Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New Dreams

I've fought through a tough year.

My Jamesport farming internship ended badly, not at all like I'd hoped and expected. I found myself abruptly unemployed, without a location to meet with my personal training clients, with no source of income on the horizon. Moving back in with my parents in Wichita became a real possibility.

Things are getting better. I've found an apartment in Jamesport, and the landlord lets me pay in labor. I've scraped together enough odd jobs to pay the bare minimum in bills, food, and gas. I live in a building with central heat, instead of a yurt with a space heater and no insulation. I'm coming to terms with the changes of the past year, some good, some bad. I'm re-discovering myself, and the things I enjoy. I'm remembering that I get to choose who and how to be, and I'm establishing in my mind the kind of person I am at the core, and the kind of person I want to become.

I'm also getting back to triathlon.

Here's my plan:

In 2014, I want to race Ironman 70.3 Lawrence in June and the Rev3 half-distance at Cedar Point in September. I have family in Kansas and family in Ohio, so both races make sense geographically. I like that they'll book-end the 2014 season for me. And doing multiple 70.3 races in 2014 will prepare me for . . . 

Ironman Zurich in 2015.

That's right. I'm shooting for a full-distance race in 2015, and I'm rewarding myself (and my significant other) with a trip to Europe. I'm socking away as much money as I can spare (I am still mostly unemployed, after all), and hoping that I find gainful employment in time to save for the trip. I've got a year and a half to do it. So if you hear of any job openings, please let me know.

If you're interested in training along with me, I will post all of my training plans online for free use. I will try to get those up in the first week or two of the new year.

I hope you all had a fabulous holiday season. Let me know in the comments or on Facebook about your goals for 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

70.3 Kansas 2014: Week 1

First training week is over! I got through all nine workouts. I found a nice, cheap place to swim, went outside in sub-zero wind chills for a ride, and explored Midtown Kansas City via running. I feel very accomplished. Neither aches nor pains have troubled my training; so far, my body seems okay with the suddenly increased training volume. Except for my crotch. My crotch objects strongly to the sudden increase in bike saddle time.

I'm swimming at the Gregg/Klice Community Center near the Crosslands District of Kansas City. A swimming day pass costs only $2. There are no lap lanes, but so far I've had the pool mostly to myself. There were two women playing water basketball right next to me, the other day. They got into the pool in my lane just as I was swimming past the ladder. If they'd waited for five seconds, I would have been out of the way. Ah well. Can't expect everyone to know and follow basic pool etiquette. The lifeguards there have been fantastic, though. And I can get a month pass to swim there for only $15.

I did my first ride, power intervals, on the trainer. For the second ride, a simple one-hour bike, I ventured outside on my cyclocross bike. My parents gave me some terrific thermals for Christmas--very warm! I figured they would be enough to protect me from the negative wind chills. I wore bike shorts, my new thermals, a jersey, a heavy cycling jacket, a balaclava, my ninja mask, two pairs of socks, and snow gloves.

Bike ninja!
But it wasn't enough! My eyes started watering and stinging as soon as I started moving. After half an hour, my feet were freezing. I started worrying about frostbite. I needn't have worried. When I got back, my feet hurt like the skin was being peeled off in strips. But they were fine within five minutes. For my third ride, I got to explore the Brush Creek Trail in Kansas City. And the weather was much nicer, with temps in the high forties, minimal wind, and a cloudless, sunny sky.

My three runs all went well, although I'm slower than I like, this early in the season. I'm enjoying running in Midtown KC; much easier than biking in Midtown. I've found such a nice swimming facility, and I've found good running areas, but I'm still figuring out the best places to ride in Kansas City. If you know of any good cycling routes, or any riding groups that will tolerate a rider in the 16-18 MPH range, please leave me a comment letting me know!

So that's my training so far this year. Have you started training yet? How is it going? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Race Report: St. Louis Hot Chocolate 15k

Not Photoshopped at all.
A client asked me to sign up for this race with her. We trained together, and good thing, because I wouldn't have run much if I hadn't had the accountability of a fellow athlete. She said she would have balked at the last minute if I hadn't agreed to go. Good thing we had each other.

Several days before the event, the race organizers sent out an e-mail warning of dangerously low race-day temperatures in the St. Louis forecast. They made changes to the start times and start orders, and warned of temperatures barely above 0* F. I dislike running in anything below 16*, taking into account wind chill and all. Besides which, I'd blown off my last two weeks of training, and wasn't feeling very enthusiastic about running 9.3 miles.

My enthusiasm waned further after a few hours worth of snow and sleet accumulated the Friday night before the Sunday race. We had planned to leave from Chillicothe around noon on Saturday. Since it took nearly twice as long as usual for me to drive from Jamesport to Chillicothe, we didn't leave until closer to 1, and the drive to St. Louis was harrying and dangerous. Since there was no race-day packet pick-up and we were running terribly late, we asked a friend to pick up our race numbers and goodie bags from the expo.

Race morning wasn't nearly as cold as I had expected, primarily due to a lack of wind. I dressed for super cold weather, though: thermal tights, t-shirt, arm warmers, fleece cycling coat, two pairs of socks, wind-proof gloves, hat, and ninja mask.
Biking ninja!
I totally overdressed.

I lined up in Corral A feeling profoundly out-of-place. I seeded myself at a 9:00/mile pace, wildly exaggerating my own ability. I found myself surrounded not only by the runners who think they're fast (you know who I'm talking about), but by the the ones who actually are. I, in contrast, am not fast. Especially this year. I am slow. Painfully so.

The race started, and other runners streamed past me for the first two miles. After that, the streaming was slower, but still consistent. I ran slowly, allowing my body to warm into the distance. After the first half mile, the road sloped steadily up. That's where my feet and calves started hurting. By the top of the hill, about a mile in, I had already pulled down my running mask and peeled off my jacket. In the next mile, my hip flexors started talking. After 2.8 miles, the 5k and 15k courses split. I seriously considered taking the shorter, less painful path; my body was already screaming for me to stop. But I gritted my teeth, and kept left at the fork for the full 15k.

Towards the end of mile 4, I pulled down my arm warmers and yanked off my hat. I was running in tights and a T-shirt, my jacket tied around my waist like a fit Kurt Cobain. I'd badly overdressed. The coat, with my arm warmers and gloves zipped into the pockets was heavy and unwieldy, and contributing to the spasms in my hips. I usually get a second wind during miles 5-7, but in this race, it lasted from mile 5 to mile 5.5. Mile 6 was a long, steady, unending climb. That's where I started mentally swearing, and where I took a few walking breaks to let my hip flexors unwind.

The race became mentally easier after that long uphill; I realized that I would hurt just as much running slowly as running fast, so I may as well get through the pain as quickly as possible. That thought kept me going until the last mile, when my body almost shut down. My hip flexors and calves cramped so badly that I could barely keep moving forward. I shuffled my feet off and on, fighting through the pain on the last hill, then pushed hard for the last quarter mile, crossing the final timing mats and staggering to a stop. With cessation of movement, my body immediately cramped, and I started getting cold. I grabbed a bottle of water and a cup of Gatorade while I waited for my friends to cross the line.

After the race, we got souvenir bowls that held a cup of hot cocoa, a well of melted chocolate, and some snacks for dipping. I drank the hot cocoa as we started our walk back to the hotel (we stayed within walking distance of the start and finish lines to avoid traffic and parking issues the day of). By the time I got back to the hotel room. My chocolate had frozen solid. It was still delicious, though; I dug it out with my pocket knife one bite at a time.

I took a shower, and the hot water washed away the remaining muscle spasms. I'm not sure what caused me to cramp like that; it was probably a combination of the cold weather and hilly course. Whatever it was, I haven't hurt that badly while working out since . . . I don't know. At the time, I was convinced that I'd never experienced such pain. But you know how that goes. I probably think that at some point during every race.

I'd never done a 15k before, so I can proudly claim that I set a new PR at this race. I got a cool sweater in my goodie bag. Also, CHOCOLATE! Chocolate is a great reason to do any race.

St. Louis Hot Chocolate 15k
1:36:36 (10:22/mile)
978th place (80/143 age group, 548/1081 female)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Race Report: OMC Women's Triathlon


I signed up for this race shortly after completing the Shawnee Mission Triathlon in July. I've set some goals (which I'll share in subsequent blog posts) that have compelled me to dip my toes back into triathlon. So I'm training again, and enjoying it, and I can justify racing (because I know that I'll enjoy that, too). I've never participated in the OMC Women's Triathlon, but I've been to the race before, to support a client who chose the OMC Women's Tri as her first multisport event. I was impressed with the race that I saw, and I've had good experiences with the Johnson County Department of Parks and Recreations before (Shawnee Mission is another of their races). So the OMC Women's Tri seemed to suit my needs.

Pre-game
I went to the Olathe Medical Center to pick up my packet on Friday afternoon. Packet pick-up was . . . interesting. You know how at most triathlons you wear your most epic race shirt, because you need everyone to see that you've completed an Ironman, or a 70.3, or a 50-miler, or whatever? It's a very specific brand of posturing. That's the dynamic that I'm used to at packet pick-ups, and it's what I was expecting on Friday. Instead, I arrived at packet pick-up noticeably underdressed. 80% of the women I saw were wearing bermuda shorts, polo shirts, and full make-up! I felt a little out-of-place. The volunteers were a little snarky, too. They acted impatient with me the whole time. I've never had an experience at any triathlon even remotely similar to that!

After picking up my packet, I went to the gym with a friend for some light weightlifting and stretching, then out to a nice dinner at McCoy's in Kansas City. I put all my TriTat stickers on my equipment, and saved the tattoos for the next morning. I didn't get to sleep as early as I should have, and I had trouble waking up the next morning. But it didn't take much time to get everything together.

I arrived at Kill Creek Park and set my stuff up within 10 minutes. After I laid out all of my equipment, I realized that I'd left my timing chip at home. I've never done that before. I indulged in about 5 minutes of heavy stress before I went to the same-day packet pick-up desk and confessed my sin to the volunteer there. She got me a new timing chip, gave me a new number, and told me to take off my race number tattoos and apply the new ones. And that was it. Very manageable consequences for a very stupid mistake.

Also, the packet pick-up volunteers on race day? Super friendly and helpful! Maybe it was something about the packet pick-up location . . . maybe medical centers make people nervous.

Swim
500 m in 9:47 (1:48/100 yd)
The 29-and-unders went off last in the swim waves. They sent us off in pairs, ostensibly to reduce congestion at the swim start. If that was the primary aim, it totally failed. That said, I should have pushed my way to the front of the line, to avoid having to swim through all the athletes in front of me who walked as far into the lake as possible before they started swimming. I dove in right away and swam as far to the side of them as I could. I never got much clear water; it was always arms, legs, and torsos to either side and sometimes right under me.

Several times, I swam right on top of women who were doing the head-up breaststroke before I even realized they were there. Poor women. They probably freaked out when they felt me on their backs. I literally had to pull myself over and around these women. I don't know how to solve this problem, but the race organizers definitely need to re-evaluate the procedure for sending off swimmers. We all signed a waiver acknowledging that we can do at least 50 m of swimming, but something needs to be done to separate out the women for whom that represents the upper limit of their swimming abilities.

All that said, my pace was the fastest I've ever swam in any race! Yay!

T1
1:46
Not a long run to transition, but it was uphill through sand! Ew! And I broke my sunglasses. They fell off of my helmet while I was putting it on, and the lenses split right down the middle. But I fiddled with them until they stayed on my head, and I was off!

Bike
10.6 mi bike in 40:26 (15.7 MPH)
I thought that Shawnee Mission had the toughest bike course around, but I learned otherwise on Saturday! The OMC Women's Tri course is an absolute leg-buster! It features continuously rolling hills plus wind. The hills are spaced just far enough apart to guarantee that you can't get into a rhythm, and can't use the momentum of one hill to get up the next. Plus, wind! I haven't had to deal with significant wind since . . . well, since the last time I rode out on Kansas roads! Shawnee Mission provides a more sheltered environment, relatively free from the dreaded Kansas Hill (i.e. the wind). This race had Kansas Hills AND actual hills! It was an unfair combination. And it shows in my average speed!

T2
41 seconds

Run
3 mi run in 27:09 (9:03/mile)
By the time I got through transition, my legs were already cooked. I sped through T2, but as soon as I hit the actual run course, the reality of the bike ride caught up with my legs. The run course almost equaled the bike course in shear brutality. We started with a long, gradual uphill, then a long, gradual downhill. The downhill sounds great, but in reality all I could think was, "I have to run back up this hill later." There was lots of support and cheering on the entire course, though. And even though the course was difficult, it was also a great run course--challenging, with varied terrain. Plus, the finish line was at the bottom of a hill!

I'm surprised by my run time. I swear I wasn't running better than a twelve-minute pace for the whole run. But this is the best pace I've posted in at least the last year. Yay again!

Total
1:19:47, 5 out of 42 F25-29, 64 out of 337 overall
I'm really happy with my performance, and with the race itself. It was a challenging race, a fun race. I'm not sure how I feel about the all-female field. I think it's a great notion, but I don't know that I want to do a race that's geared solely towards women. It's a little too girly for me. Although the women's cut race shirt was a very nice change from the bulky, sheath-like shirts I normally get at races. And it was great to see women of all shapes and sizes and ages competing, whether it was their first time or their fiftieth. It's also great to see how I stack up against the other women in this area, without the interference of the less-fair sex. And I got a trophy!

I'll probably do this race again, although not next year--I have my eyes set on a different race for September 2014. But I'll have to tell you more about that later.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Spinning Workout: Short Set 1


I created this workout for athletes who don't have much time, but still want a hard workout. It provides an intense, 30-minute workout with a focus on accelerating to pass. Since the RPMs stay fairly low, it works well on an indoor trainer, although it's also great for use on a spinning bike. Plan to warm up and cool down on your own.

Short Set 1
Wake Up - Alanis Morisette (98 BPM)
Desperately Wanting - Better Than Ezra (100 BPM)
Walk Like an Egyptian - The Bangles (102 BPM)
Walk This Way - Aerosmith (104 BPM)
Cocaine - Eric Clapton (105 BPM)
Are You Gonna be my Girl - Jet (105 BPM)
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree - KT Tunstall (104 BPM)
If I Ever Leave this World Alive - Flogging Molly (105 BPM)

Purchase this workout

Note: After purchasing the workout, I will send you an e-mail with instructions on how to download.

This is one of my paid workouts. Looking for the free workouts? Go here!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Olathe Medical Center Women's Triathlon

I signed up to do another race! I think I may have caught the bug again.

Anyone else out there doing the Olathe Medical Center Women's Triathlon? Wanna hang out after the race?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Race Report: Shawnee Mission Triathlon, 2013

I signed up for Shawnee Mission this year in hopes that having an event on the calendar would inspire me to train.

It didn't really work.

The result was that I went into the race without having trained much. I wasn't worried about it. I would be slower than I have been in the past, and I was okay with that. The main thing was to go out and have a great time.

My parents drove up from Wichita just to see me race, too! It was an opportunity to race, and a great chance to spend time with my family.

Pre-Game
I drove up to Kansas City on Saturday, after checking the cows and sheep. I got to spend most of the afternoon and evening with my parents. We went to Minsky's Pizza for dinner. My dad and I enjoyed watching le Tour on Versus in their hotel room. I am a fan of any hotel that offers Versus as part of its cable package! I stayed up too late, though; I didn't leave them until almost 10:00 p.m., and then had a good half hour drive back to my friend's apartment, where I was spending the night.

I barely slept all night, but that's normal. I make a point of getting extra sleep for several nights before a race, because I always have trouble sleeping the night before a race. Starting time was later this year, because the Challenged Athletes got the earliest start times. As a result, we took our time in the morning, and didn't arrive at the race site until about 6. I drank some coffee on the way, and felt the effects about the time we were pulling into the parking lot. I wanted to walk down with my family, but ended up zooming down on my bike to find some port-a-johns!

Set-up in the transition zone was seamless. The pre-assigned rack spaces were the most spacious I've ever seen at any triathlon! We all had plenty of room, which reduced the stress of setting up my space. I must be getting old, though, because I could hardly stand the banter of my age-group. Too chipper too early in the morning. I went to hang out with my friend, Karlene, in the old ladies' rack space. Karlene drove up from Wichita for the race. I didn't know she was coming, so it was a real treat to see her at packet pick-up on Saturday!

Swim: 21:56 (1:01/100 yd)
My last pool swim was back in March, at the Chillicothe YMCA (I'm not a member, but my friend Claire is). My main concern had been endurance, but after knocking out a 500 with no problem, I figured I didn't really need to train. I did get in some lake swimming in May, and I've played around in our ponds on hot days. I hadn't done any serious swimming in months.

My main issue was not endurance, but flexibility. About 600 meters in, the right side of my neck started cramping. I went to bilateral breathing, and had trouble turning my head to the left at first. After it loosened up, the bilateral breathing helped. Considering how little swim training I had going into this race, I was pleased with my performance. This is only 32 seconds off of my swim PR at this race!

T1: 1:25
As always, a long, uphill run to the transition area. I took my swim cap and goggles off on the run up, grabbed two GUs and put on my helmet, and then I was off onto the brutal, 18-mile bike.

Bike: 1:05:39 (16.4 MPH)
Compared to previous years, I lost the most time on the bike. In my best year, 2011, I completed the 18 miles in 56:24! Like with my swim, I hadn't been cycling for at least a month. My heart and lungs had the fitness, but my muscles lacked the strength, especially on this tough, hilly course.

Perhaps just as significantly, I sold my Specialized Transition to bolster my savings for my move to the farm last July. My Fuji Ace weighs in at 23 lbs, a full 5 lbs heavier than my Transition. I probably brought an extra 5 lbs to the hills this year, too.

Shawnee Mission is always brutal on the bike, but I was only there for fun, so I tried to stay light and easy on the steep hills and enjoy the downhills. I tried to tamp down my competitive instinct, and not chase every woman with a "25" on her calf who passed me. I resigned myself to a middle-of-the-pack finish, and prioritized having fun over kicking butt.

T2: 58 seconds
For the first time ever, a volunteer told me to speed up coming into the dismount area.

Run: 52:08 (11:37/mile)
Ick. The Shawnee Mission run course takes it out of me every year, but over 11:00/mile? Yeesh.

I hadn't run in over a month. Go figure. The best I can say about my run performance was that I didn't walk.

Much.

Total: 2:22:03
In 2011, my best year, I finished in 2:02:29, almost 20 minutes faster than this year! I don't mind, though. This race was for fun. I dipped my toe back into the pool of triathlon, to see if I still like it, and the race accomplished its purpose. Well, it accomplished that purpose. The original purpose was to keep me motivated to train, and that totally didn't work.

I didn't bother staying around for the awards. I figured that, with my performance, I didn't need to bother. But--lo and behold!--I got an e-mail from the race organizers last week, asking where to send my trophy! I finished 4th out of 8 in my division (better than I expected, honestly), so someone in my division must have placed overall.

I finished 31 out of 51 females, and 185 out of 229 athletes. In the bottom half of the results, in other words. Doesn't seem like I should get a trophy for that, does it?

I wanted to see if I still like triathlon, if I should still do it. I didn't have the burning bush revelation that I wanted. But I realized that I still enjoy racing, and I think it's worth continuing to spend a little bit of time and money and energy on it.

Triathlon makes me a bad-ass. But women's rugby and farming are also pretty bad-ass endeavors. So if I let go of one bad-ass endeavor, it's alright; I have back-ups.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Eating From the Field: Benefits of Pasture-Raised Chicken


So in addition to swimming, biking, and running (and refereeing rugby), I also farm. I still teach yoga and train individuals for health, fitness, and weight loss, but the farming is the main thing. It's my new career. I enjoy it; moving to a farm was a healthy choice for me (and much better than the alternative of running away with a circus).

Our main product here on Prairie Om Farm is pastured chicken, although I also raise grass-fed lamb and am getting some pigs for pastured pork this summer. If you're a health-conscious eater, you've probably already read many reasons why pastured meat products are better for you. But if you haven't been exposed to this information yet, I'll try to provide a little information on the subject.

First off, "pastured poultry" is different from organic, free range, or cage free. 
  • Organic chickens are raised on organic feed (the grains and supplements that make up their feed have been grown organically without pesticides, irradiation, sewage sludge, synthetic fertilizers, or genetically-modified organisms/GMOs), are never given hormones or antibiotics, and are provided access to the outdoors. Organic chickens are good. But, although they have access to the outdoors, they may not ever venture outside; they still eat a grain-based ration almost exclusively; and they can still be housed in over-crowded intensive production facilities.
  • Free-range chickens are chickens who are raised with access to the outdoors. Again, this doesn't necessarily mean that the chickens go outside; it means only that they could if they wanted to. Free-range chickens are still raised in houses, and their outdoor access is usually limited to a small yard. Because of the nature of chicken poop, even if their ranging yard begins as verdant pasture, it soon turns into a hard clay surface. Free-range chickens still derive all of their nutrition from a grain-based ration; they can still be housed in over-crowded facilities; and you don't have the guarantee that they've been fed organic or non-GMO feed, or are antibiotic and growth-hormone free. Still better than Tyson chickens, though.
  • Cage-free eggs are produced by hens who are not confined to cages. That means they can engage in many natural chicken behaviors. Again, it's better than your standard grocery store eggs. But cage-free chickens aren't necessarily given access to the outdoors; they're still usually overcrowded in large production facilities; de-beaking is allowed (that's where producers cut off the beaks to prevent chickens from cannibalizing each other due to over-crowding and stress); and there's no third-party auditing system to ascertain how the animals are being treated.
Pastured poultry producers are usually small farmers raising relatively small numbers of birds (20,000 is the upper limit for exemption from USDA on-farm inspection); our farm raises less than 1,000 per year. Chickens who are raised on pasture have constant access to fresh grass. Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, one of the the big kahunas of pastured poultry, moves his "chicken tractors" daily; we move ours as often as we need to keep them on fresh, poop-free grass (by the end of the production cycle, 2-3 times per day). In addition to eating a grain-based ration, pastured chickens eat grass, bugs, worms, snakes, frogs, and whatever else they can get their hands on. Because they're not overcrowded, they're not overstressed. And because they're not wallowing in their own feces, we end up with a much cleaner end product. Pastured poultry is very good.

But don't get me wrong; there are potential downsides to pastured poultry. First off, there's no official labeling or oversight of the term "pastured," whereas the terms "organic" and "free-range" are regulated by the federal government (at least in America). As a result, there are no regulations on what kind of feed may be used; some producers I know use only certified organic, we use certified non-GMO, and still others use standard commodity rations. And there's always the possibility that your farmer might be cutting corners, that his or her feed might not be up to snuff, that he or she is not taking good care of the birds. However, the other side of the coin is that most producers are small scale enough that you can go and check them out for yourself. In other words, this liability is only a downside if you're unwilling to make the effort to know the person who's making your food.

That's one way in which eating pastured meats is more costly--you have to put more time and effort into obtaining it. One of the other costs, of course, can be measured in dollar signs. Pastured chicken is more expensive, but I can tell you exactly why. First, there's the grain. We feed non-GMO grain, and it's about twice the cost of conventional grain. That's because farmers can't grow as much corn per bushel using traditional production methods as they can using the technologically advanced, biologically engineered versions produced by Monsanto. That means a lower return on their time and effort, from their land, seed, and fuel, so they have to charge more money. Feed costs are by far the greatest factor in setting our prices. There's also the fact that we are smaller-scale producers, and we can't get grain or even the baby chicks for the same price as vertically-integrated, large-scale producers. The labor plays a part, too, especially once it comes time to process the birds. It takes a lot of experienced hands to butcher chickens in a way that we believe is ethical, respectful, and clean (we have a group of Amish women who help us out, and we pay them well for it). All the costs add up, and contribute to a more expensive final product.

Those are the costs of pastured poultry; let me break down some of the benefits for you:
  • Pastured chickens are cleaner. There's less poop on their feathers, less poop on their skin, less poop on their feet, less poop in their intestines. At standard, USDA-inspected facilities, the poop on skin, feathers, and feet comes off in the scalding water and chill tanks and gets re-absorbed into the chicken meat. Gross.
  • Pastured chickens have better taste and texture. They move around and get more exercise than confinement house chickens, so they have better muscle tone. That contributes to a more chicken-y flavor and firmer, meatier texture.
  • Pastured chickens have higher omega-3 fatty acid content, lower fat and saturated fat levels, and higher levels of essential vitamins and minerals (notably vitamins A and E).
  • Pastured chickens are never fed arsenic as an appetite stimulant or preventative antibiotic.
  • Pasturing chickens puts vital nutrients into the ground as all-natural fertilizer in small amounts that can be readily absorbed by the soil.
  • Purchasing pastured chicken helps your local agricultural community, and farmers like me!
If you live in Missouri and would like some pastured chicken, please contact me! You can reach me by e-mail (jamielynnmorton@gmail.com) or by phone (316.841.6593). I make regular deliveries to Kansas City, Liberty, Independence, Cameron, Kirksville, Columbia, and Jamesport (where I live). If you live on the Kansas side of Kansas City and don't feel like driving to the Missouri side to pick up chickens, I can hook you up with some farmers on the Kansas side. If you live near Wichita, Kansas, I can recommend a farmer down there, as well.

Remember, as athletes, food is our fuel. Better food equals better fuel, and better fuel means better performance!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Officially Registered



I just officially registered for the Shawnee Mission Park Triathlon!

This ought to get my rear in gear, training wise!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

End of a Brief Chapter

In this photo, I am concussed.
Last Saturday, I scored my first try in a rugby game!

And I got my second concussion. In six months.

This second concussion felt worse than the first. I heard ringing in my ears like a gong had gone off in my brain. I went down and stayed down on the ground; I knew exactly what had happened. The official stopped the game and came over to me to see what was wrong. My teammates helped me up and off the field. After 5 or 10 minutes, I lost vision in the left half of my left eye. It was as if I saw the kind of aura you see before you get a migraine. I had a splitting headache, and I started to feel nauseous. My vision cleared up after another 20 minutes or so, and a friend drove me home. On the way back to Jamesport from Kansas City (it's about 80 miles), I asked her to stop at the ER in Cameron. I felt that badly.

The doctor gave me a clean bill of health, but he also said, "Your rugby days are over." So my rugby days are over. Maybe I'll coach or ref.

That puts me in need of a sport! I've decided to sign up for the Shawnee Mission Triathlon again this year. This will be my fifth time for this race. I need something to light a fire under my butt for training. I'm coming back to the triathlon fold!
I also kicked my first conversion in this tournament! Drop goal!

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Variation on Recovery

A couple weeks ago, I posted about how it makes sense that individuals (being individuals) need variations on how much recovery they need, relative to how much working out they do. One-size-fits-all training plans don't. Fit all, that is.

Through trial and error, I've found that they don't fit me. Three weeks on, one week off training plans are so nice and neat and tidy . . . they segment your days and weeks and months so well! But that doesn't work for me. This time around, I at least didn't develop an overuse injury. Instead, I lost all motivation to run. I still did yoga, and I started indoor cycling again, but I had absolutely no interest in running. So I didn't run. And I haven't run for three weeks, now. And this is why I need to remember that dividing my days and weeks and months into tidy, four-week blocks doesn't work for me!

With that in mind, I've revised my half marathon training plan to recover every third week. Small change, really. And I'm pushing the bounds of safe progression, here, especially since I haven't been keeping up with the plan for the last three weeks. I'm relying on my youth to keep me healthy through the extra miles.


Half Marathon training 2013

Ex: Week 1 includes a 3 mile fartlek, 2 mile tempo run, 5 mile long run, 10 miles weekly total

11. 4 2 10 (16)
12. 4 2 11 (17)
13. 3 2 6 (11)

14. 4 2 12 (18)
15. 4 2 13 (19)
16. 0 4 8 (12)

17. 4 3 13 (20)
18. 4 3 15 (22)
19. 6 3 15 (24)

20. 3 2 10 (15)
21. 2 2 13.1 (17.1)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Variants on Recovery

I recover better with company.
It seems like I figure this out every year or so.

Most endurance plans orient training by month, in four-week chunks. They give three weeks of hard work for every one week of recovery. Seems like every time I write a new training plan for myself, I start with this schedule. And every time, two or three months into training, I get overloaded and end up taking my recovery a week early. Sometimes, like with this training cycle, I lose my motivation and get caught in two or three weeks of recovery.

It makes sense that there would be natural variations among members of our species on how much work we can do, relative to how much rest we need. And there's nothing special about a seven-day week, either, or a four-week month. It's not like our species evolved with modern weeks or months. There's no real reason to maintain this dominant ratio. Except that it's what everyone else does.

I plan to start marching to the beat of my own drum in this regard, however; it's a waste of time to re-do my training plan because I overestimated my own training capacity.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Spinning Workout: Country Rollers


This workout gives you a series of rolling hills to country music! If you have been waiting for a workout to country music, this is perfect for you!

Country Rollers (50 minutes)

9 to 5 (102 BPM) - Warm up
Cry, Cry, Cry (104 BPM) - Warm up
County Orange (175 BPM) - Cadence
1st roller
Love Don't Live Here (140 BPM) - Gradually build steepness of hill
Hot Summer Day (137 BPM) - Standing the whole time
If You Can't Help Your Own (143 BPM) - Jumping climb
Bless the Broken Road (90 BPM) - Roll downhill
2nd roller
Sugar Magnolia (77 BPM) - Mostly standing
California Girls (151 BPM) - Long standing/seated sections
Don't Mess Around With my Sister (155 BPM) - Hard climb
Love's Gonna Live Here (91 BPM) Roll downhill
3rd roller
Long Time Gone (85 BPM) - Fast climb, up and down
Good Times (84 BPM) - Same
How Bad do You Want it (88 BPM) - Same
God May Forgive You (103 BPM) - Cool down

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