Saturday, December 13, 2014

Will Swim for Food: Am I Crazy?

Earlier in the Fall, I did a crazy thing.

I signed up for Will Swim for Food. This annual event raises money for local food banks.

The idea is that we swim around the Santa Clara Wharf in the dead of winter in water with a temp of anywhere from 47 to 57 ° F and then drink and eat and be merry afterwards. It's a bit like a polar bear dip but we swim a mile and we can wear wet suits. Also, if anyone donates $150 or more, you get a decoy duck to tow around in their honor. They can decorate the duck anyway they want.

I have managed to earn one decoy duck!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Has it really been six years since surgery?

I was sitting here thinking.. hey, my six year anniversary is coming up. I should start thinking about a blog post. Should I do another cottage cheese test? Take measurements? What day does it fall on again? And then I realized it was three days ago. I never used to believe people when they said "my surgiversary was X days ago and I totally forgot!" But now I do.

So where am I? Not on thinking about WLS every day, that's for sure... I haven't blogged since July. (Though part of that is my job -- I'm working for a startup right now.) I don't weigh myself every day or even once a week any more. I don't need to because I know pretty much what I weigh and how I'm doing just by looking in the mirror and how my clothes fit.

In many ways I don't think of myself as a bariatric patient any more. Or a fat person. In other ways, that will always be part of my identity.

For me, I got what I wanted out of the surgery. I got a normal life as a normal weighted person.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

My experience with giving up dairy

These days it seems like everyone is giving up dairy for one reason or another. As someone who has experienced some mild lactose intolerance, especially as I get older, it's definitely something I've considered doing.

Then a few months ago I went through a period where it seemed like even my protein shakes -- which should have no, or next to no, lactose in them -- were bugging me and I was having issues with gas and gastric distress that just wouldn't go away. So it seemed like it was time.

I didn't quit cold turkey, mostly because I didn't feel like throwing out pounds of perfectly good protein powder. But I gradually cut back more and more until I was pretty much not consuming any dairy as far as I could tell. (It's in everything so I may have been getting trace amounts here and there.)

And I sat back and waited for all the wonderful things that were supposed to happen when you give up dairy. You know, the bloating to go away. The gas. Losing 10 pounds. The works.

And waited.

And waited.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dip 'n Dash #1: Bottom Podium for the Win!

With the cancellation of the Splash 'n Dash race series due to the drought, there was a big hole in my training schedule. I love that series and miss it a lot. However, there is the Dip 'n Dash series down in Santa Cruz as an alternative. Its only drawback is that you have to drive all the way to Santa Cruz on a Sunday morning.

I did my first (and only) Dip 'n Dash last year when I went down to Santa Cruz to practice for a race and stumbled upon it. My carpool-mate and I were the only females doing the swim-only division so we podiumed! I had enough fun that I decided to use the race bucks I won last year to enter this year’s series.

For this first race in the series, I was treating the whole thing more as a workout than a race. My only concession in training was to not run after our Sat. bike ride since I had to run 4 miles here and didn’t want to run two days in a row. Plus, 4 miles is a lot for me. I’ve only started doing that consistently a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Finding my "lane"

I love Wednesday. It's my favorite day of the week! Mostly because it's swim day.

There's something magical about swimming to me. I like getting into a rhythm and then concentrating on some little aspect of my form until it's so automatic I don't have to concentrate on it any more. I like the feel of my body moving through the water.

Sometimes I'm slicing through the water. Sometimes I'm pulling myself strongly as if there's a cable under there and my strokes are moving the cable against a pulley. Sometimes I'm fighting the water a bit before everything settles down and we make friends again. I like it when everything comes together and I feel like a real swimmer.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

California Sprint Triathlon: A Triathlete Reborn

I did it! I finished my Sprint triathlon that I have been training for all season

I've been looking forward to the California Sprint Triathlon for months. It was going to be my Come Back party. I invited my mom to come out and watch me race and my whole family ended up gathering for a party afterwards along with my fellow New-to-Multi-Sport peeps that I've been training with since March.

When I first signed up for the race, I had modest goals. Mostly just to finish the damn thing. Maybe not get the dreaded motorcycle escort on the bike portion like I did during the AquaBike last year.

Then I signed up for the Mountain Bike race at Wildflower as a tune-up and to practice. My goal then became to do this race in no more time than that one even though the course here is longer. So under two hours, basically.

But somewhere along the way, I got ambitious. My training was going really well and I was getting faster all the time. By the time race day rolled around, I had set some pretty fast time goals for myself, perhaps not even that realistic.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Time for two lunches?

When I was training for an Ironman, I got the point where I was in danger of dipping below 110 pounds and I really didn't want that. So I started putting a banana into my morning protein shake and eating two lunches a day. If I didn't do that, I would snack pretty much all day and snack food tends to be really high in sugar and not very healthy.

Yes, I could snack on healthy vegetables and nuts but vegetables don't have many calories and there are only so many nuts you can eat before your diet becomes very unbalanced. At one point I was eating 3-4 servings of nuts in the day and 1-2 more at night. That is a lot of nuts!

Enter the two lunches. I thought of them as Lunch One and Lunch Two like Thing One and Thing Two in the Cat in the Hat by Dr. Suess.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Chasing a missing workout

It sucks when life gets in the way of your training schedule. Last weekend I got sick and missed a key workout. It was a Bike-Run-Bike-Run brick. My coach said I didn't really need it, but I really wanted to do it. So I kept trying to fit it in this week. It's really the only week I can do it because the race is in two weeks so if I didn't do this past week, it wasn't going to help me.

But when you are sick, your body gets weak. And a weak body has trouble working out.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Disappointing Neuro Visit

I finally got in to see my neurologist last week. My original plan for this year was to train for this Sprint tri at the end of June and then set my sights on an Olympic distance race at the end of September. And maybe even start weaning off the Topamax.

However, after Wildflower, I started to work like crazy and not get enough sleep. Lack of sleep is the enemy of head injuries. Plus we're in the Build phase of our 16 week triathlon training plan, which means less volume but more intensity in the workouts. Intensity is also the enemy of head injuries.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Folsom Training Day Report

Yesterday I went up to the Nimbus Dam Recreation Area for a training day. I'm not doing the Folsom race this year for a variety of reasons, but I wanted to check out swimming conditions there.

I had a blast!

I went up with my sister and my son's dog and met up with my niece and her family so it wasn't all about triathlon. I also carpooled up with another triathlete who is planning to do the Long course and wanted to swim and bike (and maybe run) it before the race.

Friday, May 16, 2014

My One and Only Wildflower Mountain Bike Race

Wildflower Triathlon Festival, as it is officially called, is one of my favorite racing experiences. I first did the race somewhat on a whim in 2009, my first year of racing. A friend was flying in from Louisiana to do the Long course as one of their featured athletes and I wanted to come out to cheer him on. I decided if I was going to be out there all weekend, I might as well race and signed up for the Olympic Course (after dithering between it and the Mountain Bike for a week) when I hadn't run more than 4.5 miles without stopping and had only biked 26 miles one time. It turned out to be a good decision, though, and I had a great time and I was hooked.

I've been back every year and raced every year but 2012 (when my brain injury wouldn't let me even do yoga let alone train for a triathlon). Last year I was barely working out so I put together a relay team and did the swim. My team was awesome but it was surprisingly hard to find team members and my cyclist had a plumbing emergency and had to be replaced at the last minute, which was stressful.

I decided this year I didn't have the energy to put together another relay team and I'm not cleared to do Olympic distance so I just wasn't going to do the race.

But... it's Wildflower!

Monday, March 3, 2014

I needed that job like a hole in my head(ache)

I've survived a week at my new job and two things standout:

1) I don't want to quit yet (I wanted to quit the first week at my old job)
2) My head hasn't bothered me in days

Now that's probably not 100% accurate. I do have episodes now and again. I went for a run on Sunday and I was fine for the first 15 minutes but when I had to turn around and run back and I could kind of feel it in my head. I thought about walking back but decided to run anyway. And then I sat in the car and drank my recovery drink until my legs started working again and drove home and completely forgot about it.

Two weeks ago, if I went for a run, it would take me a day or two to recover enough that I was ready to exercise again. But this time it was just a little twitch.

I supposed it could be a coincidence. Or maybe I have just turned the corner finally after 2.5 years. Or the 75 mg of Topamax is enough now when 50 mg wasn't.

But I can't help but think that having a job that doesn't give me death in my soul is the key.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cleared to Sprint - Getting my Life Back

This week was a big doctor week. I got my teeth cleaned, I saw my neurologist and I had a mole whacked off. Seeing the neurologist was the biggie though.

I told him what was up with me.

The Good

-I was running once or twice a week and while it was making my head hurt, I was recovering from that pretty quickly. Last time I ran, it would make my head hurt for two weeks!

-I had gone on a few bike rides that were hard and my head hadn't really hurt from it. One of the rides had hills! Last year I couldn't do that.

-I was strength training and, as long as I was careful, it wasn't bothering my head

-I can swim pretty much as much as I want without any impact on my head

-There are periods every day where it feels like I am completely recovered and never hurt my head. Sometimes these last almost all day.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Osteopenia: Do I have it or not?

I got all my yearly labs done and pretty much everything ranged from okay to awesome except for protein, which was the lowest it's ever been, and my DEXA scan.

On the DEXA scan, the radiology doc put "Osteopenia" and I freaked out. I did have one measure that was -1.1 and technically they call osteopenia if you are under -1.0 on a t-score. I waited for my PCP to contact me about it and she never did. I went back to read my results and I noticed she has put "your bone density is normal" on my results!

I asked about it and she said it's complicated and I can make an appointment and she'll explain it to me. I don't really want to waste the time with that though. I need to start strength training again any way and I'm pretty close to starting to run again. I suspect that will nip this trend in the bud.

Also, it turns out Topamax can sometimes cause osteoporosis and I'll be off that at some point. Hopefully later this year.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I have my own domain name - FINALLY!

I bought the domain name "" ages ago. And then never got it set up correctly. Until today.

So now you don't have to remember ""!

Just use:

How cool is that? I know, the little things amuse me.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hey, you. (Yes, you.) You're beautiful!

Almost ten years ago, the Dove company started out putting out a series of ads designed to create a world where "Beauty is a Source of Confidence, Not Anxiety"

And women responded.

I loved the first ads with the actual real women of all body types and ages. But Dove got a lot of flack for them -- in part because apparently showing women who aren't model skinny "promotes obesity" --and over time they watered down the impact by removing the fatter and older women from their "Real Beauty" web site and campaign logo.

Their Dove Evolution video of a woman being made up at a photo shoot for an eventual billboard ad was a masterpiece though and is still being passed around the web today. I think the difference is that this ad shows us that it's possible. You too can be model pretty if you put on enough product. After all the gal in that ad was fairly blah looking to start and, sure they Photoshopped her features at the end. But, even without that, with the make-up and the hair and the lighting, she looked pretty fancy and close enough to what you see in magazines.

Their latest "Real Beauty" ad has the theme of "you're more beautiful than you think" and that's a message I am totally on board with. It consists of women describing themselves to a forensic artist and then a stranger who just met them describing them. The two sketches are then shown side-by-side and the difference is astonishing.

And women, once again, responded positively, passing the video around, saying it made them cry, saying "you have to watch this."

But, unlike with Dove's other ads, I did not have a positive response to this one.