Keep Moving Forward

If you had asked me a week ago, what my blog was going to be about, I would have told you it was going to be a race report on what I learned and experienced at Tri Fort Worth 70.3 triathlon. Unknown to me, Mother Nature had other plans for my Sunday, May 20th.

Going into the race, I had certain expectations for myself but also understood that 7 days before the race, I fell on my bike and was nursing my knee back to health. Fortunately, the fall was not at high speeds. I call it a “brain fart”…I was stopping at a light and thought I had unclipped from my bike pedal…well I hadn’t and down I went. Initially, it didn’t seem like a bad fall. I had about 20 miles left of the 40+ mile bike ride and figured everything would be just fine. As the training ride went on, my knee started hurting more and more. After the ride, my coach had us running, but when I tried, my knee was not going to tolerate the pounding. With Tri Fort Worth in 7 days and having way more pain in my knee than expected, I decided to take the week off from training. The focus became taking care of my body, icing and elevating my knee every night and I lived on anti-inflammatory meds till the day before the race.

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Fast forward 7 days to May 20th, my knee was still hurting but most of the swelling had gone down. I figured I would just take the race easy and everything would be fine. Michael and I woke up around 3am and were out the door by 4am. My mom and friend from Moldova, Alina, met us in the hotel lobby and we all headed out together (dark and early). Tri Fort Worth has two transition spots (T1 & T2); the busses were picking up athletes at T2 and shuttling us down to the swim start. We decided to ride the bus out to the swim start instead of drive due to being unsure of the parking situation. Michael checked his email for information regarding the swim being wetsuit legal, but instead he found an email about severe weather in the Fort Worth area. It was not raining on us but was windy. We got on the bus as scheduled around 4:30am. Then we proceeded to wait, and wait, and wait. The busses were supposed to constantly shuttle athletes and supporters from 4:30-5:30am, but we were not moving anywhere. Finally, a volunteer from the race informed us that there was severe rain at T1 and we were to stay put until the storm passed through as there was no shelter out by the swim start. It wasn’t until after 6:00am that they started the busses up and headed out. (An hour and a half sitting on a school bus was not as fun as one might think.)

As the busses headed out, all was going well and even though the morning had been a bit of an emotional whirlwind, we were on our way out to the race start and I was feeling good. I nodded off for a few moments and when I opened my eyes, we were heading back to downtown where T2 was…why were we heading back to where the busses picked us up? Well, our bus driver was having some navigation trouble due to road closures and got lost…athletes promptly got us back on track and we finally arrived at T1!

I thought, ok, smooth sailing from here…we got body marked, set up T1 with our nutrition and hydration and were heading down to the swim start. The race was scheduled to start at 7:00am. It was about 6:40am and Michael and I were getting ready to put our wetsuits on when we heard a race official come over the loud speaker. He proceeded to tell us to take shelter as the storms were coming again. A bunch of athletes took shelter in cars and under the medal roof structures (I know shelter under medal structures is not smart but that was the only thing there) until the busses returned out to T1. As we sat and watched the rain I stayed hopeful that it would be a fast moving storm and the race could continue. When the busses arrived, we moved from the medal structure to the busses and proceeded to watch as our bikes and gear were poured on and lightning was all around. Time passed, I continued to be hopeful. I thought, well at least I am spending time with Michael. Finally around 8:00am we were told that the race was canceled.

Processing all the emotions that morning was a bit taxing. I felt everything from wonder, confusion, unbelief, excitement, joy, hope and disappointment. We have never had a triathlon, bike or run race cancelled on us. Cap Tex was the only triathlon the swim was cancelled due to weather, but we were able to do the bike and run portion of the race.

This weekend, was a true test of flexibility and being able to Keep Moving Forward no matter what has been dealt to you. I was also reminded to embrace each and every moment because our future is uncertain.  Life is full of roller coaster moments and every day is a gift. Sometimes it does not go as we anticipate, but it is our responsibility to make the most and continue moving forward. Even though the weekend did not go as planned, what really mattered is that I got to spend priceless time with family and the man I love exploring a new city and loving every moment!

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The last image in this collage is of delicious coffee. On our way home from Fort Worth, we stopped in Marble Falls at this local coffee shop, Mojo Coffee. The service was great and the coffee was tasty!

Automatic Stress Reliever – One of My Favorite Things…

I’m not sure about my readers, but one of the struggles I have is that I carry stress in my shoulders and neck. There comes a point that the discomfort and stiffness will make it difficult to fall asleep. I typically wait until I cannot bear it anymore and then finally set up a massage to release all the tension. One of my favorite things is to go spoil myself with a massage!

When training for my first Ironman, I had immobilizing neck pain after long training rides on the bike. It would get so bad that by the end of the ride, I had a really hard time turning my head back to look for oncoming cars. That’s kind of a necessity when riding on the road. My poor husband gave me countless massages trying to just keep the mobility in my neck. When stress and training combine, the stiffness is even worse. It seemed like just as I found a masseuse that I loved, they would disappear. Finally, I had a friend and fellow Ironman tell me about Yolanda Guadiana (Yoli), from Pro-Health Therapies. She is AMAZING! She also has a partner, Cleo Ovalle, who is quite good too! The only reason I was able to maintain mobility throughout the intensity of training for two Ironman races was because of my one or two monthly massages by Yoli.

While I would LOVE to get a massage every week, my budget would not appreciate that. In order to prevent breaking the bank, I purchased a Shiatsu Back and Neck Massager off Amazon. It has been wonderful in between massages from Yoli. During Ironman training, I try to use the Shiatsu massager before all long bike rides and have noticed a significant increase in my neck/upper body mobility.

If you struggle with neck and shoulder pain, I highly recommend looking into a massager as well as going to Pro-Health Therapies! They will both make a world of difference.

I wanted to give a shout out to the best masseuses in San Antonio: Yoli and Cleo! Check them out if you are close to San Antonio.

Pro-Health Therapies (85 NE Loop 410, Ste 214, San Antonio, TX 78216)  phtmassage@yahoo.com, Tele: 210-375-4408     |     Fax: 886-381-5557  

For Nostalgic Sake

The recipe below is one of my family’s recipes. My grandmother loved to bake and she made the best ever banana bread. Is it healthy…not by any means…there is Crisco in the recipe.  In my opinion, it’s normal to occasionally have a special treat, and this is a special treat for me and my family. I love this recipe because it makes me think of my grandparents every time I make it and it tastes amazing! Both of my grandparents have passed and I miss them dearly. This blog is in memory and love of my wonderful Grandma and Grandpa Cooper. I hope you enjoy my Grandma Wilma Cooper’s banana bread recipe.

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Grandma’s Banana Bread
Servings: 30 (10 per loaf); Serving Size: 1 slice

Ingredients
3 cups white flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup Crisco
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons Mootopia
3 eggs
5 bananas, very ripe
1 cup pecans, chopped

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and Crisco and beat until mixture is blended.
  3. In small bowl, combine vinegar and Mootopia. Add to flour mixture.
  4. Add eggs to flour mixture and blend well.
  5. Add bananas to flour mixture and blend well.
  6. Add chopped pecans and blend well.
  7. Pour evenly into three greased loaf pans. Bake for 30 minutes and rotate bread to cook evenly. Cook for another 15-20 minutes until cooked through. Cut each loaf into 10 slices and serve hot.

Note: I often freeze bananas that are not “edible” to me and use them in the bread. If using frozen bananas, allow to thaw or microwave until slightly icy feeling. The texture of the batter seems to be thicker and cook better when the bananas are not completely thawed.

Note: I prefer to break the pecan halves into quarters rather than chop them into tiny pieces. It’s a texture thing.

Nutrition Facts: Calories 137, Total fat 7g, Saturated Fat 3g, Cholesterol 19mg, Sodium 50mg, Potassium 85mg, Total Carbohydrate 19g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 1g

 

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Neugebauer’s

Our special way to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a family was to go for our run! We were made for each other….that’s for sure! 🙂 Got a nice warm up and cool down with our sweet puppy, Emma, and then got the workout in per our Ironman training plan. Tri Fort Worth, here we come!

Now it’s time to relax, enjoy each our family and eat dinner!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Living Fearless

Over the years, many friends have encouraged me to start a blog. So today, I decided to take a stab at blogging. They encouraged me for a couple reasons. First, my husband and I have a unique story that many couples do not share. One thing that sets us apart is that sisters from my family, married brothers from another. Let me explain, I have one older sister and my husband, Michael, has one older brother. My sister and his brother got married, a few years later, God brought us together and Michael and I got married. The second, unique side to our story, is that we train and compete together in athletic competitions. Michael and I share a strong drive to train, compete and get faster/stronger/better in our sports. Third, I am a Registered Dietitian who loves to practice what I preach. My friends feel that I have some insight regarding food, health and fitness that others may be interested in reading about. Using my knowledge as a Registered Dietitian to enhance athletic performance has been very helpful in both mine and my husbands athletic adventure.

My husband and I have been competing in races since we were dating in 2004. We have competed in Spartan races, 5k to full marathons as well as 70.3 & 140.6 Ironman triathlons. Throughout our journey, we have faced fears, pushed through tough experiences, grown stronger as individuals and a married couple. You know what they say, “The couple that trains together, stays together.” In our case, training has been a huge part of our relationship.

In past experiences, I have learned, fear is one thing that can hinder success. Learning to face your fears and growing from tough times has and I am sure will continue to be a part of my life. In days to come, the focus of this blog is going to be all about living fearlessly no matter what you face! I will even throw some Dietitian stuff in here too…like some of my favorite recipes and nutrition tips. Enjoy!

Fearless God