Monthly Archives: September 2007

9/30/07 Detention (day 9)

[News update.  My friends Robin and Sue have finished their first Tour de Pink — 220 miles from Hershey, PA to New York City — woo hoo!! Congrats.  Michelle finished her second tour… Nice. Way to rumble ladies, next year I will be out there with you!]

Sunday.  Had a good weekend.  Ended up finishing the month right where I wanted to be — riding, running and in focus.  Only things I can’t do yet are swim and play tennis (okay I can’t play the violin but I couldn’t do that before Placid either!! lol)  Not too bad of a status considering where mid summer left me.

Friday I didn’t get to go to my WW which was okay and I didn’t get to exercise so I’m just calling that my day off for the week.  I felt I was in control the entire week — journaling and even though a little over on my points, not enough for a gain (or a loss).  I exercised every day except for Friday and overall my mood was good.  Not bad for a birthday week!  I didn’t have to go to my meeting to stay focused which in itself is an accomplishment.

Day 8 of the Beck’s Diet Solution (BDS) was to set up my schedule of exactly when I’m going to do what and when (preparing and eating my food and exercising).  Following a pre-determined schedule takes some of the negotiating power out of any decisions to be made.  When will I shop?  When will I cook?  When will I hire someone to do my shopping and cooking?  lol.   The latter is looking like the best alternative for me because although I can commit to train for an Ironman for 10 months I honestly can’t say that I can commit to shopping and cooking for 10 months —  I’m more the throw-a-dinner-party type of cook, not the every-meal, every-day type of cook.  Know yourself — maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.  But I do think the Beck’s plan is keeping me and my buddies on track.  We all seem to be losing a little at a time (we are all doing Weight Watchers in conjunction with BDS.) 

Day 9 is today which is to set up my exercise schedule.  How convenient that Ironman training officially starts tomorrow and my exercise schedule is all set for me!

Saturday was my first “big” ride.  Alex, Mo, Rob, Sunshine and I rode from the George Washington Bridge to Nyack where we had a stop at the Runcible Spoon for coffee.   I had a lovely ride in the best weather ever.  I felt great — more than great.  I wasn’t zipping up the hills but like playing the violin, I couldn’t zip up the hills before either!  I was little nervous going down a couple of hills but was gaining more confidence with each one.  I don’t know if I will ever be as brave as I once was and I’m not even sure bravery in this situation is that admirable….  New helmets are not cheap….

The ride from ranger’s station back to the bridge is my favorite part of the ride because it is almost all downhill and I can feel like a really great rider without a lot of effort (that’s my big secret cycling strategy!!)  So I thought I was “all that” and merrily pedalling away.  I looked behind me and saw that everyone must have paused to regroup because I didn’t see anyone for as far as I could see.  I was going to stop but I couldn’t help pedalling.  I was enjoying myself so I thought I would just pedal until the next light and wait for everyone there….  Next thing I know Rob is right behind me crushing my ego — guess I wasn’t riding that fast, he came out of nowhere and caught me.  Oh well, guess I have some work to do….  LOL, it’s all relative, one person’s speed work is another person’s recovery ride…..

It was fun to reminisce with everyone about our season — we had lots of good times and I’ll miss training with my old teammates but I’m sure we’ll cross paths again.  When I finished the ride one of my other teammates was riding out and she jokingly signalled for me to come and follow her and do it again.  I was very close to turning around and doing just that!! lol, I felt that good.  I had to remind myself that I have a long season ahead of me and I will be riding plenty soon enough.   Just be happy I had a good ride — end on a positive note.  I think it was 35 miles and we took our time so that was fine.  My goal was to ride to Nyack and back before training started and I did that.  Whew.

My other pre-season goal was to run from Tavern on the Green to the reservoir, do TWO loops (not one) and back down.  This is only 5.5 miles which is less than the shortest run we did all season, but for me I felt this was a benchmark — get through that without stopping and I can build from there.  I also walk to and from Tavern on the Green so although it is not all cardio — it is time on my feet.

I had slowly been building up to this run over the last month.  When my friends first started walking me — yes, they had to take me for walks! lol  I was so dizzy I couldn’t walk.  Mo, Donna, Charlee or Steph would walk me to the river and I would have to hold onto their shoulders.  We got a little further each time.  Then I started  4/2 minute run/walks then 8/2 run/walks, then to the reservoir and run/walking, then to the reservoir forcing myself to run up little bumps and hills, and now this morning I ran to the reservoir did two loops and back down without stopping (I stopped for 1 minute before the reservoir and after the reservoir for a planned stretch and water).  (My friend/trainer Rhonda was right when she told me it would take at least 3 weeks to feel cardio recovery.)

I felt pretty good running.  My legs were a little more tired than I would have liked (I forgot to stretch when I got home yesterday).   I timed my mile during the second loop without increasing my effort to just see what my pace was and it was a 13 minute mile.  Of course I was hoping to look down at my watch and find that I was magically running 10 minute miles with zero effort — but it is what it is.  At least I know what I’m dealing with.   I wasn’t running terribly hard but I was slacking either.  Had my legs not been so tired, I might have been able to run a 12 but I wasn’t feeling it.  My goal was to have a modicum of endurance — more than speed.  There will be 10 months of “sole-searching” ahead of me to find some speed.

I have been very blessed to have some great teachers in my life.  My tri coach from last summer, Lisa, sent a great email out with a line I loved, she wrote “We all have amazing races where everything falls into place…If you have not had a race where some things have fallen apart..then we might have to say you have not done enough of them just yet.”  I loved that line.  Of course I had to ask why my biggest flop had to happen in my biggest race, but maybe I needed a bigger message?  Okay so now my big flop is behind me and I can move forward…  New season starts tomorrow — clean chalkboard… 

One of my other teachers has been my tennis coach Marlie whose pearls of wisdom I have often quoted in the two plus years I’ve been blogging my Journey to Fitness (am I making any headway at all?)   I often credit Marlie with helping to make some major head adjustments in my tennis “comeback” in 1996.   She reminds me to “don’t think the whole, just piece by piece.” She adds the comment that “In tennis, over and over you can see great players make the same mental error.  The fatigue is mental, not physical and it’s the looking too far ahead that causes it.”  I know this is true.  On Thursday I was going nuts doing 3 loops of the park (18 miles).  On Saturday I popped off 35 with no problem.   The only thing different was my focal point….  Eye on the ball, stay in the moment.  Don’t think about the score or the outcome.

All in all I’m pleased to start October 1st and my second season of Ironman training right where I wanted to be (well almost).  I reflected a little today on the ups and downs I’ve had this summer.  I’d like to say I’m better for it, but the reality is I still wake up once in awhile and ask why? I think about how hard I worked and what didn’t happen for me, and am I really ready to put all that effort in again?  And what if…  Well we won’t go there…. Because that is thinking ahead and that’s not on my schedule…. And thinking ahead causes fatigue….

Of course in the big scheme of things this event is not such a tragedy….  There are a lot worse things that can happen, a lot worse.   And, more importantly, I am kind of proud of myself for pulling myself up out of the dumps and back onto track.  Okay, I didn’t really do it all by myself — I have some pretty amazing friends who basically wrapped ropes around me and dragged me out kicking and screaming (literally) — but regardless of how I got here, I am happy to be back from the darkside, lol.  (Okay, stop the eye rolling….)

I am truly blessed with great teachers all around me.  I learn from all of them each and every day — it does seem that the more I learn, the more I need to learn.  I guess every teacher needs a student and maybe that’s just my role — the student with detention in Ironman studyhall.


When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”


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9/28/07 Fit Happens (Day 7)

Thursday.   Had a great dinner last night at a fancy schmancy restuarant with fancy schmancy seafood and with great friends.  Was quite delish and worth every point.  Discovered a new drink — Sake-tini, oh my goodness they are good.  It was for celebratory purposes and I tracked it so not illegal consumption.  But now the party is over and back to work…ing…out….

Today’s goal was to get my bu..ike into the park and do some loops.  I need my benchmarks to see where I’m at.  Okay, it’s official, I’m not very far along, lol.  I did three loops on Tina (I need the aerobars to take some pressure off my shoulder).  First loop 21 minutes, second loop 22 minutes, third loop 23 minutes and I was working hard!!   I was out of breath the whole time.  It was a little humid but I could just feel my overall lack of conditioning.  I actually didn’t think the loop time was that far off, I don’t recall riding a loop much faster than that, but I also don’t recall huffing and puffing that much either!

I had to do that little negotiation thing with myself again.  I went into the park wanting to do 3 loops, by the 2nd loop I started to think, well two is one more than the last time I was in the park, that’s enough, right?  I tried to think back to when I first started with Trilife and we used to do just 3 loops (at the end we were doing 4).  As hard as I tried, I couldn’t find any justification to not do the 3rd loop.  Suck it up, do the third loop, you’ll feel better… Besides you are riding to Nyack on Saturday you lazy so and so….

On the third loop I came up with another reason to write on my Becks Advantage card (why I want to lose weight), it’s just not as fun to do things run or bike when I feel like this.  Granted, I still had a long way to go in my fitness goals anyway but I could really tell a huge difference between now and 10 weeks ago.  The gradual increase in fitness over 10 months of training was not really that noticeable while I was going through it, but I’ll say right now that I can really appreciate what I was able to do back in July.  I think I’m at least where I was last year when I started, but I am nowhere near what I could do in July….  To be expected I guess.  It was good for me to feel the difference in conditioning — makes me really want to get back into it.  

We got our first month’s training schedule yesterday.  I guess I’m ready to start training because I kept reading everything thinking “great, I can’t wait to do that” or “that sounds fun, what day do I get to do that?”   Who says stuff like that?  “Get to do that?” Those are not words that would come out of my mouth about working out.  OMG, I’ve become brainwashed or worse, I must have been taken over by pod people!!!  So I guess I’m ready…..  Take me to your leader….

Kind of an easy day for me on Becks (day 7).  Today is about getting organized.  I was supposed to rid my kitchen and house of all tempting food.   I really don’t have any so that was not very hard.  I stock a pretty healthy kitchen and I don’t usually buy a lot of junk — my problem is usually the opposite — empty cabinets because I didn’t shop.  That task comes next week in Becks — scheduling time, that’s a problem for me. 

I’ve tracked all of my food for the whole week!!!  I’ve even counted points.  Who is this person? (Pod people I’m telling you!)  I am so impressed with myself I can’t stand to even look in the mirror my reflection is so bright.  I don’t even care if I show a loss this week at WW (because I know I was over points several days), I’m just so thrilled that I’ve been accountable, present and aware of what I’m doing.  I’ve exercised a little every day (nothing extreme), I’ve eaten healthy and nutritious foods and I’ve partied a little too.  To me that’s what it is all about — a well rounded yet reasonable life.  If I maintain that, the weight will come off, the conditioning will reappear, Fit Happens


“Muscles come and go; flab lasts.”
Bill Vaughan
ROFL!  So true!

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9/26/07 Making the Becks of a Bad Situation (Day 6)

Wednesday.  Yesterday I ventured down to the pool.  Got 1/2 hour in.  I definitely can’t swim-swim yet which is strange because I feel fine until I go to try to take a stroke and my arm just refuses to do that turn and drive motion.  It won’t go there yet.  Okay, I’m not going to push it.  Instead I  made up my own little workout: lap each of — kickboard, swimming on my side (up lane one side, down lane other side), sculling with frog kicking, backstroke — repeat until you can’t stand it anymore and go to the jacuzzi.  I got bored after 1/2 hour.  I know I should be doing more with the kickboard, but I have PLENTY of time ahead of me for that.  My only other exercise was a 1 hour walk to my friend’s apartment on the other side of the planet (lower east side).

I’m doing great this week on tracking my food.  I get a ton of kudos points for yesterday.  We had our monthly bookclub meeting.  I knew we were eating Indian food (fantastic when you are trying to watch your caloric intake, not!)  I got the name of the restaurant from my friend, looked up the menu online (, figured out what food I was going to order (Tandoori Shrimp, eggplant side, 1/2 piece of nan, small amt of rice and raita) and 2 glasses of wine.  I saved up enough points to eat it.  I stayed basically on plan.  I have to add 1 small piece of cheese and a cracker and 1 very small piece of chocolate cake and 1 more glass of wine (we were celebratin’).  

Of course that meal totally blows my points right out of the ball park for the day (and probably the week.)   But, if I had not planned what I was going to eat I assure you I would have selected the much more fattening dishes, eaten more than what I had planned and be feeling very mad at myself today.   I’m not mad, I enjoyed what I ate and although it’s a kazillion points, I can actually count them.  They are not unknown, they are quantifiable.  I think sometimes that’s the frustration after big nights out, you don’t even know what the damage is.  There is a feeling of being out of control.  I have often thought after one such evening that “I’m so far off track it doesn’t really matter how much further I go.”  A little planning went a long way to make me feel like I was in control of the situation, not the other way around.

Today I have a similar situation to yesterday, I am going out for another dinner (then that’s it for partying!).  I’m going to do the same thing, horde my points during the day (I made the biggest salad on the planet yesterday and drank V8 juice like it was going out of style), then tonight I’m going to a fancy schmancy restaurant.  But there will be a lot of seafood tonight (that’s much easier to manage than Indian food)  so I’m going to go for those options and plan my meal BEFORE I go.   I may be out of WW points but I’m earning tons of Kudos points for planning, tracking, being mindful and accountable. 

I’m also going to counteract the evenings festivities with a nice little run up on the reservoir.  Today’s goal is to make it up to the reservoir, once around including a TIMED MILE (okay, let’s see what I can do and create a real benchmark for practice that starts NEXT WEEK!!).  Then same ole run back down to Tavern on the Green (no stopping on any freakin’ bump, hill or hiccup — only stop to pick up my friend Mary at the reservoir to do the run).

Day 5 of Becks went okay — it’s hard to eat slowly all the time.  It’s easier when there are other people around because you can concentrate on them and not the food.  This is going to take daily practice — it’s been a long time developing this bad habit, it will take some time to break it.  One tip she gives — if I am having a hard time remembering to put down my fork, set a timer to go off every minute.  When the timer goes off put down fork for 10 seconds.  I get a kick out of all the different uses I get out of my Timex Ironman Sports Watch — it’s not just for timing lap splits, it’s also good for timing laundry, boiling eggs, now mindful eating….  I should start my chrono to start timing how long each meal takes, what a riot!

Today’s assignment (Day 6) for Becks is to assign and meet with my diet coach.  That’s easy because I have my two friends who are doing Becks and Weight Watchers with me — they’ll be my “coaches”.  The goal is to have someone to be accountable to.  I also my WW meeting group, but having one (two) people that every week I have to tell my results will help keep me on track.  The blog helps with that too.  Believe me, I HATE having to report my backslides, but the reality is they happen.  Other assignments for today include reviewing the reasons I want to lose weight, don’t eat standing up, eat slowly.  It a cumulative effort….. 

Next Tuesday starts “official” Ironman training again.  I think I’m ready.  I’m surprised I’m ready, but I’m ready.  I think the mind has an amazing built in timer.  It knows exactly how much time you have and uses it.  We often joke after races that no matter what the distance we always think we are going to die the last mile.  How can that be?  13 miles or 3 miles — they are all painful.  It seems like the body knows how much it can push in the allocated amount of time.  Same thing with my recovery.  It’s like my body knew — okay you get 10 weeks to regroup, go through whatever you have to go through but on Oct. 3rd be ready to rumble.  Strange how that works. 

So overall, feeling optimistic, in control, ready to rumble.  Blessed to have great people in my life.  Blessed to be able to do what I do.  It’s a good day.


Today I turn a very young 48.  I saw this picture and thought of one of my favorite quotes,  “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”  (George Eliot)


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9/25/07 Back to Becksics (Day Five)

Tuesday.  Yesterday I had an okay run in the park.  I say okay because I did the same workout, run from Tavern on the Green to the reservoir, once around the reservoir and back to Tavern on the Green.  Made it up to the reservoir without stopping.  Made it around the reservoir in 19:57 which is better than last week (definitely finished stronger than I started) and then headed back down. 

The back down part is what disappointed me.  I found myself walking up the little hill right before Tavern.  Why did I have to do that?  I couldn’t push for 25 yards to the top of the bump and then finish?  I felt my legs tightening up and my steps getting smaller and smaller and smaller until finally I just said “eh, faster to walk.”  I hate that.  That’s when I should push myself a little harder to keep going.   I’m going to go back on Wednesday and this time I will do a timed mile on the reservoir to get a better idea of what my pace is.  And there will be NO stopping.  Geesh….

 My big kudos to me is awarded for my food journaling.  Not only did I journal my food again yesterday (keeping the streak from last week alive), I tracked the points!!  All of them!!  And I stayed within my points!!  Woo Hoo.  I can’t remember when I did that last.  So that’s 3 kudos points to me.  1 for journaling, 1 for tracking the actual points (calories) and 1 for staying within my daily limit.  I don’t even know how many kudos points to give myself for eating all healthy and nutritious food.  My body must have been freaking out, eating healthy and running?  What is this?  Athletic behavior?  Who is this stranger?

Meanwhile I did have a slip.  I kind of fell of track with the Beck’s Diet Solution.  I got to day 4 and then conveniently “forgot” to keep going.  Nice.   I picked it back up last night and was shocked to see how many things I had set up and just let drop.  Well I’m back on (with the help of some friends) and my goal for the next 6 weeks (minus 4 days) is to write the assignment from the book and whether or not I completed it.  I’ll use the blog to keep honest and maybe share a few insights at the same time.   (Won’t hurt to know there are a few other people following along who might remind me that I didn’t do an assignment.)

Day One I had to do was right up all my reasons for wanting to lose weight and write them on an index card.  It was kind of interesting to see what motivates me.  She lists examples of “buy a new outfit, wear smaller size clothes, feel happier when I look in the mirror.”   Those are nice reasons and sure, I’ll take those byproducts as well but my list of reasons are a little different.   Some include “get up the Bears faster,  finish the bike loop in under 7 hours at placid,  run a 10 minute mile, run a 5 hour marathon,  be able to run down a drop shot and stay in a long baseline corner-to-corner rally.” LOL, these are the things that motivate me.  Be fitter, faster and stronger.  It’s a lot of work.

Day Two I had to commit to a diet plan and have a backup.  The Beck Diet Solution is not actually a diet — it’s cognitive behavior therapy plan.  You pick whatever diet you want to follow and this book helps you work that plan and be successful.  That task was easy — I chose Weight Watchers Flex Plan (counting points).  For my backup plan I chose Weight Watchers Core Plan (no counting points, just eating certain foods to satisfaction.)  I really believe in WW, but I also know I have some behavioral issues to master.

Day Three was also easy for me.  I had to commit to eat everything sitting down.  That’s actually one bad habit I don’t really have.  I usually make my meals and sit down and eat them.  It’s just  what, how much and how often I have to work on. 

Day Four was about building confidence through giving yourself credit for the positive things that you have accomplished.  (That’s where I started to award myself Kudos points throughout the day.)  I am quick to reprimand myself but I am slow to compliment myself.  It’s really psych 101, positive reinforcement.  Tell yourself you are doing well and you do it.  Tell yourself you are screwing up and you’ll do that too.  Goes back to that self-image. 

Day Five is today and a really significant day for me.  Learning to eat slowly.  I have a really bad habit of eating too quickly.  I’ll rush through a meal just to get it done and onto something else.  Why waste time I think?  So today I am to start working on small bites, chewing slowly, putting utensils down between every few bites and counting 10.   I need to eat slowly and mindfully while sitting down — EVERY SINGLE TIME.  This one is going to take some practice….  A lot of practice.

Overall I’m feeling a general building of momentum in my motivation.  I’m strangely looking forward to my little workouts (underline little as my runs are all about 3.5 miles and my bike rides have been rather short as well).  But every day I’m getting about an hour of some kind of exercise.  I was going to bike ride today but I think my body is calling for a swim instead.  I’d like to see where my shoulder is and go down and workout some overall stiffness.  (Cause I’m also talking to my tennis pro about starting to hit some tennis balls soon and I’m getting really excited about that!)  I’m finding that the smaller-sized workouts are just fine. I’m not feeling like I’m “cheating” by not doing more, I feel like I’m preparing, warming up.  I’m feeling a rumble building….


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9/24/07 The Times they are a Changin’

Monday.  Had a nice weekend in CT.  Really starting to see CT lifestyle in a whole new light.  There is a lot activity going on up there, I had no idea.

I felt it was time to get over being distrustful of  Tina (my Litespeed bike) so I packed her up and brought her to CT.  I figured if we crashed again we would at least be near a hospital convenient for my family (just kidding…)  Truth be told I felt a little soreness in my shoulder after riding on Thursday (my acupuncturist had warned me about pushing into the handlebars and he was right) so I thought the aerobars would make it easier on me.

First thing I noticed when I got on Tina was how much lighter and faster she was than Sylvia (my Specialized road bike).  Love Sylvia’s sturdiness but  I have to say she’s a clunker in comparison.  Within minutes I was flying through the back-roads and it felt like old times. 

There is a tiny stretch of road near my house that has a deceiving decline.  It looks like the road is flat but it’s not.  Every time I ride that stretch I’m shocked at how fast I am going “on the flats.”  I was doing 26 mph and thought “woo hoo, look at me, I’m back!!!”  Then I quickly drop to 16, 15, 14 and I every time I ride this section I end up remembering “oh yeah, that’s the decline that doesn’t look like one.”  I immediately decided that I could do the Tour de Pink after all.  I imagined calling them up and seeing if they could make room for me.  220 miles, no problem, bring it on!!  Then I looked down at my odometer to see how far I had gone, 4.6 miles.   Oh.  Maybe 220 would be a stretch ….  I had to laugh at myself.  That reaction sums up my personality in a nutshell, from 4.6 to 220 in under a minute…. 

Once I talked myself down off the multi-day bike tour fantasy, I started to become more aware of my surroundings (and my greatly reduced speed).  I passed all the farms and apple orchards that I am used to riding by but this time there was something different — I passed about 15 people running — all were running solo and I passed them at different times.  They were not running as a group.   Usually I come across maybe one or two runners top.  Later, I met a guy who told me that the Hartford Marathon was coming up and everyone was out training for that. 

Hartford Marathon?  Never even heard of it.  Of course I have to google it and find out about it.   The marathon itself has been going on for 14 years (okay it figures I would never have heard about it because let’s just say that 14 years ago I was not interested in knowing about marathons).  But it looks like a good one to do.   Relatively flat, looks beautiful and it is a month before New York City.  I might do it next year as a warm-up marathon for New York City.  Why not?  Dean Karnazes does 50 marathons in 50 days, surely I can do 2 in 30…..  It’s even a Boston Qualifier so I might get a few fasty-fasts to come up to do it with me one year.

Turns out it is also run by a triathlon association and they do all kinds of marathons and triathlons in my neck of the woods.  Who knew?  They even had a little sprint at Winding Trails, the place where I used to swim, canoe and x-country ski back in the 1870’s.  (I did some x-country skiing there two years ago and it’s still beautiful).  They do triathlons there now?  Dean Karnazes ran the 2006 Hartford Marathon?  Who knew?  They even do 4 and 6 week triathlon training programs.  Really?  All in the area where I grew up?  What has everyone been smoking up there since I left?

My bike ride turned out to be 1 hour. (Yes, I went from 220 miles in my head to 1 hour with an avg of 15 mph and a max speed of 26 mph — that same 26 I hit in the first 5 miles and never saw again!!  ROFL, does this make anyone else laugh?  I think that’s hysterical…)   I had to cut the ride short in order to get to my niece’s Rugby game.  Yep.  Rugby.  College gals play Rugby now. 

I had no idea how tough a sport this game is.  It makes anything I’ve ever done look lame.  I was used to watching my niece play soccer and I’ve played a little field hockey and basketball as a kid — those sports are not even close to how tough Rugby is.  Tennis, Ha!!  Looks like tiddlywinks.  These gals slam into each other like NFL linebackers but they don’t have ANY padding.  No helmets, no shin guards, no shoulder pads.  All they have are mouth guards.  They grab onto their opponents and whip them like rag dolls and pile on top of one another crushing their opponents.  It’s very similar to American Football but they don’t stop as often.  I don’t quite understand all the rules yet but they seem to pass the ball underhanded to one another (no long passes like in Football), but they do kick the ball on occasion.  It’s very much like basketball too in that they pass the ball back and forth to their teammates to get around the opponents. 

I was born on the wrong side of Title IX but I’m thrilled to see young women out on the field getting into the game and showing no fear of getting hit.  That just has to make you tough when you walk off the field.  I think there is no way that these young women are not going to stand up for themselves and demand equal pay and equal opportunities in their lives and careers.  Suddenly my little 1 hour bike ride looked nothing short of lame….

I also managed to cram in a wedding over the weekend and finally met a friend of the family who is an avid cyclist and runner.  I’ll not be cycling or running with him.   He is shooting for 6 minute miles for this year’s marathon but cycling is his first love (when I asked him his average MPH on flat terrain he said about 26 mph…. Never mind….  I won’t be cycling with him).  But told me about some really cool biking routes in our area.  The only problem was he kept describing terribly difficult mountains.   “Yeah, you have to ride all the way up Route 8, it turns off to the left and then you ride  a 13% grade until you hit the really steep climb….  First time I thought I wasn’t going to make it…”  Yeah, he was talking to the wrong person.  I’m thinking the nice flat rails to trails along the river….. Suddenly telling him about Mohonk mountain just didn’t seem tough enough.   

I asked him about his nutrition, when he started talking about his special liquid breakfast and amino this amino that — I said “uh, huh, so no peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hey?”   He said once he started to really watch his food his weight dropped and now he’s even faster. Yeah, Yeah.  I had to ask what his nutrition was on the bike.  “Gu.”  He said.  No sportsbeans?  Cytomax?  Carbopro?  “Nope, just Gu.”   No boiled potatoes, oatmeal cookies or snickers bars?  He paused for a second at that, looked at me quizzically and said “Nope, just Gu.”   Well then, obviously he was not as sophisticated a rider as I thought he was because there is a whole world of usless food to be distracted with on the bike.  Just Gu.  Puhleeease…..  I can spend a whole hour just packing my picnic for a day of cycling.  Just Gu.  Give me a break….   ROFL!

I will say this, however, the Rugby players and the psychocylcist (he’s not psycho, he’s very nice and I’m just jealous) inspired me (yes they inspired me to ACTION!)   I stopped at the grocery store and stocked up on tons of wholesome, nutritious food for my coming week.  I got all farm fresh fruits and veggies and organic stuff I don’t even know how to make yet.  But I have a whole winter’s supply of Organic grains like Barley, Quinoa, Millet, Dal Beans, Bulgar.   I have fat-free yogurts, apples, pears, melons, corn, broccoli, more broccoli and even more broccoli and every lettuce know to the northeast.  Of course once I got everything home I wondered where exactly was the village that I would be feeding. 

I’m feeling energized, very under-trained, lot’s of work to do but ready to get busy.  I feel like I have to do 200 sit-ups this morning just to qualify to visit Connecticut again.  Oh, but the one really cool thing I did this weekend?  On Dry Bridge road the really short but steep, steep, hill near my house on which last year I just huffed and puffed and never got the courage to stand, I did a standing climb up the last 1/4 of it.  It was really hard, but I did it.  (Okay that is still lame next to everything else I saw this weekend but I have to cling to something!!)


So here are a few pics I took of my niece’s Ruby Game.   I’m pretty sure they are the new definition of bada…  I’m not going to mess with them, that’s for sure.

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9/22/07 A Case of Mistaken Identity

Saturday.  Well, what a difference a week makes.  Last Friday I went to my WW ready to tear my hair out in frustration.  This week I walked over calmly and in control, feeling like my old self (well, my new, old-self, not my old, old-self). 

I went for another run Friday morning.  Did 40 minutes on the Westside Highway path.  Kept a very nice pace — ever so slightly above comfort nowhere near the oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-die zone. It was definitely hitting back to my 11:30-12 minute mile.  I set my goal to start working on pushing off my feet (Dr. Donna and I had been discussing the difference between shuffling and pushing off — I decided I had not been rolling off my toes and pushing off and wanted to get back into that habit.)  I also wanted to start working on getting my knees higher but I have to figure out how to go more forward.  Plus I’m trying to incorporate all the Chi-running posture — remember the days when running just meant kicking your feet up and flailing your arms until someone yelled “tag, you’re it!”  I definitely don’t remember being concerned about efficiency and form back then….

Three days of running, two days of quasi-swimming and one very short bike day, coupled with several pilates sessions I think was a perfect “pre-season” workout week.  Just reminding my muscles where they are and who they belong to.  I also liked the fact that my running got better each day I went out.  The improvement makes me look forward to going running again on Monday — I’d like to try to increase the distance just a smidge so the run portion is a total hour. 

Food went okay this week as well.  I had promised to journal all of my food and I did.  I didn’t count the calories or track points, I just wrote down everything I ate.  Although I could have done better, I did notice that it stopped me from making idle trips to the kitchen or absent -mindedly  grabbing a little something when I refilled my coffee.  By the end of the week I had lost 2.1 pounds which made me very happy.  I felt like I was heading back in the right direction — nowhere near final destination but back in the right direction.  What a difference a week makes.

I had a little epiphany at my WW meeting.  We were talking about Identity and how our actions follow our Identity.  Basically it boils down to this, your actions reflect what you believe about yourself.  If you believe you are a scholar, you study.  If you believe you are screw-up, you screw-up.  If you believe you are a fast runner, you run fast.  If you believe you are an over-eater, you overeat.  If you believe you are an athlete you act like an athlete.  I realized that my problem this summer has been a case of mistaken identity.

From the beginning of my journey to complete the ironman I have kept my eye on the prize — the day I wake up and find myself to be the athlete I once was.  To have the confidence to go out and truly believe I was going to win (whatever “win” means for me) if left to my own efforts.  I think month by month I was feeling more confident and the times I made progress it was because I believed in who I was becoming.  Up until Ironman day I didn’t really believe it, but half way through the swim I believed it.  I knew it in my bones that not only was I going to finish, I was going to do better than I had thought I would.  My identity changed right then and there.  It was like being up triple set-point in the third.  I just wanted to close it out and knew I could.  My arms moved faster, my feet moved faster and when I got on the bike I thought I could win (or the equivalent of my win)  the darn thing.  Then everything changed.

A lot of good things came out of having my accident. I got to see how important my family and friends were to me and how amazing (and I mean AMAZING) they all are.   I got to put my priorities in order — Triathlon is a sport — Ironman is one event on one day and there will be many more.  These events are for fun and don’t change the world.  I got a chance to really appreciate this tenuous strand we call life.  I got a chance to have some long talks with the Universe and many of its messengers.  But at the same time one not so good thing came out of the accident.  I allowed myself to change my identity.  I no longer thought of myself as an athlete on a comeback, on the way back to completing  the Ironman,  I started to think of myself as a failure and a screw-up (regardless of the truth of the situation, that was my perception).  So I started to behave like a failure and a screw-up, doing anything to perpetuate that old image I had of myself as the addict, the couch potato, the slug….  As long as I felt any physical pain in my body it was a reminder of what I couldn’t do and if I couldn’t do something, I was a failure.

Last week when my WW friend gave me that analogy about writing our own ending to the script of our lives, I really started focusing on what I should have been focusing on all along.  Not a failure, rather a recovering athlete.  What would a recovering athlete do?  She would eat sensibly, drink in moderation (if at all), do rehabilitative exercises, walk more.  All things I started to do last week.  Granted, I also started to be relieved from pain last week and that had a little to do with my resurrection, but changing my perception of my own identity had the biggest impact on my actions.  Actions follow identity.  Oh if only it was that simple.

I started to think of the times I have difficulty in keeping on plan.  Usually it is when I go back to old friends or old situations.  Epiphany.  Of course my behavior changes because my identity changes.  When I go to my old stomping grounds, visit old friends, I’m not the athlete, I’m the party-gal that’s what I do — party.  Having this ephiphany (yes, I know obvious to most but I can be oblivious to the obvious) really got me to thinking about how in every aspect of my life this is true.  What you believe about yourself is reflected in your actions.  So when we see someone successful in an endeavor it is because that is what they believe about themselves and when we see someone failing in life that is what they believe about themselves.  If we can change our perception of our own identities we can change our world.

Instead of being someone who struggles with food and exercise, I can see myself as an accomplished athlete who instinctively selects the right foods and thinks about the following day’s workout before accepting another glass of wine.  Instead of seeing myself as someone who runs slowly, I can see myself as a efficient runner gaining speed everyday.  Instead of seeing myself as a metronomic swimmer, I can see myself as an aggressive swimmer and go for it.  Instead of seeing myself as someone who can only ace a serve or not at all, I can see myself as someone with a lot of control over her strokes and does not have to go for a winner on every shot because I can hang in there with the best of them.  What you believe is what you do.

So this is something I will be working on in the coming week (and life).  To stop seeing myself as lacking.  Instead I am already  a contender.  I am in control of my food, my athletic destiny and my finish lines — whichever ones I choose to cross.


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9/19/07 Goal Set, Goal Met

Thursday.  Feeling good.  Mood good.  Nice weather helping a lot.  Been journalling my food all week — that’s really good (been over my points but I’ve been journalling and that’s what I promised to do).  I just wanted to set some goals this week and actually meet them.   Been getting a little exercise in every day — that’s really good too.   I’m focusing on staying in the grey — I don’t have to go to an extreme on either end of fitness — somewhere in the middle is just fine… it’s fine… really, no I mean REALLY, it’s fine……

Tuesday I got in a nice little session in on my pilates reformer (love that machine!) and then took a trip down to the pool for a short session.  I was surprised to find how many things I can do in the water besides actual swimming, lol, who knew?  I did some laps with the kickboard, some side swimming (no arm stroke),  a little modified breast stroke (didn’t really take a full stroke with my arms) and some modified back stroke.  I can even do a modified fingertip drag, I just can’t do the snap and drive at the end.  Basically I can do anything that does not require me to pull on the water with my right shoulder.  Okay, no cracks about I never pulled through the water anyway…. 

The big discovery was that I could do sculling drills!  How exciting!  Okay, that’s pretty scary considering I normally hate sculling drills.  But in a weird way I think they do something really good for my shoulder — I think they get at all the tiny little muscles in there.  Plus it was nice to be reminded that it doesn’t have to be SWIMMING to be a workout in the pool — lots of other ways to use the water.

Yesterday I did my follow up run from Monday.   I did a little better.  I set my goal.  Walk up to Tavern on the Green (TOG),  run to the reservoir with NO STOPPING, (no matter how much the little voices in my head argued with me), take a short water break (<1 minute), do 1 loop running no stopping, another quick water stop and run back down to TOG without stopping. I did exactly that and I was very pleased with my effort.  My time to do the reservoir loop (at a VERY comfortable pace) was 21:30.  That’s still a 14 minute mile I used to do it in 18-19 minutes so that’s my goal, just work a little harder every time.  I’m really not in any rush to be running hard — I just want to get the mind control thing under way.

My run was MUCH more enjoyable with an MP3 player.  I haven’t run with music in a long time.  It was nice to just enjoy the day and keep the movement alive.  I let the music shuffle randomly and got a kick out of certain songs popping up — was a run down memory lane — Tom Petty, Creedence Clearwater Revival — all old favs.   On my run back down to Tavern on the Green I was finally warmed up and since I was running downhill anyway I cranked up the tunes and tried to push a little.  Right at the height of my breakneck speed (oh I was probably hitting a whopping 11:30….) the song Tubthumping by Chumbawamba came on — you know the one that repeatedly shouts “I get knocked down, but I get up again you’re never going keep me down!”  That made break out laughing!!  But, I decided it was a message from the Universe to start toughening up.

I wondered if it was just the music that made the difference between Monday’s start/stop and Wednesday’s determination to keep going.  I think the difference is telling yourself upfront what are the non-negotiable terms of the deal.  If I tell myself “just run how you feel and see how you do….”  Well, I always feel like quitting and going home for a cappuccino and biscotti.  But yesterday was a non-negotiable, you WILL run up that hill and you WILL not stop.   I had to be a little mad (what kind of wimp has to walk up the hill before the garbage trucks?)  And I had to become a bit of a drill Sergeant with myself, but declaring the intention beforehand AND making it a REASONABLE goal makes a difference.

In WW we talk about setting realistic goals.  A good goal should be first, Stated in the positive (I will run up the garbage hill).  Phrasing anything in the negative reinforces the negative.  If you tell yourself “don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop.”  Guess what you want to do?  Yep, stop.  But if say “keep going, keep going, keep going” That’s what you do — keep going.  It’s very subtle but very powerful how the mind works.

The second rule is to Be SPECIFIC, (I will run from TOG to Reservoir, 1 Loop, back down the path to Tavern on the Green and hit the crosswalk).  If I leave room for negotiation “I’ll start running when I feel warmed up” I know I will often take the buy out clause.  The more specific you can be the better.  Describe quantities, amounts, distances.  Be very clear.

 And finally, the third rule of goal setting is to make sure it is reasonable and attainable (run 1 loop, not 3).   I am always making goals that are too big or unreasonable.   I’ll do my taxes, clean my closets, finish that filing all before lunch.  Then when I fail, I like to get mad at myself for not reaching an unrealistic goal instead of making a smaller goal and feeling successful.  I felt good yesterday that I set a goal and met it.  Friday I will try for the same.

This morning was a true test of my determination as I was out late last night but I had promised Dr. Donna to meet at 6 a.m. for my FIRST RIDE OUTDOORS.  I was plenty nervous and I could have used another ten hours of sleep but I set my alarm and dragged myself out of bed.  I forgot that we rode in the dark on these early mornings.  That made me a little nervous.  I forgot how much crap I had to pull out (helmet, hair band, glasses, biking shirt, shorts, vest, armwarmers, socks, biking shoes).  A mere 8 weeks ago that was all second nature, now I was fumbling around trying to find everything.   I forgot about the bike prep portion too.  I did look at Tina, and she looked at me in question for a second, but we’re still not talking…  So I proceeded to prepare Sylvia for the ride (water bottle, tool kit, spare tubes).

At first it was definitely a little shaky.   I was truly shocked at how 8 weeks made everything seem just a little alien.  I have not gone 8 weeks without riding before?  Guess not…   We started later than we had planned so it was 6:30 and there were a lot of unreasonable traffic honking and cars trying to nose us out, but when we got to the park it was smooth sailing.  By the time we finished our loop (we did just one loop of the park) we were totally in our groove.  I really felt everything coming back and really wanted to ride.   When we got back to Tavern on the Green I saw whole bunch of my teammates and had a grand hello.  It was a perfect reintroduction (is that a word?) to the park. 

The contrast between last week when everything was looking so bleak and depressed to this week which I would say was a pretty darn good week — nothing spectacular but not a train heading for a wreck either.  It was a nice, evenly paced, under-control week.  Lots of small goals set and met.  And for the insane, that’s not a bad thing….


I have to share this because this totally cracked me up….


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