Monday, October 30, 2006

I take it back!

Yesterday I was somewhat unhappy because it was a rest day. I thought some more about what I wrote - wanting to run NY faster - and reconsidered, for two very important reasons.

First: I thought about my best runs ever. They weren't alone. They weren't PRs. They were barely even timed! But they were with my friends.

I imagine that if we get a nice, brisk day in New York, the air will remind me of growing up (pollution and car exhaust aside, I love the smell of fall). The sun will shine down on us as we cross bridges we'd only ever traveled on by car before, and it will continue to chase us as it peeks through the tall buildings. Silly men will whistle at the three girls in pink skirts, and little girls will hold out their hands for us to high-five as we run by. We won't be looking at watches or heart-rate monitors or split times - we'll be checking the pulse of the city and soaking in that energy together. No feet or legs or sides will ache. It will just feel FUN and we won't even want it to end, not even when the finish line is in sight.

And second: While I would never attempt to change the plan at this point, how dare I even think of it when Danielle has stayed with me in BOTH of my marathons when I slowed down and she could have gone faster. Am I really so competitive that I could be so callous?

I am so blessed to have great friends with whom to experience this marathon. I better never let myself forget it again.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Itching to run

Yesterday was my last run longer than an hour before the marathon... and it left me feeling like I'd failed to complete it. I first had just six miles on the schedule, but Wendy had 8, and given our route and Aleks' 18 on her schedule, 9 just made sense. But I was sad to be done, and I didn't feel like I'd run enough. I really can't wait for New York! I don't feel like I haven't trained enough. In fact, the opposite is true. I want to run 26.2 NOW, not a week from now.

A week from now it will be over. I don't want it to be over, but I want to be in the moment today.

I think this is how a taper is supposed to feel.

Anyway, I woke up wanting to run today, but Sunday is family day and the last two were totally not, so I didn't even try. But I did start playing with the idea of running a late-winter marathon... maybe February or March, to try to PR.

See, while all along the idea of running with my friends has been really appealing, now that it's down to the end, my competitive self is rearing its ugly head and saying, "How can you PLAN to run a marathon slower than you ever did before?"

I want to run with Wendy and Danielle, I really do. But I also want to push myself and see how fast I could be on race day.

So the compromise with which I cheered myself up was the idea of finding a winter marathon and running my heart out.

Well, I mentioned it to John over breakfast. Let's just say the reaction wasn't positive.

He's going to have to sacrifice a lot for me to become an Ironman, and I guess he was looking forward to me not racing for a little while and chilling out. In theory, my Ironman training season begins in March.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can really chill out until then.

And when I do get back into racing, John really wants me to work hard at the shorter-distance races - running 5Ks, doing sprint triathlons. And those goals interest me, too, but right now I'm about the endurance. He knows for 2007, Ironman Canada is it - he's not trying to change that - but I know he hopes this is the one Ironman event for me, then I go to something else entirely.

Maybe I will. After all, there's just so much I want to do! Multi-day bike rides (like, those really long ones - 600 miles or whatever). Climb Mt. Rainier. Run to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite. Adventure racing.

But right now, I just want to run.

Why isn't Sunday here already???

Thursday, October 26, 2006

When other things suck, at least there's exercise

So, a couple of things aren't right.

The Bible study I host is focused on marriage, and I'm learning more and more what a bad wife I have the tendency to be.

Work has gotten insane. I work on the largest software development project in history. And I can't even keep a single machine running well for more than 24 hours. This is SO INCREDIBLY WRONG for this time in the product release cycle.

And last month was pretty bad for my hubby's new business, so I have some financial concerns that I don't really want to deal with.

Last night I only slept four hours...and even those four hours were not good sleep.

So I thought about staying in bed and not meeting the girls for the 5:30 a.m. run that I had planned (normally we've been going at 6 on Thursdays - and yes, 30 minutes makes a huge difference). But I realized that sleeping slightly later and not running would probably result in a worse day anyway - so I dragged my bottom out of bed and went to the gym.

On the way, my coffee was too hot to drink and there was nothing good on the radio.

But in the locker room, I see Nancy's vest hanging over her locker, then Aleks comes bouncing over in her pink jacket, then Kathy shows up with a big smile, and stuff just feels better.

We ran 6 miles (one hour) on dark, quiet streets long before our families, friends and co-workers even got out of bed. And for the moments when I was with my friends, running comfortably in perfect running weather (52 degrees or so), things felt right.

Back when I was much younger and I occasionally smoked pot, I'd conduct a little test to see whether I was high enough: Can I laugh at or ignore the worst problem I'm facing? Does it matter right now, in this very moment?

Happily for me, exercise produces that same feeling - the escape into another world, at least for a short time.

But it also gives me something else: when I do come back to the real world, full of marriage, work, and financial troubles, I bring something of that exercise world with me. I'm just a little more calm and I have just a little more perspective. It mellows me out and takes away some of the aggression and anger I might otherwise feel all day.

So things aren't really that bad. Nothing really sucks. And I can push forward and work on the little problems in my life, just like I push forward and become a better swimmer, cyclist, and runner. Drug-free, too!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A conversation with my mother

My mom read my blog yesterday and told me she better not show up in it. Well, that's like telling me the oven is hot! Of course I have to touch it!

But seriously, she said a couple of things I want to write about.

First, and she's said this before, she asked me why I don't just cut down what I eat, and therefore not have to exercise so much. I was like, hmm. Stop doing something I like, so I can stop doing something else I like? That doesn't seem to make sense.

So she said, "Well, I still have this mentality that exercise is pain - not fun!" And I told her I was terribly sorry for her.

In Dean Karnazes' book Ultra Marathon Man, which is really a fun read, he also equates pain with exercise - and goes a step further. He actually says he enjoys the pain.

I don't enjoy the pain. I endure it when appropriate for the fitness gains (when I say pain, I'm talking running my mile or 5K time trial or pushing hard up a hill on my bike or doing those last couple of reps of bench press). But the vast majority of my training doesn't induce pain - it may result in a high heart rate and heavy breathing, but it feels fun - especially when I'm with my girls! I mean, we could be out drinking margaritas and eating chips and salsa and gossiping. Or we could be together, running on a brisk fall morning and kicking up leaves like little kids. Chips and margaritas sounds okay, but running is just so much better - all the social benefits, plus the health benefits!

And then, eating. I love to eat. I always have. I remember being in kindergarten and getting a snack when I got home from school - two cookies - then getting a second snack when my little sister woke up from her nap - two more. I felt slightly guilty about it even then, but I was able to justify it to myself somehow. So I was pretty much a compulsive eater early on. My mother has never loved food like that. In fact, when I was an overweight teenager, to make myself feel better about my mother's naturally thin body I would tell myself - and her - that she was really anorexic, so she wasn't healthy either. But I was always jealous that my mother and my sister could share clothing, but I was too fat. And today, I'm kind of jealous that my mother doesn't love food like I do. It would be so much easier to eat for fueling only; I could weigh and measure everything and eat perfect meals if yummy food didn't mean something to me.

So I remind myself that my mother isn't out running marathons. But honestly, I wish she would - I would love to share with her the joy that I've gotten by getting and staying fit. (She does exercise, but she appears to have mental blocks about running.) Too bad she's 3,000 miles away.

And I also remind myself that now that I'm thin, even though I still weigh more than my mom and my sister, it's not about numbers on the scale (which today were weirdly low, especially given the 470-calorie slice of Starbucks Maple Pecan Streusel Loaf I ate last night, while enjoying a coffee and hot chocolate with Gabriel, who was telling me all the reasons he doesn't believe in Santa Claus - how sad!). It's about what I can DO. And I can do a lot that I never thought I could!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

What a fun weekend!

This weekend just totally rocked!

Saturday morning I met the girls - Nancy, Aleks, Wendy, and Danielle - at 8:15 for a 12-mile run. Gabriel came with us on his bike. It was a colder morning than it's been lately, only in the mid 40's, but the morning was about to blossom into a gorgeous day.

It took me a good four miles to warm up. I attributed that to the beer I had the night before - honey orange wheat, yum. Gabriel, however, never really warmed up. Plus, right off the bat we went up a fairly long sustained grade, so he had to work hard right away on his little single-speed bike. And I forgot that running along the waterfront past beautiful houses is a lot less interesting to a six-year-old than to us. But that was cool - he kept his whining pretty quiet and only to me.

At one point he and I stopped so I could put my earband on him - my head was warm, his ears were bright red - and it took me long enough to hook him up that we couldn't see the girls any more. So I had to run much faster than the pace we'd been holding (about 10 minute miles) to catch back up. I think I ran about an 8 - it felt 5K fast, not sprinting fast - and my HR was in the low 170s. Gabriel kept trying to talk to me, and I kept telling him it was hard to talk when I was running that fast.

Then towards the end, we had to climb back up the other side of that hill from the beginning (for you locals, Market Street in Kirkland). Oh my goodness, he was out of the saddle almost the entire time. It was so adorable to watch. He was totally out of his aerobic zone and I kept waiting for him to stop and tell me to walk his bike. But he never did. He rocked it! But I kept talking to him and I reminded him about how I couldn't talk when running earlier, and how he felt on the hill was how I felt going fast.

We had planned to do two parts to the run: 8 miles, because that's what Nancy wanted to run, and 12 for the rest of us. Nancy graciously offered to hang out with Gabriel while we finished the run. This was so cool - she took him to get hot chocolate and let me finish out what I'd planned. Already as I saw how cold Gabriel was and how he just wasn't up for getting back to the cars then going out again I'd been simultaneously justifying not running more and walking through my day to see when I could get those additional four miles in. I would have been okay with stopping then - or at least I would have tried to be - but it was awesome not to have to.

Then later, when we ate bagels and coffee after the run, Nancy actually thanked me for letting her hang out with my cool kid. That made me feel awesome - I really do have a fabulous kid!

So the rest of Saturday was errands, the zillionth birthday party one of my kids had to attend this year, and chilling at home. The only thing of note after the fun run was that I had to pour hot water over a container of ice cream John had brought home for me. It was taunting me from the freezer, but I showed it who was boss! (Yeah, right. I'd already eaten half of it the day before.)

Today was great, too - another gorgeous day, and slightly warmer. I met Jessi and a few of her friends - including Tammy - for a bike ride! (This was my first time meeting Tammy, even though she was one of the first blogs I started stalking months and months ago.)

We rode around the south end of Lake Washington and kept a reasonable, social pace. It was so joyful to be out in the sun (it wasn't warm, but I'd dressed well so I was comfortable) and enjoying the company of some more fabulous women!

When we got to Mercer Island, Tammy broke off from us to head back, and we started on a detour around the island. It's 12 miles of pretty much all hill - and it feels completely up no matter which way you're riding, but a low-key up. Like, at one point, I was pushing pretty hard, but we were holding 20.4 mph uphill. Seriously.

However, with Tammy gone (she had been holding us to the agreed-upon pace), Jessi pretty much took off. Her excuse: But Mercer Island is like a rollercoaster! And she was so right, so even though her pace brought me way out of my zone 2 and into a zone 4, I wanted to do it. It felt right and I knew I'd feel even better when it was over. As much as I worry about it, I really enjoy being the slowest cyclist in a group. I love getting that push to keep up and do more. That's not to say I don't enjoy the rides when I'm one of the stronger ones, but that I need to incorporate both into my training, for fun and for fitness gains.

After I got home, John and I decided we'd take the kids out for a bike ride. We did part of the route that the girls and I did earlier in the day, because it went right through Boeing, and I knew Gabriel would love to see the airplanes up close. So we rode about another 7 miles - Gabriel practically gave me a heart attack riding on the streets where there was no sidewalk or trail, but he's learning to hold a straight line and watch for cars. (Camille was in a trailer attached to John's bike, so he got a better workout towing her around.)

Weekends like this - enjoying time outdoors with friends and family - are no doubt the best part of having lost a lot of weight. I feel great!

Friday, October 20, 2006

What it's like to be fat

I've been thinking about the state of being fat a lot lately. It started with a re-consideration of the title of my blog - Fat Girl to Triathlete. I think it's pretty clear at this point that I am a triathlete, and I'm not a fat girl. My transition is over.

But even though I'm pretty comfortable now with the idea that I'm not fat (which isn't to say I don't have fat, but that if someone were to describe me, they probably wouldn't say that I was a little heavy or chunky or rubenesque or any other allegedly kinder word that really just means fat), I'm not sure I'm ever going to get over having been fat.

Here's what I remember.

Shopping was painful. I would pick up some article of clothing, usually pants, and think it would be big or at least fit. I'd take it into the dressing room, put it on, and be shocked. Are my legs really that fat? Is my muffin top really that large? If this is a size 14, what size do I really wear? Where should I shop?

Eventually I compensated by buying only men's jeans. Length and waist width are more concrete than 12-14-16-18, but since I didn't know how to translate width into women's sizes, but I sure could translate 14 to "fat" it worked better for me. In case you're wondering, 36x30 before I had my second child; then even those didn't fit and I wore mostly size XL women's skirts (ankle-length, of course).

Going out was difficult. I had to drink a lot so that I could dance, laugh, and enjoy my friends - it took a lot of alcohol to lower my reserve and prevent me from trying to hide in the corner. Here's a picture from that time (yeah, that's me on the left). REALLY unattractive. Oh, one other thing - I had to wear that ugly dress because I felt like I looked so awful in cute pants and tank tops - which is what all the other girls wore that night.

And even earlier in my life (and this part is hard to admit given my feelings on the subject NOW, as a Christian and a parent), I compensated for my lack of self-esteem by becoming sexually active earlier than the rest of my friends, drinking alcohol earlier (and more often!) and pretty much being a punk. If there was something to do that my friends would think was cool and my parents would think was horrible - like, skip school, sneak out my bedroom window, ride in cars with teenage boys - I did it. I was pretty fortunate that I was the worst-behaved of my friends, though, since it limited my access to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes and really bad people who could have messed up my life. (As it is, I think there's little long-term effects from my poor behavior, for which I thank God often.)

When I traveled on public transportation, I had to take care that I fit all of me into my seat. I wasn't so big I needed a second, but I would try to shrink into my seat.

I had a boyfriend once who threatened breaking up with me because I couldn't keep up with him when we went hiking. Another time, I hiked up the back of Half Dome in Yosemite with my friends, but I brought books to read in the car in case I needed to turn back before we got to the top. (I didn't...but wow, it hurt!)

People treat you differently when you're fat. I don't think I really knew it at the time, though I sort of thought it. However, it was complicated by the fact that I felt so awkward in my own skin. But now I have experienced it.

Like the first time (really, only two years ago) when I walked by a man and watched as he looked at my chest. That never happened before. And when my husband's friends make comments about his hot wife. (Huh? What hot wife? It's pretty jarring for him, too, since he didn't marry the hot chick.)

Plus, you think of yourself differently. I didn't have to do anything to get new self-confidence; actually, I didn't even know I had changed. But friends who knew me before tell me I have.

And there are cool experiences: like the first time I picked up a few articles of clothing, brought them into the dressing room, and found that they were too big - like, 2 or 3 sizes too big.

However, as much as I know what sizes I wear now and have gotten comfortable in this body, I do always feel like I'm on the edge of a cliff and I could slip off at any moment. One ice cream, one brownie, one greasy fried food could push me over the edge.

Or one day of not exercising when I intended to - that could turn into two or three or weeks.

You think I'm being dramatic? I don't. I watched as a male co-worker today ate a burrito (1,000 calories), two big cookies (500 calories) and an ice-cream sundae (400 calories - it wasn't huge). Plus breakfast (usually he has a chocolate muffin and a coke) and who knows what for dinner - plus beer, because it's Friday at Microsoft and we drink beer. (We meaning not me.) I could do that, too. I've got the capacity. But if I did, I'd gain a pound every two days or so. Oh, and that guy is not fat.

So I'm driven to maintain where I am, or possibly improve. I threw away ALL of my fat clothes (and honestly, I had saved quite a bit - it was only about a month ago that I finally got rid of the rest). I found a ton of friends with whom I exercise and discuss food issues - so we keep each other as on track as possible.

And fortunately, I haven't yet forgotten how it felt to be fat. I hope I never do. So the blog title stays - and still makes sense as I continue in my weight-maintenance struggles and work on becoming a better athlete.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


That's right: I ran one mile in 6:59. I broke that 7-minute mile barrier. (Barely!)

Here's how I did the time trial today. Last week, I did 7:07 in part because it took so long for the treadmill to get up to speed from 0, so this week I warmed up for two minutes while gradually increasing the treadmill speed (after my 60 minutes of running outside with the gals, of course), noted the distance passed (.15 miles), then turned it on all the way to 8.6 mph. When I had .10 of a mile left, I pushed it up to 9.0. I wanted to do it when I had .15, but my heart rate was climbing and I wasn't entirely sure I had that much left.

However, for that last tenth of a mile, I didn't see an increase in heart rate at all. It increased gradually from the 160s in the beginning to 184 - and hung out there for the final push. Since my max heart rate is 202, I think that means I've still got some room to improve at my current fitness level.

Which is good, because next week I need to do this run in 6:50. Wow that will be fast!

Today we got pretty wet on our outdoor run. It's a frustrating time of year for me. It's getting rainy, which is fine, but it's still warm, which is not fine. The reason I can live in Seattle in the winter is that when it rains here, it's usually snowing in our gorgeous mountains - but it's not snowing in the mountains when it's 54 degrees fahrenheit at 5 a.m. Plus it makes it hard to dress for early-morning runs - I started out with a light rain jacket but quickly got too hot, so I had to just deal with being soaked all the way through.

In other news, my weight was up more than a pound today, which makes no sense whatsoever. I ate well yesterday! Oh well, this is the drawback of weighing myself daily. I really should stop that.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Okay, fine, I'm going to taper

It does seem a little silly to taper for a race in which I don't even plan to run hard, but I will anyway. I'm going to consider it the beginning of my three months of low-key training - back to base-building.

The plan for New York is to run happily with Danielle and Wendy. Wendy will most likely be running a little faster than she's accustomed to (though since she's been training with us, she's ready for it!) and Danielle and I will likely be running a little slower than we possibly could. The point, of course, is to enjoy our fitness, New York, and each other. And that said, it's still a marathon - it's no walk in the park!

I already built a reasonable plan that included a taper into my training diary, but like most athletes, I'm catching myself trying to sneak in more mileage and more workouts. So I'm going to stop that and focus on two things:

Dropping the volume
Maintaining the intensity

For this week and next, at least; the third week leading into the marathon will drop the intensity, too. I did a lot of reading yesterday about tapers, and overall, this is what I distilled the advice to. So tomorrow I'm going to run my 6 miles with the gals, but only do 15 minutes of some kind of intense running. And Saturday's run will only be 13 miles.

And then, after November 5, I go into my off season. I've been telling people I was going to workout like a "normal" person - which I define as one hour a day, five days a week. (John says "normal" is actually no exercise, but we all know I can't do that.) But I also think I can't do five days a week, one hour a day. So I've got a new plan, and I'm interested in your feedback.

Three days a week: Strength-training, 30-45 minutes per session
Monday and Friday: Indoor cycling
Wednesday: Either indoor cycling or club ride if the weather is decent
Tuesday and Thursday: Run with the girls
Thursday: 15-30 minutes of FAST running (so one tempo run per week)
Saturday: Either a longer bike or run, depending on my mood and my friends. "Longer" for a run would be 10-12 miles, "longer" for bike would be 30-40 miles. So nothing super intense.
Sundays: Off, family day

So this works out to be between 9 and 10 hours per week and totally fits into my work schedule (yeah, work is about to get busy again - what nice timing for my triathlon season! I was so slow all summer while racing!). Thoughts? Am I so far gone I no longer understand what normal exercise is, or what rest is?

Oh, and speaking of rest: On Wednesdays I work out at noon, so I can be home with the family in the morning (husband's request). Last night I went to bed at 9:30 and didn't get up this morning until 6:30! Nine hours of sleep! That's unheard of for me. So maybe I do need to taper, or sleep some more. :-)

Monday, October 16, 2006

Honestly kind of sucks

It was pretty painful to own up to what I ate this weekend! But the lure of FitDay's charts made me do it....even though I was debating not. I am such a data freak.

So I tried to reconstruct what I ate all day Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes I ate in restaurants, which made it a lot harder to guess - so I'm unsure how accurate this all is, but at least it made me think about what I did this weekend and how it will affect my attempt at weight loss (not so positively, as it happens!).

It's so hard when I do a long run - I'm just so hungry! Even if I eat a lot while I run, I still feel like my body is playing catch up the rest of the day and the entire next day.

Okay, enough excuses. This weekend wasn't great, but I did do a 22 mile run and sprinted at the end back to the car. I figure if I can do that, I'm not sure I have the right to complain about a couple of pounds, a few extra brownies eaten, or anything else.

Today I just did indoor cycling and upper-body strength training. My arms are getting more definition, which is fun. I told Aleks and Latosha the only reason I lift is to get hot arms. (And yeah, that's actually true - I mean, I like other benefits, like not losing muscle mass, getting stronger, etc - but the primary motivator for me is sleeveless dresses and tank tops.)

I theoretically start a taper this week leading into the NY marathon (three weeks from yesterday). We'll see, though - I am not sure I need three whole weeks. Experienced marathoners, please feel free to correct me!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Using FitDay

I'll give credit to Jessi for the idea - I've started using FitDay for my meal and exercise tracking. I love the little charts it creates!

Like her, I will have to tweak the values of different exercises to get the actual calories burned (per my HRM, which I trust more). However, another good benefit of using FitDay is that when I eat foods for which I don't know the calorie count and I guess, the tool makes me actually think through the number of calories I assign to a food. (It uses the formula fat grams * 9 + carb grams * 4 + protein grams * 4 need to equal something close to the total calories I put in.)

My weight this morning was 140 even, and it's Friday so I want to overeat. But yesterday was good, in general I'm on track, and today I'm wearing a size XXL sweater.

Why, you ask? Because I bought it in the girls' department. Not women's - GIRLS! :-) I take some sick pleasure in wearing clothes meant for 12-year-olds.

And while I'm on that subject, how cool is this! I went to Old Navy the other day to buy clothes for Camille (my three-year-old). She's got a long torso but short legs, so for pants I still shop in the toddler section, but for shirts, I can get her extra-smalls from the girls' department. Well, I found this cute black shirt that ties with lace in the middle - and they had an extra-small and an extra-large, so I bought one for each of us! So I can shop in the same department as my three-year-old. So ridiculous, but I think it's cute, too. (Of course, she doesn't want to wear it because it's not pink. Her mother's daughter, I guess!)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Paying for pineapple-orange cake

I made a couple of eating mistakes yesterday.

First: I didn't have an afternoon snack at work, so I was very, very hungry when I got home. So at home, right away, I had two snacks, because I was so hungry and wanted both: a banana with peanut butter and whole-wheat crackers and cheese. Both snacks were measured and within my guidelines for acceptable snacks, but I should have only had one, not two.

Then: I still ate a great dinner - perfect, really. Five ounces of salmon plus a cup of green beans. Yum.

But the downfall was that my Bible study group came over, and someone brought a pineapple-orange cake. I cut a very small slide for myself...then another, then another. I found myself just eating more and more and telling myself to stop and being unable to. Frankly, it was awful. I was thinking about my orange sweater and how good I've been lately and how much the cake wouldn't be worth the extra weight and the work I'd have to do to make up for it, and finally, after everyone left, I took what was left of the cake and threw it into the garbage disposal so I wouldn't eat any more. What should have been a 100-calorie taste turned into what I estimate at 500 calories. Ugh.

This morning my weight was 140.2. That's .8 higher than yesterday.

So I made up for it in working out. I know this is one of the signs of exercise bulimia, and frankly, I don't care. What's worse: to feel guilty and miserable and hate myself for making a mistake and worry about backsliding and regaining the weight and sending myself into a crazy state of mind, or doing an extra half-hour of non-impact cardio to work off a few more calories? I choose the exercise. I think I'm not completely unreasonable.

I think when you've been fat, you always worry about getting back there again. Life is so drastically different for a thin person - seriously! - and for me, in every way better. But I need constant reassurance that I am thin(ish - see, I can't even say it), that I'm a decent athlete, that I can wear whatever clothing I want, that I can look in the mirror and not hate what I see.

So...yeah. I'd rather work out some more and rid my body of calories and my brain of guilt than learn how to live with these mistakes. These mistakes happen too often, too easily, and have too high of a price to let them go.

For my workout, I did a six-mile run with Nancy and Sarah, then decided I should get some speed work in. I did the fast running in two parts: A one-mile run as fast as I could, then intervals alternating a faster speed for one minute with a jog for two.

For my fast run, I chose 8.5 on the treadmill - a 7:03 mile - and pushed it up to 9.0 for the last .10 of the mile. Because the treadmill takes a while to ramp up, my overall time was 7:07. It hurt, but when I was halfway through, I got that little burst of confidence that told me I would indeed finish successfully. Now I have an excellent baseline from which to move towards my 6 minute mile goal. :-)

Then I did two minutes of 6.0 (ten minute miles) and one minute of 9.0 (6:40 minute miles), alternating for 15 minutes. That was fun. I will eventually switch the ratio and do one minute recovery, two minutes hard, but since it's been a while since I did real intervals I figured this was a good start.

To pay for the cake, I jumped on the Stairmaster for 30 minutes and kept my HR above 150.

So, here are today's data. Today's goal: No cake!

Pre-workout: Banana and milk in coffee, 110 cals
Breakfast: Cottage cheese, plum, 1 hard-boiled egg, string cheese: 285 cals
Lunch: Salad with chicken, bread: 465 calories
Snack: Granola bar and piece of chocolate, 185 cals
Snack: Crackers and cheese (and a little bit of peanut butter): 225 cals
Dinner: Pork tenderloin, jasmine rice, broccoli: 550 cals
Total today: 1820

Run 1.5 hours
Stairmaster 30 minutes
1020 calories burned

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A perfect day for a ride

I'm so lucky that today is Wednesday! It's GORGEOUS outside - absolutely my favorite kind of day. Crisp and cool, sunny and bright, lots of fall colors (even though nothing will compare to growing up in Massachusetts, Washington isn't too bad in the autumn). And on Wednesday, I go on my club ride with the boys!

Apparently last week when I had my massive tube blowout and couldn't fix it in time to meet the group, they did the same (HARD) route as the week before. So this week, a largely downhill route was on tap.

However, downhill doesn't mean easy - especially when you're going 43 miles per hour. Plus, when you do a loop, you have to eventually regain the elevation you lost.

For the first 40 minutes, I was able to hang with the group. At times, my heart rate was high and breathing was heavy, but I felt good.

But then we hit the steepest hill of the day. I dropped gears to keep my cadence above 90, but hanging with the front of the pack got progressively harder. Thank goodness for streetlights! The group never had to wait for me, but I did fall off the paceline a few times.

At the very end of the ride, we did the 520 hill. The 520 hill isn't really steep, but it is fairly long - more than a mile. I know a lot of people who ride way out of their way to avoid it, and frankly, I wasn't psyched to ride it today either.

I approached it in completely the wrong gear - it's a right turn after a very steep downhill followed by a less steep slope with no bike lane, and two huge trucks trying to turn right and share my lane too, so I was moving very fast - so I was in my hardest gear and knew I needed to drop to nearly the easiest to get up the hill.

Happily I didn't drop my chain with the serious shifting I had to do. I started spinning. The group moved away from me, but I didn't try to catch them - there's a light at the top and I figured they'd need to stop and wait anyway.

About 50 yards into the hill is the steepest part. Usually I start to feel it in my legs right then. Today, I didn't at all. It was as if the road had flattened out. I had no more water in my aero bottle, so I poured more in from my other water bottle, pushed up my long sleeves (what was I thinking! It was HOT!), and just kept spinning.

I realized that despite the fact that the group was going faster than I was, my speed was still decent. I switched my computer over to speed instead of cadence and saw...10 mph? 11 mph? WOW!

Usually I'm more like 8 or 9 on that part of the hill, and feeling worse. So what if the big guys with their huge quads are ahead of me? I'm still fast!

So I finished very, very happy. It's a good day.

Today's data:
Breakfast: Yogurt, granola, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, milk in coffee: 490 cals
Snack: Starbucks iced coffee light, 35 calories
Lunch: Turkey sandwich on ciabatta, 600 calories
Snack: Banana with peanut butter: 130 cals
Another snack: Cheese and crackers, 150 cals
Dinner: 5 oz salmon and green beans, 300 cals
UGH: Pineapple-orange cake, 500 cals
total so far: 2205 cals <--boo hoo! I don't know what happened with the cake.

Riding hard for 1 hour, 7 minutes: 600 calories burned (seems high, but that's what the HRM said)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Two great runs

I had a two-hour run scheduled for today, and I did it in two parts.

The first part was at 5:30 a.m. with Nancy and Kathy; the second part at 7 with Aleks, Latosha, and Wendy. I'm so flipping lucky to have all these women to run with! (I did it in two parts because that was the schedule that worked best for the gals - and I prefer to run with people than alone or on the treadmill.)

Um, other than that, I don't have much to say. My weight was 139.4 this morning. Not the lowest I've seen lately, with the 138.something this weekend, but it's good.

I forgot to say something important! In this post, I talk about my orange sweater and how it doesn't fit. Well, I'm wearing it today, and I feel comfortable and thin enough to wear it! And Aleks also told me that it's exactly the sort of thing I should be wearing every day, not the big bulky sweater I fell in love with at J.Jill when we went shopping a few weeks ago. Sorry Wes, no camera here at work. :-)

Pre-workout: 1 Vitatop and milk in coffee, 130 cals
Workout: Jelly Belly Sport Beans, 100 cals
Breakfast: Banana bread, turkey, cheese: 420 cals
Lunch: Curried rice and lentil soup and oyster crackers, 250 cals
Snack: Starbucks Doubleshot Light (free! had to try it! YUM!), piece of dark chocolate, then, so I wouldn't crash, turkey and cheese: 195 cals
Dinner: Salad, bread, spaghetti with chicken and yummy tomato-basil sauce that I made: 700 cals
Total today: 1795 cals (acceptable since I burned 1100 in exercise)

Run 2 hours 10 minutes, 1100 calories burned

Monday, October 09, 2006

Video of two princesses!

Danielle and I are in Dean's video! It will be incredibly obvious who we are.

The cure for the common hangover

Last night when I was drunk I called Aleks a few times to be silly. Of course, she hasn't talked to me yet today so maybe that was a bad idea and she's mad. We'll see. Anyway, one of the things I said was that I would be in spinning class today and we'd lift weights afterwards. I was sure she wouldn't believe that I'd really show up the day after being so drunk, so of course I had to.

(She wasn't there, though, which makes me wonder what she was doing last night!)

So anyway, waking up was painful. My head was pounding and I sort of felt like I wanted to puke. But I got myself in the car anyway and went to class.

The instructor is really good and had a fun workout planned - I noticed my heart rate was higher than usual, and I drank more water, but I was working hard and enjoying it. Afterwards, Wendy and I lifted weights together. And I felt a ton better! But I'm still not going to drink like that anymore. (I say "like that" as if I drank a lot - two and a half glasses of wine shouldn't be a lot, but obviously for me now it is!)

So here's where I am so far today:

Pre-workout: 1/2 Vita top (couldn't eat) and milk in coffee: 80 cals
Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese and nectarine, milk in coffee: 320 cals
Lunch: Burrito with chicken, cheese, salsa, and avocado: 700 calories (est)
Snack: Dark chocolate, 85 calories
Dinner: McDonald's Asian Salad, 1/2 packet dressing, 390 cals (no fries AT ALL either!)
Second dinner: 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich, 200 cals
TOTAL today: 1775 (high! yuck!)

1 hour indoor cycling
45 minutes strength training
700 calories burned

Weekend recap

Saturday we did a 12 or 13 mile run. It was such a gorgeous morning - very cool when we started, but we warmed up quickly. Gabriel came with us on his bike! Soooo cute - and such a tough guy, despite a pretty tough route for him (more of the road than expected had no sidewalk, and we went over a gorgeous trail for a mile or so that wasn't particularly easy for him to ride).

My eating was okay - I definitely found myself hungrier than in previous days, but I managed to keep things reasonable. I did meal-track, but on paper, and of course I left the paper at home. I ended up around 2000 calories for the day, which was okay because I burned more than 1000 running, plus 1600 for my base metabolic rate, plus some more from bouncing on big inflatable things with Camille at a birthday party I had to take her to. I sort of skipped dinner - we played poker, and I just didn't have time, so I munched on cut fruit and veggies and around 9:30 p.m. ate half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Later in the evening I ate about 200 calories worth of chocolate, which I had resisted up until that point, was late, I was playing poker, and the candy was tempting me. But it was still okay.

Sunday I woke up and weighed myself and I was at 138.4! Yay! And despite going to Issaquah Salmon Days - a local festival with every unhealthy thing to eat you can imagine - my diet was okay until the evening. Then, John and I went out to celebrate our seventh anniversary (which is actually today). I made reasonable choices - shared a shrimp cocktail for an appetizer, ate a salad (although it did have blue cheese on it) and then my entree was also a salad with fresh seared ahi - but then John and I shared some kind of chocolate sampler dessert thing and at the same time, something weird happened. I had had a glass of champagne at the beginning of dinner, and during dinner a glass and a half of wine - and by dessert, I was DRUNK. Not buzzed - I never felt buzzed - just full on drunk. It was nutty! So I ate too much chocolate and felt ridiculous.

See my next post for the aftermath of the drinking...but isn't it wrong that 2.5 glasses of alcohol puts me out of commission? Weird!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Breaking through to the 30s!

That's the 130's, actually. It's been a loooooong time since the second number on the scale, next to the 1, was a 3. And the last few times it was probably dehydration, not actual weight loss.

I know this doesn't actually add up; I was around 142 at the beginning of the week, and now 139.8. You must burn 3500 extra calories in order to lose 1 pound of fat, and I didn't exercise nearly that much this week or cut that many calories out. However, this is what I know about my body: just a few days of eating right (and exercising, but that's obviously not my problem) causes me to drop more weight than would seem appropriate given calories in, calories out. I'm sure someone can explain why that would be - and maybe I'm not using the right base metabolic rate, so I actually burn more calories than I think I do - but it doesn't matter, really, because I know this is how it is. I can drop the first 4 or 5 pounds easily; it's getting beyond that plateau that's really hard.

The reason it's so hard is that when I weigh 136 or so, everything I own fits, I feel as near to completely confident in my body as I ever have, and I know I look pretty good.

And when all those things are true, I no longer have the desire to diet. I get into this mindset that says, "Hey! I'm thin! I can have that brownie!"

And that's a problem. So this time is going to be different. The focus isn't going to be getting to be happy with what I see in the mirror - it's going to be dropping extra pounds of fat so I can be faster on my bike and on my feet. It's like this: when people ask me for bike advice (like I know anything), I tell them they need to get a bike that won't get in their way - their speed and endurance should be gated on their bodies and their abilities. So I've got a great bike, and I'm getting a new one. I've got the right running shoes and all the gear that helps me do what I need to do. But to do everything faster, to recover better, and to race harder, losing fat is the easiest, healthiest, and frankly cheapest option for me.

On that note, here are today's data:

Pre-workout: banana and coffee with milk, 110 cals
Breakfast: 2 hard-boiled eggs, cottage cheese, nectarine: 290 cals (notice I've cut out my second cup of coffee! That will last just one more week until we get fancy new Starbucks coffee machines in our kitchen at work)
Lunch: 20/20 salad with chicken, 320 cals
Snack: Chicken and vegetables (leftovers), 200 cals
Planned indulgence: Dark chocolate, 55 cals
Total so far: 975 calories
"Dinner" (meaning, a random collection of food eaten between 7:50 p.m. and 9 p.m): String cheese, turkey breast, a Kudos bar (is this candy? it's only 100 cals either way), chicken noodle soup: 470 cals
Total today: 1445 cals <-- Perfect!

I also could have not eaten the chicken noodle soup, but I did because I'm running 12 miles tomorrow morning and I am worried that going to bed without a real dinner will cause me to be super-hungry in the morning which will cause me to eat too much which will give me cramps on the run. Maybe. Plus, on a day I worked out pretty hard and did yoga, plus ran all over campus putting up signs for the hubby's business, I figure I shouldn't go below 1400 calories anyway.

Indoor cycling with Danielle! 1 hour
Lift weights with the princesses, 30 minutes
600 calories burned
Yoga, 1 hour - I didn't wear my HR monitor, how good am I! Focusing on breathing and stretching, not burning calories!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Day 4 of proper dieting

The more days I eat properly, the easier it gets - the strawberries dipped in chocolate from last night notwithstanding. However, this morning I am hungry again.

We ran 6 miles in an hour, then Aleks and I did core strength work and talked about how ripped we're going to get when we actually commit to three days a week of strength training. We both want arms like Danielle's. :-) I also did some leg work.

I'm getting a cold. I think there's a rule about you have to get a cold after you run a marathon. Oh well - when I exercise I don't notice it!

Pre-workout: Banana and milk in coffee, 110 cals
Breakfast: Cottage cheese, nectarine, ham, cheese: 255 cals
Snack: 1/2 Pria bar, 85 cals
Lunch: 20/20 chicken sausage penne, 390 cals
Snack: Turkey and cheese, 95 cals
Total so far: 935 calories
Got home from work snack: Pineapple and cantaloupe, 180 cals
Dinner: Pork tenderloin, asparagus, 1 oz cheese: 375 cals
Dark chocolate: Yes, it's a meal of its own. 100 cals
Total for the day: 1590 cals <--going up from previous I getting looser with my eating, or just hungry?

Run 1 hour
Strength train 1/2 hour
600 calories burned

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A sort of frustrating day...

But Danielle can make it all better. :-)

It's Wednesday - club ride day. So I change in my office, run outside to my car, get halfway there and realize I don't have car keys (so I can't get my bike out of the car). I run back to the office, get the keys, run back to the car, and...massive flat tire. On the bike, not the car. So I go to change it and realize it's completely blown the tire off the rim! I have like no time before the club ride is going to leave, and it's 5 minutes by bike away, so I try quickly to change the tire.

I get the new tube in, but something is wrong - it's twisted. I undo it and try again, and this time I just can't get the tire in the right position on the rim around the valve, and it's a short valve, so it doesn't work with my wheels very well, and by now it's 11:53 and the club ride meets at 11:45, leaves at 11:50.

So Danielle teaches indoor cycling at this time. I don't have my license or my membership card for the Pro Club, but I get in the car anyway. I'm also not dressed properly for an indoor ride, but I figure there's probably something in my locker (there was). I race there, get to class just as Danielle is starting, and ride indoors for an hour to fun music and an even more fun instructor. I worked hard, too, to make up for not being outside working hard...but it's also kind of too bad, because it's a GORGEOUS day.

Oh well.

My eating is still perfect! (I wrote this before the strawberries and chocolate, but it works out okay anyway). And I'm feeling good - less tired than I was earlier this week. And my weight was lower today than yesterday, though I'm only officially reporting it on Fridays now so you don't think I'm as obsessive as I really am. So here are today's data:

Breakfast: Ham, cheese, yogurt, pear, milk in coffee: 315 cals
Lunch: Curried rice and lentil soup, crackers: 210 cals (and VERY filling!)
Snack: Turkey and cheese, 120 cals
Total so far: 645 calories
Dinner: Chicken and vegetable stir-fry, 1 slice bread: 400 calories
Dessert: Pineapple (1/2 cup) and strawberries dipped in chocolate, 400 calories
Total for the day: 1445 calories - not bad, despite the fruit!!!

Indoor cycling, 1 hour, 550 cals burned

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Yesterday was perfect!

So my intent is to eat 1200 calories a day now. Yesterday I was just under at 1050, which I know is too little, but trust me, I had some extra left over from Sunday, so I was good. I went to bed a little hungry, but I wasn't particularly hungry during the day.

Today will be a little more challenging. I didn't work out yesterday, so I didn't have the physiological appetite trigger, nor did I have the psychological justification to eat more. But today I ran for a little over an hour and then did upper-body strength training.

But we'll see. Making lists of reasons I should eat well is helping me. Here's today's:

1. The bulges on my hips that you can see in the mirror when I'm wearing my running tights and lifting weights
2. My favorite pink corduroy pants are tight
3. Sugar crashing sucks
4. Greasy, fatty foods only are delicious temporarily - then they give me a belly ache
5. Sugar on my teeth is yucky
6. CHAFING (I know this was on yesterday's list, but my abrasions still hurt! A lot!)
7. I want to bike faster
8. Cheaper than swapping out bike parts
9. High cholesterol runs in my family
10. Because I can!

Today's data

Pre-workout: 1 110 cal Pria bar, milk in coffee: 140 cals
Breakfast: Cottage cheese, plum, ham, cheese: 265 calories
Lunch: Rainbow roll, 350 cals
Snack: Clif Nectar bar, 160 cals
Dinner: Chicken-noodle soup, broccoli: 250 cals
Evening hunger: Turkey and cheese, 150 cals
Total for the day: 1315 calories!

Run 1 hour
Strength train 30 minutes
600 calories burned

Monday, October 02, 2006

Why I should eat right

1. I want to be faster - and right now, lighter would equal faster.
2. My orange sweater from the Gap doesn't fit.
3. Chafing! (See previous post)
4. Jiggling.
5. The lumps - on my back above my bra, on my hips, and on my thighs.
6. It's so not hard, compared to things that really are hard.
7. Muffin tops.
8. Unhealthy food breeds more desire for unhealthy food - isn't it easier to just not start?
9. The weight-based glass ceiling - in training and in life.
10. Cute workout clothes.

Good list. Now it's time to measure...

Breakfast: Ham, cheese, cottage cheese, nectarine, milk in coffee: 300 calories
Lunch: 4 oz turkey, salad with tomato, mushrooms, cucumber, red peppers, peas, and balsamic vinegar (no oil): 300 calories
Coffee with milk: 30 cals
Snack: 1/2 Clif Nectar bar, string cheese: 160 cals
Dinner: Chicken noodle soup, green beans: 260 cals
Total: 1050 cals - YAY YAY YAY!!!

Check out my chafing!

Check this out! Marathons without BodyGlide are bad for my skin.

This one is on my side, towards my back, along my waistline. There's a twin to it on the other side, too. I wore shorts I'd never run long-distance in before. Guess that was dumb.

Here's a good one from my right leg. Yeah, the dreaded inner-thigh rub. I actually wore those shorts because I was afraid of rubbing - but had I just worn my MarathonGirl skirt with built-in panties, I would have put on the BodyGlide as a preventative measure. With the shorts, I didn't bother. I'm kind of baffled how this happened - was it from the shorts on my leg or from rubbing between my legs?

But this one is the best of all. It hurts A LOT too - I didn't notice it at all during the marathon, but immediately after I could feel it literally throbbing. This is from my heart rate monitor cutting into me. The weird thing is, I've had chafing from the HR monitor before, when I wear it for more than 90 minutes of intense exercise. So I use the Polar Heart Bra, which has a little pocket for the strap. The bottom edge of the strap doesn't even touch my body! So this happened from my bra, apparently. Ow ow ow. I can't sleep on my stomach or side right now - and I need to maintain very good posture so that the line stays straight across. When I'm hunched over a little, it hurts more. Fun!