Friday, December 25, 2009

No protein == no hair

It's been no secret that my hair loss has gone on longer than most. I had tried pretty much everything to slow it down or stop it and nothing worked. I figured I'd just have to wait it out. At least, these days, it's down to a trickle; still more than before surgery, but not so much that it's really troublesome.

Well, that was the case until a week ago when I got really bad about getting in enough protein. I actually had a day where I only consumed 35 g of the stuff. Yikes!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First ride

I decided to take Gia out today hoping I could get in a good hour's ride in between rain spells. But it was not to be. So she has now been rained on and even had her first tip over accident. She's been christened, that's for sure.

Apparently, riding a new bike with narrower tires than I'm used to, a different gear shifting mechanism than I'm used to and a new pedal cleat system when it's raining off and on and the ground is full of debris is not actually a good idea. Even so, I did okay. I was a little wobbly in parts, but the shifters are pretty intuitive and I like the Look pedals. They are pretty easy to clip into in spite of the fact that they only clip on one side. But I think the tension on them is a bit tight for me because I had some trouble getting out at times.

I started out on my usual "no destination in mind" ride which is an out and back on the Alameda Creek trail. From my house to the bay and back is around 20 miles so it's a nice ride and it's flat so I can go all out. I also use the underpasses as little mini-hills. I try to race down them and then get back up the other side without shifting into an easier gear. My theory is that it will make me stronger on real hills, but also it's fun.

But I didn't get very far before I ran into an old friend going in the opposite direciton.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Introducing Gia

My new bike is here!

"What?! What new bike?" you may be asking yourself. Not to mention, "What happened to Herbie*?"

*Herbie is my old bike. I named her after Herbie, the Love Bug. But she's a girl Herbie, not a boy Herbie.

I haven't mentioned it much on the blog, because I didn't want to jinx it. It all started back in Oct. when I woke up one day to a message on Facebook from one of my online friends, Will, saying (paraphrase):

Do you want a Gios Compact Pro racing bike? I've got the parts for one in my basement. I'd rather see them being used than sitting here.
My reaction? I was in shock. Wouldn't you be? I was also a bit suspicious. Maybe I'm a cynic and I know I tend to over-think things. So my brain was going about 200 mph with all sorts of thoughts:

CIM Relay

Last week I "ran" a "marathon". Okay, I "ran" 5.6 miles. And by "run" I mean I did this sort of run/shuffle/race walk thing and I also just walked for part of it too.

I probably shouldn't have done it because of my injury, but I had fun and learned a bit about racing through pain. It was tricky to push enough to feel satisfied, but not enough to risk serious/further injury. I think I did manage that though I did make my PT unhappy with how tight my calf muscles ended up.

I now have to stretch them as well as do my PT exercises. Plus, I'm giving up on track until January. Just biking and swimming for me until I can run without pain.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

IMAZ '09 Non-race Report

I've been remiss in getting my report from my Ironman Arizona trip. Blame Thanksgiving and work for that.

Originally, I hadn't planned to attend this event. I figured I'd sign up for next year's IMAZ on the web. All the Ironmans so far this year have had online registration, so I figured there wasn't any need to go down there. It turned that going there was a really good idea, but more on that later.

It started when a bunch of my friends floated the idea of going down there to volunteer and to cheer on our friend D, who was doing her first Ironman along with her family. That sounds like fun and I figured it would be a good idea to see an Ironman in action before I actually did one. I also wanted to get a feel for the course. In particular, the "lake" that the swim takes place in looks more like a river or a canal and I was having trouble visualizing how we'd all fit in there for the swim. I also wanted to see how feasible driving there would be.

So I reserved a hotel room, told my boss I was taking some days off, and started recruiting people to stay with me and/or drive down with me. Four of us ending up going, of which I was the only one intent on signing up for next year.

IMAZ '10 or Bust!

So I did it. I signed up to do an Ironman. I was going to post "I'm not sure what got into me" and "I know it's going to be tough" and a bunch of disclaimers like that. But then I realized... it would be a lie! I know what got into me and I think it's going to be the most fun of anything I've ever done in my life. So there.

I've been toying with doing an Ironman for a while. I'm not sure when the idea went from "I'll never do that" to "I must do that." But at some point during this past season, I got the bug. This is something I must do and that I feel like I owe it to myself to do.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Damn foamies

I got the foamies today. I can't believe it. I'm over a year out. Surely this shouldn't still be happening to me.

It's my own damn fault. I decided to make PB and (SF) J on whole wheat mini-bagels for lunch. I also decided to measure everything to make sure my eyeballing measurements were still accurate. (I do this kind of re-calibrating on a regular basis. Otherwise, in spite of having better than average eyeballing skills, I find myself slowly upping my portion sizes.) Which means, instead of eating the amount I thought I could eat, I ate the amount I measured out. Then I ate it sitting at the computer and stopped paying attention until it was gone and it was too late.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I promised to post my latest scar pix and haven't done it. Sorry about that. I'll try to get to them this week.

Anyway, it's been a few months since my weight stabilized and, at first, I was pretty scrawny on top. But, as I was hoping, things have redistributed. I still have pretty prominant collarbones but I've got less of a chicken wing chest and you can't see my ribs any more.

I also swear that my panus continues to get smaller. I guess I should do some measurements to check, but it seems like they don't change much. The change happens in places I don't measure so much.

I still have a lot of loose skin on my arms though and it continues to bug all out of proportion to the offense.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Big Kahuna: DNF

And so my exciting first triathlon season ends, not with a bang, but with a whimper.

I had really looked forward to The Big Kahuna and thought it would not only be a perfect end to my season, but also set me up well for next season when I want to do an Ironman and also the Wildflower Long Course. I also wanted to do something to show how far I've come and how much improvement I've made.

But it all started to fall apart on Sept. 29th, when I tweaked my calf muscle at Track doing some hill repeats. I didn't realize I'd done anything significant to it as I just had a bit of tightness the next day that went away when I worked out. But I had a little tight spot, slightly more pain than normal, and, after I did the SJ Rock 'n Roll Half, I had a tear. (Or maybe I always had a tear and it just got bigger at that event.)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My GOTRIbal Weekend: US Women's Tri Series and Lunch with Chrissie

Today I met Chrissie Wellington and passed her on the bike. Three times.

But let's start at the beginning.

A few months ago, I was reading Chrissie's blog and she mentioned a group called GOTRIbal -- a group dedicated to empowering women through sport, particularly triathlon. One of the things that surprised me when I first started doing triathlons was how male-dominated the sport is. Given that swimming, biking and running are not particularly masculine activities and lots of women do them, I just assumed that lots of women did triathlons. I assumed wrong.

But I love triathlon so much that I decided I had to help change that. So I started evangelizing my sport. To anyone who would listen, but mostly to women. But I'm just one person. Here was an entire group all working towards the same goal. Just think how many more women I could get into the sport if I was working with a group.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

One Year Check-up

I had mine with Dr. Awesome today. It's actually been almost 13 months, but close enough.

We mostly went over my labs as I really didn't have any questions or concerns for a change. Short report: My labs are mostly good except for my protein levels. We talked a LOT about that.

But first, the details:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

San Jose Rock 'n Roll Marathon (of Death)

I can't believe I never got around to writing a race report for this event. It was a very important one in my new life as a triathlete, too.

I woke up Sunday morning and made my morning protein shake. I figured I wouldn't be able to drink 16 oz. in the car so I made a single serving version. This turned out to be less than optimal as I was hungry when I got to downtown San Jose. I also had to poop, but I couldn't. (I know -- TMI. But it turns out to be important and I couldn't think of any other way to say it.)

I had foolishly not drank enough water the day before, I think. So I knew that a potty break in the middle of the race was a 100% certainty.

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's been a year

So this is it... my very own "I'm one year out!" post. Yes, it's been a year since I had my surgery.

In that time I've lost:

-110 pounds (give or take depending on the day)
-97.5 inches
-my ravenous appetite
-at least 38% body fat (I'm having trouble getting an accurate measurement on this one)

And I've gained:

-a whole lot of new friends, both online and in real life
-an athlete's body and lifestyle
-my life back

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Put on my big girl panties

So yesterday my trainer calls me -- he's sick and can't make our session this morning. No big deal, I think. I'll do a Group Power class at the gym. That's weight lifting in a group to music. I call it "chick-lifting" -- weight lifting for chicks. Kind of strange, but it's a decent workout for people like me who never know what to do when they go to the gym by themselves. And, if there isn't a Group Power class, there is bound to be a Boot Camp or Body Sculpt or Abs & Core class.

Except there isn't. Not on Wednesday before 9:00 am anyway.

Monday, September 21, 2009

You need to gain weight!

So people have been saying that to me lately. I think it's weird because my weight has been relatively stable for about two months. It goes down a bit and then comes back up and then goes down again. But my clothes fit the same and I don't really look any thinner than when people weren't saying this to me.

It's interesting that I'm getting these comments right about when I think I'm the perfect size. I know a lot of people who get them when they are still technically obese! In those cases, it's clear that the problem is with the person making the comment. They would think someone else at that weight needs to lose (at least) 25 lb. and only think their friend is "too thin" because they aren't used to seeing them so small.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I guess Bullets really are evil

So, with all the controversy over the quality of protein bullets, comes this:

Agents Conduct More Raids On Vitamin Company

Apparently the makers of New Whey are in big trouble with ICE. They were raided and had antique cars and tons of other stuff confiscated. ICE brought dogs to the raid. (to sniff for ???)


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Waves to Wine is in the books

Well, it's over and Team Altered Reality survived!

We had a freak storm in the Bay area -- started with dry lightening and eventually the rain came down. So we started out Sat. morning in the cold and rain, which did put a damper on things. Then, getting out of SF was a bit of a zoo. Some guy road his bike right into me, for example. I didn't fall down (thanks to Deb and her riding in a group lesson), but I was freaked out. Then I got two flat tires right away. By the time we got to the first two rest stops, there wasn't much food left, either. Then Ant got THREE flat tires and had to be SAGed into the third stop.

So we were cold, wet and miserable and hungry and making horrible time. It wasn't looking good.

Even with the fog and no sunlight, much of the route was beautiful, though. Plus, we started making better time after all our flat tire woes and that meant the food got better. It never really warmed up to a normal September temperature, but it did get warmer as we got into Rohnert Park for the night.

The team helped me put up my tent. (Which is good because I'm bad at that sort of thing.) We had also corralled another guy into our team for the ride and he camped out too so I wasn't alone when the rest of my team went to their respective hotels for the night.

Camping out was fun. I got to meet some new people. Plus, the portable showers had amazingly hot water -- which I hadn't expected. I even got a decent night's sleep, which doesn't always happen with camping.

The next day it was overcast, a little chilly, but not too bad. We got a bit of a late start what with people having to top off their tires and take our official team photo. Half of us did the 50 mile route instead of the 75 mile route so we were getting to the rest stops early and that meant lots and lots of food choices. I can't believe how much I ate!

It did threaten to sprinkle a few times, but putting on my rain jacket would stop that. (I'm so glad I went out and bought that jacket the night before we left.) The rain held off until we got to the park where everything ended, so that was good. Plus, I got to take another hot shower!

"Dinner" was served at Lake Sonoma -- a bbq with tri-tip. I'm a sucker for tri-tip. We sat around and ate and chilled until the rain drove us away. Then it was onto the buses for the trip home. I ended up not being able to sit with my team so I sat with some amusing guys and we talked and looked up football scores on my iPhone.

When we got back to the bike corral, my bike was soaked and I was so glad I had put a sheet in my new car because otherwise there would now be mud all over it. (That would have been bad.)

I was so tired when I got home. But, interestingly, I wasn't that sore. I expected to be very sore, but so far all I've felt is a bit of numbness in my left hand and some twinges in my quads the next day. I've definitely been worse!

Overall, it was a good experience, if not quite what I was expecting -- mostly due to the weather which really could not have been foreseen and definitely not controlled.

One thing I would have liked, though, is if the Saturday night program had featured more people affected by MS. I don't feel like I really got to know where the money we raised went to in any personal way. I did see the guys from Fluid (a club sponsor) there with shirts with a picture of who they were riding for and I got to talk to one of them yesterday at our club meeting about the ride. I would have liked a lot more of that.

So far our team has raised $6,639.00, which means we've gone over the $1000 per person target that the National MS Society set to meet their goal. So I'm very proud of our team for that. However, I haven't made my personal fundraising goal and the event hasn't made it's fundraising goal. So, if you were planning to donate, but just didn't get around to it, it's not too late! Anything we raise up through Oct. 16th counts towards our team total.

MacMadame's Donation Page

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I like my body

I can't believe I'm typing this, let alone thinking it.

But lately I've been seeing pictures of myself or catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror or a store window and not hating what I see.

Sure, I'm much more likely to notice when my arm skin is all wrinkly or my hair is poofing out funny. And those things happen a lot. But sometimes I'm actually pretty hot. Um, for a 50-something who's had two kids, anyway. Plus, I've gotten very lean and I've always admired that kind of body.

Of course, this is with clothes on. That kind of goes without saying when you've lost 110+ pounds and your skin hasn't had time to catch up.

But, up until recently, I've been disappointed in my pictures. I've lost all this weight and all I could see was the imperfections. The droopy skin, the bulldog wrinkles in my face, the elephant wrinkles around my elbows and knees ... and, of course, fat pockets.

At times, I did worry that I might get anorexic. Losing weight is definitely a thrill and often more fun than trying to maintain a loss. Plus, for a while there, it seemed like, no matter how much I lost, I still had more to lose -- or thought I did. Of course, those times were offset by the times I was in a panic that I'd lost too much and was getting too scrawny. But I'd seesaw back and forth with very little time spent in the middle.

However, right now, today, at this moment: I feel perfect.

I decided to write it down, so I can remind myself of this feeling the next time I see a less than flattering photo of myself or start obsessing about my arm wrinkles.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bike MS: Waves to Wine

In a week, I'll be doing Bike MS: Waves to Wine. I still haven't picked up my packet and I need to get a tent. We have a 6 person tent, but it's kind of hard to put up and take down and I'm only one person. So I'm going to use my credit at REI to buy a 2 person tent.

I'm doing on more long bike ride this weekend before the event and then that's it -- ready or not, I'll be biking 125 miles in two days.

I'm only half way to my fund-raising goal so I'd appreciate it if anyone reading this would consider sponsoring me. It doesn't have to be a large amount. I know the economy sucks now and people are afraid of the future. Any amount is fine.

You can donate here at my page:

MacMadame's Participant Page

This cause really speaks to me for several reasons.

First, I know people who are impacted by this disease. An old school friend, the owner of the best damn figure skating message board on the internet, a cousin. I didn't actually know that when I signed up though. I only knew about my friend and fellow figure skating fan, Naomi, whose sister, Deborah, recently died from complications due to MS. Watching what she had to go through was heartbreaking and I'd like to save other families from having to go through that.

Second, MS is a disease that gradually robs people of movement. As a formerly morbidly obese person, I have had personal experience with gradually moving less and less. It's not exactly the same, but it was scary nonetheless. But I had an out. There are effective and durable treatments for obesity (I hesitate to say a cure). The only treatments we have for MS are drugs to manage the symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. It just doesn't seem fair!

As I got my mobility back and transformed myself into an athlete, I looked around for a long bike ride to challenge myself with. I also looked for something charitable I could do to give back to as I felt like my life had been given back to me.

Waves to Wine fulfills both goals in one event and I'm very excited and proud to be doing it.

Friday, August 28, 2009

11 Month Report

Last Monday was my 11th month. I realized it, but completely forgot about making a report. This is probably because nothing has really changed since last month. Same measurements, I look the same, about the same amount of hair falling out (still), can eat the same amount, etc. But I wanted to do monthly reports the first year, so -- for the sake of completeness -- here you go:

I went to see Dr. Awesome on Wed. for my "not quite a year" check-up and he was very happy with me and told me not to beat myself up so much as nothing I've been doing has resulted in weight gain. He also say I'm probably done losing. I thought so too, but then I lost two pounds! Hopefully, it's just water weight from my killer workout yesterday.

But I have also been working on eating more to my hunger and less to rules and that may have kick-started some more loss. I'm interested to see what happens next. I was a bit concerned that the upper range of my weight bounce was a bit higher than I wanted. So, if I end up bouncing around in a range where 113 is the upper limit and not the middle of the range, I'll be happier.

Here are my pictures. They were kind of blurry so I kept them small:

Oh, Dr. Awesome says he thinks my approach -- tracking everything -- is really the way to go and that I shouldn't think I'm crazy to get a $300 scale so I can track my body changes in detail. So either I'm fine or we're both insane! He did say he has patients who show up after a year and say everything is going great when they've gained 20 pounds, because they aren't tracking anything. I have to say, I've seen that myself.

So I need a way to lighten up that doesn't remove accountability. I need to lighten up because I am getting burned out on it and driving myself crazy. But I need to keep the records so I can analyze them when things go wrong. I'm thinking about putting everything down in a notebook and recording it online once a day instead of minutely tracking as I go. I don't upload my exercise to my spreadsheet every day so why put in my food every hour?

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, August 21, 2009

"She can kick your butt"

That's what the tagline says for the blog entry I wrote for the Melting Mama site. I'm tickled pink. I can see muscles in my arms without flexing them today, too. So I'm feeling very strong and buff today. Whee!

Some background: MM asked for some guest bloggers with different surgery types from her to write for her site and I volunteered. There are currently five of us. Two sleevers, two DSers and a bandster. We're supposed to write about our experiences with our different surgeries. It will be different from what I write her, which is more my personal experiences.

My first entry is pretty long. But it does summarize 1.5 years of my journey! It's here, if you want to read it.

If people have ideas for subjects for future entries, let me know...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My new ironman scale

My new scale came!! It's a Tanita Ironman Innerscan Body Composition Monitor (BC-558) that tells me my weight, body fat percentage, muscle mass, hydration levels, BMR and a bunch of other stuff. It also tells you some of those numbers for each section of your body.

And it only cost $300.

Yes, I paid hundreds of dollars for a scale. It has similar technology to the doctor's office scales that cost thousands of dollars like my surgeon has. I was tired of having a scale that gave me a body fat percentage I couldn't trust. Plus, I used my birthday money and birthday money should always be used for something frivolous that you can't really justify.

Anyway, I programmed it in and got on and it said my body fat percentage was:


I'm not sure I believe that, but part of me does. If it's true, I absolutely do not want to lose a single pound more. (Not that I really did before this, but part of me was wondering how much of my spare tire was fat and how much was loose skin. I thought it was pretty much all loose skin, but it's hard to tell for sure by looking and feeling.)

It also says my left leg is more muscular than my right. That I believe. I clip out on my left, did my "spirals" on my left when I skated and my left thigh is bigger than my right. My arms are even though -- probably because of swimming and working out with Mr. Hot Stuff (my personal trainer).

It also says my legs are fatter than my arms and my visceral fat is quite low. I believe that too based on feeling myself up. Which I have to say, I do on a regular basis. I'm very thin on top, in fact. Thinner than I look because loose skin is masking my actual shape. But I'm pretty sure my panus still has a smidgen of fat in it and my thighs do too based on how they feel.

I'm supposed to get my annual physical with my PCP next month. I'm going to ask for a Dexa Scan along with my regular PAP and mam and lab work. Those are the most accurate for determining bone density and body fat percentage. Because I've had weight loss surgery and am entering menopause (I think) and osteoporosis runs in my family, I'm pretty sure insurance will pay for it. Then I can see how accurate my new scale is.

In the meantime, I read this in my instructions which may be of interested those of us who weigh ourselves a lot:

When is the best time to use my body composition monitor?

"Your body water levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day and night. Any significant changes in body water may effect your boy composition readings; for example, the body tends to be dehydrated after a long night sleep so if you take a reading firs thing in the morning your weight will be lower and your body fat percentages higher. Eating large meals, drinking alcohol, menstruation, illness, exercising, and bathing may also cause variations in your hydration levels.

"To get the most reliable reading it is important to use your Body Composition Monitor at a consistent time of day under consistent conditions. We suggest taking a reading before your evening meal."

Interesting. They also say elsewhere to wait at least three hours after rising and after eating before taking a reading. I always take my readings in the morning because, dehydration aside, it's the most consistent time for me in terms of when and what I've last eaten. But my readings tonight were taken right before dinner, at least three hours since my last meal just like they suggest.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My weekend with Murphy

Yesterday I went for a bike ride. The bike ride from hell. Okay, not really. I mean it was a BIKE RIDE. Those are pretty much always fun. But still...

The original plan was that my friend DK would ride her bike from her house to very near my house and then we'd ride together to the East Bay Bariatric Support Group meeting north of me. We are on the same team for next month's Bike MS: Waves to Wine event and both wanted to get in a long ride this weekend.

But I looked up the ride and from the intersection near me to San Leandro Hospital was only 16 miles. Sure, I'd have to do it in both directions, but I wanted a LONG ride, at least 40 miles. So I decided to drive down to Campbell and do the whole ride with her.

It started out okay. The ride was decent. Not gorgeous like driving through forests, but not scary either. Until we got to a part of San Tomas Expressway that was all torn up. I was trying to navigate the ruts and decided to jump a small lip onto the smooth road. At the last minute, my brain said "Bad idea, you won't make it" but my body kept going.

And I didn't make it.

So I was lying on the road with my bike on top of me in a very dangerous place. I eventually got my wits about me and got up and went over to the side of the road. I didn't think I had as much damage as my fall two weeks before, but I did rip open that scab and there was blood everywhere that would not stop flowing even after I "Wet One-d" it.

So we pedaled to the nearest gas station. We'd gone about 12 miles at this point so it was a good time to stop. We did the potty thing and I bought supplies and cleaned up. I even got some ice to put on it. Cleaning, bandaging and icing all took some time though. But we still had time to make the meeting.

However, the next part of the route was slightly uphill and our speed fell off. Then, right about where I would have been meeting DK if we'd stayed with the original plan, I heard an explosion and I just knew I had a flat tire.

Sure enough... flat as a pancake. Great. Now I had to see if I could change a flat by myself. I actually did okay taking everything off, but I didn't quite do it right when it came to putting it back on and I couldn't get the tire to snap back on that last little bit. So we flagged down another bicyclist and had him do it.

Then I filled the tire back up with my handy-dandy CO2 dispenser. Only to have it explode again. Damn.

I used to ride with two spares and one patch kit but I had recently ditched the second spare due to desire not to be an excessive weenie who is always over-prepared and carries too much junk with me. DK's tires are a completely different size from mine so I had to "borrow" a patched tube from "Guy Whose Name I've Forgotten". (I couldn't patch the two dead tubes because the holes were too big.)

So I pumped it up again and was trying to get all my various doohickeys back into my wedge when GWNIF noticed that my tire had a slit in it and the tube was bulging out of it. No wonder the first spare had popped!

This meant my ride was over. Luckily I was only a mile from my house so I just walked home. DK went on to the meeting. But all our adventures made her 20 minutes late. She said she got to make a big entrance though.

Plan B was for me to go buy a new tire (and more tubes) and meet her back at the fateful spot for the return trip. But after I got my tire fixed, it became clear I was done for the day. I decided to wash my bike (which desperately needed it) and take a shower (as I also desperately needed it) and see what happened. I was prepared to ride back since I had to go get my car and didn't want to put out Mr. Mac.

But DK was also done. She called right before my shower saying she was getting a ride back with someone from the meeting. She swooped by to pick me up, we went back to Campbell and I drove home. I spent the evening icing my knee and figured I'd had my adventure for the weekend.

Then I got up early to go to Santa Cruz for a club-sponsored Open Water Swim. When we got there, not only was the air smoky from the fires in the area, but the beach was posted as closed due to bacteria. Well, shoot! We'd gone all the way down there and might not get to swim.

But then some gals from the Santa Cruz Triathlon club showed up and scoffed at both the signs and our obedience to them. Those signs are up every week in the summer, they said, and we swim here all the time and nothing happens. So apparently they are CYA signs and not "We really mean it" signs.

So we went in the water. But we swam at the beach and not around the pier where the poopy sea lion live and spew their bacteria. I really want to practice going around the pier for The Big Kahuna, too. It's an intimidating looking swim. Plus, the sea lions freak me out a bit. I'm convinced they are going to come out and head butt me. (Or at least poop on me.) So I was a bit disappointed.

Plus, it was very cold and I was sure I'd die on the swim. Luckily it was colder out of the water than in it. In fact, I got warm right away and had a good swim.

I did feel the salt water on my scraped knee at one point, but mostly I didn't feel it. I was too busy swimming and working on my two-beat kick. I got off to a slow start because it takes a while for my wet suit to get full of water, but I caught up to some people who started before me and swam to the beach with them. So I was pleased with my performance. Then again, some people swam the course twice. I didn't have time for that, but I did have time to play around in the water waiting for everyone to be done. (Like I said, it was warmer splashing around in the water than on shore.)

Afterwards, I realized that I hadn't set my stopwatch so I have no idea how long I swam. We also aren't sure how much distance we covered. It's kind of hard to log a workout like that, but I'll figure something out. The actual swimming felt great though and I'm still in a good mood because of it.

We ditched the run after due to the air quality. This was probably a good thing because I probably would have done it and it probably would have been a bad idea. My knee isn't bruised like it was last time, but it stings. It also turns out that I did bruise my shoulder. It's a pretty small one and only hurts when I touch it and not when I move. But I should have iced it yesterday and now it's probably too late. My other knee has a slight bruise as well even though I did ice that one a bit.

Now I'm back home, trying to catch up on things, taking a nap, putting off rinsing off the wet suit and wondering if I'm going to come down with some disease because I swam in sea lion poop. Of course, I don't really think anything will happen. After all, I used to swim in the Delaware River as a kid and that water is completely disgusting.

Oh, and someone got my scale all wet and now the LCD display is barely readable. Guess I'll be getting that new $300 scale for my birthday after all.

Santa Cruz "Romp in the Park" Sprint

I am so not a morning person.

This was very obvious a week ago as I was shuffling my gear in a Santa Cruz parking lot trying to get ready for the Santa Cruz Sprint. First, I filled up one of my bike bottles with my Smart Water (it has electrolytes). Then I knocked it over and spilled half of it.

For my next trick, I got my bike off the rack and went to top off the tires. After successfully filling the front one, I got confused and ended up letting all the air out of the back tire instead of adding air to it. Oopsies.

I think after I figured out I had a lever in the up position that was supposed to be in the down position, I must have woke up a bit, because everything else went swimmingly.

I got a decent spot in transition and laid out my stuff. I had my new Rocket Science transition bag and it performed great. The included transition mat was a bit of a joke though. I may go out and buy a bigger one.

Unlike my last tri, I went through my pre-race rituals without incident. Got in the appropriate number of port-a-potty trips, warmed up with a nice 15 min. jog, and had the appropriate amount of pre-race nutrition. I did wait longer to put on my wet suit -- just as a test, since I often feel like I get into it too early. But I didn't like struggling to get into it on the beach so I am not going to do that next time.

We were able to warm up in the water more than I expected from reading how it would work on the web site. The water wasn't that cold either, once I made the initial plunge into the iciness. I think my new suit (size XS!) keeps me warmer. I did get knocked over by a wave trying to get into the ocean. So I watched how the young guys did it when their wave went off. Oh, that's right, you jump over the wave or dive under. I vaguely remember this from trips to the Jersey shore as a kid.

This turned out to be unnecessary as the waves broke perfectly for our wave and I didn't have anything to deal with. I just swam out to the first buoy, across to the second and back into shore. I had decent sighting until I was coming to shore. I couldn't see the finish line. But I still did okay. As I got out of the water, I looked at my stopwatch and it was only 13+ minutes. I'm sure that's the fastest I've swum a 700-800 yard swim.

Transition was quite a way away from the beach so I had brought down my flip flops. I was afraid of running over glass on the sidewalk. This turned out to be a mistake as I couldn't run in the things. I kept taking them off and putting them back on until I gave up and just carried them.

Because of the extra distance to T1, my official swim time was about 3 minutes longer, but that's okay.

I had added TriSlide to my routine for this race. I still had some BodyGlide on first, as I knew that worked, but I put TriSlide on top. My suit came off in record time! No more BodyGlide for me -- it's TriSlide all the way. In fact, I had the fastest T1 time in my career -- just over 2 minutes.

Then I got out on the bike and took off on the (essentially flat) course. I felt like I was making good time, but I did get passed a bit. I also passed some people. I decided that I would aim for all negative splits from here on out for this race. So after the first bike loop, I did my best to go even faster for the second loop. I'm not sure I succeeded, but I did manage to pass someone from two waves ahead of me and make him say "Damn it!" That was fun.

I also was able to gain on people due to better technical skills. They would slow down for the turns, but I didn't have to thanks to the bike-handling clinics I've been to. I just leaned into the curves and went for it. I love curves so that made up for the lack of good hills.

Then I ran into T2 and changed for the bike. Again, I knew my transition was good, though T2 is never the trouble spot for me that T1 can be. (I was just over a minute -- again my fastest T2.) Then out on the run course.

As I exited the shoot, two women zoomed past me. Crap! But we immediately went up a small hill and they were dying by the time we came to the top and I passed them and never saw them again. Then, I just kept running.

And passing people. And running. And passing. Oh my god, I might get through the race without any people passing me! I just kept going, telling myself "You're a strong runner" and "You are going to move up in the standings with this run" and it worked. I passed so many people and only one person passed me. Some 12 year old punk who started in the wave behind me. But I forgave him for being young and just kept going.

I came to the turn around, grabbed my water cup and thought "Let's negative split this bitch!" which is a phrase I read on a few days before my race. Again, I'm not sure I actually did. But every time I thought about slowing down, I'd repeat my new motto and push a bit harder.

As I got near the finish, a 26 year old and 44 year old passed me. It was all downhill so I leaned forward and went for it and was able to pass the 44 year old just as I crossed the finish.

They handed me a gorgeous Finishers medal, took my timing chip, and I went off to enjoy the Expo and wait for the results. Which were very messed up.

I didn't realize it at first so when I saw my name in first place in my age group, I said "No way!" Then I looked at my time and "no way." It was 30 min. shorter than it should have been. Eventually, they straightened it all out and I had dropped to 9th place out of 12th.

I would have been upset about that, but I was solidly MOP in the overall results and 7-9 place in my age group were separated by seconds. Plus, I had my first 10 minute mile pace in the run. I can do a 5k standalone with a pace of about 9:30, but I'd never done better than 11:45 doing one in a triathlon. And that one was only 2.5 miles, not a full 5k. So I was ecstatic!

All-in-all, I felt like the race was a big romp in the park and a lot of fun. I'm not sure I'll do it again next year, as I want to do less races, but longer distances, but I'll definitely do some Sprints as C races. They are good practice without making me take a week to recover.

Next stop: The Big Kahuna!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Doing things I couldn't do before

This comes up a lot on the Weight Loss Surgery boards. What can you do now that you couldn't do before? As someone who didn't get to be Super Morbidly Obese pre-op and who always tried to not let my weight get in the way, I often can't think of anything.

I was able to ride rollercoasters and didn't need a seat-belt extension on airplanes. I went horseback riding (though not very often and I worried beforehand that they'd turn me away). I rode my bike. I even wore a two-piece bathing suit to the pool!

It's not that my weight didn't impact me. I've written quite a bit in my blog about the ways it did. I was having trouble bending down to tie my shoes and I couldn't buy clothes in "regular" stores.

But I feel those restrictions are rather lame compared to other people's answers. Plus, my insistence for so many years that my weight wasn't impacting my life very much has given me a bit of amnesia about this sort of thing.

But when we were in Tahoe on vacation I did this:

It's not that I wouldn't have done it pre-op. It's that they wouldn't have let me:

Note the weight restriction. I would have been totally crushed to have gone up to do this and found out that I wasn't allowed. So the fact that I could do it has me a bit stoked.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

10 month report

I took pictures and measurements but never posted them. Here are the pictures:

No, I don't know why some months they post side-by-side and others they do not.

These are the famous Chinos I left in the dressing room at JC Penney's but got back. They are already getting big on me. I don't quite understand that, as my measurements just haven't change that much. In fact, they've changed so little, I'm not going to take them any more until my One Year anniversary post.

I also finished another collage. I had four more months to document that way:

Highest Gear + Incline + Clipping in at top of pedal stroke = Road Rash

I should have known that when I got in the car this morning and found it was not 7:35 am as I thought, but 7:50 am and that my gas warning light was on, that it wasn't going to be my day.

However, I was the first person to show up at our NTTS meeting place besides the coach, so I did catch a break there. I was afraid I'd be so late that they'd leave without me!

The ride was decent. We did UVAS in reverse and it's definitely easier that way. I liked the hill descents as usual. I didn't start to get a sore back until we were almost done, either. (And probably wouldn't have at all, if I hadn't experimented with getting into a bigger gear than normal.)

I was mostly able to keep up with everyone too. (All 3 of them. It was a small group today.) But I keep falling behind and having to push to catch back up. That was frustrating.

I don't understand why I just can't keep up to being with, if I can catch up. I do tend to hang back a bit, as riding in a group makes me nervous, but the next thing you know, I look up and the group is way ahead of me. Maybe I've tried to drink some fluid or do a gel or am messing with my gears, but sometimes I'm not doing anything in particular to slow myself down.

Speaking of gears... my front derailer is definitely messed up. I had a lot of trouble with it today jumping from the top to the bottom and back up to the top again with no stop in the middle. I'm going to have to have that taken care of. It's annoying because I paid extra to get the model with the Tiagra parts so I wouldn't have to deal with bad tolerances.

Anyway, after I did everything wrong at our water stop - stopped with my bike in the highest gear, started facing uphill, clipped in on the left at the top of the pedal stroke instead of the bottom - and then fell over like in a slapstick comedy, I had a small section the size of a quarter under my knee that was scraped. It didn't look too bad and we had already spent a good amount of time at the water stop, so I said "let's go" and didn't try to clean it up.

I waited for the next stop to do that. That's when I found out that the scrapes were actually pretty deep. I think of road rash as rather surface, but these were more like scores made with a knife. I still didn't think it was that bad though and was surprised when my kneed started bothering me about 10 miles from home base.

Then, when we finished, I looked harder and saw that the area under the gashes was swollen to twice the size of the other knee.

Oh... that's why my knee hurt. Duh.

It still stings right now, but isn't quite as swollen. I think I'll recover nicely in time for my long run tomorrow.

Monday, July 27, 2009

My first size 0

I went clothes shopping yesterday and I found in some stores the size twos were too big! My measurements put me in a size two and most of my size twos fit great, but it was nice to buy a size 0. It makes me feel SO TINY!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My first Century Ride

I have a goal to do a Century Ride. When I made that goal, it was with the idea that a "century" ride was 100 miles. But they also have metric centuries and that's what I did yesterday.

It was a lot of fun, but very tiring. I went to bed at 8:00 pm and wasn't able to drag myself out until about 9:00 am this morning! Supposedly I burned over 2000 calories too.

My ride actually started when I biked to the Fremont BART station. Then I almost missed my stop! My ride was waiting for me though so we loaded up the bike in his truck and went to Alameda to meet the rest of the gang.

This bike ride was sponsored by Team Alameda, a biking club. It was my first ride with cyclists instead of triathletes. Except for the lack of aero bars and TT bikes, it really wasn't much different.

Well, okay, some of the cyclists were a lot more colorful than I am used to. One guy had on a white and magenta outfit and his bike had magenta stripes on the wheels and his bottles had magenta accents too. I was very impressed and a little jealous. My stuff doesn't match that well and I love to match!

These rides are a lot more social than the rides I am used to -- which are working rides. There was a lot more food too. This is part of why I figured I could make it through. I've only biked about 3.5 hours before and no more than 35 miles, but with a lot less stopping to eat. So I figured the lunch stop would make it more like two bike rides.

I was partially right about this, but our route included going the back way up something called Marshall Wall" (As in, you hit the wall). After that, I was kind of toast. Luckily it was all downhill after that until we hit The Cheese Factory for lunch.

After lunch, two people decided to ride back to the Marin Park & Ride with the SAG wagon. Yeah, that's right. Our ride had a SAG wagon! Jealous? You should be. I thought about it. Not because I didn't think I could do another 20 miles, but because I wasn't sure how long it would take me to do those 20 miles. But I figured I should at least try and, if I got too beat, I could always hail the SAG wagon and cry Uncle.

I started out okay, but got slower and slower and the back of the pack caught up to me as we pulled into the Park & Ride. The front of the pack got there way before that and had a bit of a spread going. So I got to chomp on strawberries and drink bottled water and recover a bit before we all went home again.

All-in-all, it was a good experience. I feel a little more prepared for Waves to Wine in September, too. But I think I need to find a weekly ride that is around 40 miles. Right now I knock off about 20-25 on my Thurs. ride and I'm getting pretty good at that distance. But Big Kahuna is 56 and Waves to Wine is 75 the first day and 50 the second. So I need to build up my distances.

I remember when I was working on doing 13 miles and never dreaming I'd be inching up on 50-100 mile rides. But now I want to be able to do the full imperial Century and, someday, an Ironman.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Alien spit and plastic surgery

A while back I was told by a friend that in another country they call what we call "the foamies" by the name "alien spit." I thought that was a great description!

(For those of you who don't know, the foamies are when you eat too much or too fast and your stomach fills up so your body decided to make tons of siliva in order to break down the food faster. This might work with a normal stomach, but with a WLS stomach, it just makes things worse as now there is spit in there making there be even less room causing even more spit to be produced.)

A few days later, someone took this picture of me at our Podium swim workout and the first thing I thought was: Alien spit!

Don't I look just like those pictures of aliens on the cover of the National Enquirer? Or maybe some weird sort of human bug? It was the bubble of air just about to come out of my mouth that made me think of "alien spit" though.

Another time I think of aliens is when I look at my loose skin. (Which I was quite careful to cut of this picture since I'm really rather vain about my new body, as imperfect as I know it is.) I have this mental image of the scene in Men in Black where Vincent D'Onofrio's character (Edgar?) comes back into the house after killing the owner and putting on his skin. He's got some loose flaps of it around his neck and his "wife" asks what's wrong. Vincent/Alien Bug in Edgar's Skin catches a glimpse of himself in the mirror, gives a grunt and repositions his skin so it fits around his body better.

Wouldn't it be great if it was just that easy?

But no, we have to decide to live with our extra skin or get plastic surgery. Personally, I'd like to avoid PS. I'd rather spend the money on something fun like a new car or a new bike. Also, I don't want to deal with the scarring and the downtime and the pain and the risk.

But I hate that I look like a shar pei some days when I've worked so hard to get my body into such fantastic shape. It's not that it's a bit wrinkly or saggy. I expect saggy boobs and some poof around the tummy at my age. What I didn't expect was having flaps of skin that fold over my bras and hang down my face like a bulldog. I hate this flap that hangs over my midriff too. I want to carry a sign "I don't need to lose 5 pounds; that's loose skin and muscle separation and I can't do anything about it!"

Anyway, it's been particularly bad this week, for some reason. Other times, I think I look fine and will not need PS in any way. But lately those times are fewer and the times I feel like a freak are happening more and more. So I've been thinking about plastic surgery more and more.

I've decided to give it six months and then see how much of my skin has recovered by then. Maybe by then money will be less of an issue too. Though I'm sure there will be some new gadget I'll want more. Like an all-carbon fiber bike with Dura-Ace components. Or a kick ass laptop computer.

Then again, giving my inner skinny bitch the body she deserves is definitely one of my goals and, if it takes plastic surgery to get that....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Getting back in the groove

I can't believe how hard it's been to get back into the groove after my vacation.

While on vacation, computer access was limited so I just wrote down my food and didn't put it online. So I had no idea how I did until I got back. I also didn't workout much. I had planned to do a workout every day before the race, but it just didn't happen.

I did okay on the food, it turns out. Up until the race, I was eating no more calories than normal. But, as the week went on, I didn't make my protein goals most days. Now, to some extent, this was part of the plan -- I was trying to do a bit of carbo-loading before the race. But it also wasn't part of the plan because I wasn't really thinking about what I was eating, but eating "whatever I wanted". My fat count went pretty high too.

Interestingly enough, my carb counts were fine. Until the race. Race day I burned tons of calories, of course, and ate a lot, but not as many as I burned. But my carbs were through the roof due to the sports drinks. Again, this is according to plan and hasn't been an issue in the past.

The next day we went home.

Where I expected to get right back into my routine. But it's been hard. I've been eating a lot more every day than I was before I left and some of it is not hunger-based eating. My carb count is slowly rising each day too.

I've also been skipping some workouts. Again, this is somewhat according to plan as I usually take it easy the week after a race. But I was surprised how hard it was to make myself to go track on Tues. and swim on Wed.

It's like taking a week off from my normal routines has completely killed them. I've seen this happen to other people, but I didn't think it would happen to me!

Anyway, I hope to be back in the groove by the end of the week. I'm happy that not closely monitoring my eating worked fine while on vacation, but less happy that my eating seems out of control now.

I think I got into the mode of thinking that I swore I wouldn't -- that I can eat anything I want because of all my workouts. But, of course, this week and last I didn't work out as much, and also I'm burning less and less calories with each workout as I get more fit.

For some reason I'm not in a big panic though. I'm not sure what that is exactly, but maybe how well I did in Tahoe is giving me confidence that I can work this out eventually even if I'm going trough some rough spots right now.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Donner Lake International Triathlon

No socks were harmed in the running of this race!

Well, it was bound to happen… my first disappointing race. I think it was the altitude. It didn’t impact my actual performance that badly, but it impacted my ability to think quite a bit and that led to many minor fumbles that added up. I got through it, but it was messy.

I’d list what went wrong, but it might be easier to list what went right.

So… I didn’t drown in the swim. I didn’t have a flat tire or crash on the bike. I didn’t bonk on the run (though I came perilously close). I finished the race with all numbers and all socks intact. My T2 went well. I passed people on the run. I got hit with no penalties.

Other than that… pretty much everything that could go wrong did.

It started in the parking lot – I was getting my stuff out of the car and dropped my bike! I don’t think it was permanently damaged but the front wheel did stick for a while until it worked itself out.

Then, setting up in transition, I forgot my last potty break. I figured it was no big deal and I wasn’t going to undo my wetsuit after it took so long to get on, but later on I was sorry for that decision.

I also didn’t do a 15 min. warm-up jog like I normally do. I decided to warm up in the water, but it’s hard to fully warm up just paddling around.

Then, as we got closer and closer to the gun going off, I realized I really needed that potty break. And not the kind you can do in a wet suit or on the bike, if you catch my drift. But, by the time I accepted it wasn’t nerves or gas, it was too late.

I started the swim in the middle of the pack, which worked well for me in the past. This time, I couldn’t really get going. I couldn’t breathe and my brain wasn’t working. A couple of times I almost breathed underwater because I got confused. I’m sure it was the lack of oxygen. I did eventually settle into a rhythm and I didn’t have a big problem with sighting as sometimes happens to me. But for the last five minutes or so, my calves kept cramping up.

I swam through it and the cramps stopped as soon as I hit dry land, thank goodness. I was somewhat distressed that my swim was so slow, though, as it’s normally my best event. I did manage to pass a few people from the wave ahead of us, reminding me that no matter how bad I think my swim is, there are always people who do much worse. There were even a few people hanging off kayaks, which I hadn’t seen happen before in prior races.

I told myself that the swim was over and my problems were mostly over. Then, I couldn’t get out of my wet suit!

First, the neck flap kept moving back into place when I tried to unzip it. I’d separate the velcro, reach around for the zipper line and pull and nothing would happen. I’d reach back up and the neck would be velcroed back in place. I did this THREE TIMES before I got smart enough to hold the flap open while I fumbled for the zip.

At this point I was back in T1 and still had my wet suit mostly on as well as my cap and goggles. I could NOT get the suit over my watch even though I had put my watch on under the suit. Eventually I got that sleeve back up, took off my watch and then got the suit off the top. I struggled with the feet to the point of panic. Someone offered to help me, but I was afraid of a penalty so I made myself calm down and get that damn thing off.

Socks and shoes went on super-quick and I was off. I thought about going to the potty, but with my horrible transition, I didn’t want to spend the time. I figured I’d find a port-a-potty on the bike route and it would be quicker than running so far off course as the bathrooms were.

Then, I dropped my bike again in the sand leading out of T1. I also didn’t mount at the (unmarked) mount line as I was looking for a sign or some chalk on the ground or something.

At this point, I figured my T1 time was going to be in the six minute range and just hoped it wasn’t in the ten minute range like some people do. I was thinking my swim could have been as long as 40 minutes too. Ugh.

But my bike computer said 8:41! Our wave was supposed to go off at 7:55 but it has been closer to 8:00 so the entire swim and T1 fiasco must have only taken around 40 minutes total. I’m capable of doing the swim in 35 min or less so I could believe that. Plus, I always think my swim takes longer than it does when the numbers get posted.

The first part of the bike course was tough as I expected. I had biked it the day before as a warm-up and I knew I could do it, though. I was going a bit slower than the day before, but I got to the top of Donner Pass and even passed someone.

I then moved on to the “flat” portion of the course. However, at one point I was going 36 mph because the “flat with rolling hills” part of the course was largely downhill. That part was cool. Coming back – largely uphill – was not.

In particular, I had a strong urge to go to the bathroom for the last five miles of the out part of the course. I was looking for port-a-potties along the way, but couldn’t find any. This having to go really impacted my power in my stroke, but I figured I could hold out until the turnaround. Surely there’d be one there.
But there was not.

So there I was off in the wood imitating a bear. Thank goodness for pine cones!

I realized on the way back that I was not taking in enough nutrition. I only did three of my four planned gels and I barely finished one bottle of fluid. So I started pushing more fluids, though it was probably too late and it probably caused me problems on the run.

But going back down the pass was awesome. I just flew. Not having to watch out for cars let me go faster than the day before. I did almost lose my number from off my bike helmet. I was relieved when I figured out what the noise was as I thought my brakes were failing!

I did my required “foot down” stop at bottom of the hill and ran into T2.

Where my husband was waiting asked me if everything was okay. Not a good sign. (And not the only person to say that to me during this race.)

My T2 transition went smoothly though. I did feel sluggish, but I knew from past experience that I was in and out in less than two minutes. I did have trouble finding the Run Out (it hadn’t been marked prior to the start of the race since it was also the Bike Out) but it didn’t delay me too badly.

Oh, my fuel belt fell off on the way out and I realized my race belt was hanging off my hips and not my waist because I’d lost weight since the last time I wore it. That actually cheered me up a bit, particularly as everything seemed to be staying on once I got it really fastened.

Then I got the urge to go to the bathroom again. Crap. But at least I’d run this route before and knew it was full of bathrooms and port-a-potties.

I staggered off and got my running legs back faster than normal. Yeah! I also started passing people. Double yeah!

Now, one was walking and one was staggering (I think he had something wrong with his knees), but it was better than nothing. Plus, one of those guys I had seen heading back on the bike route as I was heading out. So I made up mucho time on him and it couldn’t have all been on the run as we weren’t even a mile into it.

It was pretty hot at this point and this part of the run was mostly without shade. At mile two they sprayed me with a hose and that felt good. At mile three I found a port-a-potty and discovered that this time that urge was largely a mental thing, just like I’d tried to convince myself back when it wasn’t mental. So I wasted time on that for nothing.

By mile four, I was hurting. But I had passed more people, so I just kept going. I did dial it down a notch in order to get to the end without bonking. I also realized that, once again, I was not taking in enough nutrition. Whenever I drank from my fuel belt, it would make me a bit nauseous so I was relying on water on the course. They had run out of Heed so I wasn’t getting electrolytes. There were no more hoses passed the first aide station either.

So I made myself drink my drink and I just kept plodding along, passing a few more people. It helped to know that there were at least six to ten people behind me. When I got to mile six, I let out a whoop and started pouring it on. I was beat, but I figured I could maintain the higher pace for another half mile.

I staggered passed the finish line at about 4:47 and change on the race clock. Wait a minute! My wave left 55 min. after the clock started so that means I finished in under four hours just as I had hoped! Maybe my race wasn’t as crappy as I thought it was.

Most of the food and drink were gone by the time I finished and I was not feeling right in my tummy anyway so we went back to the RV to chill. I desperately wanted to nap, but the bedroom in the RV was too hot. It also turned out I had sunburn on my back.

Later on my family dragged me out to Reno for dinner. I think I was out of my mind to agree to that, but at least the casino was air conditioned. This is where I discovered some sort of weird blister on the ball of my foot. I still can't figure out how I got that. Unlike the sunburn, which was from not realizing my new tri top didn't cover that part of my back. So now my back is raw and my foot has a hole in it.

When we got back from Reno, I saw the race results were up. I was excited to see my times… but my name wasn’t listed anywhere. I emailed them to ask them to straighten it out. I got no reply, but the next day my name was on the list… as DNF! I was so pissed.

I wrote again and now I have times for everything, but they say my total time was 4:23, not 3:53 as I had thought. I guess that means the race clock was started with the first International wave and not the first Sprint wave. Which means I didn’t make my four hour goal. Bummer.

They also say my swim time was 40 minutes. It could have been, but my bike computer said it was 8:41 as I ran out of T1 and our wave didn’t leave until about 7:59. So, if you add my T2 and swim time to 7:59, it gets you about 5 min. past that. I suspect they started the clock when our wave was supposed to go off (7:55 am) and not when it did.

My bike time is a few minutes more than my bike computer said too, but the bike computer doesn’t run when the bike is standing still and I did have that potty break. I guess it could have been a full three minutes long even if it didn’t feel that long.

It really annoys me that I can’t trust the times, but it annoys me more that I had a crappy race and didn’t make my time goal. Because I suspect that 4:23 is “close enough” to what I did based on my informal clock watching throughout the race.

My age group results were 8th out of 10 – last of the finishers, 10 out of 10 in the swim, T1 and bike and 4th in T1 and 5th in the run. Yes, I ran better than I swam or biked! That’s pretty wild for me. Even if the two DNFs below me really finished like I did, I still had a great run.

Overall I finished 434 out of 446. I was 421 in the swim, 445 in the bike and 400 in the run.

Yes, that was 400 -- a full 34 slots above my overall finish – I definitely had a great run. I think training for the half-marathon is really helping me.

My swim was about normal for me and my bike was worse than normal though not out of line with my training run in Del Valle two weeks ago. It’s a shame because I’ve improved a lot on the bike, but this particular course didn’t show that.

I have to say that this is the first race where I questioned why I was doing this. That’s how tough it was. I’m getting over it though.

Now I’m back to my normal “I did it!” mode of thought. Plus, I’m kind of psyched about how well I did in my run. I’m really curious to see how I’d do at this distance with a less tough course and not at altitude. Too bad there isn’t room for another race in my calendar before The Big Kahuna.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thin air

I decided to run around Donner Lake on Wednesday. When I first started out, I couldn't breathe! But I got over that and was able to make it around at a pretty normal pace for me. It was supposed to be my long run for the week so I was supposed to do it at 11:30, but I actually did it at 11:17. Of course, that's just my average pace. My actual pace was all over the place including under 10 min. and over 14!

I did kind of crash at the end, but that was more due to the heat. We're having a heat wave! What is it with me and triathlons and heat waves? We had one for my first tri too. It's supposed to "only" be in the high 80s on Sunday.

Today I'm going swimming and tomorrow I'm going biking. Hopefully I've acclimated a bit to the altitude and won't have such a rough time of it as I did with the running.

I'm actually pretty hopeful I'll be able to improve on my time from Wildflower. I want to finish in under four hours this time. The earlier I finish, the less I'll have to deal with the heat!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Protein Muffin Recipe

People have been asking for my protein muffin recipe so here it is:

Basic Recipe
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup protein powder (any flavor - chocolate & vanilla work well or something that goes with the type of muffin you are making such as banana for the banana nut version)
1/3 cup sugar or sugar substitute
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix, pure pumpkin)

Banana Nut:
2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup nuts (I generally use pecans and sometimes put in more than 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

Pumpkin Raisin:
1/2 cup more pumpkin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins

Pre-heat oven to 400 F

In large mixing bowl, mix dry ingredients. Make sure protein powder is mixed thoroughly. Add in wet ingredients and sitr until the mixture is completely moistened. Batter may be lumpy.

Grease muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.

Fill full sized muffin cups to 2/3, for mini-muffin cups, fill to top

Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. Around 20-25 min. for full sized muffins, 8-12 min. for mini-muffins

Makes 10-12 full sized muffins or 30-36 mini-muffins

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Baking up a storm

I went a little nuts tonight baking things. I made three different kinds of protein muffins, my normal banana nut and two new ones: pumpkin and blueberry. I haven't had a blueberry one yet but the pumpkin ones came out a little over-moist. I also used chocolate protein powder in them when I'd planned to use vanilla or orange. But I think they'll be okay and I will continue to tweak the recipe. The blueberry looked good, but I was too full to try one. I'll do that tomorrow.

Then I made some protein bars. These are "no bake" recipes that I got off the web from someone at Obesity Help. I had tried two before -- a "nutty fudge" bar and some protein "balls". I was underwhelmed, to be honest.

The protein balls were actually okay in taste. The problem is that they are very sticky and revert to that state within minutes of being out of the freezer. Also, if I had made them according to the recipe, with real peanut butter, they would have been astronomical in calories and fat. I used PB2 instead and they were still pretty hefty in the calorie and fat department.

The "Nutty Fudge" bars were slightly nutty and hardly fudge-y at all. They also were very high in calories -- and I made 12 bars from the batch, not the eight the recipe called for -- and they were also kind of greasy. I should have figured on that when I saw the recipe called for 1/2 cup of butter!

Tonight I looked for recipes with much less butter in them and also that would use up some of the stuff I had laying around the house. So I made a sesame bar that is supposed to not melt in your purse and a chocolate bar that actually is chocolaty. It has cream and Bakers chocolate in it along with chocolate protein powder so it didn't have as much butter. I suspect it has more butter than I'll be happy with, but I'm hoping it will be "in the ballpark" and I can tweak the recipe to my liking.

I'm fairly certain I will be unhappy with the nutritional composition -- because I have high standards -- but hopefully not as unhappy as I was with my first batch. A quick eyeballing of the ingredients didn't show any red flags.

I won't know for sure how they'll turn out until tomorrow when the stuff is done chilling and I can sample some. It's also close to midnight so it's unlikely I'll have time to run the nutritional numbers tonight. If they turn half-way decent at all, I'll post the recipes, along with any caveats I may have as to fat, protein and carb content.

The same with my protein muffins. I have promised to post the recipe before, but just haven't been 100% happy with it yet. But it's time to follow through and stop aiming for perfection.

So tomorrow. Or maybe the next day. But soon. I swear!

Thank goodness for port-a-potties

Today I decided to do my long run out on the recreational trail instead of in the gym. It was nice out when I started, but very soon into the run I had the feeling of having to go. I told myself it was just gas and would go away because that's what had happened in the past. But if felt different so I was really just engaging in hopeful thinking.

I managed to last most of the way out but on the way back I was in big trouble and I knew it. I kept looking for bushes to duck behind but there were only trees. Not discrete at all. I thought about leaving the trail and going in search of a gas station but I didn't want to get totally off track and possibly take longer to do that than to get to the little park where I was 90% sure there was a port-a-potty. (It was the 10% uncertainty that was making me look for bushes and think about gas stations.)

At one point, I wasn't even sure I'd make it there, but I did and there was a port-a-potty and a drinking fountain to wash my hands in afterwards! I normally hate port-a-potties, but I almost kissed this one. It was actually a pretty nice one as it was made to hold a wheelchair.

I was in there longer than I liked and I missed the button to pause my Nike+ so it impacted my average pace. When I got out, I figured it was all over and proceeded to run home. I did feel a bit dizzy at first, but I had plenty of sports drink in my fuel belt so I just went nuts drinking it for the next three miles.

When I got to exactly 10, I stopped. Then I walked home for the rest. It took me two hours to do 10 miles and another 30 to walk home one mile. I was totally beat and not feeling good at all.

When I got home, I proceeded to live in the bathroom for another hour, even vomiting at one point. Which, since there was nothing in my tummy, was not pleasant at all.

I finally took an Immodium-D and between that and running out of stuff to get rid of, everything settled down eventually.

I really hope this was triggered by the new gel I tried today and is not going to be an ongoing issue, because it was the pits! It's bad enough that I feel like crap as soon as I go over 6 miles, but if I have to deal with this kind of stuff on a regular basis, I don't think I'm going to make it training for the longer distances.

But the silver lining is that the entire episode put me down 2.5 pounds instead of the normal .5 pound I lose after exercise. It puts me in mind of the infamous line from The Devil Wears Prada: I'm one stomach flu away from my goal weight.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I'm driving myself crazy

I'm still weighing myself every day and I think I need to stop. I'm driving myself crazy with it.

Ever since I started weight training, my weight has fluctuated a lot more. I've had weeks where the scale went up instead of down and then other weeks when it went down by a lot -- as much as three pounds! And this week I've gone up half a pound a day since my all-time-low of 113 on Monday.

At the calorie level I'm eating at -- around 1650 calories a day, I should be losing at about a pound a week, perhaps slightly less and that's what my average weight loss has been. My formulas and spreadsheets and online calculators all tell me to eat in the 1800-2200 range. If I'm losing about a pound a week at 1650, then 2150 is about right for maintenance.

Yet whenever I eat 1700 calories or more a day, I feel bloated and the scale goes up. It's always down by Monday, my official weigh-in day, though. Plus my clothes are getting looser, not tighter. I also feel like I'm eating a lot more than I used to. But when I crunched the numbers, my average daily calories for so far in July were actually slightly less than my average for the back half of June.

So, clearly, my perceptions are not matching up to reality. But the scale is reinforcing my perceptions and not reality.

On the one hand, I really don't want to lose any more weight. I'm really happy with where I am now. On the other, I wouldn't mind having a bit of a "cushion" in case I experience the dreaded "bounce back" and, also, whenever I try to eat more than 1650 calories, I feel like I'm force feeding myself. It's uncomfortable physically.

I know I need to learn to eat to my hunger and trust that my body will make me as hungry as it needs to be to be a healthy weight -- whatever that turns out to be. But I also know that I absolutely DO NOT trust my body.

I feel like my body has cheated on me in the past and is now claiming it's changed. Maybe it has. It probably has. The signs are there that it has. But the trust has been broken and it's not easily going to be rebuilt.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shape up with the Slow, Fat Triathlete - A review

First of all, don’t let the title of this book fool you. This is not a book about how to become a triathlete or a mega athlete. It’s not a “how to” book or yet another “get a fantastic bod with minimal work” book, either. There are no pictures of exercises or schedules for when to do crunches and when to do cardio.

Instead, it’s a series of essays about fitness, each one of them in turn funny, touching and containing useful information (and sometimes all three at once).

I wish every person who has ever said to me “I know I should exercise, but I hate it” would read this book. It will change your thinking about moving your body and maybe even your life.

It starts with the basics – first the mind. Yes, the mind! Your mind is your best exercise tool. Changing how you think about exercise is key to making it part of your life. It also contains good tips for how to find a sports bra that fits, how to fuel during exercise, tracking your exercise data, where exercise fits into the grand scheme of your life, and a host of other topics, all important in your quest to shape up.

Even if you love to exercise, like I do, you should still get this book. It’s a great read and it will remind you of why you started exercising in the first place and maybe show you some ways you’ve gone astray as you’ve gotten caught up in your quest for fitness perfection and obsession with PRs.

I definitely learned from it – it made me think about why I exercise and what I get from it and I even picked up some tips on how to collect better data to keep track of my progress.

Jayne is a great writer and her books are warm and witty and enthusiastic. They are reassuring that you can really do this exercise thing, be it taking a dance class or signing up for (and completing!) your first triathlon. This book is no exception.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Cadence, bikinis and hair loss

The summer edition of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly wouldn't be complete without talking about bikinis. Guess which section they'll come in!

The Good:

This week, I got to practice cadence. A lot. We worked on it at track for running and I got 95 striders per minute the very first time just like I was supposed to! I was shocked because the other times I've worked on this, I did not get it. Not sure what happened between now and the last time, but I think learning to run faster and working on not over-striding both contributed.

I worked on this a bit on my regular Thurs. bike ride as well and then again on Saturday during my "New to the Sport" workout. This time something clicked with me: muscling up the hill in the hardest gear I can get away with actually makes it a lot harder to get up the last bit. I've been reluctant to shift too soon on the hill in the past because I was afraid I'd get into my easiest gear too soon and then have no where to go. But it turns out that shifting sooner actually works better because you don't waste energy on the lower part of the hill.

So I practiced that today on my "conquer Del Valle hills" ride and I was able to do the entire 27 miles without walking once! What a different 6 weeks, 15 pounds and 20 degrees (cooler) makes. Not that I wasn't bone tired afterwards and not that there weren't times when I was pedaling very, very slowly, but I got through it all and now I feel really prepared for the Donner Lake Tri in two weeks.

The Bad:

There really isn't anything bad. I know I've been whining about maintenance and I expect I'll whine a bit more before it's all over, but in general things have been good.

Now, I am still losing hair. I kid myself that it's slowed down to about 10-15 hairs a shower, but when I count it's still 25-30 just like the last time.

The Ugly:

Mini-Mac talked me into buying a two-piece bathing suit a while ago. She calls it my bikini though I think it's probably not small enough to really qualify. On the other hand, it shows enough. I'm self-conscious in it even though I used to wear a two-piece when I was morbidly obese. My theory at the time was that I was going to look bad in any suit I wore, so I might as well get one that was easy to pee in. Plus, the ones I had mostly covered my tummy so no one could see my gallbladder scar. The one I have now shows everything.

So Mini-Mac talks me into going swimming. Then she talks me into wearing the two-piece. Because I look "hot" in it. Then, as I'm putting it no, she proceeds to babble on doing her best to make me feel as bad about my body as possible. First, she loves my "melting candle" because it makes me unique. (This is my skin flap that's between my breasts and belly button.) Then, she goes on about this woman at the pool who is my age and wearing a thong when she shouldn't because her ass sags... just like mine. (But, she claims, this isn't anything I should be upset about, because I'm not wearing a thong.) Then she tells me that my "vagina" is showing.

At this point, I should have strangled her, but I was afraid of going to jail. I don't think she should count on that to save her if she does it again though.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Maintenance is a head game

I had that as my Facebook status on Sunday. Because it's true.

As usual, I've done great on the diet portion of my journey. I actually love to diet. You get all this positive feedback and it's not that hard if you are a "systems" person like me. Most diet programs have a system and I just plug myself into it. If it's Weight Watchers, I count points. If it's Jenny Craig, I eat one from column A and one from column B and do exchanges on the non-Jenny food days.

For weight loss surgery, my program had guidelines. Granted they were more open-ended than most diet programs. But I was able to fashion them into a system and come up with some routines that worked well for me.

Then came maintenance. And my systems all fell apart.

Some of this was due to schedule changes so it might have happened anyway. But part of it is that, somehow, maintenance is different.

For one thing, the goal is to eat as many calories as you expend, not as little as you can get away with. So you can't eat by rote. You have to actually listen to your body and trust that it's not lying to you. If you are hungrier one day, that usually means you need more fuel. It's a message not a trick. But it still feels like a trick. My body has been lying to me for so long that I can't just suddenly start trusting it.

Then, there is the whole weight thing. When you are going down, an occasional tick up is usually not a big deal since you are almost always down for the week. But on maintenance you go up and down constantly and it's nerve-wracking. I know from past experience that I will fluctuate about three pounds when I get to a steady state, but every time I go up one, I freak out -- even though over all I'm still losing a bit here and there.

I was even in a bad mood on Monday because I was at 116 when I had been at 115 earlier in the week. So even though I was still down a pound over all for the week, I was unhappy. I tell other people not to get suck into tying your feelings to scale, but then I fell right into that trap. I may have to hide my scale again like I did early out when it was driving me insane.

The other problem I am having is making myself eat things that are perfectly reasonable but have been on my list of "avoid" foods while trying to lose. I haven't had a bagel since surgery. We have whole wheat mini-bagels and I could have one and completely stay in within my nutritional guidelines, yet I just can't make myself. Even though I don't believe in "good" and "bad" food, I can't get over the idea that bagels, even whole grain ones, should be avoided at all costs.

Now, it's not all bad. I have been experimenting with different snacks and eating schedules and amounts. When I was losing, I would have a protein shake every morning with 3 scoops of powder instead of two. I've tried not having a shake on some days and having it with 2 scoops on others. So far, 2 scoops has worked the best. I can still meet my protein goals that way, but I don't overshoot my calorie allotment. It gives me more wiggle room to eat real food so I start playing with that.

I've been eating more fruit and more healthy fats too. I'm allowing myself more occasional indulgences, but I'm not going overboard either.

I have to admit that a few weeks ago, I was going overboard. The exercise was saving me, but I still felt out of control with my eating even though my numbers looked good. Then I figured out that having more acid was mimicking hunger and I started to drink more more fluids with flavoring (which seems to help that) and taking a Zantac when I got heartburn instead of ignoring it. That all helped a lot and I think my acid situation will stabilize within the month as Dr. C predicted. (I was doubtful about that at one point and envisioned an future of daily Prilosec.)

I'm doing better with the fueling vs. eating plan too. I have been having fun trying different sorts of fuels. I even made my own protein balls and bars. The recipes I have are not very good, but it's given me some ideas. I'm trying different sports drinks and working on my "special mix" too. I've also found some "real food" sports foods like bananas so I'm not eating so much engineered stuff.

So I often eat a banana before a workout, do gels and/or sports drinks during and then top it off with a protein bar of some sort at the end. This combo tends to come out to the right amount of calories and to have the right mix of convenience vs. natural food. I did try some trail mix in place of the gels but it didn't work out too well for a number of reasons. I may try it again for long bike rides though. I also brought some cheese sticks on my last long ride and that worked well too when the gels were just not enough.

My protein muffin recipe continues to evolve and was a big hit at a potluck my tri club held. They actually are an excellent post-workout snack since they have the exact right carb to protein ratio for recovery. My new recipe has a minimum of artificial ingredients and are much more convenient and tastier than a protein bar. They don't melt in the sun for one thing!

I'm also thinking of buying some bulk maltodextrin and some unflavored 100% whey protein isolate and making my own sports drinks. Then I can control the sodium in them and also the taste without having to mix and match from existing drink mixes.

So I will continue to experiment and work on listening to my hunger and full signs. I hope to develop a good balance between healthy habits and mindful eating. Because, let's face it, a lot of eating is routine even if it's important to also be mindful. Hopefully, I'll also get my head together. I feel a lot better today, though I suspect that's because the scale was back down to 115. But writing this out helped too. It's good to remind myself that I am actually making progress and that there are fun aspects to this part of the journey.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nine month report

I feel like I just gave my eight month report so I'll keep this short.

First, here are my pictures:

Note: I am not wearing shapewear of any sort. Yeah! Also, that shirt, which I only bought a week ago, is already a bit big on me.

Here are my measurements:
Body Part 9 mo Since
Bust 32 1 15
Chest 28 0 15
Waist 26 1 14
Stomach 34 3 16
Hips 35.5 0.5 15
Thigh 16 1.5 7.5
Calf 13.5 0 3
Arm 9 0.5 5.5
TOTAL: 7.5 91

In terms of where I am at, I am definitely and officially transitioning to maintenance. I'm still losing and some days I'm not happy about it and others I'm fine with it. I've been eating a lot this week and I think that's a side-effect of weaning off the Prilosec. I think low-grade acid is mimicking hunger. I'm working on that and hoping the effect is temporary.

Also, I'm a size two on the bottom! So now I'm sort of the same size on the top and the bottom. It's hard to find size 0 in most stores so I'm kind of hoping I stay here. Some size twos are a bit tight in the tummy and rear area so hopefully I'll lose a bit more there and no where else.

I'm still in a bra size that can't be bought at most stores. But I am finally losing there so maybe I'll end up okay in that area as well. I really hate buying bras off the internet. Which is why I buy all my bras at Nordstroms. I like that they don't put my stuff in a special section, but you have to be careful there. I almost bought an $82 bra today because I forgot to check the price tag.

I also need a new wetsuit -- my old one is already too big! I knew it would be too big by then end of the season, but I didn't expect it to happen so soon. I really would rather not spend the extra money, but it irritates my neck when I swim in it. At least it's easy to get off now.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

MYTHBUSTERS: Protein Myths

This month's installment of Mythbusters, Fatty Fights Back-style, is all about protein. This is an area where there are tons of myths and misconceptions.

Too much protein

The biggest protein myth is that we can only absorb a certain amount of protein at a time. As the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgeons says on page 27 of their "ASMBS Allied Health Nutritional Guidelines for the Surgical Weight Loss Patient" document:

There is no scientific basis for this statement.

In fact, it flies in the face of everything we know about macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat), our personal experience and what science tells us when protein absorption is studied directly.

In terms of macronutrients, our bodies were designed to extract every single molecule of nutrition from what we eat. (This is true of most micronutrients, as well, but with micronutrients, there are exceptions.)

Our original ancestors were hunter-gathers and that means they didn't eat what we think of today as a balanced meal. Their diets consisted of stuff they could forage regularly (mostly plant-based foods and, in some locales, fish) and once in a while they killed something big and gorged on meat until it was gone. (They had no refrigerators so they had to eat it all as soon as possible.) So our bodies were designed to process a lot of protein at once.

This is borne out by studies where subjects were given a large "bolus" (scientist-talk for an enormous blob) of protein and then their blood was measured two hours later to see how much of it was digested and got into the body. These studies show that it all gets absorbed.

Finally, we have our personal experience. If our bodies only absorbed 30 g of protein at a time, that means the rest is pooped or peed out and those calories are not stored in our body. So everyone could eat a 16 oz. steak for breakfast lunch and dinner, only absorb 30 g of the protein (120 calories) instead of the 87 g of protein (348 calories) that it contains. What a great diet aide! Except we all know that eating too much meat causes us to gain weight just as much as eating too much of some other food.

Some nutritionist (who should know better) will amend their statement that you can't absorb more than 30 g of protein an hour to say "well, you do absorb it, but it's not all used" or they invoke the dreaded "it will turn to fat!" threat that seems to be so common when talking to dieters.

Now, it's possible that the amount of protein you consume in a day contains more amino acids than your body needs to build muscles and repair body tissues. But that's okay, as long as you are not eating more calories than you burn. If you eat less than you burn, any protein that isn't used to repair muscles and other tissues will be used for fuel, just like the calories from fat and carbohydrates.

Finally, it's not realistic to think that your body will not use anything over 30 g of protein per hour for tissue repair. First of all, even if there is some upper limit, it's going to vary based on individual factors such as body weight, age, and activity level. It won't be the same for everyone.

However, everything I've read and seen tells me that, if your body needs the protien and you give it the protein, it will be used. As an example, body builders routinely down more than 30 g of protein at a time and, the more they down, the bigger their muscles grow. If there was some sort of arbitrary limit, that wouldn't happen.

A related misconception about protein is that you have to be careful not to get too much. Technically, this is true: Too much protein is hard on the kidneys. But "too much" protein isn't going over the recommended RDA. Unless you have some sort of kidney problems, you have to eat enormous quantities of protein for this to be an issue.

In one study, participants ate 2.8 g of protein per kg of body weight with no ill effects. For a 150 pound person that works out to 190 grams of protein! A typical recommendation is to not go over 2 g per kg of body weight though. You can also lessen the impact on your kidneys by drinking more fluid as water helps the kidneys perform more efficiently.

The rest of the protein myths revolve around shakes. There are a lot of misconceptions about protein shakes and the protein used in them. Such as:

You should only consume 100% whey protein isolate - all the other stuff isn't any good.

100% why protein isolate is the most bioavailable, but that doesn't meant any other types of protein are automatically no good. Eggs are more bioavailable than chicken, but no one suggests we shouldn't eat chicken. I say: use the kind of protein that you can stand and don't worry so much.

If you heat protein powder, it breaks down and the protein is destroyed.

Protein powders designed to be used with cold water will clump up if you add hot water. But it's an aesthetic thing, not a nutritional thing. The protein is just fine -- digusting to eat, but still protein.

You can get around this by adding your protein powder to lukewarm water, getting it to dissolve, and then adding the resulting sludge into your hot drink. For baking, just add the powder directly.

Blending your shake breaks down the protein so use a shaker bottle instead.

Once you add liquid to a protein powder, it starts breaking down. This is why you aren't supposed to mix up all your shakes ahead of time. However, blending vs. shaking makes no difference in the process.

You should get all your protein from "real" foods. They are empty calories.

This one isn't a myth so much as it is an opinion that some programs turn into a "rule." It's not an opinion I tend to agree with and I certainly don't think it should be a rule.

First of all, protein supplements are not empty calories any more than a steak is. They can be more bioavailable than a steak too. So they are a good quality protein and they are easy to get down in the required quantities.

Which can lead some people to have problems. Some people don't feel full on shakes and so eat more calories than they should. But lots of people don't have this problem. While most programs don't want you to drink your calories, this really applies more to things like Vitamin Water or juice -- stuff that is mostly sugar and has more calories than it "feels" like it should have. A high quality protein drink is not in the same category at all.

Other people don't like them because they can be full of unnatural ingredients. But there are shakes out there that don't use artificial sweeteners. You just have to read the labels and decide for yourself if a particular shake meets your own standards for what you are willing to put in your body.

So, if a protein shake or protein drink works for you, I say: go for it! If they don't, then don't worry about it; there are other ways to get your protein in.

Some links about how much protein we can absorb:

30 grams of protein in one meal rule

Protein grams per meal