Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thai This

All of Bryan's talk about food made me hungry. Today's blog will be about what I had for dinner: Thai green curry with chicken. Now that was quite good.

Thai food is for the adventurous at heart. What this means is that you'd might want to have some cold pizza in the fridge if you've never done this before. Thai food is not just rice, meat and brown sauce like a lot of traditional Asian, err Asian-American, dishes. No, it's got a little spicy attitude mixed in with sweetness that you'd expect to find when co-mingling SE Asian and Indian cuisines. You'd also think that it would be difficult to prepare, but there are some surprisingly good sauces out that that make the job a lot easier. If you've got 20 minutes to make the rice, you can also make a decent green curry.

I recommend getting a small bottle of Thai Kitchen® Green Curry paste. You can find it in the "asian/ethnic" section of just about any grocery store now days. The only other special item you'll need is a bottle of Thai fish sauce. Warning: the Fish Sauce kinda stinks when you open it, but just trust the recipe and measure carefully and you'll be fine. And finally, get a bag of Jasmine Rice. Don't use that instant minute rice crap. You know how I feel about instant stuff...

Here's what you'll need:

1 lb White chicken meat
2 TBSP green curry paste
1 14oz can of coconut milk
1 cup of Frozen green peas
2 TBSP Thai Fish sauce.
2 TBSP Brown sugar
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 cup of Jasmine rice

When you've got all of your ingredients together, start by putting the rice in a rice cooker or in a pot with lid. Rice to water ratio is 1:2. Set temp on low and cover and let it go for about 20 minutes.

In a large sauce pan, simmer the coconut milk and green curry paste for five minutes. Add raw chicken cut into bite sized morsels. Mix in the rest of the ingredients and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Wallah. You'd expect to pay about $12 a plate at a Thai restaurant for the same dish.

Now excuse me while I go have seconds.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


On reading suggested speed drills, I came upon this tip from Joe Friel to improve pedaling mechanics:

"As the foot approaches the top of the stroke, the raised heel is lowered. (Triathlete's Training Bible, 2nd Ed, p 169)

About 45 minutes into tonight's trainer ride, I remembered this concept and deliberately switched form. I don't know if my muscles were tired and just changing it up eased the strain, but it seemed to make a difference as I could feel more of my quadriceps sharing the load.

After the workout, I googled to find out more on this idea. I discovered that "ankling" is not a new concept and has been the subject of many discussions, including the (ในที่สุด) Thai website that I stole the above image from.

So what's your thought on ankling?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

5 Degrees of Steel-Cut

I've reached a new low temperature run at 5°F. Because it was warmer during the day, I didn't realize that it was that 5°F when I left for my commute home. Daaaaaaaang!

After about 25 minutes, my toes became a little numb and stingy. I'm pretty sure that this was a running-first for me. Now I know that one pair of wool socks and running shoes just isn't going to cut it in those temperatures.

Distance About 5 miles
Elapsed time: 38:19
Pace: 8 min/mile
Avg BPM: 157
Max BPM: 180
Calories: 522 from 35% fat

* 2 long sleeve tech shirts and a fleece vest
* black stocking cap & Thinsulate Fleece mittens
* Thermals and Nylon shell pants
* 1 pair of smartwool socks
* Nathan & Co Reflective vest
* backpack

Along the way, I passed Fred playing golf at the old Chili Green's. Nice form. I like your tuke. Fore!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Who Moved My Cheese?

Today was one of those days where inefficiencies abounded.

It all started before 4:15 AM. Last night, we had snow and then single digit temperatures. Katherine is scared to death of driving in bad conditions, but needed to be at the clinic by 6:30 AM. She also promised a ride to a friend who lived in Southwest Omaha.

Meanwhile, one of my goals was to do the master's morning swim workout at 6:30 AM. Ah, good old conflict.

The compromise was to get up at 4:15! AM and drive Katherine and her friend 3/4 of the way to their clinic. Along the way, I would get out downtown while they continued with the car the rest of the way. I would then catch the #2 bus back toward midtown for master's swimming at UNO, arriving shortly before 6:30 AM.

Amazingly, it worked just as planned and I arrived at practice with a few minutes to spare. Afterwards, I took the #2 bus again back downtown to work.

Although the plan worked, it wasn't without a lot of effort.

A good example was in the rush to catch the bus after practice. Because my ears were about to fall off from frost bite, I rummaged through the pack for my tuke. That's when I discovered that it was missing because I had failed to close all of my bag's pockets before running to the stop. Curses! I looked up and saw the #2 approaching and decided that the opportunity cost of missing 20 minutes of work was less than the love I have for that tuke. I waved the bus along and back-tracked to find my hat. Fortunately, I found it.

But my work day was more of the same. It was just a lot of little stuff that just kept getting in front of progress.

In the end, I have to look back at the day and wonder was the cost of putting forth so much effort really worth it? I mean, I felt like a little rat running around a maze while mundane obstacles were placed in my path. A lot of this I brought on myself, but still, what was once easy to achieve was now seemingly unnecessarily difficult and required much wasteful energy, not unlike this blog entry...

I suppose it could be argued that a rat may have thought of a better use of time. Perhaps laying low and writing off the morning's swim would have been better. It's ironic, but sometimes it's more efficient being a slacker.

Indeed, a wise person once said, "While the early bird may get the worm, the second mouse always gets the cheese."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Polar Training 2

Tonight's run home from work was the most enjoyable training run I've had since I can't remember when. Although it was 14°F with 18mph headwinds, I was dressed smartly. The 5.5 miles in the heavy snowfall accompanied by my crunching footfall was the tonic I needed to a stressful workday.

Now that was special.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Polar Training

0-10°F in the big 'O today? I wasn't going to let that get in the way of some serious training. So after throwing a bowl of warm steel-cut oats down my pie hole, this is what I did today: I went for a swim. After that I thought, what the heck, why not go for a run?

Workout #1: Swim 90 minutes
Masters swim workout at 9:00 AM at UNO's natatorium. This was the third swim practice the past week. 2600 yards in roughly 90 minutes.

Workout #2: Run 90 minutes
Time: 4:00 PM
Weather: 10°F, but thankfully no wind

A 12 mile there and back route south along the keystone in mixed conditions of snow pack streets and trail with patches of bare spots and 3 inch drifts.

Eyelashes were caked in ice and water bottles were frozen after this 90 min run. That, and the balaclava had briny saliva in front of my mouth. Felt like I was being choked as it wouldn't pass much air through when I inhaled. Had to ditch the balaclava after 75 minutes.

Thermal under shirt & 2 tech shirts, a balaclava, tuke, gloves + liners, thermal pants and nylon shells. Just about right except for the problems with the balaclava.

Workout Goals:
1) Foot cadence at 180/min. Accomplished.
2) Heart rate < 160. Only went over 160 briefly on hills

12 miles at 7:50 mile pace
1212 calories from 40% fat
Avg heart rate=150
Max = 167 on hill

Tomorrow: the revenge of the trainer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Cycling Sutra

Let's take a moment for a fine discourse on cycling style and techniques.

Of the different types:

A road bike is built for speed. It is to be ridden quickly with either quick up and down strokes, or long and slow mashing in the high gear.

A mountain bike is built for rough play. It is to be ridden with pure abandonment and thrill seeking pleasure. Dirty can be fun.

A fixed gear "fixie" or single speed is for the master cyclist who's been around the block more than just a few times, has tried it all, is a hard core cyclist and is able to ride long with great robusto and endurance.

A tandem bike brings another willing party into the mix. While the stronger usually takes front, many partners have switched roles for additional experimentation and pleasure. However, take care as tandems can also erupt in a flash point of anger and bitterness of one having to do all of the work while the other fakes enjoyment, or skips the adventure altogether due to a "headache".

A recumbent cycle is for leisure riding and for those who like riding in a submissive style.

A unicycle is a bicycle that's been castrated of one wheel. It is usually ridden by unmasculine males in clown suits.

On Washing
The cyclist typically enjoys diligently washing his ride with warm sudsy water, applying plenty of lubricants and finishing the job with a clean wipe of a towel. Unless one's personal preferences enjoy outside assistance, this task is most-often completed solo.

On Mounting
The mount is a very delicate maneuver. The typical male cyclist, however, is often in a rush, which can lead to great discomfort and embarrassment of a mis-mount.

Mounting involves moving the fingers deliberately across the handlebars before applying gentle pressure to the hoods. When ready, place one foot in contact with the pedal and with a single motion, push firmly down until your peddle has grasped your cleat. This is called the cleat grasp.

With a little push off send the other leg in a high arch over the saddle while allowing buttocks to make firm contact with the saddle. Sit down carefully to allow proper position of parts. This is called the line of jewels.

Repeat the cleat grasp with the other foot. Allow a moment to savor the joy.

On Spinning
The art of spinning takes a lot of mastery. While some prefer to bluntly mash on their peddles, this style tends to cause much discord to the bicycle and cyclist. But do not be fooled into thinking that spinning comes easily. While many hurry it, the spin begins with slow and even circles. If you build too quickly you'll blow your max HR, resulting in an unsatisfying experience. Gradually increase circle speed while concentrating on even strokes. Ahh now that's bliss!

On Coasting
When your Heart rate rises to a point where you just can't take it any more, you are permitted to coast. While coasting, many experiment a little. Grasping the top tube with your thighs is called the "mare's position"; doing a backwards spin of the free wheel is called the "reverse silver moon".

On Braking
Braking is to be applied when a voluntary slowing of the action is required. Braking should be done with gentle and increasing even pressure. Sudden braking can lead to violent dismounts and loud squealing sounds. This is called the squeal of the pig.

On Finishing and Recovery
Undisciplined males skip the warm up period and ride recklessly until the point of exhaustion. Females, however, typically have a proper warm up period followed by a deliberate building of momentum before the experience is beneficial. At this point, she is able to spin up and recovery rapidly for many thrilling encounters. In a mixed group ride, the wise male conserves his efforts while his partner is thoroughly enjoying a satiating experience. Only when the finish is approaching may he release his final reserves and sprint to the finish. With muscles twitching and hands shaking, he then dismounts and heads for the nearest food source to refuel before collapsing into the sleep of the dead. Let's face it: he's spent.

On Vigor and Aging
There have been numerous tomes written about cycling for all ages. Rest assured, it can be enjoyed throughout life. While performance certainly varies over time, supplements can help maintain your strength so as to not be an issue. Given the chance, most men will be ready to give it a mount at the drop of a hat. You only have to look as far as this fella for proof.


Whew! I'm spent!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Three Buck Up Chuck

Who's up for a mid-winter time trial/tempo run?

The No Frills 8K racing series in Bellevue and the BTC Lake Manawa 10K racing series offer measured courses with race atmospheres throughout the winter. It's a good way to stay motivated with a group of 20 runners and they give medals to the top five in each age group. Best of all, it's only $3 to enter. Now that's not a lot of a tacos, folks.

I use these as tempo runs to help set my long distance pacing.

Tomorrow's race is in Bellevue. Any takers?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Thank you Mr. Heller

Dear Mary,
I yearn for tragically.
A.T. Tappman
Chaplain, U.S Army

Monday, January 7, 2008


Some more help for this rookie, please.

SRAM PowerLinks
I've read conflicting reports on teh internets that I can put a PowerLink on an Ultegra 10 speed chain. Some say that SRAM has only made PowerLinks up to Shimano's 9 speed chains. Others say that Wipperman Connex will work. And still others say that they've successfully installed PowerLinks on Shimano 10 speed chains. So what do you recommend?

Also, will a standard chain breaking tool work or will I need to get a specific one for the Shimano 10 speed chain?

Power Meters, PowerTaps
How do you get a measurement of your power?

I'd like to get baseline power measurements without spending a lot of cash. Ideally, it would be a series of time trials at 1, 6, 12 and 30 minutes over the course of several days. Does somebody have a power meter, or is there a power meter setup at a local bike shop for a reasonable fee?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Aught Eight

Saturday' morning's eight mile recap with Mike & Bryan.

Elapsed Time: 1:06
Pace: 8:15/mile
Estimated Calories: 853 from 40% fat burn
Max Heart Rate: 179
Average: 151

Geez. I've run longer distances that felt better than that one. I'm a little nicked up in the knees and generally didn't feel that great running. Maybe I wore too much clothing.

2008 hasn't started out on a very good note. It began on New Year's morning when my car's thermostat seized in the single digit temperatures and nearly cause the engine to overheat. When I tried to fix it, I snapped off a brittle little plastic valve that regulates air emissions. Fantastic! In the end, I took it to the shop and paid $200 for a job I could have done for about $20.

So while wallowing in my woes, I saw the Jenny Craig ad featuring the former Mrs. Eddie Van Halen on the tube. Jenny appears to have the answers. So anyway, I'm thinking of giving her a call because Valerie says that in doing so I could be my best New Year's ever.

I can't wait to wake up on New Year's Day 2009!