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, June 30, 2008

Mojo Mojo where for art thou?

For 24 months -- I had it 5 days a week. Then it went away for a while... then it came back- then gone again. I had it one day last week..perhaps two days. For a while it felt like it was coming back and then "poof" it disappeared.

What a cycle .. I need to workout to feel good but if I don't feel good - I don't work out. Mojo - come back... please. I need you.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What if.....

What if I can't get back in shape in time for the triathlon in August.

What if my knee doesn't completely heal from surgery

What if I never do a 5k in less than 30 minutes, or 35 , or 40

What if my time this year is worst than my time last year

What if I don't lose the 12lbs I gained.

What if my body doesn't stop attacking itself.

What will happen? I'll still be me .... I'll still be a triathlete....I'll still be happy

I think.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Jason - you are a jerk

I'm still working on building up my running endurance . I still hate it ... Oh er I mean , I'm working to embrace my inner runner. So I've been working on running a little bit each day. Today I ran 2.5 miles at about 12 mph. My knees hurt just a little bit - which is really great. Since I started to feel good at the end, it made me think that perhaps I need 1-2 miles to warm up first . Perhaps I can do a little more . That is if there are no dogs.

When I was in elementary school, I often walked home alone . I was in several activities and usually finished much later than my friends -- (no it wasn't detention:)) . Anyway - My walks home often ended with me perched atop a car. I was actually pretty good at running down the street and hurdling on top of a car. While this skill eventually came in handy in that I ran track (200 m Hurdles) in high school, the reason I did it then was because of Jason , the jerk. Jason used to sic his dog on me every chance he got. Why - I have no idea. I didn't know Jason. I just knew of him. I knew that he was really bad - didn't go to school, cursed, etc. I never said a word to Jason but he felt completely comfortable ordering his dog to attack me.

To this day - I am still afraid of dogs and unfortunately it affects my runs. Today, I saw not 1 but two dogs. When I saw the first dog, I just did what I always do - move to the other side of the street. With the second dog , I did the same thing, but the owner started talking to me. He tried to convince me that the dog was harmless - he didn't bite, yada yada yada. I wanted to say - look , I'm sure your dog is quite lovely and I bet he is harmless - but I am still haunted by the fond memory of being chased by a dog . As a result - the thought of being near a dog while running - freaks me out. It is nothing personal. But I said nothing and kept running...on the other side of the street.

Thanks Jason.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I am not Josh

Monday spin class is usually packed. So packed that it is hard to secure my favorite bike. The popularity is due to the teacher , Josh. Josh is one of the fitness directors at the club. He is the most approachable, most engaging , most encouraging person you could ever meet. Plus he is VERY easy on the eyes. Also his classes are usually pretty challenging - but he makes it bearable by providing clear instructions and awesome music. Today Josh was not there.

Seby was subbing for Josh. In a wonderful french accent, Seby introduced himself to the class by saying " Hi everyone, I am not Josh" . He said he did not have the same music as Josh and his class was not like Josh's. I had no idea what I was in for..nor did the class.

Seby uses high energy techno/trance music with a little bit of hip/hop mixed in. To say his class was intense , would be a gross understatement. I've been a pretty consistent spinner for about 2 years - and I don't think I've ever had a class that was as hard as Seby's . For starters - the warm up was at 110mph . It was a hill climb class and he didn't want us to drop below 75mph - even at the toughest resistance. His idea of recovery was standing....seriously a standing recovery. At first , I just thought boy am I out of shape. Then as I looked around the room at the grimaces and heard all of the heavy breathing, I realized that it wasn't just me.

When it was all done, I felt like I needed a t-shirt that said "I survived Seby" . I didn't wear my heart rate monitor , but I am sure that I burned well over 1000 calories.

So Seby - thanks for pushing me today. As hard as it was , I would gladly do it again.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It still counts...

So today I forced myself out of bed and made it over to spin class. I wasn't looking forward to the it because Friday is hill climb day - and I just wasn't up to it. When I arrived at class and saw a new teacher, I wasn't sure what to think. Did she know today was hill climb day? Would she be hard/easy? The folks in the class seemed a bit mesmerized by her. She was tall, blond with a strong Danish accent . Both her voice and demeanor were very gentle.... unfortunately so was the class. While I wasn't looking forward to a hard hill climb, I wasn't ready for a ride in the park. Don't get me wrong, spin is totally user controlled. The effort/difficulty is totally based on how much the user pushes the resistance and cadence. It wasn't that I was slacking off, it is just that she didn't push us that hard. It's all good, though. After all , an easy workout is better than no workout at all.
It still counts.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


One of my main goals in prepping for the Danskin is to lose 13lbs . To that end, in addition to sport specific training , I am focused on maintaining a daily caloric deficit of at least 300 calories. To do that , it means I need to consume 300 calories less than I burn. My personal diet application on my smartphone - is super helpful. It helps me keep track of daily calorie intake as well as calorie expenditure from exercise as well as a estimate of bmr (basal metabolic rate) calories.

Today - I did 1hour 40 minutes of cardio machine work. It felt really great and I am loving the endorphin rush. It was also nice to know that because I burned over 1140 calories, I ended the day with a 500c deficit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Find something to feel good about

Day 2 of getting back on the spin wagon. Wednesday's used to be my favorite day because of the intense endurance work and the lasting endorphin rush. Today I was more anxious than excited. I knew wasn't as concerned about my cardio endurance as I was my muscle endurance. I know that even at 13lbs heavier, I am still pretty fit (from a cardiovascular perspective). The problem however was my muscle endurance. The last 3 months of inactivity has caused a serious reduction in muscle tone and endurance , no doubt. So I sat on the bike - ready to go as far as my body would take me. In my head I told myself to go hard but i was prepared to take off resistance if I needed to.

But I didn't.

I pushed and pushed and felt my quads and glutes burn with pain. At one point I yelled out - because it was so tough. I wasn't alone - the instructor was pouring it on today. As usual- she is very motivating and always manages to squeeze in some little line that keeps me going. Today the line was "I know your legs are on fire - they should be, but find something to feel good about. Your breathing, your posture- the fact that you are here". That was it for me: Find something to feel good about. I thought about it and started to acknowledge the things I felt good about - the fact that I had gotten my butt out of bed; that my bike pants still fit ; that spin class actually works both with bike riding and losing weight. That phrase was enough to sustain me through the rest of the 60 min of torture- without letting up on the resistance.

I should certainly apply this phrase to other areas of my life - perhaps it will get me through too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Muscle burns fat -- so build more muscle

Today was my first day back in the gym in a long time. I decided to focus today's work on strength training. The plan was a full body workout with special focus on big muscle groups (quads, glutes hamstring, lats and abs) with a little arm work thrown in for good measure. To warm up, I did a nice easy run 1.5 miles at 5.6mph. It felt good - my knees hurt, but not too bad.

Being out of it for a minute, I knew I'd' need to start with lighter weights just so that I would be able to walk the next few days. I executed my workout on plan - however I wasn't able to keep the weight as light as a should have. Of course I had to push it just a bit. I'm sure I'll pay for it later this week. I added a lunge - clean&press combo toward the end that is just a killer. That was just enough to take my knee pain from a 4 to a 7...my cue to call it a day.

All in all - a good day and a great workout . One foot is back on the wagon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

33 laps and no hair drama

So today , my plan was to get in the pool and see if I still knew how to swim. I haven't been in the pool in a really long time . It took me a long time to get over the "incident" and not having braids like in previous years, made it tough to fathom swimming before work as a realistic option.

I arrived at the gym at 5:15. Believe it or not , I was the 3rd person in the lap pool. I planned a workout focused on drills and building up my endurance. I did 1 hour of drills (pulls, kickboard and immersion work) and ended up doing roughly 33 laps.... 33 slow laps. It felt really good to be back in the water - although my endurance isn't at all what it needs to be. It still felt great. I also used fins to help my legs. A woman recently shared with me how she rehabilitated her knees by swimming with fins on her feet. I gave it a try and it is certainly something I will keep in my workouts.

The most amazing part of the workout was my hair. So on advice from my new stylist, I covered my hair with conditioner before putting on my swim cap . When I got out of the pool, I washed my hair, added another round of conditioner and then blew it dry. You know what -- it wasn't horrible. Adding the conditioner before swimming is supposed to protect the hair and prevent the chlorine from penetrating the hair shaft. According to my stylist , the cheaper the conditioner the better. I used my magic tools - Infinity hair dryer/straightener and of course my CHI. I walked out of the gym with bouncing and behaving hair - and still made it home to take the kids to school:)

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.