Monthly Archives: May 2008

5/30/08 Cheshire Cat

Fat Friday. Oh yeah, I was up a good ole 5 pounds at WW this week (well that’s for two weeks since I didn’t go last week). I can’t say I was surprised at all. I ate a lot at camp, I haven’t been tracking, I’ve been snacking a little too much, I ate a late dinner out last night, I’m retaining water and I haven’t been exercising much at all this week. So, I’m not surprised and I’m thinking the real number is probably more like up 2 but regardless, time to get tough and down to business. The party is long over.

I’ve been taking recovery week maybe a little too lightly but part of me has been thinking, I should take it while I can get it. Muscularly I don’t feel bad at all. I’ve been sleeping a lot, however, so I think I’m still a little tired. This is really my last break before ramping up for Tupper Lake and then the big day. 50 days and counting to Ironman. A big part of me wants this done with. Okay, all of me wants this done with. I’m ready to start thinking about the marathon all ready.

My WW meeting today was good as usual and much needed. We were talking a lot about knowing where you want to go and what you need to get there. I think I have lost a little focus recently — getting a little too comfortable — the meeting was a good wake up call. Sometimes I forget I still have more work to do. In retrospect I think I was experimenting a little with my own boundaries when it comes to food and tracking. How much can I get away with before I have to pay the piper? Apparently not much.

We talked about self-talk and how you can really talk yourself into anything if you just repeat it enough. The good and the bad. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been very gently letting myself slide down the slippery slope. One more won’t kill me, sure I’ll have a beer at camp, oops I had two and a glass of wine. An extra handful here, a little bigger scoop there. Not really counting my calories so I was just kind blindly eating what I thought would be not too much but who really knows if I don’t measure? I honestly don’t think I over ate too, too much and mostly I stuck to good foods. It was just not conscious eating. Eventually that catches up with me.

I’m not beating myself up about my not tracking (today I’ve been tracking and am back on plan. And I’m tracking in my computer which seems to work better than just scribbling on paper for me.) One of the lines that stuck with me from the meeting is when a gal said “Guilt has a lot of points.” Eventually you start eating out of guilt. It’s so true. If I let guilt eat at me, soon enough, I eat at guilt. So, instead, I choose to start fresh. Finish out my recovery weekend and get some good supplies in house (my empty cupboards are a sure sign that I am not taking care of myself in the best way I can.) I didn’t want to buy groceries so close to going away to camp, now I’m going away this weekend so I didn’t want to buy groceries again. That’s a trap. Buy the stupid groceries, they are not going to go bad in two days…

At the meeting we all took some time to write down our goals on postcards (which will be mailed to us later). I would like to lose 15 more pounds by the marathon in November (that’s in addition to the 5 I gained the last two weeks). It was good to get refocused. I’m making up my game plan for what I have to do to get there. Without a goal in mind it’s hard for me to stay on plan. I’m not going to beat myself up with too many changes between now and Ironman, but right after Ironman I’m going on the Quantum Wellness plan. I am also reading the book the Thrive Diet written by a Vegan Ironman. I want to explore getting a little more into the Vegan lifestyle. (After Ironman).

One of the gals brought up her favorite quote from Alice and Wonderland (one of my favorite books). It’s from the scene when Alice is lost and asks the Cheshire Cat for directions:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

I realized I needed to set some new goals. I was kind of skating along, getting complacent, wandering aimlessly. The more specific my goals are the better the map I can create to get there. Time to get busy. Time to pull out the map.


“…we gotta go and never stop going till we get there.”
“Where are we going, man?”
“I don’t know but we gotta go.”

From Jack Kerouac’s novel On The Road as referenced in my Annotated Alice.

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5/27/08 Excorcising or Exercising at Memorial Day Camp

Tuesday.  Well I made it back alive from Memorial Day Camp.  A very different experience on many levels from last year.  All in all a successful weekend.

Before I left for camp I had developed a pain in my left hip.  I went to my acupuncturist on Thursday.  He joked that my hips did not want to return to Lake Placid.  I joked back that I guess I had sprained my chicken muscle.  Lots of joking around with some electrified needles followed by ice, Tylenol and a poultice that I had to put on my hip at night and I would be okay in about 3 weeks.  He thought it was a bursitis in my hip.

I guess the rest of my body didn’t want to go back to Lake Placid either because after successfully driving up there 6 times last year, this year I missed the exit and ended up 70 miles in the opposite direction….  I have to admit it gave me pause and I thought that maybe my subconscious was trying to tell me something.  I shook it off and got back on route.

Everything was fine driving into Lake Placid, checked into my hotel room, got changed, got on my bike and rode over to Cobble Mountain Lodge to meet the team and do a 35 mile orientation ride of the run course on “the back nine” of the the bike course.   Team assembled and left the driveway of Cobble Mountain Lodge, per usual I rode to the back of the pack.  As we turned out of the driveway we were officially back on the bike course.  Then I experience one the weirdest (may actually be THE weirdest) feelings.

The first thing that I was overcome by was the smell.  I saw some trees swaying and the smell of fresh mountain air and maybe some kind of weed or flower wafted over me.  I have had sensory recall before.  Sometimes when someone walks by me while smoking a certain kind of cigarette or I walk by fresh-cut grass I am transported back in time.   As I was sitting on my bike, I saw a couple of trees sway, inhaled the air and I guess I must have subconsiously been transported again.

I was in observer mode.  I noticed time was slowing down.  I saw everything very clearly, the slope of the road, the colors of the shirts of the riders in front of me and then the shake of my hand.  Weird, I thought, why is my right hand shaking?  Almost like slow motion in a movie.  Then I looked at my left hand and saw it was shaking too.  I didn’t FEEL it shaking, I SAW it shaking.  That’s the weird part.  Was this an out-of-body experience?  You know when your spirit exits your body and looks down on it?  I don’t know, I was just aware I was observing my body and it was a separate entity from the me who is I.  Then I saw (or maybe I felt this one) my right knee shaking and my right quad start to quiver.  I stood to climb up over a little bump of a hill.  We have not been riding for even two minutes.

We turn the corner heading toward mirror lake and I am in some kind of weird Deja Vu but it wasn’t a Deja Vu because I knew I had been exactly here before and I knew exactly when.  Okay, okay, I started to talk to myself, everything is cool, you are doing great, there is no hill until there is a hill, you are braver than you think Pooh, you’ve done St. Croix you can do anything.  It started to rain.  And then for one brief second I felt my lower lip quiver.  Oh No, you will NOT go there. STOP, I don’t care what happens today, YOU WILL NOT CRY!  You are not a baby, this is just a bike ride and you are not even going near that hill.  Okay, okay, I’m good.

We pull up to the Olympic Oval where transition will be.  The coaches give us a little orientation. I’m triple checking my bike.  Brakes, check.  Wipe off tires from wet rain, check.  Brakes, check. Helmet, check.  Brakes, check.  Okay, I’m good, I’m good to go.  Oh yeah, BREATHE.  Check your brakes one more time.  The group heads out, the rain gets harder.

I make it about 100 feet and the lip starts to quiver.  The rain is coming down.  I see 35 people wearing red going down a hill in front of me.  Suddenly I don’t trust a single one of them.  It wasn’t my mind screaming, it was my body screaming and it was doing whatever it could to make me stop.  My legs were shaking, my hands were shaking.  The rain was pouring down and the next thing I know, a gut wrenching sob crawls up my throat and out my mouth and all I can do is gasp for air.  Then the flood gates opened from Heaven, the rain came pouring down and the tears came pouring out of my eyes and I couldn’t help it and I had to stop. No, no, no, do not cry.  It was too late, my body won over my mind and I couldn’t do a thing.  I pulled into the driveway.  One of the coaches was behind me.  Oh God, don’t make me cry in front of a coach.  I’ll cry in front of my mother, my best friend, my dog, but I don’t want to cry in front of my coach.  I don’t want them to think I can’t do this.  Too late.  I’m not sure which is coming down harder, the rain or my tears. 

Coach was telling me it is okay to not go out today.  NO it is NOT okay. I’m tougher than that!  I know because all my friends have told me I’m tougher than that.   I’m going to be an Ironman.  An Ironman doesn’t pull over the side of the road and cry because it’s raining and the roads are slick and the people in front of her might have changed from her best buddies to overnight idiots.  An Ironman pushes the tears aside and goes on.  Natashca Badmann wouldn’t stop.  Michellie Jones wouldn’t stop.  I do not want to be a wimp.  I tell the coach to go in front of me and I push off.  I make sure there is about 100 feet in front of us and I make it down IGA Hill.  The rest of the team is long gone in front.  The road starts to flatten out and I start to feel better.  I do trust the coach’s riding so I get up closer.  I feel better and I tell him I’m okay to ride.  I’m embarassed and mad at myself, but I can ride.

The rain continues to pummell us.  I catch up to the team but I stay a good distance behind.  I pass a couple of people who also leave a big gap (apparently I’m not the only one establishing a good distance.)   They line us up with the fastest people going first and slowest people going last so we won’t overtake each other.  Then they send us off in 5 second intervals to make sure we have space.  We ride downhill in the pouring, pummelling rain to Wilmington.  It was scary, not just for me, but for everyone I believe (well at least everyone I spoke too).  The rain was coming so hard it made it hard for me to see so I just went as slowly as I needed to go.  If it was going to take me two days, I didn’t care, this was as fast as I was willing to go.  When we got to the bottom we turned around and climbed back up.  Of course the rain lessened for the part when you have to go slowly, climbing up the hill. 

I had a tea party with my insecurities during that ride.  But I also got a chance to think.  I kept asking my body, what’s wrong? What’s wrong, you are not even at the hill why are you so upset?  You have been here many times before.  What’s wrong.  And then it hit me.  Yes my body was afraid but my mind was in mourning.  I realized that I needed to grieve a little.  I know that sounds really strange but I finally said out loud into the rain “This sucks!  And it sucked that I trained forever and a day and I was robbed of my big day and it hurt and everything that happened to me sucked.”  Then little voice that always chimes in tried to chime in “There are people with real problems in the world and this is petty and stupid.  You don’t get to mourn over something so self-indulgent as training for an Ironman.  This is a priviledge not a right.  Get over youself.”  I realized right then and there that second little voice had been chastising me for a year.  You don’t deserve to be sad or upset because this was not something that mattered to the world.  This was something that mattered to you and it was a self-indulgent undertaking.  You don’t get to grieve over something like that.  Be grateful for what you have, not whining over what you don’t.

So there I had my little epiphany.  I never really let myself grieve over my own stupid little loss.  It’s not a big loss like losing someone you love or something like that, but it was my loss.  I tried so hard to be upbeat that I never myself really feel it “this sucks and I deserve better.”  I kept trying to talk myself into the positive “I’m just lucky to be alive.”  But, there in that torrential downpour I heard a message from the universe.  No matter how bad you think you’ve had it, or are having it, it can still be worse.  There is more crap to come.  You thought you would come back and have nice weather, a clear path, a new road to Ironman.  Well news flash, there will be more rain and heat and flat tires and probably broken bones and broken spirits but it’s okay to be sad and upset.  Even if it seems like a trivial little thing, it’s okay.  You, despite your intentions to prove otherwise, are human.  Exhale.

I had signed up for a daily 30 minute massage before I had left New York.  I think that helped me a lot too.  She worked a lot on getting the tension out of my shoulders.  Of course I got no sleep that night trying to process ten million different emotions.  Why process them slowly over a year when you can bottle them all up inside and process them in one night?  I got up and checked my brakes twice in the middle of the night.

So the next day we were to ride the real bike course.  I was feeling much better.  I had purged a lot of emotions out of me during the night and frankly there were just no more tears in stock.  I had done a lot of crying, a lot of shaking out whatever fear was left in my cellular level and of course I had to do some self-flagellation over how much I thought I was overreacting to something that was really not that big of a deal.  I was definitely nervous about the coming day, seeing the spot again, trying to figure out exactly what happened, what went wrong.

Our group went out slowly, taking our time climbing out of town.  I was leading the group which was probably painful for them because I’m the slowest climber of the bunch.  But frankly I didn’t have much time to worry about them because it was almost a death march for me.  Climb, climb, climb now because very shortly you will be going down, down, down.  Gulp.  Breathe, darn it, breathe.

We go down a little hill.  Is this it?  Is this it?  No, no water, this is not it.  We go down another hill — I see a railing is this it?  Is this it?  No, no water.  I remember that specifically.  It is the point where you first see the water and the woman was standing on the outiside of the guardrail and I remember thinking what the heck is she doing there? She is going to fall into the water if she takes one step backwards.

Apparently I’m gripping the bike pretty hard because I hear the coach behind me, “loosen your right hand, loosen your left hand, loosen your shoulders, relax your back.”  Okay, I can do that.  Loosen my right hand, loosen my left hand, loosen my shoulders, relax your back.  We start to go down a hill, there is a curve in the road, I don’t remember the curve but we straight out and BAM, there I am there is the guardrail, there is the water, this is the spot, THIS IS THE SPOT!!  I put my hand out and point — THIS IS IT! THIS IS IT!!  The coach says calmly “put your hand back on the handlebar.”   ROFL, that made me laugh. 

I felt strangely better.  There was a curve in the road.  I didn’t remember that.  Suddenly it all made so much more sense.  Why I could see the guys a good distance away and then why all of a sudden they were right in front of me.  I saw them before the curve.  They had to have slowed down or even stopped for something in the curve and when I turned into the curve they had started their crash.  It made so much more sense to me.  I get it.  I could see now how I was robbed of a few seconds of critical reaction time.  Okay, I get it.  I finally, finally get it.

We kept riding and I kept repeating, loosen your right hand, loosen your left hand, loosen your shoulders, loosen your back.  We were soon on the six mile descent and I kept repeating it, the next thing I knew I was relaxed and Tina (my bike) and I were sailing down the hill and I swear I heard her say “see I told you it wasn’t me, I can ride downhill, look.”  I took the corners evenly, I wasn’t racing, I wasn’t in aero, but I was braking my way down the hill either.  Nice even pace.  The road opens up and I saw one of my teammates in front of me.  I felt very relaxed and Tina wanted to ride so I passed her and headed down the hill into town.  Done, I did it and when I hit the turn at the bottom of the hill in Keane, I didn’t have to let out a big exhale or anything. I was relaxed and ready to ride.

I waited and waited and waited.  Where was everyone?  Where was my friend who I just passed?  Where was the coach?  Finally a couple of people showed up and I waived to them to meet me. (I was the only one of the group who knew the course.)   Finally everyone got down to the bottom of the hill and the coach arrives to say the gal I had passed had taken a spill (a car failed to signal as it pulled out around another car.)   She was alright but her wheel was busted and not rideable.  The coach had to go back up the hill and make sure she was okay.  I volunteered to guide the rest of the group on the rest of the course.  One thing I knew was the bike course.

It turned out to be a very good exercise for me.  Instead of worrying about me, I got to worry about the rest of the group.  I do well worrying about other people.  I don’t do well worrying about me.  So I rode ahead to each turn and waited for the group and told them where the next turn would be and any highlights or answered any of their questions.  It totally got my mind of me and my phobias.  I think it also did something to my brain that would come back to serve me well the next day.  The coach caught up to us again and I was very happy that all of our group had stuck together and did a good job so he didn’t find us all lost and separated.  We finished our climb back up to the Cobble Mountain Lodge and started our run.

After the 56 mile bike ride we had to run one loop of the run course, 13 miles.  I had already anticipated that I wouldn’t be able to complete it.  I figured my hip hadn’t lasted 6.8 miles the previous wednesday so it was just a matter of time before my hip or my knee went out.  I gave myself permission to not worry about it becuase the real challenge of the day had been accomplished.  Imagine my surprise when I ran the entire 13.1 (except I walked up the two big hills.)   I was nothing short of shocked. 

When I started the run I felt the discomfort in my hip but it just stayed at that manageable level of discomfort for the whole run.  Nothing I couldn’t live through.  Wasn’t pain, it was just there.  My left knee was fine, my right knee a few moments of crankiness but all in all pretty darn good.  I even ran down both of the big hills.  I was nothing short of surprised.  I felt fine.   When I showed up to my second massage she said “okay what hurts?”  I said “surprisingly, not much.”  We worked on my big muscles to get ready for the 112 mile bike the next day.

The next day we were to ride two loops of the course.  Start out within our own little groups but ride your own pace — no waiting for everyone.  I took off feeling fine.  As I expected my rabbit passed me on the uphill out of town.  I knew I would see her later on the course — it was the same way last year with Nacho.  She’d pass me on the uphill, I’d pass her on the downhill, I’d lose her on the flats and then she would sail on by me on the uphills home.  I was figuring this would be the same.  I was thinking a lot about last year and my riding partners.

Towards the bottom of the big hill is a speedometer sign.  As cars and bikes ride by it it displays your speed on a flashing LCD panel.  Under it a max speed of 35.  Last year Sunshine used to scream at me to go faster down the hill and we would haul through there trying to make the display say 35.  I passed the sign and it flashed 23.  23?  23?  That stinks.  That’s not even CLOSE to how fast I can ride.  I thought, hmmm, well I’m probably riding a little more cautiously and that’s okay.  When I pass the place where I had my accident, I’ll pick it up.   SCREACH.  HOLD THAT THOUGHT.

I was stunned.  I was MILES past the place of my accident.  I had blown past it like it didn’t even exist.  I started to laugh.  I can’t even believe I made it down hill after hill and I FORGOT to be scared.  I forgot to look for the spot and I when I passed it, it hadn’t even registered as anything special.  I was grinning from ear to ear, if that is not a huge breakthrough, I don’t know what is.  I do recall thinking that it had been a good thing that I got to lead the group around after my successful descent of the previous day.  Because I got to live with the good, positive, feelings for a long enough time.  Had I been left to worry about myself I might have talked myself back into being afraid.  Worrying about the other riders the previous day had sealed my confidence.  Verryyyy interesting….

The second loop same thing happened.  Didn’t even think about the downhill until I caught up to a coach later and said “the most bizarre thing happened.”  And then I realized it had happened twice.  That hill is no longer a demon for me. There had been a complete and successful exorcism.  Very cool.

Apparentely I bonked on the second loop because I had grossly miscalculated my calories.  I relied on memory from last year instead of taking the extra two seconds to do real math.  I remembered that I always took 2 bottles of Infinit with me on the bike and then filled my aerobar drink holder with water.  What I failed to remember is that my 2 bottles of Infinit were always DOUBLE formula.  Ooops.  So I did the first loop in 3:40 with 700 calories (I need 300 calories an hour or 1,050 calories for that amount of time.)  I grabbed 2 peanut butter sandwiches during my transition (220 calories each).  That should have brought me back on target at 1100 calories but I think I was really feeling drained later in the second loop.  On the second loop again I took two bottles of Infinit (700 calories) and ate 2 more PBJammerz that I had thrown in my pocket.  It ended up taking me 4 hours to do the second loop, I had really lost my zip.  So although the numbers for my nutrition seemed okay on paper (once I added in the PBJammerz) I think I needed more.  OR, I need it earlier which is what I think the problem really was.  I think I was trying to make up calories instead of pre-loading.  A subtle but important difference.  Same thing happens with water, by the time you are thirsty it is too late.  You have to drink in advance.  So lesson learned — double up my Infinit bottles and add a little extra. 

PBJammerz rock.  I found them at the Westerly Market in the frozen food section.

After the 112 mile bike we did a 6 mile run.  It was not that sparkly but again I was pretty surprised that I was able to do it.  Pain was minimal, discomfort great.  I can live with that.  The whole weekend felt very different from last year when I left feeling very unsure of myself.  I can’t say I’m 100% confident that I can do this race, but I am much more confident than last year.  Last year I said to Charlee after one of the training days “That was the hardest day of my life.”   But now I’ve done St. Croix and that has to be up there as the hardest training day of my life (although even that is started to fade in my memory.) 

My overall assessment is that I’m not much faster (or any faster) than last year but I sure do feel stronger.  I feel like I can suffer longer or it takes longer for me to get to the suffering point.  For me, Memorial Day training camp this year was all about conquering the demons in my head and on the course.  I really feel I have done that.  I’m not going to go crazy on race day riding my fastest down the hills but I’m okay with that.  I’m okay with whatever happens.  Sure I have crazy time goals I keep throwing on myself but I let them wash over me.  I’ll be happy with whatever happens.  If I have learned anything is that you can plot and plan until the cows come home, when the universe has another plan for you, that’s the path you will go down — sometimes literally.

Final funny note.  I woke up Monday morning ready to leave Lake Placid and guess what? For the first time in six days my hip didn’t hurt.  ROFL! 


Excerpt from “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns:

“But Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid plans of mice and men
Go often awry,
And leaves us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!”


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5/20/08 Fear Factor

Tuesday.  Starting to feel more recovered and ready to rumble.  Good thing, we have our biggest training camp this weekend and if memory serves me, it will be a butt buster.

On Saturday we had a swim practice followed by a run.  The swim was all drills so it was not as taxing as an all out effort like the weekend before.  I’m starting to see that I am missing a bit on the catch and will be working on that this week.  A progression is starting to form in my head of the steps to get the catch and pull right and I think I’m almost there.  Like tennis, for me, I have to break down the steps, then ignore the steps to find the whole.  

After the swim I did the 10k race in Central park.  Yuck.  Not my best effort by a long shot.  So many of my friends had PR’s (personal records), Cliff, Charlee, Mo, Gerry — everywhere I looked people were PR’ing.  I was disappointed with my race — not even because of the time but because of the effort.  I was sore and stiff and when I saw my first mile was an 11:50 (far cry from my last race of all 10’s) I knew I was in for a long morning.  I did manage to knock some seconds off each subsequent mile until the last one which was a 12:15 (ouch) because I really was zonked.  My joints were hurting and I had forgotten to take Tylenol beforehand.  I really don’t care about the time as much as I know I can do so much better.  That’s the part that hurts. 

Ironically, when I got home and looked at my results I found that I too had PR’d but I don’t count it because how can I do a 10:15 in a 4 miler and then an 11:45 a couple of weeks later in a 6 miler?  Just tired I guess but the last time I did a 6 miler was last year in this very same race when I did a 12:22.  I think this just might be a bad time in training for me.  Anyway onwards — I told Cliff I was just going to glom onto his PR and bask in his glory.  lol

Sunday we had an easy bike clinic.  It was good.  We talked about technique of taking corners and going downhill.  As an official technique-junkie, I was interested in learning to start paying attention to the apex of the curve (braking done before entering the turn, release acceleration through to the apex and then start accelerating out of the turn.)  On the downhills we were to pay attention to the camber of the road when taking our turns.  I get this conceptually but I need to think about it more.  Am I riding the roads in Central Park correctly because I understand it or because I have followed the coaches through it?  When the fancy coach headed off to lead the way down the hill, instead of hanging back like I usually do, I jumped ahead with the fasty-fasts to follow them down the hill.  I have Lake Placid coming up this weekend and information is power.

This morning I went for a solo ride in the park and had a great ride.  GREAT ride.  It was really fun to just ride for me.  To ride the way I like to ride and to not worry about keeping up or  catching anyone or staying ahead of anyone or pushing so hard my lungs were going to pop out of my throat.  I decided I would ride a nice pace — not race pace, not intervals, just how fast I would like to go if everyone left me alone and I was just riding for me.  I decided to time each loop as a what the heck and see how long a nice, easy (but not so easy) spin would take me.  I did stay in the big chain ring because it really is just as easy for me in the easier gears (I still have my 12/27).   I kept my cadence above 90 at all times.

I did the first loop in 19:45.  I was shocked.  In January when I was chasing my rabbit around the park at full force I did three laps in 20/21/21 minutes.  That was everything we had.  Now, granted, in January I was riding Sylvia and this morning I was cruising with Tina — very different.  But this morning my effort was very low.  The only time I even noticed my breathing was on Harlem Hill and even then I was in easy conversational mode.  For the second loop I deliberately held back to make sure I wasn’t going too hard and really concentrated on full pedal strokes — I made sure I could feel the top and bottom of each stroke.  That loop was a 19:27.  Whoa.  What was going on?  I swear I wasn’t even touching the effort I put in on Thursday mornings.  Now the last loop the park was getting more crowded and there were several packs of riders.  I think I got sucked in to some of their draft because that’s the only reason I can explain the 18:45 on the third loop.  I wasn’t even pedalling.  I think I just got pulled along by the groups blazing past me.  That’s the really funny part, I’m not even trying so I’m okay with everyone passing me.  But I averaged 18 miles an hour easy pace.  Some of those groups passed me like I was standing still.

I came home very happy.  This is how it should be.  You jump on your bike before dawn — before the rest of the world even thinks about getting up — cruise through 3 quick loops of the park (had I not been worried about being too tired for training camp I think 5 loops would be the perfect morning workout) — then home for a good breakfast.  Great way to start your day.  When I came through the door all I could think about was how much I love to bike.  I love biking.  It is just plain old fun.  It’s an amazing little machine —  the bicycle.  How fun is it to be able to get out of bed and play like you are a kid again?  It’s great.

For the last couple of weeks I have been acutely aware that I am approaching a reunion with my bump in Lake Placid.   After St. Croix I was filled a new sense of strength.  If I could do St. Croix, I could do anything.  But several people have asked me how I felt about going back to the place of my demise and of course I have been thinking about this since July of last year.  I’ve been worried about it, scared even.  I fluctuate between getting mad and refusing to give in to the fear and then worrying that by not acknowledging my fears that I will make them worse.  For weeks now I’ve been going back and forth, afraid, not afraid.  All I can say is that when I try to get in touch with my fears I am overwhelmed with nausea and memories of the accident and that day and I want to puke.  I toughen up and ignore the fear and the nausea goes away.  When I think about making a special trip to ride through that spot (I thought of asking different people to ride with me) I get nauseous.  Then when I imagine myself just riding through it like it was any other time I am okay.  So, which do I want to do?  Walk around feeling nauseous and afraid?  Or do I want to feel strong and in control? 

In my final analysis it occurred to me that I have spent a lifetime learning to repress feelings and although it is a technique that I would not recommend to anyone and it is a habit I am trying to break, I figured why not capitalize on the skill set that I already have?  I am great at ignoring problems. Sure they don’t go away, but it sure feels better than dwelling on them.

After much consideration, I have come to my final decision on how I am going to handle returning to the scene of my accident.  I’m going to ignore it.  I’m going to pretend like it never happened. I’m not going look at it any more than any other hill.  I’m not going to make a special trip before the rest of the team to ride down it.  I’m not going to avoid driving past it on my way to Lake Placid (I was going to take the back roads so I didn’t have to drive through it.)  I’m not going to “honor” it in any way because then I make it real.   As of now, when anyone asks me how I feel about it, I’m going to say “feel about what?”  The accident.  “What accident?”   I’m taking the route of denial.  Amnesia.  I don’t care if I am repressing feelings or kidding myself.  This is self-preservation. 

I realized, that the  moment I give in to anyone acting concerned, I get all boo-hoo about it.  That doesn’t do me any good and it FEEDS the FEAR.  It was my Aha moment.  Yeah, yeah, I know there is all the good psychobabble about confronting your fears but I want to know what’s wrong with just pretending like they are not even there?  I mean at least until the race is over in July.  Why don’t I just pretend it never happened?  Shut it out?  I think it’s a great idea. 

I realize this is also kind of what Wayne Dyer talks about when he says what you focus on expands.  The more I think about the accident the more I keep the accident alive.  Focus on my successes and positive bike handling and improvements — that cranky little crash spot is nothing.  And then finally I realized it is like what we say in WW all the time.  The mind does not process the negative.  “don’t EAT THE COOKIE,”  “don’t EAT THE COOKIE.”   You end up eating the freaking cookie.  “don’t LOOK AT THE WATER,” “don’t LOOK AT THE WATER”, plop your ball goes right in the water.  The same thing here, “don’t BE AFRAID”, “don’t BE AFRAID”, I want to pull over to the side of the road and puke. 

I’m going to concentrate on technique to get me down the hills (and up the hills) in Lake Placid.  I will focus on my cadence and body position.  Any time my mind starts to wander I will bring it back to St. Croix.  If I can do that I can do anything.  I will think to what our coach said last year about Natasha Badmann always smiling through the struggle.  I am here because I can be here.  My favorite line from Winnie the Pooh will be my mantra throughout the weekend. “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”  Besides when I think of all of the hard work  they are going to throw at me this weekend, I doubt I’ll have time to worry about one little downhill.  What downhill?


The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed.”


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5/16/08 Never Give Up

Friday. Wrapping up a very interesting week. I had a lot of time to struggle and think this week. Some weeks are so packed with work and workouts that there really isn’t a lot of time to sit back and think about process and what is going on in the old noggin. I struggled this week with tracking. I didn’t really struggle with food so much — I kept to the same foods and habits I’ve been doing but I was really upset with myself that I kept falling off the tracker. “What’s going on?” I kept asking myself. “Why are you not sticking with the tracking? You know that has been working, why would you stop? Why?” No matter how many times I asked myself why, I couldn’t come up with an answer. But I had a definite feeling. A discomfort, a dis-ease. Something wasn’t right and I couldn’t put my finger on it.

It would be easy for me to chalk it all up to just being tired but I’ve been tired before and continued to track. (I am feeling better and better as my recovery week has gone on.) I was aware there was some under-current of refusal to do the tracker and I just couldn’t figure out what was the cause. I thought back to my Beck’s Diet Solution book (a book and workbook I highly recommend for people starting out on the weightloss journey.) I tried to remind myself of my goals — that didn’t work. I tried to visualize a positive outcome that didn’t work either. Something was wrong and I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Every day I would start tracking and by the end of the day I kept saying “yeah, whatever.” It was really starting to bug me that I couldn’t put my feelings into words — or even identify what they were!

This morning I got tough with myself. It’s Friday. Renew day. Okay if you can’t figure out what is bugging you — just keep going. Too bad — I told myself. One of my friends said in his race report once “when it starts to hurt, run harder.” I think that’s what I have to do. If I’m uncomfortable with this process — work harder. If you don’t have a good reason or some problem to address then you might as well do it anyway until you figure it out. I pulled out my old tracker notebook and started scribbling — my old method — no computer. I write the time, how hungry I am and what I ate. At the top of the page I used to write a daily power statement. Ah, that’s something I haven’t done in a long time — some kind of mantra. I wrote on the top of the page: “You CAN do it!” Of course I can do this. So far today I have written down everything I have eaten and will finish the day.

All of that seems like a lead-up to a rather anti-climatic WW ending but instead it is kind of the opposite. I wanted to document how I was feeling right before I went to WW today so this is something I will remember and work on. On my way to WW I kept reminding myself “it’s okay, this is the process, you will figure it out, don’t be dictated by the scale.” So when I got to the meeting and she said I had lost 1.8 pounds I was pleasantly surprised — for one second. Then I realized what it meant. “You mean??” I looked at the gal who was weighing me in. She nodded her head “yep, good work, you hit the 50 pound mark, 51.8 to be exact.” Holy Chapstick!! I hit the 50 pound mark. That’s not little. That’s a big number. And I didn’t just barely hit it, I hit it with a some wiggle room. Whoa… That was hard for me to digest. So despite your best efforts to sabotage yourself, you still managed to get there. There must be some part of you that really wants it. It’s only taken you 3 1/2 years but you’re finally getting somewhere.

The reason I love my WW group is that I can explain the seemingly antithetical emotions I am experiencing and they get it. They can see more than I can see. I posed to them my dilemma — sure I’m really happy I lost another 1.8 and I’m thrilled to hit the 50 pound mark but why couldn’t I do it the right way? With tracking? The PERFECT way? Why couldn’t I just freakin write down everything I ate? Why do I have to make it so much harder than it really is? I kind of knew in my subconscious that I was on my way to losing another pound or two and I didn’t want it to happen. I knew I was sabotaging myself to a degree but I couldn’t figure out why…. I knew if I could figure out the underlying reason I would be finding the key to correcting the behavior.

I posed to the group that it might be what one of the gals in a meeting had said a while ago. Sometimes people get used to the struggle — doesn’t have to be weightloss, it can be anything.  Some people get used to yelling all the time, some people get used to being taken for granted.  I’m used to having to lose weight and having a long way to go. That’s what I’m used to. I’m used to being a slow runner and I know what it feels like to be back of the pack. But I’m not used to PR’ing all the time and I’m not used to losing weight regularly.  Change can be uncomfortable.  So what can I do? I could subconsciously sabotage myself to gain one or two pounds so I have to go and lose one or two pounds. When I see I’m PR’ing in a race do I could back off one second to make an 11:01 because I’m uncomfortable with a 10:59.  Because I’m an 11 minute miler not a 10 minute miler.

Though being comfortable with the struggle sounded like a good explanation (and I’m sure it is part of it)  it did not have the ring of full truth on my internal tuning fork.  Then one of the other gals brought up something that has been a real problem for me in the past. Resentment. I resent having to track. I resent having to lose weight. I resent having to do any of this. Why me? Other people don’t have to do this. It’s the brat in me. I know this used to be a common issue with me but really I’ve come to terms with a lot of the inner brat/tantrum stuff. I’ve kind of made peace with my reality and know that certain behaviors bring certain results. You are not overweight by accident. You are overweight because of bad choices and bad habits. It’s the old saying “it’s not what you are eating, it is what is eating you.” I get that. So resentment wasn’t exactly what was bugging me (this time).

Then one gal hit it smack on the head. Discomfort with success. It’s kind of a combo of all of the above. I struggled for so long with no change in my weight that now it almost seems too easy. Why now? It’s almost too good to be true. It’s like I’m “weighting” for the other shoe to drop. And instead of waiting for the shoe to drop on it’s own, I drop it first. (It’s like breaking up with someone before they break up with you.) Yeah, yeah, this has been going a little too smoothly. What’s the catch? Where’s the fine print? I’m going to gain it all back next week, right?   What happens to me then?  Better not get all the way there because the pain of climbing back up will be worse the second time around.  In that discomfort comes a desire to remove yourself from the situation. How do I remove myself? Stop doing what was making this work so smoothly — make it harder. Stop tracking. Not hard enough? Create more struggle. Holy Guacamole, as soon as she said “discomfort with success”  a bunch of bells went ringing in my ears. It was simple. I can’t believe my success so I want to change my reality to match my beliefs. That’s pretty seriously backwards thinking!!!

But like anything, identfying the problem is the first part of the resolution.  Once you can identify it you can look it and realize how ridiculous it is — but you have to see it to swat it.  Okay, so I’m uncomfortable with the number that keeps changing every week. It feels too fast for me (yet 2 years of up and down was too slow). So the speed in which a number changes is all I’m uncomfortable with. A stupid number. So this week I’m going to focus on all of the good things. How healthy I feel. How much easier it is to run. (Okay, maybe it’s not easy but it’s easier.) The calmness that comes with a balanced diet. How I want to live and exist and not what the number says. How in control I feel when I measure what I eat and document it. The scale is a byproduct and I do not have to worry about whether it says up 1 or down 1 or nothing at all. That will be my focus for the week. I think I was getting obsessed with the number and not the process. Did I run a four mile race by killing myself for the first two and tanking the last two? Or did I run a nice smooth, consistent effort? It’s about steady effort not flashing then burning out.

Interesting side-note was that despite my not tracking I still lost weight. The reason for that is quite simple. I have built some new habits that are simply ingrained in me now and I continued to do them even though I wasn’t tracking. (Apparently tracking is not the only reason I lost weight.) I still made most of my own meals. I have not had so much as a teaspoon of dairy since January and I kept to that. I shop, I chop, I measure and I cook. All of these habits (and others) helped me lose the 1.8 despite my best efforts to self-sabotage.  Looks like I’m still on the train even though I tried to jump. 

So it’s time for me to dig a little deeper and focus on what I know is true. The number doesn’t have to be scary, it is just a representation of my ongoing effort. I want to do this. This is not a punishment to me, this is a challenge with huge rewards. They gave me a really cool little award for losing 50 pounds — a little bronze circle that looks like a barbell weight for me to put on my keychain. Had I known they were giving out hardware awards I would have hit 50 weeks ago! I’m all about the hardware!

Tomorrow easing my way back into the workouts. We have a 1 hour swim and then I’m doing the 10k race in the park. My plan is to run it to the best of my abilities but I will not look at my watch until the end. I will hit my splits but I’m going to try my best to not look. Just run and enjoy the process of being healthy enough to run 6.2 miles and smile smugly when I think that it is not too long of a distance. Let the clock reveal the time at the end. PR or no, I will be happy with the effort of getting myself to the race, running my best and enjoying myself.


“Self-sabotage is when we say we want something and then go about making sure it doesn’t happen.”

Alyce P. Cornyn-Selby

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5/14/08 Lying Low

Wednesday.  Lying low this week.  Recovery week.  Allowing myself to rest as much as I want and do as little or as much as my body is telling me to do.  As it turns out, I’m not doing much.  Spent yesterday at the eye doctor’s with a bunch of tests (all turned out good).  Didn’t even feel like walking home.  Got a full 8 hours of sleep last night. (Unheard of!)   Starting to feel like I hit the bottom of the tired bowl and now starting to very slowly creep back up. 

I was going to give myself another day off today but I got inspired by watching this video.

[vodpod id=ExternalVideo.550804&w=425&h=350&fv=] from posted with vodpod

I think it is a really clear video and I understood what she was saying so I got really excited thinking “AHA!”, this is exactly what the coaches were talking to me about on Saturday and I should go down to the pool and practice! So I did. Yeah, I get it. I did it. I’m not any faster. Nothing I do makes me any faster but since it doesn’t make me any slower I will keep working on it. I did one mile and left the pool. That’s really all we were assigned anyway but I always throw a little more in there even on light days to make it one hour. Not today. Didn’t care. Too blah. That’s okay, I told myself, it’s recovery week.

Although I’m still on the left side of tired I am feeling like I am recovering and that is fine with me. We have a speed workout tomorrow morning for bike practice — I’ll just do the best I can. Early to bed. Extra vitamins before I go to sleep (feeling a bit of the iron blahs.) I’m taking this recovery week very seriously (like it is the last one I’ll ever have!)

Tracking not going so well this week. I’m not eating anything off plan per se, but I’ve been failing to track through an entire day. Too tired? Every morning I start out okay but by mid afternoon I lose interest. I know I’m over my points for the week and this is probably the most important time to track but I’m just not feeling the zip, the push, the drive to stay on top of it. I’m not feeling the zip, push or drive for much of anything. I can’t say I’m eating anything that is not good for me and I continue to measure everything, I’m just not writing it down. I’m kind of relying on instilled habits and hoping they are going to get me through the week. I’ll start again tomorrow — after a good night’s sleep.

From past experience I know I’ll wake up one of these mornings and jump out of bed ready to rumble. Just hasn’t happened yet this week.

One of the gals from my WW group sent out a very good article from the WSJ on mindful eating. It’s nothing new but what I’m coming to realize is that all of this is about lots of little reminders. Just when you think you have something down you let something else slip. It’s a good reminder article.Click here to read WSJ article.

I have a sphere of health I keep in my head. Everything starts with Sleep/Rest/Recovery. Without that everything else if for naught. Next comes meditation or prayer. I think the self-spiritual connection is probably the missing link for a lot of people in their quest for health and peace. Then comes active lifestyle or exercise (I don’t believe you have to be a gym rat or train for an Ironman to be healthy but I think you have to move more than most people do.) After all of that comes diet. The food is the last but still important part of it. Honestly if you are doing the other steps (Including meditation) the food kind of falls into place. The last step is journaling — for me that includes both tracking and goal setting and this blog. This blog helps me reflect, renew and reevaluate where I am.

I call it a sphere of health because these different aspects of health are not linear. Part of one always touches a part of another and they are constantly turning, rotating displaying a different aspect that I’ve been ignoring. That’s why health doesn’t happen just by diet or just by exercise or by diet and exercise. It’s a whole package. I have to make a plan for each aspect. Bed times, meditation times, exercise plans, diet plans, journalling.

This week I’m focussing on the resting part of the sphere. The exercise part is rolling my way soon enough. Tomorrow we have some speed work on our bikes which I am sure will perk me up. Friday I’ll just do more work on my reformer and a swim. I have 10k in the park on Saturday (not going to race it, just going to run it). Then we have a group bike on Sunday and that’s the end of my recovery week.

I’m going to enjoy it while I can!


“Everything that enlarges the sphere of human powers, that shows man he can do what he thought he could not do, is valuable.”
Samuel Johnson

Me lying at the 27% mark of the Beast in St. Croix

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5/12/08 What’s it all about Alfie?

Monday.  End of tennis season Freshman year of college I overheard my coach ask my doubles partner, “is something wrong with her?”  I heard her respond “oh no, she’s just tired, you know when she starts talking all that philosophical crap about why we are here you know she is just tired.”  I couldn’t believe she said that, but without knowing who the “she” was I knew it was me.   Of course now I can have a good belly laugh over it but at the time I was at the end of my tennis burnout and not so jolly.  I remember I used to say things during change over like “does it ever strike you as ridiculous?  I mean this whole activity of four human beings wearing white clothes, running around a green box with sticks in their hands trying to swat a little yellow ball?  It’s so ludicrous it’s almost unbearable.”  I know now that was just me bonking in my tennis days, but sometimes even now I get up ready to sing a good chorus of “What’s it all about Alfie?”

I guess that’s my long-winded way of saying, guess what?  I’m tired.  Really tired.  Too pooped to pop.  Friday I did a full routine on my Pilates reformer — that was actually good, haven’t followed a full video workout in a while and I had no idea the number of exercises I could do on that thing.  I’ll be doing a lot more on that in the coming week.

Saturday was, well, hard.  We started at 6 a.m. with a 1 hour hard endurance swim.  We didn’t even get the luxury of a long lecture at the beginning.  “Get in and swim” was the only command.  They removed the lane lines so we had one big “pool” with a buoy at each end.  The were trying to simulate race day conditions with people swimming around and over you.  I just swam as close the wall as I could, trying to make everyone pass me.  I did try to swim hard for the entire hour (that was easy to replicate, just pretend I was in St. Croix trying to break through the current.) 

I got several comments from the coaches.  One was that my right hand doesn’t hold the water all the way past my hip, instead I turn my hand and kind of chop through the water.  Okay that’s an easy fix. The other tip is not so easy to fix.  Apparently after I drive my arm in, I drop my elbow and lose grip on the water.  I’m supposed to kind of emulate the feeling like I am pulling myself out of the pool.  Ugh, that does not sound so easy.  I might be recruiting a new set of muscles for that one.  Finally they said I’m too stiff and have to do more relaxation exercises.  I’m not sure how I can reconcile those two — relax and pull yourself out of the pool.  Okay, well the only thing I can do is practice and try.  That will be Wednesday’s project.

After the swim we hopped on our bikes (we had to ride our bikes to the pool and be there by 5:45 a.m.)  Right after the whole team rode to Rockland and did loops of the reservoir before heading back to Ranger’s station to do time trials.  Our total distance was to be between 80-90 miles.  The reason for the time trials at the end was to start training us to learn to pick it up a little when we are tired and to not just lolly gag (my word not theirs) through the whole endurance ride.  Let’s just say that I had nothing to give on the entire ride.

I made it to Rockland pretty much riding by myself — rest of the team left me behind.  I didn’t even think I was riding that slowly but I guess I was.  I finally caught up to them when they stopped for water.  When I made it to the reservoir I was starting to feel tanked.  The part I don’t get is how tired I can feel without any muscular pain or discomfort.  I’m used to feeling “oh my hamstrings hurt, can’t go on” or “cramping in my calves, need to stretch” but this was different.  I just had no oomph.  No gas in the tank.  As I finished my second loop of the reservoir I said to one of my teammates, “I’m really not sure I can make it home.”  And I meant it.  How was I going to climb Rockland Hill back?  I wasn’t even sure I could walk it.  I was taking extra gels from my nutrition plan already.

I actually did make it back up to State Line but it was slowwwwwww.  I have a little chant I do when I’m going up hill.  I concentrate on my heels and for every time I pull my right heel up I say “up” and then when I pull up my left heel I say “and over.”  Up and over, up and over, up and over — I say it really fast to get a good cadence going.  That’s how I get up a hill.  On Saturday I was chanting uuuuuhhhhhppp and oooohhhhhhhvvveeeerrr, grunt.  It was long.  Every little bump became a huge hill.  I couldn’t get momentum to save my life.  When we started the time trials I kept telling my legs “pedal, pedal, pedal”  and they kept saying “we’re trying, we’re trying, we’re trying.”  But we weren’t going anywhere.  The were like Scottie from the Enterprise “I’m givin’ her all she’s got captain!” [I did do Talliman just to torture myself and I still swear they shrunk the hills on the road.  It’s just not as bad as I remember.]

On the second to last interval one of the coaches caught up to me and warned me to not overdo it after St. Croix.  “I don’t have any muscual pain but systemically….” I started to explain.  “It’s called, tired, you’re tired.”  He said.  Oh, right, I was looking for a much more complicated explanation like my slow twitch muscles were having a collision with my fast twitch muscles causing an imbalance in my VO2 to glycogen store ratio or some gibberish like that.  Tired, oh yeah, I guess it could be that too..  Tired, hmm, just plain old tired?  Well that’s not very fancy.

I did two loops of Rockland and only three of the intervals — I just couldn’t do more.   Thank goodness I had a teammate to ride with me on Riverside drive because honestly if she didn’t make me take a gel I wouldn’t have made it.  (I hate to take a gel with only 3 miles to go but, she was right.)  By the time I got home I had logged 86 miles so I figured I had muddled through the assignment.  Was probably my worst showing on a long bike ride in a long time (okay Rob, let’s just call that excuse T2 — too tired.)

For as T2’d I was on Saturday, Sunday was worse.  This was a big run day for us.  16-18 miles.  I had it all planned out.  I had printed out maps of the West Hartford reservoir (claims 30 miles of trails).  Then I would spend the afternoon visiting my mother for mother’s day.  I make it to the reservoir and before I could do anything I had to take a twenty minute nap!   No kidding, I could barely make it there.  I kept counting down the exits and slapping my face to stay awake.  I was so zonked.  I pulled the car up under a tree and passed out.

After I awoke, I ran for about 45 minutes before I had to start a walk/run.  I say walk run because instead of doing a 8 minute run 2 minute walk, I did an 8 minute walk 2 minute run.  I couldn’t move.  So basically I did a 2 hour 15 minute walk.  If I got in 9 miles I am being generous.  I didn’t care.  At one point I found myself at the far end of the reservoir and I was actually contemplating diving in (illegal, it is a drinking reservoir) and swimming across to the car park.  I have to walk another 2 miles?  Shoot me. It was sad, very, very sad.  I kept commanded my legs “run, darn you, run!”  They barked back “you run, we’re done.”  Mutinous dogs!

The weather was great but I just kept thinking “What’s it all about Alfie?”  Why are you trudging around this lake with your hip holster of water bottles like you are really going somewhere?  You are nothing more than a gerbil in a cage.  (Uh oh, someone is tired.)  And what is a triathlon anyway?  Why do we do it?  It’s quite ridiculous if you think about it.  Grown people wearing tight spandex clothing, pedaling, running and swimming to where?  For what?  I wanted to scream out “PEOPLE! Does anyone know why we are here?”  But I knew I would scare the families who were out for a nice Sunday stroll in the park and maybe I should just get back to the car and go visit my mother.

I took a long nap in the garden.  When I woke up my mother said “you still look tired, go back to sleep.”  Nice visit for mother’s day, lol.

Of course when I am tired what do I do?  I overeat.  Oh yeah.  Too tired to think of good calories, hunger factor.  What do you have?  I’ll eat it.  I won’t even notice it but I’ll eat it.  If I can think of one lesson I have learned over the last year that is so incredibly important in weight loss is the importance of a good night’s sleep.  When I am tired all of my resolve and resistance and conscious thinking goes out the window.  Eating becomes mindless and not really that enjoyable.  Whatever is convenient is consumable.  But even in that state occassionaly a little voice did pop up to say “I think you are full, you can stop now.”  Yeah, yeah, whatever….  Track smack.  I’m tired leave me alone.

So now it’s Monday and we get to start a lovely recovery week.  A big loud, collective “Yeah”!!!  Of course I feel terribly guilty that I didn’t get my big 16 mile run in but I am trying to hold onto the big picture.   Is it better to train while tired or get a lousy workout in?  Remember I have no pain.  That has always been my limiter in the past.  The first sign of pain I knew it was time to quit.  I’ve moved into a new realm.  Since I’ve resumed acupuncture with Mark, my knees have been great.  I had no hamstring or quad or calf pain.  No pain at all.  This is a new territory for me.  At what level of tired  do I call “Uncle?”  Where’s the wall when you are talking about breaking through fatigue?  Is it better for me to try to learn to fight through it and make me stronger on race day or rest up so that my next workout is with a fresh body?  I’m not 100% sure of the answer because let’s face it, if I stopped every time I was tired at all I would probably never work out.  But  I realize there is a difference between tired and T2. 


Great, great article in the NY Times on habits.    The gist of it is stop trying to break old habits — it’s almost impossible.  Concentrate instead on creating new habits and circumvent the old ones.  I wish I had written this article:

Of course I couldn’t leave without a rendition of my favorite song (sorry about the Japanese subtitles but this is a good version with Burt Bacharach singing):



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5/9/08 Back in the Saddle

Friday.  Weird week.  I guess I should call it a recovery week.  I flew back on Monday thinking I would be up and ready to run on Tuesday.  Had a little problem.  My feet were blown up to almost twice their size  — okay that’s an exaggeration, but they were really swollen and wouldn’t fit into any shoes I owned.  Plus I had a lovely cut on my toes from the run (I won’t call it a blister, the socks just rubbed the skin off — it’s gross.)  So I couldn’t run due to my club feet and I couldn’t swim due to my open sore.   Other than that I felt fine so it was a little frustrating to be limited to my Pilates reformer machine.

I made it to bike practice yesterday morning.  That was a killer.  Speed intervals.  I almost died on the first one.  My hamstrings screamed bloody murder.  I couldn’t even touch rabbit Jac.  I got a little better on the next two but I still didn’t have 100% steam.  4th loop we did a pace line withme struggling to keep up with the line.  That hurt but I did it.

This weekend big workouts.  Saturday 6 a.m. 1 hour swim followed by 80-90 mile bike.  Sunday 16-18 mile run — I’m going to try to find some friendly trails to run in CT, WITH socks!!!

My big shocker was finding I was up 6 pounds on my home scale.  I wasn’t too worried about it because looking at my feet they appeared to be holding about 3 pounds each.  I also know that whenever I fly I hold a lot of water.  Nonetheless I was a little nervous considering my m.o. has always been work hard to lose weight, go away on vacation and gain ten pounds then take a year to chisel that off.  I really didn’t want to back slide that much but I knew if I was really honest with myself I had kind of let everything slide in St. Croix.  Much like Island time, I was on Island diet. 

The first day I got there I really did try to track.  I was writing everything down figuring I would put it into my computer when I got there.  Once I found out there was no free internet access I kind of lost my motivation.  By the second day I fell into the “I’ll remember.”  By Friday it was “yeah, whatever.”   I didn’t track anything until this Wednesday.  Even then all I did was jot down what I wrote.  Today was my first full day back on track entering everything into my tracker with point values.  Whew, I thought I had slipped down the slope and it was going to be harder to get back up.  But like they say, it’s not how often you fall it is how fast you get back up.

I really figured I would be ‘weigh’ up at my meeting today but it turns out I was actually only up .4 which is nothing.  Basically the same.  I started to think back on why that was.  I realized that even though I hadn’t been tracking while I was away, many of the new habits I have adopted in the last couple of months were still in effect with or without the tracker.   We talked a bit at our meeting today about how long it takes to effect change and how it can be frustrating to sit in meetings year after year and worry that it may all be for naught.  One of the gals talked about being there for 7 years and she used to be embarrassed that she hadn’t reached her goal yet but now realizes that just how long it takes.  I noted that even if she had reached her goal in 1 year she would still be sitting in the meetings because life time members who have been at goal for 18 years or more still come to weekly meetings.

One of the funniest lines at the meeting is when one gal quoted her friend who said it had taken him an entire year to become “debagelized.”  I laughed so hard at that one.  I knew exactly what he meant though.  It takes a long time to get rid habits that we just take for granted.  I never thought anything of ordering a bagel and cream cheese.  I mean full fat cream cheese.  On the way to work, no big deal.  Now the thought of that just makes me want to scream “are you CRAZY?!?!”  Lol, we all change…

Our leader asked us to think about what are some of the things that different about ourselves now that we are into the journey.  At first I couldn’t think of any, but throughout the day (while reflecting on why I didn’t gain weight in St. Croix) a bunch of them started popping up.

1)  I rarely order in food any more.  It used to just feel easier to order in.  If I do order in it is one or two places (like sushi or steamed Chinese) where I have carefully calculated the points and I’m really specific about what comes into my apartment.

2)  I shop.  All the time.  I never used to shop.  Used to be look in my fridge and it was basically empty (hence the ordering in all the time.)  Now I get freaked out if I’m getting low on fruits and veggies and I am in the grocery store every other day grabbing one or two items.  (I don’t do the huge shopping jaunts as much any more — just grab the one or two items I need.)

3)  I cook.  Well that’s obvious since I’m not ordering in and I’m shopping, but what I mean is I don’t rely on all those frozen dinners any more.  I used to do a lot of the WW or Lean Cuisine or some packaged item.  Now my freezer is filled with frozen veggies and frozen fish and those steam fresh bags of brown rice and broccoli.  I have a lot of canned beans and a lot of veggies in my fridge.  I also have eggs and tofu.  I am never more than 15 minutes away from whipping up a meal.  One year ago, not so.  I would be tired and wouldn’t feel like cooking so I would just grab something “to-go” or order in.  I realize now it takes me less time to whip something up than it does to wait for the delivery guy.

4)  Fruit.  Holy Moly do I eat a lot of fruit.  When I first started WW I was a little nervous about fruit.  Ooh a banana is 2 pts and if I ate 2 bananas that would be a lot of points.  I eat entire pinapples now.  That might be lunch.  Or more.

5)  I eat very few low fat/low sugar items.  I used to go for all those 2 point bars and fat free this or that.  I almost never buy that stuff now.  I eat fruit.

6)  Without a doubt the absence of dairy in my life has made the biggest change.  Cakes, cookies, random baked goods are just off limits because I never know if they are made with butter or milk.  I’m too lazy to make them myself so I just don’t eat them.  Even in St. Croix when there was a big bag of peanut m&m’s going around — that would have been a huge temptation for me at one point.  But, since milk (as in milk chocolate) is simply taboo in my book I am not even tempted.  I do eat chocolate but it is in the form of soy pudding or dairy free chocolate cookies.    Of course eliminating cheese has been the biggest change in my life and frankly I don’t even think about it or miss it or care if I ever eat it again.  Or milk.  As far as I am concerned, I will easily go the rest of my life without it.  Considering what a huge cheese fan I was, this is the most mind blowing change in my life.

7)  I try my best to avoid deep fried foods.  I did eat a few french fries on the island and had some fried calamari back in the city but those were such rare exceptions.

8) I track my points.  This is has been a huge change.  I could never get myself to track.  Now I see it is really not that hard and for me it is the key to everything.  No mystery.

9) Grains, grains and more grains.  Like the 2 point stuff, I don’t eat light bread anymore either.  I used to be a big fan of those Thomas’s lite muffins because they were only 1 point.  Then I’d eat 3 because they tasted like air.  Now I find the chunkiest, grainiest bread and have 1 slice for the same 3 points and I’m satisfied.  I also eat brown rice a lot and whole wheat pasta on occassion (not very often).  Oatmeal and Ezekiel products.

10)  Salsa.  As scary as the amount of fruit I eat is the amount of salsa I consume.  I put it on everything.  Tonight I had a new salad inspired by my friend Paul.  I took my regular 1 cup brown rice, 1/2 cup hot steam fresh corn, 3/4 cup hot black eyed peas, 1 cup of salsa and 2 tblspoons of tofutti sour cream.  Mixed everything together in a bowl and then tossed into half a bag of salad.  Was ready in under 5 minutes, tasted FABULOUS.  Yes the total points were 9 points but it was such a huge meal it was totally worth it.

I’m constantly amazed at the parallels between Ironman training and WW (and life in general).  One of the lines our leader threw out today was “As long as I don’t give up there is always hope and potential.”  I think that truly has been the key for me in all of my life changes in the last couple of years.  It’s all about not quitting.  Some days you are going to do great and others not so great but if you take one more step than you think you can, try just a bit harder, the next thing you know you are over the finish line (and registering for your next race.)


I have a bunch of funny pix from St. Croix.  Some of them are good and some are just as ugly as the race.

First me exiting the swim.  Looking ecstatic after my record breaking (in a bad way) 56 minute swim.

Exiting the Swim -- looking happy to be out of that churn

Here I am starting a climb on the bike.  Not sufferring quite yet.

 Crap this is getting hard…

Me in my freakin misery.  Loop 1 of the run.  I’m hurting big time.


 Same spot about an hour and change later.  Amazing what a pair of socks will do for ya:

 Too tired to even raise my arms.  8 hours after the swim start…  Not sure if that is a smile or a grimace…


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