Tag Archives: coach me

Advent 2013 Day 8 Lazy Sundays

Which for us means that we do the weekly long run sometime in the afternoon after a late breakfast (waffles today) and general lazing about for a couple of hours. So I ran 9 miles this week, all of them today. The Wife ran 23, a much more reasonable number and appropriately spread out throughout the week. Today’s run was nice, through fields, up over a couple of really tall overpasses, along the river and back through the scenic industrial park trail. Incidentally, that last is not meant ironically. They actually have set up a scenic walking/biking trail that borders on the industrial park and various fields and forests on the other side. It comes complete with informative plaques and scenic overlooks. We wore our matching bright orange hoodies and as usual got more than our fair share of smiles and waves. I actually look utterly ridiculous in it, especially when I’ve got the hood up, which I did for most of the run today.

I told you I looked ridiculous in it. This is immediately post-run being greeted at the door by Devil-Kitty

I told you I looked ridiculous in it. This is immediately post-run being greeted at the door by Devil-Kitty. The Wife likes the silly frizz halo that you can see escaping the dorky hood. What? My ears were warm!

Then when we got back, we had a typical lazy meal, made with chicken legs bought fresh from one of the poultry stalls at the weekly farmers market. They actually do taste better than the frozen ones from the store, even the organic ones.

Chicken Rub Chicken

No, this is not an order. Stop it, chickens! Ahem. Serves 2. These are great with a steamed vegetable and some mashed potatoes or baked sweet potatoes. We make this on days when we don’t want to think about what to cook.


  • 2 chicken legs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  2. Mix the spices on a small plate. Variation is encouraged – the only things that I always end up putting in are the salt, pepper, and paprika, so if you prefer e.g. cumin, curry powder, or chili powder, feel free to add that to the mix instead. But try the cinnamon at least once – it’s really excellent with chicken!
  3. With your fingertips, rub the spice mixture all over the chicken legs until they’re evenly coated and, for most given versions of spice mixture, red.
  4. Place chicken legs on a on a piece of aluminum foil with the edges folded up, and stick in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for about 25‐30 minutes. If you’re making a potato side dish, it’s a good idea to start the potatoes now – then everything will be ready together!
Today's Chicken Rub Chicken with mashed potatoes (and goat cheese instead of milk or sour cream) and some nice steamed snap peas

Today’s Chicken Rub Chicken with mashed potatoes (and goat cheese replacing some of the usual milk and sour cream) and some nice steamed snap peas

On today’s run, I listened to Paul Simon’s Graceland all the way through from start to finish and was reminded once again of just how excellent this album really is. I’ve been listening to Graceland for 27 years at this point and it still hasn’t gotten old for me.

Here’s Rhymin’ Simon singing it in 1991 at the Concert in Central Park (which I was at, at the expense of a final exam in physics)

And me at Graceland with my traveling companion in 1990 when we did one of those things that you can only do in the invincible stupidity of youth. We spent two months on the road as we drove off to look for America, New York to San Francisco by way of Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Austin, the Grand Canyon, the New Mexican desert, and the Pacific ocean.

Me and a friend, going to Graceland, 1990

Me and a friend, going to Graceland, 1990

And cat-hats are the latest trend, really they are. And they do wonders for keeping the ears warm.

Devil-kitty as fascinator. Many thanks to the Bloggess for the inspiration.

Devil-kitty as fascinator. Many thanks to the Bloggess for the inspiration.

Advent 2013 Day 7 No Bake Cheesecake

We were at the Christmas Market today, buying gifts and drinking Glühwein, thus the late and slightly slurred post. I failed spectacularly to run today, but I did manage to get to Aikido class. And I haven’t taken cough medicine in more than 14 hours so I think maybe I’m done with the cold. The Wife, however ran 14 miles so far this week and we’re heading out for a long run tomorrow, so she’ll have about 25 miles all together and I’m her coach, so I claim her miles. I can do that, right?

I’m also writing up one of her recipes that she made for me yesterday. So basically, this post is entirely the fault of the Wife, thank Santa that I have her to do the heavy lifting while I sit here hiccuping Glühwein in the catbird seat. Speaking of Thurber (who really did come up twice in today’s conversations) did you know that Ben Stiller’s making the Secret Life of Walter Mitty into a movie? The posters are everywhere here. I just wish it was an actor that I liked a bit better.

Anyway, I’m warm and full of Poffertjes (favorite Christmas Market food along with Dampfnudeln, Kartoffelpuffer, and big cones of freshly cut and cooked french fries. There’s a lot of carbs in Christmas in these parts.) and cheesecake and it’s getting late, so here’s the Wife’s Cheesecake recipe. It uses quark, though, which is nearly impossible to get in the US. I’ve scanned a bunch of websites and it seems that you can make your own or substitute mascarpone . Other than the finding of the quark (sometimes – according to a non-functioning web site – labelled as fromage blanc in the US, I have no idea how it differs from actual French fromage blanc, but it’s worth a shot if you can find it, I guess) this is a very straightforward and incredibly tasty recipe that involves no ovens.

Wife’s Cheesecake

  • 1 pkg hard cookies like graham crackers, shortbread, etc. (Use your judgement here. I don’t remember the weight of the package we used this time, but it was pretty small and yielded probably a cup or so of crumbs.)
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) melted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy (whipping cream) (150 ml)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream (150 ml)
  • 3/4 cup low-fat quark or mascarpone cheese (150 ml)
  • 4 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp coriander


  1. Crush the cookies in a plastic bag using a rolling pin, hammer, meat tenderizer mallet, baseball bat, or similar
  2. Mix cookie crumbs and melted butter and press firmly into the bottom of an 8″ x 8″ baking pan (If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that the last 3 recipes all used an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. That is because our kitchen is small and we have very few different size pans. Our 8″ x 8″ brownie pan gets a lot of use. It’s definitely not a unitasker! What’s a unitasker? Googling it gives you the wikipedia page for Alton Brown. He’s a cool guy. The answer is on that page somewhere.) using a piece of waxed paper and a bit of brute force. You can also use a slightly smaller pan to press it down for a nice, even crust.
  3. Whip the heavy cream until <S>it cries for mercy</S> it is fluffy
  4. Mix sour cream, quark, honey, and coriander together
  5. Fold the sour cream mixture into the whipped cream
  6. Spread mixture evenly over the crust
  7. Refrigerate at least two hours until set
  8. Eat and enjoy
Captain Dukie stands guard against nefarious cheesecake nabbers. Also, note our cool coffee table. It's a cheap IKEA model with a glass top where we've finally figured out what to do with some of our old race numbers!

Captain Dukie stands guard against nefarious cheesecake nabbers. Also, note our cool coffee table. It’s a cheap IKEA model with a glass top where we’ve finally figured out what to do with some of our old race numbers! (Also, now you know what the L stands for if you hadn’t already google-stalked any of my race results…

Why did I post this video? Were you paying attention to Alton Brown’s biography?

Until tomorrow, dear internet.

Season recap 2013

Well, it’s been most of the season and I haven’t managed to finish a blog post all summer or this first half of fall. Which is a shame because it has actually been a banner year for me. Let me explain; No it will take to long. Let me sum up:

So far this year to date I have achieved a PR in every race I entered. Every single one. Every distance, every race. It appears that Ironman training has been good for me on the whole. I escaped major injury (or rather, I trained well and listened to my body) and I finally got my iron levels to something approaching normal. I have no idea how long I’d been training and racing before this while being iron deficient. So thanks to my doctor for making me get blood drawn every three months and take iron supplements regularly.

Me doing my best impression of Daniel Craig as 007

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Oops, suddenly it’s mid-February

…and I haven’t posted my wrap up from last year yet or any of the absolutely fascinating things I’d meant to post from this year so far. I’ll try to be a better blogger in the future….

Only a month late, here’s my wrap –up of 2012:

2012 Year in Review

2012 was a great year in some respects, not so good in others.  It was my first full year of marriage to my wonderful Wife, which was great. It was also a year that I was sick with a pretty significant flare-up of Ulcerative Colitis and associated problems (like anemia) for most of the spring and summer, going into fall. So without further ado, here’s my 2012 race wrap up so that I can move on to the more fun posts like:

–       A pictorial of an exploratory run in Spain in January while German was covered in snow

–       My kitchen renovation – it is beautiful and efficient, let me show you it

–       How to succeed at swim seminars without really trying (actually that’s not true, I was trying as hard as my little arms could pull me)

–       The hash I’ve made of trying to make my own training plan for this year

–       Cinnamon buns of love

–       Chapatis – easier than you think

–       Lembas pancakes – healthy and cashing in on Hobbit-mania (maybe next will be Die Hard Donuts)

–       Eggplant chili

–       Weekly training updates

–       Why I have to be crazy to train for Ironman along with doing aikido three times a week.

–       But look, despite all the chili, cinnamon rolls, and chapatis I’m making in my beautiful newly redesigned, significantly more efficient kitchen, all this training is making me seriously buff!

All these and more after I finally get this wrap-up out of the way.

So then, in 2012 I raced in 5 triathlons, 5 running races, and did a few other significant things.

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Race Report : Der Höchster Kreisstadtlauf (10K)

Race report: Der Höchster Kreisstadtlauf 2012

OK so it’s been ages since I wrote an actual race report, so long that I’ve pretty much forgotten how…also, for me this race, just like the last few (that I failed to write race reports for) was a bit of a disappointment.

TL;DR version:  I ran, finished 2 minutes slower than I usually run 10K’s when they come at the end of an Olympic distance tri.  On the good side, the wife, whom I have started coaching, not only beat me, but she also PR’d by about 1 minute 40 seconds and this in a race with virtually no taper and no intent to “race” it.  So I’m doing something right, at least.

Excuses version: Was at the doctor 2 weeks ago for unrelated issues and during the course of the blood work, it was discovered that apparently I have iron deficiency anemia.  Significant enough that the doc had me in this week for an intravenous iron injection.  Which was on Wednesday, the day before the race.  So, it’s either the anemia that’s making me feel like utter crap every time my HR goes above the low 160’s (every time I put in effort, my heart rate went up, then I felt incredibly nauseous and had to back off) or it’s the iron injection itself.  Whatever, not my best day at the races.  Which was sad because the weather was perfect, the course was gorgeous and net downhill, and it ended in my hometown, 2 blocks from my apartment.  We only found out about the race about 2 weeks ago, signed up because of the convenience (Hometown race! YAY!) and the cheap entry and intended to do it as a training run (I was intending it to be a good tempo effort, which for me is about 9 minute miles.  It was only after looking at the profile and seeing the weather (much too cold in the early morning, but by the 10 AM start time, perfectly cool and sunny) did I realize it was PR weather on a PR course.  Of course, the whole anemia thing has pretty much trashed at least the first half of my season (at least 8 weeks from now before improvement, apparently significant numbers of my red blood cells have become tiny and wimpy and need some time to be replaced) so hopefully, the weather will be good next year as well.

So, started the race about 1/4 of the way back – about 1500 people were running, so this was a reasonable place to start and left us a perfect amount of running room right from the mat where we did not impact anyone by being too slow, nor did we have to slow down for anyone in our way.  Perfect.  After the first big hill, the whole race was on nice closed roads and (relatively wide) paved trails and all flat or downhill until the big 0.2 mile cobblestone hill it ended with.  It was during the first hill that my HR alarm started ringing off the hook (which may not have been entirely an error) and I discovered that any pushing of the pace made me feel sick enough that I thought I’d better slow down so as not to vomit on another runner or anything.  Maybe I’m a wimp for not wanting to puke in a 10K, but I did enough puking during high school track to last a lifetime, thank you.  First mile including the hill and the start was 9:13, not so bad, overall, considering.

After the second mile, 8:46 and all downhill, I realized that the wife (who is a lying liar who lies) didn’t want to hang out with me and have a nice run, but was feeling really good and wanted to race.  So I took a minute to convince her that leaving me wasn’t an act of spousal neglect on her part and she took off.  Or I slowed down.  Either way, it was a nice day, the crowds cheering and the crowds running were all happy, especially the group of fathers with their little wagon full of beer, and yes, they beat me, too.  (Aside:  yesterday was Father’s day here in Germany and that usually means that all the fathers take their kids’ wagons, load them up with beer and sausage and spend the day behaving as only men filled with beer and sausages can.  These guys did it in a 10K race, which was honestly pretty impressive and only slightly reminiscent of Bay to Breakers)

Mile 3 was 9:08 for me, stopped briefly at the water stop to try to get the feeling of about to puke out of my system.  It worked for a while.  Mile 4 (8:47) felt pretty good and had the added interest of containing the only run through a train station I’ve ever done as part of an organized race and from there we went into the chemical plant which is usually closed to visitors, so that was interesting.  They were playing some really nice techno/ambient music in one of the labs.  There was a nice photographer that I waved at and managed to get myself photographed (and posted on the local newspaper’s website (ok, I was only 1 of about 200 photos they posted, but still!)

Mile 5 was 9:26 and that was where I really had to take it slow to not puke.  Worst I’ve felt during a run since the last marathon and that was a totally different kind of awful.  This was mostly frustrating, rather than horrible.

The last mile we were back on streets and not only streets, but hometown streets.  It’s fun to run races along roads that I regularly run along!  I picked it up slightly and oddly was passing a lot of folks (maybe not that odd since they all had passed me in the last 10 minutes or so), but I was getting more and more excited for the wife because I knew that I was on pace to beat her PR by about 45 seconds or so and she was ahead of me somewhere.

The last 0.23 mile (hey, I ran decent tangents or something to be that close) took me about 2:10 to finish.  Did I mention that it was up a steep hill?  With hairpin turns?  On cobblestones?  I knew exactly what to expect and did start my sprint at exactly the right time and even though my pace seems ridiculously slow, I was still passing folks the whole way up that little hill.  So, I guess that running is still ok, but racing probably isn’t going to happen for a few more weeks, which may be a problem as a have a Tristar 111 tri in a month (1K swim, 100K bike, 10K run).

My mad coaching skilz version: The wife finished in 55 something, smashing her previous 10K time by almost 2 minutes.  She didn’t even look that winded at the end of it, either.  Apparently, she likes downhill races.  I am taking at least 1/2 the credit as I’ve been doing all the coaching for her lately and because staying with me for the first 2 miles forced her to not go out too fast like she usually occasionally does.  She also ran with another woman who was running with her coach and apparently it’s much better for her to hear advice from people during a race who aren’t me 🙂

Comeback kid version:  Check back next year!