Monthly Archives: November 2008

11/24/08 In a Flash

Monday.  I once had a boss who said I had “flashes of brilliance followed by long periods of inertia.”  I’ll never forget being stunned (and hurt) by that comment.  As the years have gone by, however, I have embraced that description of myself as extremely insightful. I think it is spot on.  I embrace it now because I don’t think of long periods of inertia as a bad thing.  Now I think of inertia as simply part of my “process.”  Maybe inertia is not the right word.  I’m more like a dormant volcano.  Just because you don’t see lava spewing, doesn’t mean there isn’t a fire brewing.

I was nervous last week when I looked at my training schedule.  It seemed like a lot.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it all.  There wasn’t one thing in particular that looked undoable, it just look scary when I saw everything lined up in a row.  I couldn’t help but think “geesh, let the games begin.”

Wednesday was supposed to be a big workout day.  I did two loops at the cancelled bike practice in the early a.m.  Was disappointed I didn’t get to work hard on the bike.  At lunch I made it Fight Club.  I liked the class.  This time we did a lot of ducking and weaving before we came up to throw a punch.  I do laugh at myself often in class because I am so slow that there is no way I have avoided any imaginary punch thrown at me.  By the time I get back up to come in with my cross my adversary has walked away with my purse and is counting the money.  I enjoyed the pretend badashness of the workout though.  “Take that!” I mutter as I give the bag a final slap.  “Don’t slap, punch, twist your body and lean into it” the instructor says as she walks by.  I don’t know, never underestimate the power of a fast, well-placed slap or a bunch of them in rapid succession.  I call it the hummingbird defense.

My greatest feat of the morning came when we were doing rocking back and forth with two kinds of kicks.  On the second kick we were to come up and swing out with a wide (roundhouse) kick.  Somehow i managed to totally miss the punching post and sent myself into something reminiscent of a Dorothy Hamel flying camel.  I swear the look on the instructor’s face said in no uncertain terms that she had never seen anyone manage that one!!    I do love the 1 minute free-style punch and kick the stuffing out of the bag segments.  It is amazingly freeing.

After Fight Club I ran directly to the tennis courts and played one hour with John.  I felt totally warmed up and noticed a HUGE difference in the flexibility in my left knee.  I was really able to get down low to the ball and I was pleased with some of the balls I was hitting.  I’m really glad I’ve been hitting with John every week.  This week I’m running a doubles clinic on Wednesday so that will be a little extra tennis this week.  The PTR just sent me a new video of some advanced tennis drills I can’t wait to try them out and brush off my instructor skills.

So I made it through Wednesday unscathed and feeling pretty good.  Wasn’t bad but no flashes of brilliance either.

On Thursday I had to do a one hour powerwalk in the a.m. followed by my team run in the p.m.  I’m getting better with my powerwalk.  I still don’t have that really fast powerwalk down but I am starting to get it.  Thursday night we did some running drills and repeats of Cat Hill practicing our cresting (pick up speed as you go over the top of the hill).  It was good.   We have a nice little group that stays somewhere in the vicinity of one another so it’s not so lonely out there and there seems to always be someone to chase up the hill or someone is right on my heels.  Lots of encouraging and comiserating words as we trudged up and down and up and down.  We did a little stretching and then I did a brisk walk home because it was cold.

Friday I got to yoga class again.  Yeah!!  That was two yoga classes and one Fight Club class in one week.  I was clicking off my assignments and feeling good.  Of course I am still way behind in my yoga but there is a glimmer of hope.  We went into the pigeon pose and I did it!!  I got all the way down with my head on the floor!   Just when I think I’ve got it, however, he ups the ante.  Now it’s not good enough to get my head and shoulders flat on the floor.  Now I have go all the way down and twist my torso so both shoulders are on one side of my body with my hands in prayer position.  Pain in the butt.  Literally.  I’ll master that next week.  Geesh, never done, never done.  It looks like this when done properly:


Got to WW on Friday and was relieved to find I was down 1 pound.  No flash of brilliance there either but I’ll take it considering last week was a big loss.  I see room for improvement and my number one focus this week is working on the small stuff.  Reducing 100 calories here and there.  5-6 small meals a day and every time I sit down it must be a meal.  Carb, protein and fat.  A banana is not a meal.   That’s this week’s focus along with not going crazy at Thanksgiving.

Saturday was my worst workout in a long, long time.  Really not good.  I was supposed to ride with the team and then go for a 2 hour run.  It was too cold so they cancelled the ride.  I got out for my run but I was miserable from the get-go.  Even walking up to the park, I felt hungry even though I had eaten breakfast.  I stopped and bought a banana before entering the park.  I was cold and I had no energy.  The run stunk.   I had to really fight to stay with it.  After 1 hour I wanted to go home.  I forced myself to do the second hour but I couldn’t even walk home, I had to take the bus.  When I got home I retreated to a hot shower, cranked up the heat and hide under my electric blanket.  I fell asleep staring at my bicycle hooked up to the trainer which I never got on.  I was really at mad at myself for being lazy.  As it turns out it was just part of my cycle so I was running low on iron.  The volcano had gone dormant.  Phhht.  Fire was o-u-t out.  It’s okay, just a little inertia.

Sunday I got up to do my 3 hour run.  I was ready for a repeat disaster.   Just do the best I can, I muttered.  I could barely muster 2 hours on Saturday, how was I going to do 3 one day later?  The temps seemed the same (though not as much wind) so I put on an extra layer and walked up to the park.  Hmm, very strange.  Felt fine.  First hour, zip.  No problem.  Second hour, zip.  No problem.  What the heck?  I’m taking my walk intervals and really working during my run intervals.  I’m practicing my cadence, my kicking, my posture.  I feel great.  Uphill, downhill, pick it up here, pick it up there.  Harlem Hill no problem.  What the heck?  I finished 3 hours and felt like I could do another 3.  I was super human.  I walked to the grocery store, bought bags of groceries and still walked home.

[I wore the gel bands on my knees on Sunday.  I was feeling some discomfort in my knees but not enough to stop.]

When I got home, I got on my bike for 15 minutes and spun my legs.  Then I got down on the floor and did a full stretch session.  Twenty minutes!!  Including the dreaded pigeon pose.  I had no idea what was going on.  I wish I had had this kind of energy on marathon day.  I felt like I was super human.  Need that building moved?  No problem, let me at it.  My new goal in life is to someday peak on a race day feeling like I felt on Sunday.  All I can think is I was on some kind of hormonal surge.  I’ve heard of women peaking at certain times but this was crazy.  Really, I could have picked up a car and tossed it out of the way of the oncoming train. Where’s that purse mugger now?

20 minute walk to the park, 3 hour run, grocery shopping and 20 minute walk home, 15 minute bike, 20 minute stretch and felt more than fine. It was a total flash of brilliance. I have no idea who this person was who had inhabited my body.  The only question I had was what did I have to do to make her stay?

Alas this morning she was gone.  I feel fine but I do not feel super human by any stretch of the imagination.  It was a flash after all.  I have a lot of fun workouts to do this week but now, in addition to finishing my assignments, I’m going on the search for another peek at that flash of brilliance.


I almost died when I saw this video.  It was like someone stole the dialog from one of my runs!  And I love the line at the end.  Reincarnate now!

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11/18/08 When in Doubt, Run

Wednesday.  Bitter cold.  Got my workout schedules on Sunday and I had a moment when I actually took a short gasp and had to stare at it for a few seconds.  The last two weeks have been nice and relaxed — just getting my knees back to feeling good.   Recovery, recovery, recovery.  I was into it.   I’m afraid now the party is over.  Let the workouts begin.   When in doubt, rest assured that there is running on my schedule.

There was no one day that looked undoable, it was just when I saw them all lined up one after another that I had to stop for a second and think, “geesh, can I do all this?”  But then I told myself “no harder than Ironman training.”  We weren’t doing these kinds of workouts until the Spring for Ironman, I just have to get used to the fact that I’m going to be running 2-3 hours all the time.  Like Ironman training it’s the weekends where I have the hardest work to do.  Week days not so bad.  March will be here before I know it.

On Monday I had a 1.5 hour run that went so/so.  I take so long to get warmed up.  I walked up to the park figuring that would be a pre-workout warmup.  I started running at Columbus circle.  Plan was to do a 7 minute run/3 minute walk for the whole thing.  Hit the first bump and my legs just didn’t want to go.  When I got to the big hill under the overpass I couldn’t run it, had to walk it.  Let me clarify.  I COULD run it but I would be going slower than walking it.  When I run that slowly I just don’t see the point so I walk.  Was very disappointed.  As I started running around the reservoir I started to pick up steam.  After about 40 minutes I was going at a good pace and felt fine.  I ran up and around the 102nd transverse doing the run/walk easily keeping a good pace going.  When I got back to the big hill I ran down it, turned around and ran back up it to the reservoir just to tell it who is boss.  This time no problem.  I just needed longer to warm up.  I need 40 minutes to get my legs over the shock that, yes, I am asking them to run again.    Finished the rest of the 1.5 hours feeling good and walked back home.

I’m experimenting with some new equipment.  The Gel-band universal knee strap.  It is supposed to stop your patella from moving around and stop that scraping feeling.  Verdict is still out.  I didn’t have much pain running Monday but I’m not sure if that is because I have rested for the last two weeks or I remembered to take my Tylenol before I went out or if the Gel-bands really worked.  I’ll keep using them for awhile and see if I can figure out if they help or not.

Tuesday I was back to the power yoga class and very proud of myself for actually getting there.  I truly stink at power yoga but I know it is good for me so I keep going.   I was disappointed when I had to write my training update and actually say that I managed to miss yoga for two weeks straight?  How did that happen? It is so easy to let one day slip into two.  As she says in her book the Beck’s Diet Solution,  I was exercising the “giving in” muscle instead of exercising the “stick with it muscle.”  It was just easy to say “oh, I’ll do some yoga at home.”  I did manage to put one of the 40 yoga DVD’s I own into the player but never actually managed to hit play or get down on the floor and do any of it.  So if I’m not committed enough to do the workout at home I must go to the class where he will make me suffer even more!!  Pigeon pose is nothing short of torture for me.

Today is supposed to be a big workout day for me.  Bike, Fight Club and Tennis.  I was to do my bike workout with the team.  The temperature cutoff was supposed to be 25 degrees. It was 27 so I went.  Yes it was really cold out but I was so bundled up that I was actually afraid I would be too hot if I did a bunch of hill repeats.  One thing I have learned is you can go out in pretty much any weather as long as you have the correct gear on.  Only thing I was missing was putting those little hand warmer things on top of my cycling shoes — today would have been good for that.

As it turns out they CANCELLED practice!!  Argh.  I really wanted to ride.  There was a coach there telling anyone who showed up (me and two other guys) to go home.  I talked the coach into riding a loop with me and one other guy joined us.  The other guy got a flat and went home so I rode a second loop by myself.  It was cold but the real reason I stopped was because it was creepy out with only a handful of runners in the park and two other cyclists who were much faster so I went home.

Argh.  Now I was annoyed.  It is silly but I really wanted to have a good workout and get my biking endorphin high and be able to report that I did everything.  But since I knew I had two more workouts scheduled for today (Fight Club followed by tennis at lunchtime) I forced myself to cut myself a little slack.  I worry that if I don’t do everything I’m going to fail at MDS.  I know that is ridiculous and if I have learned anything over the last couple of years is that it is never about one workout, it is about consistency.  It is about exercising the “stick-with-it” muscle.  Still, I would have felt better if I had stayed out there and rode the extra miles.

I’m a little nervous about the running I have to do this weekend (bike + 2 hours on Sat, 3 hours on Sunday) and a lot of running I have to do next week.  But that’s what I need to do so I’m doing it.  Every minute, every inch.

Food is going okay. I’m documenting but I noticed that a couple days in a row I overate (variety of reasons).  Nothing too out of bounds but I think that might be the difference between staying the same and losing.  It’s such a fine line….

So recovery party is over and time to buckle down and get some serious work in.  Before I know it I’ll be running with the sand between my toes and this cold will seem a distant and fond memory.


My favorite running essay is by the late runner/author George Sheehan.  It is called “Why Do I Run?”:

Why do I run? I have written over the years of the benefits I receive from running. Enumerated the physical and mental changes. Listed the emotional and spiritual gains. Charted the improvement that has taken place in my person and my life. What I have not emphasized is how transient these values and virtues are.
With just a little thought, however, it should be evident that physical laws parallel those of the mind and the spirit. We know that the effects of training are temporary. I cannot put fitness in the bank. If inactive, I will detrain in even less time than it took me to get in shape. And since my entire persona is influenced by my running program, I must be constantly in training. Otherwise the sedentary life will inexorably reduce my mental and emotional well-being.
So, I run each day to preserve the self I attained the day before. And coupled with this is the desire to secure the self yet to be. There can be no let up. If I do not run I will eventually lose all I have gained-and my future with it.
Maintenance was a favorite topic of Eric Hoffer. It made the difference, said the former longshoreman, between a country that was successful and one that failed. However magnificent the achievement, without constant care the result was decay.
I know the experience intimately. There is nothing more brief than a laurel. Victory is of the moment. It must be followed by another victory and then another. I have to run just to stay in place.
Excellence is not something attained and put in a trophy case. It is not sought after, achieved and, thereafter, a steady state. It is a momentary phenomenon, a rare conjunction of body, mind, and spirit at one’s peak. Should I come to that peak I cannot stay there. I must start each day at the bottom and climb to the top. And then beyond that peak to another and yet another.
Through running I have learned what I can be and do. My body is now sensitive to the slightest change. It is particularly aware of any decline or decay. I can feel this lessening of the “me” that I have come to think of myself.
Running has made this new me. Taken the raw material and honed it and delivered it back ready to do the work of a human being. I run so I do not lose the me I was yesterday and the me I might become tomorrow.”

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11/14/08 And Deservedly so….

Friday.  Great meeting once again at WW.  A lot of the old timers came back for today’s meeting.  A lot of camaraderie.  I went to the meeting with confidence.  I had weighed, measured and tracked every freakin morsel of food that went into my mouth this week.  Mid week I knew I had dropped all the water weight left over from the marathon.  (After any big running event I seem to retain quite a bit of water for over a week.  It goes down gradually but I can tell by my feet and hands if I am still retaining water.)   Anywho, with I stepped on the scale and got positive feedback.  5 lbs down!  It sounds like a lot but I know about 2 pounds of it was water weight (maybe even 3).  I feel confident, however, that a solid 2 pounds was fat loss due to my diligence and hard work.

Now the big challenge.  Do it again.  It does become a bit of a drudge having to measure everything and write it down.  But, that’s the price of admission into the skinny jeans club.  No lying.  No smidging.  No fudging and no fudge.  To me this is when it gets tough.  I look back at last week with a big sigh of relief and pride.  I did it.  It worked.  But I don’t get to sit back on my laurelized butt.  I still have a lot of work to do.  Admittedly I made it a little harder than it had to be last week by insisting on calculating my protein/carbs/fats, but I really want to keep track of that for a little while until I can figure out my own secret numbers.  What’s the ratio that makes me fly up Harlem Hill vs the formula that makes me sink into a coma?

This weekend I have a relatively light workout weekend.  I fear this is the end of my downtime.  I have a 2 1/2 hour walk/run on Saturday and a 40 mile bike on Sunday.  I’m really enjoying my run/walk routines.  I seem to be able to go much further and I’m feeling really strong right now.  In fact I will venture to say I feel 100%.  (Of course I haven’t done my run yet today so I may be speaking prematurely.)  Energy-wise I feel good.  Muscularly I feel strong.  The week has been pretty much pain free.  I feel good.

I’m going to continue reading Beck’s Diet Solution and Monique Ryan’s Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes.  I’m making my list of reasons I want to lose weight and I’m working on my negative response cards.  The negative response cards are what I’m supposed to read to myself when I start the negative self-talk. You are supposed to come up with responses to something negative you might find yourself saying.

For example.  Today I was thinking.  “Yeah, down 5 pounds but that was hard work.  Shopping, chopping, cooking, weighing, measuring, counting, tracking every freakin’ crumb of food.  How can I possible continue doing that?  That’s too hard.”

So my negative response card that I wrote goes like this:  “If you could do it for one week, you can do it for one day.  If you can do it for one day, you can do it for one meal.  All you have to focus on is this one meal.  It takes approximately 1 minute to write down everything you ate.  You can do ANYTHING for 1 minute.  You’ll worry about looking up calories later.  Right now just write it down and get it in the tracker.  Stay in the now.  Just work with now.  When you next look up there will be another 2 pounds down.  You’ll do this because you want to do this.”

Now to print and read 500 hundred times a day….


Today’s quote comes from my friend Claire who read this in a magazine:  “You can have a great story, or a great excuse.”  Here’s to a great story!!

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11/13/08 “The Hard Routine”

Thursday. Had a strange day yesterday. Got up to go to bike practice. I knew we were doing hill repeats so I wanted to eat something before I went but I didn’t really feel like eating. So I tried an organic Hemp Shake that I bought at Westerly (Nutiva is the brand). I usually like to eat my calories but yesterday I felt a liquid pre-workout meal might be more gentle. I also ate a banana. Not bad. Very quick meal and it tasted fine.

Got out the door and to practice just as we were all heading out. I had a nice little group. Jen and some guy I never met and one of the gals from Ironman team last year. Sounded easy enough do a loop of the park, repeat Harlem hill 3 times and do it again. I was fully expecting to get left behind but I was okay with it — I kept reminding myself it was still pre-season, it was still pre-season.

I could tell almost immediately that my legs felt good. I had no problem zipping up Cat Hill and was ready to go faster if the others wanted to but I held back to warm up thoroughly. We did the first ascent up Harlem Hill and I was strangely not breathing very hard. Next time up the coach tells me to go one gear harder. I tell him if I go a gear harder I’ll go faster and not stay with the group. He laughs and says “that’s okay.” So I put it one gear harder and it was like someone put a jet pack on my back and I flew up the hill. Very weird. Third time up coach pulls up next to me and asks how I am. “I have no idea what I ate yesterday but I’m eating it again tomorrow because I have never had so much energy. I feel like I can run on top of my bicycle up this hill.”  I wanted to put it into the big chain ring and hammer up but I didn’t.   I stuck to the assignment.

It was like old times. How it used to be when I used to chase Aly and Jac around the park. I had so much energy I couldn’t believe it. We did another full loop and 3 more Harlem Hills and I honestly felt like I could have done the whole workout again. I felt stronger than I did at Ironman. I felt how I felt last spring. Like I could just fly around that park on my bike. When I got home I had my endorphin high. I used to love my Thursday morning endorphin highs but after Ironman I wasn’t getting them. I would come home on Thursday mornings feeling blah.  Felt great.

I was supposed to go to the fight club class but John called to play tennis and I figured that is just as good a workout if I run after a hundred balls. We had a great session. I have no idea what was going on. I hadn’t played in 3 weeks since I played with John but I felt good. My left leg is a little stiff when I move on the court so I need to do some more deep bending with that. I missed more than a couple balls because I didn’t read the bounce right (thought it was going to rise higher and found myself reaching). But other than that I was getting the balls in deep and hitting hard and they were staying in.  (Okay I hit one over the net into the next court, but only one, lol). My serve was feeling really good too. I had that old snap back that really puts some pace on it. Even John commented that my serve had some punch and he was just getting it back instead of trying to do something with it. (I don’t play games with John because it would be pointless. He would beat me 6-0 every time so we just hit and play points. He’s a stronger player and so darn fast it is frustrating to not be able to hit winners…) Good workout.  Good hitting.  It’s fun to hit hard.

I’m not really sure what is going on. I did have a huge energy dip yesterday afternoon. (Maybe from getting up at 4:30 for bike practice?) But I have not felt as good as I did yesterday morning in a long, long time.

I’ve been keeping my spreadsheet all week. Keeping track of every calorie and the break down.   I can feel that I have lost weight. It’s just a couple of pounds and I’m sure most of it is water weight, bu my face doesn’t feel pudgy any more. My pants feel just a smidge better (not loose by any stretch of the imagination but not like they hurt to put them on.) I’m feeling much better. I had a little sugar craving yesterday afternoon but I believe that was due to being tired and dehydrated. (Our water was turned off and I was too lazy to walk downstairs and buy a bottle of water until later in the day).

Today I have round 2 of my Lasik surgery. They are going to do an enhancement on my right eye. I had grandiose dreams of getting up at 5 a.m. to go run before hand but I decided it was okay to take a day off. I won’t be able to run tonight but I can run tomorrow. No swimming for 2 weeks.

My friend Rob sent me an article called “The Hard Routine” from the Crossfit Journal. In many ways it struck home to me. In a nutshell it talks about the philosophy of some British military guys when they go on a mission. The article takes those same principles and applies them to getting our own missions accomplished. One line from the article that stayed with me yesterday was “When they’re on the hard routine, there is no room for selfishness, indulgence, compromise or distraction.”

It’s how I feel now that I’m hunkering down to train for MDS. I don’t have time for excuses. I have four and a half months to get myself in better than good enough condition to get through this mission. I don’t have time to muck around.

Despite not being a fast runner and having bad knees, I don’t even consider those my biggest hurdles. When it comes down to it, I don’t quit. I may not be fast, I may not be young but the one trait I have and have always had is I am tenacious. I do not quit. Okay, I quit if someone knocks me out and I’m unconscious, but I do not willingly quit anything I want. I’ve certainly quit things in my life, but when I state a goal and say I’m going to do something, I usually do it. The one place where I fall short is losing weight. I have lost weight but sticking with it is a problem. Now I’m facing a huge challenge where losing weight is integral to my success.

Without a doubt, my biggest challenge to MDS is I’m too heavy. I have to get lighter to do this. I don’t want to track my calories but that’s what I have to do to get the job done. The job is to lose weight before I get out in the desert. The job is to lose weight so I will be healthy and live a long life. This is not just a nicety, this is a necessity. I need to make sure my core and legs are strong enough to get me through days of endurance running. I have to make sure my shoulder gets strong enough to handle supporting a backpack that will start out weighing about 20 pounds. I have to make sure my right shoulder is even with my left shoulder otherwise I can forsee some major back pain.

I want to do well at this. I am not trying to win it. I am not even trying to run the whole thing. To steal a line from some guy’s MDS blog from last year “I will to run when possible, walk when necessary and crawl when I have to.” Less weight = less crawling = less sand in my pants.

So this week has been a challenge. I have been measuring and counting and writing down every morsel of food that passes my lips. I’m being reasonable about the calories and staying in the weigh-loss range (every day about 2,100 cals and over 100 grams of protein).  I’m being great about the quality of nutrients.

But as tenacious as I am, I do not do accountability very well. I am my own boss and there’s a reason for that. I don’t take orders well. I don’t like rules. I don’t like confinement. Dieting is the definition of confinement and rules. Ultimately I’m working toward a peaceful coexistence with dieting. For right now though, it’s war time and I don’t have time for the hand-holding it’s-okay-just-to-try crap. I have to hunker down and get the job done. If it hurts, it hurts. But it will hurt less come end of March when I’m running across the sand.

For all my bravado I am well aware that I may have very likely bitten off more than I can chew. But I’ll diet trying!!


“The Hard routine grants the willing participant entry into a hard sanctum located in a lucid place of the mind, free of the “soft” psychological distractions and habits that can hinder sustained changes in action. In short, it boils down to denial of self-indulgence.” – Jason Dougherty Crossfit Journal

Click here for the full article

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11/11/08 Doing the Math and Other Stuff

Tuesday.  Feeling pretty good.  Very proud of myself for writing down all my food intake since Thursday.  Yesterday I decided to take it to the next level and actually track the points.  I started to think about it and decided I really to know more than just the number of points (calories) I was consuming.  I wanted to know what the break down of protein/fat/carbs.

A friend was talking about the Zone diet and how every meal has to be balanced between protein, fat and carbs.  At WW they talk a lot about making sure you have protein in every meal.  In fact they even changed the “rules” of the CORE plan last year to say that you have to include a protein in your mini meal.  (Well WW never really says HAVE TO anything, but the strongly suggest.)  I was talking to another friend the other night and we were talking about Vegan protein sources and I was talking about seeds and grains and how that was enough.  She wasn’t convinced so I decided to put on my scientist hat and start working the numbers.

First thing I had to do was figure out how many calories do I need to consume in a day.  There are a lot of measuring sites out there but I like this one  After putting in my info it tells me that for my age/height/weight/activity level, I need aprox 2,600 calories a day to maintain my current weight.  If I want to lose weight I need to reduce 500 calories a day aside and make it 2,100.  If I want to lose weight fast (I don’t) I have to drop it down to 1,750.  Right there I learned something.  I could never figure out how I kept losing weight on WW when I was constantly going over the daily points they prescribe to me.  That’s because they must base the points on the much lower number.  So even if I go over points, I’m still way below what I need to maintain.  Question number one answered and good to know.  I am happy to keep it around 2,100 calories a day because that is something I can EASILY maintain in order to lose weight.  (This is not including calories I might consume during an 6 hour workout, but just a normal active day.)

Next question. How many grams of which macronutrient do I need?  Macronutrients are Proteins/Carbs/Fats.

Same website gave me the answers.  I just clicked on macronutrients at the bottom of the screen and it brought up  There I got to choose from six different diet ratios.  This is where is got tricky.  Which one do I choose?  Moderate?  Moderate II?  Zone?  Low fat?  Low Carb?  Atkins?  This the sticky bun question.  What is the right ratio?  They range from protein being 25% to 45%.  That’s a big difference but any one of them would mean I am probably not getting enough protein per day.  I didn’t know which one to pick so I decided to go back to my old friend Monique Ryan “Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes.”

I was shocked to find that she does not recommend any of those breakdowns.   She recommends about 60% carbs, 13% protein and 27% fat.  Hmmm, interesting because that is much more similar to the way I like to eat (except she is not counting red wine in her carbs number.)  That made me feel better already.

So now I was armed with some info and wanted to see how I was doing without judging my food before I ate it.  So yesterday (a non-workout day).  I ate as I would normally eat if I was watching my food but not starving myself.  I was trying to eat consciously and I will admit that I was thinking of protein a lot and maybe I don’t always focus that way.  I measured every ounce of food that I ate yesterday  (not hard) and then calculated the calories, protein, carbs, fat and fiber for each thing I ate (pain in the butt).  The numbers were interesting.

I consumed 2,488 calories in the day.  That is enough to maintain my weight but not really enough to lose weight.  Okay, I have to cut out about 488 more calories a day.  I definitely saw places I could do that.

My total carbohydrate consumption was 1,142 calories or 45.89% of the total.  A little shy of all of most of the recommended diet ratios and definitely shy of Monique Ryan’s ratio.

My total fat consumption was 886 calories or 35.62%.  That is too high per all of the ratios BUT closer to Monique’s than the other diet ratios.  I definitely saw places where I could trim that back by reducing 1 oz of walnuts to half an ounce, reducing some of the oil I used during the day.  That would be easy to cut down.

My total protein consumption.  The big number.  I worked at eating more protein every where I could think of.  I did not eat my Tempeh or Tofu yesterday which would have easily jumped up the numbers but I did eat some veggie protein.  My protein consumption (with effort) was a paltry 866 calories or 18.49%.  Hmmm, not good by any of the diet ratio standards EXCEPT for Monique Ryan.  For her, I am even over the recommended amount.  I felt good about that.

This is only level one of working on refining my diet.  I’m going to follow Monque Ryan and WW.  I feel between the two plans they work well together and I feel the protein requirements are doable for me.  It would be almost impossible for me to get 40% of my vegan diet in protein.  But, I feel comfortable on being on the high side of 13%.  I did 18% with just a little effort and as long as my food sources are plant based I will get extra carbs in there as well. I’m even happy to go up to 20%.

So from yesterday, my adjustments for today will be, a little less fat and a lot more carbs.  Bigger salads, less nuts and oils.  Less nuts and oils should also easily reduce the calories.  I don’t know how long I can maintain these spreadsheets but I did find a website recommended by a friend awhile ago that does some of this breakdown for you.  It is called FitDay and the web version is free.  Normally I would just use the WW online tracker and I will go back that eventually but right now I want to get the protein/carb/fat breakdown until I get a routine going.

More important that the numbers, I feel really good about being in control of what I am eating.  I’ve said it before.  I’d rather not lose weight and know why then to lose weight by a crap shoot. It’s like winning a tennis game because your opponent stunk, not because of your skill.  For right now I’m keeping my goals very small (well at least my weight loss goals).  Measure and write down everything I ate today and put it in my spreadsheet.  I can always calculate the calories later but the process of writing it down (spreadsheet or paper) makes me aware of what I’m doing and I believe awareness is step one.

Weight loss is a majority priority for me right now.  (Okay Donald, here it comes….)  Because of the next event I am doing.  Some of my friends and supporters already know I have signed up for a big race this spring.  I’ve been kind of quiet about it and will probably remain so because it is so ridiculous that I can’t even believe my name is on the roster.  The information is starting to get around so I want to make sure that my friends and supporters know that yes in fact I am signed up to do the Marathon des Sables at the end of March.  (Oh lo, that kind of hurt to write that in the blog —  once it goes into the blog there is not turning back.)

What’s the Marathon des Sables?  It’s 150 miles of running across the Sahara desert in southern Morroco.  I have six days to complete approximately the equivalent of 5 1/2 marathons.  To add insult to deranged injury, I have to carry all of my own food and supplies on my back.  They give me a shared tent and 9 liters of water each day but other than that, if I need it I’m carrying it.  Including my sleeping bag, food, clothes, medicine….

I’ve also held off on writing a lot about this because I wanted to finish one project at a time.  Tour de Pink, NYC marathon and now I’m focussed on Marathon des Sables (aka MDS).  My mother was pretty funny when I told her.
“But, you don’t like the heat.”
“I know.”
“You don’t like camping either.”
“I know.”

“You don’t even like running.”
“Yep, correct again.”
“So why are you doing this?”
“Good question.”

Why am I doing it?  That’s the 150 mile question.  The only answer I can come up with is, because it’s there and I’m scared to do it.  It’s an adventure beyond any adventure I could ever imagine myself doing.  It will push me to places that I’m scared to go (and I’m not talking about in the desert.)  I will have to confront things about myself about which I’m not too comfortable.  I will present myself at the start line with about 800 super fit athletes who are trying their best to race this marathon and my only goal is to finish alive. (One of the fees they charge is for a corpse return fee.)  I can’t even imagine that I could ever do something like this but I have some people who really believe that I can do this and I am latching onto their beliefs to get myself through this.

MDS is my new Ironman.  In 2003 I never would have believed that I could do an Ironman.  (See Jacquie I stopped myself from making some sarcastic remark there so you wouldn’t call me an a$$.)  I have a lot of work to do in the Ironman arena.  Now that I know I can do one, I have to get better at it but it no longer scares me.  For good or for bad, an integral part of my motivation to do anything in life requires a little fear.  I’m lured by the chocolate of doubt and fear.   Can I?  Could I?  I want to but I’m afraid to. What if I can’t do it?  What will that mean? What if I can do this, what will that mean?

I also needed something a little extra to make sure I got through this.  I wanted to make sure that I had everything lined up before I started my journey.  Rumble in the Desert is the name Cat came up with and I love it!!  I needed a coach and I needed a plan and I needed a purpose.

Of course I have to thank (blame) Lisa Smith Batchen for a lot of this.  Lisa trained me for Firmman back in 2006 (first time I finished BEFORE the awards ceremony and I was thrilled with that! lol)   We had planned on my doing MDS in 2008 after I finished Ironman in 2007.  Well, stuff happens.  The accident took me out physically and mentally.  I lost a lot of confidence.  I couldn’t do 2008 because I had unfinished Ironman business. When it came time to register for 2009 I balked and it sold out before I could think. My name got put on the waiting list and when it came up again I took that ridiculous mythical leap of faith and said yes.  I can’t explain it other than to talk about that internal tuning fork.  When you know you are supposed to do something, you feel it.  I will still be training with Trilife during the week but Lisa will be overseeing my training for MDS.  So far that is working well and I’m glad that I can have people to run with and that the schedules and personalities all seem to mesh very well.

So I had a plan, I had a coach and the last part was needing a purpose.  This can’t just be about me.  If I’m going to go all the way to the Sahara desert and run 150 miles, there has to be a purpose outside of myself.  I’ve raised over $30,000 for Leukemia and over $5,000 for breast cancer.  This was an opportunity to raise some money for a cause I believe in.  I knew I wanted it to be about kids.  I knew I wanted it to be about education and advancement.  I knew I wanted it to be local and tangible.  I wanted to know where the money was raising was going and how it would be used.  I didn’t have to think too long before I thought of Abundant Waters — an after school program for kids in my neighborhood.   The program was founded by one of dear friends, tennis coach, mentor and guide Marlie.  They do such wonderful things for these kids that it was a perfect match.  Even the name was great.  I would race for Abundant Waters in the Sahara Desert.

So there’s announcement.  I don’t think I will be running around talking about the race.  A lot of this will be a silent struggle for me and I’ll use the blog to document my journey.  If you want to read about the race

This would be a good time for some prayers. Bless me Father for I have…. Oh wait a minute, that’s the wrong one.


pix from NYC Marathon

Second try from the gal at the end of the marathon. She said I looked too miserable in the first one. LOL.

Why do I like this pic? My right shoulder. It is finally starting to come up a little. In all the other races my right shoulder is about six inches lower than my left. They are not quite even yet but it is getting there!!!

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11/9/08 Good Medicine

Sunday.   Ah, finally.  There is my biking endorphin high.  Just got back from the park.  Did 5+ easy loops and I feel really good.  It was just what the doctor ordered.  Went out by myself nice and early which was fine.  I was able to take it at my own  pace and not worry about holding anyone back — avg about 15 mph and couldn’t have cared less.  Didn’t kill myself at all but practiced spinning at high, even cadence.  I have to say it felt a little strange.  So glad I got out there before I totally forgot EVERYTHING about cycling.   Even managed to do a little standing on each loop.  Park was not crowded for first 4 loops, last loop it got a little squirelly but I was extra cautious and concentrated on even pressure throughout my pedal stroke.  Started a sixth loop but it was too crowded so I called it a day and went home. Didn’t care how long it took me (23-25 minutes per loop — did 5 loops in 2 hours).  Stopped and said hi to some people when I felt like it.  Sun was beaming, leaves were falling, air was crisp. My joints LOVED it.  My hips felt great, my knees felt great.  The second of two beautiful days in Central Park.

This morning as I was getting ready to go biking, I was dismayed to find ALL of my biking clothes were uncomfortably tight.  Ugh.  I didn’t want to wear any of them because I couldn’t breathe.  Not good.  I want to feel comfortable in my biking clothes again.  I would like to feel comfortable in them by Wednesday morning but that’s probably not going to happen so I’m just going to have to suck it up and suck it in.  lol..

Yesterday I did a one hour power walk up to meet the team (my power walk is getting pretty good sometimes).  They were going off to run stairs and hills.  My knees were not ready for that and I had a nice 4/1 run/walk planned for my second hour.  Cat joined me and we kept to the trail.  I felt pretty good.  My knees did not want to run more than that but by the end I was picking it up and started to feel strong.   It was a true recovery workout.  The colors of the trees in the park were striking.  We beat the rain.  Felt happy to be out there.  Beginning to think I’m not so in love with my Asics Gel Nimbus running shoes…

Friday I went to my WW meeting.  I didn’t want to go but I knew I had to go.  As I feared, I was up another couple of pounds (didn’t need the scale to tell me that, I already knew).  Ugh.  I really feel the weight gain everywhere — even my face feels pudgy.  Geesh, when it hits it really hits.  Weeks creep by then WHAM!  All of a sudden I wake up one morning and I feel fat.  That’s the problem with the weight creep.  One pound you don’t feel it.  Two, nah.  Three is undetectable particularly if it is over a couple of weeks.  Maybe about five pounds you start to think, hmm that’s a little bit of weight but I’ll run it off over the weekend.  (NOTE to self:  you CANNOT run off 5 pounds in one weekend.)  When I get to ten pounds it is not noticeable because I’m on vacation in the state of denial.  But 15 pounds is an entire clothes size.  You can’t just hold in your stomach a little more.  You can’t blame the dryer for shrinking your clothes too much.  When you find yourself pulling out every piece of clothing in your closet and NOTHING looks good there is no denying it.  Either lose weight or take down the curtains and make them into a caftan.

BUT, all that said, I started anew on Friday.  I get so much from my friends at that meeting.  They are all great.  Just saying it aloud and hearing how motivated some people are helps me get back on track.  It seems so simple when you hear someone else talking about how they are doing it.  I can’t help but walk out of there thinking “well I can at least do that much.”  No matter how much I don’t want to go to my WW meeting, I ALWAYS feel better after going.  Often what we dread the most is what we need the most. Take the medicine.  It tastes like crap but it works.  I had to swallow a lot of pride and just go in and say “I need help.”  And God love my WW group, they helped.

It helps me to get a little mad.  When I get mad I know I am going to take action.  I’m more than a little p.o.’d at myself.  How did I let this happen?  I know 15 pounds is not the end of the world and it could be worse, but I still had more weight to lose in the other direction so packing 15 back on is not what I was looking for.  I can’t say exactly how it happened other than by my deliberately not paying attention.  But now I am paying attention.  I successfully wrote down every bit of food I ate on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and so far today.  It’s just not that hard.  (Granted, I did not do the points yet but I’m starting to scribble down the calories when I am not really sure).  I went grocery shopping and bought groceries for the coming week.  I will make my meal plan at least one day before (more if I can).  I will continue to review the Beck’s book and I will do everything in my power to get back to where I was and even further.

Halloween marks the start of the fat-building season.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate), The New Year –basically from now until January 2nd when EVERYBODY will be on the i’m-really-going-to-lose-it-for-good-this-time train, it is nothing but a food fest.  Party, party, party.  Family gathering, another party.  The best food, the best wine, the best desserts and there is nothing like cuddling up next to the fireplace with a book on a cold afternoon after eating your shoe-size in servings of pie.  I have to gear up now to get ready for all of this.  I cannot enter the holiday season unprepared.  It’s a freaking minefield.  In two weeks it is going to be impolite to pass up turkey, stuffing, potatos and pie.  Is that another bottle of Cognac under the Christmas tree?  I think I’m going to go to a monestary or something.  The only saving grace is that I will be working out and I’m going into this season with my eyes wide open.  I’m very driven right now and I am making my goals.  I might end up being Ebeneezer Grinch for the holidays but I gotta do what I gotta do.

I’m going out to Arizona in January for a training camp.  I want to be able to fit into my clothes for that camp.  I cannot afford to have to buy new clothes for camp.  I can’t even afford this camp but it’s kind of a necessary evil for my upcoming training.  (More about that tomorrow…)

Tomorrow is Monday.  A great day for renewal.  No more excuses.  No more avoidance.  One day at a time, one step at a time.

Constant forward motion.  Focus forward.  Failure is not an option.



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11/7/08 Back On

Friday.  Okay.  I’m almost on track.  I can see the station up ahead and just a few more feet and I’ll be there. I definitely woke up with a lot of conviction this morning and I haven’t had that in a long time.

Yesterday I pulled out my audio version of The Beck’s Diet Solution (can be purchased at  Just having her voice talking to me all day in the background helped tremendously.  I kept saying “oh yeah, I forgot about that” several times.  Back to basics.  Make a plan.  (Today I am rereading the print version.)

I managed to write down everything I ate yesterday.  I didn’t calculate points or anything.  Just wrote down the time and exactly what I ate.  I realized that I have not lost some of my knowledge so I was even able to remember some portion sizes so I wrote those down as well.  I also tried to scribble out a day’s menu plan so I was not thinking about what to eat.  When I got hungry I just went to the next item on my menu.  I think sometimes I wander into the kitchen thinking I’m hungry and grab something without really thinking/planning for it.  It doesn’t help that I stare into my kitchen from my desk.  (Close the curtain…)

I did go to run practice last night though I didn’t complete the team workout.  We jogged up to the reservoir.  I did it, but I ran very slowly and didn’t care.  I stopped to walk for 30 seconds twice when I felt even the slightest twinge in my knee.  My coach recommended that I just walk the reservoir loop instead of running.  I started out walking but sometimes I start running without thinking about it.  That’s a good sign.  I walked/jogged 1 loop with my coach and then headed home.  On the downhill I definitely felt some pain and stopped to rub my knees.  Two unknown gals stopped and wanted to make sure I was okay.  I laughed and said “just old age.”  “At least you are out here” they said in a kindly patronizing kind of way.  Oy, now I’m one of those at-least-you-are-out-here cases.   I started jogging to keep up with them but quickly decided that maybe it is okay this once to be an at-least-I’m-out-here……

I feel very well supported by all my coaches.  My running coach Lisa and my tri-coach Earl seem to be 100% on the same page.  Get the knees under control, you have time, you are doing fine.  It helped to be able to vent to both of them this week and I realize that reaching out for help is so critical.  (So critical it is one of the six Healthy Habits listed at WW.)  I know at least for me I often suffer in silence.  I’ll just deal with this and figure it out.  Well obviously I’m not figuring it out.  I had to reach out.

I didn’t want to go to WW this week.  I still don’t want to go.  I know I am going to be up and although it is probably only 1 or 2 pounds I still don’t want to hear it.  On the good side I know this is the last time that scale is going to be up.  I’m determined to turn it around.  I’ve DECIDED to turn it around.  Part of that decision means I WILL go to my meeting and I WILL face the scale.  I really, really, really, really don’t want to go but I really, really, really, really want to lose weight so that’s what I will do.  I will suck it up and get my butt over there.  I am not kidding when I say I would gladly go run another painful marathon than face that freakin scale again.

The marathon of weight loss is harder than any foot race I could do.   It takes all the same elements as completing a marathon.  It takes a training plan, it takes practice, it takes reinforcement, it takes coaching and when it comes down to it, it means experiencing discomfort and sometimes a little pain.   Sometimes a lot of pain.  Both physical and mental.  The marathon is 90% mental once you have done your training.  Weight loss is 90% mental too.  They say losing weight is easy, keeping it off is the challenge.  I think losing weight is like training for the marathon — you’re all excited, you are into the training.  It’s hard some times but fun some weeks as you start to see the progress.

Maintaining your weight loss is like running the marathon itself.  Now you have to pull it all together and keep going.  You have to go further than you did in training and you have to keep going even when you think you can’t.  Big difference is the Marathon is 26.2 miles.  Weight loss is for life.  Something I have learned about myself is that I think it is easier to endure physical pain over emotional pain.

This morning I woke up and I decided to start believing I am an athlete.  I’m going to start behaving like I believe I am an athlete.  It’s really a big stretch of my imagination, but I decided that’s how it is going to be.  I’m going to choose foods as an athlete would choose.  I am an athlete.  I am an Athlete.  I AM an Athlete!  I’m going to sleep as an athlete would sleep.  I’m going to strength train and cross train as an athlete.  I am going to make choices as an athlete.

As I laid in bed I thought about my other friends who are struggling too.  I wish for them to choose their identity and today I hope they will start to repeat over an over again what they want to believe about themselves.  I am an actress.  I am a photographer. I am a mother.  I am a homeowner.  I am a cyclist.  I am a good catch.   I am a non-smoker.  I am a good sister, daughter, brother, neighbor.   I am an executive.  I am a producer.  I am a writer.  I am a provider.  I am fiscally responsible.  I an an entrepreneur. I am healthy.  I am a citizen of the world.  I am an environmentalist. Whatever I say I am, I am and I act accordingly.


I was watching the tv program “The Actor’s Studio” with guest Goldie Hawn.  She had a lot of really great things to say about struggle but ended with a good piece of advice.  She said  “take your ego and put it aside.  Just witness don’t be it.  Don’t be a failure, don’t be not-perfect, just witness your behavior.  Witness your feelings.  But realize those will change as everything does.”  Everything changes.

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