.  My coach led one pace line and told me to take the front spot on the other—progress!  Anyway, as we made our way through the park, he told me to try moving into aero.  Riding this way makes me nervous, and honestly, I haven’t been able to hold this position on the road yet.

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Being in aero while my bike’s hooked up to an indoor trainer is fine.  On the road, though, I can place only one arm on the aerobars; when I try to shift the other, things feel unstable, and I always chicken out.  But he’s my coach, and I trust him, so I gave it a shot, slowing moving my right hand and arm from the handlebars to the aerobars.

When I made the adjustment on the left, my bike drifted that way, and I panicked and overcompensated:  I steered too far to the right, which caused my bike and my coach’s bike to collide.  He’s an experienced cyclist, so he rode through it, but I went down and took another teammate with me.

Thankfully, everyone is fine.  I’m a little cut up on my knee (I’ll spare you pictures), but nothing serious.  The actual wipe out didn’t hurt, but I felt really bad:  My rookieness caused practice to stop and created an unsafe environment.

Even though I felt so frustrated and defeated, I got back in the saddle and finished the ride.  I wasn’t in a great place mentality, and my coach definitely noticed and gave me a pep talk.  My teammates were great too, checking in throughout the day and making sure I was feeling OK.

On the bright side, I couldn’t have asked for a better (?) first wipe out.  After all, I was riding with my coach and teammates, so I wasn’t alone, and we were in a familiar location.  Plus, no one was seriously injured.  And it’s the nature of the sport too.  As my Twitter buddy Chris so eloquently says:

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How do you pick yourself up after you’ve been knocked down?

Banana ‘Cookies’

Good morning, everyone!  I’m glad you enjoyed hearing about my Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn.  Cupcakes are always a good idea, right?

Speaking of sweets, I have a quick and simple recipe to share today.  Actually, it’s barely a recipe with only two ingredients:  Banana “Cookies.”

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I hoard bananas, so I had quite a few that needed to be used before they became too brown.  And when I saw Skinnytaste’s original recipe, I knew I had to give it a shot.

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I stayed true to the basic concept of oats and recipe bananas, but altered it based on the contents of my cupboard.

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Chewy like normal cookies, these banana alternatives taste best eaten straight from the oven—and topped with a drizzle of peanut or almond butter.  They’d also make for tasty pre-workout energy bites.  Just try not to eat five in one sitting like I did!

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Banana Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats

Cinnamon to taste, optional

1/4 cup chopped nuts of choice, optional (I’ve used peanuts and omitted the nuts–both ways taste great!)

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and coat with non-stick spray.

3.  Combine mashed bananas and oats in a bowl.

4.  Add chopped nuts and cinnamon.

5.  Place a tablespoon-sized of each on cookie sheet.

6.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until oats become crisp.

(Sort of) Trending

Hey, hey—happy Monday!  And Happy Presidents’ Day!

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Because everything comes back to chocolate, right?

Last night, Jen and I hosted our third #TriChat, and it went really well!  We welcomed ENERGYbits as a sponsor and guest host—which fit perfectly with our theme of pre-/during/post-workout nutrition and fueling strategies—and three lucky participants won samples.  The highpoint of the night occurred toward the end of the Q&A session when I glanced to the left of my newsfeed.

#trichat-trending

Trending for the win!  Technically, though, this is in terms of Twitter’s “tailored trend” algorithm. (For those unfamiliar with Twitter, its “tailored trend” shows hot topics based on your location and who you follow; its old system showed hashtags in reference to the wider-world of Twitter.) So even though #TriChat didn’t trend on a global scale (yet!), it still made its mark in triathlon and fitness circles.  Very cool!

Shameless plug:  Feel free to join us Sunday, March 3 at 8 p.m. EST for the next #TriChat!

Workout #1 – Running

Let week seven begin!  There were only 10 of us at our Full Throttle Endurance practice this morning (a bunch of guys went on a ski trip), which changed the group dynamic, but still lead to a great workout.  Like our previous sessions, we started with technique drills and barefoot running before doing tempo work on the track and tempo/hills on the treadmill.  On paper, this was the most challenging workout to date (our ‘mill incline values increased from 3.0 to 3.5 to 4.0), and it was also the strongest I’ve felt mentally and physically.  As you know, I read Chrissie Wellington’s book yesterday, and one idea that resonated with me was turning your brain on “autopilot,” which I did during this workout.  I’ll definitely talk about this concept more in the book review, but basically, even though it’s important to have a constant stream of assessment and feedback during training and races, it’s also crucial to know when to override your brain, shift into “autopilot,” and somewhat disconnect your head from your body.

Workout #2 – Swimming

Although tempted to call it a day after the running workout, I knew I needed to spend some quality time in the pool.  It was only 40 minutes, and nothing groundbreaking to report—except for the really cute (and obviously legit) guy wearing a TEAM USA swim cap.  Uh, what?!  He definitely wasn’t Vince Vaughn or Michael Phelps … I need to get to the bottom of this!

Breakfast

Breakfast started off with a spinach and egg-white breakfast sandwich, plus coffee.

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And about an hour later, I also ate an unpictured banana with some PB.  Swimming revs my appetite big time!

Lunch

I ran some errands this morning and heated up a piece of leftover pizza for lunch.

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Yes, I totally impulse-bought whole-wheat pizza dough at Whole Foods yesterday.  They saw me coming!  I also had a peach for dessert.

Later this afternoon, I multitasked–doing laundry and baking.

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Seeing as how I’ve eaten five of these banana “cookies” already, this recipe is a keeper—and coming your way later this week!

Are you guilty of impulse buying while grocery shopping?  What items typically find their way into your cart?

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Happy National Peanut Butter Day, friends!  How are you celebrating this creamy, crunchy, and always delicious holiday?  If you answered baking, then I have a tasty recipe for you.

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Although I considered making cookies or peanut butter granola, I decided to pay homage to one of my favorite food combos—PB and banana.

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And quite fittingly, three bananas in my basket turned brown, signaling they’re ripe for picking baking.

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The secret to this recipe is the chopped peanuts; I can’t believe I nearly nixed them!  Their crisp crunch balances the moist banana and creamy peanut butter.

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Here’s to you, peanut butter!

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Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1/3 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt

1/3 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter

3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

2 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

Directions:

1.  Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.  Set aside.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon.

3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together mashed bananas, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and melted oil.  Whisk in eggs and sugars.  Blend mixture until smooth.

4.  Pour wet mixture into larger bowl with dry ingredients.  Fold together with a spatula until no more flour bits remain.  Fold in chopped nuts.  Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

5.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes before moving bread onto a wire rack to cool completely.

You knew this question was coming–crunchy or smooth?

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!

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We went to Lights on the Lake last night, a two-mile long drive along Onondaga Lake Park that features a ton of (you guessed it) light displays like the Victorian Village, Land of Oz, and the Wide World of Sports.  We go every year, and it’s fun to see new additions.

In other news, we’re done baking Christmas cookies for now!  Can you believe we made five different types of treats?

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Oh, and Margaret even baked a special Christmas Eve cake.  Hopefully Santa—and the family!—enjoys everything.

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I hope you have a great holiday filled with lots of family, friends, and laughs!

Snapshot Saturday – Home for the Holidays

Hello from Central New York!

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It feels great to be home for the holidays!  Even though I saw my family last weekend, we haven’t been together at home since Thanksgiving, so I’m happy and thankful we’re all together again.  Including Zelda.

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I missed her so much!  Today’s been a low-key, relaxing day.  I watched the Syracuse basketball this afternoon, which I do not want to talk about.

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Yep, Jim Boeheim was seriously peeved. (And yes, my beloved Orange lost to the Temple Owls.) I then proceeded to drown my sorrows by baking some Christmas cookies.  First, Margaret and I made fudge-filled sandies.

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We split one for “quality control purposes,” and they tasted yummy!

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We also baked a batch of gingerbread men.

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We’ll decorate them tomorrow, and we also have at least three more types of cookies to make, so we’ll be busy!  Oh, and between measuring flour, setting the timer, and moving cookies to cooling racks, I totally OD’d on my grandma’s homemade toffee.

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You can’t stop at one piece; the stuff is seriously addicting, so we call it crack–ha!  Hopefully there will be more at our family dinner tomorrow.

Do you bake Christmas cookies?  What’s your favorite type of cookie to make—or eat?

Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

When life gives you one too many ripe bananas, you could make banana bread.  But if your cupboard lacks the necessary ingredients, and it’s 8 p.m., and you don’t feel like taking a trip to the grocery store, then you’ll have to get creative with what you have.

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So out of laziness resourcefulness, this Paleo chocolate chip banana bread was born.

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Thanks to the coconut oil, there’s a hint of creamy, tropical flavor.  And from a non-coconut lover, I’ll say it’s perfect—not too overpowering.

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Feel free to add more or less chocolate chips based on taste.  But when is more chocolate ever a bad thing?

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Paleo Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Ingredients:

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. honey

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2+ c. chocolate chips

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Coat loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2.  Use food processor or hand-held mixer to combine bananas, eggs, vanilla, honey, and coconut oil.

3.  Add in almond flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

4.  Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 55-65 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

5.  Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan.

Last Bike Ride in Central New York

Good afternoon, everyone!  How’s your Thursday so far?  I kicked off my morning with a 2.5-hour bike ride with Laura and MaryBeth around my tiny town.

Our leisurely ride gave us plenty of time to tri talk.  MB is such a great resource, so it was beneficial to pick her brain and discuss things like nutrition and off-season training.  Plus, I really valued talking through my long-term running and triathloning goals with a knowledgeable source.  Even though the ride was a blast, I couldn’t ignore the fact that it will be my last Central New York bike outing for quite some time.

I’m bringing my bike to the city, and once it’s there, it won’t be easy to take it home for the holidays. (Does anyone know if Amtrak allows bikes on trains?) Speaking of CNY, I have to take a moment to brag about my homestead:  Active.com named Syracuse as one of its 10 Best Triathlon Cities in the U.S.

And the article mentioned CNY Tri.  Hollerrr!

Dinner

Let’s backtrack to last night’s dinner:  I heated up a piece of leftover almond crusted tilapia and roasted some veggies.

Even though the tilapia exploded somewhat in the microwave, it was still delicious.  I kept dinner on the light-ish side because I had some baking planned—more pumpkin crunch granola to be exact.

Before letting my family have some, I had to taste it myself.  You know, for quality control purposes.  Big mistake.  Friends, I literally cannot stop eating this stuff.  It’s addicting.  I’ll share the recipe tomorrow!

Breakfast

Before this morning’s ride, I ate two Kashi waffles with almond butter and banana slices.

Sprinkled with chia seeds for good measure.

Post-Workout Snack

Once I got home, I inhaled a slice of protein-packed pumpkin bread.

And the loaf is officially gone.

All right, it’s time to face my organized piles of chaos and start packing for NYC—ahhh!  Have a great afternoon!