Friday, July 22, 2011

Lazy Friday

No training for me today. I sat in bed with the pig ninjas and read. So nice! Since my training is nonexistent today, I will give you a very nice story from Saturday. Saturday morning we decided to go to brunch, but I wanted to get a run in beforehand. I decided to start running toward the restaurant while Luke finished getting ready and he would pick us (us= Ash + pig ninjas) up on the way. Well, I was trying to run fast since I didn't have much time. Made it about a mile and then I was suddenly airborne and then on my belly. Full on eating pavement. I made a loud OOOOOF sound and a group of pedestrians in front of me screamed. No joke! One lady had her hands to her cheeks and was screaming, Home Alone-style. A couple of cars stopped. Nice fall, Ash! Anyway, I got up eventually, after I got over the daze and kept trucking. Luke picked me up on the next block. Bloodied and bruised knees and elbows, but I didn't break anything or hit my face. Success! I used to fall down all the time when I was a little kid and always had bruised and scraped knees. Why does it hurt so much more now? Maybe because I have 80 pounds on my 6 year old self?

Last night I was very not-Paleo. I had two sangrias (normally I love sangria. These were not so good) at the museum function, then we went to an Italian pastry shop and I ate an eclair. It was divine! There is nothing better than an excellent eclair or cream puff. Unfortunately, they are frequently dry. Not this one! Woke up this morning feeling super dehydrated. Not sure if the sugar and/or alcohol was a factor but ugh. On the sleeping front, however, I've been doing really well. No insomnia. Weird, weird dreams, going double date camping with Luke and his ex-gf and her bf.

We go to the farmers market and grocery store (if necessary) every Saturday morning. Usually we have plenty of produce left over on Friday for lunch. Not this week! The fridge was totally empty today because I have been scarfing it! Had to stop by Whole Foods on the way to work. I had a tough time decided what to get. Hit up the salad bar, grabbed some fruit, some sushi (with brown rice. Not paleo but not terrible), and some more Larabars. Have I discussed how delicious Larabars are? They're amazing. Whole Foods had a ton of flavors, so I picked up a few I've never had before. Also picked up a bar of super dark chocolate. Not paleo but the chocolate cravings have been calling. This was a good lesson in how important it is to prep food at home. I spent way more money than I would have had I been prepared. Farmers Market tomorrow.

We get a big CSA (community supported agriculture) box each week from a local, organic farm. It has usually 12-15 items. Only $25! We've had a hard time eating all of it, since it's for a family of 4 and there are only 2 of us and only 1 of us eats the majority of it. I had decided a while ago to drop our subscription to once every other week, but now I'm thinking about keeping it every week since I'm eating so much produce. Except cabbage. I hate cabbage. Anyone want the cabbage I always wind up getting? Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Paleo chow of the day

Last night I went to swim practice with my team. Instead of doing the masters' swim, like I normally do, I went to the technique class. I thought I could pick up some tips. Uh, no, it was worthless. Back to masters' swim.

This morning I didn't have much time, as I relaxed in bed and read for a while (so nice!), but still wanted to get outside and have some exercise with the pig ninjas. We did hill repeats for about 30 minutes. Kicked my butt and the doggie butts, too. It was funny watching people walk to their cars. Some of the ladies are going to have really sore feet. I like rocking heels just like the next girl, or maybe more, but I know how to walk in them. If you're stumbling down the sidewalk in your heels and it's not because of injury or overconsumption of adult beverages, you probably don't have any business wearing those shoes in public.

Here's what I have eaten:

3 egg whites
apple sauce

Will eat (at least I have it with me, which usually means it will be consumed):

enormous salad
grilled chicken breast
nut mix

I'm not sure what will happen for dinner. We're going to a culture and cocktails event at the Museum of Art, so I definitely won't be paleo. I'm thinking lots of canapes and a cocktail or two. It's important not to be too uptight about a nutrition plan. Life is fun, food is fun, enjoy yourself a little bit!

Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report


I arrived in Spokane the Wednesday before the race. It was a bit of a homecoming, since I grew up in Spokane. Unfortunately, though, my little sister had undergone knee surgery earlier in the week and it had become infected, so she was stuck in the hospital for the first week of her summer break. I went to Coeur d’Alene on Thursday morning to register and catch a glimpse of Ironman village for the first time. Amazing! I was surprisingly calm and very excited. Friday my honey/tri-sherpa extraordinaire and I met up with some of the super awesome BT people for pre-athlete dinner drinks. So much fun! Then it was on to the Athlete Dinner. Bonnie brought a fantastic honey badger sign along and people took pictures with it. My friend “the other Ashley” was there, too. We’re currently maid and matron of honor at our mutual best friend’s wedding. The banquet was fun.

My tri-mentor Harvey/Clyde/Blaze/Phat/Cool dude!

Race morning I was up at 1:30, though I tried to sleep until 3:00. Then I ate some mini powdered sugar donuts. Great for energy! Tried not to freak out on our way to CDA. Pumped bike tires, hung out near the water.

Uh, do I look terrified? I'm trying not to cry/barf/pee my pants.

Realized I didn’t have the ankle strap for my timing chip. Freak out! Volunteers told me just to head to the beach and they would have a table with them. It was super hard to make my way through the crowd of spectators and took over 30 minutes to make it to the beach. I was in a big crowd of other athletes, all of whom were freaking out about missing the swim start. Made it with 3 minutes to spare! Got my ankle strap and didn’t have time to worry as the swim began.


Check out this awesome video Luke took of the swim start. Men are in green caps and women are in hot pink. This is what happens when 2430 people start swimming all at once.

Swim time!

Ugh! F! I am not a great swimmer. This distance takes me 1:20 in the pool and I suffered for 2 hours in the lake. It was f-ing freezing(54 degrees) and crazy wild. Arms, legs, bodies everywhere. I was kicked in the mouth, scratched across the face by what I hope was a hand and not a foot (ewwww…toenails scratching across my face!) and eventually dunked intentionally by an evil BEE-otch. Drank about a gallon of lake water that I chucked a bit later. Lake water + donuts = barf. After the first lap, I got lost since I was wearing ear plugs and couldn’t hear where the volunteers were telling me to go. I ran all the way to the wetsuit strippers before figuring out that I needed to turn around and go back the other way. Duh! Jumped in for my second lap. A few minutes later I received the intentional dunk from the BEE-otch. I silently prayed that she would soil herself during the run, preferably in front of a photographer. I’m evil like that. I started worrying about the cut-off time, since the first lap took me just under one hour. My sighting is terrible. I zig-zagged all over the place. Finally got a grip at the end and powered through it. Hit the beach and woo hoo!!! I was out of the water in 2 hours and 58 seconds. So happy to be done!


I was so cold I couldn’t take off my swim cap or get my wetsuit off my arms or shoulders. Awesome wetsuit strippers took care of me, though they had some trouble getting my wetsuit off my ba donk a donk. Another nice volunteer grabbed my bag and my arm and led me to the tent. Put on my bike gear, including my arm warmers, grabbed a bag of gummy bears and off I went. Saw my honey on the way out. Nice!

Oh yeah, must grab bike. Notice that there are very few bikes left on the racks. I'm a slow swimmer.

Yes, I was confused. That's what 2 hours in a 54 degree water slugfest will do to you!


Gorgeous day for a bike ride! I was slightly stupid—I blame the cold water anesthesia for this and couldn’t figure out why it seemed so hard to pedal. I checked my tires. No flats. Checked the front brakes. Fine. Pedaled 30 miles, up into the hills and really struggled. Felt pretty gross and did a bit of chucking. Lake water + gummy bears = barf. Made sure I got back on track with my nutrition plan. Finally my brain began working again and I checked the back brake. Totally rubbing on the tire. Tried to fix it but it was messed up. Wound up disengaging the brake all together and just hoped I wouldn’t regret that. Fun, fun bike ride. Around mile 40 my shifter starts to get loose and I can’t shift out of my small ring. Very thankful I was in my small ring. I try to get mechanical support, but they’re busy and I’m worried about making the cut off now after my stupidity for the first 30 miles. Keep trucking along. The shifter has now almost completely fallen apart and I’m pulling on the tape on the handlebars to try to hold it in place. Some dark thoughts started to seep in but then I reminded myself that I made it out of that f-ing water and I would f-ing finish! Around mile 85 I see a mechanic. Yippeeeee!!! I pull over and he’s quite shocked that I’ve been riding like this for 45 miles. He manages to take everything apart and fix it and I’m back on the road. Feeling much better now, I start cranking to make sure I can make the cut-off. This was the one section of the race I never thought I’d have trouble with. Just shows you never know what can happen on race day. Just got to keep going. Vroom! I finish the bike with time to spare. My dad and my honey were there waiting for me and I get high fives. I felt pretty fantastic at this point.

Does it get better than this?

I'm having so much fun!

I love riding my bike!


Put my fabulous tutu on, donned my bejeweled nerdjock visor, stuffed gels in my jersey and set out to become an Ironman.

All done with the 112 mile bike ride! Hi Dad and Luke! Fist pump!

Must go pee!

Starting the run. Oh, heck yes, I will become an Ironman today!


The announcer just said I was the best dressed athlete of the day!

There were tons of fans cheering as I started the run. The announcer called out my name and said I was the best dressed athlete of the day. That made me chuckle. I felt good, but my legs were pretty fried from all of the bike excitement earlier. I did a run/walk. Figured out what I needed to do before midnight and vowed to do so and not kill myself in the process. I had plenty of time and wanted to enjoy the journey. I thanked every volunteer I saw, gave high fives to everybody, interacted with the crowd and had a fantastic time. Wearing a tutu was pretty fun and I was able to get a lot of energy from the crowd. Around mile 3 I met up with a man named Bob, who was 61 and doing his 6th Ironman. He was impressed by my speed walking (thank you, Mom, for always making me walk fast) and asked if I would pace him. No problem.

Delirious? Possibly. Walking with my new friend, Bob.

Yay! Luke walked with us for a bit after the first lap. Only 13 miles to go!

Nice legs!

By the end of the run, I was pacing an entire group of people and that made everything much more fun. The last 6 miles were pretty tough. My feet hurt, I was tired, and I had a wicked case of monkey butt. I never doubted I would finish, though. Finally came up to the home stretch on Sherman Avenue and ran it in. Amazing feeling! Fans line the street, cheering, and giving high fives. I tried hard to soak it all in. YMCA was playing and Mike Reilly said those unforgettable words: “From San Diego, CA, Ashley Horton, you are an Ironman!!!”

SOOOO happy to finish!

Two nice men caught me, gave me my swag, helped me to the picture area and, after assuring them I was fine, I was on my way. Super tired but so proud and so happy. I think having the bike mechanical issues and a tough day made this even more rewarding.



My honey met up with me afterward and took my tired butt back to my mom’s. My stepdad, Ed, made me a super awesome sign that said, "Ashley, you are an IRONMAN!" that was posted on the gate in front of the house. Thanks, Ed! We stayed up all night replaying the race and caught a 6 am flight home. I couldn’t have done this without the awesome support system I had on BT. Great group. And my honey Luke made this all possible. He was on the course all day, taking pictures, cheering and offering support. Tri-sherpa extraordinaire. In the best news ever, Luke caught the IM bug and we’re planning a 2013 return to IM CDA.

Wetsuit hickey: OUCH!!!

I'm totally hooked. Can't wait for the next one! One of the coolest things about Ironman is how supportive and excited people are. Along the course volunteers and other athletes are constantly encouraging each other. I don't think any other sport is that way. What an amazing experience!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Paleo for Athletes

I've been a healthy eater my entire life. Not much processed food, lots of healthy stuff. However, I've also had severe acid reflux and insomnia periodically for years. I can remember being 5 years old and still being awake when the alarm went off in the morning. That sucks! It still sucks and makes me cranky. I refuse to take medication for acid reflux or insomnia for the rest of my life and I've been searching for solutions. Perhaps I have a food allergy or intolerance that I've never really known about? In any case, I'm going "paleo" from now on.

WTF is Paleo? You've probably heard about the Caveman diet: meat, fruit, vegetables, no grain, no dairy. That's it! Of course, I'll focus on lean protein (mostly fish and seafood) and will still have occasional dairy. I'm not going to be a Nazi about this. The goal is to feel great, fuel my body, and hopefully get rid of this f-ing acid reflux! As an endurance athlete, I won't be "strict paleo," and will make special exceptions during and after workouts. So far, it hasn't been much of a stretch, though last night I really wanted a steak. We haven't had any meat in the house except poultry and seafood, so this was weird. Whatever. I ate the steak. It was delicious.

There are some variations/versions of paleo in which people eat tons of fat or raw meat or all kinds of stuff. That's not for me. I'm also not going to play fetch with stones or crawl around in bushes or hunt wooly mammoths. I'm going to eat clean, greatly reduce grains, and focus on lean protein and fruits and veggies and train like a triathlete. Also, I'm still going to eat vinegar, occasional cheese and I'm going to imbibe delicious adult beverages from time to time.

You might be curious what I'll be eating, so I'll check in periodically and list my meals. I eat a lot and frequently. As a scientist, I like to crunch numbers, so I've been keeping track of calories, protein, carbs, etc. for the past several days. It's amazing how many carbs I eat, even without consuming any grains. Plenty. I'd much rather eat raspberries than wonderbread.

3 egg whites

huge salad with mixed greens, spinach, apples and a dijon balsamic vinaigrette
salmon with orange

Lara bar (only contain fruit and nuts, no crap): necessary before swim practice

turkey and some vegetables. Not sure because I have swim practice tonight and that messes up my eating.

Yes, it's a lot. I bring about 10 tupperware containers to work every day. Can't wait to see how this affects my training!


Yep, I haven't posted in months. Yep, that's bad. But...


I'll post a race report later. And, I'm changing the blog up a bit :)