Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fantastic News!

Tofu Scrambler is Back!

Dear Jen,

Tofu Scrambler

It’s back! Fantastic World Foods Tofu Scrambler is now in stock.

Due to a stunning number of requests from devoted customers like you, we have reintroduced Tofu Scrambler. Now you can greet your day with a healthy breakfast entrée of tofu scrambled with our blend of mild spices and vegetables. Paired with a fresh fruit salad, or whole-grain toast, Tofu Scrambler is a delicious addition to your morning.

To celebrate, we’d like to extend a special offer – FREE shipping! Just visit and spend $15.00 on any combination of our products, and we’ll cover all of the shipping costs! Use coupon code SCRAMBLER at checkout.

You can also help us bring Tofu Scrambler back to the shelves of your favorite store. Talk to your local store managers, show them the Tofu Scrambler box, to let them know you’d like to be able to buy Fantastic World Foods products at their store!

Thanks for your patience, loyalty and support. Happy eating!


You have to love it to understand... a nice, warm tofu fritatta.. Mmmm... I've been without for so long it was driving me crazy. I tried to make my own version one time with nutritional yeast and some spices and it was awful. I thought maybe just the dozen or so stores I've been checking decided not to carry it, so I went online to see if I could order a case. (Desperate times calls for desperate measures!) It was there, about two months ago, that I saw they would start carrying the Tofu Scrambler again starting in September. I was so excited.. that I signed up for their email list so I could be notified when it would be back on the shelves.

I can't wait.

Eye opening experience

I try to be mindful of what I use and what's done with it when I'm using it. As a kid, I grew up spending my Saturday's stomping milk jugs, flattening aluminum cans, and sorting pop cans for recycle and return ($0.10/ea.. woo hoo!). Now, I try to remember to bring a few cloth/tote bags when going grocery shopping, or reusing any plastic/paper bags from the time before. I've been giving away books, dropping off clothes in the Planet Aid bins, recycling my old desktop via Staples, reusing sandwich and snack size baggies, and donating 'gently used/worn' clothes and other goods to summer yard sales. Minor things, but I feel like I'm doing some good.

Last weekend was my first trip to the Ft. Totten Trash Transfer Station.. aka "the dump"

It wasn't what I was expecting.. let's just start off by saying that. I guess I'm used to the recycle centers I've been to where you pull up and you're above the bin you need to toss in your papers, glass, or aluminum separately, and there's a separate area for other 'stuff' you want to discard. Not so much here. We pulled in next to the Penske moving van that was tossing box after box. We tossed in our handful of broken down boxes that we hoped we could recycle, as well as a busted lamp, computer table, mop, foam pad, and faux Rubbermaid container that had all seen better days.

And I felt guilty.

Driving away, there were more cars like ours (albeit pricier and better looking ;) doing the same thing. There's more stuff I want to get rid of. I've posted a few items on Craigslist with little response and have started looking into Freecycle. There's a lot of clutter in our place and I continue to downsize every week. I thought I had donated enough clothes, but there were more in my drawers and closet I could bear to part with.

I hate wondering what happens to the mound of boxes and box springs and clothes that are tossed without question onto the ever growing pile.. awaiting the backhoe that will grab them and dump them into the back of an 18 wheeler.. one of many that line up along John McCormack Rd.

I try to do my part, to keep from trashing, from dumping what I use, but I know what I'm putting out there. I don't know if there's any way to feel less guilty about it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Given the money.. what would you do?

Ever put of traveling or trying something new because of work commitments, time constraints, or money?

I have no excuses now.

My company just announced their Dream Grant Experience program for the year.

What: $1,000 grant (one per quarter) to be used individually and $5000 grant (one per quarter) to be used with a team of other employees (minimum of three people). Each "experience" is to be completed within 12 months of date of the Dream Grant. To help you get started on your Dream Grant Experience, think of going on an adventure, helping others or just a wild idea!

Why: As you know, building a great company is about building great, well rounded people who aren’t afraid to dream about what is possible. It is our hope and belief that these Dream Grant experiences contribute to the development of innovative, determined, adventurous, curious, well rounded employees. It is this kind of high quality staff that will continue to help our company achieve its goals.

Who: All full time employees.

I find myself day dreaming.. scrolling through the Adventures section of the REI website. I think of section hiking part of the AT, climbing Mount Rainier, doing the AIDS/Lifecycle Ride.. or my favorite.. Badwater 135. One coworker suggested that a group of us (somehow) run across the US. I'm not sure I want to spend that much time with my coworkers.

The adventures I have in mind are all athletic pursuits. I am healthy and want to take advantage of that.

Ideas are welcome.

EDIT I have an aversion to clowns. Maybe going to clown school will help me get over that.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Dream a little dream

It's been over two weeks since I've done any sort of working out. Well, I walk a lot to/from work and I always take the stairs. And when I'm in the bathroom, I always do push-ups.. not on the floor, that's sick, but against the counter.

So I've been mentally planning out next year.. I've been day dreaming about my race schedule, which will be similar to what it was this year. I made great strides this year and my times improved dramatically as I met and surpassed goals at the 50k and 50 mile distance. I even conquered the 100 mile distance for the first time, crossing off "do a 100 mile trail run" from my "to do before I die" list. Of course, I've added 'do Badwater 135 in 2009 or 2010' and 'do Western States 100', but they've been on the list already. It's when I start to add dates next to items on the list, I know I mean business.

But it's more of a mental list right now. I conjure it up while noshing on (nearly) vegan chocolate chip banana bread. Like I said, it's been over 2 weeks since I've done much of anything considered athletic, and until then I'll just continue to think about it. It'll happen.

But I know MMT is creeping up on me. A lot of things are creeping up. Rugby starts the end of this month, a few weeks later I'll start my official training for the Philly Marathon, and then it's October and I'll make my annual trek back to Michigan for Bingefest 2007 (aka Homecoming), then the marathon, the new year, and before I know it I'm standing out back of Skyline Ranch at 5am. Wake me up.

I had a dream about MMT the other night. It was an urban setting though, but there were some of the same runners from MMT this year. I was getting frustrated because my motley crew wasn't ready. I was excited and ready to go, but no one was bothering to help. I approached the second aid station and spent way too much time there setting up my tent before leaving without any bottles. I was flustered that 7 yr old kids were running past me like I was standing still, and at one point, I was standing still trying to make sense of what was going on around me.

So I went for a run in the 6AM humidity Wednesday morning. It was around 3 miles, I don't know for sure. Slipping on my shoes, I wonder how in the world I ran a marathon 2 weeks prior on as much training as I had under my belt. One day I'll stop wondering so much and start doing.

My dreams will become reality, but until then, I'm going to keep sleeping. Don't wake me up just yet.

Monday, August 06, 2007

IMLP - Full Race Report

A few weeks late, but still inspiring! Okay, maybe not..

Looking forward to the race as far back as 2005 when I was at Lake Placid for the first time to spectate and train, I had high hopes for 2007. I knew I'd be participating at LP that year and it just so happened to coincide with my plan to do my first 100 mile trail run as well. I'd done two IM's within 4 weeks of each other back in 2004, so I figured I could do something similar this year. Heck, I'd have 9 weeks between the two events! So what happened? Life happened. I started getting involved in a new sport (rugby) and new relationships started to take my time and focus away from triathlons and training. Running was still a priority as the 100 miler was my main goal for the first part of 2007. I didn't want to short change myself there since I'd never done a race of that distance before. Having done four previous IM distance races, as well as having been to LP, I knew how to prepare mentally for the challenge, and knew what it would take to get myself to the finish line.

Pre-race goals were very modest as I figured I’d finish close to the 15 hour mark, however, my "ideal" goal was to finish with a 1.5 hr swim, 7 hr bike, and a 5 hr run. If I threw in a 30 minute buffer for transitions and any 'downtime', my finish would be closer to 14:00 with sub-13:30 benchmarked as my "bagger" goal. I had been in the pool maybe 2 times since early May, done 2 open water swims of 45-60 min each, and 1.2 miles as part of a HIM; I had done a 200 mile ride as my long ride, but the farthest I had biked aside from that was 56 miles as part of the HIM, and a few 90 minute to 2 hour rides on the trainer. Rarely did I ride outside, or use my tri bike. The run had been my focus, and after taking a couple weeks off from running after the 100-miler, I only did about 1-2 runs each week, with my longest run around 12 miles. Nutrition, to say the least, was less than stellar.

I arrived in Lake Placid during a downpour Wednesday and kept putting off any type of workout. Managed a 30 minute swim Friday morning in my sister’s sleeveless wetsuit (considered using it race day), got in a 30 minute ride Saturday morning (needed to ride it after getting a full tune up the week before), and I guess I could count running in the rain a whole 50 yards for a photo op on Friday my last run before race day. Needless to say, I was pretty calm and relaxed before the race. Saturday was spent getting my bags organized and out of the way, watching baseball, and figuring out my nutrition plan for the day. I had a Post-In note from 2005 when I rode the course, and pretty much went by that. I also guesstimated that I needed between 300-350 calories an hour (based on my MMT training) on the bike, and filled up 2 bottles accordingly - one to freeze for my bike special needs bag, and one to start with on the first loop.

Morning of the race, I had the same breakfast I'd been having all week – toasted bagel topped with peanut butter and a sliced banana. I drank a bottle of Gatorade when I walked to transition at 5:30am and downed a GU about 15 minutes before the start. I slowly waded into the water at about 6:50 and treaded water until the start. It was cool to see everyone around Mirror Lake, but it’s no Monona Terrace at IM Wisconsin.

Swim - the plan was to stay in the thick of it. I didn't mind the punch to the back of the head, the elbow to the left eye, or the elbow to the nose since it meant I was still in the mix and that others were pushing me along. The less I had to work, the better. I took the turn too wide and knew I was off when I was in way too much open water. I spent too much time getting back to the buoys, but did my first loop around 40:11, which was my split at MooseMan Half. At the start of the second loop, again, I wanted to be in the mix with other swimmers, but they were a little more spread out this time. I didn't take the turn as wide and exited the water around 1:24:31.

T1 – I ran. I didn't want to lollygag; I wanted to get to transition and on the bike. I was amazed at how packed the change tent was and how many people were putting on new tops, bottoms, or both. My bike was waiting at the end of the rack when I came out in 6:24.

Bike – After my 30 minute ride the day before, I had my race plan – work as little as possible. By that, I mean spin up the hills, stay relaxed, and try to avoid 'firing' (using) my quads. I trained at LP 2 years ago and we drove the course Friday, so I was familiar with the hills, turns, wind, etc. If I felt like I was going too hard, I backed off. I'll admit to getting bored at the start of the second loop even after seeing my cheering sections. Mentally, I didn't want to do the ride, and could tell the lack of long rides was hurting me. To get over this, I started telling myself "let's just see what's around the corner and see if you still want to quit". The out/back to Haselton wasn't as bad as I'd heard, but it was the section of 86 to High Falls Gorges that I wasn't looking forward to. I finally made it to and over the cherries and bears before gliding into transition and passing off my bike in 6:55:36.

T2 – "You don’t have to run," a volunteer said to me. I didn't listen. I wonder if they say that to the pros. My bag was handed to me and a volunteer helped me in a nearly empty change tent. I put on my race belt, shoes, and visor, while she applied Biofreeze to my knee, then sunscreen to my arms and thighs. I about kneed her in the face when she rubbed my thighs too hard and told her, "I'm a little sore". She meant well and was just trying to massage them to loosen them up. I thanked her before heading out in 4:09.

Run – the early cheers are great and I saw a handful of people I knew. It was nice the first loop and I enjoyed reading all the chalking and signs along River Road, but I was starting to hurt. I ran with a girl I knew for a bit on the way back to town, then stopped to hug my GF around mile 10 and inform her "I hurt" before continuing on. Coming up the hill to Main St., Dave Greenfield from Elite Bicycles recognized me (hasn't seen me since Eagleman last year) and said I looked good. I put up a front as I made my way past my cheering boss, her husband, and parents, and started the out/back section of Mirror Lake Road. It was a great surprise to see a friend spectating and drinking along this section as he reminded me of a time I didn't give him water at Wisconsin 2002. It's a story he loves to tell, which gets more outrageous every time, but it kept me going. I hit the half way point in 2:24 and knew I'd have to dig deep even though my feet and Achilles were hurting. I said my 'nice job' to those I knew on the first loop, and decided to put my head down on the second loop. When passing my cheering section, I announced "See you in 2:45, or less". I ran along the white line and tried to avoid looking up as much as possible since I didn't want to see what was ahead of me. I wasn't sure of my minute/mile pace; I just wanted to focus on moving forward at a consistent speed. It wasn't until I hit mile 22 that the thought of finishing under 13:30 crossed my mind. I didn't push the pace and figured "if it happens, good; if not, oh well". I saw my GF and cimit before making the turn onto Mirror Lake Rd and said I'd be close to 13:30. My friend along this stretch offered me a Saranac Pale Ale, but I just couldn't take it. He still owes me. I headed into the Oval, ignored the kid who told me "hurry up", saw my boss and her neon green signs for me at the turn and took her advice when she said "wipe your nose" (it was encrusted with salt), then checked behind me to make sure no entourages were going to ruin my finisher photo as I cruised across the line with a marathon time of 4:58:29.

Total time was 13:29:09.

It was a good race. I can't say that it was perfect or ideal, but I "raced" within my abilities. I know I expect a lot from myself and had hoped to do close to 12:30 when I signed up last year, but it wasn't meant to be. Even when that wasn't an option, I tried to stay with it mentally and just enjoy the race. Also, I started the year at 172 or 174 and weighed in at registration at a husky 170. How 'bout that.

I will start training for Philly marathon Sept 9th with a goal of getting my stand a lone marathon time (4:00:18) as close to qualifying for Boston as possible.

There are no guarantees, but I've come to realize that already.