365 Words A Day- Day #1

It’s funny how things work out sometimes.  I was just thinking today about all the great people I’ve met in life through triathlon, running, and sports from all over the country and world.  There was a core group many years ago that would blog on a frequent basis , and really played a pivotal part on my Ironman journeys, in my endurance racing, and some of these bloggers became like family to me.  We all had some really epic races, some not so hot races, some well prepared for, and some not so.  There was never an adventure we took lightly.  Whether together or solo we made the best out of every outing/race.  So for years we did a lot of blogging and bantering about triathlon.  Slowly as the years went by our kids got older, we got older, busier with life, and most of us have faced some hardships along the way.  But our love and kindness to one another, and their families’ have never wavered.

Tonight I got a notification that “Momo”, Melissa, had started a 365 Word A Day Challenge getting her blog up.  Soon we all hijacked her Facebook thread on this, say “hey…lets all of us do this”.  Let’s dust off the blogs and start at it, and if you don’t then let’s do Wildflower Triathlon”.  Yup…we are all educated people, but nothing fires us up like a good old bet.  So the blogs are coming alive again, and yes, we do plan on having a meet up.  Nothing specifically planned, as most of us have always felt that when the time is right, we will find the right race to be a part of.  I’ve got a lot of ideas, lots of ambitions on what we could accomplish, but patience is key.

I look forward to the group of us blogging on a regular basis.  We are all in different areas of the country, different professions, different family situations, but the one thing I know, this is a group that has enormous hearts, and are able to endure the toughest situations whether on a race course or on the journey of life.  Together we will accomplish many great things.


Soup Recipe

Here is a soup recipe that I’ve been talking to some people about.  Enjoy!

Gypsy Soup   

From: Karen Sonnessa

Recipe By: Mollie Katzen, “Moosewood Cookbook”               

  Serving Size: 4 Preparation Time: 1:30               

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil — up to 4T
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes — chopped & peeled (Or winter squash)                 
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped sweet peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 3 cups stock or water
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash cayenne
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

 In a soup kettle or large saucepan, saute onions, garlic, celery and sweet potatoes in olive oil for about five minutes.  Add seasonings, except tamari, and the stock or water.  Simmer, covered, fifteen minutes.  Add remaining vegetables and chickpeas. Simmer another 10 minutes or so – until all the vegetables are as  tender as you like them.               

NOTES : The vegetables used in this soup are flexible.   Any orange vegetable can be combined with green…for example,  peas or green beans could replace the peppers. Carrots can be used instead of, or in addition to the squash or  sweet potatoes, etc.







Vegan and Gluten Free Waffles

The boys have been requesting breakfast for dinner for some time now. So thanks to Hillary we scored ourselves a great recipe for easy vegan and gluten free waffles.

So this is what we ended up using:

-1 box of Bisquick gluten free pancake/waffle mix

-For every one egg substitute 1/2 banana ( add more banana for flavor)

-almond milk instead of milk

– add more fruit on top along with some maple syrup and vegan butter replacement of choice.

Joel gave it two thumbs up.

Be sure to use coconut oil spray on your waffle iron.

Thanks Hillary and enjoy!


My One Wish

Wow…it’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post.  YIKES!  This will tend to happen when you have three busy boys, spend a lot of time with family and friends, and in the process train for an IM with all your heart.  But it’s been a great summer in the Basala home.  

One of the many things I’ve enjoyed this summer is having more boys around (my dad included).  The kids are at the age where their friends are coming and going, “hanging” out here with us, and I feel as though I have added many more sons. It’s so neat to see your kids grow up and choose friends that have the same interests, and how it feeds their passions and spirits.  It’s an amazing gift, and I love to hear all the extra voices of excitement around here.

Lately I’ve been thinking about health in general.  I’ve never been one to preach or sound like an infomercial but really our health is so important.  Perhaps its almost hitting that magical number of 40, or being more aware of what we do, how we eat, and how we live really influences our overall health, how we feel about ourselves, and overall results.  

One of today’s events was having an exercise stress echo test done.  


I am not to worried, but I’ve had a couple of “incidents” that lead to this appointment, and I am sure the outcome will be fine.  But as a wife, parent, and someone that likes to swim, bike, and run these incidents needed to be addressed, and not ignored. 

During the test I had the opportunity to talk to the exercise physiologist and the ultrasound tech, and I started asking questions of how exercise and nutrition impacts these tests, which lead to a conversation where our overall nation is headed in terms of health.  I wasn’t shocked, but when I think of it happening in my children’s own community its scary.  I immediately wanted to leave there and “do something” about this crisis we are in.  And yes….we are in a health crisis.  

Like I said before, I’ve never been one to preach, but here’s my ONE WISH...for anyone who is wanting to make a change for better health is to start out small.  Change one thing:  skip the soda, drink more water, eat out less, have one salad a day, take the family to your local farmers market, invest in a gym, take your kids to a park, take a walk, skip dessert, eat more fruit and vegetables….the sky is the limit.  

The one thing I’ve learned is that change doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s constantly being aware and making positive choices.

An athlete that inspires me and one that has really taught me a lot wrote a blog post this summer and it was in relation to some hard training sessions, and how she broke them down and “stayed in the moment”.  I’ve taken that “staying in the moment” and have consistently used it pertaining to nutrition and diet, training, parenting, etc.  When we stay in the moment of what we are doing, positive changes tend to become easier, as we’re not so overwhelmed by the big picture.

If you want post a comment on this post about that one thing you’re going to try and change, and I’ll do my best to encourage you a long the way.  One change is one step in the right direction!  


A Perfect Day

I am sitting here looking at the computer in a state of happy tiredness.  Today marked a big day for me in terms of getting over some anxiety that I’ve had since last August.  On tap for me today was a long swim, 5 hour bike, and 30 minute run off the bike.  I knew this day was coming, and I was actually losing some sleep over it.  Nancy even picked up on my anxiety yesterday.

The last time I had anything of this volume was race day at IM Louisville, and as we know that didn’t day go so well, and I’ve been left with this “thing” in my head that anything long and hard is going to hurt.  The pain of that day was like no other.  I’d give childbirth ten times over before ever having to go through that.  Luckily I’ll never have to feel that same pain as the organs are no longer there to create that pain, but it working through the mental side of things.  There were a number of people who helped make today what it was and helped get me over a big hurdle.  Here’s a quick recap:

3:30 a.m.- Breakfast and coffee.

5:00 a.m.-  In the pool pronto.  The lady, Pat, that swims next to me is close to retirement, and I’ve nicknamed her “the training pool cheer leader.”  She is always so encouraging of all of us training for crazy things.  Jake was life guarding, and he does a great job of counting laps and keeping us true to our training program.  Though he doesn’t stop us when we do extra.  Also a big thanks to David and Bill.  One hour into my swim you two came in, and it helps to have speedy fish in the pool to keep me going.

7:00 a.m.- Triple shot iced Americano.  Thanks Starbucks barista!

7:30 a.m.- The kids had a late start for school today, which lead to the long bike session starting on the trainer in the driveway.  Fully entertained by the kids in the neighborhood playing basketball, football, street hockey, biking, running, etc.  Also to help me pass the first 2 1/2 hours pedaling and go nowhere was Dennis.  If you ever need a mental boost or want to get stronger mentally this is the guy to talk to.  I’ve learned so much from him.  Thanks for the talks Dennis!

10:00 a.m.- Roll the bike off the trainer and meet my dad for the next 1/2 of the ride.  It’s been over 20 years since we’ve ridden together.  It was so much fun.  His legs were fresh and it kept me honest to what I was supposed to be doing.  I took him on some new routes, and we had some small chit-chat from time to time, but the wind kept us quiet for most of the time.  Best part of the ride:  Stopping at a coffee shop to fill up with water, and I decided to order a shot of espresso.  My dad, Tom, orders the same thing, and I am more sure that he’s never had a shot of that sort.  15 miles down the road he says ” I don’t know what was in that little thing of coffee, but I am ready to rip my legs off.”  At 61 years old he can still more than hold his own on the bike, and is still trying to coach.  However I reminded him that he’s still a roadie, and I am a triathlete.  New Friday tradition.

12:30 p.m. – Quick changed into running shoes, grabbed Kona (our Goldendoodle), and Fuel Belt.  I’ve learned that you can just wrap the dog leash onto the belt, and makes the running so much easier.  1/2 way into the run she was panting, and feeling bad I opened her mouth and squirted in my electrolyte drink.  On the way back home we saw Henry and his class at Little Plover River and did a quick stop by.  So grateful for the great teachers my kids have at Roosevelt School.

After a quick shower and house cleaning I caught up with my friends Danielle and Jennifer.  So nice to catch up with you ladies.  Thought of you during the lunch hour.  We’ll have to make time for coffee next week.  (you in Gretchen?)  Thanks for being the best friends a crazy triathlete could ask for.

In summary the training went by so fast.  While there are many long and hard days ahead, I think I may have gotten over perhaps one of the hardest.  I officially feel as though I am back in the game.  I am see my training with Mark Allen (Luis and Diane as well) working.  I was in a deep hole physically after last year, and their training program is one that works with the issues I have.  I’ve been healthy and have had only one flare up since coming on with them.  This is huge!

I want to thank Nancy, Deb, and Rick as well.  You encourage the whole family everyday, and we’re thankful for your friendship.  Also to all the friends that are training and working out.  No matter what you’re doing its inspiring.  You just have to keep at, and tackle those hurdles.

To Sheila and Hillary– your blogs, emails, and FB posts all seem to come at the right time.  Your insight, professionalism, honesty, friendship, and willingness to share your triumphs as well as your struggles are priceless.  I wish nothing but success in your races coming up as you two have well put in the work.  SMASHFEST TIME!!!

Last, but not least many, many thanks to Joel and my three boys.  I couldn’t do this without you.  Pure and simple.  We’ve all made triathlon, or parts of it (swim, bike, run) a lifestyle.  And sharing it all together is the best!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Life Lessons in Sport- The Doubters



“I don’t know why you ever would.  I’m sure there are doubters out there, but all that matters is what we believe in here.  We never lost doubt or confidence or anything.  Anybody can think what they want, but the most important thing is what we think.” -John Grahame


This past weekend our oldest son, Thomas, raced the 5K at the Oshkosh 1/2 Marathon/5K.  Unknown to us at the time of the start this wasn’t all going to be about performance, but it was going to be proved a valuable life lesson, and one that has been of much discussion in our home this week.

After coming across the finish line we watched some of the other runners finish.  Two runners in their late 20’s- early 30’s sprinted across the finish line, and Thomas shared with us that at the front of the start line they were making comments on how he didn’t belong up there, he was to young, no way could he keep up with the “big dogs,  he would fade, etc. He felt really bad and had a hard time understanding why someone older than him, doing the exact same race and love running as much as he does, would say something like that.  As a parent my heart ached, but I wanted to make this experience a life lesson.

I explained to him that unfortunately in life this type of banter will happen, especially when   you do something a little different, or are in unique situations.  That the people saying things like this are called The Doubters.  People will doubt your ability because of your body size, your age, what you wear, what you do, if you excel, and even when you fail.  I shared some personal experiences with him that have happened along the way in my Ironman training and racing, and how I’ve turned those negative comments and those doubters into fuel to push me forward, and not to react in the way that they’ve acted.

So the conversation still continues here, 4 days later, and what has really come to the forefront of my thinking is to encourage everyone out there to keep moving forward in whatever adventure they’re experiencing right now, and stay true to yourself.  Act with kindness, say the words that you’d want to be told, and encourage all those around you.  Sometimes words or comments have a way of sticking with someone, when you’d least expect it.

Been A Long Time

I realized the other day that its been quite a long time since I wrote any type of post here.  There are so many reasons why, but to sum it up life is just busy with 3 boys, Joel, and myself all training for something.  Our running/triathlon season kicked off in March about the same time as the boys swam at state, so another swim season is in the bag.  Summer session for them starts up in April, so we have a little time, though the kids have explained to us “that they’re going out of their mind” without exercising.  So this has led to more running, and tonight we’re back in the pool on our own so that they can sleep at night.  I love their enthusiasm at such as young age, and they serve as a reminder to us daily how our actions as parents are passed onto our children.  I love where we are at with them in life.  And the bonus in all of their excitement for sports is that they have such great friends, that I consider my own sons.

April will kick of my race season with some short running races, and as the months pass so will the duration/distances of my races, that will lead up to Ironman Louisville at the end of August.  I didn’t really know if an Ironman would be a race I’d be doing this year after last years race, which many of you know was a race of epic pain as my organs were literally blowing up inside of me.  What really sealed the deal for another IM  back in Louisville is that race day will fall on my 40th birthday.  And what better way to celebrate with 3 friends (Rick, Deb, and Jenni) doing the race as well, and to have a great group of families and support teams down there.  There is also a nagging feeling that most of us have experienced and it is “the race that didn’t go as planned.”  I had my best time yet, but I know I perhaps could have done better under different circumstances, so it’s about going back and trying again.  That never, never give up attitude.

The last 6 months have literally been about getting back on my feet, getting recovered from surgery, and gaining some new perspective on how I was going to train this year.  I’ve switched up training programs this year, and feel as though I am putting in lots of time and effort, but I am seeing results.  I don’t mind the work, as it’s not always about being easy, but I like the challenges I am given, and feel strong.  I’ve learned never to take your health for granted, and take advantage of each day that you’re strong and well.

The biggest thing I am looking forward to outside of family is that we’re in the midst of planning a week of training down in Louisville.  So excited to get back down there and get some solid training in, show Deb and anyone else the course, and better yet get those yucky and painful flashbacks of last year’s race gone before race day.

My goals have been set for this year.  Some go really deep, where the bar is raised high.  Just have to have that.  But the Simpsons, Joel, and I literally have been talking (and joking) that my main goals of IM this year are:

  1. No post-race visit to the med tent
  2. Not to lose any body organs
  3. To be able to return to the finish line to see the final finisher in
  4. Birthday celebration with Jenni as its our birthday weekend post race
  5. and no wicked and ugly race day pictures

Keep training hard and working towards your goals!  It’s going to be a good year my friends!


New Year’s At The Gym

We are now nine days into 2012.  I’ve been thinking a lot about all the new members at the gym that I’ve been seeing lately, working hard at the their New Year’s resolution.  It’s just like every year.  The pool is packed, the locker room is crowded, you sometimes have to wait for a shower, wait for a machine, and all of a sudden you find your normal routine is thrown off, and perhaps you even become more impatient. Then you begin to wonder how long will this continue, and you think back to past years, and about this time the new members start to fade away, spring break vacations have come and gone, and things will be back to normal.

As I was swimming this morning I thought of how neat it would be to keep those new members at the gym.  Yes, it would be a change, but just think how many people could benefit.  I wondered what they were thinking, as I can’t imagine walking in to a gym in the New Year and quite honestly not be a little intimidated especially if exercise was something new for me.  They must feel nervous at times, and overcome by all the machines, layout of the gym, rules and procedures, a super fit person doing intervals on a treadmill, and so on.

We’ve all been where those members are at some point in our lives.  And over the years we’ve all shed a few inches and pounds (some more than others), learned the machines and ropes of the gym, gained fitness, and have made life long friends in the mean time.

My challenge this week to all of us that have been long time members at a gym is to extend out a helping hand to one of those new faces, in the midst of our rush to get in our workouts.   It could be as simple as a “hi”, “how’s your day”, “you look a little lost, can I help you find something”, and really the sky is the limit.  All it takes is less than a minute of your time.

Who knows….maybe that one person you reach out to could be your one of your training partners down the road.  And in the long run, giving a tad bit of yourself to someone, may mean the world to them at a time they felt most uncomfortable or unsure of themselves.

Let’s make a difference this week!


Running For A Reason – Let’s Do It In 2012

I love the start of a New Year!  It’s all about new challenges, changes, and this year is going to be like no other.

Last year I had the opportunity to get to know Cassie Kottke through a Chi Running clinic that I attended.  Cassie comes with a whole list of impressive accomplishments as an athlete- multiple Ironman finisher, and this past year she completed a long time dream of running and finishing the Leadville 100 trail run to name a few.  Not to mention her passion for sports and her unending gracious spirit.

In true Cassie form this past week she came up with a brilliant idea (if I remember correctly it was during a run) titled Running For A Reason.  It is all about us as athletes giving back through running and training.  Her idea was for every mile ran the athlete would donate 1 penny to an organization of their choice.

I immediately knew where this would take my family and I in the New Year.  During the holiday season  we learned of two friends affected by a cancer diagnosis right smack in the middle of what was supposed to be the most happiest time of the year.  It has been difficult to watch friends deal with cancer, and feel helpless other than offer support and be there to listen, when really….you just want it to go away.

So with this said our two charities/organizations that will benefit from our training and racing this year are Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Alliance and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.   It’s the least we can do, as the battle their both facing with such grace and determination is much more than what it takes to train and race.

To add a punch to it, since we’ve chosen two organizations we’ve decided that all five of us would log all swim, bike, and run miles for all 5 of us, up through August 18th, 2012.  And this year there is going to be some big mileage!  Thomas, who is 11 years old,  got it kicked off by swimming 8,100 yards for the New Year.  We have training and race plans that consist of 5Ks, marathons, 1/2 marathons, and an Ironman, along with smaller distant triathlons this year, so we’re talking some good mileage.

If you’re interested or know of someone that may be interested in joining Running For A Reason, please click on the link and/or find it on Facebook.  If you’re not a runner, how about walking?  Every penny counts, we are moving for a reason, and becoming healthier.

My friend Nancy said it best:  “They say we compete our best when we are running for something outside of ourselves.”   All I can say is:  Bring on the miles!!  Happy New Year everyone!