Good God, this was a remarkably involved weekend, and it sort of all ties into the idea of my Hollywood Triathlete existence.  Sometimes, I'll get busy with tutoring, or visiting friends, or some other randomness, but this weekend was 50% Performing* and 50% Sport, with no tampering to dillute the extreme concentrations of Hollywood Triathletics.  (*Everyone knows "Performing" also means drinking.  That's what happens after.  It's the Hollywood way!)

I could write a number of posts, but I choose instead to put it all in here.  First, I should say that I am now officially doing the Catalina Eco Marathon (I didn't have the money to enter, but finally got it together, just in time for the October 1st deadline when my LATC coupon for ten bucks off would expire!).  Secondly, I at long last got myself some new shoes!  Hooray!  Here is a picture:

(I kind of love them.)

(I kind of love them.)

I went to my favorite running store in all of LA, the adorably named Arch and Sole, who I've been going to for at least a year now... as you know, running shoes wear out in a matter of months, so the people you choose to buy from is an important relationship to build, because they're going to get a lot of your business, and you're going to use those shoes almost daily.  Mahmoud and Zuzana at Arch and Sole are super informative and friendly.  By now, Mahmoud knows all about my half Ironman exploits, and always remembers the races I've done and how I've improved, which frankly is awesome, and he's always interested to hear what's new and what I'm training for.  Zuzana was super helpful as it was my first foray into buying trail shoes, and brought out lots of options with tons of information that help me decide.  My favorite thing is that they're never trying to up-sell you... the shoes I ultimately bought are an older model of Mizuno trail shoes, the Ascent 3s, marked down to $70 from $100 (apparently people thought they were "too blue"... but I love it!)  I was also leaning towards a pair of Brooks, which usually don't fit me as well, but their latest trail shoe was all kinds of arch support heavenly, but those were $110, and the nuance between the two didn't seem so epic that I could justify paying forty extra dollars.  Mahmoud broke it down as I stood with them side by side, saying the Mizuno has a less flexible and more sturdy sole, as opposed to the Brooks, which has more give, and said as I grow accustomed to trail running I can move towards a shoe like the Brooks, but that it would probably be a good choice to go for the more sturdy shoe that can take a pounding (aka, the cheaper shoe.)  Yes, he encouraged me to buy the cheaper shoe, because it was the right choice for me, and he knows my fiscal situation!  How awesome.  (Of course, now I'll totally come back and get that Brooks shoe from them later.  It was dreamy.  And had really good colors, too.  I'm a girl.)

As a general note, I've got to say, I do budget all the time, but shoes are one thing you really can't skimp on, because they determine the life of your knees.  You can cut corners by getting an older model like I did (because if you bought them a year ago, they'd be cutting edge, it's not like they suddenly become crappy... but you should definitely ask your clerk, as I learned the Brooks trail shoe of yore was terrible, but this new model that I so love was a revamped version, so... yes, always purchase intelligently!) but you should never run on a shoe you know is dead, or in-- God forbid-- something like Converse with zero shock absorption.  (What are you, mad!  But yes, a friend getting into running did report to me she'd jogged in her Chucks, and was so surprised to be hurting.  Buy your shoes first, folks!)  Once you see wrinkles in the heel, it's time to shell out around 100 dollars.  It's an expense, but it's worth it to avoid wrecked knees for the rest of your life, and it will prolong your ability to keep up this wonderful fitness habit!

So I trotted away, happy with my new bright blue shoes, which are indeed quite sturdy... I tried them out in a quick Runyon jaunt, and had that great sensation like I could run forever.  (So nice to get new shoes.)  Then I got home, finished making a homemade pizza (I've become obsessed!), showered, and got ready for my debut at the iO West, where I performed all my ukulele songs!  It was a rousing success, and I spent a couple of hours catching up with my improv friends and drinking boilermakers-- oh Lord, Gatorade that isn't-- and even caught up with David Park, the man who started it all.  (Back in the day, I was chatting with him in that very bar, and he revealed that he and some other improv friends were doing this crazy triathlon called Wildflower-- yes, the one and only-- and I, in my impulsive way, said, "I wanna do that!" and I went home and dropped the nearly 200 bucks for late registry, and so was this Hollywood Triathlete born.)  I had a grand old time, came home and ate the rest of my homemade pizza (drunk stomach), and stayed up until 3AM watching Parv, another friend through improv, on Hulu in the pilot of the new TV show "Outsourced".  Perhaps not the best behavior for an athlete.  But you know, add Hollywood to the front, and it all makes sense.  Hollywood is synonymous with irresponsible behavior... and fun things.

So, we're in that wretched time in LA where you think, by God, we're in the clear, we've escaped the hellish oven of summer weather (though that didn't happen so much this time around, blessedly), and then whamo, a weird "Indian Summer" heatwave leaves you paralyzed for days of high 90s weather.  And the very worst thing about that is that it makes outdoor exercise nearly entirely impossible, and certainly impossible if it's long, enduring outdoor runs on trails, which is exactly what I needed to do for 17 miles on Sunday, my long run day.  So I knew I'd have to get up and be on the trails by 7ish, which meant I did get up... maybe still drunk... on my wonderful four hours of sleep, take the very effective Brazilian hangover medicine, Engov, drink lots of water and head over to Griffith Park, where I ran from 7:30 until 10:30, much to my amazement. Amazed, because I only started walking hills-- was trying for lower heart rate, as instructed-- at 10, when the heat really started to kick in and it became insupportable.  I'm pretty sure I did at least 15 miles, and had a lot of good hills in the mix.  I've been finding my right hammy is tending to be tight, and that might require some foam roller action, but I'll save that for another post.

So then it was back here, to post all my youtube videos of my ukulele show, and cook for the week as best I could, and I still haven't napped, but am in this very peaceful meditative frame of mind, which I think will translate into early bedtime.  But of course, not before making more homemade pizza!  I've discovered the trick to making the crust thin, and it's the most exciting thing... ever.  So I'm going to end this blog with my pizza recipe, because if you make it right, pizza can be a great little meal for a triathlete.

To review: new shoes, big show, celebrations and hungover 17 mile run = Hollywood triathlete.

Nikki's New Favorite Meal: Homemade Pizza!

(to be fair, I don't make the sauce, so really I'm only fixated on the crust.)

To make the crust, you'll need:
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour (you can do both whole wheat, but the consistency won't be as awesome)
2 tsp sugar (I use raw sugar or agave)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 package of yeast
1 cup warm water
3/4 tsp of salt (or omit if you're not into that whole sodium thing)
Garlic powder and basil to taste

Dissolve the yeast into the water and let it sit for 10 minutes, until creamy.  Make a dry mixture of ingredients, then mix everything together until combined evenly.  Let it rise for 30 minutes.  Knead on a floured surface.
*Here's where my special technique comes up:
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Divide the dough into two balls.  Place parchment paper on your pizza stone or pan and tamp out the dough ball with your fingertips so it's as thin as you can manage, without making any holes.  (It'll be about 10 inches in diameter.)  Add on pizza sauce, cut up garlic cloves, spinach, fat free feta, chicken sausage and a sprinkle of low fat mozzarella.  (Or you know, whatever you like.)  For the particularly ambitious, you can make a stuffed crust with a low fat string cheese, if you peel it apart and fold it into the edges.

I like doing it this way because it's less carby and also just has a better balance of ingredients.  If you use the whole dough ball, even when you think you've made it thin, you'll wind up with this balloon crust, since it rises a bit again in the oven.  The whole wheat substitution totally still tastes delicious, though I've yet to try without any bread flour.  Enjoy!

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AuthorNikki Muller