Friday, December 28, 2012


This past year I learned a very important lesson in rest and recovery. And over the past 3 months I re-learned that it’s actually a lot of fun to be off a training schedule, sleep in when I want to, go to parties, stay out late, and enjoy some aspects of life that sometimes get neglected with the constant balancing act of trying to be a serious athlete. I think that part of my 2012 athletic funk had something to do with the quick turnaround I had from Kona 2011 to IMSG 2012, so it was a little easier to embrace some rest and take the words of wisdom given to my from coach K: you need to get a little out of shape, so you can come back stronger.” So, similar to last year’s off-season post, here’s the list of things I’ve been doing while getting a little out of shape. 

  • Caught up on some reading. “Gold” by Chris Cleave was the best book I read all year.
  • Went to Vegas
  • Got sick – sniffled, coughed, ached my way through the past month. I’m feeling much better now and should be good to go next week.
  • Rekindled my love for college basketball. Go Gonzaga!
  • Kept my bikes clean – rode outside only when it was sunny and dry. This will change Tuesday nights in January.
  • Drank beer at Oktoberfest in Seattle and biked through Oktoberfest in Leavenworth.
  • Checked Training Peaks a thousand times in the past few days – very, VERY excited to back on a schedule.
  • Celebrated the holidays with some of my favorite (or new) Christmas traditions – The Seattle Men’s Chorus Christmas concert with friends, 12 Days of Christmas swim, TN’s Fundreds swim, the Holidazzle and a ski trip to Utah with my family.
  • Watched some really good TV – living solo I haven’t splurged for cable and most syndicated television is on too late or conflicts with my workouts. Since September (on DVDs borrowed from the Public Library) I’ve watched every episode of “Breaking Bad,” caught up on Season 5 of “Mad Men,” and just started the first season of “Homeland.” Some of it I watched while on the bike trainer, but most of it was watched curled up on the couch.
  • Went to an awesome concert that was like a playlist from my best friend Sydnie – The Joy Formidable, Of Monsters and Men, The Lumineers, Awolnation, M83, Muse, The Killers, Grouplove.
  • Tried new recipes, cooked a lot, baked a lot, drank new cocktails, and spent time with the BF.
  • Bought a condo (more on this later) - The whole process went smoothly, but this grown up purchase still took time. I was happy to be going to inspections, meeting with the lender, and signing papers on days that my workouts were very flexible.
Snowy and Sunny Christmas Day
Seattle Men's Chorus Christmas Concert
4th Annual Holidazzle Run
A month into the off-season I was in the “sick of feeling lazy and trying to regain some semblance of fitness” that went well with my “do whatever workouts sound fun” training regime. Still, there were a lot of mornings when I slept through a masters workout or didn’t lift weights or watched “Mad Men” on the couch instead of simultaneously pushing the watts. It was a nice mix of doing something I love (s/b/r) and not being strict about a training plan.
But now here I am, a little nervous about what the 2013 season will bring, yet excited to start putting more time into the sport I love. I imagine that I’m like most athletes and suffer some sort of “fitness dysmorphia” (if there was such a thing) and I have this feeling that “I’m so out of shape with zero muscle or strength.” It’s true; relative to August I am out of shape. But I’m sure a boost in fitness is right around the corner and with a rested body and an eager mind, the ability to come back stronger than I’ve ever been is attainable in the coming year.

More training related posts to come in 2013!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holidazzle 2012

The 2012 Holidazzle is in the works and I couldn’t be more excited to spend the night with my running and triathlon friends prancing through Queen Anne, dressing up in festive outfits, singing some Christmas carols, and completing my go to 5-ish mile neighborhood run route. You can read more about how I dreamed up this event here and our 2011 run here. Like many holiday workouts, the Holidazzle run has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. I wanted to share with you some of the cookie recipes that I bake in anticipation of the big event and also list the Christmas songs that made the 2012 CD.

From top left clockwise: Jimmy's cookies frosted for Christmas,
2011 holidazzle group shot, 2011 carols,
Queen Anne Christmas lights, Macaroons and PB kisses

Holidazzle 2012 CD:
All Alone OnChristmas – Darlene Love & The E Street Band
Sleigh Ride – She & Him
Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night) – Whitney Houston (thought a Whitney tribute was appropriate)
White Christmas – Michael Buble & Shania Twain
Someday at Christmas – Jack Johnson
Christmas is All Around – Billy Mack from Love Actually
Do You Hear What I Hear? – Anthem Lights
Please Come Home for Christmas – My Morning Jacket
The First Noel – David Archuleta
Christmas Without You – OneRepublic
I Wish Everyday Could Be Like Christmas – Bon Jovi
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Jars of Clay
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – Schuyler Fisk
Holly, Ivy, and Rose – Tori Amos
Silver Bells – Martina McBride
Please Come Home for Christmas – Grace Potter & the Nocturnals
Joy To The World – Brian Wilson
Wonderful Christmastime – The Shins
When the Bells Start Ringing – My Morning Jacket (featuring The Head & the Heart)
O Christmas Tree – Glee Case
Silent Night – the Biebs (yep, this happened)
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? – The Head & the Heart (probably my favorite song on the mix)
Auld Lang Syne – Straight No Chaser (because every Christmas CD needs a men’s a cappella tune)
Christmas cookies:
Butter cookies with cream cheese frosting – aka Jimmy’s Pink cookies from my favorite recipe book (recipe below)
Cocoa-Peppermint Patties
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Monster Cookies
Peanut Butter Kisses
Russian teacakes

I will also make chili, some salads, and complete the spread with cocktails, cheese, crackers, humus, and some other fatty delights.

Jimmy's Pink Cookies
For the cookies:
3 sticks of butter, unsalted at room temp (3 - I know!)
1 c. powdered sugar
3 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. vanilla extract

Combine butter and powder sugar. Mix on low speed increasing to medium, until light and fluffy. In medium bowl, combine flour and salt and mix well. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating until flour is absorbed. Add the vanilla and beat well to incorporate. Lay a sheet of waxed paper on large clean surface, and turn dough out onto it. Press into a thick disk, wrap well, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. On a clean floured surface, roll the dough into a thickness of 3/8 inch (or any good cookie thickness). Using a cookie cutter, cut dough into whatever shape you like. I use Christmas shapes in December, hearts in February, and circles any other time of the year. Place the cookies onto baking sheets and bake for 16-20 minutes, or until the are pale golden at the edge. Do not allow to brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

For the frosting (makes way more frosting than you actually need):
8 oz. cream cheese at room temp
6 T unsalted butter, at room temp
3 c. powdered sugar
1 1/4 kirsch (I used peppermint extract, because I prefer mint over cherry flavor)
Food coloring

Combine cream cheese and butter and beat on medium until smooth. Add powdered sugar and beat on low to fully incorporate, then raise to medium until there are no lumps. Add kirsch (or peppermint) and beat well. I separate into bowls and use different food coloring depending on the season. Adjust coloring and extract to your liking. Generously spread onto the fully cooled cookies.

Stored in an airtight container, cookies will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days - and they're delicious cold - or you can freeze them indefinitely.

I hope you all have a wonderful Winter Solstice and a very Happy Holiday!

Best of the Season,

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

#SPONSORBLOCK and a Request for Change

It wasn’t until the 2012 Olympic Games that I became aware of the strict governance from the USATF, USOC, and IAAF that suffocates the athletes we know, love, admire, perhaps train with, or aspire to become. During the Olympic Trials and the Olympic Games, there were many restrictions placed on athletes to speak publicly or promote their sponsors. This is not only unfair to the sponsors who took a risk in supporting their chosen athletes, it’s unfair to the athletes who LOVE their sponsors and finally have a national or international platform to promote them. It would be like a World Champion in Kona not being able to thank their wetsuit, bike, or run sponsor until after all the hype died down and everyone left the Big Island. Read more about the blackout period that Olympic athletes had to respect during the London Games here and here.

Over the past couple years as my athletic success has grown, I’ve been lucky enough to become a sponsored athlete and represent brands that help support my goals. Whether it’s a team sponsorship or individual sponsorships, the fuel, apparel, equipment, or services have helped soften the financial burden that is sometimes required to get ahead in sport. I love these brands and supporters and I do whatever I can to promote them. Luckily for me, the Ironman world stage isn’t plagued by Rule 40 of the USOC and there’s no blackout period around the time of my biggest, most important races.

My sponsorship with Oiselle opened my eyes to the smaller companies and the athletes they support. Leading up to the Olympic Trials in Eugene, OR this past June, Oiselle jumped through several hoops to outfit their athletes in a race kit that complied with USATF/USOC/IAAF, the Track and Field regulators. Check out their video: In this video the women at Oiselle give this process a funny spin. Yet they also prove that it was incredible headache versus the pure joy to design a race kit for their athletes participating in the Olympic trials.

Working with and having friends who work for brands like Nuun, PowerBar, Blue70, Oiselle, and Brooks, I know they carefully select and then take care to ensure their athletes have what they need to compete at high levels. And they don’t just do it for the recognition, they do it because they believe in their athletes, they love their athletes and they want the best for their respective sports. So please join me in supporting the athletes who have become members of TFAA or become a supporter yourself: Attention to this subject will only help the sport of Track and Field (and the many generous sponsors) grab the mainstream attention it deserves.

Follow TFAA here: or follow them on Twitter @TrackFieldAA

Support Track and Field and watch these athletes FLY! #freebird