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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I am Special Olympics

No workout today because of an early 7am breakfast appointment in the city . I knew that since I would not workout this morning I needed to be super tight with my nutrition. And I was... I had coffee, broccoli with shrimp (sauteed no sauce) and 6 ounces of protein for dinner. I ended with no calorie deficit because of my snack of Gouda and crackers. My kids are addicted to flavored Gouda cheeses and crackers. No American for them -- sweet red pepper Gouda please. It is soo funny.

The highlight and most impactful time of my day was my breakfast appointment. I was invited by a friend to attend the Special Olympics Breakfast of Champions . It is their major fundraising event. For me, this event and this cause really resonated . Each person on stage would end their talk with "I am Special Olympics". The guest speaker was Dick Hoyt. Dick Hoyt's son Rick was born without the ability to speak or use his arms or legs. He was eventually able to communicate through a special computer. Through this computer he told his father that he wanted to participate in a 5 k race. His father was not a runner, but agreed to do it anyway. He pushed his son in a wheelchair for the entire distance of the race, and came in 2nd to last - but not last. When he was in these races, Rick felt like he didn't have a disability- like he was running like everyone else. As a result of the joy it gave his son, Dick continued on entering marathons and triathlons - pushing/pulling his son every step of the way. They even finished the very difficult Ironman triathlon.
Dick was on Oprah before and many people have heard this story and I'm sure it impacts many people. For me, this story and the cause of Special Olympics pulled at me in a very deep and profound way. First I understand how difficult it is to get my very abled body ready to do a Sprint distance triathlon. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to do it while pulling along my child.

Second- for a short but very difficult time in my life, I had to picture my life with a child with severe disabilities. God decided that he needed him more than we did. But I carry in my heart my 2nd child Sydney - who had he lived would have probably been severely disabled. I think about Dick's heart and what it must feel like to be able to give your child the gift of feeling normal - even if for a short while. Being able to give that gift is what pushes Dick to go through the grueling training and physical pain of preparing for and competing in really tough races . If Sydney were here - I'm sure I would want to give the same type of gift.

I was also touched by all of the athletes that participate in the Special Olympics. Many have completed marathons, triathlons, bike rides etc. despite have serious intellectual or physical disabilities. Some of us able bodied people can't get our butts on the treadmill for a few minutes and yet these athletes are competing.

Finally - there but for the grace of God there go I. A few years ago, I was diagnosed as having probable Multiple Sclerosis. I went through testing for 7 months - numerous MRIs and other tests. Some tests were positive others were negative. MS is diagnosed based on the frequency/occurrence of the symptoms or episodes. I had 3 over the course of 6 months and nothing since. It has been 2 years with no episodes. I could have another one tomorrow , 10 years from now or never. I could wake up tomorrow and not be able to move my legs or arms. If /when that happens - I'm sure after the shock of it all, I will want to still be active and possibly complete a triathlon. I'm glad an organization like Special Olympics exists - just in case I ever need it.

I say all this to say that I have been doing a bunch of thinking over the last year about my legacy and how I want to use my life to impact others. Through sharing my faith and helping others know God, I am impacting others and through my public service organizaton but I am making a dent. I still wonder sometimes, is there more I can do? More that I can do beyond writing a check and annual fundraisers. I am glad that I went to this event because it certainly helped me answer that question and the answer is a resounding YES. I have decided to volunteer with the Special Olympics and in some way I will help others feel what I feel when I do something that I didn't think I could do. I want to be able to help other experience what Rick Hoyt and so many other like him experience.

Today was a great day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Crest that hill, Crest that hill, crest that hill...

Today was heavy arm workout day and cardio. Based on my new theory of weights first, I did my upper body workout first again until fatigue with 30 minute rests between sets. I then went outside for a quick run. I had limited time today because of an 8am meeting. I needed to run a little faster than normal so that I could make it back and get dressed for work.
My weight workout was tough and I tried to do drop sets-where once you reach fatigue, you drop the weight and do a few more reps . This is killer but really effective according to the latest research.
I almost procrastinated my way out of my run by putzing around with my Ipod, making sure it was charged etc. Well since we have 4 MP3 players (2 ipods, a Zune and a Sansa) - this should never be a problem. I just grabbed my zune and hit the road. I listened to my all time favorite running podcast- Podrunner - Cold Sweat. It is the most perfect running music for me. Just when I feel like stopping - it comes in with a thumping beat that makes me want to pick it up.

Anyway - my run was a 2.5 loop around my neighborhood. The only difference this time was that I reversed the route. What I didn't realize was that by reversing the route - it made it tougher because of the hills. Especially the small hills that are fairly undetectable when traveling down. What I love most about exercise is that you get so many opportunities to push yourself beyond your limits in a very tangible way. My opportunities for this came on the last hill - which was the steepest. I was already ready to be done but had about 1/2 mile left to go, most of which was up hill. I told myself that all I needed to do was make it to the top of the hill: Crest the hill was all I kept saying to myself. Once I got there it was flat and I would be done. I wanted to stop or at least slow down, but I kept going. It reminded me of other areas in my life where I want to bail and sometimes I do. Especially around difficult conversations with people I love. It is so easy to bail and walk away. The hard part - like running up a hill is to keep going and crest the hill. After that it is flat road and cool down.

Nutrition today was pretty good. I started this week with a plan to have protein shakes, 10 ounces of protein and water - 3 days this week. After my blender at work decided not to work, I had to go to plan B. I did well with just 2 protein shakes and 10 ounces of protein. All in all - 1350 calories -due to an extra tablespoon of peanut butter.

Total deficit for today 543 calories.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Back to normal.... skinny chick who could not hang

I have a new theory about the proper sequence of weights and cardio. I've read several articles/books that suggest that cardio be done first in order to warm up - then do weights. I've also read that when doing cardio, fat burning doesn't really start until minute 20. So here is what I believe - if fat burning doesn't start until minute 20 and there is no downside to lifting first - why not lift first then do cardio. This way I get all the fat burning benefits of cardio at minute 1 (assuming my lifting routine was intense enough to get my heart rate elevated).
I began the day with a really tough leg workout... (my killer workout from last week) and then finished up with spinning and a quick run. I did 3 super sets of everything (no more than 30 second rest) until fatigue. I'm a little sore now - hopefully it doesn't get too much worse.
I then took spin class - and boy was it good. I really pushed it. We did a bunch of hills and speed work - this was exactly what I needed after the heavy weights- as muscles need to break down before they can be repaired. Also because I did my strength training first, fat burning started at minute 1:). My cadence (revolutions per minute) got up to 132 at one point. I was next to a woman who thought she could hang, but just could not. She was a skinny chick who was decked out in her cycling outfit. We had this little competition going (at least in my head) where she would try to spin faster than I did. Well that lasted for about 37 minutes until she had to throw in the towel and end before the class was over. I sort of chuckled to myself because it really undescores that fitness goes much deeper than what you look like. I revel in this fact because I am incredibly fit (as measured by my heart rate recovery and my cardio endurance) but I may not look as fit as many skinny chicks.

It was a very normal- workout day - at my very normal regular club. Very uneventful - in at 5 out at 7:30 --simple. No drama... just the way I like it.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Night Workout

What do you call people like me who , bored on Friday night - decide to go to the gym? Losers!! Not really but really :)

There is a bit of a different crowd at the gym on late Friday nights. Well I joined them tonight. I had a bagel for dinner (yes a bagel) and I didn't workout this am due to an early morning meeting. Plus quite honestly I was bored. We didn't have any plans and as a result everyone in the house was busy with house activities. The kids were watching the Hanna Montana and Raven Marathons. I can't blame them since they don't watch TV during the week, they cherish their Friday night TV time. Hubby was busy doing his things. I was .... well restless. I cleaned up my nightstand, cleaned out my closet, gave myself a pedicure and then felt completely bored. It was close to 10 pm and still light out. I decided I'd take advantage of the time and go work out.

I ran for 2 miles , then did elliptical and weights. Since it has been a 2 weeks since I ran, I took it easy - for fear that my knees would give me trouble. It was all good and the treadmill worked well. I felt so good during and after the workout , that I decided that I would change my routine and get my swim in at night. I'll use the am for weights, run and cycling and then swim in the evening. Kills a couple of birds with 1 stone .

Friday, June 22, 2007

off kilter and time management

This week is the first week in a long time that I have truly felt out of balance. My work/life/workout balance is way off. I think I worked 75 + hours each of the last 2 weeks, worked out for only 5 hours and spent no time doing anything else I like. Time with my family feels totally out of whack - I missed a few end of year performances during the day. What a bummer.
I did the bike ride last weekend and the rest of the week my workouts have been very light. I did weights and cardio for 45 minutes 1 day and that was about it. I have been feeling very off base because of not working out. Plus my food choices are not as great as they should be ..and the scale is letting me know. So far I have put on 2 lbs in the last 2 weeks. This is definitely not good. What is so funny is that 2lbs feels like 20 lbs. I can tell exactly where the 2lbs are. Plus I feel like I've lost a bit of muscle tone. Hubby says I'm a bit neurotic , but this is the way I feel.

So here is the plan . ..SOUND THE ALARM. Enough already. I know this can all be traced back to not going to the gym and disrupting my routine. Well I decided that I'm done with that whole issue and the instructor is not worth me losing any momentum. There will always be obstacles - some bigger than others. So I will chalk the whole swim incident to character refinement and be happy that my action resulted in a new policy. But as an aside - would you believe I got a bill for that swim lesson. The audacity! Ok - now I'm really done. (of course I'm not paying).

So here is what I learned this week about time management. 1) I suck at it but didn't always. When I was in college, I was an RA, a National Officer in my sorority, worked a full time job, had a boyfriend, was on the deans list and never missed a beat. I was incredibly disciplined with my time. Now I'm not quite as disciplined and allow more flexibility. 2) I think I have a new approach. My new approach comes indirectly from Bill Gates. My VP used to work for Billg and picked up a few great tips that he shared with me. This is a bit much but worth attempting.

He decides at the beginning of the year his priorities and how he wants to spend his time: time at work, time with family , personal time etc. He then plans out everything for the year. For example he might say ..I will spend 20 hours a year with person X and then has his assistant plan it out. He then constantly evaluates to make sure he is hitting his targets by category and if not, he adjusts. He spends quite a bit of time load balancing.

I like the idea and I'm going to give it a try. I'll try it for the week instead of the whole year. My time for the week would look something like this:

  • Quiet time/spiritual time - 6 hours
  • Alone time with hubby - awake/no kids - 9 hours
  • Quality family time - 22 hours
  • 1:1 time with each child - 2 hours (1 hour each)
  • Workout time - 11 hours
  • Worktime 50 hours (max)
  • Sleep :49 hours
  • Commute time 6 hours
  • Public service/free time/time with friends: 5 hours
  • Clean up/chores/garden: 7 hours

168 hours available This schedule = 168
I will also need to do a double click and plan out the individual areas , like how I will spend my 50 hours of work time... and my 11 hours of workout time. I'll post my new workout .

Is this realistic? Is this the right balance. I'll give go.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Flying Wheels - After race report

I could have totally done the 70. I finished the race feeling good - a bit of burn in my legs, but feeling really good. I started out this morning - feeling a little pokey. Everything wasn't quite laid out the way I normally prefer. I gathered everything this morning - even put my bike pants in the dryer about 20 minutes before I left. At one point I stopped and asked myself " what is the problem ? Why am I so slow?" . I finally got it together and and caught a ride with hubby and the kids on their way to gymnastics.
When I got there we saw rows and rows of cars. Flying Wheels is the largest bike ride in King county. Today there were over 3100 riders ...and I was one of them. I was getting ready to start when I saw one of my co workers. I was excited to see him because if I could hang with him, I wouldn't be alone. I also met another guy, Lance who I planned to ride with if I couldn't keep up with my co worker -Alexander.
We took off and warmed up with a good pace for the first 3 miles. The we approached the first of the 4 big hills and it was no joke. Alexander attacked the hills... and I followed closely behind. It was a beautiful ride - rolling hills, farmland - cows/horses, and the sun occasionally peeked through. We decided that we would make our decision to do 50 or 70 miles when we got to the decision point at around mile 25. We also thought the weather would help us decide. If it was raining we would absolutely do the 50.
Well at mile 25 it looked a bit cloudy so we decided to go for the 50 and really push it.
Riding with men is really a challenge. They are so competitive, always trying to out do each other. It was great for me because I pushed it. For about 10 miles we were averaging 21mph and really pushing it on the hills.
Well the rain never came and in fact it was a perfect day. The entire ride was just perfect- not too hot, not too cold. Alexander pulled ahead of me a couple of times, but I quickly caught up. In fact I caught up and passed many people and it felt good. Especially passing the big packs of men. When you pass people, the polite thing to do is to say "on your left". I loved saying that to the men with the fancy jerseys and expensive bikes:) . The last hill felt like it went on forever, it was steep but rolling. Which meant that just when you think it is over, it gets keeps going and gets even worse. I powered through -- at strong (but slower) pace. I passed many people walking up the hill and a few resting on the road. That could have been me - but not today --sore legs and all. I felt great and strong. Not super fast but really strong. Strangely enough, I didn't feel sore while I was riding (except on the hills) but I did feel sore while walking.
As we approached the last 5 miles, I decided to really turn it up. For most of the last 25 miles I stayed in my big wheel -even on the hill. I really wanted to fire up my quads - since they were already sore. Perhaps this would accelerate the muscle breakdown, repair cycle. I did an all out sprint the last 3 miles. The finish was anti climatic because there was no finish line. There something about actually crossing a finish line that makes the race rewarding. Well there was no finish line. We just eh finished. A bit of a let down.
What wasn't a let down was the fact that I could have kept riding for another hour or so. I could have done the 70 -without a problem.

Flying wheels -- before

OK I'm up early - not quite feeling as good as I'd like. My legs are super sore from my killer workout on Thursday. I had trouble walking up stairs all day yesterday. I took two aleves and I will take this stuff called sore legs in just a bit.
I am definitely not feeling up to the 100 mile . The fact that I only slept for 1 hour and that my legs are still pretty sore - makes me think I'd be crazy to try it. Plus it is raining. In fact I feel like doing the 25 or not all :) . I will do the 50 mile and be happy. If It is hard to walk up the stairs without grimacing , I can't imagine what doing the hills will feel like.
I need to beef up my nutrition today. I just had a bowl of oatmeal and I'll eat a banana in a bit. I have a few energy packs and cytomax for my water ,

Also I've spent a good part of the morning watching you tube videos about how to change a flat. I've never gotten a flat but for some reason - I think today is the day.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hard workout at home....

Ok so I have enough workout equipment at home to do some serious damage. I got up this morning and decided that I would go to the gym for my heavy cardio days and workout at home for my heavy strength training days. I spent about 40 minutes putting together a really tough strength training workout. If I complete the entire workout it is about 90 minutes (at least). Today I got through 45 minutes and then did 30 min of cardio. I have a barbell ( up to 55lbs) dumbbells (5-15lbs), a 19 lb weighted bar, elastic bands, stretch cords, mini tramp, treadmill, jump ropes and high and low steps. So I put together a killer workout - that I couldn't get through. I've been doing a ton of reading around weights and the most effective use of reps and super sets. I'm on a mission to get more muscle definition and lose 8% body fat by end of summer (in addition to taking 8 minutes off my last year tri time).
I did these things called drop sets - where after you get to fatigue, you drop the weight and do more reps until the 2nd fatigue. Well my killer workout calls for 3-4 sets of each exercise at at 12-15 reps. Well after the 2nd set 15th rep, a drop set feels like fire.
I am soo sore right now...and I'm feeling really stupid for working my legs so hard 2 days before my big bike ride. I'm going to stretch really well tonight and take it easy tomorrow. I also am reconsidering doing a century on Saturday in favor of a 60 or 75 mile. I don't feel ready and the last thing I want to do is bonk out.. or have to stop because I can't continue. I'll make that decision on Saturday am.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A new class... a new attitude

I took a new spin class today, at a new gym , in a new town. I decided that I am the only one who gets to determine how successful I will or will not be in achieving my fitness goals. God is in control of my future - not any swim instructor or his wife or any whispering personal trainers. I know enough to be extremely successful in my fitness quest and I have the character to overcome difficult situations.
Today I got up - and decided to go print off a guest pass for my local Bally's gym. I checked the schedule online and saw that they had a 6am spin class. I arrived and was immediately hit with the reality that this was not the club I had become used to. There were no towels waiting for me when I arrived, and I needed to bring my own lock for my locker and oh yeah, I needed to carry paper towels to wipe the machines down (instead of the nice fluffy towels used at the other club). And of course the decor and machine quality is very different. But despite all of that, it was totally fine and quite refreshing. The employees noticed that I was new and offered to help me . The spin instructor came over and introduced himself and asked if I was ok with my bike setup. The class was really good and the music was awesome. A few people in the class came up and chatted with me afterwards. One offered to go out riding on the weekend. After spin I went to do 20min on the stair climber. One of the Personal Trainers came over and started chatting. He thought I should take it from level 6 to level 7. So I did...it was certainly a lot harder but I could do it. He didn't know me but was already trying to push me. (I recognize that he sees me as fresh meat that might be interested in his for pay services ...but let me have my moment) Because the place is smaller - there is more of a sense of camaraderie - especially at that hour. The other thing I noticed from the bulletin boards, is that this gym has successfully churned out several female figure and fitness competitors. This is good news since I am strongly considering a similar type contest for my 40 y birthday challenge. Since I don't think my knees (or my husband) will allow me to go for the 1/2 Ironman.

Going to this gym - helped me realize that I need to keep moving....moving fast and strong.
Theme song for today " Ain't nothing gonna break my stride, ain't nothing gonna hold me back, oh no, I've gotta keep on moving..." (song by 1 hit wonder UniqueII)

Feeling good.... feeling bad

I got up today and decided that it was time to get back on the wagon. I got up early (4:30) and decided that today I would go to the gym and get in a really good workout. I was feeling good and excited to be going back. Everything went as planned... I went to locker room, got my bike shoes and seat, then went to spin class. I felt great during the class ... really strong. When it was over I decided to go get in a mini strength workout. I got through about 3 exercises when I saw his wife. She looked at me then started whispering to her friends. I ignored her.

Then all of the sudden out of nowhere - the president of the club appears. Now I thought it was a bit early for him (7:15am) but there he was , right in my line of sight. Seemed like an odd coincidence . I went up to him to let him know that I received his letter and that today was my first day back. I also told him that I thought it was too soon because I did not feel comfortable.
He said "Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you workout at another gym". I'm not sure why but I got a bit emotional. Letting him know that I did nothing wrong and did not want to have to change my routine because of someone else's poor behavior. I then walked away and left the club feeling sad and angry. Why should I have to change? I did nothing wrong. After all they did not have any policies in place to protect me... they were in the wrong not me. This guy did something wrong by being too close to me. On my drive home I realized that I won't feel better until I have closure that is satisfactory to me. Right now it is still open and far from satisfactory.
I did a bit of research and found out that other reputable swim instructors think the methods used during my lesson, are absolutely unnecessary and inappropriate. I also searched for standards in the swim industry and unfortunately there are none. This is probably all I will say about this for a while -- but I wanted to give the update.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Update on the pool incident

So this post is a long time coming. I've been in such a weird place about this situation, but I am finally ready to open up about it .

The Letter and Meeting 1

A few days after the incident, I wrote a letter to the president of the club- stating the facts. The president called me to set up a meeting. As it turned out , the entire event had been videotaped. Knowing this, gave me relief. Relief that my account would not be a he said she said situation. Relief that the video could do some of the talking for me. Hubby went with me, thankfully. I was afraid I might get emotional and plus it was good to have support. To my surprise the meeting was very good. They were very humble and seemed very concerned . We reviewed the video tape and everything was pretty evident (to me). We asked about what policies were in place to prevent inappropriate incidents like this from happening. They said they didn't have any because nothing like this had ever happened. They said they would check HR policies , evaluate the situation and get back to us in a few days. As upset as I was, I actually felt good about the meeting. I felt comfortable, given the videotaped account, they would take immediate action.

The 2nd meeting:
The second meeting was set up to inform us of their decision. The meeting was basically their chance to tell me that they spoke to him and he was very distraught about the entire situation. They then began to describe several what if scenarios to determine if my reactions would have been different. Like" what if he asked you if you were uncomfortable?" . They also asked if he said anything inappropriate . As they were asking me these questions, my confidence started to wane. I started to feel like they were definitely taking sides. They then said that the bottom line was that they thought the incident was an accident and that they were sorry that I felt uncomfortable. They thought his method was appropriate and he was a long time employee with no prior complaints of this nature. I got up and said the meeting was over and I needed to leave. I was so angry that they were taking his side that I could not stay in the room any longer.

The official reply
A few days later I received an official letter stating not that it was an accident (as they told me at the in person meeting). This letter stated that after reviewing the tapes , they said it is inconclusive. They cannot prove or disprove what I said. They are taking precautions like adding training and creating a policy to prevent this type of incident (accidental inappropriate touching) from happening in the future.

The Impact on me:
I feel happy that I said something. Happy that others won't go through this again at this place. Happy that there is now a policy and happy that the policy describes punitive action for violators. However I am not quite settled about it. I am still angry that it happened to me. I'm angry because this little "accident" as it was called, has had a major impact on me, Emotionally and Physically. Emotionally - I have not resumed my regular pre incident workouts (my weekly brick workouts, swimming, etc). I have been very distracted by the whole thing - in a very bad way. The physical impact is that I have not been able to go into back to the gym since it all happened. I have not been swimming, nor have I been working out as hard. I'm just not as disciplined when working out at home. I've gotten good workouts in but they haven't been as intense as what I would have done at the gym. Further it is far easier to be distracted at home so my workouts tend to be shorter. I am also someone who tends to be an emotional eater ...so I've not been as disciplined. I know this should not have impacted me in this way ..but the bottom line is it has. Inside of me I want to fight against this and not let anything interrupt my fitness goals or my weight loss success. I am doing ok but I feel very vulnerable.

Next steps:
I am still evaluating what to do next. There are several options depending on how far I want to take this. At the end of the day I just want life to return to normal. My normal workouts, my normal schedule, my normal comfortable feeling at one of my favorite places..the gym. One thing I know for sure... I don't feel comfortable there. I don't want to see him or his wife (who also works there) and I certainly don't believe I should financially support a place that doesn't support me.

One day very soon, I will look back on this experience and look at how I've grown from it. I'm hoping that it will help me not rely on the gym ...and figure out how to get my workout on my own. I will also be able to look back and feel that I am emotionally stronger because of this. I am really looking forward to that day.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

3 hour and 45 minute bike ride--- in the rain

I planned to do a nice simple ride around the lake today. I figured I'd get in 25miles and then a quick run and then I'd be ready to spend good quality time with the kids today. My normal route is on moderately busy streets - in the bike lane of course. This is totally unnecessary because western Washington has some of the best paved bike trails in the country. Problem is -because I'm such a loner, I do what I know and don't often explore.
I was feeling great when I went out - I got my speed right up to 18mph. My goal was to work on speed and stay between 18-20mph on flat and no lower than 12 on the rolling hill. About 7 miles in - I spot a little sign for the trail network. I decided to follow it to see where it led me. It was wonderful. I discovered that I can connect part of my normal route with a pretty challenging trail ride.
Riding on the trail is nice because of the peace, quiet and beautiful scenery. It also allows me to zone out a bit and think about things other than cars.
The rain started at about mile 15 and I hadn't even made it to my halfway point yet. I thought about turning around but then I figured it would probably stop soon. At about mile 20 I realized it was not going to stop. I decided to keep going because for some strange reason I wanted to go to Seattle over this I-90 bridge. I kept going -- in the rain.
By the time I got back home - I was dripping wet , but feeling good. All in all -- nice way to spend a Saturday morning. While I felt good, I know the ride next week (Flying Wheels) will take me about 6-8 hours depending on my speed. I think I'm ready but I'm a little nervous.

Monday, June 4, 2007

19 hours of travel time then 60+ house guests

It is hard to maintain a "clean" diet when you spend an inordinate amount of time surrounded by convenience food. I started out ok... fruit for breakfast but that quickly changed when fatigue and hunger set in later in the day. I left Munich at 1:45am PST and arrived at my home at 11:15pm the next day. While the food in business class is better than what is normally served, it was still tough to maintain. I had salad- but I also had way too much bread. I ended up sitting next to an female attorney from Phoenix. She and I had so much in common it was funny. Without talking about working out - she said out of the blue " are you a runner?". I think this is the first time (ok 2nd) in my life anyone ever thought I was involved in sports. I said no why did you ask. She said I had really nice gear . My sneakers, My thermal nike pullover and my pants. We started talking and I told her I was into training for triathlons ...she was too. She was also really into marathons and 1/2 marathons. She travels around the country to participate in various races -- along with her best friend. How cool. She recently completed a rock and roll series that included 5 marathons in 5 cities over 7 months. She'd done 1 triathlon and was gearing up to do a few more this year. She was a busy working mom of 3 children and a marathon runner/triathlete. We had a good chat then we went to sleep:)

I arrived home last night at 11 and woke up this am at 5. My body is still off kilter. Plus I needed to do a little bit of straightening up since we are hosted a the J&J Family day. All told there were about 60+ people at my house . We had a great time, but I was was happy to get to bed when it was all over.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Pretzels with butter and Shiraz Tea

Well I'm wrapping up my Europe trip today. I'm in Detroit on a layover on my way home. Yesterday I spent the day in Munich in meetings and then went out to eat at a very nice dinner . It was a modified traditional Bavarian dinner complete with pretzels and all. I decided a head of time that I would have traditional German pretzel just to experience it. I made sure that I worked out in the am to offset any incremental calories. Well the pretzel was tasty - but not unlike anything I've ever had before. Funny - in Germany the idea of pretzels with mustard is pretty strange.. my colleagues had never heard of this. Instead they eat them with butter or cheese. The rest of the meal was tasty - a local fish and baby potatoes. Being in Germany was the first time I've experienced having absolutely no idea what was being said around me. I spent time in France/Italy before and because I speak French I can understand and at least pick up the gist of what is being said in Italian. German isn't patterned after the romance languages so it is hard to even pick up a word.

Before hopping on the plane yesterday, I went running (on a track), shopping and on a chocolate and tea pilgrimage. I've decided that I could totally live in Paris. There is a certain energy you feel when walking on the streets - similar to NY but much calmer. The limestone buildings are so beautifully maintained that it actually feels contemporary and current . If I ever get a chance to get transferred to Paris , I won't bat an eye...I'm there. The chocolate and tea pilgrimage was one of the highlights of the trip. First my coworker needed to pick up tea for one of her colleagues from a particular store that was near my favorite chocolate store. The tea store was called Hediard. It is a gourmet sweet, tea and wine shop. I've never seen anything like their tea assortment. They have vats and vats of special mixes and flavors of loose tea leaves. You tell them what you like and the tea master (I'm sure there is a name for him- I just don't know it) will let you smell it and give you a sample. I bought Shiraz, Primavera and a Noel blend. Absolutely delicious. After the tea shop we went to Angelina's- home of the best hot chocolate in the world. They also call the hot chocolate - African Tea - which was a new term for me. I never realized that before. Anyway it was out of this world delicious. My coworker was hooked too. We both bought several bags to take back home.

We walked about 5 miles (in addition to my 2 1/2 mile run) so by the end of the day I was beat.

Here are a few pictures from old Munich in Germany....

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.