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

Monday, August 27, 2007

Hair I am

The statistics regarding obesity among African Americans is well documented. Obesity levels among African American women are at epidemic proportions – with 50% being obese and that statistic has grown quite significantly over the last 10 years. 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. African-American men however not obese as a group – with their obesity levels being equal to or lower than that of other ethnic groups.

Why are sistas overweight?
Most studies identify diet and nutrition as primary causes. Supporting causes are lack of exercise and genetics. According to Women’s Health magazine , when 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. I know that story – I sure didn’t think I was obese – but I was. Also some women are encouraged to keep “a little meat on the bones” and use that as a reason for indulging in unhealthy foods and not working out .

Why do we skip the gym – and why did I skip it this morning?
There are probably several bodies of research that dig into this in greater detail, but my hypothesis is that hair has something to do with it. Not that the issue is vanity – but it is more about cost, time, effort and hair condition. Let’s say on average it cost $85-$125 to get the do done (relaxer, blow, curl) and then you go sweat it out. Then you have to use flat iron, curling iron etc to get it back to presentable state. Well that can cause heat damage and impact the condition of your hair. Plus – the time it takes to do all this (either in the morning or at night) can be upwards of 1.5 hours. In order to maintain my workout schedule – I decided that I would wear braids. With regular swimming and daily workouts – it is the one thing that works for me. During triathlon training season – it really works. But it comes with a cost too. Like – what if I don’t always want to wear braids and I need a change.

So that is where I am right now- removed my braids over the weekend and I’m managing hair that has not seen a relaxer since February. My husband (and I ) were ready for a new look. I have to confess, this morning I let my hair get in my way of working out. Here is why:
  • Yesterday I spent 5 ½ hours doing my hair. After shampooing and conditioning it, I had a head full of knots and tangles. It took me hours to comb them out. Then I blew it dry, and attempted to straighten it with the hot comb. When that didn't work, I tried the flat iron. Section by section I managed to get it to be somewhat tame. I tied it so it would stay in place. Despite the tying – it is BIG and puffy.
  • When I got up this morning– I thought about working out but could not fathom having to redo do my hair. I was also invited to go swimming at someone's house tomorrow after work. With braids I would have said absolutely yes. Needless to say - I am avoiding the water like the plague.
  • Just the slightest bit of moisture or wind will send me into the land of the afro puffs. My hair is pretty big right now, with a bit o sweat it will be humongous. Plus it would require probably who knows how long to blow dry, press and flat iron.

So – today’s workout consisted of a long walk up the big hill with the kids. 2 miles with 2 kids . Fun - yes. A workout - no.

I will manage myself this week through my meals by keeping my calories super low and drinking plenty of water. I will do light walking , abs and maybe weights. I will endeavor to not sweat.
The more I deal with this , the more I realize that there has got to be a better way. I am super committed to working out and I am struggling with this. It is no surprise that others struggle as well. To the undoctrinated , hair issues may seem trivial and not at all worth avoiding a workout. But to us – it is real, oh so real.

I’m going to try a new style this weekend – hopefully it will work with my lifestyle. If not – back to braids it is. Other ideas?

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Great weekend, Afro and Ironman

First and foremost - my friend Jessica is doing Ironman Canada today. I'm so excited for her. She is an awesome athlete-(or shall I say machine) but wasn't always. In fact she is a big source of inspiration for me. She was overweight and inactive just 3 years ago and today she is competing in one of the most challenging endurance races in the world. She had this amazing athlete living inside of her and she never knew it. And amazing she is... not just will she finish the Ironman today- she will do incredibly well - with an impressive effort. Check out her journey here.... http://www.jethereal.blogspot.com/

This was an amazingly relaxing weekend. We spent 2 days in Birch Bay- which is a amazingly serene little town on the bay - directly across from Orcas Islands and Vancouver Canada. We stayed in a cabin that was perched right on the water on a high bank. The view was one of the most beautiful sights I've seen in a long time. We played miniature golf, ate salad and grilled chicken, watched the sea lions, collected rocks on the beach and looked at the stars. It was absolutely perfect. Even the 2 hour ride there and back was perfect (with a little help from the last Mimzy DVD ). I did well with my on food - a few more chips than I'm used to and oh yeah a few bites of a smores- but overall pretty good. We did a 2 mile walk and a 1/2 mile hike. Nothing strenuous - just perfect for a mini vacation.

OK - now to the Afro...
Well I made the decision to take out my braids and go for something different. Problem is - my stylist is in NJ and my appointment is on Saturday the 1st. But since I am getting a relaxer /texturizer, I need to deep condition my hair several days before my appointment. The only window of time I have for this prework (remove braids, deep condition etc) is today. Since I have not had a relaxer since February, I am currently sporting... an Afro. The next few days will be very interesting as I try to flat iron, press and wrap my hair into submission. I am still planning to work out - and my hair has it's own plan I bet. Without braids, I am back to worrying about how my workouts will impact my hair. I only have 5 days to work through this...because my plan for Saturday is to get a texturizer that will allow me to do a wash and wear type of thing. I'm praying that my girl Grace, can hook a sista up:)-- otherwise it is back to braids.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hard hills, Luxuriate...

Fridays off in August - why didn't I do this every summer. It is so wonderful.
Our plan this weekend is to go up to a cabin in Birch Bay which is in northern Washington. We are looking so forward to it. But first my workout and pre trip chill time....

I arrived at the gym at 6 ready for spin class. I knew we would have a replacement instructor. My expectation was that it would be Diane - a woman I've had once before. She is not as hard at Jeanine, but her music is awesome. Well Diane wasn't there - it was a another woman who was totally new to me. She seemed a bit too perky - so my expectations were a little low. Boy was I wrong. Her music was really good and the class was SUPER intense. I think perhaps even more intense than my normal teacher. We did a 10 min warm up and a 5 min cool down sandwiched between 45 minutes of seated hill climb speed intervals . It was pretty good.. in fact a few of the regulars left early (which never happens). Perhaps it was a coincidence - early meetings etc., but it was strange. New perky instructor kicked our butts. In fact people applauded when the class was over - again a rare occurrence. I will definitely check her out again.

After class - I spent the next hour luxuriating. I went to the hot tub then the steam room, then sauna - after all it was my day off :).

Here is my plan for the weekend: - Drive up to Birch Bay later this morning, pack healthy snack, chill , take a walk/hike, don't drink (unless I really feel like it), eat reasonably well and have a good time. I probably won't track but I will be very aware of what I eat.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

How much pain is too much

Today was my running day. I got up early in order to meet the gym girls at 6am to do a 1 hour run. They told me ahead of time that it would be a slowish run so I felt comfortable joining them. We started out fine , I was able to keep up and keep up conversation. The great thing about running with others is that you can chat away the time and the chatting serves as a distraction from the task at hand, running. For some - running can become somewhat mindless - in that they can do it without thinking. They reach a zone where they are no longer aware of their body - just really deep in their thoughts. For me - it is quite the opposite. I never reach the point where I am totally disconnected from what my body is doing or feeling. Further, running just does not feel good. Is it me? Have I just not run enough to reach this runners nirvana? Do I need to run longer, more often?

I ended up doing 4.75 miles at a 10 ish pace. For me this is faster and longer than what I normally run. I did fine until the last little hill on the way back. I needed to walk - while the gym girls were able to keep going. I decided to call it a run at 4.75 , but they kept going to do 51/2miles. I wanted to come but my body was playing tricks on me...I think. Was I just more aware of the pain in my body or was it really hurting ? I kept telling myself to suck it up, but then I wondered if I should take it easy. At first it was my big toe (still black and blue from the Danskin) , then my knees, then my hip - which has not bothered me in over a year. I tried really hard to suck it up and keep going, but I couldn't and I needed to walk some of the last 1/2 mile. I felt awful. So exactly how much pain is too much? when should I suck it up and when should I give up? Is pain just a part of running? When does it get easier? There are so many other things I love doing - and these other things don't hurt.

I have to believe there are people for whom running feels good? Were they always this way? Does the pain eventually go away? Or should I just accept the fact that I am not a runner and will probably not be a runner anytime soon.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Loving Wednesday, My new dream, the secret

Loving Wednesday
Love fest Wednesday- as usual. I've been on a strange sleeping cycle lately so I got up a little later than planned. I arrived at the gym at 5:45, did 3 sets of leg raises (80/90/80 lbs) then headed over to spinning . It was hard and fun as usual. We did a fast tempo ride with resistance (cadence 100) for the first 15 minutes - then all hill climbing. After spinning, I did arms and abs, then a bit of stretching. No running today because, well, I didn't feel like it . As usual I had my big endorphin rush around at 9:20 and felt great for the rest of the day.

My nutrition is a bit on the brink - not sure what is going on. I had a great lunch and breakfast but could not resist dipping in the chocolate jar. What is up with that? I think I am anxious - but I'm not sure why. I think I am not really committed to this 9/9 triathlon. I just signed up because I needed something else to do. I 'm admitting now that I am bailing if the forecast calls for rain:) -- well we will see.

My new dream

This week I've been working on my daughter's humility (or lack thereof:). We are helping her to see - contrary to her own beliefs, that the world does not indeed revolve around her. Now this is a bit of a challenge for us becaue it means we are not doing something right - because kids are little mirrors. Anyway - we have really taken this on in a serious way. This week my focus is on using a scripture to help her self correct her behavior. The scripture is from Philippians 2:3 and says " Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Well it has been working really well. She is really focused on considering the interests of her friends and her brother.

Well I've been focusing on it too. In fact, I haven't been able to get it out of my head. For the last 6 months or so I've been really contemplating how I'd like to spend my working time over the next 20 years or so. My work is fairly selfish - either my selfishness or that of the company in which I have worked. Convince people to buy things they don't really need. I am pretty good at this. In previous posts, I written about how I have this calling to do something more impactful with my life - in particular my working life. Making money for corporations is exciting for a while, but it is getting old. Further - I'm really struggling to find the passion I used to have. I have come to the realization that I'd like to spend my time enhancing the lives of others and helping other people reach their goals. I don't know exactly what that means but I feel really convicted about it.

I would love to be able to tie it to exercise in some way. I am solidly convicted that vigorous , challenging exercise can do so much more for a person than just help them lose weight. Perhaps my experience is unique -(although I doubt it), but vigorous limit pushing exercise has changed my life. From reducing depression, to improving confidence, to goal setting - to overall well being . When I taught as an adjunct professor - I thought teaching was going to be it for me. And perhaps it still might. It is amazingly rewarding but the 6 year investment required for the PhD and the dissertation - is hard to swallow - at least right now. Volunteering helps - but doesn't feel like it is enough. Being a great manager - is certainly one way to live out that scripture but is that it? I have always been in marketing - and have always been pretty good at it. I like the quantitative side, I like the strategic part and I like the results. But I am really feeling like I can be useful in a more impactful way. So my new dream is to find a way to spend my working time enhancing the lives of others and helping others reach their goals. If there is a way to fit exercise in that - it would be awesome. I should also add that I want to do this without defaulting on my mortgage:).

So if The Secret works (I am a critic), I will put this into the universe and be faithful that more definition will come.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Now what.....

So now what am I going to do with myself. I've scheduled surgery for the end of September which means I have plenty of time between now and then to:

a) sign up for another triathlon
b) build my leg muscles in preparation of being out of commission for 4-6 weeks
c) All of the above.

Well yup - I signed up for the Subaru All Women's Triathlon on September 9th and I will be working hard on building my leg muscles.

I also decided that I will work with a trainer for next season. I have so much to gain especially in the area of the best way to train and getting more efficient. I will set up time with her before surgery so that she can help me develop a plan.

So today - I worked out at home, ran on my treadmill doing pyramid intervals -- 5.5/6.0/6.5/6.0/5.5 for 35 minutes then ran on the mini tramp. Tomorrow I'll get back to normal - more swim bike run at the club. It is getting way too cold to brave the lake more than I need to.

I think I'm afraid of not having a big race to prep for. It seems like so much of my year is focused on training that without that goal - I feel a bit out of sorts.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Results are in and I still feel good , really good:)

This year 5000 registered but only 3496 finished. A bunch more started but didn't finish. The pouring rain had a hand in both the number of starters and the number of finishers. Despite the weather, it was an awesome day.

Here are the results. My goal was to take off 8 minutes, I took off 9 minutes -- so I feel good. My improvement in rank is more indicative of my year to year improvement rather than my time. I improved quite significantly in some areas. My target percentile is usually the bottom of the top half (50-55%) . More important than my time or rank, I feel most proud of my effort. I feel like I gave it my best effort and I can go to bed tonight feeling proud .

Overall rank 891 of 3496 (top 25th percentile LY 47th)
Class rank - 86 of 925 (9th percentile ly 33rd )
Swim time 15:59 ( lY 19:21 - but this is a wash)
Swim rank 1208 of 3496 (34th percentile, LY 33rd)
Transition 1 4:08 (ly 4:08)
Bike time 40:38 ( 1 minute less than LY)
Bike rank 335 (10th percentile LY 25th )
Bike pace 18.3 mph (LY 17.7)
Transition 2 3:59 (ly 3:36)
Run time 34:30 (LY 39:33)
Run rank 1804 (52nd percentile (LY 75th)
Run pace 11:07 (LY 12:45:)
Final Time 1:39 (lY 1:48)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Don't let my mind give out before my body

Last night we had Family Movie Night and we watched "Facing the Giants". What a great movie - I highly recommend it. It was impactful for me in many ways- the most timely of which was my approach to the this weekend's triathlon. I won't spoil it , but there is this really powerful scene - the death march scene, that I am using to drive my race this week. The bottom line is I don't try as hard as I should or could and I need to. I am going to give it 110% and really push myself. I need to figure out how not to let my mind give out before my body does. This will be most important on the run and on pushing my speed on the bike. I am going to give it my all and be proud of my effort ...God will handle the rest.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

what is wrong with me....

All I can say is I woke up today in pain. My knees hurt really bad. I had trouble all day, walking up stairs, sitting etc. I took an Aleve but it didn't do much. Then today on my way out of the office, I fell. Right in front of my building.. and get this - it was on the curb. I was stepping down from the curb and something just gave out. I fell in front of a colleague . I wasn't embarrassed I just thought it was funny. Am I falling apart? Was it the fall on the run the other day? I don't know what is wrong with me. I guess this is my body's way of saying I need a bit of rest before Danskin.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It was almost all over today

So today was my running day – totally focused to running, nothing else.  I was really tired today and had trouble getting out of the bed. As a result , I wasn’t able to meet the girls at 5:30 for their long run.  I finally got myself up and decided to go for a run in my neighborhood.  My normal neighborhood route includes this road that surrounds the lake as well as a few hilly streets that run perpendicular to the lake road.  Today started off normal enough, with me listening to Velocity Angels again – really enjoying the beginning – wondering why I do.  The lake road can be pretty busy at rush hour and this morning was no exception. There are no sidewalks but a pretty wide bike lane that is shared by runners and bikers.  I was about 1 mile in when I ran past a pretty tall berry bush that snagged my hat and hair. It kept my hat and as I was turning around to grab it, I twisted my ankle and fell in the street.  Luckily the oncoming car was able to see me waving my hands and he stopped about 10 feet before hitting me.  I got up, grabbed my hat and tried to get my bearings.  The guy was nice enough to ask if I needed a ride back home. I told him I’d be ok and I’d walk it off. 


It was a pretty close call. For a moment, I thought it was all over.  Once I got myself together, I started walking , then running.  I was able to make it another 2 miles running , then I decided to do the power walk thing.  That hurt worse than running ;(, so I started running again.  I ended up doing 3.8 miles in 45 minutes (counting the fall and the walks)- which from a pace perspective would have probably been good .  I know it was the music. I got home and needed to get dressed to dash to an early meeting. By the time I got to work I was sort of limping and realized I had a bit of swelling.   


I’ll be spending my evening with an Icepack – thanking God that it wasn’t worse.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Better off in bed

I should have stayed in bed. that was the conclusion I came to after this morning's fiasco of a workout.

I woke up this morning at 5:30 and stared at the clock until 6. I convinced myself to get up and get going. I tried every excuse in the book but quickly knocked them down. I thought about every possible reason why I should stay in the bed from I needed to do P's hair to I needed to send an email. I even tried an crazy excuse about not having the right goggles. Anyway i got my butt out of the house , wetsuit , towels and goggles in hand and headed down to the lake.

I really should have stayed in bed.

I got to the lake and I saw the Irongirls . They were in the water and looked like they had been there for a while. It was 6:20 and the water looked so peaceful and calm. They were swimming so quietly and rhythmically.

I really really should have stayed in bed.

So here I go , wetsuit in all. Plan was to swim to the first buoy - hopefully see them so that they'd know I was there...just in case I drowned. As I walked in the ice cold water and felt it fill my wetsuit, I started to feel just a bit nervous. Not sure why, I'd done this before. I totally froze. I tried swimming to the buoy but it was if I forgot how to swim. I couldn't get my breathing down, I couldn't get my rhythm , I just choked. It think it was because I was alone. I've never entered the lake alone - I guess I was scared. I can't explain it but I was not able to swim no matter how hard I tried.

I should have stayed in bed.

I ended up getting out of the water after 30 minutes of trying, and going home.

I should have stayed in bed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Is it offensive to BYOM

I arrived at the gym at 5:30 prepared for an intense workout today. My plan was a little flaky but I knew I would have a heavy cardio/weight session. I decided not to swim today because I am going to the lake tomorrow with the Irongirls . Not that I'll be swimming with them - I will just be there. I started with heavy leg weights - deadman lifts, squats, leg raises, hamstring curls, etc. I used super heavy weights today - based on a recent article I read about the doing at least 1 set of 5 reps at the heaviest weight you can do. So I did 3 sets of each exercise and 1 set was the heavy set.

Then I dashed upstairs for spin class. I was really feeling my music - (old school and house) so I decided to keep my earphones on just during the beginning of the class (that was my plan). I love my instructor but I don't always love her music. She is a little too hard rocky for me...sometimes. I can't seem to ignore the beat. I cycle, run, do the elliptical all to the beat. That is why I love DJSteveboy's podcast with the bpm selections. So anyway - I was jammin to my house music and just couldn't seem to take my earphones off. I kept checking to see if the music was different also to hear her instructions. I worked out so much harder using my music - I was cycling to a much faster beat than what she played. My cadence and intensity was higher than it would have been with her music. We did an endurance hill climb ride - with no recovery- so it was intense on its own, but my music made it ridiculous. I could not believe how much I was sweating. My quads were on fire. So was it rude or offensive to bring my own music? I know she saw me and I felt kinda bad. But I will probably do it again - perhaps I'll bring my black earphones.

Then I got on the elliptical and ran for 30 minutes. Running on the elliptical means level 6 , program 7 (gluteal) at 180-200 speed. Hard to maintain but an awesome workout.

Then I got on the treadmill and tried my power walk. Here is what I did. Ran at 7.3 for 2 minutes - just to get my energy going. Then I walked for 1 mile at 5.1-5.5. I did 1 mile 11:50. This was really hard and it really hurt. Walking that fast calls on muscles that I don't normally engage - lower calf and ankles. But it felt good. I'm going to continue doing this in between runs.

Then I did arms - on the gravitron and free weights on the ball. Then abs.

Then I needed to give my body a little love - so I stretched for 20 minutes. All told I worked out for 2 hours and 45 minutes and burned 1926 calories.

If I can control my eating and stay below 1500 calories - I will have a really nice calorie deficit. Question is....Can I walk past the chocolate?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

cp time update

Iwas sooo on A game today. I was running like Continental Airlines today...100% on time. I had 7 meetings and I was on time or early 7 times. I left early and cut out the chitchat. I'm channeling Sweetlo.

I've been missing out

Today was a great day. After the last 2 days of damage, I woke up this morning determined to really workout hard today. I knew that I needed to burn a bunch of calories in order to get myself back on track. My plan was to get to the gym and do 90 minutes of cardio. When I got the gym, I saw the girls who run. I thought for sure I would just say hi and be on my way. In the back of my mind, I remembered that I said I would run with them the next time I saw them. Unfortunately, I also blogged about running with them in a previous post and one of the girls read the post. I was totally caught and had no choice. Scared was an understatement. These are marathon runners, 1/2 ironman finishers and then there is IronJessica. I decided to go for it. After all I could always just walk if they left me.

Not only did I do it but I didn't collapse. I know they slowed it down just for me and I totally appreciated it. I was so proud of myself - we did around 4+ miles at about a 10:30 pace. This proved two things to me: 1) I am capable of running faster and longer than I usually run and 2) I have been missing out! Running with people gave me a totally different perspective on running. When I run alone, I try to take in the scenery or get into my music, but most of my time is spent wanting it to be over. Don't get me wrong - running with them was not easy (especially the ridiculous hill repeat) but I was focused on the conversation instead of the finish.

I then went in to do a 30 minute elliptical run (trying to take care of that weekend chicken:).
I think I need to get an elliptical for home since I love it so much. I think I love it because it is the closest that I come to my back in the day time at Zanzibar or the Cheetah club -dancing to house music. I know - this is sad.

Running with the girls was so much fun. I started thinking about how I could run with women in my neighborhood and with my women in my bible group - perhaps even my husband. Running with other people would help me become a better runner as well as help me make more social connections. I'm planning to go back to Jersey in a few weeks, maybe I'll ask my friends to meet me for a group run and catch up. M, L, G, B, J are you in?

Monday, August 6, 2007

Danger , Danger , Danger

Today - I missed my workout. I overslept and just could not get my butt in gear. I got dressed but procrastinated and completely missed my workout window. I told myself I would run when I got home. This NEVER happens - which is why I force myself to workout in the am. But still I told myself I'd do it today.

At work - I ate poorly - I had a sub sandwich for lunch. A SUB SANDWICH?? What am I crazy? The only reason I had this was because I attended a lunch meeting - where the host was considerate enough to provide lunch. Lunch included a variety of subs from Jersey Mikes... How can I turn down a small piece of a sub from Jersey Mikes? I started with just a small piece (half of a quarter of a sub) and then had a quarter. All told I had a 1/2 of a sub. What am I crazy? I don't eat like this. Definitely not good.

Then when I get home, my wonderful husband has a delicious meal prepared - breaded chicken, brown rice and peas. I could have had salad -- I could have just said I'll have a little bit of chicken over my salad. But noooo - I had chicken, rice and peas. What I am on crack? Also on my way out of the office - I grabbed a few chocolates from my coworker's office ( I thought I kicked this habit months ago) . I said to myself - ok that is it..back on track. After dinner - I thought about running.. but that was it. I ran in my mind , I even rode my bike in my mind.

Then before going to bed ..I weighed myself. As If I thought miraculously I wouldn't see evidence of my carelessness. I usually don't weigh myself at night as I'm always lightest first thing in the morning and heaviest at the end of the day. I must have weighed and re weighed myself 4 times. I couldn't believe the scale. I was exactly 1lb over my danger weight -- which is 3 lbs over were I have been for the last month or so. I gained 4 lbs in just a few days. I know some of this is water weight but some of it is not. I am soo bummed. If I look back over the last few days - I have not been at a deficit . In fact quite the opposite today and yesterday. And I didn't work out to offset the extra calories . Two days shouldn't do this type of damage . But perhaps the combination of the chicken, the sub, the wine and wine and wine......

Danger weight calls for drastic measures. I am sooo bummed.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Good music and good wine...

A good part of my early relationship with my husband was spent at or around Jazz concerts. We attended Jazz festivals for vacations - visiting the Montreal Jazz Festival 5 times, Aruba, St. Lucia, Newport and Jackie Robinson Festivals. We were engaged and honeymooned at a Jazz Festival . Our grand plan was that we would continue this tradition once we had kids. Well that was the plan, the reality is that the Jazz Festivals came to a screeching halt. Although my 9 yo has been to (and performed at) more concerts than many other 9 year olds. In fact, she recently attended a Dwele concert with my husband (because our childcare fell through) and landed her little self on stage performing an impromptu solo. I'll have to send the link to the audio (as soon as I can convert it and post it). Anyway music has been our "thing" for a long long time.

Today we rekindled our old tradition by attending an outstanding jazz festival on the grounds of a winery. It was a picture perfect setting - great music, great company, great food, great weather and reliable child care. I packed a lunch basket-( that I received as a wedding present reserved for just such an occasion) full of grapes, gouda cheese and crackers. Of course on the way - we stopped for the obligatory bucket o chicken :) . So wrong on sooo many levels- I could have protested, but didn't. I digress... We had a terrific time - in fact we felt like we were on vacation.

Being on the grounds of a winery, listening to jazz on a blanket surrounded by others doing the same thing, forces you to think about ......wine. Well I haven't had wine in over 16 months. I was was convinced of the negative effects alcohol had on weight loss, metabolism and exercise. Despite this conviction - I got caught up in the moment...and it was nice, really nice. We sat on our chaise lounges, soaked up the sun and the music and enjoyed 2 bottles of delicious wine. I get drunk off of champagne so suffice it to say - I was pretty toasted.

I felt guilty - the chicken, the wine, the cheese etc. but I felt that it was totally worth it. We'll see how I feel tomorrow - I plan to get right back on track.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Accidental discovery

Part of our vacation plans this summer included a bunch of weekend trips as well as just down time with the family. So I am taking August Fridays off and we are doing a bunch of things. Tomorrow we are hanging around town at the museum etc. and doing a few house projects.

Since I didn't work out this morning, I decided to do a night run + a bit of weights. All went well - I did a 20 minute run, 10 minute walk and 15 minutes running on the mini trampoline. I love running on the mini tramp because it is really low impact and really elevates my heart rate.

The biggest discovery of the day, was my walking. I discovered , quite accidentally that I am a super fast walker. I mean super fast. I can walk almost as fast as my slow run. I started running at 6.4 for a few minutes and hovered between 6.4 and 5.7 for most of the run (2 minute intervals). I then decided to walk for my cool down but hadn't gotten the treadmill down to a cool down pace. But I was walking at 5.3 mph! Having legs that are 50thousand feet hurts my jeans shopping but helps me power walk on the treadmill. I continued to walk at 5.3 for the next few minutes, I even pushed it up to 5.4. 5.5 is my long slow run pace and my run pace during triathlons is even slower. So I had a thought... If I can walk almost as fast as my slow run -- would it be better to do run, fast walk type interval? It certainly is lower stress on my knees. It does feel like cheating but walking that fast is no cake walk. My heart rate was close to 80% max but I felt good and like I could maintain it. I wonder how fast I could get?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Run, Bike, Swim, Run --excuse busters

So it is common knowledge that I love Wednesdays.. Today was no exception s-another love fest. I usually have my most intense workouts on Wednesdays swim then bike then run. However today's workout was a mini reverse tri . I ran 2 miles first, then biked for an hour , then swam 16 laps. I ran at a 10.5 min mile pace and it felt good. Why can't I run at this pace during the triathlons? I would settle for 11. I don't think it is because I can't , I think I am not trying hard enough. I must put up a mental block that stops me from pushing too hard during triathlons. Perhaps I am talking myself into running slow. I have been reading this book called Magical Running . The author talks about the benefits of positive self talk when running or thinking about running. I thought is was a pile of crap until recently. I am going to try a different approach. Starting now.. "I am a fast runner ...and getting faster everyday" We'll see how it goes.

Spin class was super difficult today for 2 reasons: 1) my knees really hurt and 2) it was really tough. It was an endurance ride with no recovery. It was a progressive hill climb that forced us to get close to our max heartrate zone (redline). I really pushed it and it felt so good. I felt super strong. The teacher Jeanine- helps us build our power and build our technique. I learned how to use my glutes instead of my quads by the way I angle my feet. Jeanine says this really helps save your legs during a triathlon.

My swim was good -- but slow. I focused on technique -- pulls and speedy drills. Boy my arms ached after my pulls. But I kept at it. I'll keep doing drills and then focus on adding distance next week. I know I can make it but I want to get faster.

I felt great all day. Intense workouts always make me feel on top of the world the rest of the day. I guess it is the midmorning endorphin rush.

Excuse busters.... I used this morning:)
I'm so tired---- get out of bed working out will give you an energy surge
It's that time of the month-- get over it- working out will make the cramps/pms go away
I'm sore --- suck it up --- your muscles will feel better after you work out
I don't have time -- a 15 min workout is better than a 0 min workout
I'm sick -- stop whining - raising your body temp helps fight the germs

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.