Spring is here!

Spring has come a little early this year, but I'm not complaining.  This weekend, I did 11 miles on the Indian Creek Trail and there were signs of spring everywhere.  The magnolias are finishing up their blooming while the red and white buds are just getting started. The daffodils, snow drops and crocuses are in full bloom and the tulips aren't far behind.  The robins and cardinals have been singing every morning and it seems every single bird and mammal is out looking for a mate.

Ah, spring.

I haven't been to the trails in a few weeks and if I wasn't so busy this week, I would.  But you know what comes along with spring?  Spring Break!  On Friday, John and I are heading to Belize for 6 days and I can't wait!  We're going to try to run around the island we're staying on (it's only about 4 miles but some of it is technically Mexico so I'm not sure if we'll be able to) and I believe our hotel has free beach cruisers for guests.  There is fantastic snorkeling right off the beach we're on and it's $10/day to rent a kayak.  We have a cave-tubing trip and rain forest excursion planned, too.

Throw in a few fruity rum drinks and an ocean-side massage, and I might not come back!



I have a new plan for beating my usual case of the Mondays and that is 1) Not working out 2) Walking with Kelly and Meeka 3) Cooking real food.  Last night I cooked and it looked and tasted too good not to share.

Are you hungry yet?
 I made chicken pesto with asparagus, peppers, and sun dried tomatoes over whole wheat pasta.  It was awesome.

Rough quantities:
1 1/2 chicken breast
1 bunch asparagus
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 jar sun dried tomatoes
8 oz. pasta.

Grill the chicken (I used our pannini press) and cook pasta.  Heat oil from tomatoes in a large pan to med.  Cook the veggies in the oil until brightly colored.  Drain pasta.  Toss all ingredients with pesto.  Top with Parmesan and serve.


Therapy Run

There is one kind of trail run that I don't think any other physical activity can come close to and that is the Therapy Run. 

I can't do Therapy Swims, I lose count or I space out and don't get my flip turn timed right.  That usually results in a chlorinated sinus flush.  Ouch.  I can't do Therapy Bikes, there is a life-safety issue riding on the roads and a boredom issue spinning inside.  I do have Therapy Climbs, but for a different reason.  My current theory is that climbing engages the non-analytical part of my brain, so my Therapy Climbs are how I can turn off the "engineer button" in my head which can be pretty damn difficult to do sometimes.

Therapy Runs are different.  They usually don't happen on the road, there are too many outside distractions like traffic and people.  The best Therapy Runs are trail runs for several reasons.  
  1. I run slower on the trails and I don't do paces, so I don't have to focus on my speed.  
  2. There are usually very few people and no negative distractions (like cars honking or creepy men yelling "Hey!  Mamasita!!" out their low-rider window) 
  3. Nature is soothing and calming.  Duh.  That's why it's called nature.
I had a great Therapy Run today.  I was in Lawrence for work so I took advantage of the River Trails, which are very smooth and technically easy trails, the perfect type of trails for getting lost in your thoughts and not really having to worry about tripping over rocks.  I saw 3 mountain bikers in my 10 miles and better yet, I saw a Red Headed Woodpecker (looking for a date, I believe). 

I'm a solo-Therapy Run kind of gal, but I know some people prefer the group therapy mentality.  There's nothing wrong with that, but as an introvert I much prefer wading through my thoughts in silence.  It's the best way for me to solve problems, come to terms with reality, or just completely analyze and accept a situation.  Anyway you look at it, it's the cheapest way for me to keep my sanity.  Besides, what therapist would let you splash through mud puddles in their office?


Swimming with the Blazers

This is how I feel about my swim skills compared to a Masters swimmer.  Most of these swimmers were competitive in high school and college and can actually do more than two different strokes.  As for me, well let's just say I was late to the swimming scene.  It's a little intimidating.

After a four year hiatus from Masters swimming, I finally bit the bullet and went to a KC Blazers practice this morning.  I told the coach that I was a triathlete with zero competitive swimming background, which is pool-speak for "I'm slow as hell and don't want to get in any one's way.  You will also have to speak slowly and explain all drills to me multiple times."

I was a little nervous, but I jumped in at the end of the group and basically followed the leader, keeping up as best as I could.  When we started there were 4, maybe 5 people in the slow lane of a 50 meter pool.  Or so I thought.  I think there ended up being closer to 8 or 9 but it worked out just fine.

We did 2400m total with several breathing, kicking, and pulling sets.  The breathing drills had my lungs screaming, in a good way.  Derek, the coach, was patient enough to explain everything to me as many times as needed.  (I think some of the other swimmers were glad I was asking questions.  I wasn't the only one that needed some extra guidance)

The best part?  I wasn't even the slowest person in the lane, which was what I was fearing.  I was no where close to the fastest, but I was nipping on the toes of a few of the other swimmers.  At least I didn't feel completely incompetent. 

We did some drills that I think will help me eventually be able to comfortably breathe on both sides (bilateral breathing) which would be a HUGE advantage in racing.  I can't tell you how many races I've been blinded by the sun or swallowed unbelievable amounts of water due to waves smacking me in the face.  If only I could have turned my head the other way...

Hey, give me a break.  It's a lot harder than it sounds.

I don't know what took me so long to go back to masters swimming.  It was the best $5 I've spent in a long time.