All About Attitude

We’re approaching July 2011. Can you believe it? Can you remember what you were doing, or where you were a year ago? Take a minute and think….And then take a minute to breathe. Deep inhale in…and out. I have a feeling most people, myself including, forget to take that time out to stop doing, doing, doing, and just be. Now if you’re at your kitchen table, desk, sitting on the couch, or wherever you might be reading this, how does it feel to just be?

View of the Catskills from Snyderville

At first when I did that, I was sitting outside on the deck, drenched with sweat after my 37mile bike ride ( Milan Hill-> Snyderville->Elizaville->Red Hook route) . Having swam earlier in the afternoon, the bike ride zapped me of the remaining energy I had, but it did not matter. Evening was turning into the night. Fireflies were out. I just sat, and was. I did not think about how crazy my next couple of weeks at work are going to be, nor lament the fact I do not have a normal job thus making tri training more difficult. I didn’t think about recent events, or future events. I simply closed my eyes and listened to the breeze and frogs and nocturnal bugs.

You should do that. It takes two minutes. And it feels fantastic to for those few moments not to be worrying about jobs, families, races, relationships, training…Etc.

I’m looking at life differently now, perhaps it was an eppiphany I had. Who knows. But I realized (again), how you live your life, and the value you bestow upon it, are all about your attitude and perspective on it.

My first attempt at Mooseman was a disaster. Yes, I got 2/3 of it done. But mentally I went into it fearing I would be unable to complete it (and, yes, there was that fear of my first open water swim in a competition setting). I learned a lot from that race–and now I know more and how better to train for my next one.

Yes, my job isn’t ideal for training for these types of events, especially when working overtime or picking up extra shifts in the week. And, i’m jealous of those who have normal 9-5 jobs and weekends off, which can make training easier. By no means am I saying those types of jobs don’t have their stress! My job itself can leave me physically and sometimes emotionally drained. And mustering up energy to go for training rides/runs is difficult. But, it’s possible, as seen by yours truly.

But I’m looking at the next race, Timberman, with a different light. I’m actually looking at life with a different perspective. I’ve come a far way from my fear of swimming in open water (now, open water in large lakes is another thing, and swimming with lots of other people, is also different). As in my last post, yy time in the lake is time for me. Where I don’t need to think about everything else that is going on in my life. I can just concentrate on swimming.

Sun setting behind the Catskills, taken somewhere along route 19

For Mooseman, I did a couple brick workouts, but not alot. Now, I’ll do them more. On my long rides and runs, I never thought to bring fuel with me, or adequately nourish my body with the important nutrients needed for both significant training, and for work. Scratch that thought, I just ate poorly. I lived off of peanut butter and graham crackers at work. Now, I’m trying to look at food as a way of nourishing my body so that I do have the strength to train with my hectic schedule, and not it being simply food. You can eat anything, but it’s amazing the affect it can have on your system. More protein, more whole fruits and veggies, gluten-free foods, less sugar, more water.I’m pretty sure I’ll feel some improvement in how my body feels with these modifications, which might even help sleep and I know help with energy levels and performance.

A healthy dinner of a Molly's twist on a two bean salad,fresh lettuce from the garden, and herbed couscous

Also, to stop comparing myself to others who do have more time to train, and to get rid of any  (silly) feelings of jealousy

Men. Ahh, that’s a topic I’m not too fond of. Especially with the complications of my last “friendship.” But, you need to be completely at peace with yourself, be able to take care of you, and actually love yourself before you can love another person. And even though I might look like I have my shit together, I really don’t. And as somewhat heartbroken as I am about what happened, I’m not going to go crawl into a ball and weep to sleep (cause, I’ve already done that haha). Whoever coined the term “heartbreak” was dead on–I did feel like my heart was actually cracking in my chest.  But, I’m not going to dwell on the fact it did not work out, even though I was hoping it would. This opens up opportunities that I have for my future. Like travel nursing. I’m young, single, have great work experience under my belt, have no family or mortgage to worry about. It’s the perfect time to go out and try new things while I still can. Travel, and see different places. And, if the travel positions do not work out, well, I go somewhere else. I don’t want to look back at my life and think, “Man, why didn’t I do that?”

That’s one good thing I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

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She Cooks

It’s a new year, and you know what that means: new years resolutions are the talk amongst friends sitting and getting coffee. It’s in magazines. On television. What is your new years resolution? Things people say they are going to do and stick with the resolution for a couple weeks, and then the excitement of changing something in their lifestyle dwindles right along with the resolution. That’s why I’ve never made new year resolutions. Instead, I prefer to see something in my life which needs some “tidying up,” and work on that. For example, my spelling skills need work (read any of my posts and you are sure to find numerous spelling mistakes).

This post is actually about food, not bikes, or guitars, or races. But food is a vital component for any athlete. Whetever he or she puts into her mouth can affect his or her performance drastically.

After  swimming 2100 at Bard, and a 45 minutes on the trainer, I became somewhat hungry and decided to check out my culinary skills and…cook. Start the new year off with eating healthy. Sounds like a good idea, right? Plus, after stepping on the scale for the first time in who knows how long I found out that I gained (gasp) weight. The dreaded 6-letter word starting with “w.” There’ll be no meat in the picture (which is easy since I’m a vegetarian),  no sweets, even as tempting as they might be at work and you are exhausted at 0400. No dairy, which can help improve the digestive system. So, basically, a modified vegetarian diet…Almost exactly what I was before.

This change in eating habits actually occured after someone looked into my refrigerator (and the scale issue had something to do with it too), the interior composed of only a jar of pickles, britta filter with about three drops of water, Soy milk, and lettuce.”I think you need to go get some food. Your refrigerator is pathetic.” I felt embarrassed for my poorly stocked refrigerator. So, this girl, more commonly known for her baking (heck, the baking runs in the Geuss blood), is brushing off the spider webs of her knife handling skills

I wandered around the internet for some healthy yet nutritious and easy thing to make, and I came up with Sweet Potato Falafel with  Yogurt Tahini.  If a meal will take me more than 20minutes to prepare, chances are I’ll lose attention and bag the recipe (sounds like trying to stick to a training plan). This evening I decided to try this recipe out, after seeing in on  Fat-Free Vegan Kichen’s web site (great site if you want something easy to make, and lots of vegetarian/vegan options).

The ingedients:

1/2 tablespoon ground flax seeds + 2 tbsp hot water
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 18 ounces, total)
2-3 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/8 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup minced parsley
juice of 1 lemon
1 cup chickpea flour or besan
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
sesame seeds (optional)

the ingredients (sweet potatoes were in the oven)

Mix the flax seeds with two tablespoons hot water and set aside to thicken. This acts as a binding agent, similar to what eggs do.

Pierce sweet potatoes several times with a fork and place on paper towels in microwave. Microwave on high for 2 minutes, turn over, and then cook for another 2 minutes. Check for tenderness, and if not cooked all the way through, cook in increments of 30 seconds until tender. Set aside to cool until easy to handle; peel and place in a large bowl.

note: I put my sweet potatoes in the oven, as I never knew you could cook a potato in the microwave…

Preheat oven to 400F. Mash sweet potatoes well with a masher or a fork. Add the flax mixture, seasonings (including parsley), and lemon juice and stir well. Mix the chickpea flour with the baking powder and add it a little at a time to the sweet potato mixture. Stir until well-combined. Batter should be stiff; if not, add chickpea flour a tablespoon at a time until batter is thick. (If the batter is too stiff to blend in all the flour, add water a tablespoon at a time.)

all the ingredients in one bowl

Oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Use a cookie scoop or rounded tablespoon to make about 20-22 little mounds of dough on the baking sheet (dippingthe scoop in water every now and then will help prevent the dough from sticking to it).

balls

Flatten the balls to about 1/2-inch thick and 1 1/2-inches wide. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bottoms are medium brown. Serve hot with yogurt-tahini sauce.

I made a pick-your-own- veggie station...for myself (not crazy at all, right?)

Since I didn’t have any tahini paste with me, I  made home made Tzatziki sauce to go with them, which worked out perfectly.

Et voila: la Pièce de résistance

Now that it is 2011, a fresh new year, a time we can start over again, improving ourselves, learning from the mistakes of the past…How amazing life gives you second chances!

I hope this year will find you good health, happiness, a life full of  friendships and amazing experiences which are yet to come.

Happy Belated New Year

Experiment

A lot has happened to me this past year, and I’ve come to accept what has happened, happened. It’s never to late to look back on your life, and decide to change. And with night shifts starting, I’ve noticed my body has been affected negatively and something needs to change.

With the night shifts, my eating habits have been poor, my caffeine intake has skyrocketed, and I am exhausted. It messes up your sleep pattern. Actually, it just messes you up, period. Even though now I have the ability to go for a run or ride before work, which I could not do when it was so dark in the mornings (but my Petzel headlamp always helped when I ran in the dark–which is a positive,) my body feels yucky. Ohh Memories of running up and down, zigzagging through the streets of alexandria, met the newspaper man delivering newspapers to all the shops along King Street, and Starbucks on Orocono preparing for their first customers…

Anyway, I’ve decided it’s come to make a change–wipe my palate clean, so to say. My experiment is more like a lifestyle change. My friend is completing a  “cleanse” as we speak. She said she feels amazing–and her face is glowing. I tried going two days on her cleanse but could not survive without the caffeine during night shifts. But, I  have a feeling the change in eating will help me feel better, both inside and out, and give my body a break.

So what does that mean? Nix the sugar–of any kind. Nothing artificial–no diet cokes, no “diet” anything…Waaaay to many chemicals in those foods.  I read once an athletic journal on how athletes, switch to gluten-free diets during their training and this seems to improve their performance. Honestly, I forgot the Journal’s name. Therefore, I’m trying this gluten free diet- it may be easier on my intestines, and may make my stomach less irritable. The body is incredible at sensing the smallest changes your body makes. So, no more gluten (for now)–this might actually help with my horrible stomach disomfort I always have. I am also cutting out anything that is canned . If it’s fresh and colorful, I can eat it. Cutting out meat will not be an issue, because I’m already a vegetarian. No dairy. Only fresh foods. I can eat seeds, lentils, nuts, soy, etc. I actually just  cooked up kale for the first time in my life the other day, and realized there are so many different wonderful, exotic fruits and vegetables that we never eat.

Kale chips--actually pretty tasty- mine did not come out as pretty as the ones in this picture

It’s just an experiment to see how I feel. I’m hoping it will give me more energy, help me improve physically, and give my body a rest from all the crap I’ve been doing to it.

When was the last crazy post written?

October 2019
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