Monday, April 30, 2012

My Fitness Pal

So, I mentioned that I was going to be strict with myself.  I was always a die-hard mydailyplate fan, but this time around, I'm counting my calories with  Why?  Well, first and foremost its free (even the smart phone app) AND I don't typically need to search for items when listing them on their interface. 

I just grabbed a 1/4 cup fo peanuts and did I have to search to log them?  No!!!  I just scanned the barcode.  This is great!  Perfect for those people addicted to their smart phones, like me.  You can easily add everything from your phone, but if you need to see the whole picture, just log onto their website and check our your summary detail.  For example, on the mobile version, I can see total calorie count and remaining calories....but I cannot readily see total protein for the day.  But, I pop on over to the regular web version and everything is in front of me.

So, again, why is this so great?  So many times I will search for a food item to log.  By scanning this, I'm saving my time and experiencing less frustration because I no longer have to weigh two similar entries in the database that appear almost identical.  Time savings, accuracy and easier entry....what more could you ask for! 

So far, this one is two thumbs up!

Why race?

Someone asked me if I could explain why I race in 100 words or less.  Of course, I'm more verbose than that, but I did manage to do it in under 200 words!

I’m always filled with anxiety when prepping for a race.  Am I up to the challenge? Will I feel insecure while being surrounded by hardbodies?  Will I hit a wall?  And yet, once I arrive there, that anxiety washes away.  I see people just like me.  I feel a kindred spirit with these other athletes.  I realize that I will be slower than some, and faster than others.  I am running my own race, against myself, against my past times and the current conditions.  I’m there in the moment ready to go.  I take a final deep breath and when that shotgun is heard I focus only on the task at hand, and run.  Whether it’s a good time or a bad time, I will run.  I will finish the race.  I will be proud that I overcame that anxiety.  I will be proud to be a finisher and get that bling….after all, that bling was earned!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

100 Days of No Kitchen

This has got to have been the most insane/busy/crazy/chaotic 4 months of my life.  I managed to lose quite a bit of weight last year, and I was keeping it off in the beginning of this calendar year while I was running so much, but then eventually this whole "eating out every single meal of the day/week/month" has caught up with me and its gotta stop.  We've been kitchenless for now an entire 100 days and a good chunk of that has been in my "no running" period.  So, why the impetus now?

I still don't have a kitchen.

I feel like a porker.

I don't like the look of my body now.

I don't like this lack of stamina that the ITBS injury resurrected.

I'm tired every evening, much more than when I was running.

My clothes are getting tighter on me!

I still do not have a kitchen....and I still need to eat out for every meal.


Now, I know i need to turn this around quick before I gain ALL the weight back.  I can handle getting rid of the 10 pounds that I have gained...but it cannot become more than 10!  I have to promise myself that.  In reality, I haven't stepped foot onto a scale since this whole kitchen fire fiasco began, so I'm estimating the 10...for fear its more and I would simply cry in shame at seeing a bigger number. But, I feels like its 10 pounds, so thats what I need to focus on.

I had my run where I realized that I need to do some was a hard realization, but honestly it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be!  So, now the rebuild begins.  I'll be focusing on mileage/frequency more so than diet.  Even if you order healthy options, you still put on more calories than you would eating the same exact meal at home.  Whether its because of the quality of the ingredients or the hidden portion sizes or the fact that you are not actively MAKING dinner and instead sitting on your ass while someone else works for you....well, lets just say I can't control most of the food intake until i get my kitchen back.  So, the goals are activity-focused:

  • Monday night, I will run a 5k.  I will not go for time (as I know I'm slow still), but I will go for distance.  
  • Tuesday night we have plans, so I don't think I'll be able to get out for a run that evening, but if there is no alcohol involved, I will definitely try, even if its a measly 2 miles.
  • Wednesday night, Joe has baseball.  If it gets cancelled, I will go for a 5k.  If it doesn't, I will go on the elliptical for two 15-minute sessions...or just take this as a rest day.
  • Thursday, I will run a 5k in the morning.
  • Friday, I will run a 5k in the morning, or take it as a rest day.
  • Saturday, I will run 4 miles in the morning.
  • Sunday, my first "long" run will be a total of 4.5 miles.
Yep, thats the plan for the first week back.  Hopefully I can accomplish more than 75% of it, but its doable if I don't get distracted too much...tons of short runs to ensure my stamina is built sufficiently.  Fortunately, I'm not starting over completely.  My bones have a solid year of strength building and while the last 5-6 weeks has not helped, my bone strength is pretty much where I left them off.  Therefore, I CAN run every if you are new to running, please do NOT try this same protocol!  I have no idea how much muscle strength I have lost, but at least my cardio strength should get considerably better by this weekend at least.

I just need to ensure that I do not compare myself to where I was a few months back. Its pretty close to summer down here, and I need to go slower, so speed should not be an issue. I want to get to a comfortable 6-mile long run within 2 weeks.  Then, a 9-mile long run within 2 months.

Sprint Triathlon Training Plan - Week 7

Last week of serious training...make it work!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Overcoming Fear: Returning to Running after an Injury

Truth be told, I really didn't think I had an ITBS.  It was possible that it was something else, but every indication led me to ITBS.  Its an ugly acronym even!  But, it needed some serious attention.  I know some runners who ignore it and try to overcome it with just light running and end up in excruciating pain for 6 months.  No way did I want to let that happen to me, and while I did miss the Iron Girl as a result, I know that the ITBS injury is now behind me. 5 weeks of no running...thats a lot to get back!

I was apprehensive about going out for a real run last night.  The elliptical is simply not the same.  I haven't wanted to push myself and really, I've let this injury get the best of me....mentally, that is.  I was more than apprehensive about a real run...I was afraid of absolutely sucking wind!  I recall back in early December, I took off 3 weeks due to a knee took me a solid 3 weeks to just get back to the point of where I was.  Knowing that I injured myself on 3/18 (and I tried to do a real run about 1 week afterwards)....well, I knew I was not going to be happy.

I procrastinated.  I did get into my running clothes around 6:30, but I definitely had to let my stomach settle after a light dinner at Atlanta Bread Company.   Then, I had to put together my son's lego ninjago birthday present from earlier in the week. Then, I realized that I hadn't charged my watch in forever.  Then, I walked into my daughter's room and realized that it was a sheer mad mess and had to clean it.  Then, I had nothing else to distract me.  It was 8:30...dark (maybe I wanted it to be dark also since I expected the worst and didn't want anyone to see me!)....and there were no more opportunities for procrastination.  So, I donned my watch, my shoes and went out the door.

Now, I had low expectations.  I planned on hopefully running 2 miles.

I felt fat.  I felt slow.  But, I did 2.1 miles without stopping, with an average pace of 10:48. That in and of itself surprised me.  I also realized that its been so long that I forgot how to use my watch (yes, .4 mile into it my watch said .1).  I also realize that I have a long way to go to get back to running 10 miles every weekend.

So, new goals for me.  Its my resolution to myself....nobody else.  I'm going to kick this running thing again.  I've been sidetracked before, so I just need to focus and reinforce the positive (which is the reason for so many uplifting quotes as of late!).  After all, I have a tri to race in a few weeks!  And, I have a half marathon to kick ass at in the Fall! Alas, I need to focus on some short-term goals....

Run at least 2 miles every day for the next 2 weeks.  Slowly build to 2.5 miles and then to 3 miles and then to 3.5 miles.  Will hold at 3.5 miles for a bit until I'm confident that I can increase distance.  But at least the daily running should help with both my confidence and my weight (remember, I said I felt fat).

Thats the plan.  I'm glad I ran tonight.  I'm glad that I overcame the dread and lament and fear and loathing of that pavement.  But, its a new day...and I need to prove something to myself now.  Watch out!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sprint Triathlon Training Plan - Week 6

Similar to last year....keep checking to see how the race gear works with you!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Words of Wisdom: Pre

“Success isn't how far you got, but the distance you traveled from where you started.”
- Pre

Its easy to be a great runner when you have Olympian parents.  Its easy to be a great football player when your brother is also a pro football player.  There is something to be said for genetics.  After all, the Boston Marathon is clearly an example of Darwin's theory.  If you want to have fast children, marry a Boston qualifier!

So, I will never be an Olympian.  I have farther to go.  I will never be a super-svelte gazelle gliding under 25 minutes for a 5k.  My parents were not athletes.  Our family pushed academics and music, not physical activity.  I also weighed over 190 pounds a year ago.  Two children (and a genetic predisposition to weight doomed me for a few years).  And, while I am finally down to a size 8, I still don't look like a gazelle.  But, I'm pretty darn good and strong for someone who has been running for less than a year!  

I've come a long way....I view my efforts, thus far, as successful!  I know I still have far to go....but I'm confident that those will be equally so.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sprint Triathlon Training Plan - Week 5

Half way!  Skills are now assumed to be set, so we start working on endurance (eg sharpening skills).  As you can see, there are a lot more "bricks" this week in order to prepare me for the transitions.

Its also time to start thinking about required gear!  A few essentials come to mind:
  • sunscreen
  • warm clothes
  • snacks pre-race as well as fuel during
  • "butt" butter (butt'er) or body glide
  • clothes to wear during event
But, its also time to start testing race-day equipment!  For the bike portion:
  • Bike (with bike frame number)
  • Helmet (with helmet number)
  • shoes
  • hydration
  • basic bike tools in saddle bag
  • Pump attached to bike

For the running portion:
  • running shoes with yankz (elastic shoelaces)
  • socks
  • visor/sunglasses (although I will probably go without as I rarely run with these now)
  • clothing options

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Words of Wisdom: Bart Yasso

"I often hear someone say I'm not a real runner. We are all runners, some just run faster than others. I never met a fake runner."
-Bart Yasso
We all need to remember this.  While I may not be speedy and also need to take time off because I get injured every now and then due to this whole newness of running....I am a runner.  I'm not faking it.  I do it.  Therefore, I am.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Upcoming Give-Away Alert

I have in my hands two hardcover copies of a new book about running and meditation (the book hasn't even been released yet, so I feel a bit giddy about having two advance copies sent to me by the publishing group).  I must say that the idea of meditation, while insanely simple to comprehend, has always been a bit hard for me to embrace.  While simple in concept, there are a lot of obstacles in the way to attaining the meditative state and as a result, the entire process has intimidated me.  So, I will begin reading this week...and the other will be mailed to the giveaway reader!

Sakyong writes this book while training for Boston.  He breaks down the process of meditation and relates it to running, starting with base building.  But, to step back, what does meditation have to do with running?  A lot!  There are so many similarities to both this ultra physical activity and the ultra solitude/quiet that is associated with meditation.  And, the face that we ALL know that running is more of a mental sport than a physical sport surely has been experienced by anyone that has run farther than a 5k!  It takes focus to develop and retain that endurance.

So, consider how your running is a journey of your mind...if you could capture its strength and funnel its energy, what kind of runner could you become?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beach Palooza

Last year's event was a lot of fun (so I was told today by a friend who is in the St Pete/Clearwater Sports Commission).  He said that he was going to participate this year, so I decided to follow along and don a pineapple hat as well.  What is there to lose...besides my dignity? 

What is there to gain?  Well, it does look like a lot!  Last year, Beach Dash had 6 events in the country.  This year? 4 are already planned, with more coming soon.  Chicago, Galveston, Long Beach and St Pete are on the agenda thus far.  So, November 3rd, I will be heading towards St Pete Beach to participate in my first ever Beach Dash!

Rounding your way through this 5k obstacle course starts with Noodle Forest...Seriously, doesn't this look like fun?  I just hope that the kids can play in it after the race is over and before they take it down!

Then comes the Wacky Walls

...and then Beach Barricades, Holey High Tide, Lighthouse Leap, Lofty Ladders, Sandy Seesaw, Ballistic Jungle and finally the Arctic Plunge.  I'm glad this last hurdle is near the finish line so Joe can have a warm blanket ready for me!

After the race, there is the requisite party and its open to all race participants and spectators and includes beach games, food and drinks live music.

Sounds interesting?  To join, click here.  There are currently two waves available, and the earlier you register, the less the cost!  Now, I wasn't too keen on the outrageous processing fee....but hey, its a small price to pay for unique bling!  Current cost for me was $40, but is expected to increase to $65 at race day.  And, for that price?  The obstacle course, a pineapple bling and a gnarly pineapple hat to wear with pride! 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dankin Triathlon Series - Wave Starts

The only time I've done a true waved start was for the Disney Princess race, but we were in Corral A for we didn't experience any of the "waiting" of the "wave" ....but apparently, triathlons are typically in waves, probably simply due to reducing congestion in the water for safety's sake.

Just to prepare me, I'm presuming that the Orlando event will be similar to this Palm Springs event:
Good to know...color-coded wave starts which correspond to categories.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Danskin Triathlon Series - Previous Years Results

I can't help but want to see how people did in the prior year.  I google, as I do with almost everything that I'm curious about...and I find prior years results posted on  I am happy to see that just in my division (females 40-44) there is quite a bit of variety in results!  I take comfort in already thinking that I can do this in less than 3:30 hours.

So, I query a bit more...  In my division for the "sprint" (not the "super sprint"), the results are all over the place:

  • 1st leg (swimming) takes anywhere from 14:16-47:34 minutes.  
  • T1 (the first transition) takes anywhere from 2:00-14:07 minutes.  
  • The second leg (biking) takes anywhere from 36:47-1:16:15
  • T2 (the second transition) takes anywhere from 0:43-4:03
  • 3rd leg (running) takes anywhere from 22:37-1:08:35
Overall clock time ranged from 1:23:58 to 3:30:33.

Now, if I go for the "Sprint", can I hope to be average?  If I go for the "Super Sprint" will my standings be sufficiently better, knowing that I am probably not pushing myself?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

5K a Day for 50 Days

I want to do this....not yet, of course. Once the "half marathon" season ends in April, I want to try this. I won't nearly need the rest days then since 5k a day is such a short distance, and my body will be well acclimated to this abuse :) So, starting in May 2012...this will be my goal! It will be really helpful to keep motivated on short runs when the weather starts heating up as well!

Allied Medal Display Give-A-Way Results

177 entries for a total 324 points....and according to's number generator, the winner is number 148:

After reviewing the individual entries, number 148 was entered by Donna Carver.

Congratulations Donna!  You are now the proud owner of a beautiful medal hanger for all your bling!  Please share a picture of it when you have loaded all of your medals onto it so everyone can see how stunning they look!  And, please be sure to email me your details so we can get that hanger to you pronto!

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