Wednesday, February 28, 2007


I'm just feeling blah. I don't know how else to put it.

Everything feels tired and I'm completely unfocused - at home, work, church, everywhere.

The funny thing is - or maybe this is expected, given who I am - when I was working out today (indoor cycling plus a 15-minute treadmill run - it was kind of snowing out, so the outdoor ride was cancelled), I felt amazing.

I didn't want to go, but I made myself, and once I started exercising, I felt happy. REALLY happy, actually - so much so that it really showed the contrast of how unhappy I've been this week.

Maybe it's just February blues, and because I'm usually so happy it took the entire month to catch me. So maybe tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm a model!

I think I mentioned this before, but the 20/20 program - the weight-loss program I did - asked me to be in their new brochure. Of course I had to say yes!

This morning was my photo shoot, and of course it was barely above freezing here - when we ran, it was about 30 degrees. I figure with the sun up it was probably closer to 40, but still. Too cold to be outside in - the cutest outfit ever! Check it out:

The pink camo GymGirl. The adorable, very flattering Smooch Tank. And, of course, pink camo Pearl Izumi socks and pink Asics.

Okay, excellent outfit. But WAY WRONG for the weather.

I got to get my hair and makeup done at the salon at the Pro Club, then the photographer took me outside. We went to the East Lake Sammamish Trail, the Sammamish River Trail, and Bridle Trails park (that last one was the coldest - the trees there are so tall very little sun hits the trail, so oh my goodness I was frozen and had to smile anyway!). Then on the way back to the club, the photographer sees this pedestrian overpass over highway 405 - and he liked the way it looked.

I realized that overpass was part of the Kirkland half-marathon route, where I have my half-marathon PR, so it seemed fitting to run over that while he shot photos of me.

So we go up on the overpass, and trucks are honking their horns. It happened enough that I started looking down for something on the side of the road. And then the photographer says, "I think they're honking at YOU!"

Hmm. A girl in a pink skirt and tank top outside on a 40 degree day attracts a lot of attention, I guess!

Despite the cold, it was fun - and I'm super-excited that I'm going to be in the brochure. I do have a good success story, even if my faithful blog readers know of all the stumbles I make along the way. In general, I've kept the weight off and I've improved my life dramatically - everything else is just little bumps in the road, right?

Oh, and if they share the photos with me, I'll ask if I can post one or two here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cool swim, hot yoga

I had a really nice morning.

Since I went to bed at 9:30 last night, I had no trouble whatsoever getting out of bed at 4:30 a.m., despite the big days I had yesterday and Saturday. I was outside the door to the Pro Club before it opened, and in the pool at 5:05 a.m.

I did 2000 meters with my new Finis Z2 fins on. They're supposed to help me kick better. I was hoping they'd make me kick at all instead of drag my dead legs behind me. Also, I'm kind of grossed out by the fins that the Pro Club has for everyone - they have black yucky stuff on them, and since I'm prone to athlete's foot anyway, I figured it's best for me and everyone else if I have my own fins.

I liked them a lot. I didn't notice the massive speed gain I usually see from the other fins I've used, which is good - because the big speed gain throws my natural, comfortable arm stroke off. Instead, my legs floated a little higher than usual, and just having the fins on made me conscious of my kick and kick form. I definitely noticed a loss of power when I took the fins off for an additional 200 meters at the end of my swim.

But despite liking the fins, the best swim invention ever is still the SwiMP3 player. Oh my goodness. I LOVE the thing so much. Every time I swim I feel happier about it.

Then I went to Hot Yoga. I was so tight from the weekend of boarding and biking, but by the end I was pouring sweat and completely folded over in ways I didn't think my body could do. SO GOOD - plus good for clearing my head and stuff, too.

John reminded me today that I'm not yet training, so maybe I should back off on the daily running thing until March 12, when I officially start training. I know he's right - plus I've worked out every day since Feb. 5 - yes, really. So I'm not planning to take a day off until Sunday, but I am going to back it down a bit. That's absurd (especially since Feb. 3 and 4 I was really sick and probably would have worked out if I could have gotten out of bed).

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Chilly Hilly Ride Report

Event #1 of the year is complete.

Chilly Hilly is a really fun way to kick off the cycling season - 33 miles of rolling hills. And when I say rolling hills, I really mean it. There are very very few times when you're actually riding on a flat. Most of the ups and downs are fairly gentle, but there are some really good hills too - ascents and descents - and the ride is quite challenging.

My goal for the day was to ride easy and stay with John. I especially wanted to be happy despite a slower pace than maybe I could have done on my own. John had to remind me a few times to slow down, but I'm happy to say that I listened to him and didn't feel bad about the slower pace. I did have to justify going ahead on some hills sometimes (he has a triple, I have a double so I sometimes just could not go as slow as he was - and then I wanted to enjoy the downhill parts, so I just flew then. Fortunately he goes even faster than me on the descents). He doesn't think I did a really great job of going his pace, but he recognizes that I tried really hard.

At the pace we actually rode - an average of 12.7 mph - I felt very comfortable except on the steepest and longest of the hills (where it wouldn't be possible to be comfortable except maybe in a car). It rained off and on during the day, and most of the time I was warm enough. I remember feeling much worse last year, and also there were two hills last year where I had to walk. No such thing happened this year, though my speed did drop to an all-time low of 4.2 mph on the steepest hill! Hey, at least I made it. Maybe next year I'll see if I can stay above 5.0 on it.

The big bad thing that happened, though, was that Danielle and her husband missed the ferry we were on. As the ferries were 50 minutes apart, we decided not to wait. We were so cold and just wanted to start riding, and we thought they could catch up to us (knowing we'd be waiting for some of the slower riders in our group, and also knowing Danielle and her husband could ride hard and catch us if they chose to).

This was probably the wrong decision. I didn't know what to do - we were seven people altogether, four of us were paying for childcare for our kids, one of us was planning to do the loop twice, and another of us had some things to do in the late afternoon. Danielle could have pre-registered for Chilly Hilly and would have made the ferry we were on, or her husband could have gotten out of bed sooner. However, there was a cafe nearby where we got John some food last year before we started the ride, so we could have waited for them there. But I was already afraid of the easy availability of unhealthy food on the course and didn't want to go to a cafe before we even started. Then again, last year everyone waited for John when he was low. It's much easier now after the fact - and knowing how upset Danielle is with me - to see other options and how maybe doing something else would have been a better choice.

Ultimately, I guess, if one of my best friends is really upset with me, I'd have to say I did make a mistake. I feel horrible about it - horrible enough that the social drama has sort of eclipsed the good day I was having and turned it into a source of shame. It's hard to write that I had a good ride when I hurt someone I care about very much.

I think I'm a pretty good friend most of the time. It's definitely important to me to be good to my friends, and I count Danielle among the people I care most about in the world. I worry so much about the "butterfly effect" one mistake can have on a friendship. Maybe I'm overreacting - only time will tell.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The snow boarded me

The hubby, the Boy and I had planned to go to Crystal Mountain today - a much bigger and nicer ski area than the one we usually go to. The one we usually go to - the Summit at Snoqualmie - is fine, but it's the lowest in elevation in this state so typically the snow is the worst, and often it rains instead of snows.

But it was pouring here and it's been fairly cold, so I woke up with a feeling that today was going to be a good day at the Summit, so why spend the money and twice the travel time (at least) to get to Crystal. Our season passes are at the Summit, so it's already paid for to go there.

Was I ever right! It snowed all day and clearly had been snowing all night - the groomed runs had maybe six inches of powder on top of them. And the highway to get there was pretty bad, so I think a lot of people were scared away. For a Saturday in February, the lift lines were extremely light (if there were lines at all) and the runs weren't congested.

We decided John and I would board, and the Boy would ski. These were good decisions - the snow was so great that I forgot what a terrible snowboarder I usually think I am and I felt completely fabulous. I waxed my board last night, so that combined with the fab snow made my turns so easy and comfortable - so much so that I went looking for steeper and steeper runs with more moguls and jumps. And yes, I got air quite a few times, and of course at least a few times I landed on my face, shoulder, behind, and once did a big somersault before I came to a stop. But it felt amazing! It really did feel like the snow was moving me along - all I had to do was stand up and maintain my balance, and the snow would switch edges for me and get me down the mountain.

The Summit at Snoqualmie is really four separate ski areas under one umbrella organization. There are crossover trails between some of the areas, and we decided to take one of these trails over to another area. Well, the trail was really flat with a bunch of uphill parts (and some downhill too, but those were easy, obviously). So on a snowboard, I definitely got a good workout when I had to get out of one binding and push myself along. And the Boy did too - John had forgotten his poles, and without them he had to shuffle quite a bit. But as usual, he was a champ and didn't whine or complain about it - and only complained a little bit when we told him we had to take another crossover trail back.

So today I felt like a snowboarder again! I didn't miss my skis at all (they were in the car just in case). I'm likely going to pay for all those falls and jumps tomorrow when I ride Chilly Hilly, the first bike event of the season. But it was worth it to have such a fabulous day with the hubby and son. We got about five and a half hours of solid boarding (well, including lift rides) in - which is like 2200 calories burned for me. Yay!

Friday, February 23, 2007

The rest of the day

I went to spinning at noon, then continued my trend of running daily (even for a very short amount of time).

I still felt fab in spinning - very strong and light - and likewise running. But I realized something: my thing with food - like, overeating and being obsessed - isn't actually limited to food.

The same evil voice that tells me it's okay to eat and eat and eat and then eat some more also tells me things like, "Hey! Why don't you push the treadmill speed up to 7.5? How about 8? Come on, you can do 8.5. It's just for a minute...or two, or three..." and suddenly I'm WAY out of base training zone.

Maybe that's why I need to run with my friends - they keep me under control! On the treadmill, I just have to play games.

It's part of this cycle I've been blogging about, where I eat then pay for my food with exercise. However, today I'm still good, so here's hoping for the weekend!

Public service announcement: Hot yoga ROCKS!

I woke up tired and sore and now I feel energized and AMAZING.

Danielle has been going to Hot Yoga of Kirkland, and this morning I finally had no excuses left for not trying it with her. I've been fairly uninterested in yoga - I've taken a few classes that Danielle taught, but I always felt like even though it was probably good for me, I didn't love it.

I was incredibly nervous, because I always forget the poses (as a result of not going often, duh) and I was worried about how hot it would be and whether I'd be able to do everything.

Of course it was fine. Nobody except the instructor paid any attention to me anyway, and she corrected my poses a few times but mostly I could look over at Danielle and correct myself. I was surprised to see my heart rate rise - the max I reached was 152, and this is with vinyasa (flow) yoga! But the instructor did have us move from one pose to another fairly quickly - more quickly than in Danielle's regular (not-hot) class - with just a little "downward-facing dog" for rest in between poses. And lots of the poses required balance and strength - especially in the quads and hamstrings.

During the class, I definitely had some points where I couldn't wait for the rest part in between poses, and at one point I wasn't sure I'd be able to do a full 60 minutes (and a lot of classes are 90 - WOW!). But I was able to follow along for 99% of it, and I poured sweat like MAD. But it wasn't gross like I thought it could be - maybe because I was sweating so much I didn't smell everyone else's sweat or something, but it was definitely tolerable.

The best part is that my body feels so limber and light now - and my back especially feels great. I didn't realize that maybe it hurt before until now when it feels so good. I still have some pain in my neck from that powder skiing on Tuesday, but even that feels better than it did.

So anyway, hot yoga was a fabulous way to start the day. I burned 360 calories in the hour, which is very nice - equivalent to a moderate cardio hour. I'm likely going to go to the Pro Club later on today and do some sport-specific exercise, but this experience makes me think I absolutely need to work hot yoga into my training. I love the way I feel right now, and I want to feel like this all the time! I think I feel about as good as I feel after shiatsu massage, and hot yoga is a lot cheaper and burns more calories. :-)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sleeping in and circuit training

This morning my son had an event at his school - he had won the "Speech Meet" for his class by memorizing and reciting a poem in front of three judges, and his reward was performing in front of the entire school in their weekly assembly.

Obviously I had to be there - I have never felt so proud of him as I did when he told me he won* - so I planned to get up early, go to the gym near my house, then come back and shower and take him to school.

Well, the alarm went off at 5 a.m. and my body wasn't having any of it. So I rolled over and cuddled with my hubby. Then half an hour later, my little Boo came into our room and asked if she could cuddle too, so we had a little spoonfest while the boy slept.

* I am being totally honest here. When the kid told me he won, I was completely filled with pride in a way I haven't ever felt before - not when he's been a good person or nice friend or helpful son - and definitely more proud than when he has had athletic accomplishments. Apparently academic stuff induces more emotion in me than I would have thought.

So anyway, the boy did his thing and it was just wonderful to watch, then I headed to work. One of my meetings ended early so I decided to hit the circuit training class at noon at the Pro Club.

The class ROCKED. I got to get 30 minutes of interval running in interspersed with strength training. I burned 600 calories just in the hour - which tells you how hard I was working (I rarely burn that much per hour, even during races).

I'm feeling good. My weight was down today, I'm still sore from the powder skiing but working out made me feel much happier - and stronger!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ride leader!

So on Wednesdays, I used to and have started again doing the Cascade Bicycle Club ride. And last week, the ride organizer mentioned I might consider getting trained to lead rides on my own - there's interest in a more moderately-paced ride, and we could split the group in two and I could lead a moderate to brisk ride while he leads a brisk to strenuous.

I liked the idea, because then I'd get to pick the route, plus I'd have to have the discipline of riding every single week regardless of weather or how I felt. It would be a volume ride for me - not distance or intensity - but just pure fun and keeping my body moving.

When I showed up to just be a participant today, the ride leader asked me to co-lead - to choose a route (I had already thought of one) and be up front the entire ride!

This was hard, because this ride was supposed to be brisk to strenuous (16 to 21 mph average), and usually I can do it, but I do it with the benefit of drafting. Up front = no drafting!

But I was game, so I went for it. It was really hard to set a great pace, point out and call out all obstacles and directions, and watch traffic and my own shifting. But I enjoyed it, for sure! And I worked harder than I did last week, even though the route I picked was much easier.

I still have to take a class and stuff to be fully ready to lead on my own, and I definitely could have felt more confident, especially early on. But I'll learn all that.

So after my ride, I did come in to my office and check mail, then I went out for a quick 1.5 mile run. This is part of my "run every day" attempt, and with minimal time, I planned to do a .6 mile out-and-back (.6 is one way) on the street my office is on; but at the corner where you get to .6, there's a hill, so I decided I'd climb the hill also before turning around. I got a cramp about halfway back, and it was really painful. I'm not sure why I got it, either - my HR was fairly low and I hadn't eaten anything since before the ride.

But it went away right when I was done and started walking to cool down. So I'm not going to think about it too much.

I'm very happy today - it's a gorgeous sunny day, I ate perfectly yesterday despite a huge workout day, and my weight is back down after the weekend binge. And it's Wednesday, so the work week is half over!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Powder day

Today's been exercise-crazy!

I did my normal run with the girls this morning, and lifted weights immediately after (upper body and abs only, though). Then I met a couple of co-workers for a morning trip to the mountains to experience TWO FEET OF FRESH POWDER.

Seriously. It was so much it was almost too much, especially for this gal who loves the groomers. And nothing had been groomed, so it was all just there for us to carve up.

I only brought my skis, and I realized I'd never skied powder before. After the excitement of falling, tumbling, and losing a ski for like five minutes, I decided that in order to have a good day, I'd have to snowboard.

I rented a board and alternately floated on top of the snow and ate snow by the faceful. It's so much work to stay in control and on top of the powder! Towards the end of the morning I decided to try skiing again, and it was easier then because it was skied out. But it was still soft and fast and fun.

While boarding, I fell and whacked my shoulder so hard I came close to puking, but it doesn't hurt right now. We'll see what tomorrow will bring!

Oh, and since my gear is missing (or possibly stolen), I did go out last night to buy some replacements. I got a purple helmet that matches my purple pants and purple-and-gray jacket (why not pink? Honestly, I haven't found a pink snowboard outfit that I love yet), and pink goggles. I used an old pair of gloves that had been in a bin in the garage, not the bag that's missing. So I was good to go.

Guess it's probably time to start thinking about work for the day! But I need coffee first. :-) All that exercise...I think it's now time for a nap!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ending the binge, indoor triathlons, running, and stolen property

I couldn't post or do FitDay yesterday. It started out okay, but I was hosting a Daytona 500 party at my house (or as I kept calling it, The Piston Cup, because everything I know about racing I learned from the movie "Cars" that my daughter watches at least twice a day). I planned for the bad food I knew would be around by buying veggies and fruit, but I succumbed to the delicious tacos, chili, and pie that swarmed my kitchen island. For the most part, I managed to avoid tortilla chips and stuff like that.

But I've forgiven myself and moved on, even though I refused to step on the scale this morning. I'm going to give myself a couple of days to detox after my three days of putting back on all the weight I have lost the last three weeks. (Okay, that's an exaggeration...but it does take at least three times as long to drop the weight as it does to add it.)

So this morning I got up early and did a pseudo triathlon: I swam 30 minutes first, then did indoor cycling for an hour, then ran two miles. I kept my HR reasonably low throughout. Only the swim and cycling were planned, but I decided to run too because I've been thinking about something Gordo Byrn said when he came to Microsoft to talk to the triathletes.

He told us we needed to run a lot. He said it didn't matter if we ran fast or slow or long or short, but frequently - and on a full stomach, an empty stomach, at different times of the day, etc. So I'm still going to keep my Tuesday and Thursday runs as they are - although my Thursday runs will be getting longer soon - but I want to start running at least a mile every day (two if I have time). So I hopped on the treadmill after the main part of my workout and just ran at 6 mph. I was extremely happy to see my heart rate hovering around 150; I was very comfortable, and I figure my heart rate would be slightly elevated from normal since I'd just been exercising for almost two hours before. Maybe if I'd run first, my heart rate would have been around 140, which would totally rock.

On another note, I'm disturbed today. Last week, I went to get in my car at 4:40 a.m. and discovered the garage door had been left open all night. My quick inventory of our bicycles, (although of course the new tri bike is in my bedroom where it belongs), skis, snowboards, and cars told me everything was present and accounted for. But then last night I went to look for the bag we use for all our other winter sports gear - helmets, gloves, goggles, locks, etc - and that bag is GONE. We looked EVERYWHERE, and it's just not present. Then John realized his two snowboard jackets - a shell and a really nice Helly Hanson warm coat - were also gone.

So I guess we're really lucky. As far as what I can remember, we're missing the following:

My helmet
My helmet goggles
My non-helmet goggles (they don't fit with my helmet, but they're cute!)
My favorite pink hat
John's helmet
Three pairs of John's goggles
One of my mittens
My gloves
Gabriel's gloves
Gabriel's mittens
John's mittens
A couple of locks
John's shell
John's Helly Hanson jacket
The big black bag all that stuff was in

I think our deductible on our homeowner's insurance is $500, and although replacing this stuff adds up to more than $500, it's not much more (assuming we can find some good end-of-the-season deals). And we won't have spare goggles and gloves anymore, either. But when I think what they could have taken - or done to a sleeping family - I'm very thankful for the reminder that we need to check the garage door before we go to bed at night.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The perfect 10

No, not me. Oh my goodness, I'm totally feeling like the perfect 2 today, after a horrible brownie-dark chocolate-peanut butter binge last night (yeah, check it out on FitDay if you want. At least I logged the entire horrible truth).

But Danielle and I planned to wake up early and run the Lake Youngs Reservoir trail a couple of miles from our houses. It's 10 miles around, nearly 100% rolling hills, and beautiful and peaceful.

Plus, as I've blogged before, I have the life goal of always being able to run 10 miles at a time, and since I haven't run 10 together since the end of December, I had to do it just to make sure I could.

Well, I could. It was a gorgeous day and the trail was fairly dry - actually by now it's about 60 degrees outside (apologies to my freezing cold weather readers) and this morning was close to 50. We took it easy, let other groups of runners just pass us by, and chatted the entire time. In the end, we did it in about 1:50; we've done the trail in 1:30 before, and this might be an all-time low for us. But who cares - Danielle hasn't run more than three miles at a time since the last time we did 10 together (around Christmas, with Kathy) and I haven't run more than six. And we're base-training anyway right now, and there will be time for speedy runs around the trail soon enough.

So actually, it's not quite true that I feel that bad about myself. I do feel bad about my binge - it's just so illogical! - but I'm super happy that I really can just drop and run 10 miles any time. And I'm also really happy I have such a great trail and fabulous friends to run those 10 with!

Friday, February 16, 2007

And this is what I get for too much, too soon...

Today I had just an hour and a half of spinning planned (just. ha ha). And I did it, and I even remained in a low base-training heart rate zone almost the entire time.

But the reason I was able to keep it down? My RPE (rate of perceived exertion) dramatically exceeded my heart rate. Meaning, I felt like I was working really hard, even though my heart rate told me I wasn't.

I attribute this to having a big week without building up to it and just being sore and tired. I didn't have trouble getting out of bed, but I no longer can use that as a gauge - I enjoy seeing my friends too much, so my brain says "Get up! Your commute gets exponentially suckier every minute you sleep beyond 4:40 a.m. and your friends are waiting for you anyway!"

Now, that said, at one point my heart rate got into the 160s, and at for those couple of minutes, I actually felt good! (I dropped back on purpose to behave myself and stay in the right zone.) So I felt yucky in the 130s and 140s, but good in the 160s. Maybe there's some adrenaline that kicks in there - a cyclist's high or something?

Oh, and my weight is up. For the second day in a row. I blame TOM. At least I'm not pregnant.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sneaking into real training

Why am I so bad at keeping the volume and intensity down?

Do I just have too much time on my hands? No, I seriously doubt it.

Do I just love it too much, and I just don't believe overuse injuries happen? Maybe.

One of my co-workers - another triathlete - accused me a couple of weeks ago of choosing quantity over quality. Do I?

So here's today. The girls and I were meeting at 6:15, and I knew it was going to be rainy and warmish anyway, so I figured that gave me at least 45 minutes for a swim prior to the run.

In the pool, I decided it was time I start working on getting faster, so I did three sprint sets mixed in to my other drills and stuff. Oh my goodness. I've never seen such a high heart rate in the pool - I think I hit 174 at one point! I have absolutely no endurance when I'm going fast, though - I can barely do 50 yards at my top speed before I want to die. I'm working up to doing 100 yards at that speed - 25 seconds per 25 yards - then I'll be at 1:40 for the 100 and I'll consider myself ready for masters. Any slower than that and I just don't think I can bring myself to do it.

(Thank you all - public posters and private emailers - who let me know what you think I should do to improve my swimming. I'm going to do four things: 1) Take a couple of private lessons with Eric at the Pro Club. 2) Practice my own swimming in the pool - including doing sprints. 3) Do the triathlon swim workouts in March at the Pro Club. And...4) When I'm comfortable that I'm not going to make a huge fool of myself, join Masters at Samena in Bellevue. I know that's last, but I just can't do it yet. Really. I know I should, but I dread it...and I know I could enjoy it if I get a little better on my own first.)

So anyway, I did the swim workout, then I ran comfortably for an hour, then lifted weights. Maybe it's too much. But it all fit before I had to go to work, and I don't feel super-hungry so far today.

I still have three and a half weeks before the six month countdown to Ironman Canada. But I'm ready to start full-on training now.

I remember peaking too early last year and prolonging the season, so I'm trying to be patient. But patience is not one of my gifts. :-)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How do you spell perseverance?

R. E. G. A. N.

Seriously, so Regan loves to ride outside and has less love for spin class. So I suggested we go on the Cascade Bicycle Club ride that leaves from across the street from my office on Wednesdays at 11:45. She met me here, and we went over.

The ride is rated "brisk" to "strenuous" pace - and hills are inevitable. Also, usually the rides are about 12 to 14 miles long - a good hour - but today, we actually did just over 20. The ride included three big climbs plus a whole bunch of rollers, and I had to work to stay with the group leader, so I could only imagine what Regan was feeling. At one point, she said, "Well, I think I know what my strength ride is this week!"

But to watch her spin up the hills, catch up to the group and smile was a treat. Better than any Valentine's Day candy anyone can offer me today. I'm so proud of her!

Oh, and while the ride started in dry weather, it ended in downpour. So not only did we ride hard, ride hills, and ride with the boys - we rode wet and muddy, too. With huge grins - hills AND rain only make us stronger!

I rode my road bike, because I didn't want to ride in a group on the tri bike. And WHOA. I didn't realize how weird it would feel to ride that bike after doing only spin classes - where my spin bike is set up like my tri bike - or riding the tri bike. Suddenly my road bike felt too big, my arms felt too stretched out, and it took five miles or so for me to feel comfortable. But I think I'm going to get a shorter stem and move the brake hoods up higher - that should help. And I also noticed that I ran out of gears on the high end. The bike has a compact double on it, and I can't help but wonder if I haven't gotten strong enough that I need to make either some cassette or crankset changes so I can go faster. It's got a 50/34 crankset with a 12-25 cassette; anyone have opinions on what I might change so I don't run out of gears and need to coast?

Breaking Valentine's Day News!

Today only, is having a huge sale - 50% off all items with their pink "smooch" color in them! So that's items that are completely smooch and items that are only partially smooch.

My husband reads my blog, so I'm not going to admit to any purchases here. But I will tell you that so far, I love everything I've bought previously from and I'm planning on wearing a MarathonGirl dress for my Ironman Canada run. And I don't have one. Yet.

In other news, my 1200 calorie FitDay deficit is working nicely. My weight this morning was 138.2 - and that was after eating dinner at 8:30 p.m. last night because of a crazy busy day. I haven't been feeling hungry except at mealtimes, and I have been able to eat small amounts of yummy things so I don't feel deprived.

And today I ran into a friend I haven't seen in a couple of months at Starbucks and she noticed I looked thinner. :-) I'm always amazed at what a difference five pounds makes on a 5-foot-3-inch frame.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Learning to swim

I really need to re-learn how to swim.

Last year, I broke my bad habit of only breathing on one side. (Of course, in open water, I revert to one sided breathing, but I think that's okay because I tell myself I breathe on the side that's away from the sun.)

Today I tried to put a glide into my stroke. I did this by counting how many strokes it takes me to get across the pool.

Side question: is a stroke one arm or two arms? Because if it's one arm, wow. I'm awful. The best I was able to get to was 21. Which, I guess, makes sense since I'm obviously not gliding pretty much at all.

In fact - and I have known this for a while, but didn't want to face it - my legs slow me down. When I don't kick - either because I'm using a pull buoy or just letting my legs drag - it takes me fewer strokes to get across the pool.

But anyway, at least my SwiMP3 player makes the swim workouts entertaining. I'm finding though that I want shorter songs on it, or maybe just parts of songs. After a few laps of one song, I'm ready for the next song to start. Maybe I should be a DJ and make custom mixes of various songs I like to swim to.

My current favorite swimming songs are Akon's Smack That and Come to Me by Diddy and the Pussycat Dolls. Hip-hop sounds really good under water.

Oh, so, a question to my loyal readers: should I:

a) join a masters program
b) take a Total Immersion workshop
c) take a triathlon-specific group swim workout class
d) continue doing whatever I want in the pool, but at least twice a week and including both distance and speed drills?

Obviously my preference is D, but...I'm not sure I'm a good judge of what's best for me in the swim arena.

So anyway, after my swim workout I did indoor cycling and worked pretty hard. It was definitely a morning worth waking up for - especially when I left the gym and my hubby told me what a chaotic morning the kids had graced him with.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

A new diet plan I really really really think will work

No, really! I believe this one!

Okay, so to preface: I have never been one for fad diets. I've never tried them and never wanted to. That's probably why I stayed fat for so long - I didn't have the knowledge to diet appropriately and I inherently knew that fad diets were wrong.

In addition, that's almost certainly one of the reasons the 20/20 Lifestyles diet did work for me: it's so reasonable. Eat lean protein, fruit, veggies, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. Limit sugars and fats.

But now - at 139.2 this morning - I've got a job to do if I'm really going to get down to 130. And here's the problem: I know how to diet. But I can't stand going hungry. And on days like yesterday - where I burned almost 1500 calories skiing - I can't be full on 1200-1400 calories like I can on normal exercise days.

So, here's the plan: I've been using FitDay. I don't know if anyone ever clicks the link on the left here, but every day I put in my food and exercise (the actual exercise I did may vary from what I say I did - I make the calories come out right and sometimes that means changing the times somewhat). I've noticed that when I have a deficit - according to FitDay - of 1200 calories, I don't feel hungry, but I do feel good about myself that I dieted properly.

So my goal is going to be to create a 1200 calorie deficit (almost) daily according to FitDay. I add the "almost" in there because on rest days, with no formal exercise, I can't create that large of a deficit. But if I can do it six days a week, I'll lose more than a pound a week.*

This means some days, I'll eat possibly up to 2000 calories. And others, I'll need to be right at 1200. This makes sense to me, and will hopefully help me deal with the inevitable hunger I feel when I get into endurance exercise.

So today I rode my bike for 1:45. It rocked. It was supposed to rain, but instead the sun came out and I had a lovely ride...with a massive headwind for the entire second half, but hey. Headwinds will only make me stronger!

* A 3500 calorie deficit is one pound of fat lost, therefore the math doesn't add up. This is because I don't fully buy FitDay's calculations of my metabolic rate plus lifestyle calorie burn. I think a 1200 calorie deficit on FitDay is really a 700 calorie deficit, which would lead to slightly more than a pound a week lost.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday skiing

The hubby, older kid and I spent the day skiing, as we try to most Saturdays in the winter. Unfortunately, we haven't had new snow in a couple of weeks. For the first time in my eight years as a snowboarder/skier, I understood what "mashed potato" snow meant.

It really was like skiing through mashed potatoes! My skis seemed to stick to the ground, and it was chunky, not smooth.

In the morning, I had trouble staying warm - and I'm not sure why, as it was about 30 degrees and that should be a fairly warm temperature for snow sports. But my annoying cold has blossomed into a sinus infection, so maybe that contributed.

But in the afternoon, John and I discovered a new area we'd never skied or boarded in before. It was much less crowded and had some nice steep runs. So we hung out there for a while, then when we got the boy from his snowboard lesson, we made him put his skis on so he could come with us away from the bunny hill. The sun had come out, some friends from work called me to say they were around and I should meet them, and it all just became fun again. (Oh, and can I just say again how cool it is that my kid - at six years old! - can go anywhere I can go on the mountain, and how we barely have to wait for him because he's such a strong skier? Every time we ski together I love him a little bit more.)

I'm finding that to ski well, I need to eat a little more than a normal day of exercise. By lunchtime, after my normal breakfast, I was starving. And when we got home, I pretty much couldn't eat enough to feel satisfied. Hence the Skinny Cow 140-calorie ice cream sandwich I meal-tracked today. But I'm still at a reasonable calorie deficit for the day.

Little trick to prevent me from eating at night: I'm doing those Crest Whitestrip thingys. I don't know if they really work, but they really work to prevent me from making any surreptitious trips to the kitchen after dinner. Plus I think my teeth are whiter, which is actually more important to me than them being any whiter. If I perceive that they're better, that's enough.

Friday, February 09, 2007

If you can't do the time...

Don't do the crime. The problem is, I can do the time.

What's the crime, you ask? Straying horribly from my decent diet.

Some people have food triggers - things that set them off on a binge. One of mine is a good weigh-in at the 20/20 program office. That may seem counter-intuitive - but really, it's like, they think I'm doing a good job, therefore I can eat whatever I want.

Um, no. I can't.

So Wednesday night it was brownies, then yesterday was a struggle all day. It started out with some sweet bread at breakfast, continued with a small amount of mashed potatoes at lunch, then moved on to some pieces of chocolate in the afternoon, then - after a completely reasonable dinner with the girls - I went home and completely broke down, eating chocolate chips and making chocolate chip banana bread (and of course eating enough that I went to bed with a tummy ache).

That's the crime.

And the time? How about this: I slept horribly because of my cold (can't breathe through my nose, so my mouth gets really dry and nasty). I got up at 5 a.m. anyway and hit the gym. I started indoor cycling 15 minutes before class started - did my own workout throughout, completely tossing out the window any notion of base training with a low heart rate, then kept going for another 15 after class ended. And if that wasn't enough, I threw my running shoes on when I got off the bike, ran over to a treadmill, and pushed out two miles in 17:51 (faster than I've run in a long time, and this after 90 minutes of intense cycling).

I saw a max HR of 190. Woo. And you know what? My RPE - rate of perceived exertion - was probably no higher than 8 at any point, and mostly around 7. I wanted it to hurt, so I pushed past where on another day I might think I was at an RPE of 9 or 10.

I burned 1400 calories from this intense stuff plus my cooldown. So I probably made up for last night's binge.

But the question remains: Why do I have to? Why do I sabotage myself every time I'm on a good track? It's definitely all me - I don't have peer or family pressure to eat. Sometimes I even eat things I don't even like that much, just to shovel something in.

And the fact that I don't mind doing the time to pay for my mistakes only makes it worse. I know I can make up for bad eating by extra exercise - I even enjoy it. But that extra exercise isn't getting me ahead. It's keeping me even.

And at a time when I SAY I want to lose weight and hit 130 lbs - then stay there - I'm just getting in my own way.

So I almost wish I couldn't do the time. Maybe if I couldn't, I also wouldn't do the crime.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

A decent run


So I was running SO slow to stay in my base training zone, then I had that six week running hiatus and I came back to yucky running. I haven't paid close attention to my HR while running these last three times, but I do know I'm not out of my zones except on hills - and even then, not by much.

It was a horrible shock to learn that Tuesday's 50-minute run was only 3.75 miles. The 50 minutes included stops at lights, but still....that's SLOW.

So today, Nancy and I ran for 52 minutes - 57 elapsed, but I counted how much time we spent at lights so I could subtract it. I was hoping our run was 5 miles long, but I wasn't sure.

Well, she measured it today, and it was 5 miles. And since my average HR was in the low 150s for the run, overall I remained in base training zone!

So I'm a happy girl. I really have no need to be working on speed - I plan to do the Ironman marathon in 5 hours or so - but I hate the idea of losing speed. Plus, since after IMC I'm going to want to start working on getting fast to qualify for the Boston Marathon (meaning I have to pull a 3:40 - 37 minutes faster than my marathon PR), it would be good not to take any steps backwards.

By the way, if you want some inspiration about getting fast - or at least some motivation to start believing you can - go check out Steven's blog and look for his previous posts on running. Steven, you've definitely inspired me!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Bike ride #2 and a good weight

The results are in - and very positive! I weighed in at 138 this morning, so I'm well on my way to my goal of 130. (Of course, I ate way too much tonight...but I've moved on already and I'm focusing on tomorrow.)

I also rode my bike for a bit today, just on the bike trail, but it was fun nonetheless. I took it back to Sammamish Valley Cycle to have them look at that weird ghost-shifting - and the bike wizard Synth (yeah, that's his name. I've got his business card to prove it) fixed it in like two minutes. He's amazing.

I'm still slightly stuffed up, but looking forward to my run tomorrow with the girls.

On a non-exercise, diet, or triathlon related note: My six-year-old is playing some kind of online RPG. He's a penguin - it's or something? Apparently my husband hooked him up with an account. I'm completely freaked out. My little boy is using the Internet. Next thing I know he'll be asking me for a World of Warcraft account. NO WAY!!!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Okay, I think I can run again

This morning I pretty much jumped out of bed - at 4:30 a.m., 10 minutes before my alarm was to go off. So I guess running was meant to be. I took one Advil Cold & Sinus and was out the door.

Because all of us have just gotten over or still have colds, we decided to take it easy and do a shorter run - we were out for just 50 minutes. But unlike last week, I felt good the entire time. I remembered what it's like to run and enjoy it, not dread the next step. We were slow, but we'll pick up speed when we're all healthy and out of base training. Oh, and it was SO nice to not be 23 degrees! It was a balmy 42 this morning.

I lifted weights after the run and already my bottom is hurting - I put a bigger focus than usual on legs today.

Tomorrow is my weigh-in at the 20/20 Lifestyles office. I think it's going to be a good one. I usually weigh a little less on their scale than I do at home, and I've been seeing 139 or so the last few there's hope that this time I'm going to be down! (Usually I'm right about the same - 141 or so.)

But I feel like I'm on a good path towards 130. I'm definitely motivated to get there!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A full day of sleep

After I blogged Friday evening, I pretty much fell into bed and didn't get out until this morning. I woke a few times to re-medicate (and check email and stuff for the 15 minutes or so in which I actually felt like I could sit up at a desk), but then went back to sleep.

And today, I'm so much better. Not 100% - I still need the Advil for the slight temperature (my temp this morning was 98.7 - which sounds normal, except I know my usual body temp is low, between 96.5 and 97.5) and some decongestant to breathe easier.

So thank you all for your well wishes and advice. I'm not going to go back to working out until I feel at least 97% better - today I'm maybe running on 85% - but yesterday was one of those days where I got out of breath walking 10 feet to my bathroom.

It's always so weird to feel like that - to go from feeling so strong and powerful to completely weak. Viruses are pretty amazing things!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Now, this is weird!

I've been on the edge of sick all week; my son was home from school every day last week, and my daughter has missed two days this week.

But this morning I still managed to drag myself out of bed at 4:30 to hit the pool at 5 a.m. I brought the best invention ever (the SwiMP3 player), but I didn't use it because Danielle was meeting me and I wanted her to try it out.

I felt great while swimming - even without the music!

But then, I went to spinning. And WHOA. I could feel how much my chest and lungs hurt from this cold/cough/congestion thing.

I'm just in shock though that I could swim when I couldn't bike. So weird!

Also, an update on the Starbucks situation from yesterday: I went inside this morning instead of to the drive-through and brought the cup (emptied out). They were all really apologetic - they said, "I make your coffee every day! I don't know what I was thinking!" and stuff like that, and gave me my coffee for free today. So I still love them. :-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

I've been tagged!

Kate tagged me. :-)

1. Describe a memory from your first triathlon ever.
Crossing the finish line with my friend Joanne and feeling absolutely on top of the world. I did it!

2. Describe a memory from your most recent triathlon.
Coming into T2 on a half-Ironman and, to my surprise, seeing my husband and kids waiting for me (even though I had at least two hours of running left to go). It gave me a big boost and helped me continue to feel strong - and knowing they'd be there at the finish line (I don't make them come to all my races - too stressful and sometimes boring) kept me happy throughout the run.

3. What's the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you in a tri?
In my first triathlon of 2006, I felt completely confident about the quarter-mile open water swim. I seeded myself near the front of the pack. Just seconds after my wave began, I was coughing and choking and absolutely not okay - I was panicking! Then, a woman near me asked me if I was alright. I tried to say yes, but she said, "No, you're not!" and proceeded to yell to a nearby kayaker that he needed to keep an eye on me. It was humbling, to say the least.

4. What's the most thrilling thing that's happened to you in a tri?
At the Lake Sammamish Triathlon last August, I came out of the water in about 7 minutes (1/4 mile swim) and noticed that nearly every bike on my rack was still there. I then proceeded to chase down guy after guy (all the men's waves had gone before the women's) on the bike, passing everyone I saw except one guy who passed me back, right at the entrance to T2. I then went on to have a really solid run, pushing as hard as I could at the time, and ended up with second place in my age group.

5. What is something you discovered about yourself by doing triathlons?
The only boundaries there are on what I can do come from my brain - it gives up long before my body.

6. What is The Big Goal that you're working towards?
Ironman Canada 2007, baby!

I tag Aleks and Steven!

Run like a brick

And not a good triathlon brick - like a brick brick, which pretty much likes to just stay still.

So there were a bunch of reasons why I should have expected this:

1) It was 28 degrees outside.
2) I swam before I ran - so my hair was damp.
3) I didn't eat enough (one 60-calorie banana).
4) I didn't have my coffee!*
5) I haven't run in six weeks.
6) We planned a regular run - 6.2 miles.
7) I'm a little stuffed up and I have a little cough. It's not bad, but not great either.

But I'm still so glad I did it. The first day back has got to hurt, right? I believe in sport-specificity, so obviously I knew my running would suffer from not doing it for weeks. So I got the first day over with, and now I'm ready to get back to work.

Another thing I'm really glad about: my foot didn't hurt at all. Not even a teensy little bit.

Nancy and Sarah were awesome - they walked with me when I got a cramp (UGH! Did I forget everything about running?) and seemed to not mind too much that I had to go slower than usual. (A lot slower: We did the 6.2 miles in 1:14 - including stops for streetlights, but still, usually we're at 1:05 or so for that run.)

But I'm back! And I can only improve from here!

* About the coffee: I go to the same Starbucks drive-through every day, around the same time. I order the same thing: A tall Americano with whole milk and two Splenda. It's always too hot, so I don't drink it until I'm about a mile down the road. When I tasted it this morning, it tasted funny - so I pulled down the sleeve and read what the barista had written.

A for Americano. Good.
Whole for whole milk. Good.
8 SP for....EIGHT SPLENDA?????

How does two sound like eight? Especially since that kid that works the drive-through has sold me the very same drink dozens of times before!

So obviously I couldn't drink my coffee. But I'm going to bring the cup back tomorrow to complain. I think they should have at least repeated the order - especially since it's so absurd.