Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When Life Gets In The Way...


1 Month, 24 Days...

Thank you all for being patient with the post of this block. Things have been a bit hectic!!!!! But here it is, more to come!

Things have been becoming difficult: the diet has been lacking, the workouts are getting harder, therefore I'm 'cheating' and not completing the whole distances I am supposed to, or not doing two- a- days at all...

This weekend the plan was to concentrate on training, which I did on Saturday with a long 12 mile run with Jacks, but then after that... What happened? Well, Superbowl happened.

During Superbowl, I tried to watch what I ate, but any 'event' in the Cook household means LOTS of food.

Exhibit A:
Hot Wings....

Exhibit B:

Brushetta... dangerous for me.
Exhibit C:

Mom's awesome Cornbread Pigs in a Blanket.
Although Gluten Free (my little sister, Gracie and my Mom are Gluten Free)...
these are way too good to be on the Paleo diet.

andddd... yet another dangerous food at the table on Sunday...


And lastly.... we were also celebrating my sister-in-law's birthday. Which means, of course.. BAKERY HOUSE CAKE!!!!!!!
I could eat this all day long... 

We all know that I did not miss out on this. My piece was quite large...

With a mini- fork left over from appetizers,
 (the size of a toothpick...)
 thought it would help with portion control...

So, with all of that... the food was still not complete. Mom kept bringing out more courses, but the remainder were a bit healthier.

That morning, I had made Paleo/ Gluten Free "Meatloaf Muffins" with Paleo Guacamole on top of them. These were soooo good. I will put the recipe at the end of this post for you all to enjoy. 

Alex and my older sister Ashley wanted to try them with BBQ Sauce. So, I raided my Mother's pantry and found some Gluten Free (not Paleo, though) BBQ sauce and tried them on the 'second round'. These were a big winner, too.

BBQ Sauce

In addition to those... (nope we aren't done yet)... Mom had put out a delicious veggie platter (no, the dressing was not Paleo... but, I didn't mind- I ate a lot of this!)


and LAST ONE.... and the best of all: MOM'S CHILI!

Healthy, but not Paleo because of the beans...
 (and my toppings)
... but sooo good.
Oh yeah, and the beer... but Mom had Gluten free on hand! I passed on this one though. If I was going to have beer, I was going to go all out.

Mom and her Gluten Free beer!!!!

So, let's just say simply that my diet didn't happen on Sunday. I feel as though I keep getting caught into these family events, special occasion's or holidays and my diet goes down the drain... with my training.

The days seem like weeks and the weeks seem like months in terms of training. The time is dragging, but yet I don't have enough time to do anything and feel completely unprepared when realizing this half Ironman is less than 2 months away!

 I learned a long time ago that life can't always go your way. As I am sure I have mentioned before: I am a planner. I plan everything. The plans I have in terms of training and preparing for this 70.3 have been really difficult to keep on track. I have been doing the workouts for the most part, but I could step it up a notch.

My diet Monday- Friday is good (minus date night with Jackson)... but weekends I slip, which means my energy slips... setting me up for failure in my training come Monday and Tuesday. Everything seems to be getting harder to keep up with. The 5 hours a day of training, plus class, work, plus social life, etc. ... it becomes a bit much and I am beginning to get extremely stressed out.

A warning for whomever reads this...

When life gets in the way of your plans and everything becomes just a bit too overwhelming... what do you do to clear your head?

For as long as I can remember, my go- to "escape" was always riding horses. Not the ordinary lesson or training, but something different... something special. Either a trail ride, a bareback ride or even just hand walking one of the horses in the middle of a pasture. What made this time great was it was an out of the ordinary day, where it was just me, the horse and the dirt or grass beneath us. Those were the best days. Time to think, time to reflect and time to just... be.

I forgot what that feeling felt like for a while. The feeling of complete "blankness"... complete... peace. Until Monday.

I was supposed to go for a 4 hour bike ride on Sunday. I had every intention on doing this, even after the 12 mile run we did on Saturday. Alex was away with Brittany, so Jackson and I were on our own. We packed up the car, bundled up and were all set...

See, we really WERE planning on going...
... but Jacks and I had tire- pump complications (we brought the wrong one)... mixed with being tired and it being bitterly cold outside, we decided not to go back and get the correct tire pump, but instead, change and sit on my parents couch and enjoy the company of friends and family while watching the Superbowl.

So, to make up for Sunday, I hopped on my bike Monday. For the first time in a long time, I was outside on the road and not on the bike trainer in my parents basement. I bundled up... because it was bitterly cold and went to "the path". "The Path" is what we call the Conshocken trail that goes all the way up past Valley Forge, to Pheonixville and goes the other direction all the way to Philadelphia. It is usually a great trip. In the summer it gets a bit crowded, but its a great way to get miles in, as it is a straight shot with no road traffic.

Booties... as the boys say, "a game changer" when it is cold out! A MUST today.
My brother couldn't make the ride with me Monday, he had work, as did Jackson... and my father goes into hibernation in the winter (he is usually always a good riding buddy). So it was just me and "Slice".

At first I was dreading it. Alone for 3-4 hours, cold out, not really in the mood to ride (yes, sometimes I actually am in the mood to ride for this long)... so needless to say I just wanted to get it over with.

The parking lot is closed for train commuters on weekdays, so I had to park on the side of the road, take my bike off and lean it up against my car while I got ready. This is when I wish the boys or my father was here... they would have helped me out a bit with the parking situation by just simply getting a 20 dollar ticket for parking illegally. After all, a ride was worth it.

.... and then I tried to set up my bike computer on my bike to track the mileage and time. Of course, since I changed out my wheels from my race wheels to practice wheels, the computer wasn't working. So, I went to the next step in tracking my (approximate) distance and time: MapMyRide application on my iPhone.

Now, this isn't completely accurate, but it will do. I know the approximate mileage from doing this ride so many times in the past, so just for rough estimations I set it up on my phone and let it run while I was riding. It tracks where you are via GPS, how fast you are going (not accurate at all) and the distance you went.

So even though I was dreading it, once I got going... it was actually an amazing ride. I got out there and it was like old times. Peaceful... time to think... time to reflect. Just me and the road. (Literally, because it was so cold, in the 35 miles I was out there, I didn't see any more than 5 walkers and 2 other bikers, when usually you have to dodge people every quarter mile or so).

The start of the trail. I am very uncoordinated...
Therefore, I was shocked I could manage to take this picture!

With the race less than two months away, my 'saddle time' on the bike is no where near where it should be. I need to make biking a priority in terms of my training and that started today. And boy was I feeling the truths of this in my legs after about 40 minutes...

I did intervals. Every 5 minutes I would go as fast as I could go in the top gear (the hardest gear). With the wind, this created some issues, mainly in regards to my right knee. I had a knee injury over the summer. We are not sure what caused it, but was made worse after a bike crash at one of the races. Anyways, it was flaring up a little bit today, I think because riding on the road is a lot different than the trainer or a spin bike, therefore the muscles that aren't normally activated were being used. Eventually I had to stop doing the intervals and keep a consistent, but strong pace and cadence, to save my knee.

A dog jumped out of the bushes here, while I was taking a picture... almost fell...
but slice decided to save me.

I was about 50 minutes in at this point and was already feeling the acid build up in my legs, my nose was so cold I thought it was going to fall off and I couldn't feel my toes (even with the booties) or my fingers (with gloves on). 

I got a fork in the road: the question was to add another 45 minutes or so by turning right, or to turn around and head back, therefore cutting the distance in half. No way was I turning around, even with the painfully cold weather and knee pain. I was having fun, now. The pain was there in my legs, the feeling of frost bite was approaching me, but I was out here already, why turn around!?

Also, it was so peaceful out there and how many times do I actually get to ride (and enjoy it) alone, with no one on this trail. So, I told myself to suck it up and complete the full distance of the ride, as I was supposed to despite the discomforts.

I went right...

Overall, it was a great ride. Time to think and clear my head and some good quality outdoor time on "Slice". I reflected on the fact that there is less than 2 months out... began freaking out, therefore riding harder. This ride was not only a good opportunity to 'get away' from 'life' for a little while, but also allowed me to get excited about all of this training again and 'get back in gear' (no pun intended). The feeling of outdoor riding excites me enough to look forward to races... riding on my bike trainer... well, frankly its torture.

Note to self (and to the boys): Never try to train for a half ironman during the winter again... Let's pick one in the summer or fall...

On my ride, I came to one conclusion and it is simple: time to get back to basics. Ride outside, no matter how cold (within reason)... two-a-days, no excuses... diet as much as possible.

... and most importantly.... have fun with it!

More to come... Don't forget recipes below!

Never Give Up-



Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion. - Muhammed Ali




1lb of ground beef
1lb of ground pork
6 slices of bacon- cut into small pieces
1 large carrot- shredded
1 beet- shredded
1 medium onion- chopped
5 package of mushrooms- diced
1 jalapeno pepper- finely diced (optional)
2 eggs
2 tbsp 'grainy mustard'
4 cloves of garlic- crushed or finely chopped
2-3 tbsp dried mixed herbs (Italian)
1 tbsp cayenne pepper (optional)
a few dashed of sea salt and ground pepper

Top with Guacamole, or hot sauce or BBQ sauce.... Guacamole recipe below too


  • In large bowl, combine pork and beef
  • add in all veggies
  • crack and whisk eggs in a separate bowl and into the large bowl
  • Next, add herbs and spices.
  • using hands (get in there), fold all the ingredients together
  • press firmly into greased 'loaf pan' or 'muffin cups' *Grease with coconut oil!
  • Preheat oven to 350, bake for 45 minutes (45 minutes for a loaf, shorter for muffins- keep an eye on them)
  • broil for 5-10 minutes (watching carefully)
  • Remove, let cool... enjoy!


4 large avocados (ripe- soft, but not too soft to the touch)
2-3 small white onions- diced
6 plum tomatoes- diced
5 cloves of garlic- minced
2-3 limes- squeezed juice
fresh cilantro- chopped (lots!)
coarse sea salt- pinches
ground black pepper (generous amounts)
ground cumin- a pinch or two
ground cayenne- a pinch or two
hot sauce or chopped jalapenos- to kick it up a notch


  • Peel, cut and de- pit avocados, into a medium- sized bowl
  • Add in onions, tomatoes garlic and lime juice
  • using fork, mash it all together!
  • Add in cilantro , sea salt, pepper, cumin and hot sauce/ jalapenos
  • Continue mashing until desired consistency
  • Enjoy!


Spin at Focus Fitness Main Line in Bryn Mawr, PA- 6:15 Thursday and 5:30 on Friday!!!!


  1. Whooppee! Nothing like riding in the winter!
    You are something, you!

  2. Ali,
    As your brother has heard me say through his soccer, lax, MX, and every other sport/challenge:
    "Pain is temporary; Victory is forever"


  3. I feel for you and admire your discipline! Good Luck!!