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

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving plus deltas

So the week went well -- all things considered. My mom is doing really well , responding to Chemo much better than expected. As a result, I was able to get in 3 really great workouts. I visited the Bally's gym in Tampa and I was able to spin, do the elliptical and also get in a few really good strength training sessions. My nutrition was ok - definitely could have been worse. I had good control and ended with a deficit on 3 of the 5 days I was there. I was able to maintain, not gain any weight -- which is always a good thing.

I'm feeling really excited about using the next few months to really build a good cardio and strength base - upon which to build my skills for next year. I am not exactly sure why I feel so good - especially given my current body composition - but I feel really good. I'm definitely thinking about joining the triathlon club at the gym .. I think I'd benefit from the camaraderie and the structured workouts.

My focus over the next few weeks is going to be on building up my strength in my arms and quads. I need to make sure my quads are stronger this year- to help offset my knee issues. I've been playing volleyball lately - and boy does it hurts. I'm sure that my years of playing V-ball earlier in life is what caused my current knee troubles. While I need to take it easy - I'm working on securing volleyball scholarship for my 10 year old:) -- never too early to start.

So - the focus is on getting strong and building endurance -- and cleaning up the diet.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

850 calories

So I am spending this week in Tampa to assist my mom. Just when I thought my mom was young and independent, wham - she gets surprise news that she has the "c" word. While the prognosis is good, it definitely makes you pause. It has been a time of reflection for all the things that we are grateful for. Also a time to think about how we take care of our bodies (or more correctly our temples). She and I have discussed how she needs to change her lifestyle WHEN (not if) she gets through this . Just staying with her made me realize how much of an effort it is to eat healthy. She shops for convenience and costs. So that means things that are often not fresh but frozen, and more starches/carbohydrates than veggies. We discussed how that needs to change -as well as how her lifestyle needs to change. I convinced her, that even in her condition, it is good to get out for a little walk.

I've also had a chance to do a little reflecting of my own. My tendency to turn to food for comfort is totally misguided and absolutely detrimental to my health. Well duh ... I knew that but I just was not listening. I need to listen and I will.

One of the highlights of my week was reaching out to John Ratey, the author of SPARK -the wonderful book about the connection between exercise and the brain. Well he wrote me back ! I was so excited. More to come on that at a later time- but let's just say that I am listening to my inner voice.

So far this week - I've had calorie deficits each day. yesterday my workout burned 850 calories in 75 minutes -- good stuff.
Today - I also ended with a deficit even though I ate a bunch of peanuts.

Tomorrow for Thanksgiving, I think it will be low key as well. It is likely that mom will have no appetite, so she and I will probably watch movies or something. I bought some of my favorite Kashi cereals - so I am set. Who says you need to have turkey on Thanksgiving. I am planning to have cereal and popcorn

Friday, November 14, 2008

Rock solid

What does it take for me to be rock solid in my commitment to clean eating and consistent exercise.

Rock solid and unwavering?
Even in the face of challenges that might propel me into emotional eating?

Rock solid - even in the face of finding out one of your loved ones has cancer?

Rock solid - through challenges at home?

Rock solid through challenges at work?

Rock solid - through traveling and busy schedules?

The answer is that it takes rock solid strength of mind and self love. This allows me to focus my attention on not on how bad the problems are and how I need comfort, but more focused on how healthy I need to be in order to deal with the challenges. I focus on how my clean eating and exercise is not just about weight loss or training. It is about me being the best I can be.

I've struggled a bit over the last few weeks through all of these challenges but I'm feeling much more rock solid lately.

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.