Monday, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Chili

It's getting cooler out, and it's that time of  year when pumpkins and beautiful varieties of fall squashes are of abundance.
I love making chili. For athletes it's a simple fix too, being that you can make it in the crock pot and come home to it after a long training and working day.  It's such a versatile meal and most of the time you can find all of the essential ingredients right in your pantry.  It can be healthy too!  This particular recipe was made with elk meat, very lean, but could be easily substituted with  beef, chicken, turkey, or other vegetables for a vegetarian version.  I made this chili over the weekend for our neighborhood fall festival.  It was a hit! Just the right spice factor, depth and variety of chili flavors, and of course that pumpkin spice that we all love. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chili
Makes on full standard crock pot.
Chili Base:
3 dried Ancho Chilis
2 Dried New Mexico Chilis or Guajillo for extra spice
5 Cloves Garlic
1 Yellow Onion
2 Cans Diced Tomato
3 c Chicken Stock
1 T Cumin
1 T Coriander
1 T Mexican Oregano
2 t Onion Powder
2 t Garlic Powder

Chili Base
2 Onions Diced
1 Can Diced Tomato
1 Can Tomato Paste
1 1/2 lb Ground Meat, Beef, Turkey, Chili, etc. (If vegetarian try some mushrooms and zucchini or variety of other squashes)
3 T Chili Powder
1 T Cumin
1 T Coriander
1 t Onion Powder
1 t Garlic Powder
1 c Pumpkin Puree
2 T Pumpkin Pie Spice
Salt and Pepper to taste

First make the Chili Base. Simmer all ingredients in a small sauce pan for about 5-10 minutes until all spices have dissolved and dried chilis are completely soft.  Puree the chili base.
In your crock pot combine all of the ingredients. You may need a little extra chicken stock to adjust the consistency.  Set the crock pot on high for 4 hours, or low for 6-8 hours.
For extra carbs serve over pasta or rice.   If you like beans, add cooked beans in the last 30 minutes.

by: Chef Karleen Dirmantas

Friday, October 12, 2012

Here They Are! Our SOAS KONA GIRLS!!!

From left: Kebby, Willow, Alana, Robyn, Hailey, Laura

Here they are... Our Kona bound ladies, all who have landed safely on the island and looking forward to having a great race on Saturday.  We are so proud to have such amazing and strong women this year at this amazing event. 
Our thoughts and prayers are with Kimmie Rouse and Amy Gluck who, unfortunately, wont be racing because of terrible bike accidents.   

Alana Kennedy-Nasser from Bellaire, Texas (Houston), 35-39
Where She Qualified: Qualified at IM Florida.
Is this your first Kona?: First Kona!
Ever Been to the Big Island?: No experience whatsoever and will soon discover my favorite things to do on the Big Island!
Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, banana, nutella toast and skim milk followed by 1000mg of Tylenol. Yummy!
Post-race meal: Coke and whatever the cheering crew eats!
Who’s traveling with you?:  My husband, Dean, and two younger children, Julia and Alexi, along with my two awesome girlfriends, Chrystal and Claudia - the same cheering crew as my first Ironman. At least they won't need heavy coats for this one! My older teenagers are pretty excited to be staying home alone for a week. We hope to find our home in one piece upon return...
Good luck charm: Earrings!
Which SOAS Kit will you be wearing on Race Day?: Black team kit or red and white team kit. I'll let the cheering crew decide since they will be the ones looking for me out there!

Laura Sophiea from Atlanta GA  55-59
Where you qualified: Kona Hawaii Ironman
Is this your first Kona? If not, what years? This will be # 22 in Kona
Previous Kona experience, if any: Gosh, I guess I probably have a lot of experience, but that said, Kona is and always has been a different day. No race has ever, ever been similar!  That is why I love it…Always test you!
Favorite thing to do on the Big Island, place to go, or place to eat: Kua Bay to relax a get a little sunshine.  Magic Sands beach to ride waves, I like Huggos on Rocks for coffee after an ocean swim.  Green Flash for a sandwich, and Lava Java
Your pre-race meal: Pre race….chicken, quiona and sweet potato small glass of wine.  I never give up all the pleasure of a good meal!
Who is traveling to Kona with you: My boyfriend Kevin is here.  I also have about 8 GF here from Atlanta.  Huge Dynamo Swim and Multisport cheer group.
Good luck charm, or pre race rituals: My mom…her ashes are buried in A-Bay out at Waikola.  Talk to her on race day.  My oldest daughters first boyfriend who was killed and love that I did triathlons…talk to him.  Then on Friday finidng a quiet piece of land to mediate and prepare for the race.
Which SOAS kit will you be wearing? Either the polka dot outfit or the red and white one from last year.  Love that one the best!!

Stephanie Swanson, San Diego CA, 30-34
Where you qualified? Ironman Louisville
Is this your first Kona? First one
Previous Kona experience: I'm usually out here for work (SOAS) and other design stuff. Funny having to "participate" in the race this year while being out here working. The key word is participate. Should be fun!
Favorite thing to do on the Big Island, place to go, or place to eat: I love getting to spend time with all our are friends. During the year they could be scattered all over the world but in Oct. everyone is all together. Doesn't hurt that it just happens to be on a beautiful island too!
Your pre-race meal, post race meal: I think I had GF pepperoni pizza and a blizzard from dairy queen my last IM. I wouldn't go out and smash a dozen oysters the night before… but I'm not scared to kinda eat whatever. Post race… A bottle of wine.
Who is traveling to Kona with you? I've been out for the last couple weeks with our partners in crime and dear friends the McKenzies. Brit my husband will join us later this week for some important post race activities like golf and after parties. He's gotta use his vacation time for the fun part of the trip ;)
Good luck charm, or pre race rituals: Usually no… but I am very excited to be wearing an Amy sweatband. My thoughts will be with her and Kimmie.
Which SOAS kit will you be wearing? Probably the Red Race. I have new matching shoes to go with it.

Willow Harrington-Holland, San Francisco CA, 30-34
Where you qualified? Ironman St George
Is this your first Kona? Yes
Previous Kona experience, if any: Just vacation, and Honu 70.3
Favorite thing to do on the Big Island, place to go, or place to eat: snorkeling! (aka chasing fish!)
Your pre-race meal, post race meal Pre race: chicken, rice, grilled veggies. Post: whatever sounds good in the moment. Often burritos.
Who is traveling to Kona with you? SO LUCKY to have a squad of sherpas going: Husband, mom, mother in law, 5 of my most awesome friends, brother and sister in law.
Good luck charm, or pre race rituals: My husband had a bracelet made for me for my first Ironman that i keep over my TT bars that says: Eat, Breathe, Relax, Smile. i love it...all the basics and makes me think of him while im out there.
Which SOAS kit will you be wearing? Black Team Kit.


Hailey Manning, 30-34
Michelle Gailey, Pro


Monday, October 8, 2012

10 Things We Love About Fall

Soon the air will be crisp, grocery stores will have pumpkins, and leaves will fall from their trees.  Enter FALL!  So long are the dog days of summer and back into Autumn, my favorite time of year for so many reasons.
We can enjoy Fall Foliage, if you’re so lucky to live in a region that has a change of seasons, like Beth Shutt in PA who says, “The colors are amazing!”  

While me, in Arizona, I just look forward to the sub 90 degrees, that’s how WE know it’s coming. That’s cool to us.  And along with Cooler Weather, Hailey says she hates losing the light, but it’s definitely a signal that the off-season is here.  Cool weather means better running, for all of us.  No more dragging butt though your hot long runs anymore.  Your water bottles may just start to stay cool for the whole ride. Our fitness is at its peak and we’re back into the last few triathlons of the year.  Kona will be here before we know it! And so will Ironman Arizona and Cozumel, and all of our own favorite local races of all distances.  Summer was just a break in the season, giving us a chance to train our butts off for race season.
The Days are Shorter and Sleeping In gets to be enjoyed again.  Of course it’s harder to get up anyways, when it starts to get cold outside of your snuggly comforter.  This is for sure the best time of year to be out there running.
Some areas actually have a Running season, and now is the time!  The roads, trails, and canals are soon to be crowded with groups of friendly runners training for various winter marathons. 

And how excited are you to break out a whole new wardrobe? Cycling Knee Warmers, SOAS Arm Warmers, gloves, LED headlamps!  Yes, this is just the cycling stuff I thought of.  But come the season to wear comfy Hoodies and sweaters, scarves, corduroy.  I can’t say yet, that I’m ready to give up my tank tops, but it will be fun to dive into my trunk and see what’s been hidden away since March.
And after those chilly rides we love Mint Hot Chocolate and Hot Coffee.  Wait, is mint too early? Should we be talking Pumpkin spiced lattes first? Who doesn’t like Pumpkin spiced anything?  Pie, bread, coffee, muffins, scones, pancakes, candles.  Pumpkin Porter anyone?

 You can make just about anything delicious with a little pumpkin love.  Even your post ride recovery Pumpkin Muscle Milk Smoothie, Hailey’s favorite! And I love all of the other delicious fall squashes and root vegetables that start popping up at the farmer’s markets.
And of course sharing all of your long missed time with Family and friends.  Thanksgiving is here in just a few more weeks.
Whether you’re finishing up your race season, or diving into something new.  Enjoy into the season, and make it count!  And put some whipped cream on that pumpkin pie, you deserve it!

Karleen Dirmantas- SOAS Ambassador

Thursday, October 4, 2012

SOAS love to Amy

Hearing the news about the terrible bike crash involving our teammate, Amy Gluck, deeply saddened and worried the team. As an ambassador for SOAS, Amy’s smile, strength, and determination in the sport of triathlon have served as a positive example and role model for others. Although I have not met Amy personally, I can see the impact that she has had on so many lives – both to those close to her as well as to complete strangers. We, as SOAS ambassadors, want Amy to know that we are constantly thinking about her, praying for her, and wishing her a speedy recovery. Below is a collection of our thoughts, prayers, and motivational quotes that we want to send to our teammate so she can absorb our strength and positive energy to facilitate her healing.

Karleen Dimantas:

I am deeply saddened by the news of Amy Gluck’s horrific bike crash.  I only met Amy once in Kona 2011 when all of us SOAS ladies gathered for brunch a few days before the race.  She is darling and was so excited that day to get her first Black and White Stars SOAS kit. She wore it in the race and I can remember seeing her on the course with smile, several times, on the run as we passed each other and when she blew past me.  She is a fighter and will pull through and tell us the story of how she overcame this feat.  Stay strong Amy! We love you!!!

Fall seven times, stand up eight
– Chinese proverb

If what you’re doing is not your passion, you have nothing to lose.”
– Celestine Chua

“Don’t be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so.”
– Belva Davis

Beth Shutt:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11


Hailey Manning:

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's determination.
 - Tommy Lasorda

Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you
- Arnold Palmer

To uncover your true potential you must first find your own limits and then you have to have the courage to blow past them
- Picabo Street

Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a   year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.
- Lance Armstrong

champion is someone who gets up when he can't.
- Jack Dempsey

Laura Sophiea:

Dear Amy.....Courage and strength and faith are yours!!
“Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.” I will try again and again and again as long as I believe, and as long as I have faith in what I do.

Kebby Holden:

Amy first came on my radar when she passed a good friend of mine (also named Amy) in the last 3 miles of the run for 3rd place at 2007 IMWI. She became "The Other Amy" for us in our age group. Then she pulled a similar move on me at  2009 IMLV as she whizzed by on the run to her 2nd place - gorgeous, blonde, fast, and always smiling. We chatted on that podium and stayed in touch. She was also in my circle of Tri friends thru her incredible coach & World Champ, Laura Sopheia, who is one of our SOAS gals. I just assumed Amy, with all her accomplishments and podiums and friends, would be too busy and too in demand to join our start-up SOAS team. But when we asked Laura if she thought Amy would be interested, she said "Definitely ask her!" in true Amy fashion, she jumped in with both feet and had been a tremendous ambassador for the company. Way more importantly, she has been a great friend and teammate. We feel extremely lucky to have her!

Anyone that knows Amy knows that huge smile, ripped body and flowing blonde ponytail. Her enthusiasm for life and her love of our sport is infectious! Every time I would ask somebody if they knew Amy, they'd always say, "Oh, you mean the tall, good-looking blonde that is really fast?  She is sooo nice!"  Roger that!

I am praying hard everyday for her recovery and know, being the champ she truly is, she'll come back from this terrible thing and teach us all amazing lessons from it. I, for one, can't wait.

C'mon Amy!! Your team is rooting for you!!

Alana Kennedy:

"There is a saying in Tibetan, 'Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.' No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that's our real disaster." Dalai Lama XIV

Never lose hope.

Andrea Astudillo:

Hi Amy,

As a friend of mine, who is a retired Navy SEAL once said to me “the human body is capable of amazing things.” This is so true! Over the past week, we have heard/seen so many stories about how strong you are and I’m looking forward to seeing you pull through this and recover like the champ that you are.  Know that you have a huge cheering squad here in San Diego and we will be cheering for you the entire way!

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.”
 – Confucius

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Julia Polloreno:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
~Marianne Williamson

Willow Harrington:
I’ll be honest; I am not one for fuzzy Hallmark inspirational quotes or “Stuart Smalley” approached to personal encouragement.  Maybe I just need it simpler when I going to the wire, drool rolling down my chin, hanging on to the edge of the pain cave. Whatever the reason, I find the greatest strength and the ability to dig deep is greatly aided by 3 simple words that keep me focused on what matters.
 First and foremost, I try to remain GRATEFUL. Whatever the challenge--tough day in the office, mother of a track session, or your race just went belly-up--there is always something in that experience that you should be grateful for. Stay humble and remember that, it makes the pain (more) bearable.
COURAGE. It’s easy to let doubt creep in and to just give up. Call yourself out on it! I literally can be heard muttering under my breath at times, “Be brave.” In an interview with Lauren Fleshman about her bumpy, injured journey to the Olympic Trials, and in it she said something that totally hit home for me: “I’m not asking for a miracle. I’m asking myself to be courageous enough to step on the line less than what you want to be and let that be enough.”  Stop thinking about all the ways you could fail, fall down, blow- up or end in a less desirable result and just focus on the courage to try. 
I’m not going to lie; I am a competitive as the next girl—especially with myself. I know what I am capable of and when Im not performing, Im my worst critic. When I begin to feel myself looking for the easy way out, making excuses, or otherwise not applying myself 110%, it’s time to buckle down and TOUGHEN UP. When the positive thinking isn’t working, suck it up, do the work, and just get’er done. This may not seem like it belongs in a list of inspirational quotes, but trust me, once you push through the rough spot, you will feel like a superhero.  

Christine Gould

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, Amy!!! Sending you lots of SOAS love.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ironman, Family, and Life... How to Find the Perfect Balance!

Ah… multi-tasking. My favorite subject. Like most people, my life is best described in one word: BUSY!  I have 4 super cool kids (the oldest two were born while I was in college, one in med school and one as faculty. Hence, my multi-tasking background started early in life). Add in somewhat busy careers – my husband is also a physician, and we have pretty tight schedules. Add in some Ironman training, and I think you can see where this is going…

After being a triathlete the past several years, the best plan I have come up with is simple. 1. I avoid workouts after work or evenings if at all possible. Workouts are for early mornings, with friends, and before the kids are shuffled off to school.  2. Work is for the day and family time is for after work, and for chauffeuring kids all over the city for a variety of reasons. 3. The weekends take creativity. Every week, I look ahead to the weekend to determine when to ride and run “long” with the least amount of family interruption. Having a strong support system (aka great husband) helps tremendously. Many of the other soccer parents have seen me roll up on my bike, while they roll up in their SUVs. I have skipped workouts, especially those pesky open water swims, so that I could spend time with the family. I enjoy going out to dinner with friends or date nights with my husband, even if it means a late night with an early wake-up call. Got to have balance, right?!

So, last year, Ironman Florida race week rolled around. I felt good about my training and my “life balance.” I tapered at Disney World (excellent idea, by the way). Race day came and we took what has become one of my favorite race photos, although I assure you we all look better in person. I am all ready for the swim. It is freezing outside, kids bundled up and looking like they would rather be warm and cozy in bed. The picture is snapped, everyone gets a kiss and off into the water with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” blaring in the background (thanks Journey!) The day goes fairly well for me. I see my family at the start of the bike and on the run at the beginning, mile 13 and then at the finish line chute, with my husband yelling, “We are going to Hawaii!” My first thought was that the kids will kill me for training for another Ironman, but then they quickly reassure me they want to swim with dolphins, so all was well with the world if I got the Kona slot. Smart kids!

I didn’t see this picture until after we returned home. And when I saw the adorable pout on Alexi’s face, and her body language, I asked her what she was thinking. She said, “I was frustrated.” I asked her why and she replied, “Because you were going to be gone ALL day.” Ah, yes, she knew exactly what an Ironman meant. Let’s be honest here, triathlon is a fairly selfish sport. And she was right. I was “gone ALL day.” And there is no way around those long training weekends. 100 miles is a long way, even in a car, but choosing the best day to ride long to minimize interruption in your family’s busy schedule typically makes for a happier family and a happier athlete. Putting your family above your workout schedule is important. Actually, there is nothing more important than your family. So, get out there and train, but don’t forget to make that ballet practice, soccer match or date night with your husband! Here’s to hoping there are all smiles on race day in Kona.  Either way, I am sure it will make for a great picture!
Alana Kennedy-Nasser, SOAS Ambassador