Monday, July 21

Marble Falls Triathlon 2014

This past weekend Jessie and I completed the Marble Falls Triathlon not too far from Austin, TX. Jessie completed the Sprint distance swim-bike-run, while I opted for the Olympic or International distance: 1,000m swim, 23mi bike and 4.4mi run.

This race was special for two main reasons. First, was the fact that it was our first triathlon in almost two years. With all my attention dedicated to qualifying for Boston, swimming and biking took a back seat the past few seasons. The other reason this race was special was that it marked the four year anniversary of my first-ever triathlon, which just so happened to be the same race. I was nostalgic before the swim start, thinking back on my first race; it felt surreal to be back in Marble Falls to reignite my triathlon passion.

My race strategy was simple:

  1. Swim: don't drowned.
  2. Bike: take it easy (lots of hills).
  3. Run: give it what I had left.
All of this resulted in a great experience that I'll sum up in three words: humbling, motivating and fun.

Humbling

Four years ago I wrote a short recap of my first triathlon race in Marble Falls, and in it I said: "What a humbling experience it is to see 55-year-old women fly by you on the bike going up a hill." Even after four years of endurance training under my belt, it's still something that happens... and it's still a humbling experience. I must say, I knew I wasn't in that great of shape going into this race, but being back out there made me realize that many people have been working hard at multi-sport while I was zeroed in on one. There are no shortcuts in this sport if you if you want a respectable time. You can't cheat your way out of training. Only beating my previous Marble Falls time by 15min (with much cooler temperatures this go-around) reminded me of those facts.

Motivating

But the humble pie inspired me. Being out with a community of people determined to be healthy and accomplish their goals was incredibly motivating. The fast athletes revved up my competitive engine. The first-timer's reminded me of myself four years ago and the positive impact it's since had on my life. I came away from Marble Falls tired, sore, and motivated to get back into training.

Fun

Jessie and I aren't making money off of this sport (although you'd think some people are with how serious they take it). It's not a job, it doesn't pay the bills. Far from it, actually, triathlon can be expensive! Ultimately we do this because it's fun. Yes, putting your body through the ringer to cross the finish line is fun to us. Some think it's a sick cult, but triathlon has added a tremendous amount of value to our lives: health and fitness, goal-oriented determination and countless friendships. Training and racing are incredibly fun, and I hadn't realized how much I missed the ladder! 

Jessie and me before the race

Saturday, July 19

Golden Beet, Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

To enjoy the wonderful food that's in season this July, try this awesome salad for lunch or as a starter to your main course.




Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 60 min
Serves: 2-4 people

Ingredients:
4 golden beets, peeled and trimmed
1/2 lb fresh mozzarella, diced into cubes
2 cups heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
20 leaves of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Wrapped the wash, peeled and trimmed beets in foil and roast on a baking sheet for 60 minutes or until soft and easy to pierce with a fork.
3. Remove from the oven and let cool in the foil. Once cool to touch, cut into 1/4 inch slices.
4. Mix together the mozzarella, cherry tomatoes and basil in a salad bowl and add the beets. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar all over. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Serve and Enjoy!

Sunday, July 13

Crock Pot 7 Bone Beef Roast

Brian and I recently ordered a local grass-fed cow to share between three couples. This was an idea we had to not only save a little on coast, but to support local farmers and have a really fresh order of meat. Needless to say, we have a lot of beef in our freezer now! The 7 bone roast was one of the largest packages, so I decided to cook it first since the freezer was filled to the brim. Hope you enjoy this recipe inspired by Civilized Caveman Cooking.

Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 9 to 10 hours
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
7 bone beef roast
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 celery sticks, peeled and chopped
24 oz tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs oregano
1 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 handful fresh parsley

Instructions:
1. Put the chopped onion, carrots and celery in your crock pot.
2. Place the 7 bone roast on top of the veggies.
3. Mix the tomato sauce, red wine, garlic, oregano, thyme, paprika, cayenne and salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed depending on the level of spice you prefer.
4. Pour the sauce on top of the roast.
5. Cook the roast for 9 to 10 hours on low.
6. When ready to serve sprinkle fresh parsley on top. Serve with cauliflower mash or other veggies.
7 Enjoy!

Watermelon Gazpacho

This is a light and refreshing dish - perfect for a summertime lunch or starter before the main dinner course!


Prep Time: 10 min. + 4 hours to chill
Tools: High-powered blender
Serves: 6-8 people

Ingredients:
4 beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes 
1 medium sized cucumber, peeled
1 shallot, coarsely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, cored and chopped
5 stalks of fresh cilantro with leaves
3 cups watermelon, cubed and seeded 
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a rolling boil. While you wait for the water to boil, fill another large bowl with water and ice.
2. Cut a small X on the bottom of each tomato. Use a large soup spoon or another method to carefully drop each tomato in the boiling water. Blanch tomatoes for about 30 seconds, then transfer them to the ice water.
3. After the tomatoes have chilled for a minute or two, peel off their skins. Then, core and roughly chop them. Slide the chopped tomatoes, juices and seeds into the blender. 
4. Peel the cucumber, and finely dice 1/3 of it to set aside for garnish. Roughly chop the rest of the cucumber and add to the blender. 
5. Add the chopped shallots and red pepper as well as the cilantro to the blender with the tomatoes and cucumber. Puree until the veggies are liquefied. (Make sure to cover the blender to avoid splattering!).
6. Add the chopped watermelon, vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to the blended veggies and blend again until smooth. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
7. Pour the gazpacho into a large bowl or jars and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or until fully chilled. 
8. When ready to serve, if ingredients have separated a little bit, blend again as needed. Then, ladle the gazpacho into chilled cups or bowls. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped cucumber and cracked pepper. 
9. Enjoy and stay cool!
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