Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No exercise = weight gain

Apparently, if you stop training for a marathon, you can't keep eating like you are training for one.

Who knew?

Okay, I knew it, but after I hit my head and had to stop working out, I felt kind of helpless to stop eating. I felt so hungry! And then I gained 5 pounds in a few weeks and I knew I had to cut it out.

I should probably start at the beginning. Which is either back in September or October depending on how you define "beginning."

Monday, December 5, 2011

My favorite protein bar recipe

I stole this recipe from Rob at Former Fat Dudes. It's awesome. I'd just link to his but his is a video and I don't have the patience to watch long videos. If you like the video recipes, here it is. If you don't, here it is in words:

Homemade Protein Bars

The Dry Stuff
1 cup rolled oats (anything but instant)
1 cup cooked quinoa (or a second cup of oats, if you have no quinoa)
1-1/2 cups protein powder (unflavored or a flavor that goes well with your "other stuff")
1/4 cup ground flax seed

The Wet Stuff
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup Splenda or other sweetener
2 eggs

Other Stuff
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup dried fruit

Sunday, December 4, 2011

2011 Workout Stats

Since my brain is still broken, it's hard for me to write blog posts... they require a certain amount of concentration. So I will entertain myself by posting my workout stats for the year. My workout spreadsheet is already set up with them by month so no math is required!

Swim (yards) Bike (mi) Run (mi) Strength (min) Total Miles Activity Score
Jan 3,550 98.0 10.2 421.0 110.4 202.4
Feb 5,650 37.0 24.0 270.0 64.5 207.4
March 8,182 100.4 16.4 315.0 122.0 269.0
April 16,180 272.6 8.8 270.0 291.5 487.5
May 7,480 289.0 18.0 150.0 311.0 444.0
June 12,619 25.0 8.8 100.0 433.0 632.0
July 23,566 314.0 55.0 120.0 384.0 779.0
August 13,102 344.0 58.0 170.0 410.0 719.0
September 3,166 40.0 41.0 120.0 83.0 244.0
October 2,250 0.0 55.2 120.0 56.6 251.1
November 2,050 146.0 4.0 0.0 151.0 181
December 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total Year 97,795 2,041 315 2,056 2,417 4,415

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our endless quest for perfection

I see a lot of people, especially women, online and in real life, who are constantly beating themselves up about their weight or their looks or both. This distresses me because so much of it is completely unnecessary. Plus, I don't think it helps and I've always suspected it actually makes things worse.

One of the nuggets I read during Fat Talk Free Week was that women who talk negatively about their bodies are less likely to engage in healthy behaviors. So it seems that I was right in my suspicion. Beating ourselves up and striving for an unattainable state of perfection isn't "holding ourselves to high standards" and it actually makes it harder to improve!

I think everyone has to be honest with themselves about how much they are willing to do to manage their weight. How much they are willing to exercise. How much they are willing to deprive themselves of treats. How much they are willing to follow the rules. How much they are willing to put up with hunger. Some people are willing to do quite a lot and some people aren't willing to do much at all.

Once you figure out what you are willing to do, then comes the hard part: you have to accept the weight this leaves you at.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cold, wet, suicidal deer and (possible) concussion but I finished

It's been two and a half weeks since I attempted by first 200km brevet and I haven't had the energy to write about it until now. A brevet, for those who don't know, is an organized, but self-supported bike ride. Unlike Century Rides and even most Double Century Rides, there are no aide stations. You prove you did the ride by collecting information, cash register receipts and stamps along the way.

It's a bit more social that doing the same route by yourself but it can be no different than setting out yourself if you haven't got people who promise to stay with you and you can't find anyone riding at your pace.

I signed up for the ride with a friend and I thought we were going to ride together. It turned out we had very different ideas of what that meant and next time I will be clearer about my expectations because after the first 5 miles or so, I spent most of the ride by myself. At first I tried to keep up but the thing is, I really had no business being on that ride to start with and I knew it and I knew I had to pace myself so I stopped trying to keep up with much faster people than me pretty quickly into the route.

Let's back up:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Don't tell us to "Lighten up"!

Humor is a funny thing. It's very personal. Something you think is funny can leave me cold and vice versa. The other issue with humor is whether or not it is okay to offend people in the name of getting a laugh.

Some people hate Adam Sandler movies; some people love them. Some people find them offensive and some do not. The same with Kevin Smith, South Park, Joan Rivers and a lot of other humorists who tend to be controversial.

Several incidents have come up recently that were targeted by the "Bias Busters" program of the Obesity Action Coalition that have caused me to think about humor and what is entertainment and particularly about the oft-heard phrase when people do find a particular piece of humor to be offensive: Lighten Up! followed by the equally popular: Can't You Take a Joke?

Monday, October 24, 2011

When the numbers fail you

My weight has been going up since my Ironman. This is pretty normal for the off-season, but it does worry me and also there are certain numbers on the scale I have trouble with no matter how I look or how much of it is muscle.

The thing is, I can look at my body and know I'm a bit fluffier than I was right before Ironman Canada. But I can also see I'm no more fluffier than I normally am during the off-season. I can fit into my clothes and they are as tight at they normally get in the winter. So I have objective and subjective measures that tell me where I am.

But that doesn't stop me from getting upset when the scale says I'm a certain weight. My head tells me that I've put on a bunch of muscle and I look pretty good if not my 100% best, but my emotions say "fatty!"

It doesn't help that my scale lies to me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

That sucked, but I survived

I had a free entry so I did the Morgan Hill Half Marathon today. Unfortunately, most of the course is on roads that are banked. So I was constantly running with one side of my body lower than the other. This really aggravated everything that is wrong with my calf and by mile four I was really feeling it.

The really bad part came when I was trying to go down this big hill. I made a point to run up it because I could and I knew down would be hard. But down on a banked course is beyond hard. It was hell. If an official had come by in a car and asked me if I was okay, I would have said "no" and let him or her SAG me to the finish.

I must have looked pretty bad because a ton of racers asked me if I was okay including the 3:00 pacer.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Say something nice about your body today

And I mean something really nice. Not "my thighs are enormous, but at least I have nice ankles" nice.

Here's mine:

I love my calves. Every time I look at them,  I think about how lovely they are.

Now, what's yours?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Today is the first day of "Fat Talk Free" Week

This week was set up by the sorority Delta Delta Delta (the Tri-Delts) and is a way to get women (and men too) to stop ragging on ourselves about our bodies and our perceived imperfections and stop focusing so much on weight.

From their website:

Fat Talk describes all of the statements made in everyday conversation that reinforce the thin-ideal standard of female beauty and contribute to women's dissatisfaction with their bodies. Examples of fat talk may include: "I'm so fat," "Do I look fat in this?" "I need to lose 10 pounds" and "She's too fat to be wearing that swimsuit." Statements that are considered fat talk don't necessarily have to be negative; they can seem positive yet also reinforce the need to be thin - "You look great! Have you lost weight?"

The motto of "Fat Talk Free" Week is "friends don't let friends fat talk".

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stopping When You’re Full or Satisfied

I haven't done a post about The Rules of Normal Eating in a while or anything that wasn't endurance race related for that matter. So I think it's time to start back up!

Full vs. Satisfied is an interesting topic because a lot of obese people never do feel full or satisfied. The part of our brain that registers satisfaction and fullness tends to have weaker signals than non-obese people. Also the hormones that tell us we should stop often aren't produced in high enough quantities for the signal to register.

What this means is that after weight loss surgery, many of us have no idea what "full" feels like. This can lead to the uncomfortable phenomena know as "the foamies" when we eat just one bite too many, our bodies think we're choking and start producing saliva like crazy (to get the food to slide down) but there's no room for anything more. The end result is pain and often throwing up.
Yes, it's as gross as it sounds.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Furnace Creek 508 - my introduction to insanity

A couple of friends of mine do these "ultra" races. In bicycling, the ultras are often hundreds of miles over more than 24 hours. I have always thought this was insane. I am happy to push my  body for an entire day, but I want to be able to go to sleep afterwards.

In fact, part of the reason I set my sights on Ultraman Canada was that the race takes place over three days so you get to sleep each night. While some people may think doing a 10k swim, 90 and then 171 miles of biking and a double marathon over three days is crazy, it seemed completely doable to me once I get my bike speeds up from where they are. Staying up for 40-48 hours biking, on the other hand, just seemed completely undoable.

However, when given the opportunity to crew for a friend at this year's Furnace Creek 508, I jumped at it. I figured I'd get to sleep a bit in the car and crewing isn't the same thing as biking. Plus, I figured I'd learn a lot that would help me with Ultraman.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

San Jose Rock 'n Roll Half - Race Report

First of all, nobody died this year during the race. So that's good. And I had a good time. I didn't think there were as many bands on the course as the last time I did this race, but I didn't count them or anything.

My plan going in was to walk the aide stations only and take Advil about 30 minutes before the race started, then as little during as I could get away with. I also brought some of this pain-relief cream they had at the Expo with me. The guy in the booth gave me 3 packets and they fit perfectly into my Spibelt, much better than the 4 oz. Rock Sauce that I normally carry.

For nutrition, I was going to drink the provided sports drink and water on the course but also bring some little snacks. I brought some Sports Beans that were being given out at the Expo and a Payday bar.

Yes, my plan for nutrition included getting calories from three new food sources. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Santa Cruz AquaBike - my race report

Sunday was the 29th annual Santa Cruz Triathlon. This year they had an AquaBike option which I jumped on because I didn't want the pressure of having to run a certain amount in a certain time. It turned out to be a good thing because I managed to set myself back on Monday running a 5K time trial and I was pretty sore and my one other run that weekend was a bit of a bust.

Packet pickup was the Saturday before and it reinforced my feeling that the AquaBike was a bit of an afterthought. I had a run number in my packet and there was no separate AquaBike wave. This meant that, as is often the case, I was in the last wave of the day with the other old ladies and the "leftovers" (which in this case was the Athenas/Clydesdales and the Relay teams).

I was supposed to be meeting friends in Santa Cruz for a day of fun but I barely had time to get my packet before the expo closed and then I had to immediately drive back over the mountain to finish up several errands.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An auspicious day

Today is the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana's Nevermind album and also the three year anniversary of my surgery.

Last year I was kind of "eh" about the whole "surgiversary" thing. I was doing what I always did and having the results I always did. There really didn't seem to be anything to say. But I'm more excited this year for some reason. (Which very well be the whole Nirvana thing -- every where I got people are talking about it and the Nevermind album has good memories for me.)

There have been a lot of changes this year. I no longer log everything I eat. I still log all my exercise, but only to keep track of improvements and to adjust my training for big events. I just eat when I'm hungry, stop when I feel satisfied and try to eat healthy most of the time.

Friday, September 16, 2011

When I said I liked Heavy Metal, this isn't what I meant

My grand experiment is over... I had read something that made me think my protein issues were related to endurance exercise-induced anemia. In other words, maybe I have low protein because I'm not getting enough iron.

Now, nothing in my labs screamed anemia. All my iron and anemia related labs were in range.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ironman Canada - My (Belated) Race Report

It's only been 2.5 weeks since I did Ironman Canada and three weeks since I wrote anything for the blog. So maybe I should get off my duff and write this race report, eh?

Ironman Canada was an interesting experience - fun, social, frustrating and triumphant at the same time. Since I have so much to say, I think I'll break it up into a series of posts:

Race Week

The Race

The Aftermath

Ironman Canada - The Aftermath

The day after the race, I felt pretty good. My mom and I went down to the merchandize tent and I asked her to spot me some money so I could buy my finisher gear. That $300 that Budget had taken from me was starting to come back to haunt me. The sad part is that we had the money in our other account but I didn't have that Debit card with me and I wasn't able to successfully transfer the money into the account whose card I did have via the equipment I had with me.

Ironman Canada - The Race

The morning of the race, everything seemed to be going well. It had cooled off Friday and Saturday compared to Wednesday and Thursday so I was crossing my fingers that it wouldn't be killer hot for the race.

I got up at 4:15 am, ate my normal breakfast, picked up my Bike and Run Special Needs bag and my "Dry Clothes" bag with everything I needed for the swim and some stuff for after the race and then my mom and I took off.

It was still relatively dark, but there were street lights.

Ironman Canada - Race Week

I have a certain race week routine that I follow for my big races. It works pretty well, but it still needs some ironing out for Ironman races. The travel that is involved

Shipping the Bike

I drove my bike over to Front of the Pack on Sunday as ordered to by TriBike Transport. When I had signed up for the service, I signed up to ship a gear bag too. But when the time came to pack, I couldn't figure out what I should put in it. 

It turns out, you can keep your Bento box and under-the-saddle seat and even bottles in your bottle cages. So the CO2 cartridges that you (supposedly) aren't supposed to take on the plane and a lot of other spare equipment fit into those just fine. I thought about shipping my bike helmet, but it needed to be in a hard case and I had nothing at home that would work for that and fit into my gym bag.

So I put in a bunch of crap that weighed a lot just to keep it out of my suitcase. I also put in things that I would really need in case the airlines lost my luggage.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Follow me on IronmanLive.com

My bib # is 3175. Yes, there are more than 3000 athletes signed up for this race. Wowza!

To follow me on race day (Aug. 28), go to IronmanLive.com and select 2011 Ironman Canada. My expected splits are:

Start: 7:00 am
Swim Done: 8:25 - 8:35 am
Exit T1 on bike: 8:30 - 8:40 am
Top of Ritcher Pass: 11:30 - 11:55 am
Top of Yellow Lake: 2:20 - 2:40 pm
Coming back in on Bike: 3:30 - 4:10 pm
Exiting on the Run: 3:35 - 4:15 pm
Finish: 9:35 - 10:15 pm

This assumes normal weather and no big disasters such as flats on the bike.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Uh oh

I think I might be coming down with something. Uh, oh.

I had an intestinal incident yesterday morning that resolved pretty quickly with some meds but today I've felt kind of light-headed and dizzy off and on all afternoon.

Hopefully it's nothing or something that will resolve in 24-72 hours. It would really suck to get sick right before my Ironman!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Ironman Playlist - All Expendables All the Time

I'm working on my playlist for Ironman Canada.

I did this for IMAZ and, even though I thought I was crazy because no one else I know does this, I did it anyway. Then, a few weeks before that race, I read this article by Chrissie Wellington where she talked about collecting inspirational sayings and song lyrics to get you through your race and I felt vindicated.

Except, I still feel kind of weird about it because no one else talks about this. No one. I can't believe Chrissie and I are the only people in the whole world who makes a playlist for their Ironmans. So why does no one talk about it? It just seems like it should be part of the standard advice:

Figure out your nutrition. Check.

Make a packing list. Check.

Buy plane tickets and reserve hotel room. Check.

Figure out what songs to sing to yourself so you don't psych yourself out. Check.

Because, if I don't pick them ahead of time, I'm at the mercy of whatever pops into my head during the race. And what pops into my head isn't always that helpful. Or is the opposite of helpful.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I guess I "cheated" but I don't care

The other day my attention was drawn to a post in an online "newspaper" where some blogger not only said that having weight loss surgery was taking the easy way out and cheating but also that, if you didn't agree with her, you were the kind of person who enables drug addicts!!

Part of me thought the whole thing was too stupid to respond to, but then I found out that not only was she holding herself up as example of how to lose weight the "right" way -- by eating only 500 calories a day and indulging in the sort of exercise program normally associated with exercise anorexia, but that lately (because somehow that didn't result in permanent weight loss – go figure), she's jumped on the whole juice fast craze and I just had to respond. (I admit it. It was the juice fasting pushed me over the edge.)

First of all, when did doing something the hard way become a morally superior option vs. being smart about it and using whatever tools are available to you? In all other aspects of our lives, using tools is seen as smart, not cheating. But in weight loss apparently the only true path has to involve suffering. Lots and lost of suffering.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Time to Taper

It's exactly two weeks until Ironman Canada and that means it's time to taper.

For a long time, I resisted the taper. Like a lot of triathletes, I misunderstood its purpose. I thought it was about "taking it easy" and of course I was just too much of a badass to lounge around doing nothing, right? But what I've come to realize is that tapering isn't about taking it easy per se, but about changing your focus.

Now, even before this revelation, I understood the need to taper for important races. After all, since fitness gains take about two weeks to be incorporated, there really isn't anything you can do in the two weeks before a race to improve fitness for that race. You can improve fitness for future races, but not that one. On the other hand, you can do things to screw up your race. You can get injured or have a freak accident or arrive at the race exhausted and run down because you worked (or partied) too hard leading up to it.

So for the big races I would taper. But I still thought of it as taking it easy and I don't think I tapered as well as I could have. Because real tapering is a lot of work!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Injury Report: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

It's two weeks (and 1.5 days) until Ironman Canada so it's time to take stock of my running.

The Good: today I ran 2 hours! (and 5 minutes) I took 1-2 min walk breaks approximately every 15 minutes and I didn't really start to have pain until I was pretty close to home. That's when it hit me. My calf is sore but my knee is fine. No more stabby knee pain when I run! I had stabby knee pain even at Vineman 70.3 so this is a big break through and I credit it to Graston and ART.

In fact, the whole area is very stable now. I do get pain eventually when I run but it takes a long time and it's just inflammation. I haven't re-injured anything or gotten a big tear through the scar tissue than then has to be broken up again in a long time. So the danger of doing something while running that prevents me from walking seems to have passed.

I can also run faster without invoking the pain. Yesterday I ran after my bike ride to do a short brick workout and I was running quite fast at first. (I was trying to catch up to someone and also get back before it got too dark.) 

I had to slow down eventually, but my 1 mile run time is within a minute of what it was pre-injury.

The Bad: I do still have pain especially if I run as fast as my cardio fitness would let me.

The Ugly: I expect the marathon at IMC to set me back. I'll be taking NSAIDs there and using pain cream so I can run through it, which I never do when I train. So at the end I expect to be very sore and take a long time to recover. (But it's going to be so worth it!)

Monday, August 8, 2011

How my weight has gone this season

Way back last year, I made a post to this blog saying that I was not going to freak out about my weight this winter. I knew I'd go up a few pounds in Dec. and Jan. and I knew they'd come off again when I started doing longer workouts in Feb. and March. As part of "not freaking out," I decided not to blog every time my weight fluctuated.

So, it's August and I'm a few weeks out from Ironman Canada. What happened to my weight during this time?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

Today I am 54 years old. It feels kind of anti-climatic because, in triathlon, your racing age is the age you are on the last day of the year. So I've been telling people I'm 54 so they can write it on my calf for months now.

To celebrate my birthday, I drove up to San Francisco early in the morning to join the SVTC gang for an Open Water Swim in Aquatic Park. I had a better time than last year because the current didn't wash me between the boats and my goggles didn't leak.

Well that was a bit of a disaster

Ever have one of those days where you want to just rewind the clock and start over? Today was such a day.

It was supposed to be a day that a bunch of us did the IMC Sim Bike Route. This is route that some members of my club have worked out that has hills in all the places that IMC does that are similar elevation. However, there is about twice the elevation gain as the actual course so the route is much harder. The advantage of doing this exact route, even though it is harder, is that many people have done it before and then done IMC. So we have an idea of how to translate performance on the sim route to performance at IMC.

Which is why I wanted to do this route. I wanted to be able to give my mom an idea of when to expect me on the bike course. I also wanted to do it just to do it. I figured, if I could do it, IMC would be a piece of cake. Also, I was hoping to get some ideas for pacing strategies as the ride does somewhat simulate the pace of IMC even being harder.

Here is what happened:

Friday, August 5, 2011

IMC in 3.5 weeks. Time to freak out

Today I was reading the Athlete's Guide for Ironman Canada and I read that the run aide stations will only have water, coke and PowerBar products. Oh and fruit. What?! Where are the pretzels, potatos/chips, and cookies? What about broth after sunset?? How can I run 26.2 miles without my freaking COOKIES!!

It sounds like I'm joking, but I'm perfectly serious. That's my run nutrition: water and cookies, broth if they have it. I've done two races this way and this works the best for me of any run nutrition strategy I've tried.

So now what am I going to do?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lab ranges and RDAs are designed to avoid disease not create optimal health

I am reading all over the web about tired people. Many of them are tired enough that they've talked to their doctors about it. Or they have other weird symptoms but no diagnosis or maybe they just feel like something is not quite right. So they get some lab work done and it comes back "normal" and their doctor tells them there is nothing wrong with them. Others say that they take the recommended supplements as if that means that they are doing all they can.

The problem is that RDAs are designed to keep us disease free. They aren't designed to bring us to optimal health. This is one reason that the RDA for Vitamin D and the lab ranges are so low. The RDA was set originally as "get this much daily to avoid rickets". That's it. As long as you take this much, you won't get rickets. But that doesn't mean you are at optimal levels.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vineman Relay was a blast!

I just got back from Vineman Relay, an Ironman distance race that I did on a relay team. It was my first experience doing a race on a relay team and it was so much fun!

Our original team was myself, Seht who lives right in the heart of the race and that I train with some times, and a friend of ours from this area who we've never met but know online as bSophie. We all of us have had bariatric surgery and lost a lot of weight so we named our team "Winning by Losing."

bSophie is a runner. Last year she ran a half-marathon every month and this year she wanted to move up to the marathon distance so training for this event was perfect for her. Seht does triathons but hates open water swimming (or any swimming, really) and has a mixed relationship with running. So he did the bike.

This made me that fastest swimmer on the team! That cracked me up and I like to do an open water swim every weekend so being on the team didn't even require any special training on my part.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Why is there a mouse in my running shoes?

I have suspected my running shoes need replacing for a while now. I suspected at Vineman 70.3, in particular, but then I started to hear a squeaking noise every time I ran and I knew it was time. This is the second time I've had a pair of running shoes do that and am still completely clueless as to the cause. Except that it's not a good sign, of course.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wildflower Long & Metro Tri

I am normally so good about posting race reports that I'm a bit embarrassed that I never blogged about these two events. They were right around when I got laid off and I wasn't in a good place. I was doing only the stuff that had to be done and blogging wasn't high on that list. Anyway...

Wildflower Long

It's very weird to go into a race knowing that not only are you going to DNF but that doing so is your race plan. That was my experience at Wildflower this year.

Vineman Ironman 70.3 - Go, Fluid Girl!

I did the Vineman Half on Sunday and I had a blast! For the first time in a long time, I made pretty much all my goals. I even ran the Half-Marathon at the end -- at least as much as many better athletes would run it (i.e., I walked the aid stations). My purpose in doing this race was to see what I needed to do in my last training push up to Ironman Canada and that worked too. So, all-in-all, I'm happy.

Packet Pick-up and Expo

Vineman is now doing registration this new way. You have to attend a mandatory meeting the day before and you can't pick up your race packet until you attend the meeting and get your hand stamped. I always go to the mandatory meetings so it wasn't that big a deal, yet I still didn't like it. For one thing, the meetings were only happening once an hour. I get up there in time for the 1:30 pm meeting, but I can't find a parking space. By the time I circled the parking lot twice and then went out on the street to find a spot and walked back, the meeting had already started. So then I had to hang around for a full 45 minutes until the next one started. I did run into a bunch of friends from my tri club and I did get to check out the Expo, but it was still annoying. Plus, the Expo was pretty lame.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Swimming naked at Del Valle

Okay, I wasn't actually naked. But I had no wetsuit. I did this on purpose because the water temps at Johnson Beach were recorded at 78 F and that means no wetsuits for racing. I decided that my first time in open water without a wetsuit should probably not be on race day so I needed to practice.

When I got to Del Valle on Sunday, the water temp was listed as 78 F just as it had been a few days before at Johnson Beach so I decided to give it a whirl.

At first, I felt so great to be without a wetsuit. My arms felt free and I could feel the water all over me and it felt great. Then I got out of the protected boat launch and into the lake and all that changed. First, I felt more like a cork bobbing up and down in the water than a sleek swimming cutting through the water. Second, every time I lifted my head to sight instead of breath, I sunk like a stone!

It took me a full 30 minutes to get to the turn around point for the 1.2 mile swim and I was not a happy camper. It was not as bad going back because the current was with us but it still took me another 30 minutes. So the entire distance took me 15 min. longer than usual, which is a LOT of time! However, my Garmin said I swam 1.4 miles, not 1.2 and I did head straight out for the buoy and then across the lake when I normally angle out. But still...

Luckily, Johnson's Beach is now reading a nice 73 F and it's unlikely it will get over 76.1 (the cutoff) before Sunday when my race is. I may try swimming there sans wetsuit on Saturday just for grins and a short warm-up prior to the race, but I'm in less of a panic about the whole thing than I was last Sunday.

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's like an ice bath for my ass!

Long distance runners often use ice baths to help with recovery after long runs. I say: more power to you if you can make yourself sit in a bath full of ice. But I could never make myself do it.

So I was very excited to hear about a product that promised to give the same effect without having to actually put my body into a tub of ice and water. It's called 110% Play Harder and it's compression gear that has pocket for these flat ice packs.

I have the shorts and the calf sleeves. I use the calf sleeves a lot but the shorts less often.

When it rains, it pours

Well that's a trite blog post title. But it's true...

First I got laid off. We figured out we could pay our bills except for the mortgage between Mr. Mac's salary and my unemployment so we thought we'd be okay until I got a job or I settled with my (former) company and got a severance package. But then "stuff" kept happening.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I think I'm ready

Yesterday I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill without pain of any kind in my calf or knee and only mild discomfort in the hip area around mile 3.25. The day before I swam 2.4 miles in an okay time. (It would have been better but where I swam was full of weeds and I had to slow down to avoid drowning--kind of like when you swim through kelp.) I've also done a number of 80-90 mile bike rides and a ton of hill work.

I feel ready for IMC. At last!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My experiences with laser hair removal

Almost a year ago, there was a Groupon for 3 visits of Laser Hair Removal for a decent price. I checked out the doctor offering this and she had a good rep so I bought it. I've been annoyed by my chin hair for years. It actually seems better since I lost all that weight, but not enough better than I can stop shaving every day. I knew that it typically takes 6-8 visits to get rid of hair in an area, not three, but I figured my only goal was to cut down on hair in the area and also I could always sign up for more at the full price, if I felt it necessary.

Fast forward to June... still haven't gotten around to using the groupon and there is no way I'm paying for additional treatments without a job. But it's about to expire and I did pay for, so I make my appointment.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Haz Passport

My passport came today!

Yes, I've never had one. I have left the country. But only to go to Mexico (3x), Canada (2x), and various places in the Caribbean including Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas and St. Croix. None of those places required a passport to get into when I went to them. But now they do.

I was worried my passport wouldn't come in time for Ironman Canada so I'm relieved that it did.

Now I want to be one of those people who can decide to fly to another country two weeks before the trip starts. I have friends like that and I envied their spontaneity and their passports. Well now I can be one of them!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

89 miles, 6,648 elevation gain, bugs flying off the teeth EPIC ride

Sunday I did my long bike ride. I have a friend training for the bike part of Vineman (112 miles) so he came down and we went on what was planned to be a 122 mile ride with over 11,000 ft of climbing. Now, to be honest, I didn't think we'd get the whole ride in before we ran of daylight and there was one part that I had no intention of doing but put in to be nice. But I still thought the ride was somewhat doable with maybe a little bit of walking up some of the Mount Hamilton part. I had seen many versions of this ride on ridewithgps.com so I know it can be done and is a semi-popular route.

My first  indication that it might not go as planned was when I put in my mileage for everything I'd done for the week into my training plan spreadsheet and realized I had already earned 136 activity points. That's almost as many as I earned for last week and doing this ride would add on another 122 points. Not good or realistic. I should probably have done a short 50-60 miler ride instead.

But my friend was coming down and was excited about doing the Tour de California Stage 4 part of the ride and I have really had this urge to do an epic ride lately so we set out.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why is it pronounced del-VAL?

Today I was driving to Lake Del Valle to swim and run. I kind of didn't want to go but there was sort of a chance someone was meeting me there so I figured I had to show up since it was my idea. But there was enough of a chance no one else would show up and then I'd have to decide if I was going to swim by myself, which technically is dangerous.

I'm thinking these random thoughts as I force my body into the car with wetsuit and assorted paraphanellia and I'm driving out to Livermore when my GPS tells me to turn on "valley-ceeto" road. "Hey, moron," I yell at my GPS (yes, I talk to inanimate objects. A lot.), "it's Vi-yay-ceetos. Valle is pronounced vi-yay, not valley. And there's an S on the end, too."

My GPS is not cowed by my correction and continues to mispronounce the road until we move onto a new one.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The importance of getting enough sleep

I had a great workout today. I rode the SVTC Hill course 3 minutes faster than last time and I didn't push as hard during the warm-up phase. As I was coming into the parking lot and getting ready to do my run, I realized that I had also had 12 hours of sleep for the past couple of days.

I think that getting more sleep (after weeks of not enough) has made a difference in my ability to workout longer. Normally, I can't workout much more than 10-12 hours a week without getting really ground down but I've been doing a lot more workouts and long bike rides and I feel great.

The first thing I changed was to drink Fluid Recovery Drink after every workout and that made a difference as well. Add in the sleep and I think I may actually be ready for Ironman Canada when it happens. I was seriously worried about that a few weeks ago. But, if I am able to keep this up, I'll be doing 3 bikes and 3 runs a week with 2-3 swims and 1-2 strength workouts. That's a lot more than I've been able to do in the past.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

My first couple weeks of unemployment

Here is what I've been doing since my last substantial post:

I spent from April 26 to May 10 mostly trying to get my last project done. Many people encouraged me not to do this. They pointed out that essentially I'd been fired and I owed the company nothing. I couldn't really disagree with that but I also had things that I personally wanted to accomplish for my own reasons. So I continued to try to finish things off including coming in on weekend. Part of me thinks that was dumb but part of me wishes I'd gotten even more done.

Then, I had a few days where I did something every day to find a new job, before taking off for an already planned and mostly paid for trip to Vegas. That trip was very interesting in many ways and I'll probably post separately about it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I'm in a funk

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It's not easy being laid off even if you know it's going to be better in the long run. But almost an entire month has gone by and I haven't written a single blog post. It's not like I haven't been doing anything either. I've done two triathlons, finished my last two weeks of work, consulted with a lawyer, drove to Las Vegas and back for a WLS convention and looked for a new job.

So I have plenty to talk about.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Injury Report - Take Two

Right after I got laid off, I went to see my Sports Medicine doctor. He poked around and said I have a big knot and scar tissue in the spot my calf hurts. I'm not supposed to run for at least a week so that it can heal and the inflammation can die down. I can do anything else that doesn't cause pain. So biking and swimming are definitely in. Crossfit is a maybe.

I'm also supposed to avoid PT for a while and keep my ART to every other week. Both of these help in the long run but can inflame tissues in the short run. Take an anti-inflamatory as necessary. Lots of ice. Lots of stretching. And so forth and so on.

He also gave me a letter to give to the Tri-California people to try to get my money back for Wildflower. He didn't recommend I do the Olympic as he didn't think I'd be satisfied to just swim and bike it. I guess I'm rather transparent because he's right. I know, if I did the Olympic, I would try to run the run or at least walk it. I told him I was thinking about doing the Long course and only doing the swim and bike. That would still be a hefty investment of time and a good weekend workout. I know I won't be tempted to run or walk a half-marathon so it's pretty safe too.

He was okay with that and so was Tri-california. So I'll switch races when I get there on Friday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Job Search: Activate!

I never really watched the Wonder Twins more than once or twice in my life, but I love saying "Activate!"

Anyway, as you have probably guessed, I am without employment. Or rather I will be in two weeks. My division decided to have layoffs and I was one of the ones whose position was "eliminated". Others at my job site were as well but I have no idea who they are.

Ironically, I had been invited by a girlfriend to "play hooky" and have a Spa Day only 30 min. before I found out. I was going to tell her "no" because I had stuff to do at work and didn't feel like I could take the time off. However, my boss suggested I not come back to work after my doctor's appointment so I was able to do it after all. Now my nails are so pretty and my skin is so soft. Plus I made a new friend. Whee!

I've already got my resume into three companies (amazing what you can do while relaxing at a spa these days) and I would be happy to come work with anyone reading this whose company has an opening for a software engineer with above average user experience and project management skills. I'm going to try to get something doing front-end web development (though I don't mind doing back-end and have done it in the past) or mobile. Oh, but it has to be in the SF Bay Area as my family doesn't want to move.

In the meantime, I've had this urge to write an iPad app for a while and I have an iOS4 "cookbook" that I won at a social event at work so I think I'll get cracking.

Plus fitting in my training will be temporarily easier. Too bad I am forbidden to run for a while (more on that later). But being able to do my long stuff during the week will give me more family time on the weekend.

Watch, just by saying that, I'll end up getting a new job within weeks. The job market is a lot better than it was two years ago so I am not too worried.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I am so screwed

Whatever I did to myself at Track two week ago, it's bad. Very bad. I went from being able to run a 10k to not being able to run more than 5 minutes and then not being able to walk afterwards. I've had ART and Graston since then and I've given myself time to heal and it just hasn't made a bit of difference.

I even tried running yesterday with a knee brace. My idea was that it would hold everything in place and that would keep the knee pain from stopping me. Didn't work. It did make it harder to run as I couldn't bend my knee as much. But that's about it.

I have an appointment with the Sports Medicine doctor tomorrow. (I almost was able to get in today but not quite.) I need answers! Or at least healing.

I have Wildflower this weekend and I am thinking I should withdraw. The problem is that I've missed all the deadlines. At this point, less than 14 days before the race, I need a doctor's note and whether or not I get a 50% credit (and that doesn't include any registration fees) is up to their discretion. I won't even find out until after the race. That's assuming I can get the note to them tomorrow. I'm not sure I can get my camping fees back either.

So I'll go. I may or may not race. I was thinking that I should just do it as an AquaBike but I'm afraid that I'll go in with the intent to do that but end up trying to run anyway. Because I'm stupid like that sometimes. If I withdraw, then there is no question of doing something stupid.

But my real fear is Ironman Canada. It's in four months. And I can't run more than half a mile.

I am so screwed.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My 2010 USAT Ranking

The 2010 rankings are finally official. I came in 687 out of 970 in my age group for triathlon. That's the 30th percentile. Given how my year went, I'll take it!

Oh, and in the area of useless trivial, I am the 2nd fittest 50-54 aged female triathlete with my same last name. But the first fittest with my first name. Yeah, me!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mini-Mac's Weight

Normally I don't like to talk about my family on my blog because, well, they didn't decide to have a blog and have their personal life out there for everyone to see. But Mini-Mac is going through what I went through (sort of) at her age and what happened to us on Tues. is pertinent to what I've been posting here for the past three years.

I have mentioned before that sometime between eight and ten, Mini-Mac "chunked up" a bit after being this tiny, tiny kid. This is exactly what happened to me at that age. Unlike with me, no one in the family has been pressuring Mini-Mac to diet, telling her she'd be a beautiful girl "if only" she lost some weight, or commenting on everything she puts into her mouth. I figured none of that worked for me so I wasn't going to do any of it to Mini-Mac.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

One step back?

Hopefully it's two steps forward, one step back and not the other way around...

Since my training has been going well and I was able to run that 10k, I decided to go to Track yesterday.

That was a mistake.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Riding the Chocolate Wave

When I heard that Fluid was working on a chocolate and vanilla version of their recovery drink, I was skeptical. It's hard to do chocolate whey right in my opinion. Or maybe I'm just picky about my liquid chocolate.

All I can say is, I was wrong to doubt. This stuff is awesome! I can't wait to workout so I can have some more. I'm doing much better at having something within the magic 30 min. window too instead of not having anything to eat for an hour or two after or just finishing up whatever it is I was consuming during the workout even if it doesn't have branch-chain amino acids.

I think it's really helping with my recovery too. I used to have to have two rest days a week, but between the Fluid and this heavy duty strength program I'm doing, I've been able to workout six days a week on a regular basis and sometimes even seven!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I love my BodyMedia FIT

Okay, here it is, the long awaited BodyMedia FIT review!

I have been wanting this device for a while, but I just couldn't justify it. My weight was under control and I was using an online food and exercise tracking site just fine. But I didn't feel like I truly knew how much I was burning. I felt like I was guessing all the time. So I decided to use some of my Christmas money to buy this device. That's my idea of the perfect present anyway -- something you want but can't quite justify spending your own money on it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Little things vs. Big things

Ever since August, I have been tracking my step-count for a fitness program we have here at work. I also recently bought a BodyMedia FIT (review coming. I swear. It's half done.) and have also been wearing that pretty much 24/7, since it also supposedly monitors my sleep.

As a result, I've come to understand quite a bit about how different choices I make impact how many calories I burn that day. It's been very interesting.

Anyone who has done a structured weight loss program before has been told such hot tips for losing weight as:

-Park farther from the entrance
-Take walk breaks throughout the day
-Take the stairs instead of the elevator
-Walk over to someone's cube instead of sending them email
-Stand up for meetings

And many of us have the same reaction, I'm sure. Kind of an eyeroll, whatever, reaction. Because those things seem so lame. Plus how many calories can they really burn if you only burn 50 extra by walking an entire mile? Walking around the building three times a day is a lot less than a mile, right?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Once again, strength training helps my run

Today I ran a 10k. I was not supposed to run one. I signed up for a 5k. I fully intended to run 5k, or at least as much of it as I could manage given that running bothers my calf, which in turn pulls on my knee.

But the race was disorganized and poorly marked and a bunch of us did not turn left when we should have and ended up on the 10k course. Some people self corrected at some point and their "5ks" ended up being 4-5 miles long. But, by the time I figured out I was in the wrong place, I was pretty committed to the 10k course and I figured it was easier to just kept going.

So I did. I made it through the entire course without walking. I did have to slow down a bit to ease pressure on my calf. But I didn't have any issues with my lung capacity or any other aerobic limitations. In fact, I spent a fair amount of the run passing people who were either slower than me to start or started out faster but ran out of gas. I finished in 1:05, an acceptable, but not spectacular time.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Thank you, Garrett!

Today I ran for 20 min. with no walk breaks! The last time I had PT, Garrett had me run and gave me some advice. Mainly to relax my legs and also to run with a motion more like pedaling a small bike. Doing that caused me to use my ankles more and that helped to absorb some of the shock. I had been trying to keep my knee from flopping around and I thnk it caused me to run too stiff-legged.

I was also running too fast. This is one of the issues with coming back from an injury. You remember how it used to be and you think you are still there when you aren't. These days, running ten minute miles seems so slow, but it's what I need to do right now. So I'm going to keep doing it until I can run for a hour without pain.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Training for Ironman Canada

I swore I wouldn't start training for IMC until March. So today is March 1st and today I went to spin class. This may have been the first time I did that in 2011, though I'd have to check my logs to be sure.

I am going to try to workout 5 days a week every week and do workouts with more intensity to start. I'm also doing a lot more strength training. I'm following a program that involves Crossfit-like workouts most days of the week plus various swim, bike and run workouts. I am modifying it as needed to make it work for both my goals and to not re-injure myself.

For running, I have done as much as I can do with Couch-to-5K. All the rest of the workouts involve running straight for 25 minutes or more and I can't do that yet. However, for my last run, I tried relaxing my legs and running slower as my PT advised me too and that helped a lot. I'm going to start running slower and longer and see if I can work up to 30 minutes over the course of the month.

I also have been able to do bike and swim workouts without my calf bothering me and that's exciting. I didn't really feel it all at SPOGA class today (Spinning + Yoga = SPOGA).

Finally, I have stretched two days in a row! I know, I'm supposed to stretch every day. But I hardly ever do it. I keep trying to make it a habit but so far it hasn't happened. I'm going to modify my training logs so I have a spot to check off my daily stretch. I have a feeling that will work better for me than just trying to remember.

I'm so excited to train for this race. I'm glad I held off on starting too soon. Now I'm psyched and ready to rumble...

Mythbusters: Fat Burning Zone

There are so many exercise myths but this seems to be the biggie and it leads to a lot of other myths, so I'll start with it.

The myth goes as follows: if you want to burn the most fat, you shouldn't work out intensely, you should work out in your "fat burning zone". How do you know what your fat burning zone is? Why just take 220 and subtract your age then multiply the results by .50 & .60!

That sound you hear all the way across the Internet is either me grinding my teeth down to tiny stubs or me screaming into a pillow so loudly, you can still hear it. Because this common bit of advice is so wrong on so many levels that it's hard to know where to begin.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another setback

I guess it was inevitable but I ran yesterday and then by evening I was hurting in my calf quite a bit. This morning I had trouble walking on it. I was going to go bike riding but I think that's out. I just hope I'm okay for my regular Tues. workout.

I'm not as upset about this as I was the last time it happened though. Mainly because that last time led to some significant improvements. Plus, I was warned that this might happened and to just adjust, back off for a bit until it healed, and then jump back into exercising again. It's actually taken longer for this setback than I was expecting so I consider that a good sign too.

Or maybe I'm just in denial...

The only thing I worry about is that I won't be ready for my 5k in March or that I'll not be better when it comes time to do all these races I signed up for. I was so sure I would be completely better by the end of the month that I signed up for more races than I intended. I was going to sign up for everything last minute and only sign up earlier if the race was due to sell out.

But once I signed up for Wildflower (which probably will sell out soon), I just couldn't stop myself!

I've decided not to worry about it. I can't control it and I need to workout to break up this scar tissue so I can be 100% better so I have to keep doing what I'm doing and take chances that once in a while I'll overdo it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

2011 Race Schedule

I just spent all week signing up for races! I really love to race. Plus, since my goal this year is to get stronger and faster, I figure I can use races as hard workouts and practice racing and that will help. I had wanted to do that last year but the injury just wouldn't let me. I am enough better now that I think I'll be okay soon enough.

Since I love to race with people I know, I figured I'd post my schedule and that might encourage my friends to sign up for these races too.

Catching up

I can't believe how long it's been since my last post. I have a lot of things I'm working on but also I've been really busy with work and life and I'm behind on the blog and haven't been visiting as many of my normal social media sites either.

On the workout front, I'm trying to get back to my normal schedule. I said I wouldn't start training for IMC until March but I'm getting antsy. Too bad it's been raining all week and may rain out my Saturday ride. I need to get back into my 4 workouts during the week and 4 during the weekend schedule or I'm going to be woefully unprepared for my upcoming races.

On the running front, I am doing Couch-to-5K in an effort to ease back into running without going too fast, too soon. However, I'm stuck on Week 5. This week calls for a 20 min. run on Day 3 and that just isn't happening. I can do Day 2: Run 8 min, walk 5, Run 8 min. but the last 1-2 min. of my second 8 minute run often hurt quite a bit as does a lot of the 5 minute cool-down walk afterwards. There's no way I can run 20 minutes straight when I can't run 16 minutes with a walk break in between.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Update of the heel lift

I went to the gym today to do my experiment. I figured it was better than running outside because (a) it was raining and I didn't want to deal and (b) I know it hurts more to run faster so I can use the treadmill to control my speed and keep that variable out of the equation.

I started out with no heel lift. I did a full Couch to 5K workout, Week 2. I started out even before I got on the treadmill with a bit of discomfort in my left side -- the usual culprits of heel, arch, hip, butt and calf -- probably from the bike ride yesterday and maybe from too much computer time as well. But it wasn't too bad so I proceeded with the experiment.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I'm rather upset right now

Yesterday I bought a new pair of running shoes. My Newtons are over a year old. While  they don't have many miles on them, they have started to squeak when I run. Plus I never really clicked with them. I didn't hate them, but I didn't love them either.

So I went back to what I had before - Nike Vomero. I loved them right away. They are very soft and cushiony. I ran today for a few minutes before my bike ride and then a few minutes after. I didn't think much of it. Then, I went to work where my Newtons were and I ran to the bathroom. Again, didn't really have any thoughts about it. At this point, I got around to transfering my heel lift from my old shoes to my new ones and then I ran to the bathroom again. And had instant stabbing pain in my knee.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Follow up from my (very expensive) MRI

I've been very busy at work and neglecting my blog. Sorry about that.

I had my follow up appointment after my MRI. They were able to read it in spite of the whole tattoo fiasco. And... it's normal.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

RV or PS?

The other day I decided. This is it, I can't take this floppy skin any more and I'm going to get plastic surgery! I decided I would start saving up for it and, by the time my car is paid off, I'd probably have enough and we could finance the rest (since I wouldn't have a car payment any more).

This decision lasted for a whole five days.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

MRIs and tattoos do not mix

I had my MRI on Friday. After I changed into an absolutely enormous set of scrubs, they took me into the room the the MRI machine. I've had a CT scan before, so I thought I knew what to expect, but they explained that MRIs are nosy. They also taped some weird capsule thing to the parts of my leg that I said hurt. Then they told me that I couldn't have an MRI if my tattoo was less than 6 weeks old. I told them on the phone I gphad one, so I don't know why they didn't ask me then how old mine was.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

There's an MRI in my future, but not today

I went to see Dr. Fulmer today. He poked and prodded and we talked about my injury and he basically told me to HTFU. Okay, not really. But he thinks it's just scare tissue and I have to exercise through it and not be afraid of the pain. I'm going to get an MRI just to be sure, but the place he normally sends people isn't on my insurance. I'm waiting to hear back where the second choice place is.

In the meantime, I'm supposed to start running again and I'm to do pretty much what I had been doing before my body started falling apart in September. That is to exercise as much as I'm able, back off is I go to far and end up in a lot of pain, and just feel my way through it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Channeling my inner Sally Field

I can't believe I won my club's "Most Inspiration Athlete "award this year. I guess they like me, they really like me!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Intuitive Eating == Epic Fail

I decide a few months ago to stop logging my food. I had been logging it since February 2008. My weight was stable and, during the week anyway, my eating was down to a routine. I was sick of logging, sick of counting, weighing and measuring. Unlike last year around the Fall when I also thought about quitting, I didn't feel like I was quitting because I secretly wanted to eat crap without accountability.

So I quit.

Everything went okay at first. But I noticed right away that I was eating more carbs. Soon my hair was starting to come out in the shower again. Not every day, but more than before, more than could be explained by normal shedding. Then, my weight started creeping up. Then, I got love handles.

So now I'm back.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Where'd my VSG Links page go?

UPDATE: I've added some links and purges some that now go nowhere. Check it out!

Woah, the links I have to research about the VSG disappeared! I added some new links about VSG and Type II Diabetes and I think I managed to "unpublish" the page.

That's okay... it's back now!

I've got some more links to add to it as well. I'll try to get to that this weekend.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy weight vs. Ideal Weight

You know those people (usually women) who drive you crazy because they bitch and moan about being "so fat" when you couldn't really see any fat on them at all or maybe just a little? Don't you hat them? I used to hate them. "Why can't they be happy with what they've got?" I'd think. Why can't they accept themselves and stop holding themselves up to some idea of "perfection" that really isn't enough different from what they've got to make it worth the effort?

That was until I turned into one of them.