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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Back to normal -- not so much

So today was my first day back at work. Trying to resume a normal schedule but it is really far from normal. I get chauffered to work since I still cannot drive. I have not worked out (really) in almost 2 weeks. But I'm getting back as best as I can. My goal is to get to the gym this week -- or at least the gym in my basement. I really want to work out - my leg just isn't cooperating.

Monday, October 29, 2007

stir crazy

So I am literally going stir crazy.


I am feeling good today – getting around quite well. But I need to get outside… soon . I’m really about to go crazy….


I know there is a lesson for me to learn out of all of this.. I know it.  


I’m struggling to feel good about this decision. I am looking forward to the day when I can walk normally let alone do a little jog.  I have decided to hold off on the left leg until I’m feeling better about the right leg.


So by the way – here is what I had done…..


1)      Tendon rebuild – also called a tendon debridement .  Part of my patellar tendon was missing due to damage. So the OS removed the damaged part and stitched together the remaining tendon in an effort to make it stronger.  This was done with an incision

2)      Chondroplasty – This was a procedure to correct chondromalacia and synovial plica (extra tissue under knee cap-). This procedure was done via arthroscopy.


I fully expected to be healed by now (or at least walking normally) but no such luck.


This has been an incredibly humbling experience in that I am learning that I cannot do everything – even if I want to. And it is totally ok to outsource or better yet – let some things go.  It has been frustrating looking at something that needs to be done and not being able to do it.  


All in all – I’m finding I am prone to be a little mopey these days. Not woe is me – but I think I am having endorphin rush withdrawal. I miss that feeling and I think it is messing on a chemical level..


Anyway – I know this is temporary and I’ll feel better soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I am not superwoman, TV is overated - my budding starlet

Today started off great. I woke up with less pain than yesterday and decided to seize the moment. I really pushed the limits on what I could do. I felt so good that I called the doctor just to make sure there wasn't anything I should not do. I got the go ahead to do as much as I could tolerate. So I walked with one crutch and kept walking all day. By the end of the day I could walk without the crutch. I also walked up the stairs and down the stairs. I took a shower (woo hoo). I even did the "crank that soulja boy dance " - which I must upload to you tube one day-- hilarious even before surgery. Plus - I worked for about 9 hours... I didn't intend to but I had 4 meetings and had a few mails to get out..yada yada.. By the end of the day , I was not only exhausted but in pain and in need of a percocet. Lesson - I am not saving lives with my work and I am not superwoman.

Over the last few years, I was under the impression that I was missing so many great shows by not watching TV (save for CNNHN, Today and ANTM:0). Yeah sure, I Tivo a bunch and watch a few things here and there, but TV and I don't see much of each other. Well, I certainly had a chance to catch up over the last few days . Here's my assessment. "Samantha Who" is good, "Girlfriends" is good too (although this week felt forced) . Some shows are just plain crazy -- like anything on BET or VH1. I must say I developed a new found respect for Kimora Lee Simmons. Her show "Life in the Fab lane" on the Style channel - while lame and shallow - actually demonstrates that she is actually quite smart (or at least the people who work for her are in contrast not so smart). Oh yeah I'm also addicted to Heroes. I have the boxed set of season 1 and have made my way through 5 episodes Anyway lots of shallow guilty TV pleasures and good reading. Probably could use a bit more rest.

Also I hopped my peg legged self on the scale and -- no weight gain !!

Finally - we have a budding starlet in the house. My sweetgirl has so much going on right now. She did an open mike night, a performance in a mall, a school competition for an original song she composed and get this... she auditioned to be in an Andrew Lloyd Weber play (on a whim) and she got the part. We are thrilled.

Ok really finally ---39yo epiphany #10: I now know what it means to "come into your own". It means - Hearing what others have to say about you and getting comfortable with the fact that you don't give a hoot. And really really really really mean it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Today's workout:

2 laps around the room
Tighten quadricep muscles 10 times
10 foot flexes
Left leg squats next to bed

Today's Celebrations
Small victories --
  • 1st trip to washroom (alone!)
  • trip down/up stairs
  • Getting dressed for company
  • Keeping my workout gear in view for inspiration
  • Not having a pity party

Monday, October 22, 2007

never in my wildest dreams

Let me preface my post with saying that I know it will get better-- I know it won't always be this way.... I am faithful that I will recover.

It is 2 days since surgery and I never imagiined it would be like this. I cannot walk. Everything requires assistance. I cannot go to the bathroom alone. and it hurts enough to cause tears every time I attempt to walk. I normally have high tolerance for pain (2 kids - no epi) but this is a different level. Plus I have really bad headaches.

I know it will get better , but right now it sucks.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Matrix is real and Exercise is Magic

T-48 and I’m feeling good.

I’ve had good workouts over the last week – although I’ve really had to scale back intensity. I stopped taking spin class about 2 weeks ago as my last attempt ended in me leaving class early because my knee hurt too bad. But… I have managed to find a way to have a heart pumping intense workout – with low impact to my knees.  First I do an incredible treadmill walking workout – 10min walking at 4.5 with incline of 3.0., then upgrade speed by .2mph every 4 minutes until I am walking at 5.5. Stay there for 4 minutes then take 6 minutes to come back down to 4.0 ..   This gets my heart rate up but doesn’t make my knees hurt…Hamstrings yes but not knees.    Then I hop on the Elliptical (only on level 2 now)  -- but run at a speed of 174-180 for 15 minutes+ cooldown.   This is a good hour of solid low impact heart pumping cardio…


I’m feeling good about my weight . I’m 1lb above my lowest weight yet and – I’m ok with that.  I could probably lose 1lb before Friday – just to start in a good place. If it happens great – if not I’m not stressing.


The Matrix is real?

So I just returned from Chicago and one of the highlights was that I got to see my dad.  And to all of my friends who know him – YES he’s still “got it”..   For those who don’t know my dad – my friends have often said he is very attractive. And you know what he is. I have to give it to him. He is still very buff (avid bodybuilder and cyclist).  Also – my dad is brilliant. He is a journalist (just published a new book) , has a radio show, frequently appears on TV and deeper than any ocean.  Anyway – while visiting, we got into several interesting discussions (as we often do)- this time about the state of African Americans, Hip Hop, Jena and Simulation games. I was sharing with him the strange world of SecondLife.com.   Would you believe that he believes (or is open to the possibility) that WE are living in a simulation – a la the matrix.  I’m not well versed enough in the theory to articulate it here but read it for yourself here.  This story in the NYT speaks of how there is high degree of mathematic certainty that we are living in simulated world.      While discussing this it made me realize how closed mind can be- especially since I have absolutely no knowledge on the topic.  Anyway, read it and let me know what you think…


Exercise is Magic

I am so convinced that exercise is magic – or at least is capable of magically making everything ok.  Energy low ? exercise helps.  Feeling blue?—exercise helps. Feeling fat? Exercise helps. Feeling too skinny? – exercise helps. Ate too much ? Exercise helps. Low self esteem ? Exercise helps.  Health problems ? Exercise helps. Need a man? Exercise helpsJ . Not aging gracefully ? Exercise helps. Aging gracefully? Exercise helps show it off.   Feeling nervous about surgery and the possible of not working out for a long time? Working out like a banshee up until the last moment… really helps. 




Saturday, October 13, 2007

Failing to plan is planning to fail

So here is my surgery plan....
1) Make sure my weight is a low as it can be before surgery...so far I've maintained for the last few weeks. I'll make one last effort this week with really clean eating and 65-70% Heart rate activities. That means fast walking on incline and elliptical.

2) Accept that I will need to recover. Give myself time to heal . This means being out of work - not just working from home. Get adequate rest and just allow my body the time it needs. For some reason - I just accepted this. I thought I'd be able to bounce back in a few days. I'm in a more realistic place now.

3) exercise every day - even if I am doing bicep curls or tricep dips -- I will still keep it up.

4) Swim as soon as possible- I'm thinking I might be able to do it within 10 days or so.

5) Have a totally positive attitude. I will allow myself exactly 24 more hours to be nervous. After that I'm on to the recovery plan and getting stronger.

I'm off to Chicago - to speak at a conference, then I'll be back for 2 days then surgery!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Key Learnings

  • Work life balance is an action verb- not a destination. Sometimes my thinking is off in that I aspire to get to a better work/life balance- but I approach it as more of a journey. More time with family and friends, more time doing things I love , more time hanging out - not feeling pressured to do something, more time reading the books in my "to read" basket, More time decorating, etc, etc. What I realized over the last 10 days (as my life was turned topsy turvy), is that I will never get to the proverbial ideal state of balance. I must look at balance literally not figuratively. Balance is what you do - not where you get. Every action I take, every project I start, every trip I take is adding weight to one side of my "scale" . I must treat my balance objectives as if I'm standing in the middle of a seesaw and literally balancing . I must be strong enough withhold the weight of each side and I must constantly monitor what is on each side so that I don't get out of balance. I must constantly (daily) check my calendar to ensure that I am spending the right time in the right places. I must constantly evaluate previous weeks and adjust future weeks in order to stay in balance.

  • I am fearless - except when it comes to surgery. I am not afraid of many things...but for some reason this surgery is freaking me out. My doctor added to my fear. I called him last week - almost ready to chicken out. He says he is more afraid of what will happen if I don't get the surgery. He said my tendon could possibly become completely detached. He also said I will experience some level of muscle atrophy and I should look to be walking in 10 days- with crutches. I have never been sick or hospitalized so I'm a little afraid of being down. I am really afraid of gaining weight after the surgery. I'm trying to think positive about this but I'm not quite in the right state of mind.

  • If you set a 30 day challenge for your friends, you need to stick to it yourself. I don't know what is going on but I'm afraid I've been teetering on falling off the wagon. I don't know what it is but my workouts have been really weak. I've had some really great days and a few not so great days. Since speaking my doctor I've been a little afraid about working out too much. Plus - my knees have been hurting - perhaps this is psychosomatic? Maybe I'm bringing it on. My nutrition has been a little on the brink -- inconsistent. Some days were great - some days I had too many carbs -- bread + pasta.

I have to get my mind right -- because I don't want this surgery to be the event that leads to a me gaining the weight back. I want to look at this and be proud that I didn't allow surgery and recovery to impact my resolve. I want to return to triathlons next year faster and stronger. I need to work on my mind game ...I'm not there yet.

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.