April 26, 2015

Recipe of the Month: Whatever Balls

We've been slacking on the blog updates lately, but I just got back from Austria so I'll have lots of pictures to post soon. In a new Wasatch and Beyond feature that will hopefully last until June, I present to you Recipe of the Month!

Jake's Whatever Balls

Step 1: Assemble your ingredients

-About a pound of some type of animal. I use venison, elk, or kangaroo.

-Package of greek yogurt (PRO TIP: Use the plain kind. Do not use the kind with fruit mixed in).

-Variety of vegetables. I use onion, peppers, and either spinach or kale. In an ideal world, you dice up a bunch of fresh ones. That's what I typically do. In this example, I was short on time so I just used some frozen veggies. You'll want to create a roughly 2:1 or 7:4 ratio of meat to vegetables.

-A handful of oats. In this example, I took some of Andrea's oatmeal which also had chopped pecans mixed in. Whatever!

-Random seasonings. Whatever you like.

Step 2: Mix everything in a bowl

Step 3: Make the balls

-Everytime I do this, I end up with 11 whatever balls. Never a dozen. It ALWAYS comes out to 11.

Step 4: Bake

-I can't tell you exactly how long to bake them for. In this example, I pre-heated the oven to 375, put the balls in, and then went to the grocery store to pick up a few things. When I got home, 43:45 had passed and they seemed done.

Step 5: Eat

April 4, 2015

Training Recap Jan-Feb-Mar 2015

Running a workout on my tempo loop. Our neighborhood has some nice views!

A quarter of the year is already behind us. Usually the first 3 months of the year are "winter" but we didn't really have winter this year... it was more of a perpetual spring with a couple winter days and a couple borderline summer days sprinkled in. 

This is meant to be a somewhat thorough recap of my training so far this year, as I've recently gone through a bit of a setback that has put me in limbo (about where to go from here). I wanted to get all my thoughts down for reference... then forget about it and move forward!

To start, here's my daily log links for the past 4 months: DecemberJanuary - February - March

As I have mentioned in almost every training/running recap since the race, Chicago took a lot out of me. A lot more than I would have imagined it would. When I started doing workouts again in December, I was slow. So I had to be really patient as I tried to build my fitness back towards a respectable level.

December Training

AT / Marathon Pace runs are my "go-to" workout. I try to do these by feel without a specific pace goal. When I started in December I was only running 5:45 pace for 4 miles. Over the course of the next 10 weeks, I got these runs up to 10 miles and down to something in the ballpark of marathon goal pace.

Steady State runs provide a nice stimulus for marathon training, and they aren't quite as demanding. I built these runs up from 11.5 to 16 miles, around 20 seconds slower than goal MP.

And I mixed in a few cut-down workouts and two races during this time span as well...

I thought I ran well at USA XC... and not so great at the Phoenix 1/2 ... but I wasn't panicking because I hadn't really done the workouts for a good half-marathon.

Here's a more comprehensive look at January and February:

My mileage was quite a bit lower than what I've run in the past, but you'll notice a lot of blue highlights in the calendar. That's all human-powered uphill skiing. During these months I was (on average) climbing 9,000-10,000 feet per week on skis, which is a big aerobic stimulus. I don't like the play the "convert other activities to running equivalents" game, but at the very minimum, it was like adding another 25-30 miles per week of running... maybe even more. So the total volume was similar to past marathon buildups.

We went to Mexico during the second week of March. I felt like I was in a decent position going into the trip. I had just done a solid 16 mile steady state workout before the trip, and I thought that after a somewhat relaxed week of training in Mexico (I didn't do any workouts, but did get in a hot/humid 22 mile long run down there) I'd be able to come home and hit the training hard for 5 weeks... and be on a major upswing by the time London rolled around.

Running in Mexico

On the last day of the trip in Mexico, I started to feel a little sick. I had no idea what my body was about to get hit by...

My weight chart for 2015. Not the way to drop down to a good race weight!

I got really sick once we got home. After 7 days I finally got on antibiotics, which allowed me to start running again, but in a very depleted state. Running is a generous term to use. My body was wrecked and as the March calendar (below) shows, I was basically doing something of a turtle shuffle (with far too frequent walking breaks!) for a week.

So now it's April 4th, I haven't done a workout in a month, and I can still barely break 8:30/mile pace on my runs. I just constantly feel like I got hit by a car, and my hamstring health (which had been improving) seems to have backslid as well (ugh). My good (left) hamstring is now worse than my bad (right) one.

I don't know where I go from here (although I'm obviously not racing a marathon in 3 weeks!). At this point I'm primarily concerned with trying to just feel good again.

While I made some progress before this illness/setback, I still wasn't anywhere near my form of 2011-2014. As I said above, I haven't really been the same runner since Chicago. I need to evaluate some things and if I want to get back to running like my "old self"... I need to fully commit to fixing my hamstring issues... not just haphazardly pay attention to the problem when I feel like it.

March 31, 2015

This is not an April Fools' snowpack analysis

That is a depressing map.

The hotshots are probably going to have a tough summer.

And let's not forget about our friends in California...

This can't happen AGAIN next winter, right?

This has been going on in California ever since our summer ski trip out there in July 2011.

We decided to make an early investment in Winter '15/16 and just picked up a pair of Mountain Collective Passes. We're going to spend next winter road-tripping, chasing powder, and generally shredding gnar. Living in SLC, we have one of the locations on the pass 20 minutes from home, and 3 more (Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Aspen) within long weekend driving distance, so the collective is a pretty nice deal. Who knows, maybe we can swing another summer ski trip out to Tahoe/Mammoth? And I've always wanted to head up to Whistler for my birthday weekend in early May.

Why not? :-)

March 24, 2015

Viajamos a México! (Snorkeling in Akumal - Yal-Ku)

On the final day of the trip, we were able to stop in Akumal for a few hours and snorkel at the Yal-Ku lagoon. The water was crystal clear and it was a great way to cap the vacation!

Viajamos a México! (Tulum Beaches)

Tulum's beaches are world class. I don't think I need to add a bunch of captions to this post... I'll just let the photos speak for themselves...

March 23, 2015

Viajamos a México! (Tulum and Coba Ruins)

The Yucatan Peninsula is full of Mayan ruins. We aren't huge history buffs, but still wanted to check out a few of the sites. During our time in Tulum we visited the two most convenient locations - Tulum and Coba.

The Tulum site is right on the beach - prime real estate!!! A quick bike ride from the town or hotel/beach zone.

The Coba ruins are 25 miles inland (easy drive) and located in the jungle. This site is barely even excavated.