Monthly Archives: May 2009

5/27/09 When All Else Fails….

Wednesday.   Feeling very good.  Very pleased on many levels.  Had an okay bike workout yesterday morning with  my new baby Betty.  I say okay because I think I was doing the workout wrong in the coach’s eyes.  I was keeping up with the group no problem (the fasty fasts bumped up to the next group or didn’t show so it was just the normal riders and me.)    I was doing my normal deep breathing exercises to get up Harlem Hill for our repeats  but I think my coach thought I was working too hard.  I don’t know how to go up Harlem Hill without breathing hard.  I think I needed to explain that I had another 3 levels of sucking wind that he hadn’t even witnessed yet.  That was just level 2 of 5.

The park was nice and empty due to the Memorial Day holiday.  Betty worked just fine.  No complaints other than I may have to get a cushier saddle.  Had some yucks with my teammate about inventing a saddle made out of Charmin.

Then last night I went to Team in Training (TNT) run practice.  There was absolutely no way I was going to run but as Fundraising captain I felt an obligation to show up at least.  I decided I would join the walking group.  That would be an easy workout and not exhaust me.   I have been feeling okay and the last thing I want to do is enter that burnout mode again.

I’ve known the TNT walking coach Barbara for years.  Mostly from races where she walks almost faster than I can run but she is has always been super supportive of me.  It had always been on my to-do list to work with her and get some speed-walking tips.  Now was as good a time as any.

To my surprise the walking group is actually two groups.  A run/walk group and a walk-only group.  Barbara was leading the run/walk group.  Groan.  I didn’t want to run.  What to do?  What to do?  I decided to start out with the run/walkers and then drop back to the walkers when I couldn’t keep up.

Turned out to be the loveliest bunch of gals.  Six of us including the coach.   One gal I was pacing with did NYC Marathon last year and is doing it again this year.  All of them ran a little faster than me but we were doing a 2 minute on 2 minute off so for 2 minutes I could dig in and run slightly faster and keep up.  The walk recoveries were great.  We were working on form and technique of keeping a smooth transition from running to walking and back.  I was making notes for my own Monday night power-walking group.

I was sucking wind on the westside hill but I attributed some of that to the pollen (cough, cough, pollen, yeah).  I really wanted to quit the first mile.  I hated this, my hamstrings are hurting from biking in the morning, I didn’t want to run anymore.  But the gals were so nice and friendly that I kept going.   (I figured if all else failed I could always turn around at the next lamppost.)   Barbara was staying with me for most of it.  Two gals behind us and two gals in front.  We were talking and catching up.  I noticed I was breathing a lot harder than she was….

Then the strangest thing happened.  By the time we got to Engineer’s gate (about 3 miles in) I was running.  Really running.  Running faster than the other gals who I couldn’t keep up with in the beginning.  They were now busting to catch up with me.  I wish I had my GPS to tell me how fast I was going because that might have been a 10 minute mile.  I haven’t run that fast in maybe a year.  Nothing hurt.  Felt good.  Wasn’t sucking wind.  I just had to suffer through the first 3 miles.  I honestly felt like I could have run for another hour at that point.  A miracle!!!  I felt great.  I was happy to stop while feeling good after a workout instead of feeling like burnt toast.  I managed to get two workouts done in one day WITHOUT feeling like I had overdone it.  It was just what the Doctor had ordered.  A nice easy/peasy 4 miles with some nice new training partners.

The other thing that has been going EXTREMELY well is my food.  I’ve been following Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat for Health.  A clear case of “when all else fails read the directions.”   I thought I had been following his plan but over the last couple of weeks I have really read his book in detail and have made quite a few adjustments to what I have been eating.  I’m still in what he calls Phase I of his 4 phases of Optimum eating but I am feeling really great and I won’t know until next Friday but I may actually have lost a pound or two (I’m not falling for any false pre-meeting readings).

I wouldn’t say this eating style is easy.  In fact it is not.  It takes a tremendous amount of shopping and cooking for all this nutrient-rich food.   If someone came in and looked at my refrigerator they would think it was a produce department.   I have five different kinds of lettuces, tons of fruits, various vegetables from brussel sprouts to acorn squash.  Varieties of beans and tofu.  It’s so much food but it is for doing all my own cooking and eating for nutrients.  I’ve even invented  my own dip/spread yesterday that came out REALLY good:

Ad Hoc Pesto Spread:

1 Can of Butter Beans (rinsed and drained though I’m not sure if you really need to do that.)

1 big chunk of parsley (that was in my fridge ’cause I now buy stuff like bunches of parsley)

1 clove of garlic (I used two and let’s just say that was a little over powering.)

Juice of 1 lemon (again ’cause now I have lemons on hand.)

a little bit of water for processing.

chilli powder.

Put it all in a blender (I have one of those little Magic Bullets)


THEN, this is where I get major creative points.

I sliced up some beefsteak tomatoes (’cause I have those too) into nice, fat 1/2 thick slices

I spread some of the dip that I made onto the tomatoes like sauce onto little pizzas.

Then I topped with some chopped salad out of a bag.  They looked adorable!!  Festive even.

Wow!!!  Nutrient rich, good Protein, no fat, low calorie and DELISH!!!!   Was a great healthy dish that was good to eat and good for you!!  I could feel my cells thanking me as they gobbled up the goodness and started to regenerate.

Little steps working towards a healthier me….


And sometimes there is nothing wrong with a little creative interpretation of directions:

find xborrowed from

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5/26/09 It FELT right!

Tuesday.  Feeling sooo much better.  Relieving myself of the pressure of racing is already starting to work wonders.  I feel like I’ve lifted a huge weight off my shoulders and every things seems a little more manageable.  I was holding so much guilt about not working out long enough/hard enough in order to get better by July 13th that I was driving myself crazy.  Still, at least once a day last week I had to remind myself that it was OKAY to not workout for umpteen hours.  Do what you feel like, do what you love.  Move for health and happiness.

Friday I headed off to CT for a nice long weekend.  No plans other that to find a shady spot under a tree and read a book.  Of course I caught myself a couple of times making up itineraries like doing a ride, then a hike and then maybe find a lake to swim in.   Whoa Nelly, you don’t have to do all that.  You can go shopping, go to a movie, relax.  You do not have to race, you do not have to race.

I decided to relax by reading cycling magazine reviews.  I wanted a new bike for awhile but now that I’m doing the women’s cycling clinic on Saturday, sooner seemed better than later.  I could have swapped out my aerobars on my tribike but I really didn’t want to start messing around with that.   Sylvia is a good loyal bike but she is really not suited for bike racing or any variation of that that I will be doing. (Better to blame the bike than my weakness).  I have a tribike, now I wanted a bike specifically for roadie work.  So I started to do my homework.

I narrowed it down pretty quickly.  I wanted first and foremost a Bianchi because I’ve always wanted a Bianchi.  Even when I wasn’t riding the look of a Bianchi was always so beautiful to me.  The color, the sleekness, the minimalist tubes.  It just reeked of simplicity and class.    I imagined myself being rail thin and sharing puffs off of filter-less cigarettes as I took my finisher laps riding my Bianchi.  (Hey, I said it was awhile ago… Maybe that was a previous life or something.)  I’d use filters now.

But now reading the reviews it seemed in my category (Enthusiast) and price range (under $3k and closer to $2k) the Jamis and the Cannondale were the top runners.  I’ll be honest, I never even heard of Jamis.  But after some research it turns out they made good bikes and it didn’t hurt that they were a local company in New Jersey.  I would look at them.

When I saw the picture of the Cannondale Six Carbon 5– white and pink, I said THAT’s IT!!!  It got great reviews and I loved the look so now I just had to go try it out.

There are several bike shops in my neck of the woods.  I looked around to see who carried what and found one shop in West Hartford that sold ONLY Jamis and Cannondale.  Well, it that wasn’t a sign what was? Off I went to check out the bikes.

Along the way I saw a young kid all decked out in his cycling gear on the side of the road with his bike on the ground and his cell phone to his ear.  I didn’t think twice.  I pulled over and asked if he needed help.   Yes, it was his first time out on his new bike and he hit a pot hole and he got a flat.  Wanted a ride to the bike shop.  He was surprised to see I had a bike rack with a bike already on it and I said I was on my way there anyway.  Jump in.

We chatted and I had to laugh when he said he bought his bike mail order on sale through REI.  Mailorder?  When you live in bike country?  He said he got it on sale and this was his first time using clipless pedals and he didn’t have any tools with him.  Nuf said.  Noobie….  He proceeded to tell me that all the hard core bikers go to Newington Bike Shop.  Hard Core?  I’m not so sure but okay.

The first shop was nice enough but they didn’t have any of the models I wanted.  They had all much lower range models.  I got to try the Cannondale but it wasn’t the one from the magazine and I was far less in love with bright red.  It was fine but it wasn’t screaming for me to buy it and take it home.  I wanted to keep looking and see if I could find my dream Bianchi.  I didn’t bother to try the Jamis.  Wasn’t floating my boat either.  I also didn’t care for the sales people very much.  They didn’t seem interested in what I was trying to do or offering me suggestions.  If I new what I wanted they would show it to me… or not.

So off I went to Newington Bike shop.  Big difference.  I walked around looking at models.  They had Bianchi but none of the models my friend from Bianchi had suggested.  All lower end stuff.  They seemed to have a lot of Trek bikes.  I remember reading a bit about them but I was at a loss.  Then the nicest kid came up and asked me if I needed help.  Henry.  I told him all about what I wanted to do.  Transition from triathlons to more road racing but I’m not committing to road racing ’cause I may not be fast enough.  Maybe build up to racing next year. I want to do a lot of long distance riding with the bike so it had to be comfortable but fast.  And strong.  And light.  And cool looking.  I told him about my love for Bianchi and he agreed they were beautiful.

He showed me the bike that Alberto Contador had rode in the Tour de France.  Not a replica, but for some reason this bike shop had the actual bike with a huge sign saying this is the actual bike he road.  I don’t know maybe it was on tour with Trek or something.  He showed me the same model in the human version.  It was called the Trek Madone.  Very nice bike.  It was a little out of my price range but Henry encouraged me to just try it.  He got it all set up for me and put my pedals on (I knew enough to bring my pedals and bike shoes to try bikes) and set me out the door.

I was going really fast.  This was a nice bike.   More than a nice bike.  It was like you’ve been driving a Volkswagen Bug and someone puts you in a Ferrari…   Wow.  I could feel myself hunkering down and putting the pedal down for a long ride.   The only thing was I felt it was on its own course.  It was almost so light and airy that I didn’t feel I could make a sharp turn with real confidence.  I know that sounds strange.  It wasn’t a bike for a course like say St. Anthony’s where I would have to turn a lot.  Maybe something like Tupper Lake where it is straight out and back and not a lot of turns.  I didn’t feel confident that I was a good enough rider for this bike.  It was pretty in white and I was faster on it but my heart wasn’t singing.

I came back and told Henry I like it but wasn’t 100% sure.  It was a little out of my price range and I’d have to think about it.   He then showed me a Felt bike.  Felt?  I thought those were the bikes with the funny seat stems.  Felt?  I didn’t know anyone who rode a Felt.  I don’t know.  Just try it, what’s the harm for comparison?  I knew he was trying to set me up.  Try this crappy bike and then you’ll really want to buy the Trek.  And worst of all the Felt bike was black.  All black.  Yuck.  I don’t want a black bike.

At first pedal I knew I wasn’t as fast as on the Madone.  Hmmm, yes I see why that bike was nicer.  But this is okay.  I’m doing okay with it.  Then I hit a corner, shwoosh.  No problem.    Hmmm.  That’s pretty good.  This actually feels pretty good to me, like it fits me better.   I could corner better.  I took it through a neighborhood and made a bunch of turns.  Wow, I might be able to do tricks on this bike.  And I could put my finger on it, but someone I was a little more upright if that made any sense?  I felt more in control.   Okay, okay, I don’t totally hate you even if you are a black bike.  You’re pretty good.

I brought it back to Henry and told him what I thought.   He explained the speed issue probably has to do with the wheels.  On the Trek I was riding on Bontgrager  xx lite wheels.  On the Felt I was riding on the generic Mavics (not Ksyriums).  He offered to put the Bontgrager wheels on the Felt.  “And raise the seat one more inch, okay?”  I said.  And off I went.

Wow!!!  That’s all I could say was wow!!!  I was fast, I was crisp, I was cutting corners, I was totally in control.   I felt at one with the bike.  Like we had been riding together forever.  I was without a doubt, 100% in love.   Within ten minutes of riding my mind was made up.  This was my bike.  They may not be my wheels but this was my bike.  “You’re coming home with me.”  I said.  I felt the bike hum in adoption happiness.

As it turned out the bike was on sale for Memorial Day Weekend.   The wheels unfortunately were not.  Bontrager race wheels would have to wait.  That I couldn’t do.  I decided my best compromise was to buy the bike now and be ready for the racing clinic and my new riding adventures but hold off on the wheels until I could do some research (AKA ask my friend Donald what to buy.)

So I brought Betty home.  Ironically I had already decided on the name Betty.  When I thought I was going to have a Bianchi — Betty made sense.  When I was looking at the Kona Kapu (an earlier interest) it was bright yellow and that reminded me of the Bee story ( for a new and improved version of the Bee Story click here.) so I thought Betty the Bee was still appropriate.  But now here I was with a totally black bike and Black Betty seemed like a really badash name for a bike.  So Betty it would be.

Driving home I was worried.  Did I just do the stupidest thing on the planet?  Yeah the bike looked beautiful and Henry went on and on about the special carbon, blah, blah, blah.  I needed to read some reviews.   Whew, I was lucky.  My impulse buy turned out okay.    I couldn’t find anything but good reviews on my Felt Z35.   And all the things I liked were exactly how they described it. A comfortable bike for long rides.  A less aggressive position which felt much better for me.  A real quality piece of equipment for the money.  That made me happy.  And I couldn’t find anywhere close to the price I paid.  That made me even happier.

Sunday morning I took Betty out with some nerves showing. Would I still like her?  Had I been too hasty? We rode throughout the valley and had a lovely little ride.  All good.

Sylvia (my old Specialized road bike) got an upgrade too.  She got fat nubby tires so she can do some multi-terrain riding.  She also got a new seat ’cause her old one was worn out.  We are going to do the Deerfield Dirt Road Randonnee in August.   Described as “one of the hardest century rides in the world….”   Registration closes May 29th so if you want to join in on the fun, get on it! click here.

So the three sisters are all happy. Sylvia will be my off road bike, Tina will be for Triathlons and get a little break this year and Betty will be my new road bike. And this summer it will be all about having fun, no race pressure, just getting faster and fitter and happier.



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5/19/09 Get Back Up

Tuesday.  Things looking a little brighter today.  I was glad I let out my frustrations and talked to my coach about not wanting to race and coming up with some other plans.  Sometimes just saying things out loud makes them not so terrible.  Same thing with my eating plan.  I think I got so frustrated that I got mad and mad makes me want to work harder.  I’m not willing to go down without a fight.

I took out my Dr. Fuhrman “Eat to Live” book and followed the recipes for “day 1.”  THIS TIME, however, I entered everything into my Weight Watchers tracker.  I started to see some measurments I could do better.  I think I’m a little too liberal with my measurements for the nuts and oils.  Measuring them and entering them into my WW tracker knocked quite a few calories off my daily total.  I may have been good-fooding myself.  We’ll see on Friday how this new system works.  Someday I’ll get to the point of going by hunger meter but it’s not now.

I will say that the dinner I made last night was really good.  I thought it was going to be ton of points but it turned out to be okay even when I put it into my tracker.  I will list the recipe at the bottom and I highly recommend trying it.

I will speak more about Dr. Fuhrman as time goes on.  I agree with a lot of what he says (sometimes we overeat because we are not giving our bodies the nutrients they need so they send hunger signals to keep feeding.)  We’ll see.

Loving my Monday night powerwalking gals.  Six showed up last night and every body worked so hard.  That gives me some motivation to keep working hard myself.  I’m into the powerwalk right now.  Not feeling any need to run, but I’ll just let that work its way out.  For right now I’m all about the bike.  I want to get better, stronger and faster.

Had a good bike session this morning.  The dropped me down a group which I’m 100% okay with.   There were enough people to make 5 groups so instead of being in group 2 I think of it as group 2b.  Everyone was my pace or better (or way better) but not everyone had good bike handling skills.   I will be very happy to stay with this group (as long as they will have me.)  I worked hard, I didn’t get dropped but I was still the slowest on the hills.  We did some standing climbing and I just realized how much strength I’ve lost.  I have to build up that muscle but I’m ready for it.  I feel I’m about to make my comeback though.  Another month and I will be stronger.

So I live to fight another day.  Someday this all might get easier but for now I have to fight for it.  I have to fight for what I want.  Everybody has their strengths and weaknesses.   Everybody has their weak moments.  It’s not how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get back up.


Recipe from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live

Chunky Sweet Potato Stew (7 pts)

Serves 2 — Prep Time: 25 mins


  • 1 tbls olive oil
  • 1 onion, thickly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can stewed tomatoes with juice (low or no salt)
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeeled, cut into 1/2 inch piences
  • 1/2 cup canned garbanzo beans (chick peas) (low or not salt) drained
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • black pepper to taste
  • Mrs. Dash seasoning to taste


Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and cook about 5 minutes, until slightly softened, separating slices into rings.  AAdd garlic and cook 1 minute.

Mix in stewed tomatoes with juice, sweet potatoes, garbanzo beans and rosemary.  Bring mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.  Cover and cook 5 minutes.  Add zucchini.  Cover and cook until sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

I had it with some brown rice and thought is was excellent.

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5/18/09 The Wall

Monday.  In marathons they talk about hitting the wall –usually around mile 18-20 or so.  A point where you think you just can’t go on and everything comes to a stop.  The hard part is passing through the wall.  Once on the other side you can keep running.  I’m too slow of a runner to actually hit the wall — I just trot along at my own pace.  But when it comes to my overall race schedule I believe I have hit it.  I’m done.  I don’t want to race any more.

Say what?  I know this is a shocker to a lot of people.  I have done a lot of racing in the last six years.  I started this whole journey in May of 2003.  I remember it was May because I was trying desperately to swim two laps in the pool down at our place on Amelia Island memorial day weekend.  I was training for my first tri.   Since then I have done the following:

Running races:  63 races in total including the following distances:

  • 5k — 7
  • 4 milers – 12
  • 5 milers – 9
  • 8k – 1
  • 10k – 7
  • 15k – 2
  • 10 milers – 2
  • Half Marathon – 19!!!  (Yes that is not a typo, NINETEEN half marathons)
  • 18 milers – 1
  • Marathon – 2
  • Ultra Marathon – 1

Triathlons:  18 in total including the following distances:

  • sprint — 1
  • Olympic — 11
  • Half Ironman – 5
  • Full Ironman  – 1

Swimming: 6 in total including the following distances:

  • 1 mile – 4
  • 1/2 mile – 2

That’s a total of 87 races in six years.  Whew.  And that is not including the countless hours and miles of training to get ready for those 87 races.  I think I’m just raced out.

It’s not that I don’t want to train.  I do.  I want to continue to swim, bike and run and play tennis and do pilates and yoga.  I just don’t want to HAVE to do it.  I want to get up and go move because I feel like moving, NOT because I have to beat some clock or record some time.

I’d be lying to myself if I said it wasn’t because I’m slower now.  That’s a part of it.  I trained all winter to move for long periods of time and my pace shows it now.  That’s frustrating.  I feel that I should have some greater level of fitness and/or speed for all the work I have put in.  I feel ripped off and I just don’t feel like doing it any more.  I don’t WANT to start back at square one and build myself back up.  I DESERVE to be at square two.

It was a bad weekend for me.  I have spent the last two week being a whole foods nut.  I did not eat anything processed.  I ate only vegetables, fruits, grains nuts and seeds and only those listed in Joy Bauer and Dr. Fuhrman’s books.  Everything was chopped, steamed and nutritious.  I didn’t have one bit of sugar and zero salt.  I made all my own food and followed all the recipes in the books.  I went through withdrawl the first week and felt I blossomed the second week.  I went to Weight Watchers to get weighed in and I was UP 2 pounds over the two weeks (I missed last week).  I almost died.  This cannot be!!  What the heck?   I DESERVE to lose weight darn it!!!  Granted I didn’t REALLY count every point.  I was eating a lot of beans and legumes  —  measuring but not counting points.  So maybe I over did on those?  But I didn’t DESERVE to gain any weight.  I was just beside myself.  NO FAIR, NO FAIR, NO FAIR!

So what did I do?  I walked up to get my race number for Saturday’s race muttering the whole time under my breath “I hate this, I hate this, everything stinks.”  I walked across the park muttering under my breath “I hate this park, I hate this park, this park stinks.”  I walked right over to blossom cafe and ordered myself a carrot ginger fresh squeezed juice and big salad, a side order of brussel sprouts and kept muttering under my breath “this is so unfair, so unfair, so unfair.”   Then the waiter asked if I would like anything else.  “Anything Else?  Well, yes, I believe I would like something else.  I would like the biggest, fattest piece of carrot cake you have.  Yes, that is what I would like.  Bring me cake please.”  And then I ate the cake.  Every freakin’ crumb.  (It’s a vegan restaurant so no worry on the dairy part.)

Friday night I just kept muttering to myself.  “I am fed up.  This all sucks.  I work so hard and this is the thanks I get?  Shut up Joy Bauer.  Dr. Furhman can take a hike.  Becks Diet Pollution is more like it.  Weight Watchers — yeah watch your weight creep up!!  I’m not going to do any of this anymore.  I quit.  I give up.  I hate everything.  I’m going to eat Pizza and potato chips for every meal for the rest of my life.  So there!!”

I had a 6 a.m. swim practice the next morning followed by a 10k race in the park.  I didn’t want to go.  I didn’t want to do it.  “Why?  So I can just waddle around the park?”   Finally I said to myself  “fine, if you don’t want to go you don’t have to go.”   But I HAVE to go.  I have a race in 8 weeks.  I’m not ready to race.  My biking stinks right now, my running is terrible and my swimming is well, my swimming — that never changes.  I can’t be ready to do a half Ironman in 8 weeks.  I know what it takes to train for a half Ironman.  I’m not close to on track.

“So don’t race.”   I heard the voice in my head say.   What?  Don’t race?  Don’t race what?  Tomorrow’s race or the July race?  Or the August race?  Or the November race?  Which race?   “None of them.  Don’t race ANY OF THEM.”  I don’t think I can do that. I think the world might stop rotating on it’s axis if I stop racing.  I might enter some alternate universe or something.  This would be like an episode of LOST where nothing would make sense.  I just couldn’t NOT RACE.  That would be absurd.  “So Race then, and shut up about it.” Geesh, what a crabby inner voice.  Where are those angel voices that were so nice in the desert?  What happened to them?

I got up in the morning and got ready to go swim and changed my mind.  Just go do the race and that will be enough.  My legs felt pretty good.  Just go and see how you do.  No pressure, just feel it out.  Run how you want, see how you feel.

I got in line to start the race.   Felt okay.  Then the rain came.  Oh yes.  More rain.  Race, rain, race, rain.  That’s all I do, race in the rain.  The gun goes off and I’m just soaked.   The rain goes away after about 10 minutes but I’m miserable and now I’m wet.  I get to the one mile marker and my watch reads 12:30.  I walked less than 1 minute of it.  “Well that just stinks. It’s only a 10k and you can’t get down to the 11’s?  That stinks.”   I continued on.  I hit the 2nd mile marker and the strangest thing happened.  It’s never happened to me before.  I hit my watch at the mile marker.  I stopped.  I took off my chip and I turned around.  I quit.  I didn’t want to go on.  I didn’t want to race.   I was willing to run but I only wanted to run on the bridle path.  I did not want to pound that pavement with all those people around me running like drones up the hills down the hills.  This is not fun.  Period.  And that was it.  I went back to the start of the race to wait for my friends to finish.  I deliberately DNF’d for no apparent reason.

After the “race” I had a lovely brunch with my girlfriends.  Then I went to go see a movie and had dinner with another bunch of friends and I drank a Margarita.  “Who cares?”  I thought.  I can shop, chop and eat broccoli for 2 weeks and gain weight.  Might as well have a maragarita AND chips AND guacamole.  And then let’s have ANOTHER margarita.  I’ll show all these diets that are “not diets.”   You are too diets!!!  Get over yourselves.  Every book that starts with “diets don’t work, follow this system.”   Your system is a diet!!!  Shut up.  (Obviously I’m still a little angry.)

Sunday we canceled our ride ’cause the forecast was calling for rain.  It didn’t rain.  That made me mad too.   I didn’t do anything.  I felt miserable.  I was fed up.  I felt defeated.  I’ve been pedaling so fast and going nowhere.   I give up.

This morning I woke up and decided that I’m going to try another week.  I pulled out Dr. Fuhrman’s book.  I wrote out my menus.  I went to the grocery store.  I measured my food.  I wrote it in my journal.  I will keep trying.  Why? You might ask.   Because I don’t have a choice.  The alternative is equally unappealing.

I’ve hit my wall.  Now I have to work on breaking through it.  When I get on the other side I will be able to keep going.  For now, I just have get through this and put one foot in front of the other.  The only difference is, for now I’m not going to race.  I’m not going to race again until I really want to race.  I’m not doing the Brooklyn Half marathon.  I’m giving up on doing all 5 half marathons for the year (had been a goal).  I’m going to the getting started clinic for women cyclists who want to start bike racing.  It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  I’m going to keep working out, but I’m not racing.  I’m doing the Rhode Island Half Ironman.  I’m not doing Timberman.  I’m also not doing the New York City Marathon, unless I wake up any of those mornings and feel like doing them… or not….  either way, I’m okay.  This is a very weird feeling….


“Is it time to go home yet? I keep clicking these damn shoes, but nothing happens”
Robin Hecht

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5/14/09 Mystery Solved?

Thursday.  Wow.  You could knock me over with a feather.  Just got a call from my doctor and my blood tests for Vitamin D came back and I have a Vitamin D deficiency.  Say what?  I’m outdoors almost every single day.  I was even in the desert for goodness sakes.  How could I have a vitamin D deficiency?  Apparently this is VERY common but also a very interesting piece to solving this puzzle called my body.

Acceptable levels seem to be somewhere between 20-50.  My level is 15.  I don’t think that is danger zone (I read 10-12 is danger of health).  So I am going to take extra strength Premcal 2 tablets a day for 2 months and get rechecked.  When I looked up Premcal it said has  Vitamin D and Calcium.  Apparently my Calcium level was just a little low too.  Pieces of puzzle starting to fit.

From the booklet he gave me to read (’cause I guess he is just too busy to explain all this in person) Vitamin D deficiency seems to be related to many health concerns:  osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke, cancer, diabetes,  parathyroid problems (let’s see what the biopsy says), immune function.

Here comes the really shocking paragraph, it is like they read my diary or something.  Vitamin D deficiency may be characterized by Muscle Pain, Weak Bones, Low Energy and Fatigue, symptoms of Depression and Mood Swings and Sleep Irregularities.  This is nothing more than shocking to me!!!  Why didn’t my other doctor find this when I complained of all of these symptoms instead of saying it is just menopause.  She never tested me for Vitamin D.

Now, check this out.  I almost fell off my chair.  “Moreover, people who have a reduced capacity to mobilize vitamin D often weigh more and have more body fat than those with full capacity.  In the past 20 years multiple studies have shown a correlation between higher blood levels of vitamin D and leaner body mass.”   SHUT UP!!!!  Menopause my foot!!!

I’ve been reading Dr. Fuhrman’s book called Eat to Live and he maintains that when you are constantly hungry and craving foods it is probably from an imbalanced system.  You have too much of something (like sugar) and not enough of something else (like Vitamin D).  Your body is going to crave foods to give you the missing Vitamins.   Ready for the hammer?

So what foods am I missing to get Vitamin D.  Here it comes.  Strict Vegetarians are most at risk for Vitamin D deficiency because it comes from nutrient-dense foods like fatty fish, egg yolks, fortified milk and other diary products.     Hmmm….  that poses a problem for a Vegan….

Yes, yes I know I’m supposed to be taking a multi vitamin and I do.  And I take extra b-12 but i don’t take extra Vitamin D because I figure I’m in the sun a lot.  I just read the label on my multi vitamin and it gives 400 ius of Vitamin D and I’m supposed to take 2,000 iu every day.   Not enough ius and I’m not taking it often enough.

I’ve been feeling really good this week based on the foods that I’ve been eating but I’m still not feeling exactly zippy.

I’m not willing to start eating animal products so don’t even ask.  I’m going to keep wearing sunscreen (which apparently blocks vitamin D).  I will take the premcal and see how I feel in 2  months.  (Apparently it takes that long to get your levels back up.)

I don’t think for even one second that this is an answer to my prayers anda  cure-all.  I’m still going to keep plugging away with eating unprocessed foods and monitoring my caloric intake, but I think the process will seem a little less futile.  I feel a great relief that maybe, just maybe there is some answer to my physical mysteries that doesn’t just get chalked up to menopause….


Click here for a little Vitamin D reading.

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5/12/09 Just Try

Tuesday.  Had another great session with my Monday night power walking group.   I’m feeding off of the incredible spirit and effort they are putting out.  Makes me want to work harder for my own workouts.

Got dropped again by my bike group this morning (5 a.m. in the park).  It’s a new “season” so we had a few more people join our group.  When I saw who had joined our group I knew I was in trouble.  I am clearly the slowest in our group.  This is going to be a huge challenge for me.  I got dropped on the 3rd loop this morning.  I should be happy with that because I’m hanging on a little longer each time but when I say I’m off by a mile by the end I mean a real mile.  I asked the coach after the session if he thought I should drop down to the next group and he said no so I’m just going to keep trying.  Of course there is always the post work-out second guessing.  Really?  I couldn’t have dug just a little deeper?  Just a little?  I’ll try again next week.

I’m doing pretty well on my eating plan.  I felt something click this weekend.  I wish I could explain it.  I have felt this before.  I feel calmer.  Not starving all the time anymore — I’m hungry but I’m not starving.   It was a hard first ten days.  But now I seem to have detoxed from whatever was in my system.   I have lost a couple of pounds but I feel lighter than that.  I feel hopeful that this might work as long as long as I keep going.  Nothing processed, no sugar of any kind.  Just good whole foods and lots of shopping, chopping, cooking and cleaning.  This is very hard work but I’m hoping that soon it will become somewhat second nature.  Just keep trying.  What’s the alternative? Can’t just give up.

Tonight starts my double workout night.  I do a run with the Team in Training group.  Should be an easy run — up the West side and around the Bridle path.  Let’s see if I can do it without getting dizzy.  I feel 100% okay right now and I worked up a sweat this morning with no dizzy.  Weather is nice.  Just try.

Tomorrow I have another opportunity to be humiliated at early morning tennis then soak my sorrows in a swim workout.

I feel summer coming.  The weather is nice.  The workouts are starting to happen (although with sporadic success). My calories are under control and I’m optimistic that they will continue to be so.  When this all comes together this will be a beautiful thing. (Notice how I deleted  the “if” and changed it to “when”?)   I feel the power beginning to build.  Now how to harness it.



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5/11/09 Trippin’

Monday.  Appears I have weathered another weekly storm (literally and figuratively).  Rain, rain and more rain all last week and my gloom was augmented by my adherence to my food experiment.  Unfortunately my experiment seems to have worked.  I say unfortunatley ’cause it was hard!!

I had picked up a variety of books on metabolism after 50.  I know I’m not 50 yet but apparently nature seems to think I am so let’s not quibble about 3 1/2 months.  I stocked my shelves with books from Suzanne Somers who is going to explain to me the wonderful world of psuedohormones (will explain what they are when I figure it out.)  I got Jillian Michaels book on busting through your metabolism and Joy Bauer’s book called The Joy Life Diet.  I decided to try the first week of the Joy Life Diet and see how it went.  I was to detox from all processed foods and all sugars.  Then I was to move my starchy carbs (like potato, brown rice and whole grain breads) to the day time and not eat any of those (or other starchy veggies) at night.  The book appeared to accept Veganism and gave options for that so I decided to give it a try.  Not so easy.  Once again the book follows the tenants of WW — weigh your food, write it down, set your goals, be accountable.

I really didn’t think I ate that many processed foods.  But I realized that when I settled in my my mind that processed meant any food that came out of a machine I started to rethink.  My frozen Amy’s Vegan dinners — out.  All pasta — whole wheat, quinoa, buckwheat or otherwise — out.  Veggie burgers, veggie meats — out.  Soy yogurts (27 grams of sugar?  say what?) — out.  My Amazing Green Foods bars covered in “healthy” chocolate — out.   All my “health” bars — out.  Even my crystal meth I mean crystal light lemonade (might as well be crystal meth for how addicting it is) — out.  I found myself in my kitchen thinking Oh My God, what will I eat?!?!?!  I left tofu and soy milk and Ezekiel bread in the fridge ’cause I had to have something.

Off to the store to buy tons and tons of veggies.  I wanted to buy more fruits but for week 1 I was going to be limited to 2 fruits a day during my detox phase.  The other limit was to three defined meals a day with one afternoon snack.  No more eating every 2-3 hours.

I have done detoxes before and know how uncomfortable they can be.  I thought this time it might not be so bad because I had a bit of a running start.  No alcohol for over a month now (don’t even think about it)  I don’t really eat “sweets”  per se (or so I thought).  I really thought this would just be a little tweaking.  Not so.

By day two I couldn’t stick to just 3 meals a day.  I was starving.  So I adapted and said I could eat when I was hungry and that meant every 2 hours until 1 p.m. when I finally feel full.  Then I’d eat again at 5 or 6 and that would be it.  This is my normal M.O. and I didn’t seem to be able to break it.  But I stuck to the veggies and protein, limited my starches to whole grains and only for lunch and dinner.

By day four I broke down and bought a pineapple and ate it throughout the day.  Too hungry and needed some sugar.  An apple and orange wasn’t doing it.  If I stuck with eating this way until the end of the week I would be satisfied.  Lots of veggies, tofu, beans, grains in the early hours.  Writing everything down.  Bootcamp.

On Thursday morning I took a tennis session with Marlie.  I had a game scheduled for Friday and I knew I better hit some tennis balls at least once or it was going to be bad.  That went well.  Felt like I was moving okay (though she wasn’t running me because I had run practice that night.)

Thursday afternoon I went to the doctors for some more tests.  Apparently during my accident in Lake Placid in 2007 when they scanned me for injuries they found some nodules on my thyroid and wrote it in the report.  The doctors were more interested in my collapsed lung so nobody paid any attention to the nodules.  (Apparently they are very common).  When my doctor was pretending to fill out my paper work for Marthon des Sables (which she never signed) she came across the mention of these nodules and sent me for an ultrasound.  They found four marble-sized things and my doctor wanted me to go get them checked out.  (Again, nothing too unusual, people have nodules on their thyroid all the time).    I went to the eye/ear/nose/throat doctor and he shot some kind of anesthesia up my nose and fed some wiring thing down my nose and then down my throat.  No big deal, took about ten minutes total.  He wanted to take some additional blood tests and told me to make an appointment to have them biopsied just in case.  (Will go on the 20th)  Again I am not worried because quite frankly had I not had my bike accident in 2007 they never would have seen this and I can’t feel them and have no symptoms other than gaining a lot of weight in the last six months.

It took me awhile to get up the nerve to ask the doctor if he thought my thyroid was causing my recent weight gain.  “No, your numbers are fine, I’m afraid it’s a result of your genetics and…”  wait for it…. “your age.”   Shut up!!  I hate you!!  I AM NOT OLD!!    Yes I will acknowledge that genetics are a factor as my father’s side of the family were the fat landowners and my mother’s side the skinny peasants.  I got landowner hips and peasant ankles.  But something just gets my ire up when someone tells me there is nothing you can do — just because you can’t fit into your jeans does that mean you can’t fight your genes?  Just eat less and exercise more.  Exercise MORE?  There is no MORE!!  Eat less, yes I will concede that there were plenty of moments where I was not the perfect eater but I’m not over-eating to the point where I should be gaining.  I also know that I get hungry, truly hungry more often than my friends.  I’m going to try to figure this out.  Okay and maybe lay off the pasta.

I went to run practice on Thursday night.  Almost immediately I started to feel dizzy and sweaty.  I figured it was the heat and humidity and I wasn’t used to it.  When I saw the trees start to dance and the road doing a wave I realized something was not right. If I didn’t know any better I would say I was high — I felt like I was tripping.   By the time I made it up the reservoir I  felt like I had gone 20 miles (it’s about 1 mile).   I was breathing much too hard considering I had to walk some of it.   But it just never occurs to me to quit.  I always figure I’ll get a second wind.  I knew this workout and it wasn’t a bad one.  By the fourth out and back segment I usually kick in.  Just give it time.  Not this time.  I was coming back from the first out and back and had to walk again.  Something not right.  Dizzy again.   Felt like a bad trip.   I felt a fever (though it could have just been the heat).  I decided that I wasn’t doing myself any good and I would just walk home.  I ran into one of the gals from the team and talked to her for a bit and told her about my day.

She said she didn’t think I should be running after anesthesia.  I said I didn’t think it was a big deal ’cause he just sprayed it locally and it wasn’t like I was out or anything.  It was just a local anestetic.  And he didn’t say to NOT go running.  (Maybe I should have asked?) I don’t know, I went home and went to bed.  I think it was the heat.

Friday I had to play a tennis game against some guy I’ve never played.  The club told me  “This will be a good match for you, you haven’t been playing and he’s not quite your level so it will be a good match.”  HA!!!    We warmed up nice and easy — he missed a few easy shots so I figure this is one of those guys that is just inconsistent — has a good shot or two but just wait him out and he’ll miss.  HA! HA!!!  We are in the third game by the time I noticed he was a lefty.  That’s how out of tennis I am.  Something I would have picked up on his first shot in warmup I didn’t notice until the third game!

He had a wicked topspin crosscourt which was forcing me to run to my backhand side.  I took a bad step and felt something go in my left knee.  Darn!!  I was not going to be able to muscle my way out of this game.  He took the first set 6-0.  6-0?!?!  I couldn’t remember the last time I got bageled.  Couldn’t remember the last time I played a set either…  Geesh….

Second set I figured out what I had to do.  He was guarding his backhand because he wanted to capitalize on his forehand.  Okay, give him what he wants.  I just kept driving into his backhand until he was far off court then drove it to his forehand forcing him into a running forehand.  Success!!  Aha, all I needed was to find the Achilles heel.  He had no running forehand.  That got me about 3 games until he got really mad and started to wail on the ball and discoverd my Achilles Heel — I couldn’t run to my backhand.  I had tweaked my knee just enough to make me nervous.  I just let the cross court backhand shots fly by.  Not sure I could have returned them anyway but a little running for them might have made him think twice instead of thinking he was at batting practice.  I lost a miserable 0-6, 3-6, 0-6.   Of course that made me vow that I would start playing tennis every day seeking revenge!

Had swim practice Saturday morning and that went surprisingly okay.  My 200’s are a little off but I was never fast anyway and at least I was doing them.  Felt like I gave a good effort.  That made me feel like I should join masters swim and swim every day until I become a better swimmer.

I’ve joined up with the Team in Training program for the Marathon this year.  I’m going to be one of the fundraising captains.  I joined the walk group for their initial workout on Saturday morning.  Kind of fun.   I think this will be a good fit with Trilife to get me through to the Marathon.  I’ll be doing my Power walk group on Monday nights.   Tuesday mornings I’ll be biking with Trilife, Tuesday nights I’ll do an easy run with the Marathon team.  Wednesday will be swim day.  Thursday I will try to get extra (easy) bike in the a.m. and run with Trilife on Thursday p.m.  Friday swim or yoga.  Sat and Sun long bike and long run.  I’m willing to drop whatever doesn’t feel right on any given day.    But I would like to try to figure out how to sqeeze a little tennis in there.  Maybe I can just give up work?  That does seem to get in the way of a lot!

I’m also willing to drop the Rhode Island Half Ironman in July if I don’t feel up for that — though I’m eyeing with a target in mind.   I’m just taking everything one day at a time.  I am capable of compromise.

This weekend I picked up Dr. Fuhrman’s book “Eat to Live” and I think I really like it.  It’s a combo of all the books I’ve been reading and it leans heavily toward the Vegan diet.  He has some radical things to say in there about anti-aging and how foods can affect how you age.  When I read it I realized that the previous week I had eaten pretty much by his plan.  His book goes much more into the science of why and not so much “just do this.”  I’ll be trying to stick to this eating style as much as possible.   One of the things he said really struck me — I’m paraphrasing — ‘how you eat on this diet is how I eat now, you won’t be going “off” anything, you start to eat when you are hungry and not eat when you are not.  Once you are cleared of the toxins that are making you crave certain foods and giving you false hunger signals you will relax into a healthy, normal eating pattern.’  Of course this is my dream.  I looked over my food journal for the last week and realized that I ate on plan.  I woke up this morning feeling pretty good and after 1 week of doing all of this I actually finally saw the scale move in the downward direction!  I’m sure some of it is water weight but I feel lighter and I feel good.  Let’s see what happens at Weight Watchers on Friday (all of this works within Weight Watchers so I will be continuing with that as well.)

Fifty Schmifty, I’m not going down without a fight.  I have some goals for this year and I feel ready and prepared to tackle them with gusto.  Right after my nap.


garfield monday

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