As I am getting closer and closer to the 3 month mark before STP I am approaching things with both a degree of fear and optimism. Since setting my sights on the Monster Cookie Metric Century in April, I find myself with something of an achievable goal to go for. I know that this 62 mile ride will be achievable if I continue at the pace I have been going and it makes something of a milestone for me as I head towards those century rides (I am still hoping to do an organized century before STP).
Since I had my kids this week, though, I was unable to get in the amount of miles I would really like to. I have to wake up early and get in my morning interval training just so I can remain limber before getting back home and rousing the troops for another day at school or something. Then, on the weekends, I have to pray they sleep in a little longer so I can get out and get something in the 30 mile range in before they wake up and we start things for the day. Truly one of the most difficult parts of trying to get all the training in for this ride, as a single parent, is getting all the training in. It becomes somewhat impractical at some point to track with the training schedule when you have to make sure to get breakfast made for four hungry mouths. Squeezing in those 10-15 mile rides during the week and trying to do some hill work on the weekends is ultimately all I can muster, and regardless if it IS enough, it has to be enough.
I would be interested to see how other single parents manage training for this or other similar events (or marathons for runners or even triathlons). Trying to fit everything you can into a limited window of time really can be a lot to deal with. But, the end goal ideally will be worth it.
I have been reading more and more into healthy dieting and fueling up before a ride, after a ride, and just good snacks to have. There are literally hundreds of books out there that cover these issues that I have scratched the surface on, but I have recently discovered one that seems to be pretty promising that I picked up at Powell's this last weekend. The Feed Zone seems to be a great book with a lot of really interesting and easy recipes in it. I will be posting some of my favorites as I go along. For the last week, though, I have really been trying to use other recipes that I have found online along with some general information that I have located to make meals that are more healthy and diverse for my kids. Things that they might not typically have and makes them feel better at the end of the day.
One, that I made Saturday night is a Mediterranean Bulgur. A fabulous "salad" in a more abstract sense that was a real hit with everyone (recipe follows). It is full of flavor and highly filling. I suppose this could be made as a side dish, but it is so hearty, that it easily operates as a main course.
The other thing, and this is something of a happiness point for me, is crock pot oatmeal. As you know, I am a real oatmeal consumer, every morning, and the idea of throwing it in the crock pot before I go to bed to have it hot and ready in the morning seemed like a wonderful idea (recipe follows). Since I make breakfast for my kids every Sunday morning, this was a great way for me to be able to sit down and eat with them and provide a low sugar, nutritious meal full of vitamins.
1 1/2 cups of either cooked lentils or chickpeas
1 cup cooked bulgur
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tomato, diced
1/3 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup kalamata or black olives
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tsp fresh mint, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp dried dill
1 tsp sea salt
Pepper to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil (optional)
Let the bulgur and lentils or chickpeas come to room temperature. Toss all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Makes two servings, I would double it if you are feeding a family.
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup dried figs
- 4 cups water
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients and set to low heat. Cover and let cook for 8 to 9 hours.
Stir and remove to serving bowls. This method works best if started before you go to bed. This way your oatmeal will be finished by morning. This should be sweet enough for you, as well, but if it isn't, drizzle a tbs or so of pure maple syrup in there. If your crock pot doesn't have a delay timer, try using one of those Christmas light timers and plug your crock pot into that. That way if you go to bed early, like I do, the oats do not overcook.