This particular Valentines Day started off with a short, but intense cycling session on the Computrainer. My Fuji and I got some quality time in the hurt locker. Nate has been working hard at finding the best position on the TT bike and switching crank lengths with my Rotor cranks and Q-rings to get the most optimal power in my current position. I spent two days last week with Joe Santos from Davis Wheelworks tweaking my position. This was not an easy task, as I did 80 miles over a 2 mile stretch of trail! I know that 2 mile stretch very well now! The trail was very sheltered, so we thought it would be a good spot to try and get similar readings for the test.
After the bike, Nate and I headed for a run at the famous “Clay Trail” in Clermont. It is a moderately hilly 9.75 mile loop with varying levels of soft/hard packed sand. Although it was only an aerobic run, by the time I got to the 7 mile mark, I was feeling the hills (and the wind)! During the run, my mind started to drift….singing Whitney Houston (“I Will Always Love You”), her music has popped up into my head lately with her recent passing and I was also thinking about Valentines Day and what it really means to me.
Right before my run workout, I spoke with my grandfather. He is in the hospital right now and has been battling congestive heart failure. He was diagnosed last year, shortly after my grandmother went to an assisted living center for Alzheimer’s Disease. I don’t doubt that his recent decline in health had much to do with stress and heartache from my grandmother. Since he was diagnosed last year, he has been doing everything he supposed to do; ride his bike, watch his salt intake, etc. This is his first set back, but both of my grandparents will not get better, there are no cures for their diseases. I just want them to be comfortable and happy.
My grandparents were both hardworking and dedicated people. They showed their love for their family through their actions. This can’t be more pronounced today in my grandfather’s love for my grandmother. He cared for her as long as his health could and when she went into an alternative home 18 months ago, he has visited her 2-3 times a day, 7days a week. Now my grandmother can only give a smile here or there and can’t speak, but that’s all it takes to see his eyes light up and the love of their 60 years of marriage stay strong. What a true testament of love and devotion and I am grateful to see this example from my own grandparents.
I also think about the love my parents show for each other in their 33 years of marriage. They are visiting Nate and I at the end of the month and celebrating their anniversary. My parents have love and respect not just for each other, but for their children and grandchildren.
Now, spending Valentines Day with my husband is not too different from many of our other days. We work together and workout together, so we are lucky to get to spend so much quality time with each other! He even cooks dinner for me most nights, including tonight, so I really know I am one lucky woman. Since I am in a hard phase of training right now, we are both content to relax and hang out on the couch and after dinner take a walk down to the lake and watch the sunset.
I am looking forward to all the future Valentine Day’s Nate and I will share. Right now in this chapter of our life my dreams of becoming the best triathlete I can be, have become both our dreams in working together. But really, it’s not just Valentines Day where we express our love for each other. It’s the little things we do for each other day in and day out. I am so grateful to have wonderful examples of what love is from my grandparents and parents. I am ready for the bumps, bruises, excitement and joys in life for us to share and grow together. I love you Nate!
It’s mid way into February and another race season will begin unfolding before I know it! I have enjoyed the last five weeks of training here in Clermont and feeling like I am getting a little bit more fit every week. The goal this season is to slowly chip into the fitness and back off when the body needs it. Yesterday my body felt like it really hit a wall, mostly because my quality of sleep had decreased for a couple days. So today has been a day completely off from the physical aspect of swimming, biking, and running. However, I have to say, I thoroughly enjoyed following 70.3 Panama and getting race updates from several ITU races that took place this weekend. Tracking the athletes laying it out on the line at their races, motivates me for the next big training push before my own race season begins.
My biggest indicator in my fatigue is my quality of sleep. Once I hit a couple nights in a row of poor sleep, I realize that I need to back off in my training. I am sure everyone’s fatigue hits them in different ways, but for me the sleep element is the biggest indicator. I am really trying to listen to my body, and treat the importance of recovery equal to training. I feel it is important for athletes to find what is their first indicator of fatigue and knowing when to back off. As athletes we want to push through our training and finish out what is to be expected, and sometimes having to deviate from the plan can be the biggest challenge! It is important to trust your body and have faith in what you are doing, but always questioning how can you improve.
The weather has been great, even above average most days for this time of year in central Florida. Today was a “cold” surge with a high temperature of only 50, but most days the temps have reached the mid to upper 70s. I have yet to run on a treadmill since I have arrived in FL, and I really appreciate that aspect!
Nate and I love our new home in Clermont. We are a 1/4 mile of walking distance to Lake Minneola and can easily ride and run from the house. The National Training Center is a close five minute drive and there we have access to a strength facility/track and 50 meter pool (alternating LCM and SCY).
Last weekend we attending a wedding in St. Augustine, FL. It was our first time to the city and we loved it! The beach was beautiful, the city had a wealth of cool historical facts and and many unique restaurants. There was much we still did not see, so we will have to plan another trip in the future.
My parents and in-laws will each be visiting at the end of the month. It will be great to see family and let them get a break from the winter up north. I want to finish off with another recipe from Nate that has become a breakfast staple here during the FL training.
2 cups bean flour
1 cup almond meal
1 cup flaxseed
1 cup almond milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 16 oz. bag walnuts
(yields 24 muffins)
Chop up the carrots and apples in food processor so they are “chunked”
Mix all dry ingredients together
Mix egg/almond milk/agave nectar and vanilla together
Stir everything together enough so flour is moist
Bake at 350 for 20-25 min
Enjoy~ All natural, healthy muffins. Very easy to grab and go in the morning. We store them in the fridge and heat them up for 30 sec in the microwave (but can be eaten hot or cold). Before longer workouts, we will chop up a banana on top of the muffin and drizzle peanut butter and honey over the muffin.
With the new year upon us, it is always a great time to reflect on the past year, but more importantly get on with the new one! Nate and I had a very enjoyable, busy holiday time in Missouri and Minnesota. It was nice to catch up with many friends and family. We continued to “exercise”, but at times, training was on the back burner. One of Nate’s goals this fall was to hunt a deer. Surprisingly, my dad was the one who got the deer (from a hot tub in his backyard)! In addition, I had my first taste of venison. I found I really enjoyed the taste and Nate is determined to hunt one next fall so that we can fill our fridge. We are also buying a cow along with my parents (named Meat #1 and Meat #2, so as not to forget the end goal!), so that we can have some free range, grass fed beef! Talking about all this meat, reminds me that one of our goals this year is to turn towards more and more organic foods and try to eliminate as much process foods from our diet. We feel this will not only help in our sport, but also improve long term health. Nate has become quite the chef in our family and always surprises me in the kitchen with his homemade recipes!
I have been back in Florida for five days now. After the holidays, travel and getting back into the swing of things, I am quickly reminded how hard it is to get back started in full force training mode. Triathlon is hard, there is not easy short cut towards making that one to two percent improvement I am striving for day in and day out. I am looking forward to the challenging season that awaits, but know I have to break down my goals one day at a time. It takes those little steps every day to make those giant leaps at the end of the season!
Last year we made the decision to leave Colorado for the winter and stay in Florida. I have learned that my body responds well to routine and consistency (as most do) and excited that I will most likely not be stepping on an airplane over the next five months!! I truly feel that dedicating consistent time and effort in training will help me achieve peak fitness by this spring and summer. I will be racing three races in Florida in March and April, but will be driving to the races, so in a way it almost doesn’t even count as travel since I don’t have to take my bike apart!
For many athlete’s the dead of winter can be a tough time to stay mentally focused. I would recommend signing up for some winter run races. This really helps to keep your motivation up to stay fit up. In addition, try some group cycling classes (either a spin class or see if any Triathlon Clubs in your area have group Computrainer sessions).
Look for an indoor triathlon in your area late winter/early spring. I know that Lifetime Fitness has several early season indoor tri’s., so check one out near you. This is also a good way to help motivate you for the upcoming summer triathlon season. Happy training!!
I will leave you with one of Nate’s recipes: Black Bean Soup (Serves 4)
2 cans organic black beans (find low sodium)
1 red pepper
1 head broccoli
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. tabasco or favorite hot sauce
Optional: feta or cheddar cheese
Optional: plain greek yogurt
In large pot mash black beans. For every one can of beans, include 1/2 can of water.
Dice up pepper, broccoli. Combine all ingredients. Add in the honey, chili powder and hot sauce. Cook on stovetop on medium heat and let it simmer for 30 min (or until the water cooks down and the soup thickens).
Add in desired amount of cheese or top a bowl with 1-2 tbsp. of greek yogurt
Now that the 2011 season has come to a close, it is the time of year to visit with friends and family, enjoy the Holiday Season and get ready to plan for the 2012 year. As Thanksgiving Day just passed, I realize I have so much to be thankful for; including my health, family, friends and happiness. Watching my nieces and nephews grow so quickly before my eyes is another reminder of how quickly life can pass you by if you don’t stop and smell the roses once and awhile.
This Thanksgiving was spent in Minnesota and Christmas will be spent in Missouri. In December I will begin to start my official training for the 2012 season, but will also remember to live every moment and enjoy the process. With such a big year approaching and Olympic Trials in May, it’s easy to get wrapped into tunnel vision so early in the season, but I want to make sure to enjoy the holidays, enjoy time with family and be sure to give each moment in training and life 100%.
The holiday time is also the time to give back. I want to give back to others, including my personal charities that I support; Train for Autism, Jenny’s Light and the Alzheimer’s Foundation. For every mile that I swim, bike and run the month of December I am going to donate one dollar, split evenly between my three charities. I will post updates on my Sarah Haskins Triathlete FB page and @sarahhaskinstri twitter and will post updates on my progress. Getting the miles in this time of year can be tough with cold temperatures and the need for trainer rides. It will be an added bonus for me knowing that every mile I cover in water or land will be contributing towards helping others. I invite others to join me on my December quest and help me donate to the charities I support. Top three mileage recorders will l receive a gift package from my personal sponsors; including, TYR, Fuji, Mission AthleteCare, First Endurance, Rudy Project, ISM Adamo, and Zipp. Of course, any donation amount is appreciated! We are all on the honor’s system! Let’s get moving! True joy is in giving rather than in receiving.
- To take part you have to donate one dollar for every mile you complete during the month of December to be eligible for the prizes. However, any donation amount is greatly appreciated and welcomed.
- All milage must be recorded and shared daily to “Sarah Haskins Triathlete Face Book Fan Page”.
- Every Sunday there will be a Spread sheet with milage from participants for standings on www.sarahhaskins.com it will be twittered and FaceBooked also.
- All checks are made out to the charity organizations of your choice or any combination of the three (Jenny’s Light, Train for Autism, and Alzheimer’s Foundation of America) and are mailed to Sarah Haskins at 133 Riggings Way, Clermont, FL 34711.
- The top three individuals with the highest miles for the month of December will win a sponsor prize package.
- Miles will begin at 12:01AM on December 1st and end 11:59PM on December 31st.
- Official results will be announced on January 15th, 2012. Preliminary winners will be announced on January 2nd.
- To guarantee eligibility for prizes, checks for the charity donation must be post marked by January 5th.