Jun 18

6 17 2014

Jon

FOOD:

Breakfast: two ego waffles

Lunch: bag of cheese with crackers, half piece of pizza, fanta

Dinner: 4 chicken and steak fajitas from Taco Cabana

Snack: Sherbet

EXERCISE:

Played with kids at water park but taking a few days off for jock itch

Sandi

FOOD: 

Breakfast: none (had to be fasting for a doctor appointment this morning. I’m making sure I’m in good health before this race :)

Lunch: Peanut butter crackers, 2 oz cheddar cheese, multi grain chips, 1/2 oz string cheese, 4 Oreos, 1 cup lemonade

Dinner: 4 chicken and steak fajitas, 4 sopapillas

EXERCISE:

5 mile run with my two sister-in-laws.  It was very hot, but still ran 9:29 average pace.  Starting to get some blisters.  This morning we went to the water park and had a lot of fun chasing after the kids.  We just had snacks for lunch, and lots of water.

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Jun 18

How to Train For a Triathlon Without Spending a Dime (money saving tips for the poor triathlete)

Triathlons are expensive. In fact one of the first reasons people give me for not having run a triathlon is cost.  Unlike marathons where all you need are a good pair of running shoes, triathlons require a lot of gear.  And it is easy to keep spending on the top of the line tri products to make the race a bit easier.

Actual Cost of Triathlon Gear

The below costs are taken directly from Amazon.com and include middle of the road gear (not top of the line and not the cheap-o stuff) needed to begin training for a triathlon.

This brings the cost of simply buying the needed gear to begin training for a triathlon to $2060.  This is a huge amount of money.  Especially for someone who isn’t even sure that triahtlons are for them. Add to this the cost of gym memberships, pool memberships, and replacement parts and you are talking about several thousand dollars just for training.

Keep in mind this isn’t even the top of the line gear.  This is really just for the entry level gear to get you started out in racing. . . oh and don’t forget the $200 race entry fee (for a small unknown race).

Then you realize that every training plan you can find wants you to train for 3 or more hours up to 5 times per week and it quickly becomes clear that this is no joke.  If you are gonna train for a triathlon you are going to have to get a second job to pay for everything but you are also going to have to quit you day job in order to find the time and energy to actually workout and train.

young athlete triathlon in front of a sunrise over the sea

Don’t Fool Yourself – Gear Won’t Make THAT Big a Difference

It doesn’t have to be so expensive OR complicated. Only a very small percentage of racers will ever achieve elite status and of those who do only a small few will ever make money racing.

This guide is meant to introduce you to an alternative manner of triathlon training that won’t break your bank or make you neglect your family. Simply showing up to the starting line of a triathlon and then crossing the finish line is such an enormous accomplishment.

“If you set a goal for yourself and are able to achieve it, you have won your race. Your goal can be to come in first, to improve your performance, or just finish the race; its up to you.”

 

-Dave Scott 6 Time Ironman World Champion

 

 How To Train Without Spending a Dime

I will cover the money saving tips that I have found in my triathlon training in order of the events in the race. That seems to make the most sense and will allow for some organization in topics.

Swimming Tips

Swimming doesn’t have to be expensive right?  All you need is water and a suit.  Well where most people drop the most money is on a triathlon suit that is made of breathable moisture wicking material that dries quickly.  These suits also have a small pad in the butt to aid with the biking portion of the race.

The cost of these suits starts at about $60 for a Pearl Izumi, while not too expensive you can get a nice Speedo swimsuit, goggles, and swim cap for about $45 from a place like Academy Sports or Dicks.  To save even more money just use the suit you have in your dresser.

During the early stages of training you aren’t as concerned about speed as you are about just putting your time in the pool.

To get your time in the water use the summer to do your swim training.  We do all of our swim training in our neighborhood pool which is free to use (except for required HOA fees).  Most triathlons are in the Fall and Spring anyway so using the summer to swim works out perfectly as you can spend the hot months in the water.

If you don’t have a community pool use the city pool, a lake, or friends pool.  If you do end up having to pay to use a pool block out as much time as possible to get extended pool workouts in this way you can go less.  Rather than simply doing a 500m swim try doing an additional workout.  The goal is to simply learn how to swim while conserving your energy and to make sure that you can at least swim the minimum distance required for your race.

Remember the swim is the shortest (time and distance) portion of the race so don’t spend TOO much time stressing over it.

Swim Money Saving Tips:

  1. Use the swim suit you have
  2. Use a community pool
  3. Swim during the summer

Once the race day draws near and you are feeling much more confident on the swim portion then you can purchase a Tri Suit.  But waiting until you have had time to practice will help you feel more confident and give you time to save up for this purchase.

Biking Tips

So the bike portion of the race is where is become VERY easy to drop TONS of money.  A top of the line bike can cost well over $10,000 and it is almost impossible to buy an entry level tri bike for under about $1500.

I’m afraid it is the bike that keeps more people out of triathlons and that makes me sad.  I have admitedly been passed in races by individuals riding a $70 Wal-Mart mountain bike.  But it is human nature to think that if we had the tools the pros use than we will automatically be as good as the pros.

I admit: having a light weight bike and clip pedals does make biking long distances EASIER but it is not required.

To start training for a triathlon simply dust of the old Huffy bike that is sitting in your garage and hit the road.  You should buy a cheap helmet.

At this point in the game the trick is to simply put in the miles and get your body used to biking and sitting down for that long.  The bike portion of the race will be where you spend the most amount of time during your triathlon so it is important to not ignore your bike training.

Don’t rush out and get a new tri bike.  When Sandi and I upgraded to triathlon bikes we went first over to Craigslist and were able to pick up $1500 tri bikes for about $600 including shipping.

Prior to doing this run down to your local bike shop and have them fit you out for the right size bike.  With this number in hand hit up SEARCH TEMPEST which allows you to search Craigslist nationwide and start shopping.

If want to spend under $200 then check out your local WalMart or sporting goods store (yes, I am being serious).  You can pick up a nice road bike like the Schwinn Prelude for just over $100. Or this Victory Vision for about $200.  Obviously you will be sacrificing on quality and speed, but it will work fantastically for short races and training and will work as a great cheap tri bike.

Bike Money Saving Tips:

  1. Use the old Huffy
  2. You don’t need bike shorts
  3. Buy a helmet
  4. Check Craigslist, WalMart, and sporting goods stores

Run Tips

I remember when I was a kid and my mom would take us to Payless to buy new shoes before each school year.  I would put the new ones on and head outside to run and break them in.  Without a doubt each time I got new shoes I honestly thought the new ones made me faster. It blows my mind how MUCH money people are able to spend on running. All you need are shoes.  I think that:

If people spent as much time actually running as they did buying name brand running clothes they would all qualify for Boston.

 

Under Armor, Nike, Adidas, etc. . . are all made in the same sewing factory in Asia.  They will NOT make you faster . . . you don’t need them.

As far as shoes go it is important to get a running shoe that fits comfortably . . . BEYOND that – – – just don’t buy stuff you can’t afford.

>>Watch “Don’t Buy Stuff You Can’t Afford HERE<<

When it comes to running just slap your shoes on and begin slow just getting your body used to running and being on the road.

Run Money Saving Tips:

  1. Use your old shoes
  2. Hit the road
  3. Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford

Now is the Time – Run a Tri

There are always a million reasons not to run a triathlon.  When it comes down to it, for a lot of us finances is really just another excuse for something else . . . most likely fear.

You don’t need to be rich, retired, single, or even in perfect shape to sign up for an run a triathlon.  Just set a goal and be realistic with yourself.  Don’t expect perfection and just get out there and train and run with the gear that you have.

Do you have money saving tips?  Share them below \/\/\/\/\/\/

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Jun 17

6 16 2014

Jon

FOOD:

Smootie, CiCis pizza with the kids, spaghetti

EXERCISE:

Taking a few days off due to jock itch

Sandi

FOOD:

First day back to work after two weeks off.  Sad to say goodbye to the vacation, but glad to get back to a schedule.

Breakfast: 30 oz smoothie

Lunch: To brisket tacos with cheese and sour cream

Dinner: 2 hot dogs -very bad pre workout meal :(

Snack: 2 waffles with butter/syrup

EXERCISE:

It felt really good to push myself on a workout after a long weekend at the lake house.  Today I did 6 miles in about 59 minutes.  I did a 10 minute warm-up and cool down.  For 40 minutes I did 20 second sprints every 5 minutes of running.  It was a great workout and I was completely exhausted by the end.  I ran at 8:30 at night and it was still about 90 degrees F.  I came home and drank about 8 cups of water.  It is always a big challenge trying to stay hydrated during the hot Texas summers.

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Jun 16

9 Money Saving Tips in the Kitchen (How to Make Your Food and Money go Further)

Cooking for a family takes a lot of time and planning.  Add to that, it can be expensive to plan and buy food for the whole family.  These tips will help you save money and waste less food in the kitchen.

1. Freeze extra herbs.  Whether cooking for yourself or a big family you may find that you often end up with leftover herbs.  I love a little fresh basil when I am making spaghetti sauce, but you can’t just buy a few leaves at a time.  Several years ago I started chopping up the leftovers and freezing them in spare ice cube trays.  Just a hint, though, you may never want to use these trays for ice again.  Sometimes the flavors from the herbs stick around even after multiple washings.

2. Always use your fresh fruits and vegetables.  I love buying fresh fruits and vegetables, but sometimes things don’t work out as planned and they go bad before I get a chance to use them.  This always feels like such a huge waste of money.  Now I pay very close attention to the fresh items in my house.  First, I always put several fruit on display in the house.  They are more likely to be seen and eaten if in a basket on the counter or table.  Second, I move fruit that isn’t being eaten into the refrigerator.  If we still don’t use it there are a couple options.  Cut up and freeze for a smoothie,  blend up and dry for fruit leather, chop up and freeze for use in muffins, pancakes, or waffles.

3. Homemade freezer waffles.  Instead of buying frozen waffles make a bunch at once and freeze leftovers.  Reheat in the toaster when ready to use.  This can also be done with pancakes.  It is a great way to deal with leftovers, and it is less expensive and healthier than buying the pre-made waffles.

4.  Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season.  Fruits and vegetables usually go on sale when they are in season.  During the beginning of summer strawberries will be on sale, but the rest of the year they will likely cost 4 to 5 times the sale price.  This is the same with peaches, mangos, and more.  Not only does this impact price, but it impacts flavor.  Green beans always look and taste the best when they are in season.  Your family may be more likely to eat the sweet cherries during the summer, then the bitter ones offered during the off season.  Bananas and apples are great fillers as they are usually a very good price all year round.

5. Find creative ways to use leftovers.  During a recent move we ended up eating pizza every day for a week and still had a lot of leftovers.  None of us wanted another bite of pizza, but I didn’t want to waste it.  I found a fun recipe online for pizza lasagna.  I made it up and stuck it in the freezer for a busy day meal.

6. Freeze leftovers.  When there are too many leftovers around and you are worried some may go bad, portion into little meals and freeze on a paper plate with a plastic bag around it.  It makes a great freezer meal later when needed.  In small portions it is easy to reheat in the microwave.

7. Plan ahead.  Make sure you know what you have at home before heading to the store.  This is particularly important for perishable items.  Do a quick inventory check and make sure to buy what you need.  For pantry items that don’t go bad as quickly try to buy when on sale, and buy extra.  The next time you shop you can skip that item, and try to buy it again next time it is on sale.  This saves money and also saves time.  If you do this regularly you will find that you are buying larger quantities of fewer foods.  This saves a lot of time as it is easier to pick up 5 cans of soup then to pick up 5 different items.

8.  Leftovers on the plate.  If you frequently have a lot of leftovers on your kids plate try serving up smaller portions.  It is easy enough to give them more when they ask, but a lot harder to take away extra after their sticky hands have mashed half the food up.  Don’t ever go so far as to not offer foods they don’t like.  It is always beneficial to offer at least a little.

9. Freezer meals.  Making meals ahead of time and freezing is a great way to prepare for life.  Homemade freezer meals cost less and give you control over ingredients.  It is great to have them around the house on really busy days.

 

I love to spend time in the kitchen, but I like to make sure that I am staying on a budget.  I am careful with the food around the house to make sure things don’t go to waste.  I try to make sure to use everything we buy.

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Jun 16

6 15 2014

Jon

FOOD: The past few days we have been on vacation and today was Fathers Day (happy fathers day to me).  So given this I have been eating a bit unhealthy.  Today we had steak, macaroni salad, sodas, ice cream, cake, etc.  On the vacation I didn’t eat too terribly except that I had a good amount of rootbeer, and chips, and sun flower seeds.  It was a nice vacation . . . but I could have eaten a bit healthier. EXERCISE: Yesterday I swan about 400 meters in the open water at the lake that we went to for vacation.  It was a reminder that I need to do a couple more open water swims prior to our Half Ironman in a few months.

Sandi

FOOD:

Breakfast: 3 biscuits with gravy, 1 biscuit with butter and jam.

Snack: A few nutter butter bites

Dinner: Steak 6 oz, 1 cup pasta salad, 1/2 cup watermelon, 1 corn on the cob

EXERCISE:

Today was a rest day. We just got home from the lake house today.  What a great trip.  Now back to our regular schedule.

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Jun 15

6 14 2014

Sandi

FOOD:

Breakfast: 4 Eggs, 3 pancakes, 1/2 slice of turkey bacon, 1/2 cup watermelon/grapes

Snack: tangerine

Lunch: 1 cup spaghetti, 2 slices garlic bread, 1/2 cup green beans

Snack: 2 choc chip cookies

Dinner: 2 oz steak, 3 oz chicken, 1/2 cup potatoes, 1/2 cup broccoli, 2 chocolate chip cookies.

EXERCISE:

We did an open water swim in the lake today.  There were some kayaks so we took turns kayaking out with the swimmer to make sure all went well.  I estimate that I swam about 800 m out in the lake.  I lost one of my ear plugs at the beginning and tried to find it without any luck.  I guess its good it happened now instead of during the race.  Oh well.  Once I got back in the grove things went well.

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Jun 14

6 13 2014

Sandi

FOOD:

Breakfast: 30 oz smoothie

Lunch: 1 hot dog, 1/2 slice pizza

Snack: 10 nutter butter bites, 1 string cheese, Doritos, rice krispie treat.

Dinner: 1 hot dog

EXERCISE:

This morning Jon and I went to the pool and I swam 800 m. I did 100 m of sprints in the middle.  Tonight Jon and I drove up to a lake house a couple hours away with some family and friends.  I am excited to try an open water swim tomorrow.

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Jun 13

8 Pool Games for Kids and Toddlers

What would summer vacation be without the pool?  When I think back on my childhood and the summers between each new school year my mind is full of memories spent in the pool. Kids love playing in the water and love being in the pool.  Our kids can play in the pool every day and here are some fun pool games that our kids enjoy playing.  For other outdoor activities for kids read this here.

Swimming is the perfect way to encourage kids to explore outside and to put down the ipod and TV remote.  Getting in the pool is fun for the child and promotes healthy activity with the child even knowing they are working out.  Added bonus for parents . . . it’s a great way to work on your tan and stay cool in the hot summer months!

  1. Marco Polo – obviously a list of summer swimming pool games for kids would be incomplete without including the classic game of Marco Polo.  If haven’t ever played . . . it’s simple.  One person is chosen to be “it”.  They must close their eyes and count to 10.  They then keep their eyes closed and start moving around the pool searching for the other players saying “Marco” to which the other players must respond with “Polo”.  If a player is underwater when Marco is said than they do not have to respond.  “It” must find the other players with their hands and when another player is found they become “it”.   Other variation include allowing players to step out of the pool.  “IT” can say “fish out of water” and if a player is out of they pool they become “it”.
  2. Torpedo – I love this game!  Again a player is chosen to be “it” they stand on the other side of the pool with their back to the other players.  Each player picks a number from 1 – 5 and IT says “Torpedo 1″ or 2,3,4, or 5.  If they call a number that a player has selected that player tries to swim across the pool without the “IT” hearing them.  If IT turns around and sees a player moving they try to catch them before they get to the other side of the pool and become IT.
  3. Colors – this game is very similar to Torpedo except that IT stands on the same side of the pool with their back to the other players.  IT calls out colors.  If they call a color that a player has selected that player begins to swim quietly across the pool trying not to be detected by IT.  If IT turns around and notices the player swimming, they try to catch the player. If IT turns around and no players are swimming they must take a step away from the pool.
  4. Animal Jumping Game –  this is a really fun game tat I haven’t really ever seen anyone else play. It is very simple. Players line up outside the pool and jump in one at a time.  Once they jump another player in the pool calls out an animal.  The player who is jumping must try to mimic that animal prior to landing in the water using their best acting skills. It is a pretty hilarious pool game that kids of all ages can enjoy from about 3 or 4 years old up to adults.20140613_101718-e1402688212406
  5. How Long Can You Hold Your Breath? – this swimming pool game is best for kids about 5 years old and up.  You simply get in the pool and have everyone go under the water and try to hold their breath longer than everyone else.  The last player to come up out of the water is the winner.  Make sure that kids who play are not afraid of water and wise enough to come up before they get too out of breath.
  6. Diving For Treasure – this summer pool activity is pretty easy to play you just need swimming pool or diving rings for kids to jump in a gather.  Anything will really work for this, but you can buy them HERE. You just toss the rings in the pool and kids go after them.  The child who gets the most rings is the winner.
  7. Whirl Pool – Wave Pool – kids love this game – they simply move around in the pool or jump up and down to create waves after a couple minutes especially if they use pool noodles or other floaties. I used to love playing this every summer in my parents pool as a child growing up in California.
  8. Noodle Joust – just buy a couple pool noodles for a couple bucks HERE toss them to the kids and let them wack each other. Obviously this game is best for older kids who are used to playing a bit rough.

Other fun pool games include races across the pool, hand stand contests under water, basketball or water volleyball, and playing tag or chase.  We used to play freeze tag in the water and to get unfrozen you had to swim under the frozen persons legs. Another fun games for older kids is belly flop contest. . . not for the faint of heart but a LOT of fun!

What pool games did you used to play or what games do your kids love playing?

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Jun 13

6 12 2014

Jon

FOOD:

Today was kinda an off day.  We had plans to go to an amusement park but when we woke up it was raining and kinda gloomy outside so our entire plan got thrown off. So because of this our food and workout got thrown off too.

Breakfast: McDonald’s breakfast burritos, hash brown, Dr Pepper

Dinner: Torta Al Pastor from El Grande Burrito

I’ll probably have a little snack today too.

EXERCISE:

Today was really a rest day after our long workout yesterday.  We went for a couple long walks and played tennis but didn’t do any REAL workout. I also went swimming with Taz . . . and he swam 100 m on his own . . . it was pretty amazing!

Sandi

FOOD:

Breakfast: McDonald’s big breakfast, eggs biscuit, sausage, pancakes, hasbrown.  Shared some with my daughter, but ate most of the breakfast myself.

Lunch: 2 pieces of toast with butter and jam

Dinner: Chicken Nachos from El Grande Burrito – Very good!

Snack: Coldstone Ice cream – large

EXERCISE:

Today was a recovery day – no workout

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Jun 12

6 11 2014

Jon

FOOD:

I don’t recall everything that I ate yesterday.

Breakfast: toast, smoothie

Lunch: spaghetti, string cheese

Snack: Jamba Juice

Dinner: I don’t remember

EXERCISE:

20 mile bike ride on the Bluebonnet Trail

Prior to going for the bike ride we went wake-boarding which really wore me out pretty bad

Sandi

FOOD:

Breakfast: 30 oz smoothie

Snack: Fruit leather

Lunch: 15 Nutter Butter bites

Snack: Jamba Juice smoothie 24 oz

Dinner: Bowl of spaghetti

Snack: Brownie and ice cream with caramel sauce

EXERCISE:

This morning we got up and went boating with my dad.  Jon and I both went wake-boarding, which was a great workout.  We then went on a 20 mile bike ride.  Despite my already sore legs and shoulders the bike ride felt good.

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