Amaranth

Last night I cooked up some amaranth grain so I could have it on hand ready to go for morning hot cereal. It’s easy to make: 1 part grain to 3 parts water and simmer about 20 minutes. This is a very nutritious whole grain, in fact, it contains all of the essential amino acids (often lacking in most plant-based foods).  It’s a great source of fiber and provides 20% or your iron needs and 8% calcium. This is a great grain to include in any dish, whether it be hot cereal or added to soups and casseroles. With a carbohydrate to protein ratio of about 4:1 (32gm carb and 7gm protein per serving) it makes a nice addition to any athlete’s post workout meal – carbs for glycogen recovery, protein towards muscle repair and synthesis. Being a vegetarian athlete myself I’ve been especially focused on protein and whole foods quality and this is a great addition. This morning I re-heated a 1/2 cup portion and added some slivered almonds, dried cranberries and a bit of soy milk. It’s a hearty, tasty and nutritious meal; and since I cooked up some extra I’ll have more on hand through the week – ready to go.

My goal: TRIATHLON

So it’s 2012 – I’ve decided for my goal this year it’s going to be to train for and complete at least 1 triathlon. I’ve done the biking before, I’ve done at least some jogging, I know how to swim . . . so why not?  Well, I must say this triathlon idea kind of came out of left field for me. Yes, I’ve been pretty active (doing Insanity and other home based interval conditioning programs), completed the Couch to 5K training program last spring (highly recommended!) and completed 2 Warrior Dash races. But I’ve never done everything together in one event!

Well I’m one to give myself a challenge to reach – and I love the physical ones. A couple years ago I decided to buy a road bike and get into that. I found a great group of folks locally (Gus Bike Shop) and weekly women’s group rides in the summer – I completed a 50 mile ride event and the next summer completed a 100 mile ride. So now the challenge – conditioning with swimming, group swimming, transitioning from one to the other in the same event and proper sport nutrition – vegetarian style. Since deciding to do this goal I’ve made some great connections – found a local triathlon club, met some like minded folks, signed up for some Master Swim classes, found some great vegetarian sports nutrition connections and more. I love learning all these new things!

While I’m still in my 40’s I know I’m not getting any younger!  The more the years are blessed on me the more grateful I am for what I’ve had and what I still could do if I just choose to do so. I lost my Dad less than a year ago.  It’s all got me thinking how important it is to embrace life and all the gifts in it; to do your best with what you have now, and to keep a positive outlook. THIS is one of the biggest reasons I’ve decided to take on this triathlon challenge, and I do this in honor of my Dad!  So here goes the learning, the challenge, the courage and the fun. This is going to be awesome.