Monday, September 28, 2009

Turkey Meatballs

It seems as though one of the challenges of eating lean protein is having it around and ready to eat. It is a great idea to have some recipes up your sleeve that are yummy and make great leftovers. This one fits both criteria. These were actually made for me by Tracy Holly and I fell in love with them right away. The night she made them, she served them with a whole grain spaghetti and a garlic dijon ceasar salad. Very good and I was hooked.

Since then, I have made the meatballs on my own and served them over all kinds of other things like wild rice blend, spaghetti squash, banana squash, yams or butternut squash. I actually prefer these other foods over pasta. I find that I, as well as many others, have a tough time with a lot of gluten and many grains. Additionally, if you have worked out earlier in the day, pasta is just too dense of a carb to have at night if you are trying to manage your body composition.

One of the bonuses of this dish is that the kids like to help make the meatballs. And since that part does my head in, I appreciate the willing help!

Turkey Meatballs
2 pounds ground lean turkey-but not too lean(~94%)
2 teaspoon powdered garlic
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 TBs Italian herb mix or basil/oregano
1 cup grated fresh romano or parmesean cheese
2 jars of no sugar added/fresh ingredients only spaghetti sauce

In a bowl, mix all the above with your hands except for the spaghetti sauce. Roll into whatever sized meatballs fits the occasion. Big ones for dinner or smaller ones for appetizers. Place on a baking sheet withe edges (there will be juice that bakes out) and place in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes or more. When meatballs are done, they may be added, along with all the juices on the baking sheet, to a warmed up spaghetti sauce on the stove or a crockpot. It is best to let them simmer a bit before serving.

Remember to serve with a big green salad! Most of the volume of your dinner should be the salad and the meatballs. The pasta or alternative starch should be a smaller portion than you would get in a restaurant.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Off Season Training Stage 1- R&R

It has been quite a long year by September for most folks. You may or may not have done a lot of races or events, but usually most people have dedicatedly stuck to some sort of structured program since last Nov, Dec or Jan. Time for a break! Back away from the Garmin, put up your feet and don’t even think about working out hard…or long…or tomorrow…or often. Seriously, there has to be a time every year where you give your body, mind and spirit a vacation.

It would be nice if we could all lie on a Hawaiian beach for a month, but most of us have to find a way to put our bodies through a staycation of sorts. Yes, life goes on, work still happens and the kids are always hungry, but allowing your body to recover, repair and restore is not just important, but VITAL to a life long pursuit of sport.

What needs to happen in this phase of training? And yes IT IS TRAINING! You can’t make a tired and broken body go very fast. So putting fuel back in the mental and physical tank is the priority. And this process is a little different for everyone. But here are some things to consider:
Let go of structured workouts and schedules
Do only what you feel like and NEVER force a workout at this point
Slow down—go for a hike instead of a run. Preferably alone, with friends or family you don’t normally “workout” with because you are “in training.” This applies to biking too.
Stretch--do yoga or stretch for 30 minutes as a days workout and then take a hot shower
Do only light core work if you INSIST on strength training.
Add an extra rest day or two. Stretching is not a rest day. Doing nothing is.
Don’t get into a pool to swim laps if it brings tears or the thought of “I would rather pour acid into my eyes”
Never train hard enough to need Endurox or any other recovery product……Okay, maybe just once a week for those of you who just have to do SOMETHING.
Do something around the house you don’t normally have time for because it just feels good to finally git’ er done without being worried about how it effects tomorrows workout.

How do you mentally recover? Mentally “let it go.” Just let your mind take the vacation too. Stop thinking about workouts, schedules, races, goals and whatever else clutters it up at this point. Turn it off and think about something more important like how the morning light trickles down through the trees during your hike or how fresh the early fall wind feels on your skin as you run and ride easy. Yoga is really good too at training your mind to feel the subtleties that most people want to ignore. And don’t ignore the unstructured silence you may encounter. It is said that in the silence you discover your own shallowness, but it is there you discover your own strengths too. And if you are uncomfortable admitting to such transcendental thoughts, then just don’t tell anyone! But think them…no.matter.what!

How long will it take? Usually at least 3 weeks, but sometimes up to 6 or 8 if you have put your body through a tremendously high volume or intensity over the last 10-12 months. This could be the result of training for multiple ironmans, half ironmans and marathons (which I don’t recommend.) OR maybe you are very competitive in the shorter events and have invested A LOT of time to train hard and race even harder. Whatever the case, if you have put your body and mind through the ringer, have regularly trained over 12 hours a week, trained very hard, raced hard more than 6 times, or done too many long events, then you may need more than 3 weeks. Even if you have just done your first marathon or first year of structured training, but it challenged you more than anything ever has, then take it one week at a time!

When is your body, mind and spirit ready to go again? Physically, you are ache free, loose, flexible, feeling light in the legs and rested overall. Mentally, you have your excitement back! You definitely can wrap your brain around your next adventure and are more than ready to get back into a routine of some kind. Spiritually, you feel renewed, more calm and directed.
This is one of the most fun points in the year when you do it right. When you have properly rested and recovered for long enough, this is when you find the love in what you do again. This is when you can breathe deep and feel no weight on your shoulders. This is also when you are ready to look ahead with eyes wide open ready to chase and catch the next, even higher state of becoming at true athlete. What is a “true athlete?” Well, that is something that is available to anyone at any level. It is worth you pondering about and a discussion we will have another time!

Monday, September 14, 2009

2 good legs--Lorie Hutchison

Our guest blogger today is Lorie Hutchison. She has found a way to turn what she loves into a way to serve others. Her mission is to raise money for the Challenged Athlete Foundation(CAF) through running. Thanks Lorie for reminding us to be grateful and giving of the strengths, health and talents we have.

How do I condense 25 years of running down to a page?Especially when the only part of the last 25 years that I really care about has not happened yet, and is only days away from beginning.

I began running in college when I decided that triathletes looked so cool. They had hard bodies with numbers written in black ink on their arms and legs and lots of specialty equipment. I kept at it until I just could not stand jumping into a cold swimming pool one more time. I still remember sitting on the edge of the pool at the University of Utah hating the fact that the water was so cold and the only way to swim was to submerge myself in it. I sat there for about 5 min and finally decided that I should not force myself to do something that I hated that much. So I left. I went to the dressing room, put on my biking clothes and decided to become a biker. Biking was and is fun, however the cars and the pavement hurt, and then I just got scared. That is when I became a "runner." I love running because it is relatively inexpensive, I can do it anywhere and so far I have been able to avoid cars and most of the pavement.

I ran my first marathon in St. George in 1988 or 89. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. I swore I would never run another one. I was sick at the finish line and it took me most of the day to recover and I was sore for a week. But just like everyone else who has ever run more than one marathon the pain and nausea eventually passes and so does your memory of just how horrible it was. Now I run marathons as my training runs for my "big" races.

I went to the dark side and started running Ultra Marathons in 1999. There are very few things in life that bring me as much joy as running in the mountains on trails. I have been chased by moose, rattled at by snakes, stared down on a trail by a baby skunk, scared up many deer and elk, attacked by hawks and still waiting to see a cougar. I love being in the mountains. That is why I am still running ultras. My running resume is at if you are interested in dates, times and finishes.

What I really care about now is combining my love of challenging myself and my desire to open doors for people to do the same thing for themselves. I have teamed up with the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) to raise money for physically disabled people. I want to help those who want to be active, push themselves, or just get back to the activities they did before they lost a limb or use of their legs.

A few years ago, good friend contracted an infection that nearly took her life. She lived but she lost her right arm and both legs. She may have lost a lot of parts but she kept her character, sense of humor, and determination. She received a grant from CAF for a bike, which allowed her to return to an active life. I want everyone to be experience that. I want people with physical disabilities to be able to have the tools they need to pursue what helps to bring joy into their lives. Money should not be a barrier for someone to be able to run, hike, bike, fish, canoe... Go to and watch the short video. You can see the determination in the athletes’ eyes and hear it in their voices.

Beginning Sept. 17th I am going to run from the Idaho/Utah border to the Utah/Arizona border, one marathon at a day, for 17 days. My 17th marathon will begin with the St. George Marathon and my 18th day will be a 9 mile “recovery run” to the Arizona border! I invite you to come and run with me or visit me and my "Bionic Team" at one of the events along the way. The "join the run" link has an events calendar that identifies the route, events, locations, and times. During the run I will be wearing a SPOT tracker so you can track me at any time. Most importantly, please go to the website and donate! Prosthetics are very expensive. One running leg costs $36,000! Money should not be a barrier for people to do something that we do for free! Come run with me, donate, and meet amazing, determined athletes.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

TJ Tollakson--It all comes down to the run

Last month, we were lucky enough to have TJ Tollakson come and give some great information during the Jordanelle Triathlon packet pickup. TJ is a pro triathlete (here is his blog about SLC) who worked his way up from an engineer racing the age group scene up to Ironman 70.3 pro champion and a full Ironman force to be reckoned with. It was fun and interesting to hear his story. And I think that TJ’s background is a good example of how important it is to know your limitations and then commit to making that limitation a strength. He rose to the top ranks of age group elite using, oftentimes, the fastest bike split of the day. But, when considering taking the next step into the pro ranks, it became obvious that TJ would indeed have to focus on improving his run leg.

After being swept up into the USA Triathlon Olympic training center in 2005, TJ started learning from the best coaches and athletes in the world how to train effectively for the run (and everything else!) That trend continues today as he has moved into the world of the longer races and is always training with and learning from other world class professional triathletes and coaches.

It was great to hear what TJ had to say on not only run training, but several training topics. Here is the 30 minute podcast from that evening where he gave easily applicable ideas for all in attendance. His talk was followed by some fabulous Q and A. The presentation generated information on the following topics :
  • Run training tips-which workouts are important
  • Run workout examples
  • The difference between an open marathon and ironman marathon
  • Bike/run (BRICK) workouts for olympic distance, 70.3 ironman and full ironman tri’s
  • Practical beginner triathlete tips
  • Long race nutrition tips
Oh and one last thing. We want to give a big thanks to not only TJ and his equally talented, although more beautiful, girlfriend Ashley for coming, but to Ryan Dolan from TYR swim company for arranging TJ’s special trip.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Marathon tips by Seth Wold

I would like to thank Seth for sharing some of what he does to prepare for and race a marathon. Some people may think that fast people do things totally different, but I know runners at every level who approach their marathons the way Seth is describing. The commonalities are consistent and adequit preparation, well thought out objective race goals, well planned preparation and focused on tasks do be done not how they feel during the race.

Marathon Preparation and Race Day Rituals of Seth Wold

I am a young new marathon runner who enjoys running enough to compete in all of Utah’s major marathon’s this year. In my past two years of marathoning, I have won the Ogden marathon twice, won the Utah valley marathon, and placed respectably in many other marathons including; Salt Lake, Deseret News, Bryce Canyon Half, Top of Utah Half, etc. In 2008 I went and competed in the US marathon championships, placing 28th overall. I married my highschool sweetheart who is also a runner. We were track captains together, and then both ran in college.

The mind set for marathoning. When preparing for a marathon it is important to create a realistic goal. This goal should be a measurable result which you can control. For example, I shouldn’t go into races with a goal of taking a certain place, because I can’t control who comes to the race or how well they will perform. But setting a time, heart rate, or effort goal helps me run strong no matter what the race day circumstances may be. As part of this goal, find a marathon
training plan with daily workouts written out. (i.e. The Salt Lake Running Company Website is a good place to start;)

The next step in mental preparation for a marathon is just as important as the first. Reevaluate your goals weekly. You may find that an injury has slowed the progress towards running to your goal. This is OK. It is normal to hit speed bumps along the way. Just be proactive, and find ways to overcome, and prevent future injuries.

The most important part about marathon preparation for me is remembering why I am training for
and running the marathon. I am in it for the fun. It feels good, and I gain a real sense of accomplishment from preparing for and completing such a large goal. It is hard to stay consistent with training for a marathon. But the feeling I get completing a race is so great that it is worth all the hard solo runs I muscled through in preparation.

Race day thoughts for me are pretty simple. I think positively about all the work that I have put in preparing. Sure, I could have trained harder, but I am happy with what I did. I have my gels (taken every half hour), salt sticks (taken every hour), and sport legs (taken every 2-3 hours) measured out in plastic bags pinned to my shorts. My shoes fit, with a pinky to thumb width in front of my longest toe to the end of the shoe. I am wearing tech clothes; singlet shorts, socks and gloves when needed. I have applied a liberal amount of Body Glide to avoid painful chafing late in the marathon. With all the physical needs taken care of I shift my focus to the mental aspect.

The gun goes off and I get out quickly to settle into my planned race pace. I feel out the field to see who I should run with. Once I decide to run a certain pace I try to relax my breathing, even out the cadence of my steps and slow my heartrate. I glance occasionally at my Garmin to check the pace, because I don’t want to stress too much if I am feeling good. I am always relieved to see the aid stations, and I grab waters in both hands so that I can stay hydrated. By focusing on doing all the little things, eating gels, drinking water, controlling my breathing and racing according to how I feel, I gain confidence and I am able to race the marathon a mile at a time, rather than mentally attacking the whole marathon at once.

No matter how the marathon finishes, I am genuinely happy with the results. Whether I obtained my goal or fell short I am happy that I had the courage to go for it. If some of my competition has a great race, then I am ecstatic for them. It is fun to watch others achieve their goals, and inspiring to watch others continue to try to catch an elusive goal.