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

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.