The Morning Routine

March 6, 2015

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I woke up this morning feeling exceptionally calm. Perhaps there is some comfort in knowing that I have done this before: it was the second workout in the Open in 2014 as well. Every three minutes, athletes are tasked with completing two rounds of a set of overhead squats and pull-ups: the first set of ten each, the second of twelve, and so on, until you fail to complete both rounds. Last year, I got a score of 122, which means I got about ¾ of the way through the round of 14’s.

Over my morning coffee (an Americano, with two shots and frothed apricot kernel milk—recipe below), I calculated the number of reps I want to aim for today. I believe I can make it through the 14’s now, since I am stronger, and at least halfway through the 16’s. So 175 seems to be a reasonable goal.

As I scrambled my eggs, I looked at the Games’ leaderboard and noticed that a few women in the 60+ Division reached nearly 200 last year. Tough to beat. I try and put their scores out of my head, and to focus on what I think I can do.

With breakfast on a plate in one hand—oatmeal, the eggs, and a quarter-pound of prosciutto—and half a cup of the coffee in the other, I crawled back into bed like I usually do, to eat and read newspapers on my iPad. Then, I listened to one of the guided visualizations Invictus has tailored to each of the workouts in the Open.

Hunger satisfied, caffeine kicking in, sated with news, and mentally clear, I got dressed—in compression tights and a tank—and found myself flummoxed over footwear. The overhead squats will be easier in lifting shoes—they help me keep weight on my heels and to maintain a tight midline, which will be critical as fatigue sets in during the later sets. But since the chest-to-bars are jumping for Masters 55+, maybe my regular sneaks—Inov-8 F-Lites—are better, since they are lightweight and springy. I looked in my notes from last year, and found that I had not written anything down about which shoes I wore. I decided to take both.

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Apricot Kernel Milk (makes one quart)

You will need:

  • A quart-size wide mouth canning jar and lid
  • Pure filtered water
  • Several cups of organically grown apricot kernels—I order mine in bulk online, from Sun Organics
  • 5-6 dates, pitted
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Madagascar vanilla
  • A nut milk bag

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Using a wide mouth quart-sized canning jar, fill ¾ of it with apricot kernels. Then fill the jar with pure filtered water, almost to the top. Place the water and apricot kernels in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, adding more water so the kernels remain covered as they soak and swell. When you are ready to make the milk, discard any water that remains in the jar. Pour the apricot kernels into a VitaMix blender along with two quarts of pure fresh water and blend at high speed for at least 30 seconds. Add the 5-6 pitted dates and blend for another 30 seconds.

Pour the blended mixture through the nut milk bag into a bowl, and squeeze as much of the liquid out of the solids as you can. Discard the solids (and if anyone has a suggestion for ways to use this besides as compost, please share in the comments). Transfer the milk into the original jar. Add salt and the vanilla, put the lid on the jar and shake hard to dissolve salt. Store the Apricot Kernel Milk in the refrigerator (it will keep for about three days). Use it in coffee, just like you would regular whole milk. I have found that it froths equally well using either a milk steamer or a battery operated whisk, just don’t let it get too hot, or it will get clumpy.

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