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, July 29, 2008

Wrap up.....21 days to go

What is going well....

  • My strength training workouts are slowly moving from wimpy to less wimpy..and it is not easy. I've been working on doing 2 body parts per day, 3 exercises each 12 reps. So far this week, I've done upper legs (quads/glutes)/chest, biceps/triceps + abs and shoulders/back. I didn't know how strong I was until I really pushed the weights . Wow what a difference. In all exercises - I increased my weight by at least 25% . I guess it was a little wimpy. Well no big differences yet - other than I am incredibly sore. But I'm feeling like I will get stronger and more defined.
  • Spinning - I'm feeling good about spinning and my level of effort. I've really been pushing hard in class and my muscle endurance is improving.

What is not going well....

  • Swimming - I'm am so not ready for the swim. I really need to be in the pool much more. My endurance is inconsistent. Some days I feel really good, others I feel really winded. I need to swim quite a bit more in order to be ready for the triathlon
  • Food/Water - Eating 5-6x a day and drinking a gallon of water has been really hard for me. Most days over the last week, I've eaten no breakfast, no lunch and dinner. It takes a bunch of prep in order to be successful at the 5-6 meals of protein/veggies. I have a better plan now - prepared eggs, chicken and salmon. The water - well just hard.
  • Cycling - I could get outside more. I don't know what is up - but I'm full of excuses lately. My outdoor mileage is really light. I looked at where I was last year at this time and boy what a difference a year makes.

Overall - there are 21 days left before the triathlon. I'm feeling a bit strange about it. The reason I had the surgery when I did (October) was that I thought I would recover enough to possibly get the other knee done and be ready for the triathlon this August. Well - I can't say my knees are in any better shape - post surgery and I don't feel like I am in great shape. In fact I am 11 lbs heavier and therefore slower. I feel so full of excuses that sometimes I am disgusted with myself. But I am encouraged and grateful . Encouraged because I know I can do this. I've done it before and even if I finish worse than my first race - I will still be happy that I did it- (i think-- yeah keep telling yourself that) . Grateful - because I can move my body and since movement is not always guaranteed - I can find a way to be grateful.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bootcamp blues

Can I walk? I don't think I can. In fact I'm not sure I can move. This is what I thought this morning as I lay in the bed in pain. I felt pain in literally every part of my body. Strangely enough , it wasn't pain in my muscles. it was a different pain ...my bones hurt. I eventually got up and hobbled to the bathroom . Two Aleves later, I made it to work and carried out my day. What has me in such a state? Bootcamp by Tanji. Who is Tanji? Well she is this amazing fitness professional - winner of several female bodybuilding competitions, Former American Gladiator, etc etc. Just an all around terrific person. She hosted a bootcamp near my house yesterday.
Boy what a workout. We did things that bodies just aren't supposed to do . My body is just battered. i haven't work that hard in ...well i don't think ever.
But , you know what I'm going back next week.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The meeting

So I met with Tanji http://www.tanjijohnson.com/ for my physique evaluation and consultation.

The good:
I have good body symmetry and good form.

The bad -
I have very little muscle development and as a result a high fat/muscle ratio.

The fix:
My workouts are too wimpy -- in other words I have ton of variety but not enough focus. Also my weights are too light. I need to seriously increase the intensity of my weight training in order to see any improvements in muscle development. Also more muscle would help burn the surrounding fat. This is particularly true of my arms. The prescription:Eat 5 small meals a day consisting of protein and veggies. Eat at least 150 grams of protein per day . Drink 1 gallon of water per day :0 Do two body parts per day -consisting of 3 exercises - 12 reps each of heavier weights. Still do 5 hours of cardio.

The reality
Can I really do this? How can I fit it in? Do I have enough discipline.So here is what I'm thinking... The water - with a bunch of effort ..this is doable.The cardio - part of my triathlon training plan anyway.. not impossible. 2 body parts per day -- totally doable with a little creativity. I can bring a couple of dumbells to work and lift while reading mail or meeting. I can also squeeze in a few quick workouts while playing at the playground with kids. The food: this feels really hard. Lots of prep required in order to make this happen. I will give it a try

I'm up for a good challenge....let it begin!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Run, Run, Run

I really wanted a challenge today - but the problem was that I overslept. I really should know better.. I need exactly 5h and 2o min of sleep. If I go to bed a 1am , I will get up at 6:20. Never fails. So I got up and decided to make it to the gym anyway. With only 60 min to work out here is how I challenged myself ....
  • 20 min on the bike (level 15 Round the world)
  • 20 min on the elliptical (5 min level 11 at 180rpm, 10 min level 20 struggle to keep it at 130 rpm, 5 min level 11-190rpm + 2 min cooldown) - that was really hard....
  • 20 min speed sprints on the treadmill- -(two 10minute intervals : 4.2 rest 8.0 work)

Done - short and sweet

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where will it lead me

So I've been wanted to give myself a new physical challenge. Triathlons are super hard, but now that I know I can do it - it doesn't feel as challenging as it did the first time. Of course, I could always continue to challenge myself by doing more and doing longer distances - for example and Olympic and 1/2 Ironman. At one point that seemed pretty doable, but now I'm not sure my knees would appreciate it. I would still love to challenge myself to do at least 2 tris a season for as long as I can. And this is not to say longer distance are out of the question, I will have to let my knees/my health help determine how much training I can handle.

This does not mean that I have any desire to chance the intensity or frequency of my workouts. In fact , quite the opposite. As I get older, I been thinking about my body and how it will age. The bottom line is that I will get really fat if I don't change my body composition. Both Fat and fit are in my genes. My dad is buff in his 60s and my mom's side of the family - well not as much . So how will I tip the odds more in my favor ?..... weight training.

I've been wondering if it was possible for me to get ripped- what I really mean is really toned. Essentially - could I use weight training to change my body and my capacity to burn fat. Scientifically - the answer is yes (of course) but do I have it in me? So to help me assess this, I decided to get some official advice and possibly assistance. I thought about meeting with one of the trainers at my club - but I really wanted someone who specialized in female body building/weight training. I mean if I'm going to do it , I want to really do it. I talked to hubby about the idea of it , prayed about it and left the thought alone for a few days. Then the most amazing thing happened.

I started searching around the web for female strength training in Washington, and came across a several local events for fitness and body building competitions - right in my own backyard. I also found a link to a woman who is a fitness champion and a current TV "action hero" , who (get this) works out of a gym that is 10 minutes from my house. It gets better. She is African America and a boldly professes her Christianity on her site. Wow. I don't think I could have found a more perfect person. So I called her . We will see where this leads me.

Grunt Grunt

I'm not exactly sure why I didn't go into the spin room today. I was early and had planned to go, but something pulled me over to the circuit training room. Perhaps it was my less than excited mood- or it was knowing that the perky perky new spin instructor was teaching the class. I guess I just wasn't in the mood for high cadence work today. So I ventured into unknown territory... a circuit training class.

It started out fine - people looking around , teacher asking if I had ever done cardio or weights before. to which I replied " Well sometimes" . The teacher is quite good ..incredibly didactic with lots of energy and encouragement. Things were going well ..a little work on the cardio machines, some stretching and then some weights. That is when everything went downhill. It wasn't that I couldn't keep up, it was actually the opposite. I did fine. What wasn't fine was what I was hearing. It started as loud heavy breathing after each rep. Then as the we got further along in our sets, the breathing turned to loud intense grunting...after each rep. I was having enough trouble staying present and in the moment, now I had the grunting to distract me.

Once the class ended, I felt like I needed more so I did the elliptical (high cadence 190 + heavy resistance Level 20) and a sprint interval workout (15m 7.8/4.0) .

My lessons for today ---
  • I didn't love it - although the rapid changes from exercise to exercise appealed to my ADD side
  • Resistance bands can be useful - we used them throughout the class and they were pretty challenging
  • Aimless wandering leads to unwanted grunting

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Don't think about it, Be about it/ Brick hair

I almost thought my way out of it...but I didn't.

I woke up refreshed and alert at exactly 4:10am. When I looked at the clock, the first thing I thought was wow this is early enough for a swim before spin. I went through the required motions in my head : go to closet find bathing suit, put bathing suit on, pack bag, be sure to grab good goggles, grab cycling shoes, don't forget extra underwear, grab hair stuff , get big bag to accommodate hair stuff .

After thinking it through , I decided to go for it. But before getting out of the bed, I had to think through it again... and exactly what would I do. Would I do swimming drills or endurance- just swim laps? Would I run after spin -to make it a true brick? Well after 10 minutes of thinking, I decided that if I didn't get up I would think myself out of working out. This is exactly why autopilot works for me. If not, I over think everything. Just get my butt out of bed and go put on my bathing suit, grab my stuff and leave....as quickly as possible. Don't think about it... be about it.

The hair .....
so my 1 week old relaxer is still quite lovely. I'm missing the ease of braids, but I am glad that hubby is happy. Funny - I never knew he didn't like the braids while I had them :)
So I put conditioner on my dry hair and then put on my swimming cap. This is said to protect the hair from the chlorine.

The swim...
Good not great. I am learning that for almost everything, I need a warm up of roughly 10 minutes before I get my stride. I swam for 40 minutes but the first 10 were tough. I had trouble getting my rhythm. I felt really winded after a few laps. Then it kicked in and I felt like I could swim all day (slowly of course). I still have a ways to go before I feel completely ready for Danskin.

The hair...
So I ran upstairs to get ready for 6am spin...took off the swim cap, towel dried and put on a baseball cap and a scrunchie.

I worked really hard today. I pushed my resistance as high as I could maintain. Josh poured it on today and the music really kept me going . He played a little mix of Rihanna, Beyonce, Sean Paul, Bon Jovi...definitely better than 60 minutes of trance. My quads were burning and I was certainly reaching my upper limits of heart rate zones. My target heart rate is much higher than what the charts say (165 vs 140) and today I was pretty close to 188 on some of the climbs. But it felt good and I feel like I am getting stronger. One great tip I learned -- is to add hovering to my standing work. Hovering is when I am in an aero positioning and my bottom is hovering over the seat without touching it. This is an excellent way to fire up the quads, glutes and hamstrings without using the momentum that can come from standing.

The elliptical....
I decided to do the elliptical -- because all of the good treadmills were taken and I didn't feel like walking downstairs. I did 15 minutes of high intensity (165-180 rpm, level 6) running on the elliptical. For the last 2 minutes I cranked it up to 200 at level 2.

The hair
I washed and conditioned, and slicked it back into a ponytail. It worked and I think the pre swim conditiner helped minimize damage/dryness . Products used: Giovanni direct leave in conditioner . Thanks Michele --it works like a charm!

So all in all , my first brick went well. Nutrition and energy were a bit tough though. I didn't eat much during the day (1 protein shake and 1 protein bar) and had a slight binge when I got home-- but on all good stuff..egg whites and grilled chicken, and toast. I also had a wonderful 100 calorie desert (1/2 cup of whipped cream sprinkled with shaved almonds). The only downside to the day was that I ran out of energy pretty early. In fact needed to take long, long nap after work .

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Random musings

The elliptical simulates standing cycling...
  • I realized this during an elongated standing interval during Friday spin class.

Short intervals make the time go by quickly..
  • My new at home workout 1 set of treadmill interval (10 minutes of 1m sprint/1 min jog/walk) 10 min strength train (1min each till fatigue) (repeat 3-4 times)

I have double hips
  • you know the part that curves out at below the waist (hip #1) then the part that curves out below the joint (hip #2) . That is the exact location of the extra 10 lbs
Skinny girls have cellulite too ....
  • Always refreshing to walk into locker room, see skinny girl in thong with orange peel butt.

True contentment is elusive

  • Temporary happiness is more attainable

I like yoga

  • The chanting ...I'll have to get used to.

Going on autopilot is totally ok if it works for you..

  • It works for me

It is really hard to get back on the wagon after falling off.

  • but get back on is what I will do.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Will you love me when it is over?

Wednesday is usually my favorite day . The day usually starts with an intense endurance focused spin class, by 10 am I'm still pumped from my endorphin rush, I make wise food choices all day, I am pretty productive and I have a great night sleep. Well after today, I'm not so sure I'll still be loving Wednesdays.

So my favorite spin instructor went on maternity leave last week and today I met her replacement - Christine. I bet she was a bit nervous - wondering if we would like her and if the attendance would eventually increase (only 7 today vs 30 ). I'm sure she wondered if, after the class ended, would we like her enough to return.

The good:

  • Great skill building drills - she had us do heavy resistance with no hands so that we could isolate the pulling motion from the hamstrings. Certainly reinforces a benefit of indoor training . Can't do this one on the road.
  • Great example - she did all of the drills and toughed it out with the class. She didn't walk around telling us what to do. Plus it was very obvious that she was incredibly fit all around. Cycling is just one of the many things she does : Triathlete, personal trainer, circuit training instructor + 3 other spin classes.

The bad:

  • Music - not bad but too fast for too long. Need a better mix of BPM
  • The entire class was high cadence- even with the heavy resistance. When I say high I'm talking nothing below 100rpm. Occasionaly she had us go to 85- with high resistance. What the pho? Either I just can't hang anymore or that was really ridiculous. I made it through - unscathed but it did not feel good. In fact, I have never wanted a class to be over as much as I did with this class. I started watching the clock at minute 22.

    Later in the day , I was exhausted. No lingering endorphin rush...in fact by 4 I wanted to take a nap. I felt drained most of the day.

    If Christine keeps this up, I guess I'll need to find a new favorite day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sore or Flare

So since I found out about all of my various illnesses - in particular my autoimmune disorders- I've had trouble distinguishing between what is illness related vs what is the result of working out too hard. Today was a great example.

So I woke up early - but I was totally exhausted and really really sore. Everything hurt...knees, quads, calves, shoulders, even my back. I thought perhaps my 3 sprint intervals and upper body work from yesterday were the cause. After all, I haven't done those sprint intervals since the fall.

But then later I realized ...that what I was feeling could be related to Lupus. Perhaps this is a "flare" . I think I walk around with so much pain so much of the time, it is hard for me to distiguish. Plus I really try to put my health issues out of my mind . I don't like to think about it or talk about it. The only time I think about it is when I am taking my 5 medications each day. But I view that as only temporary. There are no cures and the treatments only treat the symptoms . So why worry about it. I believe by focusing on the illnesses - I give them energy - which is exactly what they don't need. For some reason - that I don't fully understand, my body has decided to attack itself in multiple ways. My approach is and will always be to be as healthy as I can by taking good care of myself and listening to my body.

So listen to my body was exactly what I did today. I was really looking forward to my lower body workout today but my body said it was hurting, so I didn't work out. Even though I really wanted to . Hopefully tomorrow I feel better.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Too late to spin

So I stayed up pretty late last night - working on a few home projects. I woke up about 10 minutes too late to make it to spin class. I decided to go to the gym anyway figuring I could get in a bit of strength training and some cardio. Since tomorrow is a heavy lower body strength day, I focused on upper body today. I did lats, lower back, shoulders and biceps. Then I headed over to treadmill to do an interval workout. I read a really good article over the weekend that discussed recent findings behind interval training vs sustained cardio. According to the findings, interval training or training that pushes your anaerobic threshold for short bursts, is more effective than sustained cardio at roughly the same heart rate . So I did 3 sets of 10 minute intervals: 1 min at 3.8 rest , 1 min at 8.1 run - repeated 5 times per set. Then I did 10 minutes of fast walking (@ 5.4mph). I realized that 5.5 is my max - meaning that at that pace it is super hard not to run.
So although I didn't get in a spin workout - it was a very productive day.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fresh hair

$100 bucks for a fresh relaxer on Saturday. Will I swim on Monday , oh no. How about Tuesday ..hmm I don't think so. Maybe Wed... Yeah maybe Wednesday:)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

One Line At A Time

I got up early today and I couldn't decide what to do. I knew I wanted a longish workout but wasn't exactly sure what to do.I planned a bike ride around the lake, but my tires were flat and my bike shoes were at the club. I tried unsuccessfully to pump my tires - but the air came out as soon as I put it in. That plus my faulty gear shift , was enough to make me bag the bike ride- at least until after I visit my friends at the bike shop.

I decided that I needed a running workout, so off I went. The plan was to run to from my house to Office Depot and then walk back. Office Depot is about 3 1/2 miles away - at the top of a pretty wicked hill. The first mile was as usual, not fun. I focused on my music - my most favorite podrunner podcast -Cold Sweat. As I approached the hill, I decided not to look up. I focused on getting to the next line in the side walk. Not on the entire hill . I is way too intimidating to look up at the hill. So one line at a time , I made it up the hill. There were at least 20 times where I wanted to stop , but I kept going, one line at a time. After I got up the hill , it became easier. After a while, I started to feel good. I felt so good that I didn't mind the rain. So good that I took a detour to the local high school track and ran around . So good that when I got to Office Depot , I passed it and ran a 1/2 mile more.
Turns out, I wasn't able to walk home (too many bags) so I called hubby to scoop me up.

This was the first time since surgery that I've run longer than 2 miles. As long as I can walk tomorrow, it certainly won't be my last.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A brick is still a brick

Today was brick day - but it was also the 4th of July. Because it was the 4th, the gym opened at 7 instead of 6 and there was no spin class. So I decided to brick it anyway that I could. So here is what I did:
20 minute warm up on the step mill , 30 minute bike (lifecycle, kilamanjaro, lev 13) , 15 minute run, 30 minute swim. So this was a totally backwards brick, but a brick is still a brick.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Can I get ripped

After being so fat for so long, the idea of being ripped is something that never occurred to me. From as far back as I can remember, I've always admired really toned bodies with well defined muscles --ripped bodies. I've subscribed to Oxygen Magazine (hard core fitness magazine for women - focused on weights and strength building) for years. I think this early admiration came from my dad. My dad - in addition to being a professor and journalist, is known for his brains and his body. He worked as a body building instructor for several years and is still quite buff - even at 60.

The admiration never really materialized into aspiration. Tucked somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought about body sculpting but only as it related to sculpting away the fat from my thighs. For most of my adult post-marital life , I've been overweight. In fact, all but 2 of the last 10 years I've been obese by all medical charts. I've always been pretty fit, yup fat but fit. But you certainly could not tell by looking at me. Despite my outward appearance, I've always known that underneath the layers of fat was muscles. I was and am strong. I was strong throughout my high school athletic activities and I'm still strong today. But ripped , I certainly am not.

Can I get ripped?
Today I attended a class at my club's new performance center. This is a specialized club that focuses on improving performance through specialized workouts on very fancy machines. These machines use compression and resistance to give you a very efficient workout. Before the class, I had to do an evaluation to determine my level of fitness. Based on my assessment - I am considered very fit. I am 100% sure that the guy who did my assessment was quite surprised at my score. After finishing the test and seeing the surprise on his face when he added up my score, I decided that I want to be fit but I also want to look fit. I want to be more than fit, I want to be ripped - at least a little. To give me a little motivation , I need a goal . So here is a totally wacky goal: be fit enough to compete in a local women's trifit/bodybuiliding competition next March. That would mean drastically reducing bodyfat, building pounds of lean muscle and losing 30-40lbs. Sounds pretty wacky , huh. But for some strange reason -- I'm drawn to the idea. We will see where I'm led.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A parting gift , a brick or shall I say a pebble

So today was my first brick. To be honest - it was really a pebble ...not quite a brick.

My favorite spin instructor taught her last class today before heading out on maternity leave. She decided to give us a parting gift... a killer workout . High resistance + high cadence = torture. I wore my hr monitor and after 61 minutes , it said I'd burned 1097 calories...and boy did I feel it. I was soaking during and after the class. I felt really good about working that hard. Since Danskin is in less than 45 days, I need to really cram in order to be ready. Cramming for a triathlon -- what an insane concept. So basically I'm trying to cram in a bunch of training time in order to feel good about my effort at the triathlon. I have accepted that I probably won't beat my time from last year, but I'm ok with that. What I'm not okay with is giving anything less than 110%. That means from this moment on -- the heat is on.

So today - my first brick equalled 61 minutes of spin class and a 20 minute run. Tonight I will do weights. Tomorrow run + weights in the day and swim at night. Friday brick --- swim, bike, run.

Bring it on!!!! I think I'm ready...

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.