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

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Prepping for the Mud Run

Ok so I've decided to do the Mud Run. The good news is that it is in June..The bad news is that it is wicked hard. It is 6 miles of running in mud and in a lake. There are also obstacles throughout the course. I am so happy that I have 7 months to prepare because I will need every single minute. So my plan is to: \

1) Increase endurance via Month 1-2 Elliptical and then Months 3- 7 running and elliptical. I will also add sand running and something to simulate running in the mud

2) Increase strength through Crossfit

3) Endurance train everyday...

4) Clean eating.. protein focused to build/rebuild muscle....

I'm also looking for a more detailed official mud run training plan. I may talk to the team girls about getting a trainer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mud Run

So here it is a few months into my move to sunny San Diego. And not unlike my first few months after my move to the Seattle area 4 years ago, I am not feeling great about my current fitness level. And not unlike my first few months in Seattle, someone approached me about doing some crazy fitness activity that I’ve never done before. 4 years ago---the crazy activity was doing a triathlon. This time around it is something called a Mud Run.
Being asked to do a triathlon , I felt, was so out of the realm of possibility for me –that I thought the person was truly crazy. I did not look the part of a triathlete, nor had I expressed any interest in or knowledge of triathlons. However just being asked was enough to plant a seed of intrigue. I was intrigued enough to wonder a) why she would ask me – given the way I looked at the time (overweight and out of shape)and b) whether or not there was any remote chance that I could possibly do it.

No surprise there… the seed of intrigue grew into the roots of a plan and blossomed into an accomplishment . 5 accomplishments --to be exact. Had I not been asked – I am 100% sure I would have never known what it feels like to complete 1 triathlon let alone 5.

So in a interesting twist of Déjà vu, here I am …months after a relocation, not feeling great about the weight I’ve gained since moving and not feeling great about my starved intermittent workout schedule. A parent of my little diva’s friend, asked me if I would like to participate in the Mud Run at Camp Pendleton. First instinct was H to the Naw! Mud +Run = two things on my "don’t like" list. But then something kicked in…that same something that made me think that I could do a triathlon. I’m thinking that a Mud Run is just outrageous enough that it would motivate me to get ready for it. Crazy enough that I would feel so great to have checked off. The training would be exciting…not as boring as running for miles at a time. I’d need to train on sand, mud, in water and I would need to do quite a bit of strength training. Also there is a time limit so I’d need to build up my speed . And oh of course…there is the hair :)

Here is the description:

This is the World Famous Mud Run! The Mud Run is a challenging 10K run with hills, tire obstacles, river crossings, two 5-foot walls with mud on both sides, tunnel crawl, slippery hill climb, and the final 30-foot mud pit. Along the course there will be 6 water points with personnel staged at each. This is the most fun you can have running a 10K! View the course map at http://www.camppendletonraces.com/

I told her that I would think about it …. But I am thinking I will say yes…..

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Take your own advice

One of the great things about keeping this blog is that I get to read about my past successes and what tools have worked for me. I went back and read what I posted back in March of 2007 - http://sistastritoo.blogspot.com/2007/03/what-works-for-me.html. I outlined what works form me...
  1. Cardio 5x a week for at least 30 min a day
  2. Drink lots of water ----
  3. Keep things moving---- (take fiber supplements) if not I hold on to lots of weight
  4. Use a food diary
  5. 500-900 caloric deficit each day (burn more than I consume)
  6. Make proteins and veggies the staple of my diet (Limit sugar, processed foods)
  7. Strength train - for added muscle conditioning and calorie burning
  8. Have a big goal -- a race, a bike tour, triathlon or something that I can look forward to
  9. Have a danger weight and a danger diet. My danger weight is the weight that I will not exceed. When I get there I invoke the danger diet to get myself back on track

As each of these things slip from my daily routine, so does my focus on my goal. Today I'm starting to add back daily meal tracking..the old adage out of sight out of mind- holds true. Yesterday - I'm sure I consumed an insane amount of calories -eating junky food. Today I will be accountable for it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I would do it all again

I know where I'm going, Love where I've been,
I would do it all again if in the end it makes me the woman I am.
Lina ( The Inner Beauty Movement)

What a roller coaster of a year this has been. I've made so many changes in my life - changed jobs, come close to death, became a vegan, moved from Seattle to San Diego, dealt with family illness, and accepted my own illnesses. Most importantly I've gone on an amazing personal journey - discovering who I am and learning who I am not. I so appreciate the saying " In the end, it is not the destination , but the journey that matters most." So I am in the process of taking these learnings and incorporating them into my life .

One area where I regressed this year, was emotional eating. I used eating instead of talking things out, eating instead of exercising and I've paid the price...dearly. I have to look myself in the face - knowing that just 18 months ago I was not an emotional eater. Quite the opposite, I was fit, toned and excited about training for triathlons. Today - I'm struggling to get consistent in my workouts, struggling to replace emotional eating and trying not to feel bad about falling off the wagon.

So here is where the journey comes in... I don't live a life of excuses -- there is no excuse for where I am. It is not good, not bad -- it just is. It is where I am today and it has been a journey. I'm grateful for the journey and glad that I am where I am...but I'm ready to get back on track.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Obesity and Race --So what's my problem?

So next week the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) will issue the Morbidity and Mortality weekly report which will highlight latest obesity findings by race and by state. As in similar years, black americans are more obese than their counter parts. Also black women are the most obese.. Here are the specifics...

Black women were the heaviest, with 39 percent obese. Black men were next, at 32 percent; then Hispanic women, 29 percent; Hispanic men, 28 percent; white men, 25 percent; and white women, 22 percent.
The study cites the reasons are due to attitudes about weight and a link to poverty. Overweight and obese blacks in the study, are more satisfied with their weight than their counterparts - and are therefore less likely to exercise or diet. So what's my story...
I am neither below the poverty line nor I am satisfied with my weight. Yet for the past 10 years or so I have struggled with my weight teetering on being obese/overweight. So I am and have been a healthy eater. I guess we have our share of rice a ronie every now and then, but I eat plenty of veggies and fresh fruit. So what is the deal?
I think what the study doesn't uncover is how black people - especially black women cope with stressors in their life. For me, I never would admit that I was stressed - because of course, I am a strong black woman...who could handle anything. The expectation was that I was to be strong, secure, independent and successful. I had plenty of great role models - the mother who held it all together, the grandmother who did it all and was the matriarch of the neighborhood, The friend who was an engineer and president of every organization she ever belonged to...etc. etc. the list goes on. Community sheroes are common and often set the bar for "strong black women". There are all sorts of sayings that reinforce this expectation of independence and strength...
Sometimes, I didn't feel so successful or independent or strong - contrary to what may others may have seen. How did I deal? Did I reach out to friends ...no. Did I find an outlet to manage stress --- no. Did I seek therapy...no. I ate.
I am smarter, wiser, more fit and have more income than I did 10years ago.. but I still struggle with weight. I have more coping mechanisms now - yoga, exercise, therapy, friends... But I still struggle with 'in the moment' emotional eating. And - even after losing over 50lbs - completing 4 triathlons and being in great cardiovascular shape, I am still overweight. The reason, I believe - has nothing to do with my income or accessibility to fresh fruit and veggies . Nor does it have to do with a warped perception of my fatness. It has everything to do with my coping mechanism and my struggle with emotional eating....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

no beach

So no beach today, No lunch today and I am just leaving work... Life at a startup....

Sucked in

So week 3 at the new gig, in the apt - solo during the week- home on the weekends. Originally, I saw lots of opportunity to workout, take great walks and get to soak of the scenery - all while prepping for my family to join next week.
Well - the reality is that 1) Being away from family 4 days out of the week is getting to me 2) I am getting sucked in to work and working incredibly long hours. I'm doing what I need to do these few weeks of getting up to speed and building the org/team etc., but I'm a bit imbalanced right now.
As a result - I've not been to the gym at all this week and have not had the best meals. I'm staying within a calorie allotment , but the quality has been poor.
My goal over the next few days is to get my workouts in - even if it is just 30 minutes . Also I am stepping out of the work vortex and striving to get some play in my days. Today after work, I am going to go for a walk on the beach!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Go Big

So I joined the San Diego Triathlon Club. What does that mean? What did I just do? I thought Seattle had more triathletes per capita than any other state, but I SD is the triathlon mecca. You can train year round and the water gets pretty warm in the summer.

So what does that mean for me. I have a new job, moving my family, need to find a house, need to find friends - etc. etc. and on top of it - I just joined a triathlon club. To top it off my last triathlon was last August and I am about 30 heartbeats away from being as fit as I need to be. Am I crazy?

Life is short --I like to Go Big --Big changes, Big challenges, Big effort, Big Accomplishment. There is a Nike Womens Tri in the fall as well as training events 7 days a week. My opportunity is there.. hmmmm


I never thought that I would find a spin class harder than Seby or Josh's class at the Pro Club but ..I was very clearly wrong. To be fair, I am not at the same level of fitness that I was when I was taking Seby's class but there is no doubt in my mind that this class was hard.

So I am officially moved in to my temporary housing in San Diego and as a part of getting settled, I found a gym and a few trails nearby. My bike is still home in Seattle but I hope to get it here soon. Since the fam is still home, I have a little bit of flexibility with my workouts.

Today was my first 5:45am spin class at the LA Fitness near my place. So I had to get over my gym snobbery-- the club back WA was very posh and this one is well, not. But it works:). So the bikes are not LeMond and the club doesn't provide towels and heart rate monitors, but the class was just as hardcore as what I was used to. and the music was great- she played everything from Daddy Yankee, Yin Yang twins and Justi Timberlake...

We did speed work (with lots of resistance) , hill climbs and a really long endurance session. It felt really good. I realized today that spinning is my drug. I feel so good and so strong when I am powering my way through an incredibly difficult spin class. When it feels like I cannot make it and somehow I dig deep enough to push through- I feel triumphant.

Physically challenging exercise - I mean really pushing yourself , is so incredibly valuable for the mind and the spirit. The physical benefits are just a bonus

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Blog, Blog where for art thou

So it has been a minute...

Life has been so hectic these last few months. First and foremost- I'm back. For me, this blog gives me a level of accountability that I cannot escape. So expect to see more frequent updates. Not sure I will get back to daily but definitely no more 2 month gaps.

Fitness - I've been inconsistent but getting back on track. I've started seeing a trainer again twice a week and I am taking spin classes 1-2x a week. I haven't gone to hot yoga in a few weeks, but I have the cd and I've done it a few times at home. Certainly not the same...but it beats not doing it. I went swimming once this season and when I did, I burst a blood vessel in my eye. Sounds worse than it was. The bottom line was that my goggles were too tight.

Weight... Still haven't loss the 13lbs. I really bummed about it . The problem has been the food and my emotional eating. ahh...still a work in progress.

Upcoming Races:
So I am signed up to do the Danskin Triathlon in August. Problem is.....I am moving. After 3 1/2 years in Redmond and with Microsoft, I am leaving to join another company. We are moving to California in the summer - in fact the triathlon capital of the world:)... I should be able to find a good sprint distance pretty soon. I'm looking forward to bike riding in the area. I'm wondering about what it will be like to run/bike in the warm weather. I'll know soon.

We are in the middle of prepping our house for viewings and purging all of our unwanted stuff. Busy busy exciting times....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I blew it today

The day started off great. I did my 1 day to 5k podcast - which was great. I felt really good after my 2.7 miles (-300c). Then, it went downhill from there...

For Breakfast: 1 venti soy sugar free caramel latte (315c) + a vegan donut (200c)
For Lunch: 1 package of 4 chocolate truffles (310c)
For Dinner: Korean grill - (veggies, tofu and all sorts of other small dishes) + a side of rice (500c)
snack - an orange (65c)

-- While I had a decent day from a calorie deficit perspective, the content was absolutely horrible.

Press reset... tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dig, dig dig

I got up at 5:35...exactly 25 minutes before I was to be dressed, on a spin bike, at the gym 10 minutes from my house. This meant that I had only 10 minutes to get ready and get out the house. I sat there for a minute..almost convincing myself not to go. Perhaps I could workout downstairs, after all I have everything I need to get a good workout. It didn't take long for me to think about how tempted I would be to slack off if I stayed home. So I jumped up - without giving myself time to think, quietly made it to my closet - grabbed my clothes and got dressed. I made it to the gym right on time.

What I love most about spin class is that it is soo hard..but in a good way. Spinning is hard but feels totally doable. I never feel like I am going to pass out nor do I absolutely hate it while I am doing it. Josh - the instructor - often says dig, dig , dig deep to work through the fire- especially while we are doing heavy resistance work. For me , digging deep means digging past the excuses that tell me that I should stop because it is too hard. Digging deep means digging past the excuses that tell me to stay in the bed when I need to get up. Digging deep means digging past my desire for a cookie when I am feeling stressed.

Digging deep ..right now, means getting on the treadmill . I am really frustrated over a situation in my house and it makes me feel like having a big cup of tea with a little biscotti or cookie. But I am going to dig deep, grab water and work out my frustration on my treadmill.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Salads are exciting

Last week , I did a vegetable juice and vegetable soup fast for 5 days. The goal of the fast was to give my digestive system a break and to detoxify from the inside out. It was pretty tough and not something that I will do again- certainly not for that long. Perhaps 1 or 2 days, certainly not 5. By day 3 , I started to feel weak. I'm sure I needed to just drink more juice, but given that I could only juice enough for 2-3 servings at a time, it was tough to have as much as I needed. The instructions for the fast say that you are to have as much fresh vegetable juice as you would like. I was only able to get in roughly 2-3 servings per day. I think one day I may have gotten to 4. Bottom line - it didn't work for me, plus I broke my 15 year old juicer. On the other hand, I did feel like my digestive system was working better. I didn't have bloating or gas that usually accompanies my consumption of grains. Also - things were moving -- if you know what I mean. (I know oversharing again - but if you read this blog - you know that is my MO).

So this week , in transitioning to solid food, I'm trying to stick with 90% vegetables, 10% grains. That means lots of salads and fresh veggie dishes. Lucky for me (and thanks to Lois), I just bought a new cookbook "Vegan Soul Kitchen" . The book is full of great soul food inspired vegan dishes. Last night I had citrus collards, braised brussel sprouts and baby potatoes. It was delish... especially the collards. I am not a fan of collard greens normally, so this was quite a treat.
For lunch, I've been focusing on eating the most exciting salads I can make. I've been having lots of fun. Today I had a spinach salad with roasted leeks and fennel and lots of other veggies - topped with Tofu. I added a bit of sesame oil to the tofu to give it a little more flavor. Then I used a little bit of broth from a vegetable soup for the dressing. It was yummy.
Who said salads have to be boring.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Spin Therapy

Sometimes I get sad... probably sadder than most. And for no apparent reason. When this happens, it is difficult to talk myself out of my "mood". Call it what you want- the blues, PMS, depression etc, Whatever --- It is what it is and the fact remains ..it happens. What I have found is that exercise provides an immediate and lasting effect. Not just any exercise..but rigorous - challenging heart- pumping cardio. It happens a bit with Hot Yoga , but not at all as measurable as it is with hard cardio. For me ..Spinning always does the trick.

So this morning, I woke up around 2:45am to the taps of an adorable little boy - who was complaining about nightmares. I took him back to his room and assured him that God would always protect him. When that didn't work, I told him that he could defeat the bad guys by taking his light saber into his dream with him. When that didn't work, (yawn) I told him to count to 300 very slowly. Success at last. Success for him, but not for me. So I lay in the bed for the next 3 hours trying to go back to sleep and at the same time noticing that I was a little blue. I had already planned to go to the gym, but my inner sabateur was busy at work trying to convince me not to go. All sorts of negative thougths were running through my mind. All sorts of self flogging -- shoulda-woulda- couldas. I knew I needed to snap out of it , but just couldn't. Finally - I decided that the 1 thing I could do was to get up and get to the gym as they opened (5am). I could always rest when I came back home.
So off I went.

Today was "race day" - which is an extended spin class. It starts at 5:30 and goes until 7:30. My favorite instructor (Josh) leads the class. Since it has been a few weeks since I've taken a spin class, I was prepared to not go to the limit. I knew I might have to take it easy.

Well I didn't take it easy at all. I was able to "bring the fire" as Josh says. Boy it felt good. By minute 20, I felt great both physically and mentally. Positive energy running through my body and positive thoughts running through my mind. I felt powerful and confident and like the strong awesome woman that I know I am. Around minute 70 - when it was really tough and my quads and glutes were burning, I realized that I tried to be totally and completely present. I felt pain - but I could push through with energy and a bit of giddiness. With each pedal stroke, I knew I was getting stronger in body and mind . My self talk turned from negative and discouraging to positive and uplifting. With "you go girls" replacing the shoulda-woulda-couldas. It was in that moment of presence, that I realized that spinning is my therapy. It is good for my body and good for my mind.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Time to step it up...

So my first event is on 5/15 -- Tour de Cure bike ride. My plan is to do the 50 mile loop...(assuming it doesnt rain)... My last 6 weeks of training has been focuse don Hot Yoga and a bit of running and spinning. Now it it time to turn up the heat..
Next week I'm adding spinning and a weekend long bike ride. I will also begin running 2x a week.

So the schedule looks like this:
MWF - spin followed by run
Friday Swim/spin/run
Hot yoga on the weekend and 1 log bike ride either Saturday or Sunday.

If I could squeeze in hot yoga at 1 night during the week...that would complete it.

My only small concern is nutrition. Since i've gone vegan, I haven't worked out with the intensity of a full out training season. without that schedule, I've noticed that I've been feeling weak and have loss some muscle mass. I m anticipating the need to add back protein in a bigger way. I' will probably add fish 2x a week and be sure to get plenty of lentils/beans.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

4 hot yoga sessions in 5 days in 4 cities...

So I had to travel to NY and LA for business. Although I arrived in NJ a day early to spend time with family, it was still an incredibly short trip (1 day in each city). I knew that my new favorite sweat session (Bikram Yoga) was located in states all over the country. I decided that I would try and make a hot yoga session in each city. Because Bikram Yoga is a Franchise and as such it is practiced exactly the same all over the world (the same 26 poses done in a heated room with the very same instruction given ), I knew that it would be pretty low risk .

Friday am: The day before my flight to the East coast, I took at 6am Hot Yoga class at my regular studio in Redmond Wa.. Since the studio is relatively new.. it is very fresh and manicured . The room has cedar walls and wood floor. The main room can hold roughly 50 people, but I've never taken a class there with more than 20. In fact my first class was just me and another person. The class was as expected, wonderful. The teacher was awesome as usual. She always has really good coaching and correction. She also takes time to say everyone's name and to acknowledge that you are doing well. There was really good energy in the class. I'm starting to get really strong in some of my poses and after this class, I felt like my practice was definitely getting better.

Saturday travel.

Sunday : Day 1 in NJ. I took a class at the Westfield Bikram studio. This studio is roughly 1 year old and still feels new. The teacher was exactly the same as what I was used to - without the encouragement and acknoledgement. I could tell she was a new instructor. As I looked around the class , I could tell there were a few veterans and several newbies. Generally speaking the newbies are in the back of the room and the veterans (or near veterans) perch themselves in front. I was appropriately positioned in the middle.

There were two women in the back who caught my eye. Two sisters who were dressed in long sleeve tee and heavy sweat pants. I figured they must know what they were doing because why else would someone show up to a hot yoga class with artic wear. The teacher eventually pointed out that it was their first day. I expected them to stop the class at some point, especially given their attire. They stuck out the entire class and even did most of the poses. I felt great after this class and so glad I went. In fact I felt like I could have taken a double class.

Monday NY: So the midtown Bikram studios have been around for 10 years and are very well established. I decided to attend the first class (6:45) on Monday ..before my 10 meeting. The class fee included towels and a mat- which was a nice touch. The lobby is large and filled with products to buy and member contest information.
When I walked into the yoga studio, I almost choked from the smell. It smelled like 10 years of sweat had built up in the carpet - which is probably not far from the truth. I felt good in the class.. strong in my poses and focused on proper technique. There were obviously people in the class who were veterans.. probably teachers.. but I was unfettered - i just did the very best that I could. I felt great afterward - especially happy to be in fresh air.

Tuesday LA:
So LA is the home of Bikram World Headquarters. It is where it all began..in fact Bikram himself, still teaches a class once a week.
So I arrive after a 20 minute ride in a cab- that should have been 10.( Driver didn't know La Cienega S from N). This delay put me dangerously close to being late. In most Bikram classes, the doors are locked at the exact start time. There was lots of drama around my arrival. I had to run across La Cienega dodging in between cars. only then to try to get in to the front door ...which was really the back door and was locked. I then ran around the corner to the back (which was really the front). I ran in .. asking if I could still take the class - even though I was about 3 minutes late. Once I got the ok, I quickly put my stuff away and walked in.

The room was cavernous. I think perhaps 350 people could fit, possibly more. I found a spot in the middle of the room. The room was so big, that I really couldn't see my eyes in the mirror. Seeing my eyes in the mirror is my way of staying focused and allowing myself to be truly in the moment. This made me a little distracted. The real reason I was distracted, was that there were so many beautiful bodies in the class...with perfect form. It was hard not to look and say "oh that is how it is supposed to look." Being distracted during hot yoga makes me wobble and struggle to nail the poses. So this is what happened the entire class. You would think it was my first class. I was so focused in NY and NJ, but for some reason I just couldn't get it together in LA. In any event I was super happy that I went. I even picked up a bit of shwag..(hat and bag):)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Protein Protein .. where for art thou

After almost 2 months of being a vegan, I feel better overall and that I am doing more to keep my body healthy. However, the one thing I've not feeling so great about is that I know without a doubt, that my muscle mass has decreased. Not only can I feel it in my arms and legs, but I have confirmed it with my fat monitoring scale. ...+3% body fat.:0

So from what I've read, if you body doesn't get enough protein, it starts to use existing protein from muscles. So in effect, my body is feeding off of my muscles.

I've been working hard to make sure I eat complete proteins (beans/rice, Peanut butter with wheat bread). But not enough. I have tofu with rice for lunch or tomato soup with tofu. For dinner it is usually stir fry and I usually have a protein shake or a wheat toast (sprout bread). The snacks are a bit of a problem. Lately, I've been eating girl scout cookies...but I try to focus on fruits..

So what I am going to do... This loss of muscle mass is not something I'm willing to accept. So I am going to reintroduce limited seafood - but refrain from any cow/pig /poultry products. And I will also focus on including 3-4 servings of fresh juices ..as well as a juice fast at least once a week.

Well, Anything worth doing is worth doing well -- however difficult it is.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My life as a vegan - 30 days later

So I completed 30 days of being a vegan.. Eating only vegetable protein. I wanted to see how hard it would be and if I could really live as a vegan. Here is my summary and decision.

  • Veggies taste really good. Focusing on the veggies amplifies the flavor.
  • Soups are a fantastic way to live as a vegan. I learned to make really great soups. My favorite is sweet potato and leek soup..(with or without tofu).
  • I also discovered that Thai curry tofu is almost as delicious as chicken curry.
  • My digestive system works much better without animal protein
  • I feel satiated but not full.
  • I feel energetic.
  • I loss 4 lbs.
  • I am strong enough to cook for the family and not eat what I make.
  • I found out how to make a killer vegan sweet potato pie.
  • I discovered great butter substitute... Smart balance buttery spread..made with EVOO, flaxseed oil and safflower oil. The big plus is it has Omega 3 and 6.
  • I feel like I am doing the best thing for my health.

  • I really miss eggs and have trouble finding good things for breakfast.
  • I am pretty certain that I lost muscle -- although I have substituted Hot Yoga for my strength training.
  • I consume more carbohydrates (albeit whole grains)...which I don't believe is not sure is good for my weight.
  • I think my mix of grains to vegetable protein is slightly off. I need to learn a bit more about the right ratios.
  • It is hard to avoid things made with milk or eggs (i.e. breads, pasta, butter)
So the net of this - is that I have decided to remain a vegan ... most of the time. I will not freak out if I have something made with butter or eggs- but I will avoid pure animal protein (all meats and poultry) and will occasionally have seafood. I will continue to eat whole grains and limit sugar intake (super hard:)). My goal will be to limit animal protein (seafood, things made with a.p) to 10% of my diet.

My 30 day challenge was proof that I can do it. If I can do it, I must do it. It is the best thing for my body.

Monday, February 9, 2009

If I'm being honest

I'm sticking to my plan of working out 5-6 days per week. I'm spinning twice, hot yoga twice and 2 days of weights. So far so good. I'm looking to build more strength in my legs and quite frankly to build more lean muscle mass.

This year feels so different than last year. I am still fit from a cardiovascular perspective but my body composition definitely has changed. I am carrying 12 lbs extra and I definitely feel it. I feel it most when running and bike riding. Also , becoming a vegan has impacted my muscle mass. I am not getting enough protein from my food so my body is taking the missing protein from my muscles. Not because I can't it is just that I am finding that it is easier to pick a carb for convenience, than it is to pick a high protein vegetable.

Bringing my food will help , as will juicing in advance. I've also started using a concentrated organic vegetable concentrate called Green Vibrance. I add a scoop to a liquid once a day, and it provides 3 servings of vegetables. Keeping my vegetable/carb ratio in the right proportion 75-25 is a tough goal - after practicing for a bit.

So If I'm being honest with myself, my improvement in this year's triathlons will be impacted quite a bit by my weight. If I want to achieve a personal best, I will need to take off at 10lbs.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My life as vegan (week 1)

11 years ago I decided to eliminate red meat from my diet. It wasn't for any deep philosophical belief associated with animal cruelty nor was it due to a health concern. I eliminated red meat because I just felt better when I didn't eat it. I don't like the feeling of being full and I always felt really full after eating meat.

So a few months back, after learning about family illnesses (cancer) and learning about my own auto immune diseases (Lupus, Graves disease, possible MS and Sjogrens) - I decided to do a bit of research to understand how to keep myself well. Also by learning a bit more, I thought I could be more helpful to my loved ones. I learned a bunch about risk factors and in particular - the impact of food on disease. I learned that consumption of animal protein was positively correlated to cancer and autoimmune disorders. The best way to reduce risk (according to the research from The China Study) was to have a vegan diet.

I decided that I would give it a try for 30 days...

So week 1 ---so far so good. Luckily I really like veggies. I'm going to do my best!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Yin and Yang of Hot Yoga and Spin Class

So my workout routine looks like this... Spin on M and F, Weights on Tues and Thursday and Hot Yoga on Wed,Sat (and occasionally Sunday). Each workout is very different and enjoyable for different reasons.
I love spin -because of the extreme cardiovascular and muscular challenge. Working through the burning sensation and the anaerobic challenge - makes me feel like I really accomplished something. It gives me a boost for the day. Also the mid morning endorphin rush can't be beat.

I love Hot Yoga because it is extreme - the 105 degree temperature is unlike anything I've experienced. Also the postures are quite challenging - especially the balancing poses. But more than the physical challenge, yoga brings about the need to be totally present - not focused on anything at all. In order to succeed in the poses, I need to be totally in the moment - focused on my body and my breath. This is something I've been able to carry with me in other parts of my day "off the mat". I am really enjoying the mind/body connection. Also it makes me want to put good things into my body.

Weight training - I love feeling strong and I like my body best when I have definition .

So while all of this seems a bit schizophrenic, it is working for me....

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What's next

So I saw a friend today at the gym and we had a good chat , catching up on work and all the going ons. She is pretty hardcore.... did a marathon with an injury, half ironman etc. Due to her injury, she said she really had no big race goals this year. She has done so much in past years, that this year she is just taking it easy. She was totally at ease about it.
She asked about my race goals this year. It took me a moment, because I've really put off thinking about goals this year. I put it off because last year was such a great lesson in setting goals. What I discovered last year is that sometimes my goals and God's goals are very different. Ultimately, God is in control - not me. I had big goals, but my year turned out very different than I expected. The good news is that I am alive and that I have learned so much about myself (and learning more everyday). I learning what it means to live by grace. I have learned that my tendency is not to be kind to myself but to be harsh and unforgiving - for anything that is not perfect. I have learned that I had an addiction to achievement and viewed anything less as failure.
So last year I had big goals and I can say that I checked off about 30%. I did 1 triathlon instead of 4. I spent time in the hospital instead of being in the best shape of my life. I changed my job to reduce my stress level instead of being focused on getting more, doing more. So instead of beating myself up or using my illness as an excuse, I am just going to press on. I am taking one day at a time, being kind to myself and learning how to set goals - but be flexible in how and when I achieve them.

So here are my goals....
  • Goal 1: workout consistently - not for training or weight loss - but because it feels good and is good for my health
  • Goal 2: learn as much as I can about mind/body/spirit connection.....and incorporate good practices into my live
  • Goal 3: Complete Danskin Triathlon - finish strong with a time -- not lower than last year (of course not) -- beat swim, maintain bike ,,same on run.
  • Goal 4: Pursue certification in some physical arena.... I have certification as a spin instructor (yup I do) but I want to explore pushing this further. I'm interesting in bringing together mind, body spirit. This would help my nonprofit pursuits.
  • Goal 5: Do the STP 200 mile bike race
So there... that is what is next. It feels doable . I am going to be flexible and kind... but committed to putting in the work to accomplish everything. And if I need to flex a bit ..I will.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hair Issues

I did it. I did what I said I would never do. I let my hair impact my workout.
I went to the salon yesterday , after 2 weeks of tough going. I was in desperate need of a touch up (woo wee). I was so pleased with the outcome, that I wanted it to last at least 1 day . So this morning , I chose my hair over my workout. I wish there was some sort of scarf type thing that would absorb sweat from the head and protect the hair style. If I could invent something like that, I would be a heroin for sistas all over the world. Do you know that for many black women, the need to protect our hairstyle is a big barrier to working out. When I started this workout journey, I vowed that I wouldn't be one of the statistics. Tomorrow..a different story. Hot yoga at 8.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hot Yoga + Dehydration = Mistak

I took Hot Yoga ...or better yet , it took me.

It started off fine, but I was dizzy for most of the class. I felt stiff and unable to do many of the poses. it didn't occur to me until about halfway through the class that I was dehydrated. I didn't have any water the previous day. When the class was done, I was so exhausted. Anyway it is fairly obvious, but I want to reiterate - Hot Yoga without hydration is a big mistake.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Work through the fire

Snow in Seattle is a pretty rare occurrence. So rare, that when it happens - everything comes to a bit of a standstill. Over the last 10 days or so, we have had a total of 13 inches of snow. While it is certainly a beautiful sight, the department of transportation and residents are ill prepared for such a dumping. Only the highways are plowed and passage on other roads is possible only by tracks left in the snow by other drivers. The result is that many neighborhoods are crippled, streets are treacherous and it is just down right frustrating to travel. I'm from the East Coast, so the weather doesn't bother me, traveling in it does.

Last night, it started snowing....again. The weather man said it would turn into rain, but when I went to bed , there were about 3 inches on my deck.

I decided that I would go back to working out outside of my home . I am not as disciplined as I need to be in order to get the most out of my workouts. I am especially vulnerable to the little boy with Batman pajamas. I'd much rather hang out with him than sweat away on my bike or the treadmill.

So I get up at 4:30, ready to go to the gym. Thinking I'd do weights first then spinning, I put on my cycling pants and grab my already packed bag with my work clothes inside. But first, I grab my phone and suck up a few minutes checking email and Facebook, of course. I hear the pouring rain. I'm thinking ..hmm maybe I shouldn't go.

I head downstairs, determined to get out of the house. But the little voice in my head says..." oh no, the roads are probably slippery, your car is not built for this type of weather, you might get into an accident, better stay here". I look out the window and think perhaps I should work out in the basement. Just do the Spinnervales tape.

It took all of my might, to put on my coat and drag myself out of the house , into the rainy, slushy, cold weather and haul myself and stuff into my car.

When I got to the gym, I felt good. As I pushed myself through Josh's tough spin class, I felt great. Toward the end, he had us do sprints with super high resistance - which burns like crazy. As we were nearing the last sprint, he said, " Work through the fire, you can do it." The fire today, was not just the burn in my quads and glutes, but it was also my inner couch potato who tried to convince me to stay home. Work through the fire..... I'll remember that.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

10 lb challenge..it's on!

What do you do when you are challenged? You take in on !
Hubby challenged me to a contest to see who could lose 10lbs first. The reward is a full 1hour massage at a local spa. I'm excited but I know that once he gets in his groove, 10lbs will fall off of him so easily.

I will have to resort to a little trickery;). I will make his favorite foods and offer up sweets .

In order for me to be successful, I will need to drink at least 1/2 a gallon or more of water per day and track daily.

Bring it on!

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.