Monday, August 31, 2009

Review: Moving Comfort MCW Fitness Tank

First, I want you to know that when I post reviews, it is on product I have decided to buy. No one has provided me with free product (though it would be nice!), so you can be assured my review is objective and I am not under any pressure to write one way or another about a product.

I share because I know how difficult it is to find plus sized sports apparel, and remember how it was 100 times harder when I was a size 24. Heaven forbid it needs to be real technical apparel for a specific sport, then you're doomed to the inconsistency in sizing between manufacturers, spending a mint in shipping items back for return or burning a tank of gas making that trek across town because they have something that *might* work.

Seriously, I start feeling manufacturers think anyone a size 14+ does not exercise or take on super challenges like triathlons and marathon or long distance cycling.

Dear Manufacturers, I'm here to tell you, some of us do move beyond our couches and jaunts to run errands!

This is my first year of really training for running. At first I was running in short spurts and during brick runs would just run in my bike jersey. Not the most comfortable, but there is not a ton of generously sized Athena sports apparel, which is why I was thrilled to find that Moving Comfort carried their MCW (Moving Comfort Women) line for the plus-sized woman, but then really saddened to find out they'd be discontinuing much of it, but might be keeping certain items in 1X. We really won't know until the Spring

But let me get to the point. I tried the MCW Fitness Tank, specifically for my running endeavors. Typically I can wear many of the XL's in regular workout tanks, but the regular sized Moving Comfort XL was super small on me (I wear a 16). I had to go with the 1X, which to me fits very full. Personally I'd like it a little more form fitting, but I can appreciate a garment that is not clingy and it is purposeful and works.

I do not experience any chafing from the tank, and there is plenty of arm room for freedom of movement. This is the fist top I bought that claims to wick moisture away from the skin, that really does what it says. I've bought from many different manufacturers and they all say they wick, but they don't seem to keep me dry... unless I just saturate them! LOL Anyway, this tank does a phenomenal job of wicking moisture. I stay cool and comfortable (if that's even possible in Houston's humidity) and it helps make my workout just a bit more bearable.

So far I've been pleased with every Moving Comfort purchase I've made. I love their compression shorts too. I've already gone and purchased some knickers for Fall/Winter running while they still carry the extended sizes. There are some retailers on the Internet who still sell the MCW line, so you can still buy some pieces in 1x through 3x. If you're a 1x'r you might still be lucky to find at least a few things from Moving Comfort in the Spring. We can only hope.

I hate to share my MCW/retailer source with you, but I will anyway -- because these people were super nice and were great to do business with. Just don't buy all the stuff up1 :)

I'll be waiting, patiently as the customer service rep explained that while they were going to be eliminating the MCW line, they would offer certain styles in 1x... and that's all I need! :)

On a scale of 1 to 10, I'd rate this item a 9, and only because it's just a smidge too full for me, but that's because I'm smack-dab in the middle of Misses and Plus. It is functional, purposeful and comfortable. Everything a good running top should be!


PS: If any retailers are unsure as to the demand for Athena/Clydesdale technical apparel, checkout the Athena/Clydesdale board on http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/, just for starters. My feeling is that companies who are offering extended sizing, don't publish/advertise it enough. For instance, I had been wearing MC sports bras for over a year and never knew they offered the MCW line, until I read it in Misty's blog. I'm sure there are other business challenges/cost issues that come with offering to a smaller population, but it would be sooo appreciated and eventually some of these Athena/Clydesdales won't be any longer and when they have to buy new apparel, where do you think loyalties will sit? For me it's a no-brainer. :)

Weekend Wrap-up

Family arrived on Thursday and I've been going non-stop since. Seems like being at work is the time I get a break. Don't mistake me, I enjoy the time with them, I just think the irony is funny.

Saturday was Cass' Birthday party at the local gymnastics place and it was a hit. A great time was had by all and I even snuk in a few bounces on the trampoline. Would have *played* more, but the coaches were giving me that "no-no" look. After the party we hit the pool for a while. Everyone was zonked by the end of the day.

I had every excuse lined up to avoid my 5 mile run on Saturday morning, but went anyway. When I arrived the running group cancelled the run because of the dramatic lightening storm going on. Thankfully a friend from my tri group who also runs with the running group, invited me to her house to the run in. If she hadn't invited me, it would have been too easy to let it go for the day.

The run was great and running with her (or a little behind her after a couple miles) made the time go fast. At the end I was pleased. My last mock 5 mile race I ran at 1:10. I ran my 5 miles on Saturday at 1:04 or 12:49 pace (great for me!); I'm guessing it was the more comfortable weather making it easier to breathe. An improvement, or small victory, to say the least. :)

On Sunday we hit Schlitterbahn, and I didn't feel badly about not going out the exercise specifically. I walked around the lazy river and climbed many flights of steps up the water amusements. We finished the night with a quick cookout and collapsed on the couch!

I have a 40 minute easy run for today.
Hill training on Tuesday.
Bike/run/Bike brick on Wendesday - in prep for the Du
Run tempo on Thursday
Off On Friday
6 mile run Saturday
Long Bike on Sunday

Friday, August 28, 2009

Friday Fill-ins #139

1. He was a lyin', cheatin', lazy, P.O.S. anyway. You're way better off!

2. The cooler weather, more comfortable training and increased running pace times is what I look forward to most this time of year.

3. My best friend is truly authentic and I adore her. (Of course she loves purses too. :)

4. It's more than challenging, to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be over-analyzed. Sometimes things ARE exactly as they seem.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was my neice, Hopie.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to running errands with Mom, tomorrow my plans include a 5 1/2 mile run and a 5 year old's Birthday Party (my Daughter!) and Sunday, I want to get in my LD swim, have fun at Schlitterbahn and cook-out in the evening!


Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

MoMuJo: A Quickie

You must have long range goals to keep you from being frustrated by short range failures.

—Charles Noble.

Thursday Thirteen!

13 things I'll do while Mom and the neices are visiting from NJ:

  1. Pick them up, on time, from the airport. I hate waiting, why should I make them wait?
  2. I will get my long run in, regardless of their visit on Saturday morning (5 1/2 miles) and a long swim on Sunday (1.5 miles)
  3. My Duaghter's birthday party is on Saturday. We will have a great time at the gymnastics place -- even if it is crazy with 27 kids! (more boys than girls, incidentally)
  4. Schlitterbahn Water Park - 'nuf said. That's for our Sunday fun
  5. I will try to keep in mind that my Mom is who she is and that she won't change. The choices she makes has nothing to do with me. I can only accept her as-is and love her (which I do!) and hope that she "gets it" someday.
  6. There will be some grilling-out this weekend. YUM!
  7. There will be pool-fun.
  8. I will be patient with my nieces, and try not to ring their necks when they get all "whack"
  9. Immediately upon departure of my "guests", I will have to begin the re-programming of my Daughter. "No, you cannot stay up until midnight." "No, you may not talk to me that way." "Where are your manners?" "What's with the whining?", "Why all the screaming?"
  10. There will be hugs and comfort when the cousins leave; Cass will miss them and all the fun they had together.
  11. I will have to explain, again, how we can't just hop and plane to NJ whenever we decide/want to. That's why we have the "web cam".
  12. I'll want to talk to my Mom about her health -- or lack of proactive care. She's getting older; she needs to get to a doctor for a physical. She just won't.
  13. I'll want to talk to my Mom (again) about her smoking, but probably won't. I genuinely believe she tries (kinda like I did, dieting when I was a kid), so I feel hypocricitical -- that said, it is her health, damnit!


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Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Last night the thermometer in my car actually read 89 degrees! It was amazing to see that at 7pm -- so I was psyched for my run! LOL -- psyched and run in the same sentence... that's a head-shaker for sure!

I met up with my running club for a 40 minute "easy" run. I was doing pretty well until I needed a potty break. :) No matter though definitely would have hit a full 5K without the stop and I'm good with that. My average pace was fin--I think I need to try to run more, I think. I might go to 4/1 intervals in a couple weeks.

Today will be my first day of actual "hill" training, where we run over the Kemah bridge. I'm not exactly looking forward to it, but I know it will make me stronger and I will do it without complaint.

Thursday night will be my first night for a "tempo" run. I've never done that before either, but again it will make me a better runner. Basically you run a 1/3 of your time at your desired marathon pace. I've yet to determine what that pace is for me though. Everyone says you have to pick one and set a goal, but I feel like it puts pressure on me; I don't know. Suppose it's just another siutation where it is mental over the physical. I will pick one though; probably around a 12:30 pace.

TOTALLY missed my acupunture appointment (for my thyroid) yesterday because I was only thinking about picking up my Daughter from her first day of Kindergarten and finding out from her teacher how her first day went. :-/

Food Bloggin for 8/25 *updated*

2 egg whites, 1 egg
3/4 oz. Lowfat Cheddar
Ezekiel English Muffin
1/2 and 1/2 for Coffee

Lunch *Updated*
Pei Wei Children's Chicken Teriyaki, 1 serving
Pei Wei Children's Portion - Brown Rice, 1 serving*
20 grapes

They actuall provide 2 servings of brown rice with the kids portion -- I ate it all. The change up'd my carb intake (great for my hill training day) and lowered my fat intake. Not too worried about the calories, since I am running tonight.

PM Snack
Cascadian Farm Granola Bar

1 Flatout Light Wrap
4 oz. Turkey Breast
1/2 C. Fresh Spinach

PM Snack
1 C. Cantaloupe
1/2 Cup 2% Cottage Cheese
Total Calories: 1,351
Carbohydrates: 125 g
Fat: 40 g
Protein: 111 g

Monday, August 24, 2009

This Week's Plans

This week will be a busy one! My Daughter's 5th birthday is being celebrated early, while her couins are in town visiting. I am commiting to keeping my running schedule, regardless.

45 minute (easy) run (nothing is easy in this heat!)

Hill Training at Kemah bridge (yeah, the one I just biked over)

Swim 1,650 (easy)

35 Minute Tempo run
Family arrives!


Long (easy) run - 5 mile
Daughter's birthday Party!

Long Bike (might run/bike/run in prep for Du the Bear)

Cassie started Kindergarten today. She was excited last night and couldn't sleep last night, but today was more nervous. I saw her off to school; no tears for me (or her), but I'm sure that next year, when she goes to public school, I'll shed a few. She's doing Kindergarten where she's been since a young toddler, so the transition doesn't seem that big of a change, and that's good for both Cassie and Mommy. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

2009 Clear Lake Int'l - Race Report

Well, there really isn't much about this race to report. I participated on an Olympic distance relay team, taking care of the bike leg. I will admit the week before I was sort of bummed I didn't sign up for the individual sprint.

This tri was in my "backyard". Our tri club was a huge presence at the event, so it was nice to have the other clubs to "our house", so to speak. It was cool. :) I love that our club has so many different kinds of athletes and all accepted, no matter your skill ability.

I got there early to help wherever I could -- Elysha joined in the volunteer fun too, so it was nice to have a personal cheerleader there! Getting there early meant I could pick where I wanted to rack (on my assigned rack anyway). So I found my number, racked, set-up and then went to go volunteer. That mainly meant policing transition and checking the athlete's bikes before they entered. I was surprised how many folks were missing their end caps! I mean, so much so, maybe it was a sign, or something. LOL

Anyway, about 30 minutes before the race start, I learned that the relay folks were supposed to rack on bikes outside of transition (???). To me that was strange. D, our runner, went to go find my bike and gear to bring them to the correct rack for me because we were super busy getting athlete's in. She comes back and tells me that my bike is not on the rack?

"Huh? You're kidding, right?"

It's not like I have a desireable bike. I mean it is fine for me, but it's a 2003 Specilized road bike -- If was going to steal someone's bike, it would be a tri bike! LOL of any kind! LOL

So I left to go check for it. I'm not sure where D check, but thankfully my bike was where I left it. In her defense, it was a little crazy in transition -- people were just all wrapped up tight yesterday, it seemed. Relayers were frustrated becauase of the way their swimmers had to exit and we had to ensure they ran over the timing mat.. it was, I admit, pretty jacked up. Oh well... just some more of that race adversity stuff you have to deal with and move forward.

Anyway, S, our swimmer had a good swim, doing a .93 mile in 33:19. That put us in 2nd place after the swim. 24.6 mile bike was 1:33 -- that dropped us to 4th place. Poor D had a repeat of my show last week, getting sick on the run, but finished the 10K in 1:19 -- total time was 3:28, for fifth place.

I have to admit, my bike was "okay", but not great. My average speed was 15.9 for the 24.6 miles, and that's decent for me. I could have drank a little more, and maybe a shot block or two. It was strange though; I just seemed to feel dips in my energy, but then I would feel good again. I sometimes wonder if my interval training, for running, impacts my performance on the bike. I run 3 minutes and walk 2. I'm told your body gets used to that 2 minute break -- I wonder if that carries over into the bike? The Kemah bridge is always a challenge. I really need to figure out how to prep and attack it properly. That's a picture of it above, but that's only half of it. It's just a long, steady climb, and if you don't know how to climb it, you crawl it at 7mph, like I do. :) And remember, the term "hill" is relative to our hills in the Galveston county part of Houston -- our hills are bridges and overpasses!

I didn't burn it up on the bike, but my goal was to finish at >16mph and have energy where I needed it most, because I knew I would need it at the end to overtake who I thought would be the 3rd place team and I did just that. :) I just kept that team's rider in my sight, and made sure I could at least finish ahead of her. In the end, that third place team came in 4th anyway. LOL Oh, well! Good times anyway.

Oh, and just for the record, there were only 2 Athena entries! LOL I could have placed on the olympic distance, no matter how pitiful I did! Funny, huh? Though it would have sucked if I couldn't make it through the swim! That's okay though -- I'm going to be ready for my Oly next April -- I'm actually getting excited. :)

Next Up: Du the Bear, a run/bike/run and Firethorne (a sprint)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Fill-ins

1. I remember, I remember my bicycle from when I was kid: pink with a flowered banana seat.

2. Dear Dad, I want you to know that no matter what has happened in the past between us, I forgive you and accept you for who you are, and love you just the same.

3. Is that my ass in that picture???!!!

4. I'm trying to resist the temptation of office snacks.

5. I'm saving a hug just for you!

6. If I made a birthday list something totally frivolous that I wouldn't buy for myself would definitely be on it!!!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to date-night with Hubs on Saturday. Tomorrow my plans include doing the bike portion of a relay team for the Clear Lake International Tri and Sunday, I want to get my 4.5 miles run, then relax!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thursday Thirtee: Foodilicious

And for this week, 13 things about nutrition (in my world):

1) Trying to avoid Soy and Peanuts for my thyroid is really challenging. It's like a kid trying to avoid HFCS in treats.

2) Trying to switch to organic Dairy and veggies, as possible. This, too, is supposed to help my thyroid via my body's biochemistry. Been reading "Master Your Metabolism" in an effort to be kind to my Thyroid and have it play nice with me.

3) 3 nutritionally *valuable* foods I can't go without: Fage Yogurt, Ezekiel English Muffins and in-season fruit

4) 3 nutritionally *cheap* foods I think about: ice cream, candy corn and those right out of the oven, really-bad-for-you, muffins that I pass in the grocery store every weekend. They really do call my name, but I ignore them.

5) I've been on a salad entree kick lately with the California Roll Salad, the Mexican Crab salad and the Avocado and Grape Tomato Salad. Too bad for Hubs, most have Cucumbers in them, which he loathes. I really do feel bad, but a girl's gotta eat what she craves and for some reason cucumbers, in season, are "it" right now.

6) One of my favorite "dips": PB2, Yogurt, Agave nectar (or your favorite sweetener) and Vanilla with Sliced Apples. Have to substitue my PB2 for Almond butter now to avoid the Peanuts. :(

7) One of my favorite snacks: Apples and reduced fat cheese, Turkish (dried) apricots stuffed with almond butter are good too! Speaking of snacks, just found Kind bars. Higher in (good) fat, and all natural -- another great training snack, I think. Cranberry Almond and Mango Macadamia are my faves (no peanuts and no soy).

8) I am mostly a creature of habit when eating, especially breakfast and lunch (I eat breakfast every day). Dinner, I often wing it.

9) When I have plenty of time to cook I like to try new "healthy" things. I found a recipe for Flourless Brownies on Whole Foods' blog. Interestingly enough they use black beans in them (strange, I know). I might try making them this weekend, but substituting a couple other things -- maybe they'll fall under the "I made it!" tag on a future entry. :)

10) I think I need to focus on better nutrition during training and tris. I need to get a better understanding of the fundamentals in order to create and focus on some goals. This is particularly important if when I want to do my first olympic distance next April at Lonestar.

11) I'm trying to eat fish twice a week, but it's not really happening, but I've been good about taking my CorOmega. Getting my vitamins happens on most days, but I admit I slip some days, and that should not happen at all.

12) I'm opting to give out activity books to the kids at my Daughter's birthday instead of candy -- does that make me unhip? Will it make Cassie uncool?? Not that it matters, really, I'm the Mom and what I say goes. :)

13) Totally random: Brussel sprouts taste better roasted in garlic and olive oil than they do steamed with butter. If you don't like brussel sprouts and you've never tried them roasted, then try them. Unfortunately, brussle sprouts are not thyroid-friendly either, I think.


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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Avocao & Grape Tomato Salad - YUM!

Avocado & Grape Tomato Salad
by Whole Foods

Serve with broiled salmon -- the simplicity is what sets it apart, so refrain from adding additional ingredients!

Serves 3

This delectable salad proves that fresh, high quality ingredients taste superb with little adornment. Halved grape tomatoes and avocados join onions, parsley, cilantro, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt in this perfect side dish or simple appetizer with tortilla chips. Can be prepared up to four hours ahead of serving, making it convenient for those summer days when you're constantly on the go.

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, or mixture of both
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 white onion, chopped
2 avocados, chopped
High quality sea salt, such as Fleur de Sal

In a non-reactive glass bowl toss together tomatoes, parsley, oil, lemon juice, and onions. Add avocados and salt and toss gently. Chill if not serving immediately.

Per serving (212g-wt.): 190 calories (140 from fat), 16g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 3g protein, 13g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium

Monday, August 17, 2009

Race Report: 2009 Sweet & Twisted Triathlon - *Updated*

Wow!What a great event! It was run well, organized and challenging.

Admittedly, I was not looking forward to traveling for another tri, but did so because their bike jerseys were super cute and cheap too (relative to bike jersey prices). The fact that I'm twisted enough to even do a tri in Texas, in August, I think qualifies me as well. Thank goodness Elysha is as twisted as I am, because at the least I had someone to commiserate and celebrate with, because you know you do both during the sport of triathlon, because you hate the fact that you actually love this stuff. :)

We were also joined by Angel, a beginner triathlete (this was her second tri) -- and even with her challenges she hung in there. She was terribly short on sleep (by about 7 hours) and had not eaten anything. Virtually no sleep and lack of nutrition won't help any finish. Kudos to her for completing the swim and the 5k though! The bike was challenging enough, without having the added challenges -- So Angel, if you read this, don't beat yourself up. You could have easily just sat on your ass the rest of the race instead of doing the 5K -- so don't worry about it!

Right after we picked up our timing chips we were headed down to the swim start to check it out. I heard someone calling my name, but I knew Angel and Elysha were next to me. All of a sudden this girl comes up to me and it's one of my former co-workers, Melissa. She was there doing her first tri with a few friends. We helped them get setup and acquainted with how things work -- it is such a small world!

The tri was at Pace Bend Park on Lake Travis. Right now Lake Travis is about 30 feet low (click on the picture to see the full-size) -- only 20 ft from it's lowest point ever in 1951. The Red Licorice Sports folks were on the ball, testing the water quality of the lake and communicating results to the racers, so we knew it would be safe. It was obvious from their volunteers and staff they were not just supportive, but wanted everyone to be safe.

So, the swim. Holy cow! Now, I knew the lake was low, but you don't really get what they mean by "low" until you see it.

It was so low it made the transition from swim-to-bike that much longer! Navigating the dried-out, rocky, sandy bottom of the lake was a challenge. They let us bring our shoes to the swim exit to help us navigate the rocks hills and loose gravel. You can tell from the picture (above), but as you pass that 1st arrow, there was a downhill drop that we had to trek up for the swim exit to T1. I didn't know what I should do footwear-wise. I think next time I need to bring a pair of crummy sneakers for the "dash" to T1. My running shoes now look like I went hiking on a rainy day in them! Thank goodness I'm needing a new pair!

Anyway, here's my Garmin data. I think I was SUI (swimming under the influence). From looking at the Garmin I obviously can't swim a straight line to save my life. Look at all that wasted energy! I wish I had worn it last week so I could have seen how badly I swam off course the 2 times I did. This is pretty funny to look at. That part of the course, that is the straight line going up? Nope. there's no water there, even though you see it on the satellite picture. Another showing of how low the water was... it was jut incredible.

I had some issues with my Garmin, but they were totally user related. I got it working for the swim, but after that, who knows? I have to got to take time to figure this thing out! LOL I spent the first 5 minutes of the run trying to get my interval program started! For whatever reason it is so much easier for me to keep pace with the timer going. I have got to practice and get better with it.

In the end my official swim was 15:59 for the 500 m. that's better than my 16:30 the week before. I did keep in mind my swimming tips from the clinic again, but everything felt more natural. I spent more time in proper form, with my head in the water stroking, than I have in the past. I had some trouble breathing because of sinus issues and allergies, but I was fine. I just couldn't swim my normal 3 stroke pattern.

Dash to the transition was NOT a "dash" for me... I chose to navigate the rocks and sand carefully and slower to avoid a twisted ankle or some other injury that might put me out of my running training for the half-mar. I jogged into the transition when I got about 2/3's of the way there. Actual transition time was just 2:51, and considering I had wet, dirty feet to deal with, I'm not disappointed.

The bike. The course had good-sized rolling hills with a couple of doozies. It was a 2 loop course I had never ridden before. I had several incidents where I was in the wrong gear and that cost me lots of energy on my climbs, but the second loop was so much better since I knew what to expect. My legs were super tired from the swim and because you hit a steep climb right at the bike start, I didn't have time to spin my legs like I usually do. It took me a few miles to get my legs back, and even then I was still tired. The second loop was much, much better. I didn't have a great finish time on the bike, but then I'm never very good in the hills either because I don't train in them. That said, a piddly 12.2 mph pace got me though; really, I'm not complaining. :) I did have some moments of greatness where I shifted perfectly, and I love when that happens. I think my max downhill speed was 38.8 mph... that was wild fun! This is one of those courses that if you practice it, you'd definitely see big improvement each time and the more fun you can have navigating the downhill -- kind of like Danskin, but much a much prettier course.

I made it back from the bike and transitioned to the run in (very slow for me) 3:19. By now we had lost our cloud cover and it seemed like the heat just spiked. Of course it was a run, so I was having a hard time anyway, but by the time I got to mile 2 I had this wave come over me. I got tingling in my jaw and knew I was going to get sick (and did), if you know what I mean. I was so embarrassed. I never had that sort of thing happen to me before. I guess it's a reminder that I am still a beginner, but I like to think I was having so much fun it made me hurl... so we'll leave it at that :) Anyway, the volunteers rocked. They packed my top with iced, cold sponges and filled my bottle with Ice for me. They made sure I was okay to go on. In a few minutes I was on my way. I walked, more than ran the last mile, but jogged it in over the line. I should have taken the cue from my heart rate monitor though; when it wouldn't drop during the walk part of my interval, I should have known something wasn't right. My run time was 51:50 (oh well). I can't wait until the cooler weather and better run times... I look forward to it!

What really rocked is, they had towels, water, water bottles, medals AND cupcakes left, even for us slower finishing folks. The finishers medals were very cool. Red and White enameled dog tags with the event logo on them and year -- Loved them!

Average Finishers' Time: 02:20:51
My Finishing time: 02:33:26

500m Swim: 15:59
"Dash" 05:50
T1: 02:51
15mi Bike: 01:13:34:10
T2: 03:19
5K Run: 00:51:50:997

Total Time: 02:33:26

What I did well:
- Swimming. I keep getting better!
- Head game was good this time. Could have easily let the unexpected bike course bother me, as well as getting sick on the run, but I kept positive and focused on how lucky I am to be able to do these things.

What to remember for next time:
- Practice with my Garmin; I might have gained time on my run if I hadn't been futzing with it so much.
- Crummy sneaks for the "dash" to T1
- Extra water bottle in transition to rinse off feet
- Ride the hills; if I want to get better at them.
- That sometimes you're not always there to "win" or have YOUR best show. I'm glad I was there to support Angel and help Melissa and her friends with their first tri!
- Listen to your body -- if your heart rate doesn't come down while you're walking, there's a reason for it!

Turns out Melissa and her friends had a blast too and they're already planning on doing another! So good for them! I think Melissa finished 02:22. Not bad for a first triathlete!



Note to self: The next time the race organizers decide to give a separate time for, and name, the transition from swim-to-bike, you gotta know that's a challenge all of it's own! :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Fill-ins

1. When will I be okay with my body?

2. The Slow, Fat Triathlete was the last good book I read or movie I saw or tv show I watched.

3. Everything has its beauty but you have to be "present" to see it.

4. 3/4th of a Subway 6" is what I had for dinner.

5. I'd like your sinuses, please. Can we trade?

6. In a good, positive mental place is where I want to be right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting myself together to leave for Austin, tomorrow my plans include picking up my race packet for Sweet & Twisted and lunch somewhere in Austin and Sunday, I want to race well, keep positive and come home!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Mind Matters

Wow... just was researching the book "Mind Gym". I think I want to read it... in fact, I think I need to read it.

Here are some quotes from it:

Competition is won or lost on the six inch playing field between the ears. Practice the seven C's (Competitive, Confident, Control, Committed, Composure, Courage, Consistency) of mental toughness. Learn to love the competition. Pg 28

It takes years of hard work to become an overnight success. Are you willing to make the commitment and pay the price. Pg 69

Learn how to fail successfully. Hate to fail but never fear it. Learn to view failure as feedback. Pg 80

You cant outperform your self image. - Dennis Connor. Pg 81

Discipline means doing what you have to do when you need to do it, whether you want to or not. Pg 95

The more you hurry the later you get. When you find yourself rushing you are no longer in the present. Pace instead of race. Pg 144

The less tension and effort, the faster and more powerful you will be. - Bruce Lee / The way to run faster is with four fifths effort. Just take it nice and easy. - Bud Winters Pg 145

The will to win is important, but the will to prepare to win is vital. - Joe Paterno

Thursday Thirteen

And for this week, 13 things about the Summer coming to an end and going back-to-school:

1) I love the Summer, when school gets out, because the traffic drops tremendously. During hte school year it takes me 10 to 15 minutes longer to get to work, and that's 10 to 15 more minutes of frustration a day. I suppose I need to learn to relax in my car -- maybe some Mind Gym audio for my car would be productive?

2) Back-to-school means Cass-a-frass' birthday is close. I think it's hilarious how excited she gets for a birthday party. I mean, in an almost 5 year old's world it absolutely IS everything. I think she's planned several different suare's, but we've settled on a Tinkerbell theme and a party at the local gymnastics place. :)

3) I hate the heat... I know, I've said it before, but this Summer was just styfeling... suffocating.. yuck! It's nice to know that in just 6 to 8 weeks we'll get a cold-snap... just maybe. :)

4) End of the Summer also means the end of my personal tri schedule. There are a couple I might contemplate, but I think I'm done for the year after August is through. I will look towards focusing on my running and half-marathon goals, but will continue to cross-train with biking, swimming and weights.

5) I do enjoy the sounds of everyone playing by the pool. Generally everyone is happy -- it's almost like escaping reality.

6) Schlitterbahn -- the best summertime fun, even if I have to prance around in a swimsuit all day long with people I don't know! :)

7) Family/friends cookouts. Love the company and smells.

8) Kind of indirect, but I love listening to my Springsteen music. Reminds of back home, "down the shore" -- good times!

9) Fresh fruit!

10) I always feel more motivated for training/exercising in the cooler weather. I look forward to feeling like there is nothing I won't do or try.

11) The end of Summer means, back to school, which means the holidays will be upon us. I actually enjoy the holidays with family and friends, even though they get hectic. I look forward to heading out to the pumpkin patch and picking out a Christmas tree with Cassie -- she just enjoys it so much -- and so do Darren and I!

12) The Summertime blues... We want Summer to end for all the bad reasons, but once it does we long to have it back. LOL

13) I don't know why but school uniforms and shiny new backpacks make me happy -- I don't know why. :)


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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Mind's Gym

This was posted to a running board by someone and forwarded to me. I really like what it says.

"I saw an interesting piece on 60 Minutes about Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria. No doubt, the man has great talent; however, he went unnoticed until college. He went from being a pretty good high school ball player, to one of the best in the Major Leagues. During college, he started to train his brain. It was that training that paid off for him.

I could not help but think that training for and completing a marathon or a half marathon takes more than just running. We also need to train our mind like we train your body. Willie Mays once said, "What you are thinking, what shape your mind is in, is what makes the biggest difference of all." And, more simply put by Yogi Berra "it's 50% physical, the other 90% is mental". Mental training teaches us to think clearly and use our mind effectively. We must learn not to chase bad thoughts. Each week visualize yourself completing a distance you knew you could reach. Don't think things like, "How do I expect to run 26 miles when I can't even run 5, 10 or 15." Imagine yourself doing things well. Make your images as vivid and as clear as you can. Learn to turn your negative critic into a positive coach. On your training runs, learn to train your brain by not allowing yourself to think negatively. Stop saying "this is hard" or "it's too hot", and replace with "it feels good to be alive" and "the only thing hotter than the sun is me".

Some other thoughts, learn to forget and stay in the moment. If you made a mistake or just had a bad training run or race, learn from it, but also forget about it. You can't change the results. And unfortunately, beating yourself up for a poor run simply does not help. In fact, it may just set you up for more struggles in future runs. We need to stay in the moment. When lined up for the marathon, I can't let myslef worry about what happened in the last marathon or training run.

During a marathon or a half, you'll have a lot of time by yourself. At some point, you may question the sanity of the situation or just simply will feel uncomfortable. Just let that thought or feeling go, think positively, and finish what you started. Keep telling yourself that you're strong, well prepared, and will succeed. Go back to your visual images of success. To be honest, I have on many occasions allowed the negative thoughts to take over. Some of those negative thoughts just creep in almost unnoticed. Before I knew it, the race was over and I've been defeated. Conversely, I have had some races that were getting tough, but by staying positive and focuses in on the moment, I've had some great success.

A lot of these thought and statements came from a book called "Mind Gym." If you ever get a chance, read it. Personally, I need to do more mental training for distance events."


The Man Who Thinks He Can

If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you like to win, but you think you can't. It is almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost,
For out in the world we find success begins with a fellow's will. It's all in
the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself before you can even win a prize.
Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man
But soon or late the man who wins is the man who thinks he can

Monday, August 10, 2009

Race Report: Bridgeland Tri

So the basic lesson of this weekend was live and learn. Make your choices and accept the turnout form making said choices and beat adversity. No, really, beat adversity. :)

With the tri on Sunday I was really torn about doing the swim clinic I had scheduled and paid for already on Saturday night. But, there were a few other athletes doing the tri the next day (with similar experience/speed) so I figured I could just take the drills easy and still have some juice for race day. No worries. Normally the day before the race is a rest day, for obvious reasons.

But then I decided, in my infinite wisdom, I should do my running group's 5 miler on Saturday morning. My thinking was that it was super important to stay on top of my mileage in order to meet my half-marathon goals, so I would still do it and suck-up the losses on my tri performance. I did it and I did pretty well, so from that point it was worth it to see my running progress. I'm right where I need to be, and that's a good thing! I also knew that doing it could screw me up for the tri the next day, but decided if I hydrated and rested appropriately I would, in theory, still have a full 24 hours before I even hit the water for the swim.

Bridgeland is a community just outside of Houston off of 290. It's fairly new, so not very developed. Nice landscaping, flat roads... nothing really unique, but when you drive through, you think, "this is a nice place to live." The venue reminds me of Silverlake, where the tri course runs right inside and around a subdivision. Makes it seem smaller, and not so overwhelming of an event.

Elysha and I arrived with plenty of time to spare and we setup in transition accordingly. We took a stroll around the entire lake and made it back to the swim start with plenty of time to spare. I will say that I was definitely more relaxed, I didn't feel so nervous - not to be mistaken for not being ready to race, because I certainly was. I think in my head I needed to prove to myself that the 5 miler didn't take anything from me.

My open water swim of 482 yards was done in 16:30. I felt good because I finished midway in the Athena class, and even passed some swimcaps from the last wave. I knew I wouldn't be at the top, but I can tell I'm making improvements. I'm doing the 620 yards in openwater alone in 19 minutes -- so to be doing 16:30 in a race is definitely an improvement.

I will say though that the swim clinic tips were running through my mind the entire race! I kept trying to remember all the drills and their purposes: no crossing over, high elbows, keep close to the body, etc. With all that running through my head it was like re-learning my stroke. It was somewhat confusing, but that's what happens when you learn new stuff and want to apply it! Oh, and I swam of course, outside of the bouys, not once but twice! LOL

My transition was 2 minutes and 4 seconds from swim to bike. I chose to spin a little the first few minutes of the bike instead of fighting the slight headwind. It wasn't that heavy, but my legs were tired from the swim. I took a moment to hydrate and throw back some shotlbocks to ensure I would have plenty of energy enough to use the tailwind to my advantage later. :) One of my Daily Mile friends was at the race too, and when I passed her on the bike she commented about it... I told her not to worry, she'd catch me on the run for sure. But sure enough she stepped it up and I heard her behind me, pretty close for a while. She thanked me for making her work -- so I take that as a complimeent. I felt pretty good, despite the burn, and was keeping between 16 and 19 mph. Until... dun, Dun, DUN....

Mile 12.

"Houston we have a problem."

With 3 miles to go I had a vibration in my bike. I didn't know what it was at first, but it turned out my tire went down. I'm wicked with a front tire change, but the rear? Ugh! why did it have to be the rear?! I never can seem to get it back on right, or quickly. I started getting ticked at all the people passing me -- the ones I felt so good about passing just moments ago. Argh!

Anyway, with the tire changed I was on my way again. My average speed, excluding the mechanical stop was 16.2 mph, but with the stop, it brought me to 13.4. mph :( Oh well.

Of course the flat played with my mental game, or lack thereof now. I was so mad -- I had 2 flats on my long ride (but my front tire) last weekend, so that made for 3 in one week? Come on! Isn't 2 pennance enough? Plus I had to replace my tire entirely, and they're not that cheap!

My bike to run transition was longer than it should have been. I sat down on my as$$ to put on socks. I wasn't rushing because I wanted to make sure I was as ready and as comfortable for the run as I could be. By now it was almost 9am and it was hot. I mean HOT, like you-can't-breath-Africa-HOT. I had my One Coconut Water (that I froze the night before) mixed with my CytoMax and it was still cold -- YUM. I was chuggin' away, trying to keep to my intervals. I was dying before the first mile was up. My legs were burning like I had never felt before. I knew I was going to be miserable.

But wait! Was it a mirage? Mile 2 offered some shade and soft paths. I did find some relief there, but still could barely do a 3/2 interval. I dropped to 2/2 and eventually did a couple 1/2's! I saw one of my BAM teammates ahead of me and that was enough for me to get caught up to her to share our misery. She had walked the whole thing and wasn't feeling well at all. I offered her some shot blocks, commiserated, and was on my way to finish the last 1/4 mile.

I crossed with a miserable finish of 2 hours, 13 minutes (longer than it took to do the Danskin!) But I finished and I did not quit, and that's the most important thing.

Finished 15 out 21 in the Athena class

482 yards: 00:16:30
Rank: 7th


15 miles: 01:02:29 (w/rear flat tire change)
Average speed: 13.4 (16.2 excluding tire change stop)
Rank: 12th


3.4 miles: 00:49:02
Pace: 00:15:12
Rank: 15th

Total Time

Things I did well:
  • Swim practice is paying off.
  • I think I practiced good strategy on the bike with the headwind vs. tailwind and didn't burn it up the moment I started riding. I rode smart, I think.
Things I can improve on:
  • Start doing all the swim drills I learned. By the way, the clinic coach got a total kick out of the fact that I pretty much learned to swim from You Tube. :)
  • Quit letting things affect my headgame! I'm getting better every day. Equipment will fail and things won't always go my way. Beating the adversity is part of being good and flexible. I will change this.
  • Keep running; I am getting better (my 5 miler on Saturday proved that to me)
  • On rest days, rest, if performing well is important to me. Period. End of story.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

5 Miler Fun Results

We had our mock race with my running group on Saturday. They refer to it as the 5 miler. It was a fun event, and of course the volunteers and coaches are always great cheerleaders and help you make it through.

At first I did not register for the event because it was the day before Bridgeland -- you know that whol rest-before-race-day thing, but I didn't want to get behind on mileage so I sucked it up and decided the larger loss would be to fall behind in my marathon mileage and I went ahead and did it.

Today, now that I finished Bridgeland, I only regret it a teensy-weensy bit. I'm not sure if it was the 5 Miler run or the drills from the swim clinic last night, but I did not feel as fresh as I normally do... will post more about the tri later.

So I kept with my 3/2 intervals the entire duration of the race. I think I finally found a pace I can maintain and grow from.

Distance: 5.09 miles
Time : 01:10:41
Average Pace: 13:52
Best Pace: 9:28

Maybe I'm one step cloer to finding my inner runner... maybe. :)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Frday Fill-ins - Late Again!

1. Fresh brewed iced tea is my favorite summertime beverage.

2. My favorite John Hughes movies is The Breakfast Club.

3. Nice leather is something I love to touch.

4. The full moon is nice to see while stretching after a run.

5. Do it right now.

6. When daylight fades, so do I!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to the 5 miler. Tomorrow my plans include running, swimming and resting and Sunday, I want to do well at the tri!

Thursday Thirteen - What Annoys Me Edition

And for this week, 13 things that get to me:

1) Being late. I just hate it. Others can be a little late, but when they're lots late, that really annoys me. If I can recognize your time is valuable and be on time, so should you. :)

2) Losing balance. I can lose balance of everything and when I do it's easy to get crabby and stressed about it. It is an effort for me to remember the big picture and not be so worried about getting to everything, or letting something slide without feeling guilty.

3) Know-it-alls. I hate when people tell you, "I know", when you know damn well they didn't know until the 2.6 seconds before when you initially informed them. Why is it so wrong not to know something? When did not knowing something make someone less?

4) Sappy songs and commercials. Yes, they get to me. Ever since I was a kid, they get to me. I could not listen to the theme from "Lassie" without crying (we had a Collie). I see it in my Daughter already. She'll get sad watching a Disney movie, but doesn't quite understand the "why" because she doesn't fully understand some of the dynamics. It's so sweet and innocent.

5) Being short on tools in my bike tool bag. I should never take for granted I am fully prepared without checking. It's just stupid. Period.

6) Food that bills itself as "healthy" that is anything but!

7) It bugs me that supermarkets on the other not-so-nice side of town don't get a good selection of healthy choices of foods. It struck me the other day when I could not find one whole or organic healthy choice in the frozen food section of the store. Don't these families deserve the opportunity to make healthy choices too?

8) When my technology doesn't effin' work. Like when I'm trying to synch my iPod right before leaving for my run. Ugh!

9) When it is 78 degrees outside, but feels like 108 because of the humidity.

10) Facebook applications; never know what is safe to accept.

11) That manufacturers don't believe plus-size athletes are worth the investment.

12) That I don't get enough vacation time to get back to NJ more often.

13) This is petty... LOL The iced drink lids at Starbucks suck!


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Catching UP!

I haven't been blogging much about training because it's been a super busy few weeks and trying to balance everything has been a challenge. When your 4 year old starts getting on you about not being home for "night-night time" or doesn't want you to exercise because "you're always exercising, Mommy." The guilt easily sets in.

Running: Joining Bay Area Fit has turned out to be a good thing for me. I'm glad I did it, even if it cost me some dollars. It's not getting the shorter runs in that's a problem, it's that LONG run I can find a million excuses to avoid. :)

Today was the "5 miler". It's a mock race where the runners go through the steps for registration and getting a race number, as well as a timed START and FINISH. I did the 5.08 in 1 hour and 10 minutes. I'll be interested in getting the official time today since I forgot to turn my Garmin off. Coach says in about 10 weeks, when we get the first cold snap, everyone will step up their speed; I can't freakin' wait!

Speaking of which I got a Garmin Forerunner 305 for just $129 at Best Buy!!! Darren found a "slick deal" on it and we had not seen it cheaper anywhere online or otherwise, so we jumped on it. Both of us are using it, it's been neat to use and review stats for progress.

Tomorrow is the Bridgeland Tri. I didn't rest today, but I think I'll be okay. If not, oh well. It's not like I'm breaking any records, but I didn't want to get too behind on my mileage. If I can make it through August, I will get some relief. Somehow I wound up with 3 tri's in one month.

Swimming: I've been getting better... not much more I can say about that. I made it about 650 meters in open water at our local lake in 18 minutes - the first time I went out there it took me 26 and lots of resting on my back. :) Tonight I have a swim clinic, where they'll video my stroke and give me feedback. They're supposed to take it easy on us BAM'mers with the drills since some of are tri'ing tomorrow.

Biking: It's all good there. Average speed is around 16 mph still. Been doing my long rides on Sunday -- last Sunday was a total mess though. A bonked rider (not me) to chaperon after just 6 miles, then 2 flats (for me!) and not enough C02 and a side-wall tire slit (also me!) . It was quite a ride.

Tri's: I have Bridgeland, Clear Lake and Sweet and Twisted this month.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Frday Fill-ins - Late Edition *sigh*

1. It's time for focus and not giving up, giving in or compromising.

2. Houston; it's not a bad place for those who don't mind "swamp ass"

3. I must be getting better running... I must be, right?

4. Baskin Robbins Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream is the best thing I have ever known. (It's either that or Grandma's breaded, fried pork chops!). LOL

5. My daughter is simply amazing. (that applies to my Hubs too!)

6. The last time I laughed really loudly was last night at bedtime, when Cass was getting a tickle attack. :)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to rest, tomorrow my plans include my long run with Bay Area Fit and Sunday, I want to get through my 30 mile ride and still have plenty of energy to finish Domestic Goddessing.

Thursday Thirteen - Musical Late Edition

And for this week, 13 songs that get me through running and *mean* something to me. :)

1) Fighter - Christina Aguilara

2) Soar - Christina Aguilara .

3) I'm a Survivor - Destiny's Child

4) Stronger - Brittany Spears

5) If Today Was Your Last Day - Nickleback

6) It's my Life - Bon Jovi.

7) Right Now - Van Halen

8) You Gotta Want It (when I want to get my 80's on) - Roberta Gold

9) I Am the Greatest - R. Kelly

10) The Climb - Miley Cyrus (I know... don't say it!).

11) Brave - Nicole Nordeman

12) (I ain't) Settlin' - Sugarland

13) This is Your Life - Switchfoot


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