Okay, ONE more ‘Yay, Me’ thing and I swear I’ll stop

posted on Monday, November 26th, 2013 under General Ramblings |

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If you know me at all, through the blog or real life, you know that it’s very unlike me to be all ‘I’m so awesome’ and shit. And most of that is due to a lack of self esteem, because if I don’t believe it, I sure as hell don’t expect anyone else to believe it. That whole ‘fake it till you make it’ plan never really seemed to work for me.

But as of lately, I’ve committed to trying to be a bit more positive. Still ranty, cranky and hangry, sure, but I’m trying to find the bright side of things when I can. I won’t be barfing rainbows or gushing about how cute your baby is, but I am trying to give myself (and a portion of humankind) a little more credit than I have in the past, and with that comes what I think is a tolerable level of optimism and positivity. Like this.

So now that I’ve cleared that up, on to the cheering squad part of this post.

As I’m sure I’ve made annoyingly clear, I just wrapped up my second round of the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Duh. Technically I’m on day 23 at this point as I haven’t brought any sugar/carbs back into my diet…yet. I did buy some dried mango and some holiday grapes, but I am trying to avoid a total bender, so I’ve held off on indulging in them. But I will.

The thing is, this round really opened my eyes a lot more than the first try. I nailed it…I did everything right, didn’t slip up and even survived the flu without giving in. And the result? I FINALLY broke through a weight/body fat plateau I’ve been dealing with for months. For the first time, I actually feel SKINNY. Not like fashion skinny, or reality TV skinny, or model skinny, but Sarah skinny. That’s HUGE. I may have felt smaller in the past, but I haven’t ever really felt normal sized. You know, go-in-public-with-your-head-held-high-because-you-like-yourself sized. That’s been foreign to me my whole life. Until now.

So my body fat has dropped in the course of tightening up my nutrition this time. That’s rad, but the best part is that it’s shown me better ways to feed my body’s needs. My relationship with food is getting healthier. It’s not a crutch anymore. I enjoy clean eating – I can make some seriously delicious noms, and I’ve come to love lots of amazing new foods I never used to eat. But I will never live the rest of my life without alcohol, or my mom’s homemade apple pie, or cheese, or pizza…OMG PIZZA…so when I REALLY want those things, I have them. I deal with how terrible they make me feel, because sometimes the ease of just going with the flow with my friends or family is so much better than being nit picky about what kind of oil is in a salad dressing. Bottom line, I’m not just ‘on a diet’…I’m living. And it’s awesome. And I look pretty dang good, and feel amazingly great.

For the first time, I feel like I’m capable of things ‘normal’ people do. Going shopping and having choices in what to buy because things fit. Being in front of a group without feeling like everyone is secretly calling me fat. Walking down the street without staring at the ground because I’m embarrassed for my friends to have to be seen with me in public. These are things that have plagued me my whole life, and for the first time, I don’t feel constrained by my mind’s negative hold on me. I can be proud of my accomplishments. I can be proud of who I am, inside and out. No, I’m not ‘done’ yet. I may never be ‘done’ – I want to continue to grow and learn and improve – but I’m in a really good place, physically, mentally, emotionally, for the first time maybe in my entire life. And that’s amazing.

I mean, just look at this, would ya??

So there you have it. I’m publicly proclaiming that I’m finally okay with who I am. I’m flawed, but I’m also pretty dang awesome. YAY, ME!

How is it almost Thanksgiving?

posted on Monday, November 22nd, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings |

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I mean, seriously. I feel like it was yesterday that I was admitting I let Halloween get away without properly enjoying it! But I fully intend to enjoy the hell out of the rest of the holidays this year. Including trying not to be such a Grinch. I normally hate Christmas because it comes with so much stress, but this year, instead of stressing, I’m going to aim to enjoy the craziness, be thankful for so many loving people in my life and stop yelling at so many bad drivers in crowded parking lots.

Well, maybe don’t hold me to that last one. I mean, have you seen the a-holes at Brentwood Promenade or Whole Foods lately? It gets worse every year, I swear.

So it’s also DAY 19 of the detox. These 3 weeks have flown by. I even got through a horrible bout of the flu on the detox and didn’t die, or take Nyquil, so I’m pretty proud of that. I love the food I’ve been eating, and really only miss grapes (fresh and fermented, if you know what I mean!), so that’s pretty rad. My first of several Thanksgiving celebrations is tomorrow, so I won’t be able to enjoy my mom’s mashed potatoes, but that’s okay. She makes a killer turkey, and I’ll bring my own sides, so all is well. Again, no wine will be the worst part, but I can totally deal.

You know what I really love? Sleeping. Man, that shiz is awesome. It has been PERFECT sleeping temperature in our house this week and going to work has been really hard as a result. Being wrapped in my sheet and quilt, buried in my pillow…sigh. I just really love sleeping. I’m getting warm fuzzies just thinking about it.

But even though I LOVE sleeping, I hate going to bed. Isn’t that dumb? But I get kinda bummed that another day is over and I have to start all over again in a few hours. Tonight I won’t feel that way, because tomorrow is Saturday, but then I won’t want to go to bed tomorrow because I’ll be loving Saturday so much. Rough life, huh? Hehehe.

I also really REALLY REALLY love my husband. He has been working so hard all year, helping build a successful business, and then coming home and helping me stay on track by cooking super delicious meals. I’m cooking more now, too, so that helps, but I would definitely not be where I am if I didn’t have him to help. He’s kind of the best. Yay, Mr. T!

We’re also approaching a sad time, with the one year anniversary of Brandon and Grandpa’s death just around the corner…it’s so weird that it’s been a year. It still doesn’t feel real. But it is, and it sucks, but for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m strong enough to embrace my sadness without letting it consume me. And so, while I’m sad, I’m also really proud of myself.

I miss my friends. I haven’t seen hardly any of my friends in a really long time. Growing up kind of sucks that way…everyone gets so busy, then we never see each other, and that’s a huge bummer. So friends, please know I love you, think of you all the time and miss you. Here’s hoping we can make plans to visit before the end of the year!

Well, that’s mostly all the random things I have to chat about, so here are some funny things.

DDDDDDDDROP THE NUTS

As you were.

21DSD Day 8 – Where did last week go??

posted on Monday, November 11th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox |

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As I’ve mentioned, I started my second round of the 21-Day Sugar Detox last Monday, this time using the handy dandy book I reviewed as the guide. I’ve been crazy busy with work, Spinning, cooking and family stuff and haven’t had a chance to write about it yet, but I want to document a few things, so here goes.

Warning: If you don’t like poop talk, skip this next paragraph. Then you’re safe, I promise. Maybe.

One of the biggest issues I had the first time I did the detox was some crazy poo action. Like, loud/funny/still gross poo action. But this time around, the only shift I’ve noticed is that my digestive system has gone into stealth mode. As in, I no longer use the ‘no poop zone’ bathrooms at work because I never know when a little poo is gonna pop out. Half the time I go pee, I have no idea my body has more planned. It’s just like, oh hey, here’s some poop again. This is totally what it’s like.

Here’s what I’m doing differently this time. First, I’m not relying as much on the athlete modification, so sweet potatoes aren’t a regular inclusion in my day. I suspect these suckers are potentially an issue with my digestive system, and specifically, I suspect it’s because I don’t peel my sweet taters. The few times I have had them were in organic baby food form, sans skins, and I had no issues, so I’m excited that my experiences have helped me find a trigger for a stomach issue I have from time to time.

Another thing I’m doing differently is not relying so heavily on nuts as a snack. I have almonds in my morning smoothie a lot of mornings, and I snacked on pistachios once, but I try to use cucumbers and leftovers as my snacks. That said, I leave tomorrow afternoon for a work trip, so pistachios will be in my bag in case I get hungry. I’m not avoiding nuts – I just think I depended on them too much last round, and didn’t eat as many vegetables as I should have, which I’m trying to improve.

The biggest change this time around is my prep work. Sundays have been devoted to shopping and cooking things to have on hand to make mornings easier, and I ensure every dinner will have leftovers to get me through at least one more meal. This has been key to how easy the first week went. Even on my work trip last week, I had snacks in my bag and only felt deprived when everyone else was enjoying a glass of wine while I sipped water. But it’s only 3 weeks and the lack of booze is a HUGE help in my sleep patterns.

I make huge batches of breakfast foods (crustless quiche with spinach and bacon last week, egg muffins with brussels sprouts, spinach, roasted garlic and bacon this week, and turkey sausage and coconut flour biscuits for breakfast sammies both weeks) – this keeps me on track on busy mornings and even fills in gaps for lunch when I’m at a loss.  I also make this moo-less chocolate mousse from the 21DSD book (made with a green-tipped banana, avocado, unsweetened cocoa powder, almond milk and vanilla extract) that is perfect for when I have an evening treat craving. It’s rare, but I love having this on hand to keep me on track.

In terms of energy, I definitely felt a lot of fatigue days 3-6. I taught Spin on day 2 with no issue, but day 3 was an evening class and I was just wiped from the day and struggled through the class. I traveled on day 4 but successfully avoided screw ups, then day 5 was tough. I had zero energy, and I know it was a combo of post-travel weariness and detox fatigue. My workout that night was good but I definitely needed more recoup time between rounds than usual.

I got through a 4-mile run on day 6 without much trouble, but I really wanted 5 or 6 miles. I just knew at mile 4 that my energy was waning and I didn’t want to push too hard when I had a whole day of family time ahead of me. I took a rest day yesterday, but only because the noon Spin class I was going to sub for was cancelled. Probably for the best, as it freed me up for a family lunch I didn’t want to miss and I got to spend some time with my biodad, which was really nice.

Sunday nights are something I look forward to each week, when Mr. T, Lady T and I gather to nom, drink and watch the Walking Dead. I was excited to get to make dinner and tried a recipe I’d never had before – mashed parsnips with bacon, shallots and green onions. I got the basis of the recipe from the 21DSD book, but added grass fred butter to help it mash up to a better side dish consistency (in the book, it’s used as a filling for chicken rolls). I was sad to miss out on our usual drinks, but poured some plain kombucha in a wine glass and all was well. Dinner was a hit – the parsnips were unexpectedly delicious (I’ve never purposely eaten a parsnip before), and we had grass fed beef burger patties with uncured, smoked bacon and roasted brussels sprouts. Super yummy. I’m not kidding when I say I eat more delicious food now than I ever have – and I’m on a detox! The meal was good for all involved, and I’m the only one detoxing, so I think that’s a sign of how great the food is that you can enjoy without added sweeteners and fruits.

As for today, I feel pretty good so far. Sleep has been wonderful – falling asleep and staying asleep! Magic! It’s day 8, the start of the second week, and my only apprehension is the travel I have tomorrow afternoon through Wednesday evening. I’ve boiled some eggs and have some snacks I can take in a small cooler, but we have client dinner, client breakfast and client lunch in that time, plus another lunch out on our way down (road trip, so no airplane stress!!!), so I’m just hoping I can stay properly fed. I feel pretty confident, but I’ll still be glad when the trip is over and I’m done traveling for a bit.

I also have a wedding reception this weekend, which will suck just a little in terms of not being able to enjoy cocktail hour, but we’ll be with friends, so I’m not too concerned. I also have a 5K Saturday morning, so I don’t have to worry too terribly much about missing a workout on this trip, too.

All in all, I’m seeing much more success this time around. I’m down a few pounds, but I don’t do this for weight loss, so that’s just an added bonus. I’m really hoping to discover a few new recipes to add to our regular rotation (ohmyglob, I made this amazing pan-fried chicken with almond and coconut flour breading that was TO DIE FOR last week), including ingredients we don’t usually use, and to find new snacking alternatives, so I think I’m hitting those goals pretty well.

Second breakfast is finally wearing off and I’m hungry for more food, so I’m off to the kitchen to reheat a burger patty and snag some leftover salad. Yum!

32 and better than ever.

posted on Monday, October 28th, 2013 under General Ramblings |

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I think it’s important for me to take a minute to reflect on my life in the last year. On October 19, I turned 32 (or as I prefer to look at it, my double sweet sixteen) and ran the fastest 10K of my life, finishing in 1:01:41.

Just a year ago, as I dreaded turning 31, my life was so much different. I was training with Brandon, and had finally JUST decided to listen to him and make some serious changes to my diet and lifestyle. The month of October, I dropped over 20 pounds and earned client of the month.

I still wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to be, but I had finally put in place the giant missing piece to my healthy living puzzle. I felt a renewed sense of confidence that I could get back into decent enough shape to start doing short triathlons and races again. I never even dared to dream that included running a sub-10:00/mile pace for anything longer than a sprint here or there. I never thought it would even feel feasible to discuss the possibility of running a full marathon or completing an Ironman 70.3. Becoming a spin instructor was a shiny, shimmering dream that seemed a million miles away.

Then November came. As I’ve written before, my uncle was in the hospital with cancer and my grandpa had been staying nearby to be with him as he recovered. In the process, Grandpa got sick, seemed to get better and then was rushed to an emergency room the day after Thanksgiving. As I sat in the waiting room, I discovered Brandon had been killed overnight. The next day, as I got ready for B’s wake, Grandpa passed. Normally, all of this sadness would have been enough to ruin everything I’d worked for. I would have let myself fall into depression, but this time, I was stronger than that. The sadness kept me out of the gym for a while, but once I met my new trainer, Josh, I knew it was okay to go back and pick up where B & I had left off. He and Grandpa would have wanted me to continue, and I did just that.

And I should be proud of myself for that. I AM proud of myself for that. I don’t allow myself that pride very often, because A) my brain is a total dicksauce and B) I don’t ever want to seem braggadocios or superior. But it’s really important that I give myself a bit of credit for not letting depression swallow me up yet again, as it had so many times before. This was the first time that I felt I had any level of control over the depression that has plagued me pretty much my whole life.

Because I kept working and kept getting help from Josh, and from the amazing Teresa, and seeking out nutrition information from resources like Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites/21DSD, Juli of PaleOMG, George of Civilized Caveman and Steph of Stupid Easy Paleo, and others, AND getting amazing support from my hubby, this last year has been filled with PRs, new races, achieving goals, setting new ones and making progress beyond my wildest imagination. I have had and continue to have amazing help along the way, but the bottom line is, none of this would have happened if I hadn’t done the work. I don’t say that to myself ever. I don’t acknowledge that I’ve really done some awesome things. I tend to attribute my success to outside sources, and while I want to give credit where it’s due, I also recognize that I owe it to myself.

This is probably one of the most difficult posts I’ve ever written. I battle negative self-talk every single day. My brain is constantly ready and waiting with a million reasons why I’m not good enough. But screw you, brain. I’m pretty f*cking awesome. And at the fresh, young age of 32, I’m poised and ready to get even more awesome from here on out. I’m a Spin instructor. I’ll be group exercise certified in a few months. I’m a runner. I’m a triathlete. I’m an athlete. I’m nowhere near perfect, and you know what? That’s A-OK with me. Life’s a journey and I’m going to enjoy it!

So GO ME! And GO YOU! Because holy crapbucket, if I can do this, I promise you can, too.

Handy dandy detox in book form!

posted on Monday, October 27th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox |

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Oh, hello there! I know we have lots to get caught up on, including my recent lovey-dovey Jamaican vacation, AKA Sarah Finally Gets Her Way, but I have been meaning to get this post done for a couple of weeks, so that will just have to wait. Also, my camera is being a jerk and what good is a vacation post without ample pictures? This post, with cell phone pics, will do just fine. :)

So, I’ve posted several times before about the 21-Day Sugar Detox and my experience with it. I created an entire blog category for it, so if you’re curious, here you can find all posts related to my first go at the detox. I had mixed feelings about it until it was over and went back to my ‘normal’ way of eating that includes some dark chocolate, dried fruit, fresh fruit, etc. THEN I could feel the impact of the detox, and I’ve been looking forward to off season so I can give the detox another go – and fix the screw ups I had the first time.

Needless to say, when I was offered the chance to receive an advanced copy of the book to review it, I was SO STOKED. The author, Diane Sanfilippo, also runs Balanced Bites, one of my favorite resources for nutrition tips and great recipes, and she’s a little bit of my idol. She’s realistic, honest, incredibly intelligent and just easy to like. I hate podcasts (I just don’t like having to pay attention with my ears…my ADD does not always allow it), but I’ve listened to several of hers and actually paid attention. Okay, I read transcripts for a few, but still. The fact that any of this happened is a testament to how much I dig what she does.

Anyway, she’s uber smart and has seriously helped me refine my nutrition. The girl’s got serious street cred in my book. Back to the review of HER book now.

The original detox plan came in the form of downloadable PDFs (with support on Facebook and via email as well). I love the PDFs, which are perfect for printing the YES/NO food lists, but if I get too much paper happening, I lose things, I get disorganized, I end up re-printing things…so having a handy book to reference is so great. AND it’s pretty. Just look at it.

The PDF version (EDIT: is only available during pre-order for the book, then will go away) was full of amazing information, but the book takes that information to a new level. If you aren’t very familiar with the effects sugar has on the body, and perhaps why you need a detox, this book will explain it, thoroughly but understandably, and with bonus adorable doodles. You know I’m a sucker for cute things.

You know I’m especially a sucker for things that remind me of my childhood. LEGOs to diagram how the body stores sugars? Yes, please.

Any time someone can take a scientific process and make it easily digestible (hehehe), it’s instantly useful information…information normal humans can understand and then use to influence their behaviors. To me, that’s the key to making lifelong changes that positively impact your day-to-day experiences. I don’t mean to excessively expound on this point, but it’s seriously one of the things I love most about this book. She takes what is normally boring, dry, hard-to-understand data and boils it down into readable facts that resonate and help make it click as to why your body reacts how it does to the standard American diet (or, as it’s so aptly abbreviated, SAD).

Okay, on to another thing I adore about this book: OMG THE RECIPE PHOTO INDEX.

I mean, swoon. I have a total book boner over this for a few reasons. First of all, the detox is intimidating, even to someone who has taken the time to research food and get to a more informed place. Seeing photographic evidence that 3 weeks of no sugar could actually be tasty and enjoyable? Oh hell yes. There are over 90 recipes, each one photographed deliciously.

Second of all, no matter how descriptive of a name a recipe has, you don’t really know how much it appeals to you, especially if it has ingredients you aren’t so familiar with, until you see the finished product. And if you’re anything like me, well…you might just be too lazy to give something so unknown the good ol’ college try. Just seeing some of these thumbnails had me drooling. I’m excited to start my next round of the detox on Nov 4th, just so Mr. T has an added incentive to help me whip up some of these yummy recipes.

And finally, it just makes the recipe list that much easier to navigate. It’s so dang pretty! It’s a veritable feast for your eyes, which will convince your stomach to get on board, too.

The list includes some of the recipes from the PDF, but TONS of new ones. A highlight of what I’ll be trying for sure: Veggie pancakes, buffalo chicken egg muffins, apple streusel egg muffins, crunchy curried beef lettuce cups, shrimp pad thai, tuna salad wraps…okay, pretty much most of the recipes. And if you know anything about me, it’s that I’m a fairly picky eater (even though my tastes have expanded quite a bit) – so knowing there are so many recipes I’m excited for should indicate how rad the recipe list is.

A couple more highlights…the book features a meal plan for each level, so if you don’t want to do any thinking at all for 3 weeks, you just pick your level (based on the quiz provided), print a shopping list online, get your ingredients and go. As stated above, I’m too picky of an eater for that, but the meal plan is still incredibly helpful (as will be the printable shopping lists). She even gives all the revisions needed for those with additional food sensitivities, such as nightshades, eggs, etc. Seriously, this book eliminates the need for much additional thinking, which is awesome as the whole premise is a daunting one. She has simplified things so much that she’s helped eliminate much risk of failure. That’s just huge.

This is a crummy picture, but I kind of didn’t want to give away too much and make things easy to copy, because you really need to buy the book if you’re interested in the detox, but the addition of a success log is just one more tool to prevent failure. She also has printable logs available online.

And the one thing you CAN see in the blurry pic above is that I’ve already carried around the book so much that I’ve managed to spill coffee on it and warp/stain some of the pages. At first I was bummed, but then I realized it’s only going to get worse as I splatter food on it while cooking from the recipe pages, and bend it from carrying it around, so it’s all good.

So here’s the thing. The book comes out October 29th. You can pre-order it now and immediately get the PDF toolkit for free. That’s a pretty sweet deal, because then you have the best of both worlds – everything you need to get started, printable goodies AND the arrival of a book full of even more good information. If you don’t act now, the PDFs will go away once books hit shelves…but the book covers all of the PDF info, so you’ll still be just fine. With 3 levels to choose from, along with recommended modifications for athletes, breastfeeding moms, those with other allergies, etc., I really do think this is a great way to break yourself of sugar dependency – ESPECIALLY with the holidays coming. I’m starting my second round of the detox at level 3 on Monday, Nov. 4th. Will you join me? I’d love to have people to commiserate with along the way, in addition to the great community Diane has created online.

I’m no pusher, and I get absolutely zero dollars in return if you buy the book or PDFs, so it’s not going to hurt me one way or the other…but it might help you beyond any level of expectation you have. Now that I’m in my off season, I can’t wait to see how my body reacts to the detox. I’ll be documenting it again here, but I’d love to have you join me on the journey to a happy, fully functioning body!

And to Diane, who I hope has a few spare minutes in her crazy schedule of releasing this book while finishing ANOTHER one (eeeeeep, a dedicated cookbook just for the detox! Even more recipes!!!!!) to read this review: THANK YOU. Your hours upon hours of hard work clearly show on every single page of this book. The world of nutrition is full of critics, haters and clueless trolls, but also those of us who are just uninformed, looking for guidance and battling to find the right solutions in an environment filled with fad diets, lies and absolute misinformation. Your work provides those solutions and guidance, and I hope you know it’s appreciated.

Oooh, a quickie!

posted on Monday, September 9th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings, Gushy stuff |

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I started a post a few weeks ago to explain where I’ve been mentally and emotionally, but it got deep and a little dark, and I opted to just keep it to myself while I dug out of the dark hole I was hiding in for a bit.

Thanks to support from friends and loved ones, I’m feeling better and more like my normal self. And even better, I emerged on the other side of the shadows with a plan. Well, at least with a vision for plan. A plan to make a plan. Yep, I’m planning to make a plan to get where I want to be – which is happy, healthy and 100% me. So that’s a thing I’m working on.

In addition to that, I’m really excited to be getting a version of the wedding I always wanted…if you’ve been with me here since the beginning, you know exactly what I mean. If you haven’t, well, there’s documentation of the frustrations our wedding brought all over this blog. Aside from the insanity of planning a wedding I didn’t really want (I wanted to elope), I was dealing with the loss of one of the most important people in my life, Grandma V…then on my wedding day, 5 1/2 months after Grandma V passed, Grandma D died. The morning of the wedding. It’s been beyond difficult to happily celebrate our wedding anniversary in the shadows of such a sad event. Each anniversary, just like our honeymoon, have been a dichotomy of emotion for the last 5 years – but this year, we’re fixing that. We’re making a new date to celebrate, with no drama and no sadness. Just love and joy and a celebration of surviving the hardest years of our lives together – years we weren’t sure we’d survive together. One long paragraph can’t really do justice to how important this is, but suffice it to say that I’m thrilled to be renewing our vows in Jamaica and enjoying a second honeymoon we both truly deserve. A fresh start awaits, and I couldn’t be happier. As long as I find my passport, but that’s a whole other post…

And then one more thing (smaller but still important to me) happened this morning that made me happy. I was selected to receive and review a free copy of the print version of the 21-Day Sugar Detox that I did in June/July. The author is expanding her online program to a full print book with more recipes and insights, and I was going to buy the book anyway, but now I get a free copy to try out and review. HOORAY!!! This makes me beyond excited. I’ll need the detox again when we get back from Jamaica, so everything is just working out perfectly. And yes, I recognize that being excited to not eat sugar for 3 weeks might sound a bit odd, but after my mixed results last time due to training and my own screw-ups, I’m really pumped to try it again in my off season…

…which leads to my final proclamation for this post. And it’s a doozy. I have decided that 2014 is absolutely my year to complete a Half Ironman. I’ve never been in better shape, and it will only get better from here, so…game on. 70.3, here I come.

Crabby Monday: A rant

posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013 under Things that piss me off |

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I’m especially tired today after staying up late for a TOTALLY WORTH IT double feature of Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University at the Skyview Drive-In Theater last night. Mr. T and I tried to make it Saturday, but got there too late and it was sold out. I was super disappointed, and Mr. T figured Mondays are gonna suck regardless, so we decided to stay up past our bedtimes and go on a school night.

We got to take the Ted with us, too. Let me just tell you – snuggling my two favorite dudes while sprawled out on blankets and pillows in the bed of a truck with craft beer on a perfect, lovely evening watching animated movies might be just about the very best way to spend an evening. Ever. It was absolute heaven.

But now it’s over and I’m tired. As in, overtired like a toddler. So I’m emotional and moody and tons of extra fun. Which is probably contributing to my building feeling of frustration and lack of self worth. But whatever.

Here’s the thing. I have let my clean diet slip the last two weekends. Not 100%, but a few cheats each weekend really do add up and make me feel pretty awful. Which would logically tell me to stop doing it, but another part of my brain is all ‘who cares if beer makes you feel like a walking turd demon? Drink ALL the beer! Then why not have cheese fries and pretzels? Or pizza? Or chocolate?’

It all comes back to that whole balance thing. Life is meant to be enjoyed. I want to have fun and be able to be flexible enough to go to a beer festival when the opportunity arises, or not stress about having 100% clean snacks when we want to go do something for the day or evening. And I know it’s okay. I still eat really clean most of the time. But I feel better, physically, mentally AND emotionally, when I stick to my new happy eating. I just tend to feel guilty about my general strictness and try to ‘be fun’ and go off-plan more than I really should.

And then I feel like a big fat failure. Which is where where are today. Hi, I’m Sarah, and I’m a bloated hunk of miserable failure covered in self-loathing sauce. Mmmmmm….self-loathing sauce….

The few cheats aren’t even the real issue here. The issue is that I feel like I’m not making progress. I’m so busy that I can’t get in all the workouts I need each week to work on bike speed, run speed and swim form and speed. I’m not losing any weight (so that’s where the cheats come in the most), and frankly, even though I know I look tons better than I used to, I still absolutely 100% hate how I look. And I’m constantly comparing myself to others, which is probably my worst plan ever.

At first, pictures from my race just made me happy because it was such an awesome day. But somewhere in the last two weeks, I’ve started judging them and seeing every pudge roll, every extra inch of thigh I don’t need, every ounce of imperfection I have. And I’ve started qualifying my accomplishments by comparing the last race to ‘REAL’ tris – Olys, Half Irons and Ironman races. My piddly little race just isn’t impressive in that company.

What.the.fuck? My brain is an asshole. I should be able to be really proud of the races I’ve done this year and the progress I’ve made. Sure, I still have a lot of work to do and I want to be doing longer races, but how is it that the second I hear of someone doing 4 Olys a year, I instantly feel inferior and embarrassed about my shorter distance accomplishments? Even a less-than-Olympic distance tri is a feat not that many people can say they’ve accomplished. And no, I’m not an elite athlete, competing for medals or awards. But I’m out there. I’m doing it. I’M STILL INFINITELY MORE AWESOME THAN TONS OF OTHER PEOPLE ON THIS PLANET IN COMPARISON. But I somehow can’t let myself really feel that way. I actually feel guilty re-reading that all-caps proclamation. It’s okay, guys. I don’t actually think I’m awesome at all.

The sad truth is, these are the thoughts that are most likely playing in my head at any given moment: I’m still fat. I have jiggly bits. I weigh too much. I’m not strong enough. I’m not fast enough. I’m not training hard enough. I’m not eating clean enough. I’m not getting enough done in a day. I’m not perfect, and apparently to my brain, that’s not okay.

No matter how much better I am today than I was even a month ago, it’s not enough. And that is pretty dumb. Will it ever be enough? It never has been so far. When will it be? How do I convince my jerksauce brain that I’m not really the worst thing on the planet?

It’s a stupid mental game at this point, and that’s bad news for the rest of me because that is a game I always lose. I logically KNOW I am doing well overall. Logic is not the issue. This is why therapy has never helped me. Therapists want to ask how things make you feel and then help you work it back to logic so you see how reality and perception don’t match. Well, I KNOW these don’t match. But no one has been able to help me figure out how to get these two asshats to play nice in the sandbox. And trust me, I’ve spent hundreds of dollars trying to talk it out.

My brain is segmented in a weird way: there’s the rest of the world and how things are, and then there’s me. The rest of the world can be a positive, happy place. But when it comes to me, nothing is quite right or quite good enough. I can’t even Stuart Smalley my way outta this shit.

I know, buddy. I’ve tried.

I don’t really know what the solution is. On the one hand, I’m getting pretty close to where I want to be overall (though there will always be room for improvement, and not in a negative way). On the other hand, I will just continue to up the ante and judge myself against higher and higher standards, and then feel like a failure when I can’t hit goals, even if it’s for reasons like injury or even money. It’s an uphill battle, and at any given point, I have no fucking clue where the hell I am on this stupid hill.

All I do know is it’s a really judgy hill and I’m not sure I like it. Not one bit.

But for now, I’m going to put on my workout clothes, murder a workout, eat a clean dinner and continue doing my best. Of all the possibilities, quitting simply isn’t on the list.

If anyone has any tips for getting out of this silly funk, lay ‘em on me. It’s an ongoing battle, and I know I’m not the only one who deals with it.

All your internets are belong to me

posted on Monday, July 25th, 2013 under General Ramblings |

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AKA this post has no pre-defined direction. Buckle up, Buttercup.

First of all, whew. Life is busy! In addition to my real grown-up J-O-B, general training, tri training, and trying to get all good at Spinning, I’ve taken on 2 rad freelance projects in addition to some other side web projects (one being my poor neglected husband’s website). Busy. I haven’t seen my family in weeks, which is abnormal to say the least. Hopefully this weekend will include some family time.

Oh, wait, it totally will because Sunday (after I finish a 5K), I’m going with my sister to meet our biodad for lunch so she can maybe restart their relationship. This is a big step for both of them – hopefully after this, I get to not be in the middle of the weirdness and they can be on some level of speaking terms again. Fingers crossed, and I’m SO happy this is happening. Having a split life growing up, with mom and sister against dad (and sometimes me, it felt) was tough at times, to say the least. And I know it has caused a lot of guilt issues for my sis, too, which she doesn’t need to be experiencing. I hope this is a meeting that brings everyone some peace of mind and added love moving forward.

And I’m excited for a brick workout with T’s tri training group Saturday AM – I’m so proud of her, and she’s so good at helping people feel comfortable with what (in my mind) is easily one of the most intimidating experiences of all time. Last week’s endurance Spin class and the subsequent strength training session she put together were awesome, so I’m looking forward to a bike/run workout in the incredible weather we’ve been so lucky to have this week.

Last week, I really let myself relax and didn’t add in any extra workouts outside of my normal training schedule. I also relaxed on my diet a bit and indulged in pretty much everything I’ve craved in the last month. It was mostly awesome, but I’m jiggly now and a couple pounds heavier, so it’s back to normal for me. And normal is getting easier and easier, which is nice.

I played golf for the first time in a LOOOOOOONG time this past weekend and let me just tell ya…it was NOT pretty. I’m kind of terrible, and being terrible at anything instantly makes me angry, so I’m not exactly a fun golf partner. I think by the 4th hole (of 9, no 18 for this grump), Mr. T was ready for a divorce. I tried to behave, but holygodammitshitfuckballs, is it frustrating to suck to hard at something you’re trying to be decent at. I get it, it takes TONS of practice and I’m not naturally good at anything but school (which is a sad reality), but that doesn’t make a single wiff less infuriating, or the ball only going 17 yards off the tee any less hissy fit inducing. You guys really should rank Mr. T as a saint for not kicking me out by now.

I get just as pissy at workouts, too. Poor J-Derp. He handles it well, but I get shouty, bratty and extra cussy when I try to do something and I just can’t get it right. Then I get SUPER stoked and happy when I totally nail something. So really, being my trainer must be like babysitting a bi-polar, oversized toddler with Tourettes. I’m all ‘What the fuck are you making me do? You’re dumb! I hate this, and I hate all of you! I’m never coming back, NEVER!’ followed by ‘Dude, did you SEE THAT?!? Best day ever! Unicorns, kisses and puppycats!’

What other mental diarrhea can I throw at you? I think I’m running out of steam.

I promised some recipes, but I’ve been too lazy to type up the ones I modified/invented myself, so here are some links to things either Mr. T or I have made and loved recently:

ACTUALLY Easy Blueberry Crumble. So ridiculously good. Great as a dessert, or as a breakfast dish. This is so good that I’ve already made it twice and only found the recipe a few weeks ago.

Sweet Potato and Egg Salad. Because of this recipe, I now make my own mayo and can have chicken salad, egg salad and even this sweet potato/egg salad in my life again…all work as a meal (lettuce wraps), but this particular recipe is a perfect BBQ side. I love PaleOMG.

Brussels Sprouts and Spinach Frittata. I make this on a Sunday and BAM! Second breakfast for a week (I have a smoothie at home and a mid-morning snack at work, which I call Second Breakfast because I like Hobbits). Another one from PaleoOMG.

Turkey and Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potatoes. Mr. T made this a while back, and it was really yummy. I hope we have it again soon. Again, PaleOMG saves dinner.

Homemade Turkey Sausage. Store-bought sausage, turkey or pork or anything, is generally full of chemicals, preservatives and sugars, so I was excited to find a yummy recipes for a version I can feel good eating. We made this ground up to use in my next recipe, instead of in patties like the recipe says. Still yummy!

Egg Muffins. Now, I totally modified these to fit my eating habits and taste. I made the homemade turkey sausage (okay, Mr. T did), wilted some spinach and didn’t use any cheese, but the basic premise is the same.

The other things have so many modifications or just need me to type up recipes, so I’ll get to more of those later. I have a Pinterest board full of things yet to be made, so I’ll only post the recipes here I try that are actually good. You’re welcome. Hehehe.

In the meantime, here’s some of the interweb funny I’ve collected since we virtually hung out last:

Oh, and I almost forgot somehow…I got my tattoo colored finally! One single yellow rose to represent Grandma V. Sean at Tower Classic did an AH-MAAAAAAA-ZING job. He’s the best. Ever.

Ok, toodles!

New Town Triathlon, AKA BEST DAY EVER!

posted on Monday, July 16th, 2013 under General Ramblings |

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Oh my glob, I am still so freakin excited about how well the race went Sunday.

The day before, I ate a lot of fruit and some sweet potato. My stomach got a little upset in the evening, and that worried me quite a bit. Then I woke up bloated and totally couldn’t even make a nervous poo, and I freaked out a little bit more.

But I proceeded to have my planned breakfast (coffee smoothie with banana and almonds, scrambled eggs and a Lara bar), filled two water bottles with coconut water and one with plain ice water, Mr. T packed a cooler with fruit he’d cut up for me the night before to enjoy at the finish line, we grabbed my pre-packed bags and then got Mr. T’s truck all loaded up. We headed out around 5:50AM (isn’t Mr. T a super rad dude for getting up so early? I vote yes).

On the way there, I started my normal freakout, fidgeting and twitching like crazy. I was extra bummed because no one in my family was coming to cheer me on. My mom was too busy and I didn’t give my biodad very much notice, so he already had plans. But my trainer was supposed to be there, and I was looking forward to having his support on the run. To help calm me, Mr. T played some 80s rock and that definitely helped. I was holding out for Eye of the Tiger, but Pandora didn’t oblige. Oh well.

I was well prepared as we grabbed all my gear and headed to transition, where I met up with the amazing lady T. I set up transition, bike stuff in front, running gear in back, counted the racks coming in from the swim and from the bike, got my numbers written on me and got in line for the portapotty.

While waiting, I was chatting with the athlete behind me, and we heard that we now needed to wear our number bibs on the bike…not how I laid out my transition. Rats. I had finally worked up enough nerves to get my stomach going and took care of some much-needed biz, which totally calmed my stomach, and headed back to transition to move my race belt to my bike pile.

The rest of the morning seemed to fly by. Before we knew it, we were saying goodbye to Lady T’s mom and Mr. T and lining up for the swim start. My trainer J-Derp hadn’t showed up yet, and I was bummed but focused on getting a good swim.

The start went SO FAST. They release a swimmer every 3 seconds, so soon I was running across the timing mat, carefully and awkwardly walking into the lake and then I was off. I could hear Lady T’s mom cheering for me as I left and it made me happy. I quickly got into a rhythm, but then got jostled a bit on the first turn and ended up needing a quick reset to calm my oncoming panic. I rolled onto my back, took a few deep breaths, reset mentally, and returned to my stroke. I got flustered on the other turns as well, but powered through. My side felt a little crampy, and my calves were threatening to seize up, so I didn’t push my kick much, but focused on getting as much power through my stroke as possible.

Before I knew it, I was at the end of the lake, being helped out by the awesome volunteers. I didn’t check my time or anything, but figured it was done to the best of my ability and it was time to focus on transition and the bike.

As I made the first turn to run down the transition chute, the announcer called out my name and I was so happy!!! That was so exciting. As I removed my goggles and cap, I looked up, spotted Mr. T and was shocked to see my biodad standing next to him. I was so damn happy to see him – someone in my family DOES give a shit about what I do! It gave me a boost and I powered through transition. I wish I had a picture from when I saw them standing there – I know I smiled like crazy!

T1 went as smoothly as it could have and soon I was powering down the road and onto the farm roads around New Town. There was quite a bit of headwind, but it was mild compared to wind speeds we had ridden in during training, so I was glad for that. But there was still A LOT of the course that was headwind, and felt like we were lacking tailwind in comparison.

But here’s the insane part. Knowing the wind situation, I had aimed to average 15MPH. There were only a few points on the course (RR tracks, turns, being passed) where I ever even dipped below 15MPH. I knew coming into T2 that I had blown my bike goal out of the water and came in almost 8 minutes early. This caused Mr. T and Dad to miss me, but I had set up text alerts and the system texted Mr. T that I had finished the bike, so they ran over near transition to yell congrats as I headed out to the run.

The first two miles were pretty easy. I finished mile 1 in 10 minutes, but probably burned myself out a bit in the process. Mile 2 was 10:26, but I kept pushing my pace because I knew I was padding myself for the oncoming slowdown. I was hoping that J-Derp would be at the turn for the second lap so he could hop in and push me through the last 2 miles, but sadly, he wasn’t there.

But Dad and Mr. T were SO EXCITED to see me when I barreled around the turn, 2 minutes faster than expected. I hit the 2 mile marker, took my first walk break and tried to take down some coconut butter. My mouth was dry, so it took me longer than expected to get through just one bite, so I kind of gave up on it. I joked with one of the volunteers about it (it was G, one of my old spin instructors!), saying I’d be kicking people’s butts as soon as I stopped chewing. At no point on the course did I stop feeling completely elated and thrilled about the race. I was nonstop happy.

My pace slowed in the third mile, putting me into the 11:15 range. But my average pace was still below my 11:00/mile goal, so I allowed myself a walk break and started the last mile (which actually wasn’t a full mile – the course was a bit short of 4 miles). The sun was getting intense and my side cramped a bit from trying to hydrate, so the last mile was a challenge. I walked more than I wanted to, but I was reserving some energy for the final push.

I came around the last turn, with the finisher’s chute in sight, Mr. T and Dad excitedly cheering me on, and I just put on my wheels. A few ladies cheering from the side called out that there were people behind me, so I smiled at them and sped up even more. I had the biggest grin on my face as I took huge strides to cross the finish line. The announcer again called out my name, congratulating me on finishing strong. Just check out the series of photos the photog snapped as I finished (yeah, yeah, I spent the $10 and bought the photo package…I figured it was worth it once I saw how funny these were):

And then I was done. I snagged a cold bottle of water and walked for a minute, found Mr. T and Dad, sat in the shade to enjoy a few bites of watermelon, then headed over to cheer on Lady T as she finished.

When Mr. T told me my final time, I was blown away. My goal, which I thought might be a bit too aggressive to hit, was 2:24:00. My actual time was 2:15:03 – I KILLED my goal by almost 9 minutes!! Holy shit balls!

I was so elated. I am still riding high from having such an awesome race. I’m bummed more of my family and friends weren’t there to be excited with me at the end, but it meant SO MUCH to have Lady T, her mom, Mr. T and Dad there. Seeing Dad was the best surprise, and he told me he’s been bragging about me to his friends about how awesome I am. That makes me feel loved, and that’s all I really want in life. Mr. T is so proud of me, too. He’s been so supportive in this journey, and he calms me on race day. I would be a mess without him. And if Lady T wasn’t in my life, I don’t know that I would have ever had the lady balls to even attempt a triathlon, but thanks to her awesome inspiration, I have some awesome memories and even more awesome goals ahead of me.

Clearly solid nutrition and hard work did a lot to power me through the day, and I don’t want to downplay that, but the moral support I received from everyone on the course (especially my ‘crew’) seriously made everything so much more rad. The whole time I kept thinking to myself that THIS is why I do this. THIS is why I have days where I feel deprived, where I am tired and don’t want to push but push anyway, where I’m emotional and even sometimes deflated…because all of those things are offset by the overwhelming power of how amazing it feels to have 2 hours, 15 minutes and 3 seconds of sweat, work and complete, utter euphoria.

THIS is why I’m a triathlete.

After cooling down and packing up our gear, Lady T and I headed home. Dad went on to his plans, and Mr. T basked with me in the afterglow of awesome. We snacked, napped, went to our favorite antique shop, had some Mexican food (QUESO DIP!!!), went to a local brewery to share some beers (which didn’t really taste so great to me, sadly), relaxed and had pizza and red wine for dinner. We went to bed full and very, very happy.

My hips and outer thighs were a little bit sore, but I never even really got stiff. My knees felt a bit worn out a few times, but my body has really reacted well to the beating I gave it…which means I probably could have pushed harder…which means next year is really going to rock.

For the first time in a long time, I am absolutely, positively, 100% PROUD of myself. No one else did this for me – I had help along the way, no doubt, but out there on the course, it was just me. I did this. I accomplished something awesome. It was no Ironman, it was no top finishing time, but it was a performance so much greater than I expected and I know I did it because I worked for it.

Looking at the race pics, I can see that there’s still improvement waiting to be made – both for my body and for my form – but those are simply goals for me to achieve. Going forward, I have lots of awesome waiting to happen. I have at least one more triathlon (Sunset Hills sprint in August) where I’ll be training for speed and get some bike hills under my belt. I’m considering having vengeance on the Lake Mattoon Oly, but I don’t know that I want to make Mr. T give up part of a holiday weekend for another race…so we’ll see. I’m going to start increasing my run mileage, hoping my knees and feet will support me on the journey to my first marathon. And I’m going to try to plan my training to get me to a Half Ironman next year. I want it. I think I can have it. I will absolutely try for it.

And in the meantime, I auditioned for Club Fitness’s Spinning program and got hired last night, so I have even more fun to look forward to in the coming months!

A year ago, I wasn’t sure I’d get back to where I could complete triathlons again. I’ve come so far, and I’m excited to keep going. Life is great, and the fun has only just begun.

Race day approaches!! TOMORROW!

posted on Monday, July 13th, 2013 under General Ramblings |

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EEEEEP.

It’s here. The race I’ve been focused on for months. I’ve seen some huge improvements in my run, but I worry I didn’t spend enough time on the bike or in the pool to be as prepared as I could be. But I’ve been strength training like a crazy person, and doing what I can with my schedule, so tomorrow will be what it will be and I’m okay with that.

Here’s the breakdown of how I hope it will all go…

SWIM

The fastest I have finished the course is just under 23 minutes. So I’m aggressively aiming for 21:30. If my legs don’t cramp up, that should be doable. Hard, but it’s race day and that’s the friggin’ point.

T1

Being drenched always slows me down. I’ll remove my goggle and cap while running from the lake, then put on my pre-rolled socks, bike shoes, hair band, sunglasses, helmet and watch, take a hit of fruit puree and water, then run my bike out of transition. Clip in and go. This better be under 2:00.

BIKE

I’m worried about this. I am HOPING to average 15mph, and with the amount of headwind on the course, that is really ambitious given that I’m just not a speedy rider. That puts me at finishing the bike in 1:15.

T2

Less to change here, but I get so frazzled. Once I even forgot to take my helmet off. Dumb. So I will remove my helmet, swap it for my visor, take another hit of fruit puree, grab my coconut water in my running bottle (which also holds my coconut butter), and hopefully remember to hit start on my watch as I cross the mat out of transition. I’d like this to be 1:30.

RUN

For the first time in my life, I feel like this will be my strongest event as long as my nutrition and hydration (which is worrisome given I’m not comfortable grabbing my water bottle while riding) go well and keep me fueled. Again, this is a lofty goal, but I’m hoping to average an 11:00/mile pace. After the swim and bike, this will be hard. But that puts my run time at 44:00.

OVERALL

I suck at math, but I think these times put me at a 2:24:00 finish. To be fair, transition always has some hiccups for me, so as long as I’m under 2:30:00, I’ll be okay. But if I can finish under 2:25:00, I’ll be SO THRILLED. I hope I’m not setting myself up for total disappointment.

My transition bucket is packed, I’ve mentally walked through transition several times, my bike has had a tuning, the tires are aired, my bike pouch is ready, my helmet number is on, my post-race bag is mostly packed…whew. This is as ready as I could possibly be. I’m a little nervous, of course, but I’m so dang excited! I’ve worked hard for this, and I’m anxious to perform well and make myself proud. Either way, I’m doing a triathlon tomorrow and most people aren’t, so I’ll be happy with that. :D

Wish me luck! I can’t believe the big day is almost here!!!