Saturday, November 14, 2015

Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon!

This may very well be the fastest anyone has ever put a race report down on paper (or internet or whatever...).  Anyhow. The Chickamauga Marathon was great! Well, for the most part. I am pretty sure there were some middle parts where I might have been like that video that goes through the various stages of marathoning. ('this is the best race ever'and then a mile later WTH was I thinking signing up for more than one of these...excitement to despair to elation in 26.2 miles).  Luckily the despair didn't last long.

I think I mentioned that I did this race in 2010 which goes to show how my memory works these days because it was hillier than I remembered. For some reason I remembered very light rolling hills like maybe 10 feet up and down. I have since decided that particular memory of the lightly rolling hills was another race at another park. It isn't crazy hilly but there are some longer grades on the course to be sure.

Back to today. One of the things I love about this race is that it is small.  As in park 10 feet from the start line small. This comes in handy when the temperature at start time is 30 degrees, a temperature I had not experienced since last year. #Brrrrr. I knew it was going to be cold at the start so I had purchased a $9 pink hoodie at Walmart for the purpose of tossing at the start. When the start cannon was fired (an actual cannon!), most runners opted to keep their coats. I decided to toss mine anyhow and threw it next to a tree where someone else had tossed a red jacket. The first part of the race is a half mile loop around this park so about 5 minutes after you start you come back through the start area again and out on the course. When I came back through again, I saw the red jacket but my pink hoodie was gone. I scanned the immediate area to see if anyone was wearing it. It made me wonder if someone had been eyeing my sweet $9 hoodie and was hoping I would toss it. LOL. It probably was still warm from my body heat when they picked it up. Not to mention they got a bonus pack of hand warmers! Obviously I was giving it away so if someone got it and can use it - great - but the way it was picked up so quickly just made me laugh.

Back to the race. Again. So I am working with a coach this time around. After taking close to a year off, I needed some accountability and really just prefer not to piece together my own training plan. Leave it to the experts and all...  The plan for the race was to run by HR zone. X miles in zone 1, x in zone 2 and then finish it out in zone 3. My normal way to "pace" previously would have been run as hard as you can maintain for about 4 hours and then stop when you get to the finish stopping to walk as needed to keep from dying.  Very professional strategy. I am sure there must be a book on it somewhere. In the past, I would blast out at the start and try to break free of the crowd then settle in to a pace. I was a little bit worried about being stuck in a crowd from the start running in zone one but what I have noticed (in smaller races anyhow) is that the crowd kind of breaks up on its own anyhow so I don't need to bob and weave to get around people in the beginning anymore. Score one for zone 1!

I won't bore you with a mile by mile account of how it all went but will say in my mind I knew I wanted my finish time to be somewhere below 4:30. (I had nothing to base that on other than my last race was around 4:10 and 4:30 sounded like a good number). Now that I am running by HR, I have almost no clue of my pace because I don't  look at it. I really had no idea how I was doing time wise until halfway through the race and did the math in my head. About halfway, the 4:30 pacers and I started trading off back and forth. In my mind it was a little like the balloon ladies at Disney (the ones that scoop up the runners who aren't making the time cut off the course). I knew I wanted to be ahead of them so seeing them wasn't great. They were running by themselves and not actually pacing anyone so I decided that they *must be* ahead of pace and I wasn't going to worry about them. I was with them until mile 19.5 when I somehow managed to shake free of them.

When I got to the zone three segment of my race, it was amazing. I had my doubts that I would feel like kicking it up a notch at that point in the race but decided I was going to run it as prescribed despite my doubts. Once I picked up my HR a little, I really felt pretty good.  The miles ticked by, I felt strong and before I knew it, I was making the final circle to the finish line. There might be something to this HR thing. :)

Ended up with a time of 4:25 and 5th place AG (of course it was a small race but 5 out of 17 - I will take top third of the group!)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Countdown to Chickamauga...

In the spirit of my once a month blogging habit (despite my best intention), here is the current state of affairs.

The Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon is this weekend. #woot  At this specific moment I am feeling unprepared but if I am being honest, it is my normal pre-race ritual to completely forget every long run I have done in preparation and wonder if that one 30 minute run I might have missed a month ago would somehow cause the whole plan to unravel.  LOL.  Seriously though, I can honestly say I have done more running in preparation for this race than I did for my races last year (and possibly any previous marathon). To date, I have logged almost 100 more miles in 2015 than I did in 2014 which is saying a lot considering in 2014 I did the Dopey Challenge, a 70.3 and a full ironman among a bunch of other smaller races as compared to the four 5ks, one 10k and a half marathon I did in 2015. Let's hope all that training adds up to some good racing on Saturday!

Fun fact - this will be my 10th stand alone marathon!

Another fun fact, Rick has been battling the flu since last Wednesday. I have been avoiding him like the plague. I slept downstairs for several nights and basically stopped short of wearing a hazmat suit at home. He is feeling much better - that tamiflu stuff works! I am hoping I avoided getting it, everything I read said it would show up about 4 days after being exposed to it and I think I am past that right now. KNOCK ON WOOD.

 It has been raining here for the past three weeks. I am starting to feel like I might have moved to Seattle and not realized it. I probably wouldn't mind it so much except that three weeks is a bit excessive and we *might* have put off getting a new roof a little too long and every day that it keeps raining makes me nervous for future home repairs. We are on the schedule for a new roof but it keeps getting put off because.... well, rain.  On the bright side, it would seem the sun is coming back this week just in time for race day! Temps are supposed to be a high of 55 and a low of 38 which sounds pretty much perfect to me.

and that is the way it is...  looking forward to a sunny race on Saturday! #letsdothis

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The mental battle of FOMO...

FOMO. The fear of missing out. That fear has been strong this week. Whenever IM Chattanooga opened up for registration, there was a flurry of people who asked me if I was going to do it. I held strong to my thinking and gave it a resounding NO. Another group of friends signed up earlier this week and again, the call was strong. I ran into one of them at the gym and he mentioned I should do it with them. Again, NO. Not because of how it went down last time but really it is such a time commitment and I kind of like the balance I have going on right now.

Not that signing up for another full hasn't been tempting. I have several friends I am tracking at IM LOU right now. The urge to register for IM CHOO today has been hard to resist. Maybe that is why I needed to blog it out...  Right now, the plan is to do a few 70.3 races next year. Which considering I took a sabbatical from anything swim/bike/run this year is quite the jump, I suppose. I am actually looking forward to ramping it up a bit. So for now, I will have to resist the urge to jump back into the 140.6 waters. :)

Since my last update, I did a sprint tri!  It felt pretty great and sort of solidified that I am over the burn out from last year. I could probably write a whole post on the subject but looking back now, I never really gave myself an off season. I trained was either training for a 140.6 or various marathons non stop for the last 5 years. Had I taken some time to crank the training down a notch, I don't think I would have crashed and burned so hard.

I am 5 weeks out from the Battlefield Marathon. Training has been very solid and much different from my usual approach. I have a coach helping me this time. I asked him to help me mostly for the moral support since this is my first race back in a while. It has been a good change for me. In the past, I would have pulled a marathon plan from the internet and made sure I got the key distances in each week and maybe would run 3-4x a week. This time around, there is speed work and HR based runs and pretty much something every day.  I am thinking it will all add up to a good race day.  :)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ramping up the miles...

Last week the long run was 14 miles. In my mind that one didn't seem like such a big deal as I had done a half marathon the week before so just a bit longer. This week was 16 and was the first week on the schedule where I felt like things are really ramping up and maybe a little bit of 'what was I thinking...' crept into my mind too.

I have been doing A LOT more running this time around than I have in previous marathon training plans. Good or bad - who knows, I guess we will see some race day!  The runs I have been doing are also more focused. Hills, tempo, and even working on paces within my long runs to end with a negative split.  I am definitely enjoying the change even though it is a harder training plan.

Nutrition-wise on the run, I have used my Orange Mud HydraQuiver the last two runs and really love it. I have used it in the past when I was trail running but haven't used it for road runs.  Since I tend to run the same route every time, I don't always need to carry water with me as there are fountains. The last two times, I decided to try out some new routes and really loved having the HydraQuiver with me (such a strange name...). The bottle is easy to reach and replace without having to take the pack off and it does not chafe at all.  Love it!

I don't know if you remember but at the end of last year I swore off of triathlon forever  Anyhow. So maybe forever was a little too long. I signed up for a local sprint tri over the weekend. It is on the 27th so basically I am now on a two week training plan for it which in all likelihood will amount to a couple of swims and a couple of bike rides before race day. At least I am ready for the run :)

In other news, I took an advanced motorcycle skills class this weekend. I learned a lot and stepped outside of my comfort zone. I don't know if I will be ready to perform any fancy maneuvers anytime soon but maybe with a little practice.  ha ha.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The week that was...

I admire the people who title their blogs "week xx of xx" and so forth. I have no idea what week this is in my training plan. The reality is, I barely know what day of the week it is half of the time. Retail life does that to you, I suppose. After years and years of working Monday through Friday, switching to a schedule that lacks that structure does a number on you. Don't get me wrong, I love having the random days off when everyone else is working but it really does make you pause from time to time to figure out the day of the week.  (or perhaps that is just old age setting in...).

According the calendar I am 10 weeks out from the Battlefield Marathon. I guess that might make this week 10 with 10 to go. There you have it. I am sure I will forget this in about 5 minutes...  (that old age thing).   :)

I am back in the swing of things this week as far as running goes. The plan for Saturday called for a 60 minute run split between zone 1 and zone 2.  My Dad had mentioned that he and my stepmom were volunteering at a race not too far from me so I made plans to go. In my head, I figured I would get there early, run 30 minutes as a warm up and then do my zone 2 for the race. ...and then I realized there weren't many people in this race. I may or may not have mentioned that I excel in low participation races.  I rarely (never) would get a podium in a large race but this middle of the pack girl has a fighting chance when there aren't many others in my age group. :)   so with that realization, the zone 2 plan went out the window and I "raced" the race.

Having never really paid that much attention to my heart rate zones before it is kind of interesting to see where they fall when you aren't trying to maintain a certain zone. I kept glancing at my watch as the race went on and I was pretty much zone 5 the whole way and it felt like it! I was seriously glad to cross that finish line.  Whew.

I ended up 1st in my AG and 4th overall female. I am pretty sure that is the highest I will ever place overall in a race.  There did end up being 7 people in my AG so I felt pretty good about that when I realized there was more than one person in my AG.  LOL.

In other news, Rick and I went riding on the motorcycles today. My helmet is easily 10 years old so we stopped in for a new one.

I had a long run on the schedule for today and planned to do it after our ride. I actually went out, ready to take it on, got to mile 3 and felt lightheaded and not right (read not fueled up) so called it a day. On the walk back to the car, I realized that Rick and I had only eaten breakfast that morning and no lunch. Considering I started my run at 5:00 PM, we could call that a big ole DUH why did that not occur to me?  Oh well.  Going to tackle the big run again tomorrow!

This weeks eats include some black bean chili. Pretty tasty and super easy. We ate out for lunch more than I would have liked last week ($$$) so going to try and bring our lunches to work this week.  I also made some Granola from Mark Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything (the basics). So good!

Hope you all have a good week!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Swimming and biking and things that happened last week...

After the half marathon last week, this week was mostly recovery of sorts. I have to say the recovery weeks go by way too quickly....  I hit the pool on Monday. I was trying to remember the last time I swam. I think this was only the second time I have put on my goggles since Beach2Battleship last year. I swam in masters groups for years before I ever even considered running or biking (and can distinctly remember being in awe of those ladies who ran and/or biked after our early morning swims).  Given that, it was a little humbling how much my shoulders were burning during my swim Monday. I mean, obviously you are going to lose fitness but there is that part of you that wants to believe you can just jump right back in where you ended. So to speak.

So.  Monday was a shoulder burning session.

The rest of the week was normal recovery type runs, my Alpha group (think crossfit but not "official" crossfit) and drumroll... a return to the bike after 10 months off. Yes, I retired. I suppose I am back which would then make the retirement more of a sabbatical. Right.  Anyhow, it was indoors but a bike is a bike...

 I discovered that because I work in retail I am able to get Hokas at a reduced rate. Ummm, yes please. These Odysseys arrived mid-week. Surprisingly lighter than the model I am currently running in (I don't even know what model that is... probably whatever was on clearance at Running Warehouse). Anyhow. Love the Odysseys. #swoon

Nutrition-wise this week I am at the tail end of the 21 day fix. As crazy as it seems to think you need color coded boxes to show you how to eat right, it has helped me. Could I have looked up the measurements of those boxes online and did it myself? Absolutely. For me, it was exactly what I needed to track what I was taking in and help me get back on track. I have a very odd schedule and those days where I don't plan ahead, any clean eating goes out the window because I will find myself starving and in a drive through window somewhere...  Interesting enough, there have been a few days in my food tracking where I actually did not eat enough food. That honestly shocked me as I would have told you I always ate plenty and then some. So, long story short, the colored boxes, the tracking and the shakeology have all been a big help to me.

Y'all.  I made this last week. So good. I had to thumb past all the delicious looking pumpkin and apple breads in Southern Living magazine and this little jewel jumped out of the pages at me.  Try it!

Hope you all have a good week!  BTW, if you need another instagram account to follow, check me out @karenwhitlo.  :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Back in the distance game...

I ran the Hotlanta Half Marathon today.  The first long distance race I have done in 9 months! I did a couple of 5ks and a 10k earlier this year but all that was before March which made this race feel even more like I was starting all over.

Massive medal!

I ran HOTlanta last year. It was hilly as is typical of Atlanta races and was HOT as advertised. I mean, it is August after all...  This year they changed the start location which seemed to be a much better set up for all concerned (last year was a steep uphill finish, this year it was downhill and the vendors had a much better set up).

New start location this year! Much improved.

The plan for the race was to start in zone one, then spend some time in zone two and finish up in zone three. Normally, once a race starts I kind of take off. Not like a sprint but a fast start just to kind of find some free space and get out from the crowd. Since I am going faster than I probably should, I end up passing a lot of people in the beginning. Today was kind of the opposite. I felt like everyone was blasting by me and my zone 1 running right out of the gate. Interestingly enough, if you go slow enough from the start and everyone passes you, you also find some free space from the crowd it is just at the back of the pack. It worked. :)

The run felt really good, once I got into zone 2 I was starting to feel like I was running closer to my normal speed. Dark clouds had been brewing in the area since the start of the race and the bottom finally dropped out somewhere around mile 9 and continued through the finish.  Buckets of rain were coming down and there was lightening in the area. I kept thinking they were going to stop the race. It felt like we were running through a creek in places; the water was deep enough to completely submerge our feet so they were completely soaked.  I don't think I would run in that much of a downpour on purpose but once I got used to it, I kind of enjoyed it. To me, the rain was 1000x better than running in 90+ degree temps that I had been expecting.

My race time was somewhere in the 2:14 range. Not a PR but I am happy with the result. I felt strong at the end so I think focusing on the zones versus pace will work well for me

A little avocado heavy but sometimes you just go with it :)

In nutrition news, I am on day 14 of the 21 day fix. I haven't been doing the Beachbody work outs but have been following the nutrition part of it and I feel like it has really helped me eat healthier.  The funny thing is, I have tried shakeology in the past and really didn't have an opinion on it one way or the other but now it feels like it is something that works for me. I think I mostly like the fact that it gives me a serving of protein and contains all the vitamins I need for the day without having to take a separate multivitamin. (because while I have vitamins at home I might remember to take them once every two weeks which really doesn't do much good...) Anyhow. So I am on board with the shakes. Don't worry, I won't try to sell them to you.  :)

shake, shake, shake...


Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Kdub weekly update... :)

This week was pretty exciting! My tennis team went to city finals and WON which is exciting in and of itself but also means we get to compete at the state championships next May which will be all kinds of fun.

Funny side story, I ordered cupcakes from Publix to take to the match. Nothing special just cupcakes with sprinkles and there was no mention of why I needed them, for all they knew it was a baby shower. When I went to pick them up, they all had these #1 fingers in them. Strange because had it been for a baby shower, that would have been weird. I think it was a good sign. Like Publix knew...

On the running side of things, I feel like it is all coming back together. Going from being at a point where you could run 26.2 miles to where you felt like anything more than 3-4 miles might be a challenge is a weird thing.  In a lot of ways you feel like you are starting over (because you basically are..) but in other ways you know have done it before so you have that little bit of confidence tucked away knowing you can do it. I think crossing the 10 mile marker last week was a big boost.

My coach has me running by time versus running X miles each week which is a change for me. I think I mentioned my training plan was mostly HR based so for today it was a 2 hour run with 30 minutes in Z1, 60 minutes in Z2 and 30 in Z3.  As someone who previously was focused on miles it is unusual not to think about the distance of each run (and haven't really even given it a second thought). I will say, I did have a very brief moment of panic last week when I came to the realization that I was 2 weeks out from a scheduled half marathon (the Hotlanta Half Marathon and it will be... Hot.). I looked up my mileage in training peaks just to be sure because it didn't seem like I had been running all that far and needed to convince myself that I would be fine.  Of course, mister man had it all under control and I have now convinced myself that I will be good to go.  I am not feeling like it will be a PR but finishing the distance after taking my little sabbatical will be PR enough.  :)

21 day fix update...  that is actually going good! In the past I have rolled my eyes at food journals but this time around I am making myself write it all down and it is helping so much in unexpected ways. I did it to keep me on track and try to make sure I was getting in enough protein, veggies and whatnot. I have an unusual working schedule and end up eating at odd times which makes it hard to kind of track because I tend to grab quick small snack type meals throughout the day.

The unexpected bonus of the logs was seeing how my intake (or lack thereof) can impact my workouts.  I felt kind of sluggish at my tennis match this week as in dead legs, not going to finish this match on a positive note kind of feeling which is weird because while I am not always the best player on the court, I do have the advantage of endurance on my side which can work in my favor. This particular day, endurance was not feeling like it was on my side. I initially blamed the heat but looking back yesterday at the logs, I really think my issue was I had not eaten enough going into the match. The match was Thursday morning and both Tuesday and Wednesday I had not eaten my recommended amounts of food.  (and believe me I was SHOCKED...  I am definitely not one who needs to be reminded to eat. I guess when you stop eating all the chips and cookies it makes a difference). Headed into week two, I obviously need to do better about getting all the food in and water. Oh water...  chug a lug.

Ended up the week with a little Friday night dinner out. Haven't seen these ladies in a while. XOXO

And that's what has been happening in a nutshell.  Oh yeah. I did sign up for Chattanooga 70.3 next May but we can talk about that next time.   :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The fix is in...

When I last left you I was in a recovery week which was quite fabulous. It really felt like a mini vacation doing light runs here and there as opposed to runs with some sort of purpose every day. This past week it was back to business with my regular rotation of hill repeats and interval based runs.  In my previous marathon training, I had always just done mileage based runs, you know - run 6 miles however you can manage to do it (fast, slow, run/walk, whatever) just check that mileage marker off the list. This time around the running has been time based with a lot of focus on heart rate zones. Prior to this week, it was heavy zones 1/2 and now we are creeping into z3 and z4.  I have really been enjoying this change for the most part. It is a good distraction to try and keep your HR in check and I have found a strange love for the speedwork and hill repeats. It is kind of fun to run fast, I suppose :)

I got a new garmin earlier this year and today it informed me I had a new distance record of 10.10 miles! Sort of funny because it was a reminder of how long it had been since I had run much longer than an hour. I am back on the training wagon folks.

Lifetime Fitness kicked off their 90 day challenge program this weekend. Last time around I wasn't really into it and fell off the wagon kind of early on. I signed back on to it this time and promised my trainer I was going to take it seriously this time around so am hoping I set myself up for a little accountability there. My sister is into the Beachbody program so I am doing the 21 day fix with her for the next few weeks. I think the structure of portion sizes will be a good help for me. Here we go! I am two meals in and doing great -  no slip ups yet!  LOL

In other news, my tennis team won their semi final match this week and we are moving on the finals. So exciting! I have been to city finals a time or two in some other smaller leagues but this will be my first time at a large city finals event so am really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

All I do is run, run, run no matter what, what what...

My training peaks account was pulled out of the cobwebs a month ago and I have to say it feels so good to be working towards a goal again. First up is the Chickamauga Marathon on November 14th followed by Rocket City in December. I ran Chickamauga in 2010, it is one of my favorites due to the small size and the lovely course through the Chickamauga Battlefield (so much history!). It was not my best marathon performance and this feels like a bit of a do-over for me. I had some kind of hip issue right after the half marathoners split off the course and basically just hobbled from there to the finish line. Obviously, I am hoping for a better outcome this time.  No hobbling!

I am working with a coach this time around. Not because I think I need a coach to finish a marathon as such but my motivation has been so on again off again this year that I felt like I needed someone to be accountable to this time around. (and who knows, maybe I will get a little faster in the process - fingers crossed!).  The accountability thing has definitely worked.  There have been a couple of times where I thought "this is normally where I take a little walk break" but didn't because I didn't want that to show up on my training peaks log when I uploaded the file from my watch. So I keep running. Accountability for the win. #holla

I have run pretty much every day for the last three weeks. A lot of zone 1 & 2 with some speed work and hills mixed in for good measure. Honestly, besides accountability that is another reason a coach is good for me because every other marathon I have just built up mileage without regard for the "fancy" workouts.  I actually enjoy the speed work. It is kind of fun to run fast even if it is only for a few minutes at a time.

Up until Sunday, I started to wonder if my coach had a thing against rest days. I know I personally enjoy a day off once in a while.  :)  Just when I was wondering if I had someone been signed up for one of those Runner's World Run Streaks, I saw this magical sign on my log for this week. It feels a little like spring break up in here!

4 weeks down, 15 weeks to go!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Still getting it all together...

So it has been 3+ months since we last talked. (it feels obligatory to acknowledge the absence). I suppose I haven't really had much to say. I have said it before and I will say it again, it is quite the life changer to go from working out 15-20+ hours a week down to maybe 5 hours a week (on a good week). Seriously 5 hours a week. The crazy part is 5 hours is what most people would consider "normal" but in my warped endurance mind it feels like I have basically been doing nothing.

I needed a break, I truly did. For the most part over the past seven months (!) since B2B I have been doing a little bootcamp type training, a very small amount of running and a fair amount of tennis.  I had given up tennis when I dove into triathlon and have really enjoyed adding it back into my life again. Of course, I can't do anything on a reasonable level - my first season back and I am on FIVE teams. Insanity. I will scale it back after this season. For real.

Several weeks ago, I started getting the itch to race again. I decided to sign up for the Battlefield Marathon in November and Rocket City in December. (You see that they endurance insanity is hard to shake - that is the only kind of person who signs up for back to back marathons.).  I have done Battlefield once before. I loved the course but didn't have a great race so am looking forward to have a do-over on this course. I promise not to cut the course and claim the first place prize like the "winner" last year.   As for Rocket City, it just looked like a good race. I think I was in "sign up for every race" mode that day as I signed up for both races in the same day.

I started training on Monday and have to say it feels really good to be working on a plan. In the past several months, it has become clear to me that I do best when there is a goal of some sort. I like structure and the idea of going to the gym just because fitness is good for you is not enough of a motivator for me.  So there you go. This girl now has goal(s).

Let's do it!

Monday, March 16, 2015

I am convinced there is a connection...

It has been 16 days since I have had a Diet Dr. Pepper.  You have no idea how huge this is to me. When I say I was raised on Diet Coke, I mean that in every sense of the word.  As early as I can remember, we had a supply of Tab in the house.  I also remember going to the grocery store and picking out our flavors of Diet Shasta for the week.  There was nothing much more exciting than loading up an empty box with various flavors of Shasta. ...or maybe our life was just boring.  LOL.  So my Diet Coke addiction is legit and I come by it honestly. The addiction has been with me for 40ish years at this point.  Just so we are clear, I live in the south where all diet "sodas" are referred to as Diet Coke.  Diet Dr. Pepper, Tab, Diet Shasta, Diet Coke - it is all Diet Coke.  Except Coke Zero.  That is gross and is called Coke Zero.

The funny thing is I never really thought of it as a bad thing until the past few years.  Mostly when I tried to start eating more cleanly. It didn't make much sense to eat clean only to throw 4+ cans of Diet Dr. Pepper into my system every day.  I tried a few times to give it up but never made it past the first week.  I am not naive enough to think I have kicked the habit but am quite proud to have made it this far.  In all honesty, I haven't even wanted one all that much.  

Over the past year or so I have read articles linking a craving for sweets with drinking diet coke. Something about the taste of the diet soda triggering your body to prepare to digest sugar.  When the body doesn't get the sugar, it starts craving it.  You are kind of faking out your system.  This article explains it pretty well.

I always wondered if that were true because I do love me some sweets. Or should I say I did. Ever since I stopped drinking Diet Coke, I haven't really wanted anything sweet. Weird, right? Sweets for me were pretty much a daily occurrence, cookie, cupcake, ice cream, whatever it was I usually had something along those lines every day. I walked down the ice cream aisle the other day at the store and had ZERO desire to check anything out.  Very strange.  Not complaining, trust me I needed the help...  at this point I find it kind of fascinating.  I am pretty sure all those studies are real.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Why hello there progress...

Not even a repeat performance of the turkish get ups on Thursday could keep me down! Seriously, I don't know why we had to do them two sessions in a row.  I think that is some kind of sick trainer joke.  ...or maybe I should actually conquer them and then we wouldn't have to do them as much.  Hmmm.....

Y'all this clean eating thing is sticking with me this time.  Whew...  so much relief.  I can see a difference and the jeans don't have to stretch as far right now.  I really think this is the longest I have gone without Diet Coke since birth so that is the real miracle right there.  Seriously.

So last week I did a 5k to support one of my friend's charities.  The start time was 2:00 pm which is pretty awesome.  I can get behind a race that doesn't require you to set an alarm clock.  The 5k was an out and back and decently hilly so we'll call it a good challenge.  The last 1/2 mile or so I pass this 8 year old on a hill.  He is quick to pass me back.  For the record, I did not chase him down for the purpose of passing him but he ran out of steam in the last 1/8 of a mile or so.  As I go past him I give a little "good job, let's go buddy" and he just looks at me.  He finished right behind me and I see him again walking up the stairs to where they were handing out awards.  I congratulated him and asked him if it was his first 5k.  He says it was his 11th and he wasn't too happy with his time (we were around 25 minutes).  "My fastest time is 17 minutes".  Wow.   I guess he was a little off that day :)    

The good news is we both took home first in our age groups and a sweet hand painted award.

No Diet Dr. Pepper in 14 days.  Now that deserves an award.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tuesday Turkish get ups and dead butts...

Is it a full moon?  I have been crazy all day long.  This morning I posted this little inspiration meme (is it a meme or just a post, I dunno.  I feel like I might need a definition of a meme...  this doesn't have an angry cat or ironic picture so maybe it is just a post).  Anyhow,  I posted this on Facebook right before I went in the gym.

Inspirational, right? Let's take on the day, friends!

I head up to my class and the trainer is showing us how to do turkish get ups with a 16lb kettle bell.  Dear Lord that is difficult.  On my right side, easy enough but reverse all that and do it on the left side.  A mess.  So we move on to the next thing.  The main set was as many dead lifts and dumbbell thrusters as you could do in 20 minutes.  We had done this the previous week so we kind of had a number we wanted to beat.  I had done 196 last Tuesday (a fact which bothered my OCD side - so close to 200).  This time, I knew I wanted to beat 200.  Timer starts.  I start busting out the task at hand.  Trainer says, I am going to send you an email, you need to work on your glutes.  What every lady likes to hear...  I like dead butts and I cannot lie... Mind you, it isn't both glutes, just one.  So I left class with half of a dead butt, a sad attempt at a turkish get up and feeling like maybe I needed a do over on the day.  Whomp, whomp.  Stupid, right?

I got out of the car on top of the world and got back in feeling less than great.  Then I thought about my post.  Here I am posting something so it might be inspirational to someone else and it turns out I was the one that needed to hear that today.  My trainer emailed me the video to cure my dead butt and I was telling him I felt like I needed the do-over on the day.  Of course, he had no idea what I was talking about...  "You did fine.  You were learning something for the first time so of course it was hard.  By the way, you did two more rounds of the deadlifts and thrusters than you did last week." Aren't we always harder on ourselves than we need to be?  I chose to focus on my half-ass ass and unrecognizable get up when I should have been proud that I met my goal of hitting 200 and exceeded it with 211 reps.  Boom y'all.  Lesson learned (again).  Glass half full.  If you need me, I will be the one with an exercise band around her knees trying to revive her dead glute.

Day 10:  No Diet Dr. Pepper.  What is this world coming to?  I am pretty sure their stock must have dropped in value by now.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

The funny thing about not working out 20 hours a week is... don't need to eat as much food!  #duh   I mean, really what self respecting endurance athlete doesn't know how to calculate your nutritional needs to some extent?  I could tell you exactly how many salt tabs, gels, bonk breaker bars, and bottles of water I need to get through a race but for some reason fail to be able to apply that same consistency to my daily life.  What is up with that?

Since I broke up with triathlon, I have steadily been gaining a pound here and a pound there until the stretch in my stretch jeans has reached its limits.  When I grab a pair of jeans to put in my gym bag in the morning, I just pray they still fit when I go to put them on. I don't eat junk 24/7 but lately there had been a pretty consistent intake of junky snacks on a daily basis. I am really bad about rewarding myself for this or that with food.  Run 6 miles today? Let's have some Doritos AND a cupcake!  I am not sure why but I have had some kind of mental block about getting it together and dropping all the extra junk food.

I joined a 90 day challenge at Lifetime Fitness in an effort to give myself a little push.  The challenge started at the beginning of February.  I did good for TWO days and then did a flying leap off of the wagon.  In my mind, I had not given up on the challenge but had more of an attitude of that I had NINETY DAYS to get it together.  No harm, no foul if the first 30 days were a mess, right?  It was sort of like cramming for an exam at the last minute.  I kept thinking I would get it together in the last 60 days.  Right.

A week or so ago, I stepped on the scale in the changing room and saw a number I had not seen in a while.  Scared straight.  I know, a number is just a number and shouldn't make or break you, it is how your clothes fit and how you feel, blah blah blah but let's be real.  Whether it is right or wrong, most ladies (and maybe men too) have a number in their head - more likely, two numbers.  One number is your happy weight and the other is the upper limit you are willing to reach before things start getting serious.  If you see the happy weight, you will immediately break out into a snoopy dance.  The other one, not so much... To be clear, the number I saw was not the happy weight number.  

I am not sure how I bumped into it but later that day I found the Advocare 24 Day Challenge.  Yes, I just felt some of the whole food purists cringe.  My habit of diet cokes from sun up to sun down wasn't exactly healthful living so this feels like a good compromise for me. (Stick with me, I promise it won't be an infomercial).  I liked the structure and that there was an emphasis on clean eating during the program so it wasn't just "drink our shakes and then you are on your own".  They were quick about shipment which I also liked...  once you get used to Amazon Prime everything else seems slow in comparison. It is like they know you are going to order before you do.  Weird.

I started the program 8 days ago.  I cannot tell a lie, it has been exactly what I needed.  The perfect amount of structure combined with flexibility to choose your own foods.  I have gotten back to my Sunday afternoon meal prepping which is the biggest help in sticking with the plan.  I feel 100% better than I did two weeks ago AND I have not had a diet coke in 8 days.  Let me tell you, as someone who was quite literally raised on Diet Coke (or back then Tab), to not even crave one at this point really is a miracle.  I used to easily drink 4+ cans a day.  No joke.  If nothing else, that was worth the price of admission.  I know it is early in the game but after several months of feeling kind of lost with fitness and nutrition, it feels good to be back on the path again.  Rick is sold on it too and is going to give it a go next week!  I know it will help him a lot so I am excited to see his results.

Could I have done this on my own?  Yes.  Did I?  No.  Sometimes you just need someone to lay out a plan for you...  onward and upward!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Quitting the thing that defines you...

The next several weeks if you go to the grocery store in my area (and probably any area in the USA), you have to run the girl scout gauntlet.  Lord knows I love their cookies.  Lord also knows I don't need their cookies.  Today was the first day I had seen them outside the grocery store so I stepped up to get a box of Samoas.  I happened to have on my Ironman Louisville ski cap.  The Mom in charge asks me if I had done an Ironman to which I said yes.  She said "well you DESERVE these cookies".  They still cost me $4 so apparently I didn't deserve them for free...  ha ha.

It is funny what kind of admiration that race gets you and in the most unusual places.  I have never been one of those people who wore that accomplishment on my sleeve.  (Granted, today I had it on my head but normally I keep it on the down-low).  I could talk to you for hours about my hobbies and never mention it.  As much as I don't like to put my accomplishment out there in the course of conversation, until recently it was very much a part of my every day life.      

"What I learned quitting the thing that defined me" was the title of the article I saw on Hey Eleanor yesterday.  It kind of describes where I am at perfectly.  The thing that defined me.  In many ways after five years of 24/7 triathlon, specifically Ironman, it defined me.  It was I did in most of my waking (non-working) moments.  It was a part time job; twice a day and all weekend long for most weekends.  When I wasn't swimming, biking or running I was thinking about swimming, biking or running or packing my gear for my next workout (which I suppose still counts as thinking about SBR...)

...and 100% happy with it!

Back in December when I decided that burnout had gotten the best of me it felt very freeing.  Lately it feels like a weird place to be in.  It isn't that I haven't moved on and managed to fill every waking minute with other things but it is still a transition.  For years, when Rick would talk about his friends they were always "skydiving friends" or "motorcycle friends" or...  you get the idea.  As your hobbies change, your group of friends sort of change as well.  The thing that makes it harder to not feel like a quitter is that your entire facebook feed is filled with these groups of people.  People you used to have things in common with, people who are still doing the thing that you stepped away from.

Don't get me wrong, I have been filling my time with some awesome 'crossfit-like' workouts at the gym (AKA crossfit but they can't call it that because of branding. You still get the same hand callouses).  So there is that.  I also played a little tennis this winter.  I have been running here and there.  I had a great 10k race yesterday.  My goggle marks have *finally* gone away.  LOL.  All in all, it has been a great break from triathlon and I don't regret my decision to quit.  I have been able to take classes and do things I never would have had time to do in the past and that is worth so much more to me than any medal at this point in my life.  For now, I will enjoy my transition time and cheer on my triathlon friends from the sidelines.  :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

This, that and beet smoothies...

I don't know if you all have been to a Publix grocery store before but I am pretty sure their cashiers are told to comment on at least one item you purchase when you check out.  Over the years, it has led to interesting comments as the cashier struggles to find something to say about whatever random item I have purchased.  Most times, if they really can't think of anything to say, they will just ask if whatever thing tastes good.  On one occasion, a cashier told me that she couldn't eat the cereal I was purchasing because it made her gassy.  L.O.L.  TMI lady, TMI.

Last week, I came across a recipe for a beet smoothie.  Weird, I know.  I had never eaten beets before but had seen other people post about drinking beet juice before running so when the recipe popped in my inbox, I thought I would give it a try.  I went to Publix to gather up my beets and other ingredients.  As the cashier rings up the beets, he asks me what a person would do with beets.  I tell him most people probably cook them but I was going to put mine raw in a smoothie to which he says....  "that sounds very healthy, a lot like eggnog".  Ummm, yes.  Much like eggnog.  Or not.  The guy bagging the groceries then says "I am thinking the beet thing is healthier than eggnog though because I am pretty sure she doesn't put liquor in her smoothie."  What would I do without the employees of Publix.

In case you are wondering, the beet smoothie is 1 c water, a small beet (peeled), a small pear, 1/2 c frozen cranberries, 1/2 c frozen cherries and 1 cup red cabbage.  (Liquor optional...)  Blend it all up and enjoy!  I have developed a weird addiction to it.  You can taste the beets in there but it isn't overpowering.  Give it a whirl if you are looking for a healthy alternative to eggnog.  ;)