In the fall of 2013 I "retired" from being a professional triathlete to taking on a life that did not resemble - swim bike, run, sleep, eat - or a sequence of that. I have lots to say as to how hard, wonderful, exciting that transition has been and how I am finally on the other side of it! I will start another blog with my new journey soon... but until then enjoy the history of what I have learnt through this incredible sport.
I get it. There is nothing quite like biting into a slice of warm white bread that has a layer of butter on top maybe with some Hornby Island Blackberry Jam. The crunchy exterior and chewy interior just melts in your mouth... I salivate just thinking about it. To really appreciate this moment though is to keep it for special days and with special people. For all the other times we can choose healthy and delicious options that provide the nutrient density we want to live energetic and healthy lives. Here is what you need to know about buying and eating bread.
Whole Grains are an important source of fiber, are low in fat and contain vitamins and minerals. Whole grains contain all three parts of the kernel. The bran, or multilayered outer skin of the kernel; the germ, which contains B vitamins, some protein, minerals and healthy fats; and the endosperm, which contains starchy carbohydrates, proteins and a small amount of nutrients. Examples: Rolled Oats, Brown Rice
Refined Grains are whole grains that have had the germ and the bran removed. Whole grains are superior to refined grains because refined grains have had significant amount of the fibre, vitamins and nutrients removed. Examples: white rice, white flour, cream of wheat.
Whole Wheat Flour: Under Health Canada regulations, up to 5 per cent of the wheat kernel (approximately 70 per cent of the germ) can be removed and the resulting flour can still be called whole wheat. Food manufacturers can thus label bread 100-per-cent whole wheat even if they have removed most of the nutrient-packed germ. The germ is mostly removed because it contains polyunsaturated fatty acids which, if not removed, decrease its shelf life.
Sprouted Wheat Grain: Sprouted grains are nutritiously superior to whole wheat flour products because of the lack of processing of the grain and potentially, the increased bioavailability of nutrients. Some of the known benefits include: increased digestibility, increased absorption of minerals, increased antioxidants, and increased vitamin C and vitamin B. They are higher in fibre, riboflavin, folate and thiamine than their conventional counterparts. Sprouted grains may also be less allergenic to those with grain protein sensitivities.
Labels to Choose: Whole Grain, Sprouted Grain
Products may be made with or consist of little or no whole grains: multigrain, whole wheat, unbleached flour, wheat grain, multigrain flour, or organic.
Gluten Free, Vegan, Brilliant
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup / 135g sunflower seeds
½ cup / 90g flax seeds
½ cup / 65g hazelnuts or almonds
1 ½ cups / 145g rolled oats
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks (3 Tbsp. if using psyllium husk powder)
1 tsp. fine grain sea salt (add ½ tsp. if using coarse salt)
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
3 Tbsp. melted coconut oil or ghee
1 ½ cups / 350ml water
1. In a flexible, silicon loaf pan combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Smooth out the top with the back of a spoon. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight. To ensure the dough is ready, it should retain its shape even when you pull the sides of the loaf pan away from it it.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C.
3. Place loaf pan in the oven on the middle rack, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove bread from loaf pan, place it upside down directly on the rack and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool completely before slicing (difficult, but important).
4. Store bread in a tightly sealed container for up to five days. Freezes well too – slice before freezing for quick and easy toast!
From My New Roots, Sarah Britton
Over the weekend, Clint Lien and I held a very successful swim camp. Part of the swim camp was a full breakfast and nutrition seminar. The home-made granola I made was a hit! So for all to enjoy here is the recipe!
Home-made granola with fruit and yogurt
4 Cups rolled oats
1 Cup raw nuts
1 ½ C shredded unsweetened coconut
¼ tsp sea salt
2 tsp cinnamon
(Optional ingredients to add: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, wheat bran, sesame seeds)
1/3 Cup honey or maple syrup or agave nectar
4 Tbsp coconut oil (warm to liquid)
1 Tbsp chia seeds soaked in 4 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
Dried fruit options (add only AFTER baking): Cranberries, dried cherries, apricots, dried blueberries, Fig or date and walnut combo is delicious
1. Mix dry ingredients together and mix wet ingredients together.
2. Coat dry ingredients with liquid
3. Bake in oven at 350 for approximately 30 minutes stirring every 10 minutes
4. Once cooled slightly add dried fruit.
Note: If you want more crunchy granola, add more sweetener.
I was working with an athlete and we were looking to improve his nutrition between his morning and early afternoon workouts. He needs the energy but is concerned with feeling full and digestion. The Perfect Smoothie is the answer. Tons of necessary carbohydrates to replenish glycogen stores, protein to re-build cell structure, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties - this is the bomb.
Note: Pic is not mine but link is to a rather interesting kale, melon smoothie with coconut water. Sounds good after a hot afternoon ride... hmmmm.
The Perfect Smoothie:
1 Cup Milk / Unsweetened almond milk (Protein, Calcium)
1 Scoop protein powder (approx 20g protein)
1 Tbsp – Chia Seeds (omega 3s, protein, some electrolytes)
¼- 1/2 Cup blueberries, strawberries or blackberries (antioxidant, vit C & K)
1 banana (potassium)
1 large handful spinach or kale leaf (ribs removed) (phytonutrients)
1 Tbsp Coconut Oil (medium-chain triglyceride)
Sprinkle of cinnamon (antioxidant)
Sprinkle of turmeric (anti-inflammatory, antioxidant)
Sprinkle of pure raw cacao / macca (optional) (antioxidant, )
Salt (little bit)
Add water for desired thickness.
Protein Powder: Choose a pure protein without additives. Example: Whey protein should say 100% whey. Other options are rice protein, hemp protein, quinoa protein.
I am in transition again. I explain this to my friend as we meet at Meat and Bread off Burrard St. in Vancouver. I am going to try to be “normal” I say – job, boyfriend, get groceries on the weekend after a nice lazy Saturday morning. She looks at me and laughs. “Tenille, your life will never be normal.”
When I was seventeen I dreamt of going to the Olympics. I left home and moved to Calgary to train with the best in Canada. When all my peers were going to first year University, I took a retail job at the Eau Claire Centre. I had to pay my way to follow my dreams. That year ended up being my last year as a synchronized swimmer. Although it took 9 years for me to step my foot in a pool again, it was where a hunger for excellence began.
My boyfriend at the time comes back to Ottawa from Kenya. I tell him “I am going to do triathlon.” “What's a triathlon?” Exactly. What is a triathlon?
What they don't tell you is that a triathlon is not just a swim, a bike and a run. They don't tell you it is an obsession we call “a lifestyle”. They don't tell you that once you do one, you become addicted and there is always another. They don't tell you that it ignites dreams.
I moved to Ottawa thinking I would raise a family there – nice city, bilingual, good benefits with the government. On paper it looked right. Soon though I was learning what indoor trainer rides, zones and bricks were. I knew what it meant when someone asks what I put in my drink. They were not thinking vodka. I started to cut back on work hours. I moved from my nice apartment to renting a room in a house. The downsize began that final year in Ottawa. I had to give triathlon everything. I had to follow my dream again to represent Canada at the Olympics. I had to get to the start line with nothing less than my whole body and spirit. Every moment for the following three years was dedicated to being nothing short of the best I could be.
I learnt about sponsorship, building a website, blogging and how to really stretch a dollar. I watched and learnt what it means to train as an Olympic Champion, a 2xWorld Champion, and a Marathon World Record holder. I learnt about the 10,000 hours that Malcolm Gladwell says it takes to be an “expert”. I believe him. I learnt about nutrition, hydration, lactate thresholds, tempo, power and how to really read a heart rate monitor. I learnt how to live out of my car. I learnt to adapt to a new home every few months, how to live in a place and not wear out your gracious host. I learnt how to keep going after the races that did not go well, the injuries that set you back for months sometimes. I learnt how to push away the desire to sleep so I could get in the 3rd workout. I learnt to be selfish because that is what it takes.
For every dream is a village of support. My village spanned the globe – Ottawa, Austin, San Francisco, Courtenay, Vancouver, Iten, Brisbane, Boulder, Calgary. Every race I went to I stayed with homestays who quickly became family. My life as a professional triathlete was possible because I shared my passion, my dreams with others. It was not only my journey but the journey of all those whose paths I crossed and who supported me.
So I am in transition. I don't know whether I will do another triathlon at this point. What I know is that I am having those lazy Saturday mornings where I can wake up and think, what will I do today? I also know that swimming, biking and running is like breathing to me – an absolute necessary part of life.
Without the following people and sponsors, the past three years would have not been possible:
Sponsors: Specialized, Scody, Nineteen, GU, Computrainer, Compressport, Garmin, Rudy Project, Oak Bay Bicycles, Phil Stoneman, Rogue Running, Bicycle Sport Shop (Austin), The Cyclery (Ottawa), Peak Centre Coaches: Ken Brunet, Peak Centre for Human Performance (2007-2010), Zane Castro (2010-2012), Chuckie V. (2012 – June/July), Jared Hauschildt (2013 January-June), Clint Lien (2013 August/September) Medical/Massage: Dr. Taryn Taylor, Dr. AJ Zelinski, Rebecca Glennie, Ingrid Watermann, Kevin Trybalski, Allan, Kiplimo, Lysanne Lavigne Family and Friends: My mom and dad, Danielle and Cameron, my Homestays across Canada and the world, Farouk, Rob O, Stefani, Rebecca Mckee, Mark, Vicki, Noreen, Allison, Rebekah D, Jeff, Carolyn, Tony, Yona, Melissa and Jared, Anita and, Dan.
My Triathlon Career 2009-2013
I have finally found a new favorite! With dried bananas from Trader Joes, fresh dates in stock at Costco and a trip to Planet Earth to load up on Cacao nibs, I had the perfect combo of ingredients. Give this one a try. I am sure for those banana bread lovers, you will not be disappointed!
2 Cups finely chopped Walnuts
1 Cup Medool Dates (packed)
125 grams of Trader Joes dried bananas
1/2 Cup cacao nibs
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1 Tbsp Vanilla
2 Tbsp Chia seeds soaked in 6 Tbsp water
Pinch or two of sea salt
1) Combine ingredients in food processor. Start with dates and chopped nuts and add until very well combined the rest of the ingredients. This recipe is a little stickier than others I have tried.
Roll in some coconut flakes if you wish. Enjoy!
When preparing athletes for a race, I always ask the question "why are are you doing this?" If you don't know it becomes that much more difficult to get through the hard times in a race. So before I came to Branson I had to do some soul searching of why I wanted to toe the line there. It was not for money, glamour or to prove that I could do it. I went to Branson because I needed to finish my life as a full-time professional triathlete with a smile on my face, proud of all that I have accomplished and done in the past 5 years and to honor the work I have put into this sport.
Branson is a curious place. It is both a live show tribute to the old with Hollywood/Vegas billboard glamour and a desire to be what is new - boardwalks along the river and lovely cafes. The race takes advantage of what is new. The course starts at the beautiful Table Rock Lake. This place would be a paradise for those wanting to have a weekend camping, playing on the beach or hiking the trails. The water is very warm (82F) so an easy dip is possible. The bike course takes you up to highway 465 which is north west of Branson. This is where the fun begins. The highway which you get to do twice is closed to traffic. It is awesome pavement, fast descents, tough long hills and pretty cool as you go over numerous bridges over huge valleys of trees. The run is in Branson Landing which is located on the White River. You run first through the pedestrian only outdoor shopping strip, then onto the path along side the river and finally looping around a residential area. It is flat and just nice.
The race for me was solid. I started the swim strongly but never fully caught onto the Jennifer Speildenner's feet so ended up being out there on my own exiting the water just behind the 2 leaders. The bike was absolutely fun. I am not so into short steep hills but long ones at a 3-4% grade give me any day. After two mechanicals taking me off my bike twice I was passed by 4 girls. Bit of a bummer. When I finally got going again it was around 30 seconds back of Jessica Meyers. I told myself to go 10 hard, but controlled minutes to get her. And slowly at every ascent I would close the gap. At 5 minutes I caught her and together we set on a mission to catch the next group of girls which included superstar biker Rachel McBride. It took until the second lap to finally get them but we did and I have to say I felt great. It was amazing how different it felt from Vegas two weeks ago - different rider all together. The huge effort to catch the girls though did me in a little though as in the last 4 miles Rachel and eventual winner Radka gaped me a little.
The run was always going to be hard. My training has simply not been there to enable me to run like I have in the past. My body is telling me loud and clear to back off training and so I have. My strategy was to just go as best I can and then get through the last few miles with whatever I had left in me. The first lap felt pretty good and controlled. The second lap I held on but it was starting to hurt. The third loop I was passed by two girls in the final 2 miles and struggled to keep moving. But even through that I never lost sight of why I was there.
I finished the race with a smile. It was not a phenomenal performance but one that I still can be very proud of. I am very satisfied. And so that is a wrap for me. Today is the first day of the next chapter.
I would not have been able to do all that I have this year without my absolutely awesome sponsors:
Specialized; Nineteen; Scody; Compressport; GU; Garmin; Rudy Project; Computrainer, Oak Bay Bicycles
Two years ago at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Vegas I walked the last 6 miles of the course crying as I suffered an asthma attack. It was a turning point for me in many respects. I had been dealing with them often in my training in Austin and had got into a pattern of panicking when I went hard. My breath would go shallow, my throat constrict, my eyes went wide in fear and then relief from the inhaler to get air flowing again. Classic asthma. Always on the run. After it happened in Vegas 2011 I decided that I had to learn how to control my emotions better, practice relaxation, keep my breathing calm. I worked on it non-stop. Zane (coach) had me place a book on my belly just before I slept and work on diaphragm strength breathing in and out moving the book up and down. I visualized relaxing while running. I practiced and lessened the frequency of the attacks significantly. Last year I did not suffer one single attack at a race. This year has been a different story. The culprit in both cases – heat. Yesterday as I started the second lap I had an asthma attack again. Instead of walking/jogging the remaining 9miles or so I pulled out. I have nothing to prove. It was my second DNF in 7 years of racing.
The swim was one I am so very very proud of. I saw two years ago that Meredith Kessler and Leanda Cave had gone to the far left to start. They were out of the mess of the middle pack. I decided to do the same this year. My companions were Leanda and Melissa Hauschildt. Surrounded by greatness is a good place to be. I had the fastest start and most awesome swim. I led the way for the first half, was passed by Annabel Luxford and then Leanda and I sat on her feet. I came out of the water with those 2 women proving that I am one of the fastest women triathletes in the world. I'll claim that. It feels good.
The bike was solid for me. I was not the fastest, not the slowest but somewhere in between. I was passed quickly by women who would come in the top 12 of the race. They had gained some time at the beginning but Bree Wee and I reeled them in slowly coming off the bike only a minute or so behind. I had drank 3 bottles, consumed my 5 gels, was soaked from the rain but happy. I was still in the race and I felt just fine.
The run began and to be very honest I had no expectations. For the first time this season my hip was not hurting and I could run easily. To get to that point though I had to back off my run training significantly to get the inflammation down. I was not run fit to the level for which I needed to be at a World Championship race but I was there and that was good enough. I started with a smile on my face. My only goal – get to the finish. That couldn't be that hard right.... how many of these have I done? This year alone, seven. And so it began. Angela was just ahead and not running like she knows how. She suffered a panic attack. I wisely thought I know this so well. I got her running again, she struggled, we talked, I told her about staying calm, count I said, know how hard you worked to get here, stay calm. In the end finishing the race was not worth it for her. I get it. She has nothing to prove. We did do that lap together though. Starting on the second lap, I started to have troubles, going downhill, the easy part. I felt my airways constrict, started walking, stay calm I told myself, nothing to worry about. I walked and it kept coming. Nothing, absolutely nothing I could do. I saw Dan Smith, a friend from Victoria and I walked over to him. “I don't know what to do, I can't breathe, it's asthma” Of course there was nothing he could do. As I proceeded to get dizzy in the heat for lack of oxygen a total stranger offered me her inhaler. I took it. Two deep breaths. Relief. I was ok. Except I wasn't. I failed to finish the race.
The only difference this time from two years ago was the support I had at the race. My Dan was there. As I cried of frustration into his shoulder I was reassured that it was really ok. He was proud, everyone was proud of me. I know that my future looks different now. My priority to be racing among the best triathletes in the world is changing. We packed my bike, got into the car and began our journey into the Death Valley. By 3pm I was in another world, far from the race, disappointment, absolute elation that Melissa had won, Zipp discs, power, bikes, sweat, tears, gels and accomplishment. I was on what felt like the moon. After going through a flash flood that day closing the road, driving back through another storm, more flash floods, finding myself sitting in the Stovepipe Wells Resort Pub with a burger and beer, Dan sitting across from me, talking about the next adventure we have on the horizon, never felt so good.
What a day. Full to say the least. Hope, dreams, joy, frustration, elation, wonderment, satisfaction and love. I would have it no other way.
Welcome to my blog where I share my perspective as coach and experiences as an athlete. Enjoy!