Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tri something new

I have always loved the water. When I was a kid I would run towards the ocean, arms outstretched, ready to embrace the surf. (My brother on the other hand was always afraid that crabs would bite his toes off.) I would delight in splashing around and jumping over waves. But that's about as far as it went because as much as I loved the water, I didn't know how to swim.

I took swim lessons at least two different times as a kid. I could stay afloat and keep myself from drowning, but every time I tried to put my face in the water to do the crawl I would start to feel claustrophobic and panic. One time I even hyperventilated. As an adult I pretty much doggie paddle. I can do the back stroke and side stroke, and I've discovered I can swim small distances with breast stroke arms and a flutter kick. I still can't put my face under water for more than about 5 seconds, though.

All of this swim talk is because despite of my lack of swimming ability, I am doing the Danskin Triathlon this weekend! I have to swim 1/2 mile, bike 12 miles, and run a 5K. I've been practicing my swimming and have improved somewhat, but I'm a little nervous for the swimming portion of the Tri.

I'm also a little nervous about nourishing my body during the event. I did the Seattle Rock and Roll 1/2 marathon last year and I drank electrolyte enhanced flavored water and ate sports gels, both of which are completely loaded with sugar and starch. Since I'm anticipating the Tri will take me about 2.5 hours, I'm definitely going to need some portable no starch fuel for my body.

Here's my plan: I've loaded up on some raw almonds, dehydrated blueberries, and fruit leather. I'm hoping the combination of the protein from the nuts and natural carbohydrate from the blueberries and fruit leather will give me the energy I need to perform my best. The last thing I wanted to do was consume a bunch of starch laden gels and drinks and wind up with fatigue and digestive issues during the triathlon. Stretch Island's raspberry fruit leather only uses apple, pear, and raspberry puree plus some lemon juice, so it's definitely ok for us folks on the no starch diet. (Hooray!) I plan on drinking just straight up water, but I'll take a mulltivitamin with minerals first.

I've been training by swimming, biking, and jogging in addition to my regular cardio routine. This week though I've backed off a bit from my typical routine. Yesterday I went to a Bikram yoga class, and it was amazing. Bikram is hot yoga, and you do the same series of 26 poses each time. It makes me sweat literally everywhere, and I feel clean and full of vitality afterwards. I definitely recommend yoga for anyone with AS or chronic back pain, as it has helped strengthen my lower back and improve my flexibility.

After Bikram I feel like I have been cleaned inside and out, so salad was a natural choice for dinner last night. Here's a delicious no starch salad.

Spinach with apples, goat cheese, and blackberry balsamic:

Combine spinach, diced apples, herbed goat cheese, and chopped pecans.
Top with Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Blackberry Balsamic Vinaigrette:
Combine equal parts Blackberry balsamic vinegar and olive oil. I use Bistro Blends blackberry balsamic from Pike Place Market. Add a dash of salt and pepper, and some diced shallots. Whisk together.



  1. Good luck :) The blackberry vineger sounds awesome!!

  2. Good job on the tri! So proud of you!

  3. You look so happy. I'm sure you are going to do awesome this weekend. Good luck!!

  4. I am a proud friend :) Go get em'