Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wednesday night success!

So every Wednesday night, I host a Bible study in my house.

And every Wednesday night, people bring snacks over - usually delicious cookies, cakes, or something else that is not part of my diet plan.

In front of others, I can eat a small piece and be good with that. Sometimes I can even afford the extra calories.

But often what happens is that the people who bring the goodies leave them when they go - and that's when the binge begins.

So nearly every Wednesday, I sabotage myself. Then on Thursday I often make myself pay for the bad eating by working out extra, then I'm hungrier, then I give up and ruin Thursday, Friday, and the weekend.

Today, I didn't do that. I didn't even taste the cinnamon-chocolate chip cake that came into my house; instead I sipped on a green tea. I told the kind person who brought the cake that I couldn't have any, and I'd appreciate it if he took any leftovers home with him. He understood and agreed.

So I had a perfect eating day: 1230 calories consumed, 800 burned in exercise (indoor cycling plus strength training), and I'm going to bed happy!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

One day at a time

Yesterday I managed to eat fewer than 1000 calories and not feel hungry!

I've still got a ways to go to drop the pounds I need to. It's going to take weeks of days like yesterday (actually, not quite - I meant to eat 1200 calories, but I had to not eat after 6:30 p.m. because I had a fasting glucose and cholesterol test this morning, and I didn't get to another 200 before 6:30) to reach my goal of 130 pounds.

But I need to celebrate every little success.

I couldn't do a real workout this morning since I was having that blood test (it's in preparation for the scary appointment next week, when I get weighed and measured and compared to previous weights and measurements), so I just did a nice zone 1 swim.

Yes, swim! I even enjoyed it, thanks to the best invention ever SwiMP3 player. I finally figured out how to adjust the volume, and I also connected it to my regular goggles instead of the ones it comes with (mostly because my regular goggles just fit my face better). I did one mile in 40 minutes - so very slow, but the doctor says not to exercise prior to the blood test, so I watched the heart rate carefully to be sure I stayed in zone 1.

It was actually really hard to do that, too - I was kind of embarrassed to be going that pace. But I reminded myself that no one is watching me and no one cares, and I worked on stroke mechanics.

The weight loss program I did - 20/20 Lifestyles - just asked me to be in their marketing materials as they roll out the program nationwide. So I really really really need to stay on track. I know that to them, I am a success. But for me, I need to be vigilant every single day to stay that way. I sure don't feel successful every day!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Life to-do list

There are a bunch of things I want to do "someday." I don't know when "someday" will be, but I imagine I'm much more likely to get my things done (or at least some of them) if I write them down.

So here's the start of my list; I plan to add to it as things occur to me. It's interesting to me how many of these things wouldn't have made the list three years ago (like, most of them). The world definitely got bigger when I got smaller.

1. Qualify for and run in the Boston Marathon
2. Complete an Ironman triathlon
3. Trail-run to the top of Half-Dome in Yosemite
4. Participate in the Death Ride in California
5. Complete an ultramarathon - at least 50 miles
6. Heli-ski (or snowboard)
7. Climb Mt. Rainier
8. Adventure race - probably multi-day
9. Go to Antarctica
10. Ride my bike coast-to-coast
11. Ride my bike on the Cape Cod Rail Trail with my family
12. Ride a hard stage of the Tour de France (not in the Tour, duh)
13. Take at least six months to do something unconventional. Live on a boat?
14. Be a ski bum for a season
15. Have a real honeymoon with my hubby

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Love my ride!

After my last post, where I was justifying my bike, Jessi asked me if anyone had given me a hard time about my pink bike. The answer is no - not yet, at least. But because I am just a very practical person - function over form, for sure - I feel like I have to justify choosing this particular bike exactly because it's a pretty design.

Well, I thought it was great when I test-rode it. I was comfortable in the aero position on the trainer. And today was the final test: how would it - and I - perform on a group ride?

Most of the women I rode with today are triathletes, so I figured they'd be cool with me riding a tri bike in a group (I knew I was going to avoid drafting as much as possible). But I was still nervous just to try out the new bike.

It was amazing.

My legs were sore from skiing yesterday (and possibly strength-training the day before). But on the bike, I couldn't feel any hint of soreness. I really get why this geometry is better for triathlon: my legs didn't feel like they were doing anything, really.

I started from the Mercer Island Park and Ride for two reasons: primarily because the group's meeting place is annoying to get to in a car, but very easy on a bike (bike path goes somewhere that the highway doesn't), but also it would give me a chance to iron out any weirdnesses and get comfortable for two and a half miles before meeting up with the girls to ride together.

Also, two miles in is a super-steep but very short hill going from the freeway bike lane up to the road. I wanted to know if I was going to have to walk it since I'm accustomed to a 50/34 crankset and this bike has a 53/39 - and I wanted to find this out alone, not in a group where I might be embarrassed.

My legs started whispering to me on the way up the hill, but they didn't even have time to get a full sentence out before I was up. I usually climb from in the saddle - it's rare that I stand on the bike. On this new bike, though, standing feels very stable. So I could ride that hill on a 39-tooth small ring, and if I need it, I've got standing in my bag of tricks now, too!

I was also unsure about riding in the aero position. However, I found it was actually less comfortable to ride with my hands near the brakes. I felt most relaxed in the aerodynamic position - and I kept wanting to get back there when I was out of it. (I had to ride with my hands near the brakes when the road was rough, when I knew we needed to stop soon, and when the road appeared to have frost on it.)

So we didn't pound by any means - we rode comfortably the entire way. I was a little too warm in my middle, but my toes and fingers were a little cold (not too bad though - definitely tolerable). I wore long underwear on my top and bottom, Terry fleece-lined pants, a long-sleeve running hoodie, and a pink Cannondale jacket that matches my bike, two pairs of socks, booties over my shoes, and my wind-proof gloves. I think I could have ditched the long underwear and been perfect.

About those Terry pants, though: that's such a rockin' chamois. That saddle actually felt comfortable in those pants!

I find it a little hard to shift. I'm just not used to the bar-end shifters at all, and I know that sometimes when I should have shifted down, I just mashed so I wouldn't have to. I'll need to correct that on future rides.

I also had a bit of ghost-shifting, so I'm going to take the bike in to my favorite store - Sammamish Valley Cycle, of course! - and see if they can figure out why.

Finally, I just threw a water-bottle cage from my other bike on the new one, but I need to figure out what I'm going to actually ride with. I'm thinking the setup where you have the bottles behind the saddle. Does anyone have any thoughts on that?

So I'm in love, and I think it's going to be a long-term relationship. Yay!

And I did name her: Her name is Sky. (Cue cheesy music) - because, of course, the sky is the limit! And I really do believe that. Where I came from, I'd have to!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Woman-specific bike design and other bike thoughts

I've heard people say the whole "women-specific design" thing is a gimmick. "Shrink it and pink it" is a phrase some believe is the reality behind women's running shoes, and perhaps even women's bicycles. After all, the difference between a women-specific bike and the equivalent men's bike is just a couple of centimeters here and there.

Well, as someone who experimented with moving a bike seat just millimeters each ride, I can say for sure that for me, even seemingly small measurements make a significant difference in fit.

Before I chose my bicycle, I spent a significant amount of time with four other bikes: two woman-specific, two non-gender specific. The bikes were:

-- Trek Equinox 7 (WSD)
-- Elite T-Class (WSD)
-- Quintana Roo Caliente
-- Cervelo P2C

No matter what the fit expert at Sammamish Valley Cycle did, I could not get comfortable on the QR. I know one of my favorite female triathlete-bloggers just got that bike; I also know it's a fab bike, which is why I wanted to ride it, but it absolutely did not fit. I tried different sizes, flipping the stem, shortening the aero bars, and probably a few other things I can't recall now, but no matter what, my lower back ached the minute I got on the bike and I couldn't stay in the aero position for anything.

I rode both a 48 cm and 51 cm P2C. Neither fit - honestly, both felt too big. I felt like no matter what, even on the 48, I had to reach too far forward. It was slightly better than the Caliente, but not enough to make me want to buy it.

However, both the Trek Equinox 7 and the Elite T-Class fit me like a dream. I got on both those bikes and rode comfortably in the aero position. But both of those bikes had another problem: they're made of aluminum.

My Specialized Ruby road bike is full carbon. I didn't realize until I test-rode aluminum bikes how sweet a carbon ride really is. It dampens nastiness from the road, yet feels so light and airy. It's also a dream to climb hills on a carbon bike.

Trek has a bunch of bikes in the Equinox series, but only the lowest-end - the 7 - comes in women-specific geometry. Higher-end Trek Equinox bikes do come in carbon. (Yes, I wrote to Trek to complain that their only women's tri bike was their lowest-end model. How rude to assume women triathletes are beginners and only want an entry-level bike!)

And Elite makes aluminum bikes, period. I don't think they do carbon fiber.

So I was unsurprisingly quite nervous about the Scott Contessa Plasma. But I had high hopes for it.

Why are women's bikes different? Conventional wisdom says it's because women have longer legs and shorter torsos, but that's not actually true. The biggest difference when it comes to bike fit is the length of our arms and hands. However, the only difference between the 49 cm Contessa Plasma and the Plasma Pro - the men's bike equivalent - is 20 mm in the stem (the men's bike is bigger). I worried that my bike really was just the pink version of a men's bike and not something made for women. And maybe it is - I haven't ridden the Plasma Pro to see whether it would be comfortable. My guess is that it would be.

The variances in geometry between my bike and the QR and Cervelo are a centimeter here, 5 millimeters there. But it makes all the difference in the world for my particular body.

All my fears, though, disappeared from the moment I first rode the bike. Right there in the parking lot, it felt great. I rode it that first day on a variety of pavement types to see how it would feel; it actually felt even better than my Ruby (probably better construction?). And today, on the trainer, I was able to stay in the aero position for nearly the entire hour I rode.

It's a little hard to believe this bike is so right for me. After all, I fell in love with it before I even saw it - it would be so easy to believe I'm swayed by how pretty the bike is and that it's not about the bike's performance.

But it really really is. And I can't wait to really ride it on Sunday!

Other bike thoughts:

-- The Scott Contessa Plasma was one of the very few bike models that I could get in my size that has 700c wheels. Nearly every other bike I found in my size has 650s - which I didn't want, just because everyone I know and ride with uses 700s, so we can share tubes if necessary.

-- It's got a 53/39 crankset on it. I'm afraid of that crankset. I know the bike weighs nothing, which will help on hills, but still - don't I need a compact double for riding around here? (Then again, if I learn to ride with this crankset, I'm going to get STRONG.)

-- I need pink bottle holders for it. Sammamish Valley Cycle didn't have any, but I know a bike store that does.

-- I'm not sold on the saddle yet - so far, it still hurts. I think I can train my bottom to like it, or at least tolerate it.

-- I stuck with Look KEO pedals. Danielle ordered some pedals entirely because they are pink. I think they're SPDs. I was unwilling to sacrifice the pedals I like for color.

-- I'm so glad I figured out how to set up the spinning bikes to simulate the body position I thought I would be in on a tri bike, because I've really made my abdominal muscles stronger and ready to be in the aero position for long periods of time.

-- Why are the roads so awful still? They don't use salt to melt snow and ice here - they use sand - and the bike lanes on all my favorite roads to ride on are MESSED UP. But I did see sweepers out today - hopefully remembering us cyclists, too!

-- Riding a bike on a trainer - even my gorgeous wonderful bike - is still, unfortunately, riding a bike on a trainer. A teensy bit better, but not enough to make me love the trainer.

I just love looking at my bike. I imagine all the fun we're going to have this year and in the future, and it just makes me so happy!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

A weird week

I've been strangely uninterested in working out.

Three days in a row, I slept in instead of getting up - even though I went to bed on time and planned to work out.

I did actually get a workout in yesterday, but not Tuesday, and the way today is shaping up, I don't think I will today.

I blame the boot. It makes me tired. It's hard to walk and I'm just annoyed at it.

However, my bike is set up on the trainer in my bedroom, so it's the last thing I see before I go to bed and the first thing when I wake up. Yeah, my hubby is asking himself what he was thinking, letting me get that thing. He even asked me if I still needed him now that I have my bike!

I'll be riding her on Sunday. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The perfect meal

Danielle has been dieting since the first of the year, and has lost seven pounds. One of the ways she's been successful is by eating pretty much the same thing for each meal each day.

Not all of her meals will work for me; I don't like oatmeal and soymilk, which is her breakfast, and she's eating nuts for a source of fat and I can't have nuts because I have trouble controlling my portions with that kind of food.

But her dinner really does work for me - and it's SO FAST to prepare!

Here's what I did last night: I cut up a lot of vegetables (and weighed each type individually, then looked up the calories per ounce and added them together), then steamed them. I cooked the Uncle Ben's brown rice 90-second microwave stuff, and put one serving (one cup) on a plate. I put the steamed veggies over the rice, then low-fat salad dressing over all of it. It was delicious, under 400 calories, and completely filling! In fact, hours after dinner I still wasn't hungry or craving anything sweet.

Danielle also puts tofu in hers, but I didn't have any. So the only modification I'd suggest would be to add a little more protein - but at the same time, since I didn't get hungry later, it's probably not crucial.

So I've had a couple of days of pretty good eating. Which is good, because I didn't work out yesterday (I did set up the new bike on the trainer, but I opted to cuddle with my hubby while watching TV instead of riding the new bike).

Monday, January 22, 2007

I got the boot

And here it is:

Uh, yeah. So I thought I was going to the podiatrist today to get clearance for running.

Not a chance. Now he thinks it's extensor tendinitis and I have to wear this thing 90% of my waking hours - plus, no running, snowboarding, and he'd prefer no cycling (I have a modified thing he wants me to do - put my heel on the pedal - but honestly, I think that's dumb. Clipped in, my foot doesn't move around much. So I'm thinking I can still cycle just fine.)

So obviously I'm pretty upset about this.

Anyway, three good things happened today.

1) I finally tried out my SwiMP3 player, and it is undoubtedly the best swimming invention ever. Instead of counting the minutes until I could get out of the pool, I was figuring out how long I could stay in!

2) I rode my new bike, and it fits PERFECTLY. Like it was made for me, which it kind of was, since it's got that seatpost that you have to cut to adjust. But it was wonderful and I paid in full for it and I'm a very happy girl.

3) My dad sent me a birthday present of a fresh fruit basket and it's so yummy I could eat it all right now. But it's especially good because I've been home from vacation for a week (although I was away for the weekend) and still haven't gone grocery shopping, so there's been nothing fresh in my house for a while!

Anyway, much more on the SwimP3 and of course the new bike later...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Two new sports, one old opinion

I'm back from my girls' weekend away at my friend's cabin. It's on the other side of the Cascade Mountains, where there was a TON of snow! We went cross-country skiing and snowshoeing - two activities I've never tried before.

Well, interestingly enough, my opinion of both (but especially cross-country skiing) was that I preferred going uphill more than downhill. Just like how I felt about mountain biking!

I believe I know why, too: sport-specificity. More accurately, the lack thereof.

I have excellent aerobic fitness and a lot of endurance. Those things make me ready for new kinds of exercise.

But, honestly, I am not a natural athlete. I'm not naturally graceful or coordinated. So the whole glide thing you need to do in cross-country skiing never felt comfortable; I couldn't just do it without thinking and even saying out loud what I needed to do.

I could, however, do the fishbone thing and go uphill. I could also leverage my strong legs and upper body to pull myself up without getting out of the groomed tracks.

My heart rate averaged 144 for the nearly two hours we were out; the max was in the 170s. I got some great exercise out there!

I did find snowshoeing a little easier than cross-country skiing, probably because I have been walking for about 31 years now. Here, uphill was better than downhill because of how much snow there was - and obviously my aerobic fitness was just useful. For an hour and 10 minutes, my heart rate averaged 139, maxing out at 161.

Ultimately, my fitness allows me to just go do these new things without holding back my friends, all of whom had done both activities before. But it didn't make me immediately good at them. I'm not saying I couldn't be, but that I absolutely would require sport-specific training to get good.

Until I decide that's a goal, though, I'm quite content to be fit enough to try anything, at least once!

Friday, January 19, 2007

DST is not for me!

I'm totally mad about this Daylight Saving Time thing.

In case you haven't heard, Daylight Saving Time is basically adding a month: three weeks in March and one week in November and November.

According to Tom O'Brian, who heads the time and frequency division at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, Colo, "There's hope that there will be more time when daylight overlaps with normal activities."

Apparently waking up at 4:30 a.m. to ride my bike 45 miles or run 12 isn't considered a "normal" activity. Wake up, Tom! The triathletes are all out by 6 a.m. every day!

Last year, Nancy and I started to experience - and get used to - daylight towards the end of our 5 a.m. runs sometime in March. And then April came and took away our morning sun for another month.

This year, I guess I won't experience the loss of sunlight - when DST happens, it won't be light yet before 6 a.m. But I don't want DST at all! I want all my daylight in the morning!

Plus, this is the really gross thing. My official training begins March 12. March 11 is the day that the sunlight moves from around 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Isn't 6:30 reasonable for sunlight in the Spring?

Well, obviously I think so. In fact, I wish that we had MORE sunlight in the morning! We don't need DST, we need MST - MORNING saving time! Let there be light from 4 a.m. on from March 1 until Sept. 30!

Who's with me?

(In other news, I'm headed out of town overnight to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing with my book club. Looking forward to, uh, more vacation. :-) I've never done either cross-country or snowshoeing, so I'll definitely have something to say when I get back!)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Okay, so I'm calm now

Here's me and the bike, though. It's a bad picture taken with my phone's camera, but hey, you get the idea. I think how I feel about the bike comes through, huh?

So yeah. I ride it on Monday, but I'm already fairly certain it's going to work. I'm SO EXCITED!!!

In other news: I did 60 minutes of supposedly boring cardio today, but I was really content. I guess that's the best way to describe how I feel after vacation: so relaxed and content. I also did my strength training routine.

And, let's see...nothing else to say. I should be swimming, but I'm not. I still hate the pool. But next week I'm going to start a better routine and swim twice a week. Yes, really!


I have more to say about that - including a picture - but I have to go to a meeting. BLAH! But I will say this: It is more beautiful in person than in the magazine, it weighs nothing, and IT WILL FIT ME. I haven't proven that last part yet, but IT WILL.

Here's the generic picture.

Come back soon for the picture of me and my new love.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Home again

You know, it really is good to be home.

I had a fabulous vacation. I reconnected with my hubby, enjoyed my kids and my in-laws, and partied with a couple of friends I don't see as often as I want to. Then I got to hang out with my grandparents and a bunch of other East Coast relatives, and they had a nice little birthday party for me.

I ate dessert with lunch and dinner every day, and eggs and sausages and French toast and whatever else I wanted for breakfast. (I rebelled so much against dieting that I even drank juice! I never drink juice anymore.) And I didn't gain a single ounce, thanks to my diligence at keeping up a good workout schedule and the active life that vacation allowed me to lead. No sitting in front of a computer all day!

But I do miss my friends, and I even came back looking forward to the challenges I have at work. All day at work - even when annoying things happened, as they inevitably do - I just felt more relaxed and focused and happier to deal with whatever.

So it's good to be back. And very soon, it will be time to buckle down and focus on the next big thing: Ironman Canada.

But before that, some vacation photos!

Here's my adorable Camille with cornrows. She chose this for herself, sat completely still for 30 minutes or so, and absolutely loves it. I do too - low maintenance for Mommy!

And here's Gabriel. I think he's supposed to be a tiger?

I didn't find a single one of me or John on my camera that I liked. If I find any on his, I'll post more.
Okay, I found one. This is an official photo from the cruise that I don't care to admit how much I paid for, but it's cute. From left to right, it's my friend Joanne, my daughter, and me.

And here's another. You can see the ship in the background.

And one more, that's so darn cute (and so typical of both of them):

Friday, January 12, 2007

Birthday at sea

It's a little nutty here!

I woke up feeling like I was sleeping on a water bed - the rocking of the ship was much, much stronger today than it has been. It's also gray and rainy, but still warm - probably about 75 degrees. Since at home there are six inches of snow on the ground, I am certainly not complaining. But rather than spending my birthday laying in the sun, I'm having a calm day indoors.

However, I did get up to exercise. I did 30 minutes on the elliptical and then, because the ship was rocking so strongly, I wanted to see what running in that would be like. I know I said I wouldn't run until I returned from vacation, but I figured I'd just do 15 minutes just to see.

Well, it was super fun and weird at the same time. In theory, the track is flat. But with the rolling sea, it was constantly moving under my feet. Sometimes it felt like I was running on air - like I would take a step and it would be a long way before my foot actually hit the ground. Other times it felt like the wind was pushing my legs down and keeping me from lifting them up to move forward. I ran very comfortably at around a 10-minute mile pace. Oh, and no foot pain!

So later this afternoon I am going to lift weights and take the last spinning class of vacation. Then I'm going to take my daughter to high tea in the dining room, then shower and dress for dinner. It's a formal night - how lovely to get to dress up on my birthday! - and we're going to the steakhouse for dinner.

Oh! I didn't write about scuba! My friends, my husband and I did a "Discover Scuba" class yesterday. We had like 10 minutes of instruction before we were putting on vests and tanks and masks and hitting the water. After another 10 minutes of shallow water practice, we were diving down and swimming with the fish! It was amazing. I couldn't believe how quickly they had us really diving, but I figured out very quickly how to manage the air, mask, and equalizing pressure in my ears. My problems were staying low enough - I kept floating back up - and my silly triathlete kick. I do a little flutter kick to save energy, right - that makes sense for triathlon. Well, in scuba they want you to do a big scissor kick and not move your arms. That was not natural for me. But I loved it, and am thinking about getting certified. I don't want to fool around in a pool, though - if I do it, I'll try to combine a vacation to Hawaii with a scuba certification class or something.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Having a blast!

I just need to get one complaint out of the way: slow internet access SUCKS. But then, if that's the price I have to pay to be in the Caribbean for a week, so be it.

Anyway, it's been crazy busy and fun here. I'm on plan in terms of exercise, and I'm not bad for eating - though it's so easy to eat everything in sight! Spin class has been good, and I've been doing my cardio and strength training. Plus, yesterday I went real mountain biking for the first time!

As I expected, I was at the front of the pack going up and dead last going down (where it was much more technical and scary). I've got pictures I'll post when I get home.

Today I'm doing an intro to scuba class - more fun! And I hear home is full of snow and ice. Yuck. I miss all my friends, but I don't miss the weather.

Monday, January 08, 2007


Okay, so I'm somewhere near the Bahamas on this ship. We don't stop until Wednesday, so it doesn't really matter!

So far, I've eaten okay. All-you-can-eat seafood buffet full of lobster claws, king crab legs and shrimp make it easy to eat low-fat, and I'm not super-worried about the high cholesterol. And I haven't had too much alcohol. AND I worked out this morning - 30 minutes on an elliptical, plus strength training - AND, this is so wonderful, they have real spinning bikes and teach spinning classes, so I can still cycle!

So so far, so good. I love vacation.

Oh, and one more very important thing: the main reason I'm online right now is to remind any friends of mine that are crazy that the Disney World Marathon registration opened today. I'm going to do the Goofy Challenge - a half marathon on the 12th and a full on the 13th! (This is January 2008.) Since the 12th is my birthday, I can't imagine a better way to spend my time - plus the kids get a great trip.

Okay, gotta run. Much fun to be had. Have a fab day!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

I'm in Florida - but not for long!

So have I mentioned my vacation begins now (yeah, when everyone else is going back to work - suckers!) and I'm going on a cruise in the Caribbean?

I think I did in my New Year's resolution post. Anyway, I'm at my grandparents' house in Fort Lauderdale, and today we get on the ship. YAY!

So a quick post to write down some goals for the trip, because people who write down goals are 40% more likely to meet those goals than people who don't.

1) Eat reasonably. This is going to mean enjoy foods I might not usually let myself have, but not to excess! No tummyaches from eating!

2) Exercise daily. This is usually easy for me, even on a cruise, but that's because I usually run laps on the ship. This time, I'm not running, so I'll have to find something else to do.

3) Sleep lots.

4) Post as often as I can. I'm not going to officially meal-track every day, but I do plan on 100% tracking for one full day towards the beginning (like tomorrow) just to get a feel and be able to write about what it's like to diet on a cruise.

5) Above all, I will not come home weighing more than I did when I left. The max acceptable weight will be 142 two days after I return home from the cruise (so I have time to deal with any water/bathroom issues that might arise from long travel days).

It's 9:46 a.m. in Florida and I'm still in my pajamas. Gotta love it. After all, as a triathlete, sleeping in means until 6 a.m.!

Happy happy happy week!

Friday, January 05, 2007

I confess to a weird thing

Yesterday, I was doing the stair climber at the gym for a boring cardio workout. I had planned to do 45 minutes.

29 minutes in, I got dizzy and lightheaded. I started to see stars, and I tried very hard to get to 30 minutes even, but I couldn't do it. I had to get off and sit down for a few minutes.

Did I stop the rest of my workout? Of course not; I just transitioned to a recumbent bike and finished.

It was so weird. My HR was completely aerobic. My RPE was normal for that HR. But I felt so awful!

My circuit training workout at noon was fine, so I thought maybe it was because I ate too many calories just before my workout and my body was too busy digesting to focus on me.

But today, it happened again in indoor cycling. It wasn't as bad - I didn't have to get off the bike or stop pedaling - but I definitely had to take it down quite a bit (and again, I wasn't at a high HR or RPE!).

So, I'm not psyched about that. It makes me worried that my month away from running will cause me to lose so much running fitness that I won't be able to get back easily.

Also, my foot seems to have been healing, but I got the cortisone shot yesterday anyway. Now that pain is gone, but a new pain is there. Hopefully that will go away quickly.

Finally, my weight was 142 today - it's been up the last two days, despite proper eating and meal-tracking. I'm guessing it's water and the fluctuation of when I've been going potty. Danielle did my body fat today, but it was after spinning (so I was dehydrated) and I hadn't fasted. It came out to 28%, which I don't actually believe. My body fat is usually 22 to 24%. But I'm not worried about it; it's a baseline. Danielle said we're going to do it once a month, weighing ourselves with clothes on after spinning, and see whether we can drop the number. So the number itself doesn't matter (at this point), but the path the number takes over the next few months.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

An open letter to Starbucks

Dear Starbucks,

This is not yet another letter to tell you your coffee tastes burned. No, I love your espresso and many of your drip coffees. And I love even more that I can go into a Starbucks in Berlin, Germany, Worcester, Massachusetts, or Seattle and my drinks taste the same. You are the McDonalds of coffee, and I think that's a great thing.

And I'm not going to complain about the 10 cars in the drive-through this morning or the line all the way out the door inside your lovely store. Nor will I bring up the fact that Valentine's Day is more than a month away, yet you are selling heart-shaped cookies already. (Though I must wonder what's in those cookies if they would remain good to eat for six weeks.) Oh wait, I did bring it up. But no complaining, just wondering.

So what is this letter all about? Your food.

Yes, January is a time of New Year's resolutions. And to help us keep these New Year's resolutions with things like old-fashioned chocolate glazed doughnuts (480 calories, 25 grams of fat) and cranberry white chocolate cookies (480 calories also, but only 20 grams of fat!), you've introduced some new products on your shelves.

Oh, and a new slogan: "Options to fit your lifestyle."

Hmm. Whose lifestyle does a Blueberry Scone (480 calories, 22 grams of fat) and a new Cinnamon Dolce Frappuccino Blended Coffee (420 calories, 16 grams of fat) fit? Kate Moss?

These new options include a Cherry Almond Multigrain Scone. In the interest of knowing what I'm talking about before writing, I passed up my eating plan this very morning to test out this baked good.

Actually, we should call it a baked bad. Scones are typically made with a ton of butter and cream. And I love scones. I love Starbucks scones, like the delicious orange-cranberry one with 500 calories and 21 grams of fat. I also love cherries, and almonds are just fine in my book.

But this likely had all the butter and cream, but mixed in was...well, whole grains, like the name implies. And I will make a declarative and completely correct statement right here, right now: Whole grains do not belong in scones.

Starbucks, when I go into your store, I want a scone to be a treat! This scone has almost as many calories (440) and as much fat (19 grams) as any delicious scone, but has these crunchy chewy little things in them that, frankly destroy it.

Also, a word to the unwise: whole grain doesn't mean healthy. Starbucks, quit trying to fool people! You can't add a little extra wheat or substitute whole grain flour for white and call it health food!

Likewise, your new Reduced-Fat Cinnamon Chip Mini Loaf Containing Whole Grains (whose title alone exceeds the legal limit on treat names) has potential to be good...but is ruined by whole grains.

Keep whole grains out of my sweets! I'll eat whole-grain bread on your overpriced sandwiches. But do not make me pay $1.95 for something that really isn't much healthier than your full-on processed white flour options and is, in my professional opinion as an expert-level Starbucks customer, yucky.

Starbucks, I know you can produce somewhat-better-for-you baked goods. Your Reduced-Fat Cinnamon Swirl Coffee Cake (330 calories, 10 grams of fat) is a gift from God. (So much so that I seriously doubt the calorie and fat content you report, but by NO MEANS do I want my eyes to be opened.) Your Low Fat Marionberry Muffin is so-so, but definitely edible.

But please, don't pretend you are a friend to my diet. You fuel my lifestyle with your tall Americanos with 1 ounce of whole milk and two packets of Splenda (19 calories, 1 gram of fat), but your role in my life is temptation, and I will resist you as much as I can. Don't patronize me with your talk of whole-grain and and attempt to fit your food into my life. Embrace your full-fat and calorie self, and be ready to welcome me with open arms when I deserve your treats.

Don't worry, Starbucks. Your coffee runs in my veins, and I will never leave you for another. Just don't try to keep me around with your silly claims and sillier food. The caffeine and sugar are quite enough!


Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Real vs. fake weight loss

I've been trying to figure out why it is that I can (seemingly) drop six pounds in just over a week.

The day after Christmas? 146.6.

Today? 140.8.

To have a six-pound weight loss, you need to have a calorie deficit of 21,000. Now, I know I've been meal-tracking for a week or so and have gotten some solid exercise done at the gym and skiing. But I haven't created that much of a deficit - more likely, I've created one pound's worth, or 3,500 calories, of deficit.

So I was thinking water weight, and that makes sense given (TMI alert!) that I got my period on Christmas day. Women retain water just before and during menstruation.

But I actually think I was dehydrated during the holidays. At work, I sit with a cute pink water bottle that Danielle gave me and I drink from it all day, and refill it multiple times. At home, I drink Diet Coke, diet iced tea, or nothing. Maybe my body held on to the water, but I still felt thirsty? Is that possible?

If not, what was it? I mean, I guess I should just appreciate it, but I really want to understand how the weight can move that dramatically.

Here's how it broke down over the last week or so. Yeah, I'm a bit nutty about the scale. I always weigh myself first thing in the morning, under the same conditions.

Dec. 26: 146.6
Dec. 27: 146.0
Dec. 28: 143.4
Dec. 29: 143.8
Dec. 30: 143.8
Dec. 31: 142.2
Jan. 1: 142.6
Jan. 2: 141.6
Jan. 3: 140.8

Hmm. Maybe that is reasonable, if the 146 weighings were off for a huge water retention reason, and the rest is weight loss?

I wish I knew. I wish I could measure. Then again, maybe I'm obsessive enough with what I already know.

Anyway, I did a spin class again today. My muscles - especially chest and shoulders - are sore from yesterday's strength training. But that's a good thing!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New year, same old me

Well, I'm starting the new year with the extra Christmas pounds gone. It's amazing how far a little discipline can go.

The day after Christmas - one week ago - the scale read 146.6. Today it read 141.6. And because of the Fat Cyclist challenge, the Pro Club's request to use me in their promotional brochures, my goal race weight, my first Ironman, the cute bikinis I want to wear on my cruise next week, among other things, I'm feeling motivated.

So I'm back to using FitDay. I didn't track yesterday because it was hard to measure the yummy things I ate at brunch, but I did eat in moderation and I feel good about the fact that the scale was lower today than yesterday, despite not tracking.

Thank goodness the Pro Club has power again, too. I did some strength training plus indoor cycling this morning, and cycling felt good. I'm not running because of my foot - at least until after my vacation next week (yes, vacation immediately following vacation. How else to do it?) - so this week I'm going to focus on cycling, then next week on vacation I'll get back into the pool.

I don't think I blogged this yet! John gave me a SwiMP3 player for Christmas! It's an mp3 player you wear in the water. I can't wait to try it out.

Anyway, happy new year, everyone, and good luck on your resolutions! Here are mine. I think they're realistic.

1) Watch some James Bond movies. Danielle, our husbands and I went to a James Bond-themed New Year's Eve party and I had to admit I'd never seen a single one.

2) Drink more coffee. Yes, really. Coffee makes me happy.

3) Get my hubby working out regularly. His weight was 203 over the holidays, and needs to be like 165. So I'm going to enable him to work out by giving him the time and encouragement he needs and help him get in shape (and yes, he wants this. I think).