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

Friday, February 29, 2008

one time rant , I'm in ... now what about my hair

I don't like limits of any kind and sickness - makes me feel limited. Lucky for me, I don't get sick very often. If I do get sick, I suck it up - try not to complain and move on. Usually I'll take available medicine to get rid of symptoms and move on. I'm not a fan of resting. Of course this is not healthy , but it is also a statement of how prideful I can be. I need to be more vulnerable/humble in this area. Well now I have no choice.

So I went to the doctor a few weeks back to make sure everything was ok. I found out that I had low white blood count ..and it has been steadily declining. My doc wanted to do more tests and confirmed that I have Lupus and Sjogrens syndrome. I don't want to go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that I know now why I am tired. Because of this I will need to rest. Also - my knee pain is probably due to the Lupus. This could be why it still hurts. YOU MEAN TO TELL ME I COULD HAVE HAD SURGERY FOR NOTHING....:0 . Also my doc said that I should consider working out less , since strenuous workouts can negatively impact your immune system. AAAARRRGGHH
ok - it is out. Time to move on.

I'm in....
So I made it in to register for the Danskin triathlon. Registration closed in exactly 12 hours. I was convincing someone to sign up at noon on opening day and she couldn't get in becase it was closed. Wow! 5000 slots filled in less than 1 day. So now I need to beef up my training. I'm really struggling to get in everything by working out at home. Also I'm going to spend some time coming up with a serious training plan. I also need to start swimming in March but of course the problem becomes....what to do with my hair. I've had braids the last two years during triathlon training season and that worked great. This year...hubby says he likes my hair the way it is. Of course he does. After all I get it done every two weeks like clockwork. I got it done yesterday and didn't workout today - because I didn't want to mess it up. Shallow and slackeresque...I know.

I need to start swimming very soon and I need a reliable hair solution. I'll try next week to swim and then see if I can make it home to blow dry , flat iron and then get the kids to school on time. Sounds tough- but I'll give it my best.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Surgery Wrap up and 26hours to go!!

Surgery Wrap

So hubby asked the other day how my knee was feeling , now that I was fully recovered from surgery. My initial answer was “fine – pretty much back to normal”. Then it hit me. My knees haven’t been “normal “ – without pain in so long –(over a year) that I forgot what normal actually is. My knee is slightly better than it was before surgery – and that is only because I haven’t run more than 3 miles.

The main reasons I opted for the surgery was because 1) I believed that my long term outlook would be better with surgery – based on my docs advice 2) I would get extreme pain when driving any distance longer than 15 minutes 3) inability to do a squat or lunge (after all what is life without a lunge) 4) Trouble going up and especially down stairs and 5) Pain during/after running and 6) pain during the night and upon waking. My doctor assured me that my severe tendinitis and Chrondomalacia was causing this and that the surgery would put me in a much better state. After all - it was the "worst he's ever seen".

If I am being totally honest – I have recovered from the pain of surgery but I have not recovered from the pre surgery pain. I am still in a fair amount of pain from normal activities. Friday, I drove to the airport to pick up hubby and sat in car 1h 20 min. It was excruciating. I had to pull over several times to stretch out my leg .

So bottom line - if I had to do it all over again – I would not do it. I’d take it really easy for 3 months and get used to taking Aleve regularly (or other NSAID) .

26 hours to go
So pain or no pain - I'm still pretty excited about my race plans for this year. My first triathlon registration kicks off in exactly 26 hours - when the Danskin registration opens. Last year is closed in 2 days . This year I plan to be one of the first 1500 registrants. Last year over 5000 registered and many were locked out since registration closed so quickly.

My goal was to not register for anything until I could run 2 miles without pain. I did this 3 weeks ago albeit slowly - so mission accomplished. I still need to get in the pool - but I'll tackle that in March . Plus I have hair issues to work out:)

This week - I was able to get in a few really good indoor bike sessions. Thanks to my bike book rack it wasn't as boring as it usually is. I read a really good mystery and listened to my DJ Steveboy podcasts - that kept me going. No running or gym this week - hubby was away on a business trip , so I worked out from home. I don't have a good reason for not running this week - I just didn't feel like it. That is so slackeresque but it is what it is.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A few favorite things, sleep and vitamin D

Sleep does a body good....

So for the past 3 weeks or so I've been averaging 4 hours of sleep. It is not that I can't go to sleep - it is just that I can't stay asleep. Most times I get up around 3 and just stay up and head to the gym for my 5am workout. Other times I get up at 1:30 or 2, try to go back to sleep , dose off around 4:45 and then get up at 6:30. At first, it didn't impact me too much but now it is getting to be a problem. I am generally a person who doesn't require a full 8 , but I definitely need 5-6. I'm going to try some late night yoga and hot milk before trying the heavy artillary (cough syrup or something stronger).
Sleep is so important in maintaining healthy body functions. Everything from weight loss, stress management to a healthy immune system. I've got to get this under control.

Vitamin D
Also - I went to the doc to make sure everything was ok since I've been feeling a bit run down. I have a vitamin D defienciency (which I think affects 60% of the population according to Oprah) and declining white blood cell count. I'm going to a rheumatologist tomorrow - to interpret my results further. It is a slight concern at this point...nothing I'm too worried about. I'm praying that it is all ok.

My new favorite things:

My book rack on my bike for indoor rides at home.

  • This new water bottle with a straw (love this!) it is no spill and very cute. I think I've increased my water intake by 50% .

My mini trampoline. It is a really good cardiovascular workout and really helps build endurance..And it is great for legs - with low/moderate impact.
My new Soul Sista tee shirt....

Off the team
My goal this month is to really increase my cycling time and also increase my running. So far I have a ways to go to my 50 miles. I'll do it though, even if it means a few marathon bike sessions.
I've had to remove myself from the triathlon team because the schedule just doesn't work with my home schedule. I'm kinda bummed. I was really looking forward to it.

I'm planning to do 4 triathlons this summer: 1 each month June through September and 2 big bike rides - 1 in May (75 miles ) and July (100 miles). These goals feel a bit more ambitious right now than I expected. In other words - I don't feel at all ready.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Part of the team....

So it is official . I am now part of the triathlon team at my gym. I thought about it for quite a while but decided to pull the trigger because I thought it would be a great way to keep me on task. Plus it would be a good way to meet people with similar goals. I'm such a loner -but this is the year I am going to be well, less of a loner. The first team workout was Saturday - but I missed it due to prior commitment to attend a good friend's birthday party and the democratic caucuses. My friend's party was great. It was an Xbox Dance Dance Revolution party - for adults. It was so much fun ...and a bit of a workout. Future triathlon team workouts are on Saturday am at 7 and spin classes during the week. We will also have organized brick workouts, running clinics and swim improvement sessions. It is way overpriced for what I get, but I think it will keep me motivated.

My workouts for the last 3 days have been very light. I only did strength training on my legs (with my elastic band). I've been so sick that I've not been up to much. I stayed in the bed most of the day on Friday . I caught some sort of virus type thing that has me really out of it.
I'll try to get back in the swing of things by Monday.

I'm reading a few really good books that I'm using to supplement my clean eating plan. I bought the clean eating cookbook by Tosca Reno and some of the recipes look pretty interesting. I also bought her workout book to learn a bit more about preparation for fitness/figure competitions. Not that I'm planning to do this, but I'd like to know what it is all about. I'm also reading Shrink Fat, Feed Muscle - which is actually net new information. It talks about the role of fiber and Vitamin C in the diet. I'd always believed that I got plenty of vitamin C but after reading the book, I think I could benefit from more. This was actually a pretty interesting book in that the formula for the optimal diet (protein + vitamin c+ fiber) works to feed muscle and shrink fat cells. I'm almost done - I'll post a summary when I'm finished.

My food has been ok - except for lots of tea (feels good when I'm sick) and a few cookies. Also my nutrition on Thursday was horrible . I at 1650 calories but it was all junk. I had cake for lunch ...;0 ice cream for dinner. I was back on track Friday but geez .

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Run the blues away

This morning, I woke up at 3:45 with just a ton on my mind. I tried to read a bit, tried to pray but really struggled to clear my mind . I struggled quite a bit this morning. I was feeling really down and a bit overwhelmed with all that I have on my plate. Just when I begin to feel comfortable with the rhythm of my life - something comes along and shakes things up. I strive to be a great mom and wife and most days I do a good job. Occassionally though, I really blow it. This weekend I forgot something that was really important to my daughter - and I felt just horrible. I've also been working much more than my husband would like. Anyway - all this to say - I've been an emotional wreck the last few days. Today - I felt really low and just had trouble clearing my mind enough to develop a plan.

I contemplating staying in the bed all day. That is what I really wanted to do. I envisioned staying in my pajamas all day and just using the time to clear my mind. Not realistic - so I decided to go to the gym.

I arrived at the gym at 4:45 and chatted on the phone until the club's 5am opening time. I got in a went right to work. Instead of weights first - I felt like running. So run I did. I ran and ran for about 40 minutes (which I never do). It was a great mind clearing activity.
I then went over to the weight room and did my usual full body circuit - for another 40 minutes.

As I left the gym at 6:30, I still felt a little blue. But by the time I got home and started to wake the kids for school, I was singing. I was still singing when I got out of the shower - and have been in a great mood ever since.

All this to say - for me exercise is my anti depressant. I've come to rely on exercise to help me maintain my weight - but I'm coming to rely on it more and more for the endorphin rush and mood enhancement. I'm convinced I would have had a really bad , probably moody day had I not spent time at the gym.

On another note -- Danskin Triathlon registration will happen anyday now. I'm so excited!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

January - It's a wrap

January wrap up...
Feeling good overall - strength is definitely returning as is endurance. Weight is under control - in that I lost the holiday weight but I still feel vulnerable to emotional eating. I haven't quite cracked that yet.

Progress against goals -
  1. Lose 5lbs.....Lost 5lbs
  2. Complete 40 miles ....Completed 50 miles
  3. Eat clean <1500>

Goal for Feb 50miles. Lose 5lbs. I'm concerned about my mileage goals now that I am not able to take spin. I'll have to get it in somehow. Either way I think 50 is a good goal for Feb. That would be 13 miles per week on avg. I will still stick to counting only 50% of biked miles.


At hotel on business trip in San Jose.. 30min eliptical 15min weights.

Food: Did well on trip Made good choices but struggled through it. One night it took me over 1 hour to decide what to eat. I didn't want to eat anything too horrible and couldn't find a suitable meal. I ended up having crackers.

Emotional - Totally on autopilot.

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.