Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Week 5 update...

Thirteen weeks to Augusta! Here is what I did this week...

Saturday: Early morning tennis match, never managed to work my planned run in for the day.

Sunday: Early morning tennis match. Met up with my friend at 2:00 for a bike ride. About six miles into the ride, something funky was happening with her chain so we headed back to the car making a total of 10 miles. (it turns out one of the links was somehow twisted and needed to be replaced). I set the bike up on my trainer at home and rode another 20 miles to get to 30 for the day. I have a thing about sticking to the mileage on the schedule (most of the time anyhow…)

Monday: Off day. Sat in front of the TV with CR and vegetated.

Tuesday: AM 1900 meters. Our coach was apparently testing our lung capacity or trying to drown us as we did lots of breathing drills. PM ran 2.25 miles and coached my swim group which ended up only being one person. She made some great progress so it was a win! So many of the newer swimmers swim with their head half out of the water and almost completely pick their heads up to breathe. The problem with that is you almost come to a stop in the water every time you breathe. It is pretty cool to see someone go from that to really keeping their head down the entire swim. Makes such a huge difference! (my tip for the day…)

Wednesday: PM Bike 20 miles.

Thursday: AM 2000 meters. Stroke day so we did a mix of butterfly, back and breaststroke drills. PM 5.5 mile run.

Friday: 2300 m swim.

Lessons Learned:

I have got to do a better job of getting my long run in on the weekend. Tennis is kind of getting in the way of it right now so hopefully with the end of the season that will work itself out.

The new food plan is going surprisingly well. I am really almost shocked. I am down to one Diet Dr. Pepper a day which is amazing since I was easily drinking 3 or 4 previously. The first couple of days were rough going as I was a bit hungry but that seems to have changed. The last couple of days I really have not felt hungry at all in between meals which, as someone who is always sort of planning the next meal, is fantastic. I am eating quite a bit more protein than I was previously and much less processed carbs. Essentially all my carbs are coming in the form of fruits and vegetables. I can’t really tell a change in energy levels yet. I thought Friday maybe they were a bit better but then today I feel randomly tired for some reason. Who knows…

I normally fall out of any new eating plan after less than a week so we will call this a victory. I have even caught myself actually making good choices (gasp). I picked up Taco Bell on Sunday for CR (that is the way we roll from time to time…) and decided that I didn’t want to blow my progress on a taco. I can’t really even believe it myself. So far so good!

Side note... Would you believe they have found 2 dead bodies in and around my beautiful bike route this past week? They said one had been there at least a year and the other was more recent. They were determined to be unrelated. Kind of taints my lovely country ride, don't you think? wow.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Out for a Sunday Ride...

The alarm went off at 5:30. Entirely too early for a Sunday. Rolled out of bed just long enough to hit the snooze and attempt to capture 10 more minutes of sleep. Putting the alarm clock across the room seemed like a good idea at the time. When was the last time I was able to sleep in, anyhow? Unable to remember, I count the days until my vacation. Bleep, bleep, bleep. Roll out of bed and commit to getting up. Sigh...

I consume some oats, blueberries and protein powder while catching a few minutes of TV. Nothing but infomercials at this hour. Probably a good thing as I need to start packing up in 30 minutes. Toss on biking gear, brush teeth, pack tennis clothes for my match later in the day and gather up sport bottles & fig newtons for my ride. Load up my bike and I am on the road to meet my friend for our Sunday AM ride.

The sunrise seemed especially lovely this AM or maybe I just haven't take the time to notice lately. I pull into our meeting spot and write the route in sharpie on my arm continuing on to my leg as there are many turns and I run out of space. The route is so familiar, it seems silly to still rely on written directions. At this point, it is much like using your GPS to get home from work. I keep writing, just in case. Fresh air in tires, Garmin turned on, sport bottles on the bike and we head out into the fresh country air.

We pedal past the horses with the coats so velveteen in appearance, I resist the temptation to pull over and pet them. We offer a friendly 'hello' to the man sitting on his porch enjoying the morning. A deer darts through the pasture on the left. A rabbit hops into the brush on the right. We continue on our route through the rolling hills. At times, they seem never ending. A constant up and down with the occasional hill steep enough to make your legs weep for a moment. Twenty one miles later we are back where we began committed to riding the loop one more time. We stop just long enough to top off our water bottles in anticipation of the thermometer continuing to climb.

Back past the velveteen horses, the rabbits, the turtle who knows he is safe crossing the road as there is no traffic to speak of on this day or any other for that matter. Another deer darts across the road 10 feet in front of me. We inhale the country air as we ride, chatting about upcoming races. My friend and I constantly swap the lead position as she flies past me on the downhills and I catch her on the climbs. We are thankful that we topped off the water bottles as now they are dangerously close to empty.

Forty three miles after we began, we are back at the car. Is this the same girl who only a few short months ago was celebrating not falling over while still clipped in and wondered if she would ever figure out how to properly change gears? The one who was worried about arriving back to transition dehydrated going into the run because she couldn't drink or eat on the bike? I feel nothing but pride as I load my bike back on the rack for the ride home. I can't believe I have ridden my bike 43 miles. A new distance record!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I made it through Day One!

Here is what Clean Eating Day One looked like. I went for easy to prepare the first couple of days since my grocery shopping consisted of a quick dash to the store late Tuesday after swim practice.

6:15 Got up late. The plan was to do 60 minutes on the trainer but slept in. I thought the noise of the bike and the TV downstairs might wake CR up (he is a light sleeper and we have thin walls, I am considerate like that... any excuse to sleep in). I decided to take the extra sleep and do the trainer tonight. All that debate in my head was exhausting so I grabbed a Diet Dr. Pepper. I figured if black coffee was OK once a day, today Diet Dr. Pepper would have to be OK as well.

7:30 Flying out the door. Grabbed all my containers of food, my gym bag for tonight’s planned run (which now will be followed by the trainer work) and headed to work.

8:00 Eating my overnight glue with apples which was my preparation faux pas from the night before. 5 oz yogurt + ½ c oats = paste. (This morning I went for 2 eggs, spinach and 1/2 c black beans which was so much better. I could eat that every day and I just might...)

10:30 Headed to fill up my shaker with water so I could have my protein shake (I scoop protein, 1 T milled flax). Got distracted and didn’t get there until 11:00. The water fountain is only 50 feet away. Good thing I run faster than I walk to the water fountain or my races would take days instead of hours. Not sure I liked the flax in the shake combo. It was a little grainy. Might go for PB & Celery/Carrots as an alternative tomorrow and sprinkle the flax on some other meal.

12:45 Lunch. Usually I take my lunch and sit outside somewhere. More often than not I end up taking a 20 to 30 minute nap. (I told you I was tired) Lunch today was 3 oz tuna, a large handful of spinach, carrots, squash, onion with about ¾ c strawberries on the side followed by said nap.

1:30 While filling up my car with gas at QuikTrip, I was tempted to drink something other than water. I ended up going with a Diet Green Tea. Green Tea is acceptable, not sure about the sweetener but... I normally drink a diet soda when I wake up in the mornings so I kind of think that is where that craving came from. At least I didn't grab chips or a doughnut while I was in the store. Have you seen the inside of a QT? Junk food heaven.

3:30 Another protein shake. 1 scoop protein, water and 1 T of flax. Yep, still grainy. I guess it is good I am finding out what works and what doesn’t early on. Something told me last night to choose a different snack plan but it was late and I was in a hurry. Tomorrow things will be different!

4:30 Eyeing my arm to see if I could bite off a chunk and be any worse for the wear. So hungry... In between pangs of hunger, I am intently watching the radar to see if the storm that is building will pass by the time I am supposed to meet my friend for our run @ 5:30. Decided to save arm for another day.

5:00 Run is canceled due to storm and heavy rain. Could have headed to the gym for the treadmill but opted to just do the trainer workout instead. Ate a handful of raisins on the way home. Surprising how they can taste like candy if you are hungry enough.

6:30 Wednesday is one of the few nights I get home early – hooray! Set up the trainer and ride for 60 minutes while catching up on MasterChef and Nurse Jackie. Ate a small handful of carrots before the ride and was kind of suprised that those kept me from feeling hungry as long as they did. Goes to show you don't always need as much food as you think you do to be satisfied.

8:45 Dinner. I ended up spending time prepping dinner for CR since he was getting home late and before I knew it, the clock said 8:45. I don’t usually like to eat this late but it seems to have become the norm. 3 oz beef, steamed broccoli and zucchini.

I had a 24 oz sport bottle of water that I refilled twice throughout the day to get in my water. Between that, the tea and a bottle I drank during my workout I probably overachieved in that area. Mostly, I am proud of my ability to limit the diet soda intake yesterday. It can only get better from here. I had a couple of meals and snacks that weren't great taste combos but that is easy enough to correct. All in all a success!

Cleaning it up...

I think I told you last week that I was working with someone on getting a nutrition plan together. I got the plan late Monday and, since time was short, threw together a few breakfasts and lunches last night following the new plan. As you might have guessed, the plan is essentially a simple clean eating plan which is nice because that means it is easy to follow. There are no weird rules or unusual ingredients.

I haven’t really analyzed the break down but it seems to be incorporating more protein than I would in my regular meals. Noticeably absent are doritos, pizza and ice cream – bummer. There was not a specific mention but I think diet soda is on the NO list as well. I am assuming this because it specifically says if you want caffeine you may have one cup of black coffee a day. I believe I can take that to mean no Diet Dr. Pepper, which I needed to be scale back anyhow. Tough love.

My main reason for seeking out some guidance was because barely one month into the 70.3 training, I am aware of being hungry and tired all the time. I can assume the tired is from the extra workouts but could be food related as well. I know what foods and how much food I need to eat on a normal day but toss in extra workouts and I am not sure how much more food I need to add in to my day. When I am tired, I tend to go for what is easy or looks good as I am driving home and obviously that is not the best choice.

There are a few vitamin supplements included in the plan that I am not sure about only because I really don’t know anything about these things. I am a One a Day daily multivitamin kind of person. I am going to go with the recommendation without question and see what happens since I trust the level of expertise behind the recommendation. I know my food choices make me tired and hungry, so at this point I am open to suggestion!

Here we go, day one. I will let you know… So far, I can say my attempt at overnight oats failed. I was literally tossing things together last night for the week and didn’t think it through. Five ounces of greek yogurt and ½ cup of oats pretty much makes glue. Luckily, the half of an apple sprinkled on top with cinnamon helped me choke it down. Might need to rethink that one for tomorrow. HA HA. The plan for today is to eat something every 2.5 to 3 hours. Each snack and meal has some amount of protein no matter how small and is heavy on fruit and veg. Cross your fingers I make it to day two without my Diet Dr. Pepper ;)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thumbs up Everybody...

As I head out for my weekly long ride, I will embrace the words of wisdom from this little boy....

Friday, June 17, 2011

Week Four 70.3 training check in...

Or maybe it is week 5... Here is what I did this week:

Saturday: Ran 10 miles @ Stone Mountain. First time for double digits in quite a while.

Sunday: Biked 35.3 miles on my new favorite route. Have started to feel more comfortable taking in food and drink on the bike. I also got a bike rack from a friend so no more taking the bike apart to load it in and out of the car. Hooray!

Monday: Off day. CR is off on Mondays now. We are thankful that he finally has a predictable schedule and 2 days off in a row. Previously, his off days might be a Tuesday and a Thursday or something along those lines. It is surprising how much difference he has in his energy level being off two days in a row.

Tuesday: AM 2000 meters. We have another new swim coach. She just got back from spending 5 years in Costa Rica surfing. Ah, youth... PM ran 3 miles and tried to control mild lane sharing chaos with my swim group.

Wednesday: AM 2500 meters.

Thursday: AM 1800 meters. New coach likes breastroke. 1400 of the 1800 meters were breaststroke sets. Lucky for me, I like breastroke too. Let's see if I feel just as bubbly next week if we are doing butterfly sets. PM 20 mile bike ride.

Friday: Off. I had planned to do my long run tonight instead of tomorrow since I have tennis in the morning but there were thunderstorms. I took it as a sign.

Lessons Learned:
I have learned a lot in the past month of training and feel like I have made a lot of progress but I suppose that is the point of training, isn't it? A month into training, I have noticed two things:

1. I am tired.
2. I am hungry.

In looking over my workouts for the past month, I guess I should be tired. I have done more in the first two weeks of June than I did in the entire month of May. The past two weekends, I have not been able to sleep in due to early AM workouts. Once I did get home, I was operating on that workout high to take care of household chores and did not nap as I had intended. It probably is good that this happened because it caused me to look at my training plan and revamp it a bit to allow for more off time. Realistically, there isn't a lot of off time but any little bit will help. I feel a little better rested already.

There are days when I feel like I cannot get enough food. Rather than just mindlessly shovel food in my mouth, I want to make sure it is good food. I can't think of a better time to clean up the diet than now! I am enlisting the help of one of my former boot camp instructors to put together a meal plan for me. he is a nutrition superstar which is just what I need. I am kind of in that frame of mind where I need to be given a road map. I feel like I am exerting more calories than I am taking in and not sure how to compensate for that part of the equation. I can't wait to get my plan and share my experience with you.

So that is what has been going on with me. How has your training been going?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A tale of two lanes...

The group I coach swims out of a county pool. Over Memorial Day weekend, the pool was closed to allow time to open up the outdoor leisure pool. The next week, everyone in my group must have been on vacation so we ended up not having a practice. The week after that was sort of a miscommunication. We meet at 6:30. It turns out the pool changed lap swim schedules this summer so we showed up and there were no lanes open for lap swim. It was kind of frustrating and I felt bad that I didn’t somehow know in advance so I could plan accordingly.

Which brings us to last night… We decided to be flexible and go for a 30 minutes pre-swim run on the trail by the pool so we met at our usual 6:30 time. The plan was to get in the pool at 7:10 when the lap lanes opened back up. As it turns out, that was the plan for a lot of people. We were changed and out to the pool at 7:05, we see that there are 3 lap lanes with one of those lanes reserved for a group. Four people had already claimed the two free lanes. No problem, we’ll grab this outside pseudo lane by the diving well which worked just fine while the group swam about 300 meters… then the diving team started practice and were told to move.

Luckily, I knew the person who was coaching the 2 people in one lane and sort of knew the person coaching the 2 people in the other lane so we tried to merge the groups which proved to be a bit difficult. Circle swimming in the one lane was challenging for my beginner swimmers because we ended up with 5 people of varying speeds. As we were trying to make that work, my more advanced swimmer was standing at the wall in lane two with another girl who I did not know. A third guy comes in for a flip turn, stands up and tells my guy to get out of the way so he can flip turn. Ummm, sure buddy sorry about that. Granted, had there not been so much going on at that moment, I could have told my swimmer about lane etiquette. He has never had to swim in a lane with someone other than our group and the swimmers in my group aren’t at the flip turn stage yet. He truly just did not know. He was waiting for instruction from me while I tried to get everyone situated.

While I am doing my assimilating, the lifeguards decide to rope off the diving well area which gave us about 15 yards to work with which was fine for our group. All this moving people around and getting barked at by flip turn guy maybe took 5 minutes. As I am moving my group back to the 15 yard option in the diving well, my more advanced swimmer has decided he has had enough and is out of pool and goes home without saying anything. My other swimmers who stuck it out were completely fine with the 15 yards in fact it ended up giving one of them a great experience with swimming in deep water that prior to last night had been a fear for her. I felt bad that we didn’t have a proper lane to work with but they made the best of it.

So I guess the point of all that is to say that the coaching has been frustrating. It really has more to do with the pool situation. There are minor bumps in the road but I think the swimmers who are coming out each week seem to enjoy it and are improving which is the point of it all, right? I feel bad that one guy left last night but I don’t know that I could have done anything differently. CR says that maybe he had an expectation in his head when he got there (i.e. swimming in a lane solo) and when that didn’t happen it made him want to quit. I can certainly understand that feeling. On the bright side, all this lane sharing will get them ready for the churn of a triathlon swim. Flip turns optional.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What I am loving right now…

Lord knows, I could make a list a mile long of things I love. This week, these have been a few of my 'go to' things. I almost was tempted to throw my bike on the list as the love hate relationship has turned into nothing but love. I'll have to tell you about my latest ride and awesome bike route find in the next post! For now, here are a few of my favorite things.

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes, snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes, silver white winters that melt into... oh wait. Wrong list.

Coppertone Spray Sport Sunscreen. This one has actually been a favorite for a while now. Spray it on, no rubbing. Can’t be beat. It can be a little glue like but it works like nothing else I have tried and I am a fair skinned individual so have tried everything. There is a version now by Neutrogena that can be applied to wet skin that has my interest since I sweat so much. I tried it once and got tiny water blisters from it after being in the sun. I might try it again to be sure that wasn’t something weird with me and not the sunscreen.

Bigelow Mentha Body Wash (available at Bath & Body Works). That Pink Girl pointed me in the direction of this one. It works great on those days that you are sweating even coming out of the shower. The mint is instantly cooling on your skin and definitely helps in the heat.

The Triathlete's Training Bible by Joe Friel. It seems a lot of you are reading this these days. I love the section on the principles of training, sort of the science behind it all. Anyone that recommends you fit a 30 minute nap in over your lunch break is tops in my book! Besides the nap recommendation, there is a lot of useful and interesting information in this book.

Protein Balls. Oh My. Have you ever had those peanut butter balls at Christmas that are dipped in chocolate? Some people call them buckeyes. I would not steer you wrong on this one. Imagine those without the chocolate outside and you have Fitnessista’s Protein Balls. I pretty much follow her recipe but use 1 T vanilla protein powder and 1 T chocolate protein powder. At about 100 calories per ball, they are great for a pre or post workout snack. They also would be a great way to stave off a dessert craving. Sort of an “eat this not that” thing.


Fig Newtons. We are going old school. Until the past week or so I was not really a fan. Not sweet enough I suppose. Who wants a Fig Newton when you could have a Nutter Butter or a Double Stuf Oreo? Well, things have changed. I love carrying Fig Newtons on my long bike rides. They seem to give me just enough energy and they are easy to eat while riding. So much better than trying to suck down a GU. I have a little bit of trouble getting the Ziploc baggie open and closed while rolling but that may just take practice or perhaps another kind of bag.

What are you loving right now?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I want to ride my bicycle...

Hi friends! It has been a while… I am fully engulfed in week 3 of my training plan for 70.3 Augusta. Training is going great! Last weekend I had two very long tennis matches in the 95 degree heat that were a little draining so I adjusted the schedule a bit. All in all, I am pleased with the training plan so far, it seems to fit my schedule fairly well. It is not too overwhelming but at the same time it gets the job done.

I am making major progress on the bike now. I guess it is like swimming and running, the more you do it the easier it gets. (I know… You are saying what took you so long to figure that one out KDUB?) I purchased my bike (Trek 2000) off Ebay a few years back for $300. I am continually drooling over newer, lighter and less used looking models but mine works and apparently I got a good deal (which had less to do with me being a shrewd negotiator and more to do with me just lucking into someone who was getting out of biking). I never got a fitting for the bike and really never knew that was something that should or could be done. I just rode it. My hands would go numb, my arms were locked because I could not reach the bars otherwise, and I rode. A couple weeks back, a friend of mine went for a fitting and we were talking about how a few adjustments here and there make a world of difference. I thought, wait a minute…. My hands aren’t supposed to be numb?

I called several bike jobs two Saturdays ago trying to find someone to do a fitting. Most seem to do fittings at odd times. This working girl can’t be at the bike shop at 4:00 on a Tuesday. They also quoted all kinds of prices for the fitting. One place wanted $150! The bike shop near me thought they could do it but wasn’t sure when their mechanic came in that day. I finally found a place that said I could come right on over. I was a little nervous me being the newbie and all. Would they judge me because I didn’t have a bike rack and had to put my car in the trunk? Would they laugh because I didn’t know a bike stem from a flower stem? Turns out I had nothing to worry about.

The bike shop was in an old storefront that was probably main street in its town back in the day. I walked in and immediately felt comfortable. After a couple of visits, I realized the place is like Cheers. Every time a customer walks in, they greet them by name. While I was there at least 2 different people came in to pick up bikes that the owner was loaning them for one reason or another. Just a wonderfully friendly place.

We got the bike set up on a trainer and started measuring and moving things about. In the end, we ended up moving my seat up and getting a new stem so the handlebars could be moved back. I also went ahead and added aerobars. Last Saturday, the parts came in and they adjusted everything while I waited. There was no charge for the fitting, I only paid for the aerobars, stem and $25 to install. VERY reasonably priced, much lower than I could have gotten it anywhere around I do believe. I have only had one ride on the new set up. I did about 30 miles of rolling hills on Sunday. I was able to try out the bars for a bit and my hand did not go numb. I will call that success! More riding tonight and Sunday, we are up to 40 miles this week. Hard to believe it seems so effortless now. Must be that practice. ;)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mixing up a Masterpiece...

Things got a little artsy up in here a few weeks back. I purchased a groupon deal for a session at Masterpiece Mixers. It was half off the normal price and I had wanted to do it so how could I resist? Masterpiece Mixers is sort of a mini art session. Each night they have a painting that the participants do so you scroll through the calendar and find the design you like and sign up for that particular night. I am told that they have a lot of bridal parties, birthdays and similar events there. Basically, it is a fun get together for the girlies. They have kids parties as well which would be fun for the tween set I would imagine.

On a typical night, they have anywhere from 30 to 40 participants. The night I went it was a party of ONE. ME. Hmmm… maybe the Friday before a holiday weekend was not such a great idea. It really didn’t bother me all that much, mostly I felt bad for the instructor. They seat you at a station with an easel, canvas, brushes and a styrofoam plate with the various colors you need for the design and off you go.

This is no paint by the numbers, you basically watch what the instructor does up front and copy it onto your canvas. She said we could draw it in pencil first but I threw caution to the wind and drew it on in paint. It DEFINITELY would have been more fun if there were more people there. I am not all that into a one on one experience. (The same reason personal training never interested me much, I much prefer to meld into a group). All in all, I was surprised how the painting came out. Very similar to the prototype!

I think Rick was a little more impressed with the painting than I was with it. I had planned on displaying it in a cardboard box in the closet. He wanted to display it on a wall on the kitchen. That is love right there. ;)