Saturday, March 27, 2010

First Open Water Swim of the season

Okay, I now feel like the triathlon season has officially started since I just did my first Open Water Swim.

I'd forgotten how much I love to swim in open water. I mean, I know I love it, but it felt good to feel it and how it's just so much more exhilarating than the pool. (Plus -- no turns!) It was even better than I remembered.

I tagged along to the NTTS (my club's New to the Sport program) workout since my main OWS partner won't come out until the water hits the 60s. This was my first OWS of the season and also EVER last year. I didn't do too badly last year, but I was so much slower than the good athletes. This year, I was right up there with the strong beginner swimmers. It's nice to see progress.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good-bye, Valley Girl

My friend Valley Girl killed herself last Friday. I am in shock. I knew she was struggling with depression, but I thought she was dealing with it and things would get better for her.

What really makes me mad (at the waste, not at her) is that she had so much going for her. She was pretty, smart and talented and a very nice person too. I always looked forward to interacting with her on the Obesity Help message boards.

But, as she got further out from her surgery, she came around less. That's not that unusual. I don't go there as much either. I'm too busy! But, I think in her case, she didn't come around because of the depression. It's easier to be happy and successful with minor complaints out in public (and, even a support board where you are supposed to be able to let it all hang out is a public place) than to be struggling.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Monday, According to my sleeve

People liked my "what I can eat" post so much and found it helpful so I decided to copy my friend Eggface and do a day in my life with regards to eating. Since this is just the eating part of my day, I figured maybe my sleeve could explain it better than I can. Take it away Sleeve!

This is a typical breakfast -- a protein shake made with an extra scoop of powder and Benefiber. My human, MacMadame, makes it up at the last possible second before heading out the door and forces most of it into me in the car on the way to work. Sometimes I rebel and make her queasy, but today she took her time and finished the shake once she got into work. She really ought to feed me as soon as she gets up though instead of wasting time on Facebook, though.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

To PS or not to PS

I've been thinking about the subject of loose skin and plastics surgery for a while and was planning to make a video about it for over a month now. But this week it became the "in" topic on the internet with a series of videos posted to YouTube, so I figured I better get off my butt and actually make mine.

It was harder than I thought to get my thoughts coherent, to flow in the right order and to take less than 10 minutes. I finally got a perfect take and, when I played it back, what do I see but my diva daughter running behind me in two different spots. I was so engrossed in what I had to say that I hadn't even noticed! (She's still grounded.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nashua Nutrition vs. Home-made Protein Hot Chocolate

I screwed up and ran out of my HealthSmart/Healthwise Protein Hot Chocolate. (Also, known as "Mommy's Crack.") I get it under the Healthwise label from my surgeon's office and under the HealthSmart label from Nashua Nutrition. It's the same stuff though.

I could have gotten more on Wed. when I went to my bariatric support meeting, but I thought what I had would last longer and a certain check hadn't shown up yet so I couldn't have afforded it anyway. Then I forgot to bring the box I have in my cube home with me to get me through the weekend.

So necessity caused me to make up my own batch from random ingredients I had around the house.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tummy ache

Woah, my tummy hurts.

I think it was the oreo cream cheese pie. I hope this doesn't mean my lactose intolerance is getting worse and I won't be able to eat cheese any more.

Though, so far, except for straight milk, the only thing I've had trouble with is ice cream. And now this pie. So only being able to eat a small amount of ice cream or cream pie isn't the worst thing in the world.

But not being able to eat yogurt or cheese would really suck. Those are staples of my diet and also they are yummy.

I guess I'll have to keep an eye on this to see how it progresses.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I could never do what you do

Anyone who has ever done anything out of the ordinary has probably been told this at least once.

I was reading an article about Karen Stewart, a 65 year old woman with MS who walks marathons. Near the end of the article was this exchange:
"When I meet with other patients and share my story, some of them will say, 'So what, I can never do what you do,'" Stewart said. "My message is really one of hope. Maybe you can't do what I do, but you can do more. We're all capable of doing more than what we do. Wherever you're at, just get out of that comfort zone." [emphasis mine]

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Google Bike Maps

If you have even one biking friend, you have probably heard that Google Maps has added bike routes. I'm so happy! I've been doing bike routes by using the walking directions and then modifying them when they left the road to stay on the road. It was better than nothing, but not ideal.

So today I had to put my car in the shop and I decided I'd bike home. I used Google Maps to fix my route but I didn't like the route it suggested to me. I rode a similar route before on the bike and I thought theirs was too complicated. I did my best to get the route that I remembered taking and printed it out.

I found that, if I folded the printout in half, lengthwise, that it fit well in my Road Map holder thingie. But the way Google Maps has the info laid out, I could see the miles between each turn and the map of the intersection or I could see the turn by turn directions with estimated times. Since the estimated times are completely meaningless (unless you happen to bike as fast as they assume you will, which is slower than I bike and that's pretty slow), but the miles are not, I wanted to have the miles with the turn-by-turn directions.

But it was okay doing the turn-by-turns without the miles. Not ideal, but okay.

Unfortunately, my changes to the suggested route had me making a few scary left turns and going up a BIG hill. Next time I think I'll stick closer to what Google Maps suggests.

The other bad part was that I had put my new temporary fenders on. It rained the day before and I was afraid the streets would still be wet. Well, apparently there is some sort of art to adjusting those things because no matter what I did, they rubbed. I had to stop numerous times and fix them and they still rubbed.

On and there was also a bad head wind. (And yet, as much as that slowed me down, I still finished faster than Google Maps predicted.) I am getting better at dealing with the wind though and it's good practice for IMAZ.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hydrostatic Body Fat Testing

I've been trying to get an accurate body fat assessment for a while now. I had mine tested last summer with calipers, but calipers tend to over-estimate body fat on people who've lost enough weight to have loose skin. (The loose skin throws the test off.) My fancy-dancy expensive scale tells me body fat %, muscle mass, hydration level, etc. but it seemed to me to read low. For example, it was telling me I had 10-12% body fat at a time when I clearly had more than essential body fat. My older, cheaper Tanita has always wildly overestimated body fat % -- it told me that mine was 70% at a time when it was closer to 55%.

I had a DEXA scan this Fall, but unfortunately, the machine PAMF uses doesn't do body fat. (Heck, they didn't even do a full body scan on my bones!)

So I was quite excited that Sports Basement's TriFest on Saturady included a company doing body fat testing with a dunk tank. This method, hydrostatic, used to be the Gold Standard before the DEXA scan came along so it's pretty darn accurate. And the best part is that they were only charging $20!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mental victory of sorts

I was supposed to do a 5K Time Trial run yesterday. Usually, when I do a TT, I push myself as hard as I can the whole way. Since running fast tends to aggravate my calf and since I haven't run more than two miles at once, I was not looking forward to this particular workout. In fact, I was dreading it.

I tried putting it off. But I knew I had to do it or it would haunt me. I've run 3 miles a couple of times and even 4 miles once. But I had breaks and I was going at "calf" pace (which is slightly slower than T pace) for most of it. I had built up 5K in my mind as some sort of watershed distance and I wasn't convinced I could do it.

I started out running as fast as I could and got about ... .26 miles. Then I died. I realized that this wasn't going to work. For one thing, I'd hadn't warmed up and my legs were dead. Oops. I was also going the wrong way (so I'd end up with 2.5 miles, not 3.1). Oops again. I was also really thirsty and hadn't brought any water with me. So I looped around back to the house at an easy pace for my warm up.

Then I started over.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Getting in touch with my hunger

Something that has been hard for me is dealing with hunger. Before my surgery, I was pretty much hungry all the time. I could eat a very large lunch and be hungry half an hour later. I knew intellectually that I couldn't really be starving, but the voices in my head were screaming at me that I was STARVING and that I would DIE if I didn't get something to eat.

It wasn't until I learned about ghrelin, that I understood what was going on. It was gherlin that was telling my brain that I was starving and, like the men and rats in the various experiments who were injected with ghrelin and then went nuts trying to satisfy their "hunger", I would eventually feel compelled to quiet this urge.

While I was preparing for surgery, I read people's stories online and they talked about being years out from surgery and still not feeling hungry -- that they eat because it's time and they know they have to, not because their brain tells them they they must. It sounded like my idea of heaven and I held on to those stories and minimized the ones from people who still struggled with hunger.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Swim, glorious swim

Today I felt like a fish. I felt like I was just ripping through the water and also that the pool had mysteriously gotten shorter than last week. I love it when everything comes together like that. Especially since I was extremely UNmotivated to go to swimming this week.

Not only was it cold out, but it was supposed to be raining. I also couldn't remember if this was the week the schedule changed so I came for the 6:30 pm start time just in case. Naturally, it was the week where I had a choice between 6 pm and 7 pm so I was either very late for the 6 pm or extremely early for the 7 pm.

I decided to hang out in the locker room until 6:45 and then come out early and swim some warm-up laps. (I didn't think I'd last if I start swimming them at 6:30.) Because of that, I was able to get in 450 yards in warm-up and then the full 2100 yards I can get in during the official swim hour. (Okay, my "hour" has 65 minutes in it. For now...)

Plus, the rain held off until we were done -- just some sprinkles when I came out of the locker room and the skies didn't open up until I was five minutes from home.

So, once again, I managed to swim longer than I'd ever swam before for the third week in a row. If this keeps up, I'll actually get to the 2800-2900 yards in a hour that I'm aiming for. (I figure, if I can swim that many yards in an hour, I'll be able to do the 2.4 miles of my Ironman in 1.5 hours and that's my goal.)

Now, watch, next week I'll have one of those "I can't remember how to swim" weeks. But, even if I do, I had this week to be a fish and I intend to enjoy it while I can and hopefully the memory of it will stay in my body so I can keep repeating it.