Stop, Hammer Time.

Seven days of recovery has been pretty glorious. With the exception of some back issues to be resolved by a doctor on Tuesday, everything is fresh and ready to go for another couple weeks. So why have I procrastinated my way out of running this morning? Cause workouts are about to get real here, people. This last build period hit hard, and NOW we're gonna be adding significant intensity to the mix. It's hammer time. My season starts in just three short months - it's time to start getting fast, and getting fast hurts.

You remember when you were a kid at the pool and you wanted to show your mom and dad how far you could go under water? What did you do before you started? You took a loooooog deep breath, and then you went for it. I'm chalking this morning up to being that looooong deep breath. It was the "stop" before the "hammer time". OK - here we go, now it really is hammer time.

The 007 of Recovery Drinks: "Shaken, not Stirred"

Oh man, that looks good... 
I'm no doctor or bio-chemist, but there are TONS of those kind of folks out there that can attest to chocolate milk's worth as a training resource, AND it's superiority to all those fancy recovery drinks. Consider some knowledge on that subject dropped:
Like I said - I'm not expert on the subject. I can say from several years of experience that I recover and stay healthy from workout to workout. Chocolate milk IS what you should be drinking after workouts, and that's the end of that discussion. Now for a new discussion: How to prepare your recovery drink.

Now let me tell you - I AM an expert on this subject, and you can call me the 007 of recovery drinks 'cause I like my chocolate milk shaken, not stirred. It's frothy and well mixed - I promise you won't be disappointed. I have my own collection of used peanut butter jars w/ lids that are the perfect serving size for a healthy and efficient recovery. A little milk, a little chocolate syrup, a little shakey-shakey, and mmmm. The other option I love, which is a little more involved, but a little more nutritious: blended with a banana. If you like the taste of chocolate banana, the added potassium helps reduce muscle cramping as well. And like the shaken option, it is frothy, well mixed and frickin' delish.

That's what I have to say about that.

I miss you old friend.

Those of you that know me, know that I'm a bit of a freak about winter, snow, and Christmas. Case in point - it's not thanksgiving yet, but I'm listening to Christmas music. Emily lets me start playing it on her birthday (November 11th), but I usually start listening secretly by the first of November. Crazy, right? It's really the season I love - I want me some snow! This morning I checked the 10 day weather forecast, and to my dismay,  I found that it'll be in the 50's from now until the end of the month. I want to cry a little. Where's the snow! Snowtober made for so much promise - and now? It's a huge let down to say the least. I wish my old friend Frosty would snap his fingers and make some of that winter magic happen.

The silver lining to all this is, of course training related. 50's into December means the roads are clean, and the temperature isn't challenging my motivation to get out on the bike and ride my way right into the start of winter. Hello to my good friend Mr. Frosty, also means hello to my nemesis Mr. Trainer. Still, it's a tough choice (as if it's a choice at all): the weather I want, or the training conditions I need. Well I guess I don't have to be happy about how warm it still is, but I should certainly be grateful, get off my mopey @$$ and take advantage of my own meteoric misfortune!

Delicious AND nutritious...

So goes the saying that persuades people to try new foods. It also represents the order of priorities on which I base my eating decisions. Unfortunately, my "job" (still love that I can call it that) demands that I re-prioritize that phrase "nutritious and delicious" instead.

Consequently, my menu now includes things like bulgar wheat salad, lentil soup, and other heavily vegetable laden dishes. Make no mistake, this is a good thing, and I enjoy how much better I feel as a result of eating healthy meals. What's unfortunate is what my newly prioritized diet now excludes... pizza, cheeseburgers, nachos, etc. All DELICIOUS, but not so much with the nutritious.

The saddest part is that it's not just a rule - whenever I break the rule, I feel like crap and whatever workouts follow my deliciously un-nutritious meals are bound to be a bust. Lucky for me, my FAVORITE place to eat still meets the "nutritious and delicious" rule. CHIPOTLE's food with integrity is made from almost all naturally grown meat and vegetables. Lucky for me, foil wrapped bundles of deliciousness are free from the pizza/cheeseburger category, so I can continue to enjoy my burritos guilt free, and trust I've got the fuel I need to nail the workouts to follow.

Boy, this sure does sound like a shameless plug... This would be an opportune moment to brag about the fact that I picked up my favorite restaurant as a sponsor (!!!) for more free burritos than you can shake a stick at! We'll call that full disclosure, but I can assure you that I would gush about Chipotle and their nutritious and delicious food even if I was still paying for it!

Hump Day: Big Gear Mashup

If you've ever met a professional cyclist you likely had the strong feeling of extreme dislike for them. This in not an uncommon reaction. Professional cyclists (or really anyone who gets paid to exercise) embody a very unique lifestyle that automatically makes them better than you, in both your mind and their own.

Here's the cold hard truth. You can't beat at something you like to do if they do it 1000% more every week than you do. It's just not possible. Pro cyclists ride 500 miles a week. You ride 50  to 100. They are better than you. Now, they don't have to act this way. That's their decision. But they also aren't likely to find a polite way to tell you that, no, they're never going to go for a ride with you. No matter how often you ask. Cycling, like tennis, doesn't bode well to hitting down. They need to do their mileage to stay fast, and you need to do your own to get faster.