Healthy Antioxidant Fruit and Spinach Smoothie Recipe

In this edition of Simple Triathlete Eating I share my recipe for my super antioxidant fruit and spinach smoothie.   Personally as someone who just has to get the calories in, I prefer to drink a lot of my calories.  Frankly it is much easier to do, empties faster from the stomach, digests easier, and ensures I am adequately hydrated.   Usually I have at least 2 of these smoothies per day and usually consume them immediately after workouts.  By doing this I consume over 9lbs of spinach per week.

The Holy Grail of Berries
Now for the record I buy Spinach in 3lb bags that cost $3.99 at the local Costco.  I also get my preferred berry mix there.  The mix of berries - all organic - includes dark tart cherries, blueberries, pomegranate arils, red raspberries, and strawberries in a 3lb bag with a price of $10.99.   I also buy the 192oz bottles of Costco 100% juice blend.  The blend includes grape juice, apple juice and cranberry and runs $6.99.

Super Antioxidant Fruit and Spinach Recipe:

1)  Fill blender with Spinach

2) Add 1 cup of water
Crucial Step - Blend Spinach First

3) Add 1 cup of juice

4) Blend that mother' until the spinach is liquefied

5) Add 1 cup of berries and liquefy

6) Add an additional cup of berries and continue liquifying

7) Add two servings of your preferred sweetner (sugar, splenda, honey, whatever)

8) Enjoy

In the end you should end up with a smoothie that fills at least two glasses and contains ~300 calories. It goes down like water and you can feel good about what you are eating.  It empties from the stomach  quick and I can get onto the next workout without any GI distress.

The Finished Product - Fruit and Spinach Smoothie

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike and Run Miles For Feb 20th - Feb 26th

Sushi Garden House Rules
Feb 20th - Feb 26th: Race season is just around the corner and this week was filled with lots of solid volume including a 106 mile ride from Oro Valley up to the top of Mt Lemmon and a 21 mile track workout that was 5 x 3 mile with 800 recovery + stretch rest.  I got in a solid 6 days of swimming and still was able to focus on the core.  Week after week my body is getting stronger and more importantly my form is really falling into place.  I'm not sure I have ever ran with such strong form and I'm excited to see if I can hold it together late into the Ironman marathon.

The highlight of the week had to be my roomate taking me to Sushi Garden at the Tucson mall for their "all you can eat" sushi.  I was a little skeptical going to an all you can eat sushi place but I was pleasantly surprised.  I liked the fact that they had strict rules governing the eating including surcharge if you didn't finish everything, and the fact that you had to eat all the rice that was provided.  When all was said and done I had 56 rolls (about 1.5 times the size of typical plain rolls) and 18 pieces of Nigiri.  This meal would easily cost a couple of hundred dollars in Chicago, IL but only $19.95 in Tucson, AZ.

Here are my weekly swimbike, and run totals:

Total: 327 Miles / 32 hours 50 minutes

Swim: 22,700 yards / ~13 miles / 5 hours 27 minutes
Bike:  272 miles / 17 hours 36 minutes
Run:  42 miles /  5 hours 17 minutes
Core:  3 sessions / 4 hours 30 minutes

Weight: 156 lbs (average over the 7 days)
Body Fat: 6.5%

Calories Consumed: 40,916 / ~5,845 per day (final)
Calories Burned: 36,407 / ~5,201 per day

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike and Run Miles For Feb 13th - Feb 19th

Cold / Snowy Valentine's Day Swim From Oro Valley Pool
Feb 13th - Feb 19th: It was another solid week of training with lots of pennies added to the penny jar.  This week started with a snow fall in Tucson with accumulating snow in all the mountains surrounding Tucson including the Tucson Mountains, Tortolita Mountains, and of course on Mt. Lemmon.   It was quite a site and a cruel Valentine's Day surprise exiting the Oro Valley pool at 1:00 pm at a temperature of 33 degrees.

As for the training, well I got in some TT riding doing some longer 20 minute intervals, swam all six days that the pool was open, and went to the track by myself on Sunday to do 4 x 3 mile at marathon pace with stretch rest + 400 jog.   I think I am going to do more long runs like this as it really helped me execute each step with better form.

The highlight of the week was joining the University of Arizona triathlon team, and their coach Brian Grasky, at the track for the 2nd time in two weeks. The main set was an easy 3x1600 at 10K pace but I did it is a 3x1600 at 10K pace descending to 5K pace.  5:42, 5:18, and 5:11 is what I came in on.  It was a short workout, but it was great to open up the legs a bit.

Here are my weekly swimbike, and run totals:

Total: 204 Miles / 24 hours 05 minutes

Swim: 23,950 yards or ~14 miles / 6 hours 42 minutes
Bike:  157 miles / 8 hours 53 minutes
Run:  33 miles /  4 hours 0 minutes
Core:  3 sessions / 4 hours 30  minutes

Weight: 155.1 lbs (average over the 7 days)
Body Fat: 6.3%

Calories Consumed: 33,765 or ~4823 per day (final)
Calories Burned: 32,229 or ~4,614 per day

Tucson Mountains Snow Covered In Low Clouds

Quick Tasty Oatmeal Recipe for Triathletes, Runners, and Cyclists.

Typical bowl of oats
After living with many professional triathletes over the years I can safely say that oatmeal is one of the few commons things we share.

Oatmeal isn't rocket science and that is why I like it. I like that it is easy to prepare, digest, and inexpensive. I eat it nearly every morning because I know exactly how my body is going to feel and my stomach will respond. Some people like variety in their meals, I prefer consistency.  Last time I went out for a pancake breakfast I felt terrible afterward. With oatmeal I always know how my stomach is going to feel.

Those of you who eat oatmeal probably have your own recipes with your own mix-ins. For me I don't even vary the bowl from day-to-day.  Here is my own recipe:

- 1/2 cup of Quaker Oats 
- 1 cup of water

Microwave for 1 minute and 30 seconds and then add:

Quaker Oats
- 1/3 cup of raisins or dried tart cherries
- 1 very ripe banana 
- 1 tbsp of cinnamon
- 2 tbsp of 100% raw cocoa
- 1 tbsp of sugar or sugar substitute 
- 10-15 grams of whey protein

Stir it all up and enjoy!!

The total comes out to about 500 calories.

On a side note about the cinnamon and cocoa. I'm sure you know about antioxidants and you eat your blueberries because they are chalk full of them. For the record cinnamon has an ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) value of 131,420, Cocoa has an ORAC of 80,933, and blueberries have an ORAC value of 4,669. I wrote a little more about raw cocoa vs dark chocolate.

Lastly if you are a triathlete or endurance athlete, I have set up a FREE Ironman Q&A group on Facebook. Feel free to ask any question you might have about Ironman Training or endurance sports.

Lance Armstrong Ironman Triathlon Race Results

Lance Armstrong raced Ironman triathlons in 2012 in bid to make it to Kona and race in the Ironman World Championship. His run was cut short right before IM France due to renewed doping allegations. He later received a full ban from sport (including triathlon) and will be unable to compete in future WADA sanctioned events. As a result Lance will never be able to compete in a full Ironman race. Here are his results from that 2012 season:

Feb 12, 2012Ironman 70.3 Panama (Full Results)2nd Pro3:50:55
Apr 1, 2012Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas (Full Results)7th Pro3:54:32
May 6, 2012Ironman 70.3 St. Croix (Full Results)3rd Pro4:07:08
May 20, 2012Ironman 70.3 Florida (Full Results) 1st Pro3:45:38
Jun 2, 2012Ironman 70.3 Hawaii (Full Results)1st Pro3:50:55
Jun 24, 2012Ironman FranceDNSDNS
Sep 2, 2012Hy-vee 5150 Championship - Des MoinesDNSDNS
Oct 13, 2012Ironman World Championship - Kailua-KonaDNSDNS

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike and Run Miles For Feb 6th - Feb 12th

MTBing Back Side of Gates Pass
Feb 6th - Feb 12th: If you haven't heard, today marked Lance Armstrong's return to Ironman Triathlon with a 2nd place finish at Ironman Panama 70.3. With that being said, I realized that I race in less than a month and had yet to get on my triathlon bike since Ironman Arizona. This week I decided it was time to dust off the cobwebs, oil the chain, and take it for its 2012 maiden voyage. I also started recording everything I consume and will be updating this on Monday's to reflect the appropriate total through Sunday night.

This week had it starts and stops. I needed a rest day Monday so I only swam. Tuesday I was back to business and tried to repeat the 3x10s I have been doing on the bike, but I had some mental things I was dealing with that day and ended up pulling the plug on that workout. I did manage a decent run afterwards but I felt like it was a busted day. For a guy that prides himself on mental toughness that is two busted workouts in two weeks. There is no physical reason why I couldn't complete the prescribed workout. On Wednesday I did a photo shoot for Trisports and I did the running and biking that was required during the shoot, but it wasn't exactly a workout. I expected this so I packed my mountain bike to get in some good riding afterwards. Unfortunately I broke my pedal trying to climb a steep grade up the back side of Gates Pass. It was the third pedal in the last 12 months that I have broke. Thursday was a track workout with the Tricats that left me more sore than I have been in years so on Friday all I could muster was a swim. On Saturday I had a great swim of 10x400s, followed by first TT ride of the year. After a rocky start I ended up smashing the 60 seconds on, 60 seconds off main set, but did flat mid-way thru. Unfortunately the post-ride run was scrapped do to extreme soreness and tightness in the hamstrings and their attachment point to my hips. Sunday I warmed up the hamstrings and got in a 21 mile run. I had planned to stop when my form gave out - figuring around 16 or so - but the form never gave out and I pulled the plug at 21 because there is no reason in my opinion to ever run much more than 18-20 miles.

I got in 3 hard core sessions and even though I really dreaded doing them I got them done. For the last couple of years when I do core I usually do them to old seasons of The Biggest Loser that I have never seen. I figure if they can suffer through it then surely I can too.

The highlight workout of the week was joining University of Arizona triathlon team and their coach Brian Grasky at the track. The main set of the workout was 4x800 with 200 jog rest + additional rest, and 4x400 with 200 jog rest. We did the 800s in 2:35, 2:32, 2:31, and 2:27 and I had the 400s at 1:11, 1:11, 1:09, and 1:11. The 800s were supposed to be at 5k pace but I think we got a little bit ahead of ourselves. The 400s were supposed to match the 800 pace which we actually did a pretty good job of doing and avoided turning them into a race. The Tricats have boundless amounts of energy and I know they are going to crush it at USAT Collegiate Nationals. Go CATS!!!!

Here are my weekly swim, bike, and run totals:

Total: 193 Miles / 24 hours 22 minutes

Swim: 23,200 yards or ~13 miles / 6 hours 15 minutes
Bike: 144 miles / 9 hours 2 minutes
Run: 36 miles / 4 hours 35 minutes
Core: 3 sessions / 4 hours 30 minutes 

Weight: 156.0 lbs (average over the 7 days)
Body Fat: 6.6%

Calories Consumed: 33,319 (final)
Calories Burned: 32,459 or ~4,637 per day

Lance Armstrong To Do An Ironman ***Now Official***

Lance Armstrong on his Trek Speed Concept
Well Lance has finally made it official that he is going to do an Ironman.  Lance Armstrong had previously been toying with people hinting that he was going to get back to Ironman Triathlon but today he made it official when he finally tweeted from his twitter handle @LanceArmstrong instead of his account at @JuanPelota.  

Earlier tonight Lance tweeted, "After 20 yrs of getting the question I'm happy to say YES I will be racing in a  in 2012".  What make this significant is that he tweeted from @LanceArmstrong, which is an account he had previously avoiding triathlon talk on.  Earlier this week the federal government dropped their case against Lance Armstrong and although not totally in the clear from USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) I think this marks a new era for Triathlon.  

Mellow Johnny's Basement W/ Lance Armstrong
I think this could be the biggest thing to happen to triathlon since the invention of the aerobar.  Love him or hate him I do believe that he is going to make a substantial impact in the triathlon world and personally I can't wait to see him go up against the best triathlon cyclists in the world.  And personally I'm looking forward to towing the line with him hopefully at Ironman St George, Ironman Louisville, or Ironman Wisconsin and repaying that favor that he did me back in 2009...

Back in 2009 my Trek TTX medium bike was cracked when I arrived at the 2009 Ironman Texas - Austin 70.3 triathlon.  Lucky for me Mellow Johnny's was nicest enough to loan me another Trek TTX medium bike thanks to this guy.

Normally I wouldn't post general triathlon news but unfortunately Google / Twitter search partnership is no more and Google can't search Facebook so I want to make sure I do my part to get this out.  The more main stream the sport is the more it can grow.  Some may not like that but I for one am sick of athletes complaining about 200 million dollar contracts when they have no idea how hard some others work and how little they do it for.

Flip Turns Vs Open Turns For Triathlete Swimming

Sebastian Kienle and myself post swim
Flip turns, is there a legitimate reason you must do them? The short answer is no. As a professional triathlete, and adult onset swimmer, I do not believe you have to do flip turns. Despite this belief, I see coaches and peers always pressuring athletes to change.

The main argument these people make is that you are not a "true swimmer" unless you flip turn. In reality, these people are very close-minded. The most important thing when it comes to swimming is to swim more. Not waste energy practicing a skill that is frankly not needed to be successful in triathlon.

Now before I go on, I want to mention that I currently do open turns. When I first started swimming with Ironman World Champion, Sebastian Kienle, he said in a thick German accent, "You know, you should really do flip-turns". Fast-forward, and Sebi doesn't care what I do. For the record, once upon a time I DID do flip turns, and occasionally I still throw one in for good measure, but I mainly do open turns.

I should also state that I am an adult onset swimmer, who learned to swim after 25. I don't have the typical long-torso, short legs, or big hands and big feet that are often required for efficient long-distance swimming, but I still come out of Ironman swims in the 48-54 minute range and often ahead of professionals that swam in high school and college.

Truthfully I couldn't care less what people do. If you like doing flip turns then do flip turns. If you do open turns then do open turns. For the majority of triathletes, myself included, swimming is our weakness and we just need to swim more. Anything that takes time away from swimming is just a distraction.

Regardless here are a few arguments I have heard against open-turns that I will try to debunk.

Arguments I have heard against open-turns:

You look ridiculous doing open turns - I don't care, I'm not here to look cool, this isn't a popularity contest, and I'm not in high school.

2) They are slow - I concede that yes they are a little slower than open turns in the pool, but how often do we do pool swim triathlons.

3) You don't learn to streamline properly - you can learn to streamline in an open turn or a flip turn.

4) You are causing a bottleneck at the end of the pool - I think people are making this one up. Nobody has ever complained about this after swimming with me for a single session.

5) It helps you control your breath - so don't breathe when taking an open turn and you will accomplish the same thing.

6) It causes additional shoulder stress - I haven't seen any scientific research that supports this.

7) You can't grab a wall in the open water and take an extra breath - last I checked you don't flip turn in open water nor do you push of a wall.

8) Open turns give people a false sense of security - No pool swimming session is going to replicate the true challenges of an open water swims. Even practicing open water swims isn't necessarily going to create the same anxiety and hysteria that sometimes sets in on race day. Best to get comfortable swimming in a pool before attempting open water. It is best to get comfortable swimming in open water before doing an actual race.

A few valid reasons to open turn:

1) Chlorine hypersensitivity - some people have chlorine hypersensitivity and the chlorine in places like the nostrils will leave them highly irritated.

2) Vertigo and general dizziness - some people simply get sick and disoriented doing flip turns. Cut them some slack, not everyone is born with the same abilities.

3) Adds yards to the workout - by doing open-turns you are actually swimming further. If two swimmers both swim 4k, the open turner will swim further because they have to swim to the wall. More swimming, is the key to get faster for most.

4) Forces you to swim faster in a group setting. Because a good open-turn is a little slower than a flip-turn, if you open turn you will have to learn to swim faster, specifically coming off the wall to stay neck-and-neck with your flip-turning competition. This will make you a better and faster swimmer in the long run.

5) Open turns do not WET the pool deck - yes, flip turning wets the pool deck far more than open turns. Have you ever placed your bag where it was dry only to finish your swim and realize that your bag is wet. It was probably the result of either you or someone next to you flip turning.

6) Disc Herniation - some people have complained to me that flip-turning exacerbates pain and discomfort associated with disc herniation.

If you really want to get better at triathlon swimming then don't waste your time flip turning. Instead spend more time swimming. For some people variety is the spice of life, and although toys are not a replacement for straight swimming, they can be included to mix things up. Here are a couple of "toys" that CAN help you become a better swimmer. I have no relationship with Finis, actually I kind of dislike the company, but I use some of their products regularly.

1) Finis Agility Paddles - if you want to use paddles, use paddles that help promote and reinforce good technique. The Finis Agility paddles do just that. They will fall off if used incorrectly.

Finis Agility Paddles

2) Band swimming - band swimming adds drag to your body, and you must develop a more efficient catch/pull with less dead spots in your stroke to get from one side of the pool to the other. At first you can add the band to pull sets and gradually work toward band only swimming. First 25s, then 50s and more. You can make a band out of an old inner tube or you can also purchase a band such as the Finis Pulling Ankle Strap. Your stroke rate should increase with the use of band and that is quite alright despite what many "pure" swim coaches will tell you.

Finis Ankle Pulling Strap

3) Finis Freestyle Swimmer's Snorkel - I think there is value in snorkels for many people. Specifically, I like to use snorkels in warm-up and cool-down as I am focusing on technique. They allow me to remove aspects of swim technique and focus more on other aspects of the stroke including the catch and pull, without incorporating breathing and rotation. I have used this particular one as it has a purge valve. It is the best snorkel out there but there is still room for improvement.

Finis Swim Snorkel

Professional Triathlete Training Log - Weekly Swim, Bike and Run Miles For Jan 30th - Feb 5th

Back on Track in Tucson, AZ
Jan 30th - Feb 5th:  This week I got back on track even if my bum isn't fully healed.  It did still limit my cycling, but I'm not worried about the downtime or lack of volume.  I got in one intensity session where I repeated the 3x10s with equal rest that I did two weeks ago.  I actually had some mental things on mind that day and my butt really hurt doing this intervals with the intense friction and heat being generated but I was still able to bang out 340 watts, 345 watts, and 354 watts.  I had a fierce headwind so it took me a little longer to climb so I made them all to 3x10:32 and got less rest on the downhill because of the tailwind.  For the lack of cycling I have done recently I was happy to see an increase.

I spent a lot of time in the pool this week with a strong swim focus mixed in with some great intensity.  Every stroke was by myself and I really had a CTJ moment this week knowing that no single person can train harder and longer in the pool without a team, coach, partner or some other disciplinary and motivating figure.  As a result I will continue to swim by myself for now. I know a team atmosphere always raises my performance but I am happy where I am at and the flexibility to swim when I want to is a huge plus. 

I got in 3 hard core sessions and I'm starting to feel the strength in areas that were weak. I know that as I age I have to focus on some of the other areas that people often neglect so I am really trying to make it my goal to get in 3 core sessions a week (~1.5 hours each).

As for running, I had intended to make it back to the track and do another 2x3 miles but the body was torched from the get go and very tight.  I decided just to back it off and do a tempo 10K on the track with an emphasis on strong form. I did it in 38:32.  It was easy, but my form still started to suffer at about 5.5 miles from excessively tight hamstrings.  A big part of training this year is always running with good form so I stop when something happens to it.  I did some more stretching of the hamstrings to loosen them back up and did 4x400 with 400 rest in 1:20, 1:13, 1:13, 1:10 and then a 200 to bring the total track workout to a convenient 13.1 miles total. Obviously the first 400 was a little rough but then magically the hamstrings opened up and by the end I was ready to do redo the entire workout. 

Here are my weekly swimbike, and run totals:

Total: 118 Miles / 21 hours 30 minutes

Swim: 32,200 yards or ~18 miles /  8 hours 49 minutes
Bike: 72 miles / 4 hours 54 minutes
Run:  27 miles / 3 hours 25 minutes
Core: 3 sessions / 4 hours 22 minutes

Weight: 157.0 lbs (average over the 7 days)
Body Fat: 7.0%
Bike Intervals Up Twin Peaks Road In Tucson, AZ

Life Time Fitness Leadman 125 Triathlon Las Vegas

Save 15% on race entry with coupon code: LTFTRI18
Leadman Triathlon Las Vegas Coupon Code: LTFTRI18 - saves you 15% on race entry

It seems like everyone is always complaining about something at WTC races.  Don't get me wrong, I have my far share of complaints, but WTC is doing some great things for triathlon.  With that being said I always believe competition brings out the best in WTC, and this year I am trying to do as many non-WTC events as possible.  As a result I have made my first race of the season the Life Time Fitness Leadman 125 triathlon.  Here are some reasons why this race is a no-brainer for me and why you should join me at the race.

Top 9 Reasons To Do Leadman 125 Tri
1. Early season race that features a longer bike (~68 miles) with a shorter run (~8 miles).  This is a great way to test the body without wrecking the body in a longer run.

2. Great way to see parts of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship course if you ever decide to do it.

3. No cold ocean swimming with JAWS like there will be at Oceanside 70.3 that weekend.

4. No angry local peeps throwing tacks on the course like what happened at Galveston 70.3 in 2011.

5. Fantastic preparation for Ironman St George with a tough bike in similar desert like conditions.

6. Supporting another great triathlete series (Life Time Fitness) that will make WTC perform at their best.

7. Participants get a nice Hincapie bike jersey.

8. Save 15% on race entry with Leadman Tri Coupon Code: LTFTRI18

9. Views from the Valley of Fire bike course are breathtaking:

This Is My Six Flags - Redonkulous