Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Strong of Mind... Again

No.  The sky isn't falling -- though it might seem so with a second post in one day.  I just read a blog post, at Invictus, which really resonated with me.  Just to give appropriate credit, the entry was written by Sage Burgener (and her brother, Casey)

Go.  Now.  Read it.  (then come back).  I'll wait.  :)

The stuff he writes about commitment, and what it really means to commit to something.  I know that as committed as I may appear to be on some things, there are things which hold me back from committing fully.  These are my mental weaknesses. 

A portion of the letter reads, "Every decision you make should be a conscious one in becoming a better person. Every decision you make has meaning to it, and you pursue a better self constantly. The friends you choose, the people you surround yourself with... Surround yourself with people who want to make themselves better, and who in turn push you to make you better." 

I think this is one of the reasons I enjoy triathlon and time at my Crossfit gym so much.  I'm surrounded by awesome energy.  How could someone not want to be around that once you've had a taste of it?  In both sports, these people around me work nearly as hard to encourage one another as they work on themselves.  These are the kinds of people you want around to succeed.  People who believe in you on the days you're not such a believer in yourself.  The people who put momentary lapses into perspective, in that if you just move forward from the point of faltering, you are golden.  That's when you show your true strength.  

Have an amazing day. :)


Happy Leap Year!

Where's My Head?  So I have some responsibilities at work when the month ends... guess who came to work, super early, a full day early?!?  Ugh!  Leave it to me.  Happy Leap Year!

Training:  Training is going well and I've been fairly  consistent.  Mad spin is over and we start riding outside again beginning this weekend.  I'm looking forward to nothing longer than a 2 hour long ride this season. :)
Last weekend I ran the Kemah bridge for the first time.  Did a couple miles flat then an over and back.  I ran from the bottom to top without walking; I was very happy!  Plus my last 2 miles were faster than the first.  Yipee!  This weekend I have 2 over and backs on my schedule.  I'm determined to be ready for running this bridge since it's now part of the Kemah Triathlon run course.  No excuses; it's in my backyard.

I have what my coaches call a "crazy brick" in 2 weeks. It's usually a challenge that makes you feel like you are almost going to die, but in the end you're glad you did it (and look forward to the next beating).  I have a 30 minute run, 2 hour bike and 30 minute run (faster than the first).  I actually look forward to this kind of torture; makes me feel accomplished when it is all said and done.   

In other triathlon stuff, I'm going to be captaining the Transition Aid Station for the Ironman Texas folks.  We had our first captains' meeting last night.  Many are doing it a second year and lived through he trials and tribulations of a first-year race; seems like a great group of people.  Incidentally, if you want to come work the aid station there are 7 spots left to volunteer at the transition aid station with me, but there are a multitude of other opportunities throughout the 4 days of the event. Check out the opportunities here.  If you want to volunteer for my aid station, it's called "Transition Aid Station 5:30 - 10:30 am".  You don't need to be a triathlete either; just a desire to help 2500 athletes live their dream.  The Aid station will manage water and ice in Transition.  

At the end of the weekend the Ironman folks host a volunteer banquet just for the volunteers.  Aid stations compete for different prizes and get awards and schwag.  Schwag is always cool!  My only thing about schwag is getting stuff that says "Finisher" for something I didn't do!  Last night they gave us 2011 Ironman Texas hats that said "Finisher" -- I feel like it's bad karma to wear something that says "finisher" for a race you've never done!  Especially an Ironman cap -- you gotta earn that!  Still a nice thought on their behalf though.  Maybe I can take a red sharpie to it and "red" it out to match the bill of the cap. 

Paleo:  I've been spending time surfing the Internet looking for Paleo recipes.  I've found several online Paleo references online that are helpful, along with some bloggin' Paleo peeps.

One of my Favorite recipes came from Helen at Doing a 180.  She also has battled Thyroid stuff, and has been having success eating the Paleo way.  Helen introduced me to Ina Garten's the Grapefruit & Avocado salad.  Sounds really odd, but it is soooo tasty.

Bacon, Grape & Broccoli Salad
Another recent find was on Paleo Diet Lifestyle site, Bacon, Grape & Broccoli Salad.   I know, another strange combo, but so good! 

The single key to being successful eating this way is planning and prep.  You absolutely, positively have to ready to commit to this part of it.  Admittedly on Sundays, after a long-ass training weekend, the last thing I want to do is peel and roast a bunch of veggies -- but I do it because it makes the week easier. 

I started a "Paleo-friendly Recipes" board on Pinterest.  Some are already proper Paleo, some just give me inspiration to adapt something to the Paleo format. 

Crossfit Strong:  My Crossfitting is still plenty of fun.  I really enjoy doing it as much as I enjoy watching the strong folks I "play" with.  They are quite a motivating group.  I just love how they work hard to be their best and work equally hard to bring out the best in each other.  It's a good group of people to be around energy-wise, for sure!  I'm improving on the movements and getting stronger with lifting.  I PR'd my back squats last Friday end my 5x5's with 5 x 80k (that's 176 lbs.) -- previous PR was 1 x 70k.  I love how I feel when I leave... body is quivering, but you know you did yourself good. :)

That's about it for now

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Strength of Mind & Catch-up

"If you are going to win, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired. You’ve always got to make the mind take over and keep going." George S. Patton, a U.S. Army General & 1912 Olympian

Not much more to say about this than what it says, except that I am living proof of this very fact.  Everything about my body is in direct opposition to a typical triathlete.  There is really no physical reason why I should be able to make it through a 70.3.  I'm not built for speed, anyone can tell you that, but I'm strong physically and mentally -- probably my two biggest assets.

There I said something nice about myself. :)  Good deed for the day.

So I'm on day 24 of my Paleo eating and I'm down another lb. this week, for a total of 6.  The weight loss is great, but what is really awesome is how much better I am feeling.  My sleep is better, I wake up more refreshed, and seemingly have more energy to give to early-morning workouts.  I haven't really noticed any hormonal differences, but I hope that's just yet to come. 

There are a couple things I want to get better about:  I'd love to get used to drinking black coffee.  The only dairy left in my diet is the cream for my coffee.  The other thing is sleep.  I want to start getting a minimum of 7 hours of sleep, preferably 8.  That means going to bed at about 8:30pm, since I get up at 4:20 most days. I'm not certain either of these things can happen routinely. 

I don't really miss the dairy, gluten, beans, soy and peanuts, but I have to have my meals planned out so I'm prepared.  I can see where this can be an easy downfall.  A typical day looks like this:

2 eggs with Turkey Bacon and Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes
Organic Cream for Coffee

AM Snack
(On Days I eat super early or have a lunch workout, I snack)
1/2 Apple, 10 Almonds

Broccoli Slaw Mix with Chicken Breast, Strawberries, Slivered Almonds
Organic Poppy Seed Dressing
1/2 Sweet Potato

PM Snack
Celery sticks w/Almond Butter or maybe the other half of the apple and Almond butter

Meat and Veggie

One of the other challenges is finding stuff without Soy in it.  Soy Lecithin is in damn near everything!  I think I found some great macadamia nuts, and I check the label.  BOOM!  Ruined with soy added.  It's probably my single biggest frustration with eating this way.

I went to a food talk my chiro was hosting last week; tons of good info.  Specifically, she spoke about the importance of sleep.  Of course I've read everywhere how important it is for recovery.  I get that.  What I didn't know was the results of an interesting study.  They took folks, changed nothing about their diet or activity level.  Only made sure they were getting 8 hours of sleep, and they lost weight.  Our bodies take care of some hormonal homework while we're sleeping, so if we're not getting that sleep, we're interrupting the process!  Anyway, I thought it was interesting.  

My swims have been going well and I'm feeling pretty good in the water again -- although MC told me I'm crossing over on my stroke a bit, "We need to correct that." 

Running has been getting better and it seems that returning to the more cushioned shoe is helping my hip.  The hip isn't perfect yet, but it's definitely getting better.  The last two weeks after 2+ hours of spinning, I was able to pull out a 11:50ish mile on the last mile of each of the runs. It feels so good to see numbers like that from me.  Biking?  Well, since I've only been spinning I won't know until I hit the road and our last Mad Spin Class is this week.  I've been riding a lot at lunch time, trying for higher cadence, but I'm still so slow trying to keep in 90+.  Patience... patience.  I know.

I'm going to start hill training this week.  I've never run the Kemah bridge, so this weekend it starts. Plan is to take in a few miles first, then nice and easy, take the bridge over and back.  Kemah is just 2 months away! 

In other news, Cassie joined the "Sails" developmental team at TFC.  They meet 3 hours a week and she is absolutely loving it.  It's a joy to see her so happy swimming!  Everything else she's ever done... the dancing, gymnastics, karate, pales in comparison.  Just when you think she might be struggling, swimming her 50m, her head comes out of the water and she's grinning from ear-to-ear.  She's a hell of a "no breather" too!  She blows the other kiddos away, making it halfway across the pool, most of the time.  What tickled me though was when she said, "Mommy I like to go last, so I can win."  Hmmm, she's only slightly competitive.  LOL 

I sure hope she continues to enjoy it. Yesterday was a tough day for her to pay attention for some reason. The coach had to keep telling her to look at him while listening.  She didn't get all pouty and sad like she normally does when she thinks she disappointed someone.  Instead, she just did what he asked.  Later, towards the end of the session, she started dragging her arms across the water on her freestyle stroke.  He kept correcting her, staying on her.  I thought for sure she was going to get upset, but she didn't!  She made the correction and started swimming so much better.  I was sure to praise her and tell her how much the corrections help her learn and she said she was, "...always going to do what the coach says because it makes me faster."  LOL

Monday, February 13, 2012


Been busy-busy and lacking pretty well in the area of blogging.  Sad for the blog, but good for training and everything else. :)

First my Paleo progress has been good.  I'm down in weight each week, but more importantly I feel pretty good.  Energy for biking and swimming has been great!  Energy on runs was a little low it's coming together.  After a 2 hour bike yesterday, I negative split a 40 minute run.  I'd say that's a good thing.  :)

A bit bummed this past weekend though, in that I had to cancel a trip to Dallas to do the Hot Chocolate 15k with some friends.  I'm the Cookie Mom for my Daughter's troop and the "mega delivery" was this weekend.  I had to go out and get the troop's cookies.  Bummer.  The good thing is the BFF and I are looking for a more "eventful" event to do together.

The Cassinator is busy with swimming and gymnastics and today we're going to try out joining a "real" swim team.  This particular club offers a developmental team, and we were encouraged to get her to join.  It means I have to start my swims on M/W/F earlier, to get out of work early enough to get her there, but if she loves it and it turns out to be her "thing", then it's all worth it.

Hubs and I talk about it...  Take Michael Phelps.  Think about all thing things that had to happen the way that they did for him to do the amazing things he does?  He had to learn to swim, have the right coaches, committed parents, choosing the proper races and schools for exposure.  Plus so many things have to fall in place to have the epic success he has had.  So we say, "What if this her thing?" and do what we can to encourage it -- even if it drives Momma a little whacky. 

My hip has been on and off lately.  It's quite frustrating.  I went back through my training to figure out where things changed that might have an impact.  There were two things.  Running shoes were changed about a year ago (I've gone through 2 pairs) and my bike saddle was replaced.

I went from the Asics Cumulus to the Asics Tri Noosa.  I hated how heavy the Cumulus felt on my feet and felt the Tri Noosa, lighter weight, had enough cushion.

I ride a Cobb v-Flow saddle, but they make a V-Flow Max PLUS now, which is, Uhem... more appropriate for my size. :)  And I got some new handle bars.  After both of those changes I took a 3 hour spin after replacing the saddle and my knee was just screaming!  I've never had knee pain before, so that was a new one for me.  LOL

(Just want to take a moment to say how fabulous Ginger Cobb was!  I had been trying to find the saddle in white, but no retailers here had it available.  She was ready to go above and beyond and give me another saddle to use until their shipment came in!  I thought that was incredibly awesome!)

I immediately went back to my Magical-bike-fitter and it turned out my seat post had dropped and I needed general adjustments for the saddle and handlebars.  Everything is fixed and much more comfortable.  Cool.

My hip was feeling better and I did a fartlek run on Tuesday and it was just OK.  On Thursday, I did  Crossfit workout that had 250m runs in it.  I didn't have my proper running shoes that day and when I was done, so was my hip.  It hurt for the next  3 Days!

I got my new running shows; Asics Kayano (motion support and cushion) and hoped that after my hip felt feel better, I could start running in these.  I skipped my long run on Saturday because of the pain and hoped that after my 2 hour bike on Sunday I could get my 40 minute run in. 

As it turned out I had a great run after my spin.  I took it super easy (in the new running shoes, which are still heavy, but I know they are heavy with a purpose).  I concentrated on form form and went easy for the first 22 minutes.  On the way back, I continued to increase my speed and I was doing better than okay!  I was really surprised I was able to negative split the run.

So in the end I think perhaps the running shoes might be the culprit.  My entire first year of running I didn't have these kinds of problems, so that's kind of what prompted me to look at the things that have changed.  I guess time will tell if I found the root cause of the problem.  I sure hope so!

Gotta jet and pickup the kiddo; it's swim time!  :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Going Paleo

Eggs, tomatoes, green
chilis & ground turkey w/
roasted root veggies to
replace my oatmeal!
It goes without saying a large part of my challenges are weight related.  It holds me back in the head and holds me back physically.  I spend a large amount of time researching, reading and seeing doctors to learn to manage my issues.  It can get overwhelming because many professionals have quite steadfast opinions of what is a best practice, either based on their education or experiences. Every one of them sound like they know what they talk about... every one of them, so how can you choose?

I've tried many different "balances" of eating, from low-carb, good carbs, to just a balance of "clean" eating.  Nothing seems to change.  My thyroid numbers stay the same, yet I'm still symptomatic.  It's quiet disheartening in general, but even more so coming into training season again.

So I'm trying a new approach.  Something called Paleo.  Read about it here at Robb Wolf | The Paleo Solution. Or here Paleo Diet Lifestyle.  I tend more towards Robb Wolf's site -- I just like the research he does behind his answers.  It's pretty big in the Crossfit world too.  

Why am I trying something new?  Because everything I've done before is not getting results and I don't want to be dubbed crazy!  I'm tired of sticking with the same thing because everyone says that's what I should be doing.

Broccoli, baby carrots
Shrimp, 1/2 Sweet Potato
green beans & some avocado
I was never that way before.  I know better.  I know I need to figure out what works for me.

I know portion control (not an issue with my altered guts anyway).  I know what to eat, what not to eat.  I know HOW to eat, I know good choices from bad choices.  Clearly my issues are hormonal, and since I can't fight hormones with medication and win, or change my genetics.  I have to find a way to work with my body and not fight it.

The diet focuses on lean proteins, carbs from fruits and veggies, healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, and coconut oil.  I will remove the foods that fight my health issues (grains, legumes, and dairy) while increasing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

My Chiro has been suggesting this approach for a long time... she's a big advocate of living this way. And truly, when I'm on point with my diet, I'm not terribly far off from some of the fundamentals.  I'm just going to take things a step further.  Hubs s along with me for the ride, but is going to continue doing some of the things he knows works for him.

Grilled Chicken w/mashed
Avocado, Spinch w/a few
baby carrots and 1/2 apple. 
So I'm on Day 3 and I'm still reading up on everything... especially the customization for certain goals (like weight loss) and the approach to take for endurance athletes.  What have I noticed so far?  Better sleep and easier to wake up in the morning.  I'm down a few pounds already (water weight).  I had Masters swim this morning and it was the first time in months I felt like I had something to push with.  I was kinda bummed I had to leave early this morning!  However right now, I just finished lunch about 30 minutes ago, and I'm feeling a little light-headed.  Day 3 of no grains -- I read one resource where they said 2 or 3 days in your body starts to "withdraw" from the consumption of grains. 

One of the biggest changes I've had to make was eliminating Dairy.  Dairy is great for growing kiddos, but the key is "growing".  Adults aren't growing any more; we're already grown!  Dairy promotes insulin response.  Since I used to be a full blown Type 2 Diabetic, who knows if I'm having trouble with Insulin?  My numbers look good on blood draws, but that's just a snapshot of what's  going on in the body at that particular moment not my body's response to intake of higher glycemic indexed foods. I've given up all dairy and cheese, except for half-n-half (for my coffee).  If I'm going to have any Dairy, cream is the least processed and is a better choice than milk.  Maybe one day I can let it go, but not today.  :)

So here's hoping that this new approach will make my body happy.