Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fight, not flight

I wrote a few weeks ago about hitting some guy in the head at a club, and how I had no instinct whatsoever to run away.

So today, I was leading the strenuous Cascade ride (18-21 mph on flats), and some jerks in a white SUV pull up alongside me and another rider. Obviously with malicious intent, and with both the front passenger and the back passenger windows rolled down, they yell something obnoxious. As is always the case with drive-bys, you can never hear what the words are, but I was definitely startled and my bike wavered a bit. I could hear them laughing out the window as they passed.

Thom, the other rider, immediately picks up the pace; there's a red light ahead and the car will surely get stopped there. I follow suit, but Thom really has the power when he wants so he pulls away. I yell, "Get 'em with that water bottle!" - which has some orange stuff in it, so I know it would be nasty in the car.

Thom nearly reaches them when they veer to the left and make what was obviously an unscheduled left turn. We cross the street together.

And you know what? I was disappointed. I was secretly hoping they'd come back.

Isn't that ridiculous? What in the world could I do, a small girl on a bike, with only a water bottle filled with plain water to threaten them with. They've got a humongous vehicle able to crush body parts and carbon-fiber with the slightest glance. But I wanted to fight. BRING IT ON.

Where did this come from? It's so natural, so instinctual, but at the same time, I'm not sure it was always there. Is this some kind of confidence brought on by weight loss, athletic accomplishments, higher self-esteem?

Anyway, I hope it doesn't get me in trouble.

In other news, my weight has been below 140 for three days now, so I'm calling my "140 by Sept. 27" goal completely met. And to celebrate, I ate a brownie and french fries. Oh my goodness. I'm skipping dinner.

(Okay, I'm not. I'm going back to a healthy plan and will have a salad with low-fat protein. But skipping meals is so tempting when I make mistakes. Then again, so is over-eating and starting over tomorrow. Both are really sucky solutions.)

Monday, September 24, 2007

I also love riding my bike

There is something so delicious about a Fall day. I knew that no matter what the weather, I was going to ride today - but I was super-happy to find that it was sunny and cool, absolutely perfect riding weather.

Unfortunately, I'm feeling a little off - I have a sore throat. It's not fair. I am incredibly healthy, right - but when I was in college, I could stay out all night and do it again the next night. Why can't I do it anymore? (I know why: I'm not 19 anymore. Grr. Youth really is wasted on the young.)

So I planned a route that had great downhills and not so difficult climbs - 18 miles of fun. I hit 46.9 on the first big descent and 45 something on the second. Yum!

I've really been enjoying leading the Cascade rides. I always feel a tiny bit stressed before the ride - after all, I have to be the LEADER, so I have to be strong and in control and up the hills first, etc - but once I'm going, it just feels good. And if I weren't the leader, it's entirely possible that the lure of my computer, finishing work, or talking to co-workers would take precedence over my exercise.

Nah, who am I kidding. If I didn't ride, I'd just go to the gym or go out for a run. :-)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I heart dancing

I always know it's going to be a good night when I bounce out of work on Friday - and when I left the building Friday evening, I was already excited, and the babysitter wasn't even coming until 8:30 p.m.

But first, I had a stop to make - at my local gym (read: near the house, not near work) to meet a couple of friends who asked me to teach them my strength-training routine.

I was happy to help them, but I didn't realize until I was almost done that I *really* liked it. I mean, I got to lift, too - for the first time in probably six or eight months, I lifted three times in one week! (This has been my goal, but not often accomplished). But what was even more fun was teaching them new exercises they hadn't tried before, and helping them do the routine with the correct body positioning so as to avoid injuries. Oh my goodness, I see so many people at the gym doing things that will inevitably cause harm, so proper form is just so important. And sometimes it's just nice to have someone else check you out - the other day, Nancy saw me doing part of my strength training routine and commented that I needed to pull my elbows in or something, and she was totally right. It's helpful to lift with friends!

So anyway, hopefully I didn't annoy my friends by being bouncy and happy, but I actually had a blast teaching them what I do. I tend to do a lot of combination exercises - overhead press with a squat on a Bosu ball, for example, is one of my favorites - and they all work upper and lower body at the same time, plus balance. I hate when people say, "Oh, I'm such a klutz" or "I'm just clumsy." I used to say those things, too, and they're just not true. I may not be naturally the most agile person in the world, but agility can be learned and is not a function of body weight!

After the strength training, I got ready to go out. And I was so happy to find that my latest purchase from had arrived! I'm trying to not wear pink every single day, so I bought this shirt that looked cute online - it's blue and yellow. Oh my goodness, I just love it! Here's a picture of me and John at the club (taken by someone I pseudo-met online; he posts to the forums, and I figured out who he was by his posts and the fact that we both have attended the same shows recently).

Anyway, it's a little hard to tell, but the straps of the shirt are gold chains. Too fun!

The music was incredible - and amazingly, the club had no cover charge for 21+! And water, which is all I drank all night, was a reasonable $2 per bottle! So not only was this my best night out at a club in Seattle, it was also the cheapest.

And no, there was no trouble, so I didn't get into any fistfights with drunk idiots. In fact, people were pretty respectful and there was actually room to dance all night. Nice nice nice.

We saw two DJs: MarQ, who opened for George Acosta. So we pretty much danced from around 10:30 p.m. until 2:30 a.m., when the club shut down. We were (just about) the first on the dance floor and the last to leave it; I only took one break from dancing to drink some water, and then returned to front and center.

I should have been tired, but I couldn't sleep. We got in bed around 3:30 and dozed until 7:30, then got up for a seven-mile run. It was actually better than I thought it would be - we were slow (11-minute miles, I think), but I didn't care.

When John and I finally crashed, the kids were staying over his parents' house and we were supposed to have date night again. Lucky us! But...instead, we started napping at 5:30 p.m. and didn't wake up until 7 a.m. :-) Thirteen and a half hours of sleep - I think that's a record for me. Seriously. I don't think I've slept that long even when sick! (Then again, maybe I did when I was pregnant.)

Anyway, all that dancing and skipping dinner last night made my weight today a lovely 139.4, and I fit into my smallest jeans with no problem. So goal #1: get to 140 again has been met, and I'm thinking about goal #2. I am considering focusing on mini-milestones - like, by October 19, when I go to Scottsdale for the 20/20 weight loss program conference thing, I should be 138 consistently (meaning, three days in a row my weight is 137.5 to 138.5). Then by the Seattle half marathon, maybe 136....then January 1, still 136 (holidays are a horrible time to try to lose weight, I'll be more successful if I realize that and plan to maintain).

Yeah, I think I'll do that. And I'll keep dancing all night every few weeks, too. I'm sure it helps. :-)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Feeling hot!

I've learned a few things since finishing Ironman Canada and NOT setting a new endurance goal. Remember, last year after I did my half-Iron, I did another half-Iron, then three marathons in a span of eight weeks, then pretty much went into Ironman training. So it's been a long time since I haven't had an endurance goal.

First, it's SOOOO much easier to keep my weight in check - and even down. I mean, I knew that, but it's another thing entirely to experience it. To manage eating 1,300 to 1,500 calories a day and feel just fine - including not depriving myself (yesterday I got my half of a cappuccino chocolate chip muffin, yummy yummy yummy) - is awesome.

Then, it's so great to wear heels again. Today I've got a pair that are just over three inches high. I love feeling tall. During my heavy running seasons, I really can't wear heels without pain in my feet and legs. Now, no problem!

And finally, the most important thing. I feel great. I know my weight isn't much different (140.2 this morning) from a few weeks ago - but the little bit does show changes. For example: on Tuesday I wore a new sweater that I picked out with Nancy and Wendy a couple of weeks ago. When I tried it on (a medium), it fit, but I sort of wanted a large. I felt like I looked a little fat in it. The store didn't have a large, so I bought it anyway. Well, wearing it on Tuesday, I couldn't see the fat at all that I saw when I bought it! And my tightest jeans fit, and I just feel like I look good.

I don't actually feel any healthier, faster, stronger, or anything like that. I just feel body-confident. I definitely still have weight to lose and physical things that could be improved upon, but it's so nice to feel good about myself.

This is something to remember.

I always thought I would lose weight and then be able to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. After all, it always seems like I see thin people doing just that.

Maybe it's true for them. It's definitely not for me. I'm always going to walk that line between fat and thin. Sometimes I'll feel better about myself than other times; regardless, it's always going to be effort to stay on this side of the line.

And what I need to remember, and focus on, is that it's totally worth it!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hmm...nothing much to say

It's definitely harder to blog without a specific athletic goal in mind. So, here are a few little tidbits about my diet/exercise life lately:

-- It's really hard to start running. It takes me at least four miles to warm up - and since I'm only running six to seven at most, it seems like most of my run is spent thinking, "Wow. Did I ever like running?"

-- Cycling is much more fun again. I went out with Jessi on Saturday and really enjoyed our ride. I took her on my favorite downhills. :-) So of course we had to climb back up, since we did a loop, but I know ways to avoid climbing super-steep stuff when I'm out for fun versus training.

-- Even on Saturday when I rode with Jessi, I was still sore from my mountain-biking experience.

-- Diet is difficult, but not impossible. Unfortunately, now that I'm at my normal weight (around 140), every day I wake up and I'm still 140. I know I have to step it up and really be diligent about my eating if I want to drop lower than this...but it's so hard.

-- I did eat out a number of times this weekend, though, and had dessert one night (mango and ginger gelato with chocolate sauce...yum) and I ate good things like bagels, and my weight's not up. So I can maintain this weight fairly easily if I want to - I just need to eat healthy most of the time and let myself have treats infrequently. Of course, I want to be lighter, so that's actually pointless.

-- I have said this a zillion times, but it's worth repeating: if I eat something carbalicious in the morning - like a bagel, muffin, coffee cake, et cetera - it doesn't have to mean that the rest of the day is ruined. But the rest of the day does work like this: I'm very hungry and much more tempted to continue to eat unhealthy. So if I can fight the hunger all morning and temptation and eat a large, high-protein low-fat salad at lunchtime, I'll get through the delicious yet poor choice for breakfast. But if I make a better choice at breakfast, there will be no fight all morning and I'll remain on track all day.

-- For the right foods once in a while, it's worth getting off track and having to fight to get back on.

-- Seven pounds is a dramatic difference - not so much in how I look, but most certainly in how I feel. I'm fairly certain people who know me can't tell the difference between 147 and 140 on me.
But there's a level of self-confidence that comes from being at a good weight. I wish I could say I felt that confidence all the time, but honestly, I don't.

-- I have an extra motivation for dropping a few pounds: the 20/20 office has asked me to go to Arizona to speak at a conference. I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to say, but I'm sure it's something like, "Look at my "before" picture and look at me today! Amazing, huh!" Which, of course, it is, but it's also a ton of hard work and dedication to the cause. I'm not going to say the 20/20 program is a miracle, but I'm happy to say it provides the right tools for a motivated person to get the weight loss done.

-- Meal-tracking is the single most important thing a person can do to lose weight. I will have to remind myself of this the next time I fall off the meal-tracking wagon. For now, I'm so happy I can get FitDay on my Smartphone!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ow ow ow mountain biking is painful!

But before I get to that, I'll talk about the Cascade strenuous ride I "led" yesterday. (I say "led" because I was the official ride leader, but the slowest rider in the group. So I was actually in the back doing sweep, with a guy going through the certification process in front.)

I totally kept up without an issue on the downhills and flats, as usual; at one point, I was slow starting from a light, and had to push at 25, 26 mph to catch back up, and it actually felt good and fun.

Uphill is always another story. But they didn't have to wait too long for me. And man, it is nice to ride those hills with my road bike instead of the tri bike - the compact double makes a lovely difference on my knees.

On one of the hills, though, for some reason I was third up out of six! That felt amazing. Of course, it took me the next 5 minutes of downhill to recover from the push.

So, mountain biking. The guys from work have been bugging me for a couple of years to go with them, and teasing me about being a roadie. I had some excuses, of course: I couldn't afford an injury that would impact my training, etc. But yesterday, there was no excuse. So I borrowed a mountain bike and went out with them.

I told one of my roadie/mountain friends where we were going. He immediately said, "Bad idea for your first time!" He explained it started out with a 400 foot elevation gain in half a mile, then was all twisty turny and tight paths.

But I'd already told the guys yes, so it was too late to back out. Chalk that up to one of my many personality flaws.

I didn't even know how to shift the bike when I got on it - and I felt like it was a little big for me. It was also weird not to be clipped in - I don't have SPDs on any of my bikes, so I didn't have the right cleats for those pedals.

So once I figured out how to shift, we started up. The beginning of the climb was kind of fun, but then there were some sandy and really bumpy parts. I ended up having to walk the bike part of the way, but I found I could actually run with it, so I didn't feel that bad. Plus my friend had warned me I'd be walking.

Once we got up, the paths we were on are on a plateau, so it's up and down, but minimally. I found I could ride comfortably when the trail was open and flat, of course - and I was surprised at how well the bike handled in dirt and over rocks - but I felt much more freaked out when we were on the tighter parts of the trail, where branches grabbed my legs from both sides and tree roots came out of nowhere and threatened to toss me over the handlebars.

I eventually kind of got the hang of it for a while, and could ride over some stuff. Riding over tree branches and bumps was definitely satisfying - as was climbing all the way up a small hill. Downhill was terrifying, and some of the bigger obstacles caused me to get off the bike and lift it over.

I can't really say it was fun. Apparently you're not supposed to sit on a mountain bike as much as I was, so let's just say I was in pain from the saddle from about halfway through the ride until the end, and today it's a constant annoyance. I also got tired towards the end and did stupid things twice (not sure what), resulting in falls off the bike.

Oh, and one time I was sure I could make it over a tree root, but instead I slammed the front tire into it, jamming my forearm into my elbow or something. Anyway, my elbow hurts. My wrists do, too.

Coming down was pretty bad, too - it had started to get dark, and the steeper and sandier parts were really scary. Fortunately, the co-worker in front of me told me where I should just get off the bike and walk, so I obeyed.

There were a few times when the leader of the group offered me a shortcut or an easier way to do something; of course my regular personality flaw caused me to say, "No shortcuts!" as much as I might have liked to make it a little easier. I just had to do it all, even if I fell and hurt myself.

I guess I will do it again sometime. After all, the first time is always the worst. And I could tell in some moments how it could be fun.

But in the meantime, OW!!!!!

Oh, and my weight this morning: 140.6, despite dinner at 8:20 p.m. at Jack in the Box, of all horrible places. I was hungry. :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9:32 pace average?

My darling friend Kathy is completely obsessed with her running pace, and completely certain that she's way slower than she is.

So Kathy, Sarah and I went out yesterday morning on a 6-mile loop. Later, when Kathy mapped it online, it was at least 6.1 miles (I always think that when I map something online, I err on the side of being low - it definitely works that way when I map bike routes).

We were running for 58:11 - which works out to a 9:32 pace average.

During the run, I felt like I was working harder than I really wanted to, but I wasn't sure if that was laziness at 5:45 a.m. or tiredness from the Ironman still. In any case, I felt like the pace was fast.

When I start breathing heavily, my lungs and chest feel all tight and kind of achy. I figure that's the remains of the Ironman. Otherwise, my muscles feel back to normal.

But you know, I believe we averaged a 9:32. And I feel really, really good about that. Because if that's what I can two weeks outside of Ironman, imagining that next Spring I could focus on getting faster and qualifying for the Boston marathon isn't really out of the question, is it?

To qualify for Boston at my age, I need to do a 3:40 marathon - which averages out to an 8:23 pace.

That's a huge goal. Possibly bigger than the Ironman. And I won't even start for months, until I drop some more weight (holding steady at 141 this week, yay!).

But maybe. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Did you catch Britney last night?

Oh man. I wouldn't want to be prancing around in my undies on stage and TV if I looked like that. But come to think of it, I kind of do, in terms of not being super-toned and thin right now...although I'll give her credit for not having stretch marks after two babies. I can't say the same about me!

Anyway, my weight last week at this time was 147 - the highest I've seen it in a long time. (Of course, I tend not to weigh myself when I know it's high.)

This morning? 141.4.

How did this happen? It's so simple. I won't say it's easy, because it's totally not, but it's just so simple it's almost hard to believe.

-- I re-started meal tracking.

-- I'm eating meals and snacks that are healthy and properly portioned. I did eat out three times this weekend, though, and my eating out included Phad Thai (noodles! peanuts! calories!), bacon, eggs, and cinnamon roll french toast (no need to say anything here), and Korean beef skewers (yummy, but I'm unsure how to meal-track that).

-- I'm not restricting carbs much (obviously) but if I did, my weight loss would be even more dramatic.

-- I'm exercising like a normal person: an hour a day, five days a week.

-- I am NOT giving up half-and-half in my coffee.

Today, though, at this lower weight (still overweight for my height though - my max weight in the "normal" category is 141), is where I really need to watch it.

I often want to "celebrate" being at a lower weight by...eating garbage. Instead, I need to continue to focus on these very simple rules.

Why is something so simple so difficult?

Friday, September 07, 2007

FitDay is my friend

I am fighting the desire to set a new exercise goal. They keep swimming around in my head. How about a 1:50 half marathon? How about a 50-mile ultra? Maybe I should do the Black Diamond half-Ironman at the end of the month?

No. How about I lose eight pounds and get my weight to a comfortable 135?

Because honestly, at 143, I am officially overweight and I feel it. Half my clothes don't feel or look good when I put them on. So that's that. I'm done with being on the edge of fat.

I'm on my third day of full meal-tracking again with FitDay. It would be 4, but I didn't track yesterday because I was offline all day. I was okay on calories, though. And my weight shows it: I've been dropping daily, as I always do when I get back on the wagon.

I'm also only exercising for fun, and trying not to stress when life happens and I can't fit it in. After all - if I can't fit it in one day, I probably will still have exercised five times during that week anyway!

I wrote a half marathon training plan for John, and I'll be running with him (and Camille in a stroller) on Saturdays. I'm definitely looking forward to that - I love fall running!

Oh, and I went out on the Wednesday strenuous bike ride. It was tough, but I pretty much hung in there. And riding my road bike again feels wonderful.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Running without a goal

I met the girls this morning for a run (and guess when it started to rain? Sometime after we got back to the club, ha ha!), and found that running was easier today than yesterday. Perhaps it was the time of day - I definitely prefer an early-morning run.

I'm pretty sure I was close to my normal pace. We went out for about 50 minutes and did a couple of big hills. And then - I actually lifted weights! Woo-hoo! First time in months! I went down in weight so I could complete the full sets I wanted to do. I feel fine now, but I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow.

So...I'm feeling back to normal, physically. But it feels weird not to have a next goal. At this time last year, I was still planning to do another triathlon before the season ended and I knew I was going to do Ironman Canada. Now, I'm not sure what to update my blog header with. I'm not sure I'm going to do the Disney World Goofy challenge thing (the half-marathon one day, full the next), because I'm not sure I feel like dragging the family across the country so I can run. We can go to Disneyland in California instead.

John wants me to calm down and just exercise, so I guess I'll try to focus on weight loss (my weight is up 7 pounds higher than the maximum at which I'm comfortable). But...pretty soon, I'm going to have to think of what's next for me.

Maybe climb Mt. Rainier?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Back to the beginning

When I first started running, I ran on the treadmill because I was afraid that if I ran outside, I'd run too far and not have enough energy to make it back. (Like I'd collapse on the side of the road and not be able to walk...not exactly logical, but I did feel that way.)

I haven't done any formal exercise since the Ironman. Part of the reason I didn't before now was that it's hard for me to do anything "light" - I go hard or stay home. So...I stayed home.

But I was going a little stir-crazy, and this evening, John said to me, "What do you want to do right now?" He could tell I was restless. I suggested we go out for a little run - Camille can go in the stroller, Gabriel on his bike, and John and I could jog.

Well, we went out for just 30 minutes...and it was kind of hard. And at one point on our loop, I actually wondered if I was going to be able to run all the way back.

I was.

But I'm back to the beginning. It's amazing how much a big race takes out of you - so much more than a big training day.

By the way: John wants you to know he's not a weenie, even though my description of the story at the club may have made him seem so (according to him). The story was about me and my reaction - he definitely doesn't need me to stick up for him, I just wanted to!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Don't mess with an Ironman!

So, Thursday night, John and I went out to a pretty small club to see a pretty big DJ - #2 in the world right now, Armin van Buuren.

I was a little anxious because of how small this club is - I think this guy could sell out a place three times as large - but hey - how often do you get to see someone this big in such an intimate setting?

I was so elated to be going. Pretty much I was almost literally jumping up and down - and when we got there, I had one drink: vodka and Red Bull, my dancing favorite, and I was on the dance floor for the opening acts. (Remember this later: one drink only, at least three hours before the incident I'm going to describe.)

Of course by the time Armin came on, the dance floor was PACKED. But people were being fairly well behaved, except for a handful of frat boy types in football jerseys. John spoke to security about one of them who kept knocking into me, and security removed him.

But then, more than halfway through Armin's set, I hear a scuffle behind me. John was behind me, not beside me, so I turn around and some guy takes a swing at John's head. The guy is screaming and swearing and people are moving away from him and John.

Without a conscious thought, I reach out and hit the guy (much taller than me, of course) in the forehead. "Get the **** away from him!" I yell. I tried to push myself between him and John, and the crazy guy's girlfriend or wife or whatever starts holding him back. He's yelling at John and I'm yelling back. "Get away! Don't you even look at him," I screamed and held my hand up to his eyes so he couldn't see John anymore. Why that? No idea. Like I said, not a conscious thought except this: "I'm an Ironman. Don't you dare mess with me."

And you know, I felt that way. I felt completely charged up - willing to fight. I couldn't wait for him to take a swing at me, because I was ready and was going to fight back. Not that John wouldn't, but I was going to protect what is mine and not let some jerk who had too much to drink hurt my man. In fact, I almost felt disappointed when he didn't take me on.

He backed down, and later apologized. Apparently he has some anger-management issues. And possibly some closeted homosexual tendencies: the reason he got so angry at John? He was behind John and pushing to get closer to the stage when John turned around and said, "If you're going to hug my ass, you should at least ask for my phone number."