Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Winter race, not so bad!

Weekend race 1/20/2013
Entries for biking, running or skiing. This year skiing was canceled due to lack of snow. 

The winter race weekend turned out better than expected. The really  cold weather didn't appear until late on Sunday/early Monday (it was -5ºF Monday morning as we started the car!).  Sunday's weather for the races was a brisk 5ºF with a 10mph wind from the north/northwest.  For the cyclist, marathoners and ultramarathoners this might not have been a good thing. For the half marathoners, it was okay. 

Our course ran on an old railroad bed, now a limestone trail.  We were lucky in that there was limestone rocks/cliffs blocking the wind from us for most of the race. We had a few open areas to cross where the wind might have been horrible at the start of the race, but by the time we were to those points the weather wasn't bothering us as we were heated and just wanting to finish.  

I wish I had taken photos, but I didn't want to take my cell phone out at the start for pics and have trouble getting it back in the holder in the brisk weather.  There were a few moments in the race I thought about taking photos, but the desire to keep the hands covered overruled any desire to capture the photos. 

We had snow before Christmas and most of the snow is gone, having been melted by warmer weather. Saturday we experienced highs near the 50ºF mark. Obviously this was going to be a big change to Sunday's 5º!  The center of the trail changed from being ice packed to being run bare by snowmobile machines. 

At the start, the volunteer said the buses would wait twenty minutes if any of us decided to give up on the race. Turns out the first mile and a half had very little trail showing and were mostly ice covered with up to four inches of opaque stuff on the trail.  Some of us might have wished to turn around, but we'd have to tell our loved ones we bailed on the race, and, since they were out doing the longer distance bike race, we couldn't fathom doing that.

The ice covered path gave way to the center being clear, or the sides being clear, but never was the whole width clear at the same time.  The tree that last year (on a sunny day) held two bald eagles only had their nest visible this year. Even they weren't interested in the cold weather.   

I discovered that running on packed snow is still easy--the dimples in the snow crust covering allow some traction.  I discovered that when running on terrain as this that I don't pick up my legs and instead do a shuffle--which has made for the quads hurting more than I've had in a while.  

I also discovered that even deer like to walk on the snow.  I assume they made their tracks Friday night or Saturday sometime.  For quite a ways on the trail in the snow packed right side, there were many deer tracks frozen into the snow. Again, thought about taking a photo, but was more concerned with the hands staying covered. 
Photo of race conditions.
This is a  good section of trail, since the center is covered in ice.
I started out wearing my Mizuno breath thermal shirt, topped with an UnderArmour short sleeve t-shirt and my brand new Saucony wind protection jacket (I know, not suppose to wear new gear during a race, but this was needed!)  
New jacket--it's a periwinkle blue/purple

For my head, I wore my balaclava and then a wool buff, as well as taking along my Smartwool ear band.  About an hour into the I took off the balaclava and used just the ear band part on my ears/forehead and then my wool buff as a neck gaiter and I would bring that up to cover my head when I got into the breezy sections.  It worked out well and with my iFitness belt I was able to hook the balaclava onto it for keeping.

I wore two Nike pants, one fuzzy lined tights and one of the heavy and thick winter running pants. I acquired these after a winter race in 2011.

My hands normally get quite warm when I run. I start out wearing gloves and then tuck the palm down and have just the fingers covered, I usually take the gloves off after half an hour.  This time, I wasn't able to do that. I started out with a thin cotton pair of Nike's covered with a freebie pair I got at a race.  After half an hour, I put the freebie pair in the pockets and ran with just the thin Nikes. This worked until about mile 8 or so when I realized the fingers of the gloves were just soaking wet; however, they weren't frozen due to my fingers' heat!  I switched gloves to the freebie pair and finished with those.  The wind pretty much went through them, so I put my hands into fists inside the gloves and ran with the fingertips just flopping all over. I thought that'd probably look pretty hilarious to a bypasser! 

All in all, it was a better than expected race. I knew the muscles would remember how to work and that even though I hadn't run in a few weeks, that the fitness I had would still be there in some form.  I came in 15 minutes or so slower than last year, but considering everything, I thought I did a good job.  (and it's hard to run on ice!)

The Mike finished right on the dot at 5pm.  He had anticipated "around 5pm" for his finish.  Tired and hungry, he got some of the after-race hot wings and then a double bacon cheeseburger with fries I ordered from the hotel's restaurant (that thing was HUGE and no, he was not able to finish the burger).  

1/22/2013 dinner:   
Quick salad -mixed greens, shaved carrot, blue cheese crumbles, tomatoes and 
quick balsamic vinegar salad dressing

Cranberry salsa and curried turkey breasts with baked potato

Core of the recipe is from The 150 Healthiest 15-Minute Recipes on Earth by Jonny Bowden, Ph.D., and Jeannette Bessinger, C.H.H.C 
*Disclaimer 1: I picked this cookbook up at yoga last year, and this is the first month I'm actually using it.  *Disclaimer 2: I tweaked the recipe, so I didn't quite follow the recipe precisely. I am listing what I did and then what I left out and the directions are my own. 


2T Honey Mustard (I didn't use)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp allspice
1 T orange zest (I didn't use)
salt/pepper to taste
1 boneless skinless turkey tenderloin (2 pounds or 900g) 
      (I used turkey breasts from the grocery store, two per package, I'm not sure of the weight, but it would have been two very large chicken breasts in size.  I think it would have been about one thanksgiving turkey breast total)

2 c (200g) fresh cranberries (or 1 bag 8ounce frozen, unsweetened, thawed).  I used half a bag of fresh
1 large navel orange, peeled & halved
1 small jalapeno, stemmed, roughly chopped, optional (I used half a small can of diced chilies) 
1/4 cup (85g) raw honey, or to taste 

Directions (mine) 
Preheat oven to 400ºF. I put 1/2 T of olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan, then added the turkey breasts. I mixed the turkey seasoning in a small bowl (cumin, curry, allspice, salt/pepper) and rubbed it on the turkey breasts. I covered the pan in foil, then put the lid on the pan and baked for 40 minutes.  (Turkey should registere 160ºF.  I took the pan out of the oven, uncovered the turkey and let it rest while prepping the salad. 

While the turkey was in the oven, in a food processor mix the "salsa" ingredients. I pulsed until pretty much just small pieces were visible.  Slice or shred the turkey, serve the salsa on the side. 

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