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Hi, I'm Whitney! I am a middle of the pack runner who discovered the fun of triathlons in 2009. Join me in my adventures in life and training. I run with the Rush Running team and enjoy the fun that comes with such a supportive group of friends who understand what running means to me. I'm newly discovering road biking and the fun that it entails.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Birthday Hill Repeats

Six years ago I celebrated my 30th birthday with hill repeats with the Rush Running crew.  This year showed that very little had changed.  On Saturday, my birthday, I was up early to meet the Grand Canyon crew for 15 miles of hill repeats.  

We headed to Old Dump Road and the 1/2 mile hill that we would truck up and down 11 times. 

The hill is a gravel road with varied grade along it.  The hill ends at the highway overpass and a short section of pavement.  It was nice to do repeats as a group since everyone could go there own pace and still encourage each other. 

I kept track of the repeats by carrying a rock up on each incline. I ended with a nice pile on the highway overpass that signaled the top of the hill. 

When we were finished with the repeats we still had the 2 mile run back to the start to complete our 15 miles. It was good prep for our Grand Canyon trip and I definitely earned some birthday treats! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

We Tri for Encouragement

I am super honored to be a volunteer coach for the TriFest for MS triathlon training group.  This is a training series that triathletes can sign up for to train for the TriFest race series.  The series begins in mid-July and meets once per week in the weeks leading up to the race.  Midway through the sessions we conduct a mock-race for the participants.  The goal is to give everyone a chance to do a practice run and get more comfortable with triathlon and combining sports before race day.

Below are a couple photos captured during the mock-race last week.  After cheering on all the participants in the swim and getting everyone out onto the bike course I moved to the bike and run course to continue encouraging.  When I was on the run course I realized I was on the only incline for the course.  I had fun cheering the participants on in this section and even ran with a few.


In these photos, I was distracting Ashley with the funny story of how impossible it is to do math during a race.  It was good to get her laughing and then send her on her way towards the finish with a smile.

And probably one of my favorite photos from the night was this one of me and my friend Aly goofing off as we made our way onto the bike course to cheer and encourage.

Aly is one of the official coaches for the program and is so knowledgeable about racing.  I learn as much from her as I'm sure the participants in the program are learning.  I'm pretty lucky to call her a friend and I know the participants in the program feel pretty lucky to call her coach!

While the TriFest training series is closed for this year, you can still sign up for the races at www.researchms.org.  I'll be racing the TriFesta! Big thanks goes to Chuck Cates with Podium Images for these photos.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Speeding Up Breakfast with Country Choice Organic

Disclosure:  I was provided samples by Country Choice Organic to facilitate this review.  All opinions are mine based on my experience using the products.

I'm not sure if I was as big of a fan of oatmeal as a child as I am now as an adult.  I remember eating it growing up so I think I was.  We always had oatmeal with brown sugar, raisins, and milk and I still love this flavor combination.  About a year ago, I received an electric pressure cooker from my mom.  With this new appliance I discovered how easy it was to make steel cut oatmeal.  I made it a few times for some family breakfast get togethers but it wasn't quite easy enough to be part of my everyday routine.  (Too much cleanup after using the pressure cooker!)

The cafeteria at my office serves oatmeal but it is loaded with brown sugar which I'm sure negates many of the health benefits.  The health benefits of oatmeal have always appealed to me since cholesterol is something that I have to watch pretty closely.  If you are wondering what the differences are between quick cooking and steel cut oats, here is a short infographic from Prevention to clear up the differences.





Steel cut oats win ever so slightly in the battle but they take longer to cook.  Imagine my surprise when I heard that Country Choice Organic had perfected steel cut oats as Instant Oatmeal single serve microwave packets.  Woohoo...how exciting.  Microwave oatmeal is an easy breakfast option and it's great to have the option to choose steel cut oats.


Preparation of the Country Choice Organic Steel Cut Oats was super simple. I selected a deep square microwavable container.  You add 3/4C plain water to the packet and mix in your container.  It takes just 2 1/2 minutes on high to microwave and then about 2 minutes of resting time.  Each packet has about 150 calories for the Apple Spice flavor with 4g protein and 2g fat.  The ingredient list is easy to read and contains no crazy ingredients which is nice.  I personally loved the Apple Spice flavor and didn't add any additional toppings or mix ins to it.

It's great to have the option to make steel cut oats via the microwave before work versus having to pull out the pressure cooker and all that takes.  You can find Country Choice Organic Steel Cut Oats via Amazon or check your local grocery store.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Whoa...that was tough!

Monday nights are the free Rush Running sponsored Rush Hour track workouts.  I have been going to these workouts since they started six years ago.  Every week is something different and you just never know what to expect for the workout.

Mike Rush and Drew Conner coach the workouts and they try to limit repeating a workout.  Mike has a workbook of all the workouts from the years that he was a competitive athlete and a coach since.  Tonight the guys pulled a workout out of the archives for the group.  It was a doozy.

Warm up - run opposite direction in outside lanes of the track.  I aim for 1 - 1.5 miles of warm up.

Work out - 4 x 400 m at mile pace with 30 sec rest between intervals.  Rest 1 min at conclusion of the 4 x 400 m repeats.  1000 m at desired 5K pace.  Rest 1 min at conclusion of 1000 m as active rest as you return to the starting line by walking across the infield.  Repeat.  4 x 400 m at mile pace with 30 sec rest between intervals.  Rest 1 min at conclusion of the 4 x 400 m repeats.  1000 m at desired 5K pace.

Cool down - run opposite direction in outside lanes of the track.  I aim for .5 miles of cool down.

Tonight I ended up with 5 1/4 miles of running.  This was one of my roughest nights out on the track.  I was hungry heading to the track and quickly ate a mini Babybel cheese a few minutes before starting to run.  Cue...the pain later on!  I did an easy warm up with my friend Janet.  I got in 1 1/4 miles of warm up running and then spotted my brother-in-law and niece.  They were out on a bike ride and stopped by to say hello.

At 6:10, Mike began the announcements for the night.  Then he explained the details of the workout.  He divides the group into two groups based on desired 5K pace and then starts the groups into the workout.  One of the greatest things about our workouts is that the group is so encouraging of one another.  Whether it is the injured runner working their way back by shuffling the opposite direction or the faster runner passing you, everyone makes an effort to say good job or another kind word to you.

Once the workout is started, everyone sticks to their pace and gets it done.  You might get a chance to talk to others during the rest periods but you've got Mike yelling at the group reminding everyone of just how short the rest periods are!

After the first 4x 400m I was happy to get to the 1000m because it was at a slower pace.  That 5K pace felt so easy but that wouldn't last.  Janet joined me again to start the second half of the workout.  The second set of 400's felt tougher.  I felt like I wasn't hitting the same interval times as I had the first time.  As I finished those up, I started to feel either very hungry or my stomach pains could have been from the exertion.  I just couldn't tell what exactly was going on but it only made the run tougher.  I was so excited to hit that final 1000 m again because 5K pace felt like a breeze.  We even picked up the pace over the last 400 of that interval and finished really strong.

As soon as we finished, we walked a 200m half lap in order to get back to the starting line.  Then I began my 1/2 mile cool down shuffle.  It was slow but I knew that it would help my legs recover so I got it done.  I hung around a few minutes drinking a little water and chatting with friends but I didn't last long.  After I stopped running, my stomach felt like it was starving.  However, once I got home, food just didn't sound good to me at all.  I finally ended up making some nachos with multi-grain chips, a little cheddar cheese, and some salsa.  The chips were the closest thing I had to crackers to help settle my stomach.

I suspect that my pre-workout snack just 5 minutes prior to the run was a very bad choice.  That's all I can think of that would have caused my tummy to have such troubles.  Yes, the workout was tough but this was a whole other level of stomach pain.  I will not be repeating that choice for sure!

Do you run track workouts?  What is your favorite interval distance?  Mine is probably the 1000m interval.  Anything beyond the 1200m is hard to hold my focus and pace and intervals shorter than the 400m are really tough as the pace is usually much faster!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Fitting in a Lunch Workout

Disclosure:  I am a sponsored athlete for SBR Sports makers of TriSwim.  I am provided free products for my use however all opinions regarding their products are my own based on my personal experience with the products.

As a full-time professional fitting in the training for triathlon would not work if I didn't include lunch time workouts in my schedule.  Generally I complete my swim workouts during the lunch time but I have done other workouts on occasion.  Today I realized that many people probably find it to be a challenge to fit a workout in during your lunch break.  Here are my tips!

1) Be efficient - plan your locker room usage so that you are most efficient.  If the mirrors are between the showers and your locker, then complete your tasks at the mirrors before moving on to your locker.  At my gym, the showers are closest to the pool doors.  This means that I take all of my shower gear into the pool area so that when I am finished I can walk to the showers and not walk past the showers to my locker and then back to the showers.  Walking back and forth through out the locker room adds unnecessary time that you don't have! 

2) Use quality products - look for products that allow you to multitask. I don't hide my love of TriSwim products.  I utilize the shampoo and body wash whenever I swim.  On days when I'm really rushed I will just use the shampoo lather to wash both my hair and body!  

3) Find a go-to style - how can you style your hair quickly and professionally.  In other words, don't style your hair in the most complex style possible on days you are working out at lunch!  Whether I have a short style or a little longer style, I simply dry my hair straight.  It's simple and quick and works for my style.  If I have big meetings later in the day then I might break out my straightener and redo my morning style.  

4) Use multiple tools - there is no reason you can't use the hand dryer and your blow dryer at the same time to speed up drying your hair! Make sure if you are using styling tools that you plug them in when you start drying your hair so that they are nice and hot when you are ready for them.  

5) Consider applying makeup back at your office.  I'm usually still sweating as I finish up in the locker room and in the summer I continue to sweat in the hot car for my drive back to the office.  That means it makes more sense to apply makeup back at my office after I've had a chance to cool off a little! 

Most days I can get into the gym, swim a 2000 yd workout, and then get ready within an hour to just over an hour.  It really all depends on how social the swim workout is not on my getting ready process!  I keep my time in the locker room as efficient as possible so that the majority of my time at the gym is spent on working out.  Hope this helps inspire you to give lunch workouts a try! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Revamping Food Choices

Since late May I have been working with a nutritionist to revamp my food choices and learn how to fuel during long workouts.  This weekend I found some inspiration and fired up the grill.  I bought some lean steak from the grocery store that were pepper encrusted.  To go with that I added a zucchini and tomato foil packet on the grill.  I chopped the zucchini and just threw in some heirloom grape tomatoes with a little olive oil and salt.

The main part of the meal that I was most excited for though was a simple spinach salad.  I lightly chopped some baby spinach leaves.  On top of the spinach, I placed some sliced strawberries and a few blueberries.  Next I layered on some Rosemary and Olive oil flavored Romano cheese.  I just lightly crumbled the cheese after cutting it from the block I bought.  Next up was a light layer of crunchy fried onion pieces (similar to what you normally find on the top of green bean casserole!)  I originally wanted to use crushed nuts for the topping but discovered I didn't have any so that prompted the change to the fried onions and I was really happy with the change.  I used Girard's Champagne dressing and it was delicious!


For dessert, I gave grilled fruit a try.

I had a very ripe pineapple to cut up and so decided to try grilled pineapple as my sweet finish to the meal.  I filled a plastic baggie with some brown sugar and cinnamon.  I mixed the two together and then dropped my pineapple spears into the mixture.  I made sure that each spear got coated with the mixture and then placed onto the grill.  It took a few minutes per side as the sugar mixture caramelized.  I was left with a sweet pineapple treat that had just a hint of the cinnamon flavor.  It was delicious and I will definitely try this again!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Motivation and College Football

A few weeks ago I got a chance to tour the athletic facilities of two rival universities.  I'm not picking sides on which school or team is better but I will share a few of the motivational quotes that I found sprinkled throughout both facilities.  I love inspirational quotes and these were all good ones.  It was inspiring to see the spaces where these college athletes train and compete.  The facilities were amazing and full of the rich history for both programs.  Hope you find some inspiration from one of these too!

Toughness Wins Championships.  No Toughness No Championships.

The only yardstick for success our society has is being a champion. No one remembers anything else.  

Play for the man standing next to you. 

Some want it to happen, some wish it to happen, others make it happen! 

There are only two options regarding commitment. You're either in or out. There is no such thing as life in-between.  

I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win. 

Winning is an attitude...how's yours?