Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ahi Poke Recipe (aka I Miss Kona)

While in Kona I finally made my way over to Da Poke Shack, which they say has the best and freshest poke on the island. I can't really argue with that. It was amazing. And you can even get seaweed salad as your side. And a refreshing beer. Heaven.

So when I got home and was missing Kona and all that (to be expected), I decided to make my own ahi poke. I also wanted to share a Hawaiian-inspired meal with John. Oh, and I was also a little too tired/lazy too cook anything significant. I'd never made poke, but how hard could it be? As long as you find quality fish, have a sharp knife and a few other ingredients on hand you can have this ready in about 10 minutes! It really is that quick and easy - the most important thing is just making sure you buy high-quality ahi. We buy from Whole Foods, or very occasionally our Trader Joe's will get a nice shipment of sashimi-grade ahi. I wouldn't buy from your traditional grocery stores.

I found some recipes online and took from several of them, of course, sort of eyeballing all my ingredients based on what normal poke looks like. Within minutes we had some bomb, custom ahi poke. Here's the recipe:

Ahi Poke with Avocado

1 lb fresh sashimi grade ahi, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 avocado, diced
10-15 grape/cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1-2 tbsp sesame oil
3-4 tbsp GF soy sauce (or tamari)
splash of rice vinegar
2-3 drops fish sauce (don't overdo this)
red pepper flakes, to taste

julienned white/sweet oinion
chopped scallions
sesame seeds

Chop up the fish, avocado and tomatoes. In a medium/large bowl, mix in sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce. Add in fish and mix well with sauce so it coats every bit of the fish. Add in avocado, tomatoes, red pepper flakes (be careful with those and how much heat it adds), and optional ingredients. Mix everything well together and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. I have to say, the avocado adds an extra creaminess that really sets this ahi poke apart from any other I've tried. I didn't see avo in any other recipe, nor was it offered in Da Poke Shack concoction.

Note: As with all the recipes I post, a lot of the ingredients can be eye-balled, and honestly my measurements provided are close enough to what I actually did (that's good enough right?). Man, I'm a terrible chef haha. Bottom line with this is that you don't want your poke to be too soupy/oily, but you also want enough sauce to coat the fish and enhance the flavor of the ahi. Most of all, go very easy on the fish sauce- it's good stuff but a drop or two is enough. And red pepper flakes? We like to bring up the heat, but use with caution. A little goes a long way.

Ahi poke is best when enjoyed with a nice sunset, and a delicious (healthy) treat after...

Ain't no Kona, but there's no place like home.
A Whole Foods special. Addicted.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

One Weekend, Two Triathlons, Two OA Podiums.... Oh, and One Macca

I was feeling pretty worn down after Kona, as you can imagine. But I knew I had to suck it up for a fun weekend on tap. A while back, I found out there were two local sprint triathlons taking place Oct. 20-21, and I knew I had to do both. I've never done back to back races, but given their distances I wasn't too worried about the load. However, after Kona mayhem, I was worried about my ability to simply put together a swim-bike-run at all haha. It probably didn't help that I've been busy as heck every day/night since being home from Hawaii, and going into Saturday's race I was, again, running off about 5hr sleep. One word: coffee!!!

My partner in crime for the weekend, Macca! Us waiting for swim start at
the Seal Beach Triathlon, sometime after the "stingray shuffle" song. Ha.
Thanks for picture, 623 Tries :)
Also, while in Kona, I found out my double-sprint challenge was going to become a lot more special. At the Clif after after party, I was hanging out with Macca and his agent, Scott, and they said Macca would be doing both the sprint tri's that I was doing, as well. While I did think that was random for him to do such low-key races, I also thought it was very cool. I have even more respect for Macca after these past couple weeks in which I've been able to see how he operates first-hand. Especially at the races this weekend, he was so cool to all the folks out there, taking pictures and having a blast. He told me he just loves having fun the small little "ma & pop" races, and it showed. He even declined a podium finish so others could get a chance to be on top.

As for me, I had fun too, but I didn't decline any podiums ;) I managed to eek out two overall podiums in two days. I got 2nd in Saturday's race, and 2nd elite/3rd overall in Sunday's race. In fact, in Sunday's race I PR'd the course by 5 minutes from my time last year, and did better in swim, bike and run - and that was in rainy conditions! Needless to say, I was pretty damn happy that I could dig deep and race hard. I think the biggest reason I did well was simply because I was excited to do a double sprint challenge, enjoy the experience and make myself suffer big time! I'm sure Lucho's coaching has helped too ;)

Race Day #1: Seal Beach Triathlon
So Saturday was the Seal Beach Triathlon. This was a new race, consisting of a 1/2-mile swim, 7-mile bike and 2-mile beach sand run. It was the first time this community has had a triathlon in 20+ years, and the race organizers did a great job hosting it. I actually was a guest speaker at one of their clinics earlier this month, and it was nice to be involved with everything.

Exiting swim at Seal Beach, and happy. Thanks for pic Scott Fairchild.
Note: New kits for me are in the works for 2013. No more old stuff haha.
The wave starts were based on predicted swim time, and I put myself in the fastest group for a good challenge. It was a beach entry with waves, and considering a longer-than-usual run in/out on sand included in time, I was pretty please with my swim. All those OWS are paying off. I still lost it on the swim, though, I think. One of my most memorable moments of the weekend happened during the swim start that I must mention. Right in front of me, Macca and a young dude, maybe 12-13 years old, were running into the water together, and I couldn't help but think how cool that was for both parties, and for the race organizers for making it happen!

Anyways, Onto the bike and we were warned beforehand that it was going to be a bit of a sketchy and slow course because it was an out-and-back on a narrow bike path. I was glad to be ahead in the race so I avoided some traffic, but it still got a little crazy. That said, there were lots of volunteers out there making sure things went smoothly.

With Macca at Race #1. Sleepy eyes :)
OK, it got crazy at the run - holy moly! I didn't really realize it was going to be DEEP, soft sand; I never run in that stuff so I was hurting. I went from a 7:00ish pace out of T2 to a 9:30-10:00ish pace haha! I found some strength, thankfully, and managed to keep my overall pace in the 8:00's, but it was one tough run and no joke. I was happy to be done, and that was just 2 miles haha. Thank goodness they had complimentary massages in the post-race expo - I took full advantage. Must say: Mad props to Josh Rigsby and the Seal Beach Tri race crew. Great job on a first-time event. I would totally recommend this race for beginners to veterans. Great swag and prizes given out too!!

Women's podium #1 for me.

So a podium in race #1 was pretty cool. The winner, Megan Monroy, is a stud short-course girl (just won LA Tri AG Overall), so I can't complain getting 2nd to her. Later that day I loaded up on Whole Foods, had a beer later on, and attended a private Lululemon "R+D Night" Party.

Post-race good times at Lululemon Newport Beach event.

Race Day #2: Newport Beach Triathlon
This was my third time doing this race, and I've won my AG twice. I got some wise advice to sign up elite because that person said not only do I have the ability in such a crowd, but because I'd avoid a lot of traffic on the bike in particular (a two-loop out-and-back course that can get crazy). So this was actually my first-ever elite race, and I'm glad I managed to prove worthy of being in that division with landing on the overall podium. (One AG'er beat the 1st place elite and me.)

Thinking: "Oh dang there are a lot of boys around me."

The swim start was something! There were about 40 in my wave, and only two girls, including myself. I was a little afraid to get banged up by dudes, but not really that afraid. I lined up behind the front row and just enjoyed a sweet draft for most the swim, and had a big swim PR of 12:57 for a 1/2 mile. I've never been so happy with a swim in all of my races. Also because I felt strong, confident and in control. I held a good line and was able to push it. Unfortunately, you have to run a crapload before you hit the mat to start T1 so my official time will be 15:00 (last year it was 17:00), but whatever, I know that I am finally improving!
Readyyyy.... (many more boys to the left about to work
their way in, too)
Go! Where's Macca for the draft?! Haha.

Onto the bike and it was wet and rainy with puddles and all. Thankfully there was essentially no traffic and I was all on my own for the first lap. Man, I really need to get better so I can stick with this elite stuff, it's nice ;) I finished the first lap in 21:xx, and was very surprised because last year it was close to 24:xx. My power was easily in the 190-250w range, so I knew I wasn't going overboard, and I just held the pace. Lap #2 was a little more trafficy as more people were on the course, but I manged to pass people effectively and hold pace. I did see quite a bit of drafting going on, and even yelled to one girl after watching her for 3-5min hanging on  a wheel, saying, "Hey, you might want to think about stopping that drafting." And she did. She knew she was being bad. Anyways, off the bike in 42:00 flat, with a ~21.5 mph avg and feeling like a rockstar!!!

Finishing the run. Face of pain. Note wet conditions.
Then the run. I won't lie I was feeling a little bonky and wishing I had brought a gel or something on the course. I had nada. Oh well. Only 3 miles. Dig deep. I saw Macca fairly soon in and we exchanged kind words (he's been seeing a lot of me this weekend, haha), and after that something really sad/scary happened... I saw ambulances, and then a big guy on a stretcher who looked like he was in bad condition - something happened to him on the swim. The emergency crew/police MADE ME STOP as they rolled him into the ambulance, and would not let me run by - even with ample room to do so. That made me realize the dire nature of the situation. Of course there was a part of me that was a bit upset about having to stop because I was doing so well; however, I got over that right away because the man was clearly in bad shape and needed help. I felt just awful for him. I later found out, he did pass away that morning. Not something I like to think about, but it is something that's becoming a big problem in our sport.

But back to the run. About 30 seconds or so later after being stopped, I was able to get on my way, and soon after grabbed a cup of gatorade at the one aid station, thank goodness - relief! Then one big hill to run up, turnaround, down the hill and home stretch. Finished the run in 20:02, but it was short, only about 2.85 miles, so my avg pace was about 7:00 or something. (On their results it said I avg'd 6:41 pace psshhh.)

Women's OA podium #2 for the weekend, on a roll!
I love my new Kona-special Zoot visor!
Originally, I thought I was 2nd OA, but then a speedy (and apparently well-known AG'er) knocked me to third. No prob. In fact, had this been last year, I would have totally won overall with my time of 1:18:xx! It was a major PR on the course and a major surprise that I could do that, so I was one cloud nine. Not to mention, my very good friend from high school, Marcai, did her first triathlon at this race too, and I've been helping her prepare. Good news- she killed it getting 2nd in 25-29 AG!!! Holy crap! Being there to watch her fall in love with the sport was so so so special!!! She's hooked, of course.

The Finish
So that's it! I made it through my "double sprint triathlon challenge," which involved a party of two: Macca and I. It is definitely a weekend for the memory books because who knows if that will ever happen again. Time for a brew....
Sorry, but gotta post one more with the man post-Newport.
Cheers to double sprint weekends!

Friday, October 19, 2012


Views along Ali'i.
Where do I even begin? By far, the best Kona trip of my career to date. A lot of great things went down. Mostly, I was in awe of all the amazing people I got to hang out with over the week. No one is pissed in Kona (at least, no one I saw), and everyone starts to become family throughout the week, no matter their reason for being out there - participant, media, volunteer, sherpa, spectator, local, randoms, etc. It's truly a remarkable environment.

A glimpse of some of my "family" for the week the night of the race.
Ben Greenfield and Pedro Gomes at Huggos.
Who would have thunk?
Typical post-morning workout brekkie at
condo (Maggs' but you get the point. A lot
of the above staples consumed last week.
I won't lie, I was a little nervous going into the trip - I'd be staying in a condo down Ali'i with people whom I didn't know at all except for Maggs (not that it was sketchy staying with unkonwns, just that it was random), and I was doing work for Endurance Planet all on my own for the first time - a bit intimidating but exciting too. I knew I'd be busier with work than I have in past Kona trips, and I was looking forward to the challenge. I'll attempt to describe the non-stop nature of Kona week below. Knowing it would be crazy, I even said to myself that I would avoid the partying so I'd be fresh every day. The first couple days I was still on California time so I was easily up by 4-5am and right away would get in a solid swim and/or run starting around 6am, then it was pretty much work and network all day, and in bed around 8pm.
Behind the scenes. Chillin in the media room.
That routine lasted until, well, Thursday night? By that time I decided to join Tatiana and Beth for a night out - thus beginning the "burning the candle on both ends" part of the trip. But I held it together like a champ, as did everyone else out there who was operating on virtually no sleep for the week.

Anyways, the more I think about my trip the more I realize that every day something unique happened, often unplanned. For example, Tuesday I got into town in the afternoon and later on for dinner I ended up in a Thai restaurant with my new roomie, pro triathlete Pedro Gomes. I had heard of this Portuguese pro guy but knew nothing about him, and then there we were eating a papaya salad talking about his upcoming Kona debut. Additional randomness: I had no transportation for the week, besides bumming rides. Kind of a problem when you're about 2 miles from town and need to move quickly. But thanks to Pedro I was able to borrow a beater MTB to get around. The catch? NO brakes! Eh, no big deal. It wasn't that hilly where I was riding, and a foot brake worked fine ;) Take what you can get...

Wednesday, after a full morning of swimming, taking video the IM Talk Blue Seventy Aquathon, interviewing an old grad school friend and her team who were conducting a study, etc, I attended a private press conference with Macca and Challenge for some schmoozing and amazing hors devours, followed by my first Slowtwitch party experience - where they gave away some legit prizes, like an SRM!
Macca-Challenge partnership announcement.
Hor deouvers at Macca press conference.
Sweet potato w something amazing on top.
Slowtwitch party.

UPR with Molly from Zoot!
Thursday started with The Underpants Run where I ran into Ben Hoffman and ended up podcasting with him behind a building, haha. Later on Brad Culp and I snuck into an empty restaurant to do a podcast, followed by another podcast with Luke McKenzie in a King Kam hallway, and a father-daughter AG duo. Some of those those weren't really planned, so I considered myself lucky they happened. PS - those links are to the shows. The highlight of Thurs randomness, however, was a late-afternoon text from Kurt Hoy with Triathlete/Competitor asking if I wanted to do an impromptu photo shoot out in the Energy Lab. Um, yes! Thursday night wrapped up a little late as I rode the MTB back down Ali'i in the dark...

Running in the Energy Lab at sunset. ITU star Madi Serpico
was my partner in crime here.

Kurt Hoy in action in the Energy Lab (me running).
In my happy place, dreaming about "one day"....

My bike for the afternoon. Fell. In. Love.
Friday, pre-race day, and I had a swim on the course that had me saying, "I seriously cannot believe I'm here swimming this course." I've swam there a lot by now, but the magic of it never gets old. Then I got a special treat - a test ride on a new Shiv, and I fell in love. Not to mention, they were booked with their demo bikes, so Mark Cote let me use his personal bike. Now that's good customer service! Later on, I had my first experience doing a LIVE video podcast with Ben over a beer and the best poke on the island. Friday night was one heck of a party - the "Thank God I'm Not Racing" Party.

Podcastin and poke with Ben! (Da Poke Shack!)

Me, Tati, Roch, Beth, Rachel. Fun group to party with :)
Epic swag from Thank God I'm Not Racing Party.
Saturday? No surprise: It was nonstop from 4am to midnight. I spent the morning with Beth and Tati, which was really nice because that may not ever happen again (why? they'll be racing!). Then I was working in the media room, sitting next to Normann Stadler, and decided to ask him if he wanted to chat for a podcast. You gotta to take an opportunity when  you see it! The same thing later happened when I ran into Dave Scott in the King Kam; I politely asked for a few minutes of his time, and a great podcast with a legend was the result. That said, the highlight of race day for me was standing in the media bleachers for, oh uh, probably 3 hours to watch the men's and women's pro finish! It wasn't comfortable but there's no where else in the world I wanted to be in those special moments. Saturday night was very cool too. By then I had my "Kona family" pretty well established, and our small group shared some good laughs and pina coladas over at Huggos. Heard about Pedro's first Kona (going 8:56 for 26th), roomie John Post's day of volunteering, stories from Maggs and the rest of us.... good times. Probably the most special night of my trip.
Swim start. Didn't go out of my way to get a front-row spot.
"Slept in" a bit instead. This was nice.

Luke McKenzie leading the bike up Palani.

Working on the go! Makeshift office on Ali'i,
and I got a new, green friend while I was posted up :)

After interviewing Pete Jacobs,
I had a feeling this was going to be a special day for him.

Waiting at the finish line in the media bleachers.

One of my favorite finish line moments. Top two Americans,
Andy Potts 7th, Tim O'Donnell 8th.

You guys see IM online, this is the view from "the other end."
Leanda Cave with Greg Welch and Matt Lieto post-race at Kina Kam.

Tradition: Thai while overlooking the finish at night.

A very special "healthy" pina colada a la
Ben Greenfield. So tasty and amazing.

Sunday was about recovery even for us non-racers! A leisurely swim then a random stop over at the Powerbar Breakfast. A little run & rest, then our annual cliff jumping extravaganza with a solid crew - the GU crew, Rachel Stanley, Ben G, Joe Gambles, Laura O'Meara, etc... kinda a random group but it was even more fun that way! On tap next was an attempt to rest, more pina coladas, then the K-Swiss After Party at Huggo's. The after party is one of those "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" kind of nights, especially the part where everyone then goes to the after after party hosted by Clif. Found out that night that Macca is doing the same two sprint triathlons I'm doing this weekend. Not really sure why he's doing them, but it should be cool to see him out there.
Cliff jumping. The view before you go!
How you have to climb back up! Wear shoes!

And when it was all over, this is what was needed.
Especially in the case of Cait Snow and Pedro Gomes (both pictured).
Monday is always a little sad because you know it's over. I still had good times, though, laughing with Tatiana as we "flopped" in a little bay off Ali'i doing some pseudo snorkeling and talking about the week. Later on I got a visit by Tim and Cait Snow at my condo to do a podcast with Cait.... Then Cait and Pedro slept. And slept some more. Tim and I chatted. Then next thing I know I'm on a red eye to LAX, and Jim Lubinski who I'd been seeing around all week, just happened to be on that flight too.

There are so many more stories from the week, and I hope to share more in future blogs to come. I'll probably do a mostly picture blog next because I have lots more to share! But for now, that is my trip in a nutshell. It was a huge success to say the least - did good business, saw a good race, and was surrounded by good friends, new and old....

Already excited for Kona 2013!

I'll leave you with TYler from GU doing a backflip:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

IM World Champ Preview: The Men

Good morning! 5:30am here in Kona and I've already had my coffee; getting ready to head out on a run before the underpants run! But first, part two of my Ironman World Championship preview.... Just a little warning, there are some holes in this one with missing stats on some of the guys. I hate publishing unfinished work, even on a silly little blog like this, but I may not have time to update it any time soon. I will try to update it from the Media Center later this afternoon! Thanks for understanding.

Kona: The Men

Craig Alexander

Crowie hasn’t raced a lot this year, but that’s because he’s busy with sponsors and doesn’t want to leave his family much. In his case, I say do what you have to, race when it matters, and nothing else! He hammered Ironman Melbourne earlier this year going 7:57:44, then 1st in Eagelman with a speedy 1:15:07 run. What’s up, then with the 9th at Racine? Anyways, Kona this year to some degree seems to be all about Crowie and Macca, but I think Crowie has more than Macca to worry about, especially on the run.

2012 Results:
1st Ironman Melbourne, Asia-Pacific Championships 
1st Eagelman 70.3
9th Racine 70.3 
2nd Vegas

Kona Results:
2011- 1st

Chris McCormack

After the whirlwind season he’s had, I’m glad to see him back to Kona. I think the short-course speed he gained during the Olympic stint will only serve to help him — he has enough years of base volume to draw off and get back quickly. Just look at the ITU Long Distance Champs. I know Macca is a hard-working dude even outside training. I’m curious to learn more about this MX12 thing. Not to mention, yesterday I attended an exclusive press conference (like, at his oceanfront house with only a few people kind of exclusive) where Macca announced a 10-year partnership with the Challenge Family races -- meaning at least 5 more years of racing in his future, and embarking on the business side of triathlon. Interesting. 

2012 Results:
This is one guy whose results I didn’t compile, except:
1st ITU Long Distance Champs
18th HyVee 1:59:47, had a penalty

Kona Results:
2010- 1st
2009- 4th
2007- 1st
2006 and earlier.... working on it (surprised I don't have this memorized after reading his book!)

Pete Jacobs

Just recently he was quoted saying he wants to run 2:37 in Kona this year. I said months ago that I think he will be the one to break 2:40 this year. Will it be a bunch of hype? We’ll see, but I know he has what it takes. It will really come down to his bike. At only 30 years old, he’s been top 10 in Hawaii for the past 3 yrs now (8th ’09, 9th ’10 w penalty and last year was his best to date with 2nd going 8:09:11 with the fastest run 2:42:29 (the year prior he also ran the fastest 2:41:05), so even if he doesn’t break 2:40 this year, he will eventually. As long as he stays injury free, which seems to be an issue for him. This year he had a pinched nerve in glute/hip, and said he has suffered injury the past several years, forcing time off. Also of note, he was 31 min behind Potts at IMLP and then won Philippenes for the 3rd straight year.

2012 Results:
5th Urban Hotel Long Course Geelong      
1st Long Course Triathlon Huskisson     
1st Coral Coast 5150      
1st Cairns Ironman 70.3
4th Syracuse Ironman 70.3
6th New York 5150
2nd Ironman Lake Placid
1st Philippines Ironman 70.3 

Kona Results:
2010-top-5 or top-10 (says Pedro Gomes who's sitting next to me right now)....
2009 and earlier- working on it...

Andreas Raelert


2012 Results:
2nd Ironman 70.3 Austria
1st ETU Challenge Kraichgau Euro Champs
4th Ironman Frankfurter Sparkasse IM Euro Championships
1st Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl, just over a month from kona

Kona results:
2010- 2nd
2009- 3rd

Jordan Rapp

All I can say is finally! Yay Rappstar! Excited for this one. He now has five Ironman titles to his name, including two earned this year. He’s survived a near-death accident…. he’s ready for Kona. It's hard to predict how he'll do (or anyone for that matter), but I am optimistic. I'm sure he's scientifically dialed in his race plan to a tee!

2012 Results:
IM Texas Champ
IM NYC Champ
Vegas Leadman

Marino Vanhoenacker

Started off 2012 strong with four big races in a short period of time, winning two. He took a short break to build up for the next two big ones. Win at Euro champs, his 6th IM win, ahead of Andreas Raelert. Not surprisingly he took the lead during the bike, then held on running a 2:48:19, for 8:03:31 overall and his sixth Ironman win. Looks like he’s in good form for Kona.

2012 Results:
1st IM South Africa
1st IMNZ 70.3
8th Ironman 70.3 Texas
3rd April Samui Triathlon
1st Frankfurter Sparkasse (the Ironman Euro Championships)

Kona Results:
2011-DNF (swim/bike splits only) – started run and had no legs.
2010- 3rd
2008- 22nd 

Cameron Brown

See those Kona results? I interviewed Brown earlier this year, and he said the only reason he’s doing Kona again is because he surprised himself with how well he did at Ironman Melbourne (second to Crowie) and felt that he had to toe the line in Hawaii at least one more time. I love that spirit, and I love how Brown’s results are usuallt always good, but even the occisional bad race never gets the best of him. Just in case you’ve been under a rock that’s anti-triathlon, Brown has won IM New Zealand 10 times. No one else can touch a record like that. 

2012 Results:
1st NZ half iron champs 
3rd NZ 70.3 (not a full this year)
2nd IM Melbourne, to crowie 8:00:12
9th Samui International triathlon 9th
2nd IM Cairns
4th Challenge Roth 
2nd Philippines 70.3

Kona Results:
2011- DNF 
2010- 17th 
2009- 22nd
2008- 5th
2006- 8th
2005- 2nd
2004- 34th
2003- 3rd
2002- 3rd
2001- 2nd
2000- 26th

Andy Potts

Just interviewed Andy on Monday on the podcast. Basically, I think he’s ready for a top-5. Last year his focus was elsewhere, thus a not so great Kona. The year before that, he said just sucked. But this year his focus IS Ironman and Kona, and he’s not sucking. He won IMLP (third IM win) from the beginning and said he recovered better than ever from that. He thinks his body is finally “getting” Ironman, and it shows in his lean physique too. When asked he said he expects to run even faster than that 2:52 he posted in ’08 (?). His other races this year haven’t been to shabby either.
Listen to my podcast with him at

2012 Results:
1st Oceanside (4x champ)
1st St Croix
2nd CapTex Triathlon Race to the Toyota Cup
1st Escape from Alcatraz (5x time champ)
2nd Philadelphia Triathlon Race to the Toyota Cup
2nd Minneapolis Triathlon Race to the Toyota Cup
1st IM Lake Placid
5th Vegas 70.3 Worlds

Kona Results:
2011- 17th

Dirk Bockel

Another German machine who can hammer — last year he PR’d his Hawaii bike and almost got on the podium. This year he looks even stronger and more focused, with a win and course record at Regensburg and third at the ITU LD Champs.

2012 Results:
6th Abu Dhabi
7th Samui Triathlon
1st IM Regensburg, course record
1st Chiemsee Triathlon
3rd ITU LD WC (macca 1st)

Kona Results:
2011- 4th
2010- 10th
2009- 7th

Timo Bracht

He wanted to win Roth this year but that slipped away from him sadly. He also lost another Challenge race to Andreas Raelert not too long ago. But Timo is still a powerhouse, in 2011 he had two Ironman wins and a best-ever 5th in Kona, with the third fastest run.

2012 Results:
Int. Olympic Triathlon Mallorca
1st Triathlon RheinNeckar Cup Mussbach
6th ETU Challenge Kraichgau Euro Champs
4th Sparkassen City Triathlon Heilbronn
2nd Challenge Roth
4th Frankfurt City Triathlon
Triathlon RheinNeckar Cup Viernheim
2nd Challenge Walchsee-Kaiserwinkl (behind andreas raelert)

Kona Results:
2009- 6th
2008- 5th

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

IM World Champ Preview: The Women

Now in Kona, but here’s what I put together yesterday! You’ll hear more from me soon!

II’m sitting on the plane right now geeking out on the week of Ironman ahead, so what better time than to write my Kona preview?! Before I get to that, just a quick note to keep up with my shennanigans over at, and on our facebook page, key word endurance planet. 

So as with Vegas Worlds, I wrote the Official  Ironman World Championships Men and Women's Preview that everyone will get in their Ironman Program over at the race. And, again, I’m left with a ton of stats and notes on the top pros that I want to share in my own race preview.... This time I'm giving you 10 out of the 12 who I featured...

Kona: The Women

Mirinda "Rinny" Carfrae

Rinny changed coaches this year, leaving Siri Lindley and working with Matt XXX. ALthough, she said she’s actually doing more self-coaching and has been mostly working with Matt on bike training. Her year has been a bit lackluster in terms of results, but I think she’s the type of athlete who can pull it together when it matters — i.e. Kona. But she’ll have tough competition, especially in Caroline Steffan, who’s already beat her in an Ironman this year, as did Rachel Joyce (Melbourne).

2012 Results:
3rd Ironman Melbourne 9:04, behind Steffen and Joyce
3rd NOLA 70.3
9th St Anthony’s
1st Rev3 Quassy
DNF Eagelman 70.3
1st Lake Stevens 70.3, fastest run
DNF Vegas 70.3 Worlds, nutrition issue

Kona Results:
2011- 2nd with faster run than CW just by about 40 seconds, with a 2:52:09.
2010- 1st, 2:53:32 run
2009- 2nd in her Ironman debut; fastest run

Caroline Steffan

At IM Melbourne she shattered the course with a 8:34:51, getting close close to Chrissie Wellington’s WTC Ironman record from 2011 South Africa. And she set the fastest bike ever of 4:35:29. She’s probably having her best year ever and is definitely one of my picks for the podium. Maybe it’s her new coach, Brett Sutton.

2012 Results:
3rd Abu Dhabi
1st Ironman Melbourne 
5th May Ironman 70.3 Austria
1st July Frankfurter Sparkasse IM Euro Championships
1st ITU LD World Championships

Kona Results:
2011- 5th

Leanda Cave

Leanda had a rocky beginning to 2012. A win followed by a couple DNS' due to injury – she tweaked back in a t-run that had her down for several weeks. By Vineman she hadn’t trained well in a month due to that injury so still a great showing all things considered. She showed us she was back to good form, if not better, when she won Vegas Worlds. She’s on my list for the podium, too.

2012 Results:
4th 70.3 South America Champs in Panama 
4th Wildflower 4:36:24 May
2nd Colombia 5150 May
1st Escape from Alcatraz
DNS Syracruse 
DNS Muncie 
5th Vineman 
3rd Boulder 
15th HyVee 
1st Vegas 70.3 Worlds

Kona Results:
2011- 3rd
2010- 10th
2009- 21st
2008- DNF

Linsey Corbin

I think LInsey is ready for another big year in Kona. At Honu 70.3 she set a course record in 4:26:09, on what’s said to be some of the toughest conditions that course has seen. And then at Austria she went 9:09:58, edging out Erica Csomor. To me, she epitomizes someone who has a great mental game, and is willing to work hard to achieve great things. Sounds like she had some bad luck at Vegas with a bike mechanical, so I’m sure she’s even more hungry for a good Kona.

2012 Results:
2nd Puerto Rico 70.3
5th Oceanside 70.3
2nd Wildflower
1st Hawaii 70.3 
5th Boise
1st Ironman Austria 

Kona Results:
2008- 5th (first American)

Mary Beth Ellis

Not too many people can, or would want to, do what Ellis has done: She’s won 5 of 6 Ironmans she’s done all since her IM debut in 2011, breaking records along the way for rookie, race course, American record. She’s also coached by Brett Sutton. Hm. 

2012 Results:
1st Ironman Texas 
1st Alpe d’Huez Triathlon
1st Ironman NYC 

Kona Results:

Kelly Williamson

Although she’s raced a lot this year, she hasn’t done an Ironman since IMAZ in late 2011. Her secret weapon will be her run, and with a couple years of Kona experience, I expect her to have things figured out more for her best race to date. 

2012 Results:
2nd 70.3 South America Champs 
1st Puerto Rico 70.3
1st Texas 70.3 US Championships
5th St. Anthony’s 5150 
1st Rev3 Knoxville Olympic
6th Rev3 Quassy Half
1st Muncie 
6th Hyvee 2:04:26, posting the fastest female run of the day with a 36:14.
2nd Vegas 70.3 Worlds

Kona Results:

Rachel Joyce

She beat Rinny at Ironman Melbourne this year, and while that was no Kona, Joyce is showing steady improvement at the long stuff. She’s been on the verge of a Kona podium, and has what it takes. She finished Roth in 8:45:04, making her the ETU European Long Distance Champion.

2012 Results:
2nd IM Melbourne
1st IM 70.3 Kansas
1st Challenge Roth

Kona Results:
2011- 4th

Heather Wuertele

Won her first Ironman in 2010, and she knows how to race these things well when conditions are at their toughest. She went on to win two IMs in 2011--St. George and Lake Placid. She was on track for another W this year until that fiasco at CdA. Read her blog if you don’t know the story. Trying to do a make-up Ironman right after has its positives and negatives. I’m sure she’s hungry for a great Kona run, but hpoefully she’s rested up enough — mentally and physically.

2012 Results:
2nd Rev3 Quassy
2nd Ironman 70.3 New Orleans
8th Ironman 70.3 Texas, US Pro Championships
DQ Ironman CdA - mechanical issue
8th July Frankfurter Sparkasse IM Euro Championships (2 weeks post mile 21 run DQ)
1st Timberman 70.3
Vegas 70.3 Worlds

Kona Results:

Meredith Kessler

I think MBK tried to be strong and downplay the broken vertebrae she suffered in a bike accident, but it clearly took its toll as we saw in Vegas. But she’s a trooper and another athlete I consider to have one of the best mental games. No one has results like she’s had this year if they don’t know how to suffer. It’s been her best year ever, and as long as she didn’t do too much, I’m sure she wants to end it on a high note (and being that Dixon is her coach, I’m sure they have it under control so she races well in Kona). Not to mention, I think she’s been one of those who’s been patient about really racing Kona to be at the top, and I think she’s now ready to unleash.

2012 Results:
1st IM NZ shortened to a 70.3 due to weather 
3rd Oceanside
1st Ironman St George (15 OA)
1st Eagelman 70.3
1st Ironman CdA
2nd Rev3 Portland
1st Vineman 70.3
Vegas 70.3 Worlds

Kona Results:
2008- 17th

Caitlin Snow

Caitlin has two top 10s in Kona so far, and she's one of the few that can master a sub-3:00 run. In 2010 she ran 2:56:04 run, last year she ran a 2:53 I think. I don’t think she’s given enough credit in the media as being one of the big players — she always races well and consistently. I plan on doing a podcast with her after Kona, and I’m excited to find out more about her!

2012 Results:
4th Texas 70.3
5th NOLA 70.3
2nd Ironman Texas
1st Rhode Island 70.3 RI
2nd Timberman 70.3

Kona Results:
2011- 9th
2010- 8th 
2009- 15th

Monday, October 1, 2012

Recipe: Polenta Fries (Step by Step with Pics)

We have a thing with burger nights at our place- we love 'em. Usually, it will be one of those situations of... "What do you want to do for dinner tonight? " "I don't know, what do you want?" "Burger night?" "Sounds perfect." I have the menu down to a science, and it's all super easy but does require a bit of lengthy prep with all the washing, chopping and mixing of ingredients.

What really stands out about our burger night (besides the meat) are the "french fries" I make. As you can guess, I'm not really a traditional french fry kinda gal, but french fries with a healthy spin? I'm in!

I'll cover the rest of our burger night ingredients in another post eventually, but for now, let's talk about the fries. Now don't be a hater -- I get that these may not be the most nutrient-dense things in the world, nor are they any kind of super food, but we all need a little something something that just satisfies those cravings for a salty and semi-crunchy food, right?

Polenta Fries

Start with your pre-cooked polenta tube. I get the kind that's pictured below; note: it is organic. The one you see there is the "original" kind that you can get at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, etc. I normally don't get original; I usually get basil garlic or one of their other flavors for a reason. I prefer basil garlic or other varieties of this brand because they have a slightly more solid consistency and are easier to cut into fries. The original is more delicate and falls apart if you're not careful when cutting.
The foundation.
So here we go: Get a sharp knife, and a damp paper towel or dish towel. Cut the polenta into thirds. I do this with the wrapper still on, and then I just peel it off.
First step: cut into thirds.
Next, sit those chunks upright and cut into long slices. This is key to prevent breakage: After every 1-3 chops, wipe off your knife with the wet cloth. The build-up of polenta residue on the knife will cause your slices to crumble apart when cutting. Clean knife = clean cut.
After you've sliced lengthwise, then turn the polenta and slice the opposite way so you get nice little cuts the size of french fries. Note how you can see some polenta crumbling off on the cutting board below? Sometimes I'll lay the flat slices out and chop up one at a time instead of all together, which seems to keep them stable.
Perfect french fry size.
After that, line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with olive oil spray -- don't overdo it on olive oil otherwise they'll be too mushy; but you need enough to prevent sticking. Then add all your fries to the cookie sheet and lightly spray again with olive oil. Pictured below is 1 1/4 tubes of polenta. For two people, I recommend one tube; anymore than two people get at least two tubes because the fries shrink.
1 1/4 tubes of polenta ready to go in the oven.

Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes until they feel a bit crunchy on the outside and still soft in the middle. Then crank up oven to broil (high) and cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until they are browned and even more crispy. Don't broil for too long -- they'll burn!

As you can see below, they do shrink quite a bit in the cooking process. When they're done they should be pretty crispy on the outside and only slightly soft in the middle. If they still feel mushy to the touch, cook longer. You want that crispy outer layer.

The finished product. Yum!

That's it! Polenta fries have been a hit whenever I've served them. They're great with dipping sauces (from ketchup to hummus) or on their own. And most of all they are a great substitute for french fries with fewer calories, no deep frying and still lots of great flavor. Gluten free, too. Check out the nutrition label of the brand I get (basil garlic variety):


And since I was talking about burger night... below are a few things that always accompany the fries. (NOTE: Not pictured are organic beefsteak tomatoes marinated in balsamic, creamy goat cheese to spread on the burgers, arugula, pears that get added to the caramelized onions, Dijon mustard, and even buns for those carb-lovers.) Got your mouth watering? Mine is...
Oven-roasted asparagus. Add olive oil, lemon, s&p.
Simple and delicious.
Sweet onions about to be caramelized;
eventually sliced pears are added to mix.

Organic, grass-fed beef. The only kind I'll get.