Recipe: Bulletproof Coffee

So, stick with me here, because when I first heard about this "Bulletproof Coffee" I was really hesitant to give it a try.  I first heard about the coffee from a friend, but it took me weeks to make it at home and try my first sip. Now that I've made it, other coffee's just won't do and I enjoy it so much that I'm taking my blender and ingredients with me to Mexico later this week.  Yes... it's that good! What makes it different? Read on.

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Weekend Warrior

The three day weekend flew by... to me, it seemed more like a regular old two day weekend, packed to the brim! Sunday's workout felt like it broke me.  It was one of those rare times when I didn't feel better, energized after working out.  I felt run down, exhausted and broken.  One-hour and forty-five minutes of cardio, strength and stretching will do that to a person, I suppose.  But, on the flip side, yesterday on the bike I felt GREAT! Still tired, but I turned the corner of feeling strong and comfortable on the bike.

After completing Lake Placid in 2010, I didn't get back on the bike.   To be honest, I was terrified.  If I had a long, lonely stretch of pavement or street, I was ready to ride.  Throw cars, people, and other bikes into the mix and I would wobble the whole ride.  After taking a nasty fall in April 2010, I was plain old scared to ride again.  I willed myself to get back on through the race, but since I haven't been out on a ride for fear of injury or broken bones.  Growing up in a pool, as a swimmer, I never experienced fractures, breaks or injury other than shoulder soreness.

However, I think I'm ready to ride again.  There's a group of women who meet at a local bike shop and ride together, which sounds perfect.  A nice 20+ ride sounds doable and a great way to re-enter the bike riding world.  I also found a small itch the day to do another triathlon.  Now that my knee is feeling much better, to the point where I could handle a short distance, I think an Olympic distance might be in order next year.  Maybe a half-Ironman.  We'll see.

I did, admittedly, eat more than planned on Sunday, but that's life right? The goal isn't to be perfect, all the time, but to learn to navigate the turns and get back on track when the detour is through.  On Sunday, I drank a LOT of lemon water, to help detoxify my body, and did an hour on the bike to sweat a bit.

Until tomorrow...

11 days out of Lake Placid

Playing catch up on the past few days, and have really been thinking a lot about Lake Placid, the experience and what it means to me to have finished the race.

When I signed up for Lake Placid, I loved the IDEA of an Ironman. It was something I had never done. And people were shocked when I told then. Truth be told, I liked that expression of "are you serious?" people gave me every time I mentioned it. And then the excitement of seeing the shock wore off quickly when the serious training started. I fell off of my bike while on a long training ride (I had only used clip-in shoes literally a handful of times) and had to take 10 days off of training. The whole left side of my body looked like hamburger meat - I was bloody, bruising quickly and experiencing a pain that I had never experienced. Being a year round competitive swimmer for the majority of my life meant not having to deal with cuts, blood or contusions. I was swimming again after taking 10 years off... and for those athletes out there, you KNOW how tough it is mentally to get back into your sport, when you're comparing the times you are currently doing to the ones that you used to clock back in the day. And the running! Goodness. I am a WATER SPORT person, people! I was seeing a PT on a regular basis, so I could get my knee and foot carved, hip flexors loosed, and a massage every now and again. But then I thought of why I was doing it.

I did this race in memory of Cynthia Lynn Sherwin, while fundraising for the National Brain Aneurysm Foundation. Cindy was my age when she started training for her first Ironman in Lake Placid and died while out on a 100-mile training ride of an undetected brain aneurysm that ruptured. She was beautiful, an experienced marathoner and triathlete and just started working with and reading to children about the benefits of being healthy. Her mom, Elaine Schaller, started Team Cindy in memory of her daughter, with 100% of the fundraising money going to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

When I thought of Cindy and I thought of all of the generous donations that I has received, I couldn't give up. When I thought about a family friend who has had 55+ brain surgeries, who is 16, I couldn't give up. I thought of the people who weren't able to compete and I trained harder. Physically, I was arguably in the best shape of my live. Emotionally, I was a wreck.

The 30-day count down to the race began, and there was not a day that went by that I did not cry at least once a day, sometimes more. Looking back, I think it was fear, but it could have had a little bit of nervous pride in there. This was the first thing I have ever signed up for and stuck with until the end. I registered for a marathon and only ran half. I had signed up for an Olympic distance triathlon, only to pull out. This was a huge commitment and seeing it through to the end not only gave me the confidence that I really can do anything that I put my mind to, but that my mind is stronger than my physical body. When the race got tough, I didn't give up. And when I say tough, my body hurt a little bit, but it was my mind that was telling me to quit. My mind was telling me that I didn't have anything to prove, that I gave it a good run, that it was ok to lay down on the side and snooze for a few minutes... but I put one foot in front of the other and finished.

When I ran into town where hundreds of screaming supporters were cheering for us athletes, I smiled. I had one mile left until I was an Ironman. When I ran into the Speed skating track that was used in the 1980 Winter Olympics and served as the finish line for the Ironman, my eyes started welling up. Bruce Springsteen "Born to Run" was playing over the loud speakers and I saw familiar faces of friends and family. When Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, said "Hilary Phelps, from Baltimore Maryland, you are an Ironman!" I let it all go. I let go of all of the fears that I wouldn't finish, all of the anxiety that I was going to fail and all of the unnecessary expectations that I had put on myself to succeed. My mom, sister, niece and brother were all waiting just past the finish line and I ran into their arms and cried. My mom put the finisher medal around my neck, wrapped me in the silver foil and my brother gave me an M-dot pinky ring that they had all picked out. We laughed, because my hands were so swollen from the 14 hour race, that the ring didn't quite fit!

As I write this, sipping coffee from my Ironman mug and proudly wearing my M-dot ring (which now fits perfectly!) I smile thinking about my accomplishment, although I'm still not quite sure that it has all sunk in. I still look at the experience and think that it wasn't all that bad, it didn't hurt that much and anybody could go out there and do it if they really put their mind to it. Maybe it's because I think everyone is a star in their own right, that everyone deserves to feel the elation and joy that I felt as I crossed the finish line and the old adage, that when you put your mind to something, you really can accomplish anything.