Monthly Archives: December 2005

12/31/2005 Building Skill Sets

Saturday. Felt weak for the last three days. Couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and then had an epiphany — Iron!! I had fallen anemic, again. Geesh, what is wrong with me that I can’t take a freakin’ iron pill every day or at least remember when I start to feel that way it’s the lack of iron. It takes three days of feeling like I’m in a coma before I figure it out.

I went to my final ww meeting for 2005 and was down 1.2 making my total weight loss for 2005 only 22 pounds. At one point it was 31 pounds so I’m disappointed that I gained some back, but I’m proud of myself for staying in the fight. January 14th will be my 1 year anniversary with WW and if I lose 22 more pounds in 2006 I’ll be a happy camper.

One of the things Maggie said on Friday that stuck with me is she prefers to call it practicing skills instead of dieting. I liked that way of thinking. I’m starting to get the whole idea of life is just a bunch of decisions to be made — one after another. This idea of dieting is really, truly not about the food. It is about making healthful choices, listening to yourself and defining your goals. The food is just along for the ride. Writing down food journals, weighing and measuring, checking in with our hunger meter are all skill sets. We have to practice them over and over until we internalize them. I’m starting to understand it and it makes difference when I walk into the kitchen and instead of saying “NO YOU CAN’T HAVE THAT” saying “okay, what are you hungry for? What are my choices?” All the time, “what are my choices?”

Friday afternoon I worked out with Vanessa and I was just terrible. I was weak and tired and exhausted — and I hadn’t done anything since Tuesday night (when I had been tired and weak). I said to her, “gee maybe I need a vitamin or something.” DUH!!! I went swimming afterwards and lasted for 1/2 hour and then came home — exhausted. Around 6 p.m. it finally dawned on me — IRON!! I opened my medicine cabinet and saw the 14 boxes of Ferra Sequel Tabs (One box for every time this happens and I am away from home and have to buy another box). I popped a pill and passed out around 8 p.m. (that’s early to bed even for me!!!)

I woke up at 5 a.m. which is a lot of sleep for me and I was still feeling pretty bad. I was tired and groggy and felt like I was in a coma. There was no way I could go work out. I had a big argument with myself. Go. Don’t go. Go, you are mentor captain. Don’t go, you are human too. Go, you’ll feel better. Don’t go, you are supposed to rest when you feel tired. Go, damn it, you are lazy and you haven’t exercised since Tuesday and the other half-ironman members are already way past you in fitness you can’t afford to miss another workout. I went.

I popped another iron pill, had breakfast and walked the mile and a half to practice. Moving made me feel better. From 72nd and Riverside we ran to 100th and Riverside park where there is a nice little trail with hills. We did three ten minute out and backs with one minute recovery in between. We were supposed to go a little farther each time. I went a little shorter each time. I got progressively more and more exhausted. I was pushing myself as hard as I could but I was slow. Really slow, even slow for me slow. There was no blood in my veins. I couldn’t have stopped at any second, laid down and fallen asleep in the leaves in a flash. Coach Ken gave me an ‘atta girl for attacking the hills’ and in my mind I thought “man as soon as you are out of sight I am heading home.”

I finished my 3 out and backs and knew everyone else was probably doing the 4 option and I figured I would just run all the way home and be done with it. I started running back and then next thing I know I start seeing the other team members passing me on their way back to base and I realized “crap, none of them did 4 out and backs so now the coaches are going to be on my arse any second.” I did the best I could to try to pick up my pace but my legs were just lumps and there was no blood in my veins and I was miserable. “Just get up that hill into Riverside park and then it is all flat, all downhill and flat.” So I start to run up that hill and smack dab in the middle of the hill Coach Paul and Coach Jay come up alongside me “how’s it going?” Coach Paul is running and Coach Jay is riding along on his bike. Just shoot me, I thought. “Fine, slow but sure, slow but sure. Don’t feel like you have to stay back with me.” “No, no, we’re fine” they both say and if I didn’t want to be shot before I really wanted to be shot now, they were going to run the last mile back to base with me. Oh God, Oh God just put me out of my misery.

Soon Coach Jay takes off — and now I’m left with Coach Paul who I don’t even know. “Really, really” I say, “please go ahead; you don’t have to run with me.” “No problem” he says “we’re almost there.” ALMOST THERE? What is he crazy we have at least a half a mile and I.. CAN’T.. RUN.. A.. HALF.. MILE.. WITH.. YOU!!! I’m so tired and all I want to do is throw myself over the railing into the Hudson and swim home. If someone could have given me a syringe with heroine in it, I swear I would have taken it. My idea of a nightmare is having to run with a coach — never mind when I am running slower than slow and never for a half a mile. Just shoot me, PLEASE!

I do my best to make chit chat and, somehow, I make it back to base camp. I had planned to run home but now I knew I couldn’t. My coma was coming on full force and if I make it home walking I’ll be lucky. So I said my goodbyes, happy new years and started walking home. I don’t think I’ve ever walked slower in my life. I started to feel dizzy. I saw a bench and thought I should sit down but then I thought no — keep moving. It’s only 35 degrees out. If you sit down, you’ll fall asleep and you’ll be found dead — frozen like statue in the park. So I kept moving. My Achilles tendon started to hurt (an injury from 2 weeks ago), great, so now I’m limping and barely walking and feeling dizzy and I’m still a mile from home. I keep walking. Then all of a sudden there’s coach Jay riding next to me on his bike. He’s always so nice and encouraging to me, but even for him I was not going to start running. All he was going to get out of me was polite conversation as I limped home.

We started talking about training and cycling and running and soon we got onto the entire 90 rpm thing. I told him about my previous weekend ride with Peter and how even though I was doing the 90 rpm I felt I was going too slow. We talked for awhile about it and one of the things that I was left with is he said “the 90 rpm is not a natural cadence for your legs — you have to train your feet and legs to do that cadence. It is a skill set.” Little light bulbs started flashing (not because I had any realization — because I was dizzy and starting to go into a coma) Despite my blood-sapping anemia, I did vaguely recall what Maggie had said on Friday about practicing skills. Just keep practicing these skills and one day you wake up and you’ve mastered them. Food, running, cycling — all the same thing. Just keep practicing and then one day you’ll find yourself out there in a race and your legs will know what to do. Don’t worry about speed right now. Don’t worry about weight loss right now. Worry about practicing the skill set. Fake it until you make it.

Coach Jay rode/walked me all the way home. I thought he was just being an uber coach and giving me all kinds of advice. Sitting here today I realize he probably noticed that I wasn’t feeling that well and wanted to make sure I didn’t pass out on the way home. The other thing I liked about him is when I told him my secret dream to do ironman in 2007 — he didn’t roll his eyes or say something like “well you better lose a lot of weight before that happens” he just kept talking about the mathematics of the training. That the counting will help me later on when I’m doing the ironman — when I am fighting those little demons on my shoulder. I got home, changed and fell back into bed. Even lying there I couldn’t believe that I had pulled myself out of bed, ran for over an hour and a half including hills and made it there and back on top of it. I made it home alive in one piece and with some real lessons learned. I reveled in my recognition of the parallels of my life lessons — practicing skill sets. In what other areas of my life can use this concept? A multitude of options flooded back to me as I rested my head and went into a long, anemic coma for the afternoon.

For me there is some satisfaction ending the year on a note of learning. This is what it is about — finding the pieces of the puzzle, putting them together and seeing that there is symmetry, mirroring, interconnectivity in all aspects of our lives. I also liked the idea of ending 2005 with a great nap.

Namaste and here’s to taking vitamins in 2006

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee

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12/30/2005 The What the Hell Effect

Friday — eek it’s been a week and I haven’t updated the blog. Christmas came in a flurry and although I was up 1.8 pounds last week at weigh in — I think I managed to stay the same during this caloricaly charged week (which in my book is like losing!)

Highlights of the week included taking Tina out for her first spin last Saturday. At first I was very nervous — suddenly fearful of riding her in the streets, clipping in and out, shifting at the end of the aero bars. After about ten minutes everything was cool and I managed to get to the park. Nobody was there riding so I went around the loop once. I was pooped until I realized that was only 6 miles!!! Rut ro — more work to do. Then I ran into my friend Peter (who is a much better cyclist than I am) and he decided to adopt me for the morning workout. Oh boy, I was in trouble. We ended up doing 3 loops with extra north hills in between. Peter went on to do 2 more lower loops to cool down but I was too pooped to loop. It was a good workout though. He really pushed me — another testimony to working out with someone.

I headed up to CT on Saturday afternoon and started the family festivities. It was fairly low-key and quiet so that was nice. Felt the food was manageable — I brought most of it so we had a lot of nice healthy food. Then I was introduced to the CRATES of Christmas Cookies that various friends (and I use that term loosely) had brought by to my parents. I couldn’t believe it. You name the kind of cookie and there it was waiting for the unconscious eating to begin. Ironically I had a little self control and I’m giving credit to one little blurb I read on Oprah’s website. The article is called “Seven Thoughts that can Think Yourself Thin.” This is the first one:

Old loop: I ordered the grilled cheese, so why not get the fries, too?

Switch to… One treat at a time. I’m indulging in grilled cheese, so I’ll trade the fries for a salad.

Here’s How: “The thought pattern is, I’ve already blown it for today, so I might as well keep going,” says Janet Polivy, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto. She calls it the “what the hell” effect and says it causes people to devour so much food that they feel they’ll never get back on track. To prevent this scenario from playing over and over, Polivy says, you have to redefine your idea of healthy eating. Allow yourself the occasional treat, as long as it’s accompanied by smarter food choices like fresh fruit and vegetables. At roughly 500 calories, one melted cheddar on rye a week should hardly make you fat. Habitually tacking on a large order of fries, however, might.

Nothing new, nothing that we all don’t know, but something about reading that passage last week really hit me. As I was driving up to CT I needed to stop to get something to eat (I had let my cupboards go totally bare in anticipation of my weekend in the burbs). I was going to go into the deli and get a panini (which makes the WW points calculator blow up every time I try to enter the ingredients.) Adding insulin to injury, every time I get the panini they automatically put chips in the plastic take-out container. They pull the chips out of a two-ton chip container and plop a HUGE handful next to the sandwich. It comes out to be much more than if you were to buy one of those little bag of chips. They make you feel like you are getting an extra something for your money — yeah, hardening of the arteries.

Anyway, as I walked into the deli — that article from Oprah popped into my head. “Okay,” I thought, “get the panini, but skip the chips, you can do that!” For whatever reason the choice became so obviously easy to me. Luckily, when I walked in the guy behind the deli counter was not the usual clean guy but some gross looking guy and I was not buying a sandwich or anything else from him. I bought a small bag of pretzels, a luna bar and the biggest bottle of Fiji water (my fave) that they had. I felt so smart leaving that deli — like I had just done something so clever and conniving — yes conniving — I had tricked myself into getting something a lot better for myself (Not the best — notice I didn’t grab and apple or an orange or a fat-free yogurt) but I just saved myself 2,000 calories by not ordering the panini and chips. I broke the travel-to-CT-and-grab-a-panini spell. I broke the my-cupboards-are-bare-so-get- whatever-you-want-at-the-deli spell. These are all variations on the “What the Hell” effect as described in the O article.

I continued to use that strategy all weekend. I was having wine so I said to myself — you can have wine or cookies, but not both. I chose the wine and I actually said to my mother I am going upstairs — please hide the cookies so I won’t be tempted when I come back down. (She put them in the freezer, like that was going to hide them from me, please!!) But once I made my choice — I felt free. I wasn’t depriving myself at all. I was choosing which indulgence I wanted. The old me would have had cookies and wine. It is a very subtle shift in thinking, but it is the subtle shifts that make the changes.

My niece was taken ill on Christmas Day and had to have surgery (she is 100% okay, thanks) so we delayed our present exchange for one day. I almost had a heart attack when I opened one of my presents and it was a box of chocolates. Not a little box either a big, heavy, pound box of chocolates. I didn’t even look at them. That was just so caloricaly egregious that it was unfathomable to me that such a box even existed in the world — never mind existed in my hands. (The humorous part is I was also given a gorgeous running suit to go with the chocolates!) I gave the box to my mother and said “my donation to your book club meeting.” Once you open a box of chocolates like that you’ve crossed the dieter’s version of the river Styx well on your way to the “what the hell effect.” So I was proud of myself for resisting that temptation.

Don’t get me wrong, I consumed a lot of poor calorie choices over the weekend — mostly in wine. But, overall, it could have been much, much worse. For that I’m grateful. I didn’t exercise a bit up there which is too bad — it was raining and the wind was so rough we could feel the entire house sway (that was scary). (Excuses, excuses).

I returned on Monday too tired to get a workout in. I noticed that it is getting harder and harder for me to rebound from a weekend of drinking. Tuesday night I did about 1 hour 15 minute run with the group and I felt the sluggishness. Wednesday nothing, yesterday nothing. I was just too tired. I don’t know why I was too tired (lazy, whatever) but I decided to NOT beat myself up about it. I decided to just let it be. I’ve been reading James Frey book “A Million Little Pieces” and have been finding that to be a most fascinating read (another Oprah recommendation.) I love the fact that he finds comfort in the Tao. Frey sums up the first tenants beautifully:

“Live and let live.
Do not judge.
Take it as it comes.
Deal with it.
Everything will be okay.”

What the Hell.


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12/22/05 Sunrise, Sunset

Thursday. Sunrise. Thanksgiving. I’m happy for a lot of things right now. Things are going well for my family after a long year of struggles (thank you God), my friends are all doing well and everyone is in the holiday spirit, yesterday I was not feeling too well after eating so much on Tuesday but today I woke up feeling strangely GREAT! And of course, I am thankful for my new bike Tina who came home with me yesterday and tomorrow it is going to be warm enough to ride so woo hoo — I’m taking her out to the park and we are going to ride, ride, ride.

Tuesday night I did a little running test and I’m embarrassed to say it worked. One of the gals on the half ironman team is a very good runner (she did the marathon with me in approximately 1/2 the time it took me.) I was complaining to her last Tuesday night after the run that I felt so slow — even slower than my slow and I was very disappointed in my run. Yes it was freezing cold, but everybody was doing okay — it seemed to be just me. So my friend said “were you hydrated?” I said “I think so.” She said, “if you’re not sure, then you weren’t, try extra hydration next time.” I pooh-poohed it and mumbled something about having sixteen cups of coffee and was plenty hydrated. (yeah, yeah, I know coffee is a diuretic — I don’t want the 500 emails telling me that…..)

So Tuesday night at about 4 p.m. I drank 64 ounces of water with Amino Vital. (I started at 4 p.m. because that’s when I remembered….) After going to the bathroom about 6 times before practice started at 6:30 (thank God for EMS sports for letting me use their bathroom) I set out to run in Central Park.

The strangest thing happened — I felt good. I felt like I could run and run and run. Unfortunately I didn’t feel like I could run fast enough to keep up with the 1/2 ironman team. When I found out most of them were only doing two loops of the reservoir I chickened out and did only 1 with some extra time spent going back and picking up some of the slower newbies. FINALLY, after seventeen hundred season with TNT I am not the absolute slowest runner out there! I am by far the slowest 1/2 ironman trainee out there, but not the slowest of the Olympic distance trainees. (That’ll change I’m sure but for now I am enjoying helping other people.)

So today I have a doctor’s appt and since it is too chilly to ride even though she is right next to the park, afterwards I’m going to do the 6 mile workout from Tuesday night and try to time myself as well as use the heart rate monitor.

Later the same day…. Sunset
Bad news received later today. A fellow TNT alum was in a terrible bike accident — literally crushed by a bus making a turn on 3rd. Broke both femurs and his pelvic bone. He’s in ICU. He had one surgery this morning — will have another this evening. We are all standing by waiting, hopeful, fearful. Praying that he will recover. Praying he’ll be okay.

He is one of our strongest. Heck, he is our strongest. I have faith in him. I’m mad at the stupid bus driver who couldn’t wait one second. Had to cut him off. Had to get somewhere one second faster. Who knows? Maybe he didn’t see him? Maybe my friend was riding in the blind spot? I guess that doesn’t really matter — the details of what happened don’t change the outcome. Two weeks ago we had a reunion and were drinking beers together in his bar talking about the ironman — talking about the events to come. Now he’s in the hospital fighting for his life.

I hate the fact in times of trouble my Catholic comes out. I can’t help it. My instinct is to pray and St. Augustine’s prayer for the sick is all I can think of.

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.

Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones.
Bless your dying ones.
Soothe your suffering ones.
Pity your afflicted ones.
Shield your joyous ones.
And for all your love’s sake. Amen.

Saint Augustine

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12/20/05 The Cookie Monster

Tuesday. Titanium day!!

After looking around a lot and getting a lot of advice from a lot of people, I ended up back at Toga on Saturday and forged a new bond with Will the bike guy. On Saturday we had a pre-chat and after an hour about talking about bikes we were leaning toward a custom bike (hence my blog entry about the pink Guru). We scheduled an appointment for a proper bike fitting (which we did yesterday). I have to say he really got into the process with me and was more than thorough. We talked a lot about what I want to do – he measured me upside and down. We spent 2 hours on the serrato bike fit machine trying a bunch of different variations. He examined my pedal strokes which he thought were good (thank God). We tried aggressive tri position, we went back to road bike position and then decided on somewhere in between. I need the help on the hills so I’m not ready to go into aggressive full forward so that kind of moved us back toward this bike. Although it is a tri-bike its geometry leans a little more toward the road bike and will be a little more forgiving right now on the hills. But, as I get fitter, stronger and more aggressive I can modify it to a more aggressive fit. It is made of Titanium so it should last for a long, long time – since this is my big investment purchase that is a good thing.

I have to say I was very nervous about making this purchase but after a lot of nods of okay from all the bike gurus I know, I feel better. Originally we were going to go custom but this ended up being everything I wanted (except it’s not pink) and seemed to fit me really well. Since it is the 2005 model I saved a large amount of money on it and was able to get a lot of extras to go with it (new shoes, pedals, computer, tool kit and supplies, etc.). It has ultegra gears, real design wheels (which are fine for me for right now.) I made one minor change (compact crankset because I’m an old lady and need the assist) and they have to do a few things to customize it for me (put on smaller handlebars and aerobars, add height to the stem). So Wednesday I go back for the final fitting and then she is mine to ride!!! Sylvia will retire to Connecticut and become my bike for when I am up there. My new bike’s name will be Tina – as in the superstar Titanium Tina Turner……

I did well yesterday on watching my food, drinking my water (was well hydrated). I went out to dinner with my bookclub and felt I made some good choices — included two glasses of red wine. Then one of our members who is an EXCELLENT cook, whipped out little bags of homemade cookies that she had made for each of us. I wish I could describe the horror I felt when I saw them. Let me cut to the chase — it is less than 12 hours since she handed out the bags of cookies and mine are all gone. I can’t say I’m pathetic ’cause I just yelled at my friend the other day for calling herself pathetic!!

I knew it was trouble bringing those cookies into my house. I feel like the guy on the tv show Lost who finally kicks his heroin habit because he is trapped on an remote island somewhere in the pacific. One day he finds a crashed plane full of smuggled drugs that had crashed — all heroin. There is will power and then there is will power. There was no way that I could bring that little bag of cookies into my house without eating them. It really wasn’t that little of a bag — about 8 cookies, a small cupcake (delish) and 4 Hershey kisses. I ate six cookies last night and the rest of the bag this morning. Argghhhh. The cookie monster had arrived!!

It would have been a no brainer for me to just give the cookies to the doorman on my way into the building. But nooo, I was harboring my goody bag like a secret heroin stash. I was actually thinking as I went into the building — ooh wouldn’t that be nice with a nice glass of cab? (I had already had two glasses with dinner). That put a little halt in my step. I immediately saw that as a huge danger sign. NO! I said to myself you will NOT open a bottle of wine. (Thank God I didn’t have any wine in the house because who knows what I could have talked myself into.) I was in a true addict’s sugar rush. Just the thought of the cookies made me want more sugar. I hadn’t even opened the bag and I was thinking of ways to get more sugar into me. This was serious.

So now the cookies are gone and so is my fever for more. The life of an addict is never easy. I need to counteract the sugar with lots of protein and veggies today. Plus a little 6 mile run on our practice schedule won’t hurt.

Well you know what they say, a balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.

Little known Fact: Before trying cookies for the first time, Cookie Monster’s name was was Sid.


“C is for cookie, it’s good enough for me; oh cookie cookie cookie starts with C.”
Cookie Monster

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12/19/05 "God Bless Us Every One!"

Monday. Good Monday everyone!! Well here we are, right in the thick of it. We are in Christmas week. It doesn’t get more, hmmm, what’s the word I’m looking for? Fattening, yes, that’s it, fattening. It doesn’t get more fattening than this week. An old friend of mine emailed me yesterday saying she was giving up for the holidays and would get back on track in January. “NOOOO, I yelled.” That is the worst thing you can do. Like running, it is easier to pick up speed from a jog than from a walk. Maybe you can slow down, but you can’t stop! Next thing you know you’ll be all the way back at the start line.

The average American gains between 5-10 pounds over the holidays. If you manage to keep your weight the same, that’s like losing 5-10 pounds!!!

It’s hard all year to lose weight. Christmas time is just one big cake with triple thick frosting on it. Nobody skimps over the holidays. It is the time to pull out the real butter, the full fat cheese, the heavy cream, Yorkshire pudding and double chocolate fudge. If you just let yourself dive full face into all of that you will eat more than you really want and certainly gain more than you want. We must approach with caution. Enjoy, knowing that we are going to have to work it off, but keep track of what the indulgences are.

I lost 1.4 pounds last week and that included 2 nights out of drinking beer (yes Missy with 1 shot of tequila thanks for keeping track!) and I ate a disgusting grilled cheese sandwich and French fries. But the rest of the week I was really trying to stay somewhere near plan and I was exercising a lot. It’s not about saying “no cheese.” It’s about saying a little cheese and a 3 mile run before dinner. (Who are we kidding; make it 5 and have a half a piece of pie.)

I let myself “go” in Napa and I’ve been regretting it every since. It is so easy to put on and so hard to take off. I have yet to take off all the weight I gained in one little week of over indulging (okay, okay it was more like 3 weeks but…) My wine and cheese fest lasted 5 days and then I continued with my celebrations after the marathon. Now here I am a month later, struggling to take it off. It doesn’t really seem worth it now. I could have done half the amount and still felt satisfied.

Two weeks sounds like not a big deal, but let me tell you I can put on 10-15 pounds in two weeks — easily. All I have to do is start sitting on the couch, have a few extra treats here and there and voila — my pants don’t fit. I get mad at myself and take revenge on myself by eating cheesecake (yeah, that’s telling me!) That’s not the direction in which I want to be going. I want to be lighter, fitter, faster, and stronger in 2006. I have a bunch of whipper snappers that are in great shape already with whom I am doing the 1/2 ironman. I can’t afford to get further behind (or a bigger behind for that matter).

In WW they ask us what our goals are through the holiday season, lose weight, stay the same or allow ourselves to gain? Any answer is acceptable. If you choose to allow yourself to gain though, you must say what is the limit? 1 pound? 2 pounds? 10 pounds? That’s fine if that is something you are willing to deal with. The idea is, go ahead and indulge, but on your own terms. Do do it mindlessly or you will exceed your estimate. There is a big difference waking up on January 2nd and saying “okay I gained two pounds and that is exactly what I was allowing myself — time to hunker down” vs. “I can’t believe I gained 10 pounds, what’s wrong with me?!??!?! I’m hopeless..”

Most of the people in WW said they would be happy if they stayed the same or gained 2 pounds over the holidays. I was one of the few that said I want to lose. I HAVE to lose. What am I going to do every year? Say my holiday eating start in October with the Nike marathon and stops in January? That’s one quarter of the year I’ve blown….

Of course I am not saying this is easy. It’s the hardest thing in the world to do, but I have to keep my big goals in mind. I want a smaller butt and thighs in 2006 — less weight to carry with me on my run and bike. I want a stronger core to get me through the race. I want to improve my overall health. So how am I going to do that? Here are the things I am committed to do through the holidays.

1) Eat regular meals. I will not be doing any starving myself in anticipation of the big feast. That was my saving grace at Thanksgiving — I didn’t show up hungry so I was able to control myself a little more. Christmas dinner will be just one more meal — no need to overeat.

2) More water than usual. I notice that even though it is winter I am more dehydrated than usual — I haven’t been drinking as much water. Just because it is cold doesn’t mean I’m not sweating when I’m working out and not having the moisture sucked out of me by artificial heat. Two, 32 oz containers of water as my base — extra water according to work out schedule.

3) Maintain my workouts through the holidays. Big challenge without group training sessions, but I am going to do it. Most likely running because that just seems the easiest to do — get down to the gym and run for an hour. Then core, core, core. I must be able to do better and more pushups come the New Year. I will not be embarrassed by my lack of ability to do these things. I am able to do a couple of real pushups now, but it is nowhere near enough. I’m supposed to be able to do 30 seconds of plank and go right into 1 minute of pushups and then back down to plank without pausing or putting my knees on the ground. Yeah, right….. I got the 30 seconds of plank down and that’s taken me almost a year to be able to do!!!!!!!

4) Here’s my big fancy trick. I’m going to buy fancy food for the holidays. Our family will be doing some major celebrating this holiday so I want to put out the silver and crystal and buy less food but more memorable food. So my present to my family is caviar and champagne, jumbo shrimp, maybe even some escargot. I won’t put out as much food, but everything that is put out will be something we want to savor (or at least I will want to savor, lol). I’m not buying presents for any adults as I believe we all have too much stuff anyway. My gift will be preparing some delicacies and having everyone over to enjoy them.

5) Wherever possible and whenever possible, make a conscious choice. I am probably going to have some delicious cheese this holiday, but I am going to make the choice of where, when and how much. I am going to do my best to not do idle snacking (I said do my best, I’m not perfect!). The little concessions allow me to have some little indiscretions. I will probably have some decedent chocolate dessert too, but I’m going to pick and choose and only have what I really, really want.

That’s it. Those are my 5 — I-will-commit-to-doing steps to fend off holiday weight gain. I want to be in the holiday spirit, I want to enjoy my family and friends, and I want to be IN the thick of it, not BE the thick of it.

Happy Holidays everyone


“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.”Scrooge

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12/17/05 It’s Pink and it’s a G…….

It’s Pink and it’s a G…..Guru! Yep, Guru bike that is. That’s what my new baby will be. That’s all I know about it so far because it is being custom built for me. On the way home from practice I had to stop and get a part for my bike so I stopped at Toga (where I had bought my first bike). I had not planned on going to Toga to buy my bike because although they have always been super nice in there, they are always sooo crowded. Well today I went in and it was just a few people shopping and I got hold of this guy Mike and we started talking tri-bikes. I started to tell him my requirements and soon we found ourselves testing out a couple of LiteSpeeds. We kept talking and then we started to make a list of the things we decided would be best for me. Some mothers dream of their babies having a certain color hair or eyes, ten little figers and ten little toes, and of course they don’t really care if it is a boy or girl but might have being leaning toward a slight preference one way or another. Similarly, I dream of Titanium with carbon fibers, 18 little ultegra gears and a compressed chaindrive. In my heart I won’t really care if it is a road bike or a modified tri bike, but secretly I hope it turns out to be a tri!

Then Will, the uber bike guy, jumped in and he put the Litespeed up on the trainer and we started to take a look at how it fit. He made a few adjustments and we kept talking. We decided that the LiteSpeed would be a good bike (and it was on sale) but if I wanted the perfect bike we should go custom. Since we were talking ultimately about the difference of about $500 I decided to go custom. Custom meant we would be going Guru which had been at the top of my list for bikes anyway (and had been recommend at another bike shop that I had visited).

So the next step is to get a custom bike fitting done and we’ll be doing that on Monday. He’ll take a zillion measurements and put me on the custom bike fitting bike that they move all the parts around until they have found the perfect frame for me. THEN, we are going to decide if I am going with a tri specific bike or a modified road bike. Will said that after he sees me ride for a bit he is going to be able to make some better recommendations. He might also consider a different brand from Guru, but I’ll confess that once I saw I could get a pink bike — I new it was meant to be a Guru. It will take about six weeks for the bike to come in after we custom design it and order it.

I’ve been doing a lot of talking to people about my bike requirements and getting a lot of conflicting info. I know Will has a very good reputation and I like him a lot. So I made the executive decision to go with him and that’s what I am going to do. We have an appointment for Monday and it will take several hours to complete the bike fit. It is cheaper than the other places that were charging $350 to do the fit — it will cost me nothing if I buy the bike through them, $165 if I don’t buy the bike through them. I think worth it. One of my coaches told me if I don’t have any problems with my current bike (i.e., knee or back pain) than I shouldn’t worry too, too much about how fancy of a bike fit I get — the standard fit would be fine. I think agree.

So finally on the way to getting my new bike. We may not have the weather to ride for awhile, but when we do, I’ll be ready.

Yesterday I went to my WW meeting — was down 1.4 pounds which is good. I am still up 9 lbs overall so I have some major chiseling to do. Adding on weight seems as simple as throwing a slab of clay on a wheel. Taking it off is like doing a sculpture — little bit at a time — tedious and painstaking. All this investment in a new bike will mean very little if I don’t get that extra spare tire off me.

Had a workout with Vanessa yesterday. I really thought my core was getting stronger until I tried to keep up with the 1/2 ironman team today after practice. I couldn’t hold the plank position as long as the rest of the people and my pushups were pathetic to say the least. Much, much more work to do there. I may have to up my core to every day instead of just 2 times a week. But, on the bright side Coach Ken reminded me that in the gym I do not have my hands and elbows resting in gravel and I have nice cushy mats and I don’t have to do my core after running for an hour (half hour back into the wind which I thought was hard). At least I was able to get up into the side plank which last year I wasn’t able to do. At least I can run for an hour without thinking it is very much (could have done 2). So although there is improvement there is still lots and lots of work to do… Must get lighter. Must get lighter to get faster. Same old song.


“The older you get the stronger the wind gets – and it’s always in your face.”
Pablo Picasso

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12/16/05 Any minute now….

Friday. Today I have WW meeting, workout with Vanessa and then swim drills. I feel terribly guilty because I missed working out yesterday. I had great intentions — spent all day looking for that stupid little gizmo to put my bike on the trainer. Never found it, but found lots of other little lost bits and pieces throughout the day. Next thing I knew afternoon had hit, work was piling high and I just ran out of time. So like my writing, left to my own devices workouts must happen first thing in the morning or they just won’t happen.

Left to my own devices — geesh, that’s a scary thought. Left to my own devices I’d be watching TV and eating bon bons for breakfast. (Hmm, where would one actually buy bon bons?) I am one of those people that respond well to deadlines. The closer the deadline gets, the better I do. The blood starts pumping and I start thinking more clearly. Same thing with working out — if I have to be somewhere to meet someone, I do it. If there is a race, I show up and do the work. I don’t stop until the finish line. If I was out doing the same workout on my own, I’m likely to convince myself that it is okay to stop.

By getting my workouts and writing done first thing in the morning I trick myself. I get it done before I allow the window of procrastination to open. Roll out of bed, run five miles. By the time you are finished running you are just about to wake up and didn’t even notice. Put on the coffee and start writing before your mind gets cluttered with the dreaded to-do list. Phone calls, reports to write, bills to pay — once those settle in, the guilt of not getting those tasks done outweighs the guilt of not working out. And we all know from Tony Robbins that we will choose to do whatever causes us less pain.

I procrastinate a lot. I’ll look around my apartment and think, you should do this, this and this. Then I think “ugh, that will take six hours” and find something else that seems less overwhelming to fill my time — like doing the all important Soduku puzzle! Yet if someone is coming over — whoosh, I get everything done in twenty minutes. (Maybe I should just schedule someone to come over every morning!) I grew up that way — lots of last minute details. My Mom and I laugh all the time about how if anyone ever came over the hour before a party was to start they would be shocked at the disarray. (We threw a lot of parties while I was growing up.) But that last hour the amount of work that gets done in a flurry is amazing. I can wash the floor, set the table, shower, dress, full makeup in under 45 minutes. It’s a talent. Meanwhile it took me an entire hour to pick out the centerpiece earlier in the day. Go figure.

A therapist once told me that it is not actually procrastination — it is process. You are thinking about what you are going to do — once you decide to do it you execute it quickly. Hmm…. isn’t that the definition of procrastination? Putting off doing something? We can argue the semantics later. But regardless of whether it is procrastination or process I have a few tips that I use to get things done.

First is to get it done right away. The more time I spend putting together my list of to-dos, the less gets done. The more I allow myself to think about it, the more other really pressing things like cleaning out the toaster “pop” up. The important stuff will happen anyway. If a client is screaming for a report, that will happen without me having to “prioritize” it. So I don’t even put that on a list. I know it already and I’m going to do it at the last minute anyway. But for something like working out, balancing the check book, doing the dishes — things that are not mission critical but they are important and routine tasks — get them done while you are still sleeping.

Second is to pick only 3 things a day to be on your to-do list. A boss once said this to me. “First thing you do when you sit down to your desk is pick 3 things that will get done before you close up shop for the end of the day. That way no matter what happens you can always go home knowing you met today’s goals.” I would like to say I do that everyday, but I don’t. I will say when I do set 3 goals and do it, I do feel better.

Third is to make your to-do’s small. I have found that whenever I set my goals small, I exceed them. For example — if I have to reconcile an entire month of bookkeeping — I tell myself that today’s task is to simply locate the bank statement and enter the beginning balance. Tomorrow I will do the next step. Every time I pull out the statement and enter the balance, I end up doing the whole thing. Why? Because it only took me 30 seconds to pull out the statement and enter the balance. Once I got started it was easy. But, say all I ended up doing was pulling out the statement and entering the balance — I was right on target.

In working out this technique of making smaller steps works well too. They told us in one of my running classes that the trick to running every morning is to lay out your clothes the night before and tell yourself that all you have to do is put your clothes on and walk out the door. If you don’t feel like running, turn around and go back to bed. Inevitably, once you are outside the door you say well, as long as I am up……

As I am sitting here writing this I am wishing that there would be a trick like this for not eating. The last two days I ate a lot. It doesn’t bother me that I ate a lot, what bothers me is I noticed I was eating even when I wasn’t necessarily hungry. I would grab a banana simply because I was walking by the banana. If I had been hungry — no problem. So I’m thinking that I might have to try the same procrastination technique but in reverse. Just wait ten minutes, if you still need the banana — go have it. This is a WW tip that I have never really employed very well. Maybe today is the day to try it.

I must say that I am slightly disappointed in myself because I lack the discipline to just plow through a list of to-dos without trickery. But as they say “to think own self be true.” At this point in my life I am probably not going to change very much. I know where I want to go, I know my limitations, and the challenge is to trick myself into believing I don’t have any. So any minute now I’m going to sit down and list my 3 things to put on my to-do list, but first I have to empty the dishwasher. Thus my day begins.


“My mother always told me I wouldn’t amount to anything because I procrastinate. I said ‘Just wait.'” Judy Tenuta

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