Monthly Archives: September 2011

9/22/11 Day 4

Thursday.  Only one more day to go of my reboot.  I’m not really sure what will change now.  I’m eating clean.  I’m eating healthy.  It would be great if I could just continue that.   I will say even yesterday was hard for me.  Today I slept late but I am up and functioning.  I do feel that I am detoxing and I’m slowly feeling my system creep towards normal. I can’t blame it for having a hard time finding its way back — hasn’t been there for 52 years…..

Ironically, hunger has not been an issue at all.  In fact that has surprised me the most.  I’m less hungry that I usually am.  I feel no cravings at all.  But it is my head that has felt foggy for lack of a better word.  I keep asking myself what would make me feel better?  A shot of my 5 hour energy drink.  But I’m not taking it because it has caffeine in it.  Today I feel functional but not tip-top.  I’m not feeling this burst of energy they talk about.  Perhaps my body needs longer to cleanse.

I have been taking all the vitamins and herbs including my Iron pills (the big ugly horse-sized ones they used to make me take, but I think I need those right now.)

Couple of things I have learned.  In the past, the ravenous hunger I would experience was probably what Dr. Furhman calls “Toxic Hunger” more often than real hunger.  I think a lot of what we think of as hunger is just our bodies crying out for more sugar, caffeine and other drugs.  I did not know that we have to detox from wheat even.  Really?  Wow.  Of course there is psychological cravings too, but I haven’t really been experiencing any cravings of any kind so far.

I’m also glad that I have made most of my meals and it really wasn’t that bad.  Quinoa, brown rice and last night my first time having black rice which is supposed to be very good for you.  Chick peas, black beans, tempeh and tofu,  Bales of Kale, sacks of spinach all on hand make it actually kind of easy to whip up a quick dish.  Granted I don’t think I can keep to this limited menu but it was easy.  I will be buying bags of lemon going forth.  That morning cup of hot water with lemon really seems to curb my hunger a little.  Lemon on all my greens.  Lemon/Avocado/little water is my new go-to for making a dressing.  I am getting used to my juicer but I have to admit, it was just easier this morning to go down to the health shop on the first floor of my building and let him make it for me.

I’m going to continue with my morning smoothie because I actually like it and I think I’m getting a lot of nutrients.

I’m glad I’ve done this.  I don’t think I could ever do it again so I’ve decided for right now that I will not resume caffeine, alcohol, sugar or bread.  It’s just too hard to detox again.  At a later point maybe but like quitting cigarettes it has just been too difficult to do this cleanse and now that I realize how addicted I was, I am not interested in going back and ever having to go through this again.  The one thing I do miss and I’m looking forward to is more fruit.  Who knows, I’m probably addicted to that too. A pineapple sounds so decadent!  Psst, over here, I got some plums.  Nice ones from Guatemala.  Top Shelf.

This morning I was thinking… Hmmm what will be my celebratory meal on Saturday?  What do I want that will be different?  You know what I came up with?  Roasted Acorn squash stuffed with sautéed mushrooms, celery and quinoa…  I don’t even know where that came from….  How weird is that?  I didn’t think Zen Palate Sesame medallions (which I now understand are not as healthy as they seem and understand my addition to that dish because it is full of wheat and sugar.)

So one more day.  But I’m up and working today which is an improvement.  I’ll see if I can manage a walk this afternoon.

It is funny, five days doesn’t seem like such a long time until you try to detox, then time becomes like dragging a net through water.  But actually it’s five plus seven because I didn’t have any alcohol, caffeine or sugar last week either.  Man, I should be totally cleansed by now…  Even in cleansing I’m back of the pack.


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9/20/11 Day 2

Tuesday. Day 2 of my reboot. This is boring, don’t bother reading. I don’t feel like writing but I do want to document how I am feeling. I actually don’t feel great but I can’t say why yet. I’m not hungry. I don’t have the headache anymore. I don’t feel exhausted (though I did sneak in a short nap during an online class I am taking — not sure I wouldn’t have fallen asleep with or without the reboot.) But I feel strange. Drained? No not exactly that either. Not weak either. I can’t really describe this other than I don’t really want to do very much. According to the plan notes I should feel better by tomorrow and find this amazing energy… Yeah, I’m not really visualizing that. I think this is the part they call cleansing. I think my system is slowly revealing the layers and layers of chemicals and crap in my cells. I think it is like dusting your dresser for a year thinking you are keeping it clean. Then you finally moving the dresser to find a bunch of dust bunnies behind it. Don’t even think about looking in the closet….

I did go for a 1 hour power-walk/jog this morning. Per directions, keep moving but nothing strenuous. I felt fine for that. I am going to up my heart range because I’m now just cheating all over the place on my run/walks. I need it to beep at me at a higher heart rate because I can go harder than before. I think heart rate training is working for me but I have to be careful to not cheat. I could have run more than I did. But it’s reboot week so I’m cutting myself a break. Just 1 hour of easy exercise a day. Tomorrow swim.

The food I’ve been eating has been fine. I can describe it in on word. Green. Except for my morning smoothie (where the only fruit I’m allowed is there), it’s a lot of greens. Last night I had a bale of kale and 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1/2 cup of chick peas. I toasted the quinoa in a dry skillet first so it was more aromatic. I made a dressing of 1/4 avocado and lemon juice. (You must put some kind of citrus on your kale to get the absorption.) It was good.

Per the directions, I’m taking Milk Thistle and Magnesium Citrate at breakfast and dinner. I have to time the Magnesium 4 hours away from my other medications but it worked out. Milk Thistle is a liver cleanser and Magnesium helps flush out your colon. Apparently if you suffer from constipation, Magnesium should be your friend. Who knew? I know several friends have suggested Magnesium to help me with cramps so we’ll see if I don’t have any muscle cramps this week.

Here’s the one good thing I can say that has happened. I slept 8 hours last night without my normal 2:30 wake up, thrash around for 2 hours. Let’s see if the same happens tonight. That alone would be a huge benefit for me.

Lunch today was a basket of broccoli, 4 oz of tempeh and 1/2 cup brown rice. I put a lot of lemon juice on it. I browned the tempeh in my cast iron skillet (you have to cook tempeh — it’s not like tofu — tempeh must be cooked!) Felt fine. I’ve not been hungry at all today. I’ve been drinking a lot of herbal tea.

So that’s my report of day 2 of my reboot. Let’s see if I get the miraculous energy tomorrow….

Friday seems so very far away…


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9/18/11 Found

Sunday.  Found:  One nemesis.  Approximately 300 feet long and really, really tall.

On Saturday I did a nice little hike to the top of Avon Mountain or Hublien Tower.  It’s not far, maybe a mile and a half up?  But it is UP.  First part is very steep and then flattens out.  You could actually do some nice trail running when you get up there.  I took my time and appreciated the views.  I was giving myself a day off from “you gotta work out.”  Beautiful Fall day.  I didn’t time it.  I didn’t measure it.

Last week I was mad at myself for not doing an out and back on Barndoor Hill road because I was scared of climbing back up the long descent.  It haunted me all week.  This week I was determined to do the out and back.  On the return I wasn’t expecting a little bump that I didn’t even notice going down.  Trying to climb back up said bump I faltered. It was in the shade so I couldn’t quite see the grade until I got on it and I knew I was in trouble.  The problem was the left side of the road was a little better grade but it wasn’t safe to ride on that side in case a car came so I was stuck in this deep turn.  My bike was at a sixty degree angle.  I was in the easiest gear on Syliva (a triple).  I hesitated too long.  The bike stopped.  I started to fall over so I unclipped and walked up the hill.  Ugh.  Soooo disappointed in myself.  This route is very pretty and is part of some bike tour because it has markings on the road.  On this little hill someone has spray painted “TOUGH”  then a few feet after that “BUT SHORT.”

The irony of it is, then I hit the climb I had been worried about.  It was NOTHING.  Isn’t that the way life goes?  The things you think are going to be so hard end up being nothing but then life throws you a short hurdle you weren’t expecting and you fall flat on your face.  This is why I say worry is a wasted effort.  The thing you are worried about never gets you — its the thing you don’t worry about, so why worry?  It doesn’t change the outcome….  Take that same effort you put into worry and do something productive with it.

Later, I went on a 2 mile power-walk with my brother who I am talking into doing the Manchester Road race with me and his daughter.  My niece and I did it last year on Thanksgiving morning and it’s a lot of fun. Costumes, 15,000 racers and about 20,000 spectators with Boody Marys…..

Was a rough week for me doing my pre-cleanse detox.  I had no idea coffee had such a hold on me but I made it through and started to feel normal again by Friday (so it takes about 5 days).  Other than tennis I didn’t do much during the week and was too cranky to worry about it.  I did make it through the week with no sugar, no alcohol, no caffeine.  I gave myself a good chuckle on Saturday when I put my hands in the air and said “OMG I did it!”  I made it the whole week.  And then I remembered that was just  the pre-cleanse prep period.  The real cleanse, detox, reboot whatever you call it starts today.  I laughed.  I thought last week was hard, the next five are going to be a doozy.

For clarity purposes, I am not doing a juice fast or “feast.”  I would like to try that next but first I am doing something called a reboot which just takes what I did this week and brings it a step further.  I drink some juices but I will eat solid food as well.  But it will all be clean.  There is no wheat, no pasta, nothing processed.  No Dairy (eggs or milk).  No soy other than Tofu or tempeh. No Wheat or Gluten.  No Corn.  No peanuts.  Oh, and of course no Alcohol, Coffee, Sugar or processed foods.   I make a smoothie for breakfast with fruits and greens.  I have steamed veggies, brown rice and tofu (or some combo like that) and then something similar for dinner with another juice.  The quantity of rice and grains is small and limited to a select few like rice, quinoa, amarinth and some other stuff.   I have to cook everything (yeah, not going to happen — Chinese still delivers steamed veggies and brown rice).  As my nutrition lady says “if you have to ask if it is processed, its processed.”  I get it, just don’t ask….

The idea is I’m trying to cleanse my system of artificial toxins and get to a base where I can really assess what are cravings, what are deficiencies.  Ideally in some way this is how I would like to eat forever.  Clean, but for now I will do the monastic version for 5 days and see how it goes.

This morning I had 1 cup of hot water with lemon with my morning meds.  Then I played 1 hour of tennis with Marlie (who was kind and took it easy on me this morning — I was tired).

My morning shake was pretty heavy so I don’t think I’ll be wasting away to nothing.

In my morning smoothie:

  • 6 oz of almond milk
  • 1 tbls almond butter
  • 1/2 cup mixed berries (frozen)
  • Recipe called for I could have had 1/2 banana or 2 dates in there but I didn’t have either on hand so I skipped.
  • 1 cup spinach (I think I put more like 2 cups — what’s one cup of spinach?)
  • Recipe called for 2 tbls Flax seed but I was out so I subsituted 2 tbls Chia seed.
  • 1 scoop protein powder (my current powder is pea/hemp combo)
  • I threw in 6 ice cubes to make it cold and frothy

I also am supposed to take some Magnesium Citrate and Milk Thistle Extract.  I have to take those later so they don’t interfere with my other medicine.

I’ll advise tomorrow how the rest of the day goes.


p.s.  I’ve registered for the half Ironman in Mont Tremblant on June 24th in Canada.  A bunch of my former teammates and I will be doing it.  Details here:

 Ironman 70.3

Of course full Ironman remains August 19th, 2012 which is getting closer by the minute!!!

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9/14/11 Red Light

Wednesday. Oh Lo, I am suffering. I decided to use September as my clean up month. Get myself back on track with food and entertaining and life in general. I watched a very inspiring movie called “Fat, Sick and Almost Dead.” [Free if you have Amazon prime, btw.] It’s the story of a guy who turns his life around with massive amounts of nutrient rich juices (think bales of kale.) The main character in the story is somewhat inspirational but one of the secondary characters is really inspirational. A 300+ pound truck driver who sheds his weight, starts a new life as a motivational speaker and picks up his athletic career of his childhood (he was a swimmer.) He literally saved his life. I’ve always been intrigued with juicing but I’ve never been one to want to go all the way with one of these 30 day juice “Feasts.” I figured I would start with something small like a 5 dayer that is juices and raw solid food. Even if I could do 3 days I’m sure I would feel better. Just a chance to clean out the junk in my body and start anew.

As it turns out the holistic nutrition gal I went to had given me a cleanse to try one day when I was feeling up to it. Hers includes solid food and juices and is very similar to the reboot plan from the site but she modified my plan a little for me.  I told I would do it in September.  (I am no longer paying to go to her but she had given the materials before I stopped.)

Of course you know me, I have purchased my juicer and bought a small farm worth of green vegetables and THEN I read the instructions. Both plans recommend a pre-cleanse week where you first wean yourself off of coffee, alcohol, sugar, dairy (I don’t eat anyway), fried foods and more things but that was already enough for me. I thought I would do the pre-cleanse and throw in a daily green juice. I started Monday.

It’s Wednesday afternoon. I Already flunked my pre-cleanse. Monday I felt like a rock star. Played tennis and had a green juice, switched to decaf coffee that morning.  I guess I was still riding high on my Sunday consumption.  I felt so good on Monday I actually laid out my running clothes for Tuesday morning. Couldn’t wait to go running.

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling groggy. Eh, what’s this? Where’s the spark? What’s going on? I’ll go running later. Yesterday afternoon I started to feel actually sick. What the what? I was in the bathroom. I consulted Dr. Google. What could be wrong with me? Some suggestions that maybe I made too potent of a green drink? I dismissed that because I had been paying for daily green drinks at Juice Generation and the only difference was I made it myself.

Today there is no doubt in my mind what is wrong. I am going through caffeine withdrawal. Are you kidding me? I felt ready to sink into a coma. I have so much work to do and couldn’t lift my head. It’s totally caffeine withdrawal. I had two cups of green tea (which is allowed this week) and I was still failing miserably. Clients calling. I’m looking at my screen cross-eyed. Seriously do I drink that much coffee? I guess so. Yeah, I guess I really do drink probably the equivalent of two large Dunkin Donut Coffees a day. I used to drink just decaf and I don’t know when I started slipping over into caffeinated. It was a slippery slope over the last six months.  One cup lead to two and now I’m just drinking quarts of the stuff. Yeah I was a little hyper but I felt really good. I would stop whenever my hands started to shake. (Hmm, think that was a hint I missed?)

So I broke down. I have too much work to do. I took one of my bottles of 5-hour energy which has caffeine in it and a slew of B vitamins. I know I’ll feel okay shortly.

How deep does caffeine go? I guess it is just another thing on my list I can’t do in moderation?  In Weight Watchers we call them red light foods. Things that you can’t have just one bite of…. Let me see, nicotine, alcohol, potato chips, cocaine, mallomars, red wine. I’m sure there are more things to add to the list — pretty much anything with fat and salt and serotonin boosters…

The interesting part for me that I know after years of dealing with the addiction du jour is that once they get out of my system, I’m okay. I don’t lie in bed at night thinking about potato chips (though I do write about them a lot). I limit my consumption of french fries to post 90 minute workouts. I just don’t have them. I am fine going without wine but not so good with just one glass. It’s easier for me to say none than some. Same thing with cigarettes. I didn’t smoke one casually. I was an honorary Mohegan because of my adroit smoke signalling. But I haven’t had a cigarette since 1998 and let me tell you I don’t care what anyone thinks I have accomplished in my life. Ironman, Marathon des Sables, charity work, running a business — they all are absolutely nothing in my mind compared to quitting smoking. Cigarettes were my addiction for so long and I tried so long to quit. Even after I quit I spent years having nightmares that I started again. Quitting smoking is the biggest achievement of my life because of the magnitude of how difficult it was for me to quit.

So this is my lot. I am a “speed” demon living in a world of Red Lights. God Love 5-hour energy drink because I feel it kicking in and my headache is going away. I will try continue again tomorrow with the decaf.  I know eventually it will get out of my system.  I’ve done it before. The pre-cleanse instructions say gradually taper off and I can have 2-3 cups of green tea if I am feeling withdrawal symptoms. LOL, 2-3 cups of green tea. Do they know who they are talking to?


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9/11/11 In Honor Of

Tuesday. Emotionally challenging couple of weeks.  Three deaths in under ten days.  All from Cancer.  All fought so hard.  Larry, Burt and Lauren you were true warriors and you were true examples of optimism and courage.  Then we also had the anniversary of 9/11.  How can you not be grateful for being alive?  How do I honor these people with my actions?  How do I honor myself and life with my actions?  I meditate on this.

A quick remembrance about Lauren.  Lauren just passed away from Colon cancer.  She was one of my teammates from my Iron team in 2007.  A super athlete.  The first half of the season she rode around on a bike I was sure she found at a garage sale somewhere.  Everything on it squeaked and groaned.  But even on that old clunker she was riding with the fastie fasts.  I used to tease her about her clunker all the time.  “Lauren, I can HEAR your bike coming a mile away.”  She would just laugh.  But all the while I was aware that it is not the equipment that creates speed, it’s the athlete.  She didn’t need the fancy bike to get the job done.

Hook Mountain 2007 was a race I will probably never forget.  I hate that race.  It hates me.  It’s a mutual hate society.  But one of my favorite memories of that race is as I was one of the last runners heading up the hill to the Firehouse (I was not even half way into the  13.1 mile race), I looked up the small hill in front of me groaning  a little and then I saw two bodies come flying over the hill on their return to the finish.  It was one of our coaches Earl and Lauren.  They were stride in stride and at the moment I looked up all four feet were in the air.  It was like they lifted off the top of the hill and were taking flight.  I remember thinking that must have been the most amazing feeling in the world to fly off the edge of a hill like that —- on purpose.

Lauren actually came in as the first woman in her age group and I think she was in at least the top ten overall.  I remember she actually got a check for some money.  It was a small amount like $25 or something like that but it was her first time winning any cash.  We were joking around and I remember saying to her “Lauren, now you can upgrade and buy a better bike!”  It was an ongoing joke for the season. (And she did get a nice bike before the actual race).  She was a great athlete and a great teammate. I finally got up the courage to contact her a couple of weeks ago to let her know I was following her blog and wishing her well.  Always gracious she wrote back and hoped we would get together in the park one of these days.  One of these days never came.  But I do get a smile on my face when I remember our teasing and her good nature, that rickety old bike and those feet flying over Hook mountain.

As for me, everything seems to be going okay.  I’m sticking to the low heart rate training and I am definitely seeing little improvements week by week.  I can no longer just walk and keep the low end of my heart rate so I have to run the flats and downhills though I’m still walking the uphills.  Swimming has been taking a back seat the last two weeks as I’ve been doing  a lot of commuting to Connecticut.  Tomorrow will get back in for a least one swim this week.

Cycling is going okay.  Have had another nice ride with Jen and Jan out to Piermont.  I’ve had a couple of nice rides up in CT as well.  Found an actual bike route marked along some back roads.  I had actually never ridden along Barndoor Hill Road in Simsbury and Granby.  I had a nice little 25 mile ride with some decent hills. I have to confess that I did not go back the same way I rode out in order to avoid climbing up a long hill.  It is still bothering me, so this weekend I must return and do that hill…  Argh, nothing worse than an athletic conscience.

Played some tennis with Marlie yesterday.  Really felt good to whack the ball.  Tennis is therapy.  If you want to punch out some frustrations Tennis is the way to do it.   Watched the men’s finals of the US Open and got three different messages from old friends asking to go hit.  Just watching some of those amazing rallies makes you want to get back on the court..  I might try to get on the court more than once a week for the next few months.  Nothing, and I mean Nothing, better in the world that fall tennis.  Outdoors, crisp air, fast racquets.

A bunch of my friends are getting excited about their upcoming training season as they have all gotten their invitations to join my old team.  I didn’t get invited back to the team this year so I’m going to be flying solo until I figure out what I will do for a training plan.  Of course there are tons of options including self-training.  I have a lot of years of training under my belt so it’s not like I don’t know what or how to do it.   I have to start figuring out plan B.  It is going to feel weird not having my old friends and coaches around.  One of my friends was really funny when I asked “what am I going to do with all those training clothes?”  She suggested to wear them inside out…   So I’m going rogue officially…. Have to put some thought into my new pirate colors. Fuchsia?  Or is that just a fancy way of saying pink?

I am excited about a new race just announced.  Ironman has announced a 70.3 race in Mont Tremblant in June 2012.  It’s perfect timing for prepping for my Ironman in August.  It will give me a chance to do recon on the Ironman course.  It’s just the right timing.  I’m sure they are thinking the same thing –everyone gets to practice at the new race venue.

So for 2012 I have Escape from Alcatraz and two trips to Quebec. Let the rumbling begin!!  Po is back!







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9/3/11 So Long

Saturday. I was going to write an update about training methodologies and heart rates and upcoming races but I just received some sad news that makes pretty much everything else seem pointless. An old friend of mine passed away. I had hopes of seeing him in a few weeks and now he’s just not there any more.

I met Larry in 2004 when I was training for my race at St. A’s. We became friends and teammates. Over the years we trained together, raced together, laughed together. Larry was the guy when I walked into a crowded party and wanted to turn around and go home, I would see Larry and say “it’s going to be okay, Larry is here.”

Larry was the guy when I needed some advice or a connection, who knew who to ask or turn to. “Call this guy and tell him you know me.” And they always did and they always wanted to help any friend of Larry’s. A mere three months ago he went out of his way to introduce a friend of mine to a friend of his just to help her find a new job. That’s how Larry was.

Larry was a force in motion. Since his initial diagnosis with Hodjkins in 2002 he went on to race in umpteen races including the Ironmnan. He motivated thousands of people through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as an honored Team Mate. He personally raced and raised millions of dollars for research. He left his successful business in NYC and moved to St. Thomas and made a success out a business there as well. Then he and his partner moved back to Philly and became huge successes in the food cart business with their Empanada truck making the news and the hit of the food cart awards.

Always upbeat. Always friendly. Always sincere. He wasn’t one of those fake people who smiled through tears. He, more than most, knew that life often dealt a bad hand. But Larry just refused to stop and wallow in it. Forward. Plan. Motivate. Move.

My heart is literally heavy. It feels like a rock. My eyes cry even though I tell them to stop. My mind just cannot comprehend this. There must be a mistake. I look for clues. I look for reasons. I know we all die but he was only 48. 48? My heart goes into my throat. His beautiful loving partner Wade is in my mind and heart too. Imagine the thousands of people who knew Larry through his sports, travels and businesses. Imagine how many hearts are aching today. So much sorrow for a life lost and so many happy memories for a life well-lived.

Larry, I want to be like you. You have always been a true role-model for me. Today I will run for you and a life well-loved.


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