What is this all about?

I started this blog to keep me accountable in my fitness and clean eating journey. My first post was in March of 2007 and I've been posting ever since. As you will see I've had many highs and lows...but this is all about the journey...not just the destination

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Run and cupcakes

Day 2 in Jersey and all is well. It is so good to see everyone . This isn't quite a fun in the sun vacation but it is fun. After all Nj isn't a vacation destination.
Anyway, I got in a decent light workout : 25 min run and 20 min hard ab work. I felt good because my goal was only 15 min of running. I stayed at my mother in law's instead of going to the gym. She has a nice treadmill and hand weights, so it was fine.
My nutrition was pretty good today as well. I'm still amazed at my resolve with sweets. I ate lots of veggies and lean protein today. AND I resisted the strong urge to have a cupcake at a birthday party. I really wanted to but I convinced myself that it would probably be dry and nasty...and it worked. All in all a calorie deficit of 150.

Friday, March 30, 2007

No more back fat.....Man in white leggings

I went to bed with cake on my mind. In fact I woke up at 5:15 (2:15 PST) with cake on my mind. I decided I was going to get an early start at the gym so that I could get back before everyone got up (and work off the cake). Before going to the gym, I stopped by my sister's house. It had been 6 months since seeing my nieces and my sister. My sister and nieces are known for pulling no punches and they were in rare form today. First my sister commented on how thin I looked. She had me turn around and noted how my butt was not as wide and denty as it was before. Good to know.
My niece told me to turn around as well . She commented on how I had no more back fat. Funny... can't say that I ever realized my back fat was a problem. Why didn't someone tell me... "you know you really ought to do something about that back fat...it is just not cute". Here I was thinking my thunder thighs were the issue...who knew.
Back home this would be my mini tri day but I'd already decided I was not going to swim in the pool at the local Bally's. I still have my membership - even though I only use it 3x a year. It is hard to get used to the pool here - OK so I've become a bit of a gym snob. I brought my swim stuff , but I'm not sure I can swim in the Bally's pool. There is so much chlorine in the water that my skin burns after I swim. We'll see - I may do it eventually since I will be here for 8 days.
I knew I needed to work hard and I was prepared to do so. I had cake on my mind (from my episode last night) and I was missing my mini triathlon day. I did 55 minutes on the elliptical at an 70% of my max HR and then did 20 minutes on the treadmill (10 run - moderate and 10 minutes of speed intervals). The speed intervals were very difficult today. I pushed my last one up to 8.2 .. really hard. I had to cut it short because I needed to get back.
The most interesting thing about being at the Bally's at 7am in the morning is the crowd. The crowd is surprisingly older but very fit. Most notable were the folks who were just chilling out on the weight benches and the colorful outfits on the cardio machines. I noticed how many people were just chillin . I give them credit for being there but put a bit of effort into it - why don't you. There were a few people laying down on the weight machine in between sets. One guy was even on the phone. I got a wink from the 60 year old guy in the green tank top and white leggings(!). He was trying to wink at me on the dl because he was with his 60 yo girlfriend/wife with the matching outfit. They were pretty toned. She had on a thong -- that was very visible through the leggings. Thankfully he did not.
All in all the day was great. I worked out, hung out with family and stuck to pretty healthy meals. While I worked moderately hard (burned 711 calories) I still felt that I didn't quite put in enough work for what should have been an intense day. Plus sleep is really important for my weight maintenance - my body thinks I'm starving when I don't get enough sleep. The result is usually a pound or two gain. With the time zone change - it'll take me a few days to my sleep pattern working. Without my spin class and swimming, it will be harder for me to work as hard as I'd like to. I need to take it up another level...especially if I have more cake. I'm definitely going to update my plan.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Press reset

So today we travelled all day from the west coast to the east coast. I new I wouldn't be able to exercise so I planned to take it light today by eating really clean (no junk <1400 calories).
I started off ok - I had healthy snacks on the plane and ate just a bit of the omelette pita thing on the plane. When we landed, I was starving. I grabbed an apple from the snack stand. So far so good.
When we got to my family's house, I had a big delicious salad for dinner and a small portion of a chicken and cheese braid. Again so far so good.
After dinner - I went in the kitchen to clean up..and there it was. My weakness: (well one of them) homemade pound cake. It was underneath a glass cake cover -- just menacing me. For the first 20 minutes I resisted. Then it happened-- I lost it. When it was all said and done, I had 2 1/2 pieces. It was definitely worth it -- delicious. For a minute - I felt horrible and guilty. Then I decided to press reset and get back on track tomorrow.
We'll see how I do... there is a lot of cake left.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

"Mommy, don't go to the gym today"

This morning, I woke up around 4:50am and noticed there was a little boy in my bed . He was in between us ..pretending to be asleep. I could tell because he was closing his eyes really tight. I gave him a big hug and he smiled. Before getting out of the bed, I tried to decide if I was going to swim or not. After all today was my mini triathlon day. The problem was that I had not washed my swim suit. We have been prepping for our weeklong trip to Jersey and have been washing trip clothes – so I didn’t do my normal wash. Anyway I finally decided to get out of the bed and that I would swim (I’d just buy a new bathing suit at the club). I dashed into the bathroom to get changed and when I came out I heard “Mommy?”, I said “yes”, the boy said “ are you leaving?” I said “Yes I’m just going to the gym, I’ll be back in a little while”. He said “Don’t go to the gym today, stay home”.. … so I did.

In my home gym (aka my sweltering basement) I have a treadmill, a trainer for my bike (which makes it stationary), lots of tapes and a mini trampoline. I started my workout by using my “NO Slackers “ Spinnervales DVD. This is a 1 hour intense spin class . It was actually more intense than my normal class at the gym because there were really intense 20 second speed/hill intervals with 1minute rest in between. The boy was doing puzzles and playing legos. Then I jumped on the treadmill (after a quick detour to make a bowl of cereal) and ran for 30 minutes. I took it nice an easy because even with the window open my basement is an INFERNO. I was able to get in 2 ½ miles. Then I did one of my ab tapes by Cathe. So while it wasn’t a typical mini triathlon day – it was a really good workout . Almost 800 calories burned .

The good in all this: 1) I am flexible and I can go with the flow

2) I need to do more really hard bike rides and then jump right on the treadmill because this was really tough

3) I am incredibly grateful to wake up with an adorable little boy in my bed .

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ironman 2008????? Is this the goal?

A triathlon consist of swimming, biking and running in immediate sequence with a few minutes in between for transitioning. Common distances are :

Super Sprint: 1/4 mile swim, 6m bike and 1.5m run
Sprint: 1/2mile swim, 14m bike and 3.2 mile run
Olympic: 1mile swim, 24m bike and 6.2 mile run
Half-Ironman: 1.2m swim, 56m bike and 13m run
Ironman : 2.4 mile swim, 112mile bike and 26.2mile run

I've done the Sprint distance and my goal this year is to do 3 sprints and 1 Olympic. I also have a goal of taking 10minutes off of my Danskin time - target 1.32 minutes.

The latest issue of Triathlete magazine included a summary of all of the upcoming races. As I paged through the magazine I landed on a page entitled Ironman Florida 2008. It will be held at Walt Disney Resort and is on May 20th 2008 and is a 1/2 Ironman distance. I was riveted. How cool would it be to be able to do a 1/2 Ironman 16 days after my 40th birthday. It would be so cool - because it would be at Disney World . The kids would have so much fun.
To be clear - I only did a triathlon because I needed a really aggressive goal to help me stay motivated.. I never looked at it as more than that. ..so what was I thinking?

Well I mentioned it to Byron, and he practically lost it. He has been so incredibly supportive over this time and he has never said anything that was even remotely discouraging...until this point. He asked me if I was crazy. And then his next question really challenged me... "what are you after? What's next? " . It really made me think. It made me think about why I work out so much and so hard. Why does good enough feels like I'm being a slacker? Why do I still push it when I know I shouldn't because of my knees?

On the surface, I'm addicted. Addicted to the endorphin rush - which is a good thing. I also want to be incredibly healthy and exercise is a way to get there. Then there is weight loss and the fear of waking up one morning and having all of the weight back. But there is something a little deeper - and I think it is just the joy of the pursuit. I like chasing the goal. I really like having a big goal -- it helps keep me focused and motivated. I do it because I can.
Maybe Ironman 2008 is too big - after all it would a significant increase in my training and my commitment (both mine and my husband's). Maybe it is big enough and a perfect 40th present to myself.
We will see......

Monday, March 26, 2007

Food.....it does a body good

Mondays are my mini tri days ..usually. Except this day was Race day in spinning class. Race day means we simulate a 2 hour race. I got to the gym at 5am so that I could get in a good swim. I did about 20 laps in 20 minutes - drills (pulls - arms only) and straight laps, ran upstairs and changed for spinning. Thanks to my braids - I was on my bike by 5:40. The class was very challenging as it included both long hill work and long sprints. I did well and could have probably gone on for another hour. It was intense and I loved it. One way to tell how fit you are is to measure how quickly your heart rate returns to a resting rate from 70% of maximum. My heart rate went from 159 to 105 in under 20 seconds. That is really good.
I decided not to run because I do have to eventually get to work.
Anyway I was feeling great until.... around noon. I started to feel a little tired and light headed. That never happens -- I usually have a nice endorphin rush for most of the morning. I realized I forgot 1 very important thing in preparing for my race ride..... food. I didn't eat at all. In fact even after the ride all I had was a protein shake. Well by 3pm I was feeling dizzy . I had a meeting with one of my employees and I hope I didn't say anything too crazy:)
I went home a little early and ate and went to bed early by 9:00.
Lesson learned -- a little fuel is always a good thing. -- but I burned almost 1100 calories in 2.5 hours - woo hoo.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

what works for me....

When I decided to get serious about weight loss and my health, I decided to get help and not go at it alone. I enrolled in a weight management program at my gym that included a dietician, personal trainer, doctor and therapist. I learned a ton and built the discipline I needed to be successful. Despite my weight loss success, keeping the weight off is a daily challenge and to be successful I need to keep what works for me top of mind. So here it is :
  1. Cardio 5x a week for at least 30 min a day
  2. Drink lots of water ----
  3. Keep things moving---- (take fiber supplements) if not I hold on to lots of weight
  4. Use a food diary
  5. 500-900 caloric deficit each day (burn more than I consume)
  6. Make proteins and veggies the staple of my diet (Limit sugar, processed foods)
  7. Strength train - for added muscle conditioning and calorie burning
  8. Have a big goal -- a race, a bike tour, triathlon or something that I can look forward to
  9. Have a danger weight and a danger diet. My danger weight is the weight that I will not exceed. When I get there I invoke the danger diet to get myself back on track

I'm sure there will be new fad plans that come and go. I have to stay focused on what works for me.

The enemy of GREAT is "Good Enough"

My goal is to run everyday for 15 minutes . I set this goal because I want to become a better runner and before doing drills to build speed - I really need to work on endurance. I have found that I have incredible endurance in other sports (biking, elliptical, spinning and swimming) but running is not my strength. So I'm attacking it. I recently became certified as a heart zones cycling instructor. Heart zones is all about understanding training zones base on the principles of anchoring training zones on maximum heart rate. I have learned so much here. The most important take away for me is that your endurance and performance varies by sport and can be changed. For example- I cannot reach 80% of max when spinning but I certainly can while running. Now a year ago, I could very easily get to 80% while spinning. (By the way 80% is not ever my goal).
Since I didn't run yesterday - I broke my tradition of no workout on Sunday and planned to do a quick run. I have a little voice in my head -- my "good enough" voice, that always tries to convince me that what I've done is good enough. Well this voice was very busy during my run. I had planned to do 1.5 miles at 6mph. I had my funky high energy house music going and I was doing fine at 6mph. At about 7 minutes in, I felt like I could go a little faster, but good enough voice was saying " don't push it, this is really your rest day" . I was tempted to listen - but then I realized that reaching my goal of becoming a better runner will not happen if I don't test myself. Sure I can continue to be "good enough" but I really want to get better and be great- good enough won't do. So I dropped the hammer and did 10 minutes at 6mph then 5 intervals at 7.8mph with 1 min rest in between. I ended up doing 22 minutes and 2.4 miles. Take that "good enough" voice.

Friday, March 23, 2007

It should not be easy.......Handle it!

Today - I did a spinning hill climbing class. You are in total control when you spin, you can really push your intensity or choose to take it easy. My instructor is terrific - she really encourages me to push it. Boy did I push it today... 1 solid hour of hill climbing with a few speed intervals for increased intensity. My legs were on fire. Half way through she said .."this should not be easy...handle it". That is exactly how I feel about my fitness journey and every decision I make. Whether it is a decision to not eat cookies or a decision to not go easy with my workout, it is never easy --handle it. I feel happy that I am capable of handling it because there was a time that I could not. It was only 9 months ago that I would not have been able to handle today's class nor would I have been able to resist sweets . But today, I can handle it.
After spinning - I put in a really nice running session 2 miles in 20 minutes (10m at 6mph and 10 minute intervals at 4.2 and 8.3). Then I did 10 minutes of Elliptical , 15 min of leg weights and then 15 min of relaxing stretching.

Tomorrow is a different day but today in the moment - I can handle it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The mind is willing but the body...not so much

For some strange reason I woke up at 2:40 am. I tried to go back to sleep and then around 3:30 I decided to get up and do something thinking I'd get sleepy. Well I did email, threw a load of laundry in , worked on a PowerPoint and blogged a bit. So around 6 - I was planning to go do my strength training...but it never happened. I just went back upstairs and got in my warm bed under my preheated electric blanket. My little guy joined me and said "Mommy, I'm not getting ready because you are not getting ready". So we just hung out in the bed until the last possible moment. and it felt good. I'm not beating myself up over it because I was really tired .

I ate ok today. No real breakfast ..just coffee. I had a great salad for lunch and then for dinner - we went out to a restaurant . It was beautiful -- on the water with a view of the mountains . Because I didn't work out today - I was really cautious about what I ate. I had spinach salad with broiled shrimp and yellow fin tuna slices. I savored every bite... it was so good. I even had seconds of the tuna (but fish has so little calories I don't sweat it). Dessert was a challenge --it was called the chocolate sampler. It consisted of 1 tray brownies, 1 tray of chocolate covered strawberries, 1 tray of mousse filled pastries and 1 tray of bowls of mocha creme brule. Well I had already decided that I was not going to blow my great day...but I wanted to taste. So here is what I did. I took a big spoonful of Byron's creme brule and I just nursed it for about 10 minutes. Sounds funny but it worked...really well. I also had coffee which was nice and sweet from my Equal.

The reason I was able to have such a disciplined day was because when I got on the scale in the morning, I weighed the lowest I've weighed in 11 years. It was pretty hard to believe. That was enough to make me just say no the brownies and creme brule.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I can do a cartwheel but I still cannot flip

This morning was my mini tri day... I was in the pool by 5:23am . I started off fine --drills and then laps. Well I got through the entire training season last year without flipping in the water (at the end of a lap) . I would just touch the other end and then turn around. Today I decided to start flipping. I watched the other swimmers and then decided to go for it.
Well elegant it was not. In fact at one point I got a little disoriented under the water.and thought I was going to die. It was pretty funny. I"ll keep at it...

Once I was done with my swim (210 calories burned) I ran upstairs for my spinning class. Thanks to my braids I was able to get changed and get on the bike in under 7 minutes. Spinning after swimming is awesome because I stay pretty cool throughout the ride due to my wet hair. Today was endurance ride day and is usually pretty tough. Today was pretty easy for me. My HR was up to 150 (70%max) but I was not breathing hard at all. Perhaps it was the swimming. Once I was done I had burned another 400 calories.

Off to the run. Since I was feeling pretty good I decided to push a little. I kept an easy pace for the first 10 minutes then pushed it by .3 for the each of the last 5 minutes. My last minute was at 7.1 . I was certainly ready to stop. But another 210 calories burned... woo hoo.

By now my knees were pretty sore, but I thought I could tough it out for 2 quick sets of leg extensions....

Now for food. . I had a big non fat sugar free caramel latte for breakfast, protein shake for snack, veggie stir fry for lunch and salad for dinner. 1360 calories. I decided to lay off of the hershey's kisses today...but oh is it tempting.

I chickened out on surgery

So 1 week ago - I was supposed to have surgery on my right knee. The orthoscopic surgery was going to cure my severe tendonitis (by draining the fluid inside my tendon) and remove excess tissue from behind my patella (knee cap). There was a 3rd process (which I opted out of) was to detach the tendons that hold my knee cap in place and attach them in a different location. So I was all set - scheduled and everything. Then the day before I decided that I was not going to do it. I have a few new races coming up this season and I really want to take 10 minutes off of my danskin Triathlon time (http://results.timberlinetiming.com/results/index.cfm) and I expect most of that to come from the run (and my transitions).
I tried my own method of healing my knee: motrin + ice + better shoes+ lots of leg extensions + more running. So far , so good

What about my hair

When reading the article - why some black women skip the gym http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/4613831.html -- and in talking to my friend Lois, we could both relate to the hair issues. For sistas, messing up the do is a big deal and a big waste of money. What's a girl to do?

You can either
a) tough it out by wearing a scarf while you work out (looks funny but holds the hair in place). Pro here is that it works if you wear your hair wrapped - it'll be pretty flat afterwards. Con is that it gets pretty dry from sweating. conditioner can help
b) Tough it out - by daily washing, blowdrying or flat ironing. Wreak havoc on your hair if you don't condition well.
C) Get a weave . I've heard this works well
d) Get braids (which is what I did and I'm very happy). See picture

Whatever the decision - it has to be thoughtful so that you set yourself up for success. Also you have to want a healthy body a little more than you want perfect hair. Unless of course you get braids. This is my 2nd time doing it and I really like it this time. I opted for invisible braids ( 1 person 4 hours) instead of individual box braids (2 people 10 hours). It looks good after- even after swimming.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Firm -- still works after all this time

Today is my day to do strength training. I started off by running 15 minutes. This is part of my new plan which looks like this.....
  • Monday - Swim 30m, Bike 1hour spinning, Run 2 miles easy pace
  • Tuesday - run 15min, strength train 1 hour , 15min abs (my tapes)
  • Wed - Same as Monday
  • Thursday - Same as Tuesday
  • Friday - Long cardio - my choice Spinning+ eliptical + 15m running
  • Saturday - Long bike ride
  • Sunday - chill (unless I have waffles)
Being a student of the fitness game, I picked up a great bit of advice from Jessica http://www.jethereal.blogspot.com and from someone on our triathlete email list at work (yes there really is such a thing). The advice is simply to become a better runner -- run more. So I've decided that I will run everyday for 15 minutes. I will vary what I do in the 15 minutes but I will run every day. I am going to see if I can really run 30 miles in a 30 day period. That would be very cool.

Today's workout went according to plan . I ran 15 minutes - well almost (2 1/2 min warm up and cool down and a 10 min mile). This was actually pretty hard-- since I usually go really easy with running (5.3-5.6). It was hard and it felt pretty good when I was all done.

After my quick run warmup, I did The Firm tape (Body Sculpt) with really heavy weights then I did Core Max with Cathe for 15 minutes.
Total time -- 1.22 minutes , 516 calories average hr of 122.

I ate well - but not enough. Shake for breakfast, tomato soup with tofu for lunch and salad for dinner. A few hershey's kisses for good measure:) . All told - roughly 1300 calories. I need to add snacks and drink more water.

The start of something new

To blog or not to blog.....

I am a student by choice -- I like to pick up new ideas, approaches etc. all the time. The source varies from printed materials to people. Blogging is a great way to capture and share my journey as well as allow me connect with others.

I had this title in my head for a while - part of the reason is due to my location. Out here in the Pacific NW there 4% of the population is African American. So you can imagine the number of AA triathletes. There is a great group of ladies out here called Soul Sistas who are incredibly active and inspirational. They are such an inspiration .
My other true inspiration is my friend Jessica. She is a machine . I have a link to her blog below. Just when I don't feel like working out .. I think about Jessica.

Finally - I read this article
Why some black women skip the gym
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/4613831.html and reflected on the sad state of affairs with us sistas. According to this article 78 percent of black women are overweight, and that includes the 50.8 percent who are obese. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that black women suffer higher percentages of diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, cancer and premature death. And, the CDC says, when they get these diseases, they have more severe cases than white women. Yet compared with overweight white Americans, overweight black Americans are two to three times more likely to say their weight is average — even after they've been diagnosed as overweight or obese by a doctor, according to womenshealth

Interesting quote from this article:
"If a woman spends hours in a (salon) chair and spends $60, she's out of the gym for at least two days."

Bottom line - I don't want to be a statistic and I want to do what I can to bring the number down. Training for triathlons is a great way to stay in healthy, look good and feel great.

So there you have it.

About Me

My photo
West Coast, United States
I am a christian woman, wife, mom to 2 great kids, a member of Delta Sigma Theta, A Jack and Jill mom, sister, daughter . I am also incredibly fit but wasn't always. I am a recovering fat girl - who takes it one day at a time.

Alonda the Triathlete!

Alonda the Triathlete!

The backstory-----How did I become a triathlete...

In February 2006, I went on a ski trip with my new colleagues from work. On the way back, I sat next to a girl named Wendy - a really friendly woman who talked about her experience as a newcomer to Seattle. She told me how her main source of making friends was through her workout buddies. She also mentioned that many of her friends participate in triathlons and that (get this) I should consider doing one too. I thought she might have been delirious from all of the skiing. I assured her that I was not the one. She obviously had mistaken me for someone else. Perhap my heavy coat prevented her from seeing what was underneath (50 lbs of extra weight and lots of evidence of no exercise). She continued with this crazy talk, speaking of how fun it is and how supportive the Danskin Triathlon is. I wanted to be sure that she and I were thinking of the same thing... Triathlon (swim bike run -some huge number of miles -all on the same day right after each other). Yup this was it. I chuckled and told her to have fun.
A few weeks later at the office, she mentioned it again. Now at this time, I had been contemplating joining my company sponsored health club (PROCLUB) and in particular the weight loss program called 20/20. After all, I had really packed on the pounds. I arrived in WA 50lbs overweight and pretty unhappy with myself. I actually started to think that completing triathlon would be a good goal...impossible but a good goal. I decided to go for it. At the same time I also decided to join the weight loss program. My first meeting with my trainer ..Anthony Parker was on 3/14/06. I told him ..in all of my fatness, that I wanted to do a triathlon. He looked at me and said hmmm, ok.
I began this really intense workout and nutrition program and began building my endurance. My first meetings with Anthony consisted of walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes and then doing stairclimber or eliptical for 15 minutes. Followed by a bit of strength training. I did this 3x a week (between 6am and 7:30) and then worked out on my own 2 other days. I had absolutely no endurance and could not run for more than 1 minute. Over the months, my endurance grew ..slowly at first then more rapidly. I also figured that I needed to improve my swimming skills if I was going to swim for 1/2 a mile. I took a Total Immersion Class.. which teaches swimming efficiency. Let's set the record straight here... I could swim well enough to save myself if I was thrown off of a boat. I was a decent (not great) swimmer. At the start of the class, I could do 1 (that's right ONE) lap and then I started breathing heavy. At that point I new the triathlon was totally out of reach. After all 1/2 mile was equal to 20 laps. I left the 1st day of class feeling scared and dismayed that I was too aggressive. Maybe I should have set my goal for 2007.
The next week's class, I asked the teacher what I needed to do to build my endurance. He said just keep at it, it will come. You know what, it did. Each week I got better and better. 4 weeks later I was able to swim 9 laps. I then started swimming before my workouts with my trainer (a little crazy but hey). My trainer was pretty impressed. I also started biking on the weekends. In fact in May I did a 30 mile bike ride as a part of the Tour De Cure for Diabetes. I really love biking...:)
Ok so I still had not tackled the most difficult part, the running. Not only could I not run but I absolutely hated it. I started adding running to my treadmill work. Anthony suggested intervals. We started with 2min run 2 min walk . I did this for weeks extending the time and the speed. I was up to running at 5.5 and walking at 4.0. Then Anthony said ..let's see if you can run a mile. I thought he was kidding. I did not think I was ready for that. This was May 5th (a day after my birthday). Guess what I did it. And I didn't feel like I was going to die. I was on top of the world. All day I had a little extra spring in my step. I just kept replaying in my head the "goal attained" message on the treadmill. I just could not believe it.
I kept it up, continued working out 5x a week. I took another swim class "Triathlon Swim Training" to help even more. This class was filled with drills and specific swim workouts. I really saw progress. By the end of the class, I was able to swim 28 laps. Now the challenge was to swim in Open Water. That's right. The triathlon was going to be in Lake Washington.
I finally felt like I could really do it. I didn't have a specific time goal , my goal was to finish. The week before the race I was sooo nervous. I was doing mini triathlons with a few really good girls. I kept up with them during the swim but one bike ride was particularly hilly and....they left me in the dust. I felt so bad and really began to rethink whether or not I should do the race. I spoke to one of the girsl about my bike performance , and she said that my bike was holding me back. That day, I decided to retire my 35lb mountain bike for a 19 lb feather light road bike. Boy what a differnce. This was a risky thing to do so close to the race but it worked for me.
The other thing to mention is that I met up with a wonderful group of women called the Soul Sistas. They are a group of African American Women of all ages who participate in triathlons and bike races. They are so awesome.We (the soul sistas) took pictures the day before the race... I'll post when available.
So the day of the race..... Everybody in the house is excited and up. My kids and my nieces - who were visiting from NJ are all up and ready to root me on. I left early so that I could get ready.The goal was to meet me by the swim finish. This was alll pretty tricky because there were 40 waves of swimmers starting every 3 minutes. All I can say about the swim is that it felt much longer than 1/2 a mile. I kept focused and didn't get nervous. I focused on keeping my breathing relaxed. It worked ...and by the way I wasn't the last swimmer in my group YEAHHH. I don't know how it all worked out but as soon as I finished my swim, I saw them. Byron , Tyler, Paris, Ahlia and Ivy were all waiting there for me with the most beautiful handmade signs saying GO MOMMY, Go AUNTIE, I love you. It was so terrific. Once I saw them I was energized.... Now on to the bike.
The bike was the best part of the entire race. I love my bike and I love to fly down the road. The entire 14 miles of the race was closed to traffic. Our longest stretch was on the express lane of one of the largest highways. Imagine flying down a highway with nothing in your way (but other riders on your right). It was so amazing. I was going pretty fast but could have gone faster - but wanted to save my legs for the run.
Now the run... I hate running and I am really bad at it. I am slow and not terribly efficient. After biking hard for 40 minutes, your legs are really worked up. During the after bike run, your legs turn into "bricks". They are heavy and hard to move. If you push through , you can get over the feeling and get into a stride. Well I also felt pains in my knee. So instead of running the entire 3.2 miles I decided to walk run. In the end it was actually fine - but while doing it I was a little disappointed. Danskin is great because there are so many supporters on the way. Cheerleaders who are yelling "go for it" from their back porch. It was just what I needed. In fact I heard Destiny's Child Im a survivor , on my way and that was what I used in my head to keep me going.
So when I realize I am about 1/2 mile from the end, I start getting super excited and very emotional. It is all coming together now -- all the training, the visualization of actually crossing the finish line and my waiting family. I got on my cell phone to cal my husband, just to make sure he was at the finisth line. He cracked up that I called:)
When you come close to the finsih line, there are all these spectators lined up waiting for you. It is so great! I ran through a narrow entry to the wide finish line area. And there they were.. my family (My hubby, kids and neices) - with signs and smiles. When I crossed the finish line, my name was announced and the official put a medal around my neck. Well I just lost it and started crying. I could not believe that I had just completed a triathlon. I was officially a triathlete.