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  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. 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.