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

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Danskin 2008 - Race report details

I woke up at 4:30 am to the sounds of thunder and lightning. I just sat there thinking - not again. If it rains today, I am not sure I will do this race. After last year's really wet conditions, I didn't think I would be motivated enough to pull it off. Luckily it was just thunder , no rain.

My favorite bag was packed- I double checked everything off the list: wetsuit, 2 pair of goggles (i had a bad feeling about my new ones), chamois cloth (great for drying off), lotion (to treat the post race ash:), my new cap , sunglasses, bike shoes,etc. All ready. I felt nervous but ready to give it my best. My stomach was really nauseous but I figured that was due to nerves and possibly due to the ice cream I had the night before:).

I arrived and was happy to find a plum but debatable parking space. It wasn't a driveway , but was a small space that looked like a small basketball court. My plum space blocked it just a bit, but I did not see a do not park sign and I asked someone else for an objective opinion about the space. He thought I would be fine. So there I parked. I did leave a very long note apologizing in case it was not a space. I left my hubby's number in case they needed us to move. As if.....

So I got to the transition area, set up and waited. I looked around and didn't see anyone I knew. Usually I see at least one person. The women next to me were pretty excited first timers. They asked me if I'd done it before and asked if I was nervous. I said yes and yes. The best advice I could give them was to acknowledge the nervousness before and doing the race. Don't fight it , work with it.

The Swim
I got to the starting area and really wanted to get in toward the front to get in the first few waves. Since I was in the mixed age group vs the specific age group (40-44), there were over 1000 people in my group split over 5 waves. I shimmied my way to the front. I ran into a woman that I've run into every year on the swim. We caught up on the family, friends and our training. We both laughed at the fact that neither one of us had been in the open water at all. We ended by saying that we would meet again next year, same time, same place.

So I'm in the water - getting used to it - happy that it wasn't too cold. I put my goggles on and had a bit of trouble adjusting them, but they felt ok. I had trouble getting the suction right on one side but it was time to go. I started out really easy, very leisurely - just trying to get my space. I didn't kick at all - the entire swim, just used my arms and kept my rhythm. I had trouble spotting the buoys because I really could not see. I think my contact lens was not in position for most of the race because everything was just totally blurry. I didn't let it bother me, I just kept going. I swam into the canoes a couple of times, but just kept on my merry way. I wasn't swimming hard enough to get winded, but for some reason I kept swallowing water. I was able to zone out a few times, thinking about the kids, work, my upcoming vacation. For a good portion of the swim, I prayed. I just thanked God over and over again for letting me do this- for allowing me to be able to do this.
I ended the swim , happy that my inconsistent training didn't impact my ability to finish and vowing to get in the open water before the next triathlon.

My bike was racked pretty far away from the swim exit, so I ran as much of the distance as I could disrobing in the process. When I got to my area, I was so pleased with how well everything was laid out. Socks in shoes, sun glasses on helmut, gu in pockets, phone in beeno bag etc. I kept my tri suit on , but added my race skirt - which has two purposes : concealing jigglage and holding my race number. I saw hubby and the kids right by my area. I was soo happy , I ran over to give them a hug. Then I got my bike and off I went. Felt very nauseous.

Nothing really to say - other than I loved it- I pushed pretty hard hitting 40 mph a couple times. Going over the bridge with the sun hitting the water ..ahh beautiful. I had to keep focused on the road and not focus on the scenery. I averaged 19.5 mph .

I tried to be quick. I changed, caught my breath , got a Gu and I was off.

The run
Still nauseous and legs feeling very heavy, I jogged out of the transition area. I started running but after a few minutes, I realized that I didn't have enough gas in the tank to run the entire race. I know that my knees always hurt in the beginning and that I need the push through the first mile or so in order to feel good. I know these things, but in this case what I was feeling in the moment took over. So I sort of jog walked the entire 3.1 miles. I jogged a bit, walked a bit, jogged a bit , walked a bit. I saw several women with their music and I was kicking myself for not bringing DJ Steveboy. I know I can run farther and faster when he is with me.

It was a beautiful day for a triathlon - not too hot and no rain. I felt good about my effort - because I got out of it exactly what I put in. I was consistent with spin and less so with running and swimming. Plus I'm carrying 8lbs more than last year. I'm offering up no excuses - I got out of it what I put in. I didn't put in personal best effort and I didn't get personal best results -- except on the bike:)

As many people do, I have a little voice in my head that is very quick to tell me that I'm not good enough, or that I should have done better, tried harder etc. Not just for triathlons but for everything. After this race - I felt really good about silencing the voice- by feeling good about completing this triathlon. I'm a no excuses person and I could have used so many excuses for not doing it . I feel good about that.

Goal : Finish in bottom of 1st half - somewhere between 1:39 and 1:48
Actual : Finished in bottom of 1st half 1:46
Swim: 22:07 (Personal Record in 2007 -15;59 but shorter distance )
T-1: 6:09 (PR 2007- 4:07 )
Bike: 36:50 /19.5mph (PR 2008 by 4 minutes!!
T-2: 3:24 (PR 2008 by 32 sec!)
Run: 38:17 (PR 2007- 34:30 )

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Danskin 2008 -after glow

So the 2008 Danskin triathlon is history. it came and went - without incident ...thank God.

  • Making it to the club last night before closing to pick up my favorite goggles - because I thought the new ones might fail me.
  • Kissing the kids on my way out.
  • Calling my niece on the way to the race:)
  • Approaching the end of the swim
  • Enjoying the fruits of my very well organized transition area
  • Flying over the bridge looking at the beautiful lake on the bike.
  • Seeing hubby and the kids cheering me on and giving them a big hug.
  • Watching reunited friends stop and chat during the run.
  • Running up the hill to the beat of the drummers (who are there every year - thank God).
  • Crossing the finish line!!
  • Waiting for the last woman to cross the finish line and giving her a high five.
  • Thankful that I am able to do a triathlon - no matter how slow


  • Swallowing too much water on the swim.
  • Not being able to see through my goggles and swimming off course
  • Everything about the swim
  • Feeling sick from swallowing too much lake water.
  • Knee pain during the run
  • Oh did i say the swim.


  • Be grateful ...less competitive.
  • Swim more
  • Get in the lake before the triathlon (at least once)
  • Hang out with friends after - it makes it so fun!
  • Bring tums!!

All in all - I achieved my goal of finishing between my year 1 and year 2. So I finished 1:46 49 and that is 2 minutes faster than year 1 but 7 min slower than last year. Given my level of conditioning this year - that time is reflective of what I put in. I don't feel horrible, I feel like I got exactly what I gave. The swim was my PW and rightfully so. Today was my first time in open water (not all all recommended or something I will do again). Transition 1 was super long but I was so glad I got to see and hug my family:). All in all --- I am super grateful I'm happy it is over and I'm glad that I was able to draft off of my previous year's conditioning:) .

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Last year I completed the Danskin triathlon in 1:39 and I felt pretty good. I felt good because I knew that I gave it my best effort. I was most proud of the fact that I gave it 110% every minute - even through the pouring rain, even after crashing into the ambulance. In addition to giving it my best effort, my goal was also to take 8 minutes off of my previous time. I was happy that I was able to check that box. This year, my goals are less ambitious. My effort goal remains at 110% , I want to push it a much as I can every minute of the race. From a time perspective, my goal is to finish somewhere between last year 1:39 and the previous year 1:48. My worst time ever was 1:52 - that was at Seafair last year - where I swam off course. In the back of my mind , my goal is just to complete it . I'm excited but at the same time, I know that I am not in the condition I was in last year. I'm still fit from a cardiovascular perspective so I should be able to endure the entire way without passing out. I'm a bit concerned about my knees on the run but I am most concerned about the swim. I know I can do it, I'll take it easy and side stroke if I get tired. The key will be to start out slow until I get into a nice rhythm. I feel good about the bike - should be fun. I will do my best on the run - and start the power walk if I need to.
I'm still amazed at the fact that 2 1/2 years ago, I would have never imagined that I would be into triathlons. Just completing it is an accomplishment.
I think I will do this race in honor of Ntozake Shange - the author of the choreopoem "For Colored Girls Who Have considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf"

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I usually get an endorphin rush after working out. Today I didn't.
I ran 3 miles around my neighborhood. When I finished, I was sad.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Too heavy but ready

This morning I simulated the Danskin route by doing a 13m moderately hilly ride near my neighborhood. I needed to get to work in time for a 9 am meeting so I needed to be fast. I wanted to see how fast I could average . I did it in 37 minutes , roughly 20mph. There a couple of tough hills to conquer, but I felt really strong. On one of the descents , I got up to 47mph - whew.
The only problem was my pedals. Right now they are really tacky...they have a foot cage without the straps, so it looks and feels really bad. I am going to put install my new clips tomorrow. I'll need to ride a bit with the clips in to make sure I feel comfortable.

Tomorrow I will run, Thursday swim, Friday brick. Then rest Saturday , pick up my materials , rack my bike and rest. I feel moderately prepared, too heavy, but looking forward to completing it.

The pain went away just as quickly as it came.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

My baby's home and strange pain

My baby's home. My bike that is. I put my bike in the shop because of trouble shifting the gears on hills. Obviously this is a huge problem - especially in my neighborhood..I need all 3 of my rings. Well it is back and I will take it out either tomorrow or Tuesday.

For the last 24 hours, I have been in pretty bad pain. Not the type of pain that is isolated to one part of your body , like a headache or stomach ache. This was all over body pain. Every part of my body hurt, it even hurts to breath. Walking around at the convention was tough, as was finishing up my afternoon errands. At one point, I needed to pull over and just rest - I was so drained that I couldn't drive. I called hubby and he offered to come pick me up. I said I'd call him back in a few . I wanted to see if it would go away. Since this is a symptom of my condition, I have a medication that I take that is supposed to give me a quick boost of energy . I took one and waited. After about 30 minutes, I felt a little better and was able to get back on the road. My body was still throbbing though.

Today was also the day of my daughter's birthday party. What a blast. She had it at a cooking studio inside of a supermarket. Sounds strange but it was the best party she has ever had. I shuffled through it , still in pain, really anxious to get home.

It is hard to believe that 1 week from today, I will be on either side of a triathlon - either looking behind it or staring at it as something I couldn't check off. Today I feel like there is no way I could even get on a bike, let alone ride it. Hopefully I am back to myself by Monday or Tuesday.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

bouncing to the beat

Today's early morning workout was focused on cardio endurance. The only problems was that I woke up with a lot of knee pain. So I popped an Aleve and went downstairs to the treadmill. Before getting on, I looked over at my mini tramp and remembered how great of a workout that can be. It is really good for legs and is intense from a cardio perspective. My heart rate usually shoots up quite high.

I decided to be gentle to me knees and do the tramp workout. I did 30 minutes of running on the tramp, bouncing to my favorite 175bpm podrunner podcasts -cruise control. When I was done I was soaked and exhausted. I did 15 min more of weights and then called it a day.

Today start is the 3rd day of my church's regional conference. Today are the gender specific classes. I'm planning to attend a class on fellowship and relationships. Since that is totally what I need right now. I have such great friends on the East coast but haven't developed the kind of deep friendships here. It has become so hard to make deep friends (beyond superficial/casual friends) that I figured this class should help . We'll see.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Wrap up 7 days to go

Well in 8 days , the 2008 Danskin Triathlon will be history. It reached capacity in less than 24 hours - which means that over 5000 women have registered. I have two friends from Jack and Jill who are also registered and 1 is woefully unprepared, while the others is on track to place in her age group. I on the other hand am somewhere in the middle - leaning towards unprepared.

I managed to get in 4 hours of biking, 1.5 hours of running and 1.5 hours of swimming. Enough? No way, but it is what it is. The swimming was the worst of all because right around lap 22 , I started to get a really bad headache - and very dizzy. I pushed through it for 3 more laps, then rested to see if it would go away. I tried to squeeze out 2 more laps but it is tough to swim if you are dizzy. I jumped out and got dressed. The headache became a sinus headache. It and the dizzyness stayed with me for a few days. I feel good about my ability to complete the swim - but I will probably need to take more rests than I have before.

Spinning was pretty good. Several really intense sessions . I feel somewhat prepared for the bike portion of the race. I'm not sure about my pace but I feel good about my ability to complete it

This is such a contrast to last year's prep , where I had such a "no excuses" attitude. I did notice that last year 1 week before the triathlon , I also developed a sinus infection. Hmm.

My 'no excuses' attitude is stuck back in the month of March. The events of this year have had an impact on me and unfortunately I'm not back to 100% yet. I know I will get there and that is ok. I've been really focused on building my faith and making prayer/reading the first thing I do when I get out of bed. There is a added confidence (which I really need right now) that comes from feeling really solid in my faith. Being solid in my faith, means doing my absolute best and praying that God will fill in the gaps (according to his will). It means that sometimes my best is not good enough and reminds me that God's plans are very different than my plans. My plans sometimes lead me off a cliff, while relying on God leads to comfort.

So - 1 week to go. I feel moderately prepared - but praying that I still have a bit of my previous fitness/endurance level. My goal is not to take 8min off ly time (i rocked ly), in contrast my goal is to finish. Last year I earned every bit of the 9min I took off my time. This year, I've earned the right to complete it and that is it. Under 2 hours would be great.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Getting the boy to run

Today I ran about 2 1/2 miles. Well sort of. I decided to go running with my boy - who at 6 is quite fast. He ran track this past spring and has several medals and ribbons to mark his many accomplishments. Well today - he needed quite a bit of prodding - or more accurately downright trickery.

So we started off going downhill with a slightly slow jog. By the time we got to the flat , he wanted to walk. I encouraged him that if he ran to the park by the beach, he could go play on the monkey bars. Woo hoo -- off he went. When we got to the park, he was surprised there were no other kids around and decided he did not want to go on the monkey bars. Well at 8am on a Sunday morning - the only folks in the park are the early swimmers and the fishers. We hung out with a few fishermen for a few minutes, learned all about what type of fish they catch and we took a look at the fish they'd already caught.

We then ran to his school, I challenged him to race me to the big slide. He did. When we got there , I did a nice little strength training workout for me while I was playing with him. So while he climbed across the monkey bars, I did about 50 step ups. I felt my quads and glutes burning , so I know it was good stuff. I alse did hanging leg raises on a high bar (monkey bars) for a nice ab workout. I ran around the soccer field and then up and down the hills.

When we left , we walked for a while and then I told him that I would be the tortoise and he would be the hare. I let him know that I would beat him with a fast walk - even if he ran. I told him that like the hare, he could not sustain his fast run too long and I would eventually beat him. Well as I suspected, he is quite competitive and wanted to race me all the way home. There was a pretty big hill involved, but despite that , he managed to run almost all the way home. Every time he turned his back , I would sprint to catch up with him. Good for me , funny for him. We made it home and this time the hare actually won.... or did he:)

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.