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

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

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 |

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.

32 and better than ever.

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

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.

Oooh, a quickie!

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

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.

All your internets are belong to me

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

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 |

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 |

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!!!

Farewell, detox. We will meet again.

posted on Monday, July 8th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings |

I’m officially done with the detox. I realize I had one slip-up I didn’t even think about at the time, one I knowingly took and then there was yesterday…

The first slip-up was last week on my work trip. I had lima beans with dinner. It was the only non-potato or rice side dish, but I didn’t even think about the fact that it’s a legume, which is a no-no. Dang. They were good, though. I feel stupid looking back at that moment, but for some reason, it did not even occur to me that lima beans are beans, even though they are literally called beans. I don’t know why this is even a thing, but my brain was all ‘Oh, I’m not eating pinto or black beans, no potatoes, no rice, but they have lima beans! Let’s eat the shit outta those!’ So that happened. Oooops.

Then I had a teensy sip of my husband’s espresso stout on our impromptu holiday weekend getaway. Hey, I didn’t enjoy a glass of red wine in the hot tub like I wanted, so I figured a tiny taste of a new beer that I wanted to try wasn’t so bad. I knowingly slipped up and it was practically nothing, but it’s still a slip-up, and I’m confessing all my sins.

Then there was yesterday. Day 21. The final day. The scale was reading almost the same as Day 1, my energy was only so-so and I frankly had issues with how NOT different I felt overall. Then I had a late brunch and tried to hold out on not eating fruit for the rest of the day…but a fruit bowl was there, and it had peaches and grapes and honeydew…and I ate the shit outta that. It was so delicious. And my body seemed to enjoy it – I did NOT get super worn out like I had been after a workout.

Then I had 3 dark chocolate-covered espresso beans. Because I already fell off the wagon, and why the hell not?

Then I had dried mango (organic, nothing added, just dried fruit). And not just a piece or two. I did exactly what I swore I wouldn’t do and went on a total mango bender. I ate THE WHOLE PACKAGE. And I’m not ashamed. I loved every second of it. Unfortunately, dried mango is totally my candy, and the detox was done to help break me of craving it all the time, but to be honest, I still craved it the entire 21 days. And if dried mango is my biggest issue, I’d say I’m doing pretty well in life. PLUS, I had a normal poop AND an amazing run this morning, and I choose to credit the mango for that.

So like I said, I’m not ashamed. I went overboard, but feeling deprived of something like that for 3 weeks will do that to me, and I know this about myself. I simply shouldn’t have bought the mango, but I resisted a watermelon and strawberries, so I caved on that one thing. Okay, I bought dried pineapple, too. I LOVE DRIED FRUIT.

I don’t drink soda. I don’t eat candy. I don’t eat cupcakes, or sandwiches, or bread, or pasta, or anything processed or full of chemicals. The reason I think I didn’t see a ton of prolonged change in myself during this detox is because I really do eat so clean already. But I have noticed a few awesome things the detox helped me with:

  • My sleep is better (falling asleep and getting up, anyway…staying asleep can still be a challenge)
  • I’ve gotten much better at planning my food
  • I don’t eat out at lunch every day (which was already hard before the detox anyway)
  • I’ve discovered new foods I like
  • I can drink black coffee now
  • Non-sweet foods are sweeter and more satisfying now
  • Based on the scale this morning, I’m down maybe 2.5 lbs from day one, but up from my lowest point during the detox, which is a mystery to me

But there are things I REALLY wanted to happen that didn’t:

  • I don’t feel any leaner (read: I was hoping to see a bit more ab action, but that did not happen)
  • I don’t feel crazy energetic or more mentally focused
  • I haven’t killed my craving for fruit…I think maybe I fixated too much on it being a ‘can’t have’ and it drove my cravings
  • I really, really want a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup concrete from Fritz’s…I don’t want to crave those things

I kind of think maybe I did something wrong. There are so many benefits the detox promised that I just never really felt. But how could I have done it wrong? I confessed my mistakes, and they were small and toward the end. I read labels like a mofo. Mr. T and I cooked food like mofos. I EVEN TRIED TO GET ON THE BACON TRAIN. I would like to blame the bacon, but that’s probably not fair.

As I said before, maybe I eat so clean that the changes just weren’t drastic enough to jump start my system. But I was turned on to the detox by Paleo bloggers who eat even cleaner than me, and THEY saw changes. Which leads me to the one conclusion my asshole brain will let me come to – I BLEW IT. There’s something wrong with me that made this whole thing not work. Reality? I really did do something wrong, but not on purpose. It might have been portion sizes (I don’t measure anything, I just eat till I start to feel satisfied), or too many nuts, or I’m still not eating enough veggies. Probably all of the above.

But that’s okay. I refuse to hold myself to some undefined, invisible measure of perfection. I feel healthy. I feel strong. I feel like eating fruit, and you know what? That’s okay. I’m going to eat fruit. Quite frankly, I’m not sure how I could hope to be a decent endurance athlete without it. I’ll probably do the detox again after race season is over, so I’ll have a few things to strive to be better at then.

There are things I will take with me from this going into a ‘normal’ everyday diet. I’m going to keep rice and quinoa off the table for a while and see how just reintroducing fruit goes for my workouts and races. I’ll still eat sushi from time to time, but it will be a much more occasional treat. And I’ll bring my own coconut aminos to use in place of soy sauce. Now that I’ve made the plunge into a tighter Paleo diet, I’ll keep the legumes out, too.

Label reading is a must, detox or no. Seriously, people – if what you are eating has more ingredients you can’t pronounce than real ingredients, you should think about not eating that anymore. It’s not food. For me, aside from the chemicals I’ve been avoiding for a while now, I’m going to keep searching for more things without added sugars. And if I can’t find them, I’ll learn how to make them myself.

I’m going to continue enjoying the hell out of coconut butter. That is some seriously delicious stuff.

I’m not going to have any booze until my race is over Sunday. My body needs to focus on recovery and race prep, not digesting things it doesn’t need. But after I cross the finish line Sunday, I’m going to want watermelon, water, protein, a shower, a nap…and then ALL THE THINGS. Who wants to come hang out with me as I get drunk off of 2 sips of red wine?? Or while I’m on a sugar high from the peanut butter cup concrete I’m going to demolish? It’s going to be epic.

But after that, I’ll return to my clean eating ways…because this is my life. It’s never going to be perfect. But it IS going to be mine.

Here’s another thing, though…I hate throwing around the word ‘Paleo’ so much, because if this blog ever happens to be found by a ‘real’ Paleo person, they’d rip me a new one for my outlook on it. It’s just the closest descriptor I have to reference how I eat…so maybe I will just say clean eating, or whole food eating…bottom line, this isn’t some fad diet I’m following (though it’s been hinted at by nameless others). I’m simply adjusting my lifestyle to fit the goals I have in mind…which may at times include some grains, or legumes, or (GASP) dairy. Like I said, I’m not going to be perfect. I’m just doing what’s best for me!

Oh, how different life is now…

posted on Monday, July 1st, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox, General Ramblings |

No, not just from the detox…since last October, my life has changed very much. October 3rd, to be exact.

I went to see Brandon for another training session, but it was weigh and measure day. Turns out, I had gained 1.8 pounds since the last weigh-in, and for me, that was my rock bottom. In my mind, I was working so much harder, avoiding some foods I used to eat all the time, and was so angry that I was gaining weight.

But I knew why. I just didn’t want to admit it. As I cried through the workout, Brandon gently suggested we discuss nutrition again. I agreed, but admittedly freaked out when he suggested I look at the Paleo guidelines as a starting place to choose things to change. It seemed overwhelming. No grains?? No more pre-made convenient ‘health’ foods? NO MORE SAMMICHES OR PIZZA?!?! WHAT KIND OF CRUEL WORLD IS THIS?!?! What did I do to deserve this heinous punishment?

But that day was the last day I ate a sandwich.

Dinner that night was the first meal of many that featured lean protein and veggies as the starring players, cooked without sauces – simply seasoned. I quit processed foods cold turkey. I never was a smoker, but I would guess the first three weeks of clean eating were akin to withdrawals that smokers, or even drug addicts, experience…except that you can’t just avoid situations that tempt you. You HAVE to eat. The first three weeks were painful. Literally. I had headaches and body aches and stomach cramps as my body re-learned how to properly handle food and rid itself of chemicals. I craved ALL THE THINGS and wanted to stab ALL THE HUMANS.

But the next month, when it was time to weigh and measure, I knew I had done the right thing. My body needed this. It was ready to shed pounds – it just needed the right fuel to do it. In that month, I lost 21.2 pounds, 7 inches and 2.5% body fat. Just by eating REAL food.

Since then, J-Derp has helped me tighten up my diet even more (soy and hummus took a hike, I started eating a cucumber a day, started watching portion size just a little bit more closely). That plus this detox has really gotten me in a good place with food.

Now, let’s get to the reality of it: I adore my cheats. Dinner out with friends, the occasional ice cream stop, a pizza night once in a great while…I won’t live without those things. And though I was roughly following the Paleo guidelines at the beginning, I still ate legumes and rice/quinoa every now and then. That’s a Paleo purist no-no, but I don’t give a rat’s ass. It was working for me at the time, so I made the changes I could as I went. I will absolutely still eat rice sometimes after the detox is over, because sushi is a food group and I want to make sweet sweet mouth love to a salmon avocado roll in the near future.

The reality is simple. Nutrition is personal. Paleo/Primal lifestyles offer great guidelines to eating. If it’s processed, covered in chemicals, bioengineered or full of hormones, it’s not something our bodies were created to digest. Food companies have carefully formulated ‘healthy’ foods bursting with addictive chemicals and fake sugars that actually just make us crave more of those things, or make us even hungrier for other empty foods. And they can make these things cheaply, making it even harder to justify eating things that taste less yummy by comparison and cost more.

But here’s the thing. When you break the addiction to these additives and chemicals, your taste buds change. Real foods start to taste how they were meant to – delicious. Don’t get me wrong, there are still PLENTY of things I won’t eat (raw tomatoes, I’m looking at you, you gross little jerks), but my palate has expanded incredibly in the last few months. Roasted Brussels sprouts, get in my face right now. Kombucha, I am not even really sure what you are, but I tried you and I think we can be friends. Onions, I’m gonna cook you first, but then I’m gonna eat you. Bacon, we’re just not there yet. I’m sorry. You just don’t do it for me, and that makes me an outcast. That’s okay. It’s less crowded out here and I feel less stabby.

And here’s one more thing, because who doesn’t love more things?? I look way better, but I feel even better than THAT. My body works. It does what I want it to do. We are no longer enemies. We are in luuuurrrrrrve and total BFFs for life. I mean, check this out:

Talk about a huge change! Especially when you compare this to where I was when I did my first Olympic tri 2 years ago. So much change. I’m seriously amped for the New Town Tri in 2 weeks. It’s going to be a great day, and a fantabulous race. It will be my best to date. I know it, because my body is ready for it. I was NOT ready for the Oly. This year, however, I think I might get my vengeance. We shall see…

The detox has only helped me get ready even more. I often turned to gels and energy beans/chews during long workouts/runs/bricks, but obviously, if you’re not eating sugar, you can’t have those things. Or Gatorade…which is fine, because that stuff has always made my belly ache. So what do I use for fuel?? First of all, I do eat sweet potatoes the night before so I have a least a small glycogen store. I didn’t feel great after having them this past weekend, so maybe that won’t be the case, but we’ll see.

Saturday morning before my 20mi/3mi bike/run brick, I had my favorite detox smoothie – cold coffee, almond milk, almonds, a frozen banana and a hint of vanilla. I had pure coconut water, a natural source of electrolytes, in my riding and running water bottles, plus a regular bottle of water. I packed a baggie of coconut butter to eat between bike and run. That’s all. It worked great and I felt amazing – but I will probably need something with a few more calories for race day, so I’m going to experiment with homemade no-sugar chia gels.

Endurance nutrition may not always follow the new guidelines I’ve taken to on this detox, but I’m really going to continue abiding by this method in the hopes that my body learns to burn fat the way it would normally burn carbs. I think I’m getting there, based on my energy levels, but if not, I’ll make adjustments.

Also, I refuse to think that organic fruits should be avoided completely. Maybe I was too dependent on them before, but I will still eat fruit in moderation. And honey. And booze. Oh, booze. How I miss you. I can smell red wine now, just thinking about it. But that won’t happen until after the race, so I will continue to dream.

But overall, given all the changes I’ve made, I’m really happy with my lifestyle now. It’s not always easy, and I know sometimes I won’t stick to it due to work travel, vacation, etc., but that’s called living. It’s not a diet. It’s life. You do the best you can, you enjoy what you want, and you get back to what makes you feel really great. And for me, eating clean and working out makes me feel really great.

Like, a-hedgie-eating-a-dinosaur great.

Or Patrick-riding-a-seal great.

Or Mr. T-riding-a-unicorn great.

Or just this great.

This country needs a hate detox

posted on Monday, June 26th, 2013 under General Ramblings, Things that piss me off |

A detox post of a different variety this time.

I just have to say that I am incredibly baffled by mankind on a daily basis. So many people I encounter among the general public are rude, stupid, stuck up or just plain douchey. The rest are my friends or someday friends, and you are excluded from the things I am about to write.

While in the words of the politicians who ruin this country on a daily basis are notions of freedom, love and unity, the reality of what they bring about is so much the opposite. I am thrilled with the Supreme Court’s overruling of DOMA and refusal to rule on Prop H8…but still so confused why the vote was so split.

There’s no such thing as GAY marriage. There’s marriage. These aren’t GAY rights we’re debating. They are human rights. Rights that were also once denied to a group of people in our country, though on a more grandiose scale (I don’t wish to trivialize the trials of one group by comparing them to another; just noting that this is a recurring trend). Just as reading about segregation and witnessing the continued prevalence of prejudice that surrounds me to this day, I am completely confused as to how we can look at any one subset of our vibrant population and tell them they are not our equals. We are all people and deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and love…not disgust, humiliation and hatred.

It’s sad that, in our country today, thieves, murderers, rapists and molesters have more rights than many of my friends, and it makes me sick.

Even further, don’t play the religion card with me. First of all, what happened to separation of church and state? We are debating FEDERAL rights – taxes, death benefits, family rights, etc. We are not debating the religious definition of marriage. At least, we sure as hell shouldn’t be. Churches can define marriage however they so choose – THAT is a freedom upon which this country was founded. Now keep your church out of everyone’s government.

I hope with all my heart that today’s rulings are the beginning of real change in this country. I hope people can rid themselves of the fear, anger and hate that has driven such things as the creation of the Westboro insanity, but since I don’t see that happening, I at least hope that those representing our voice in a government created to protect our freedoms can see the need for true equality in the eyes of the law.

Today’s historic rulings should be celebrated. But those celebrations should not be for a victory in the name of gay rights. It should be for the first of hopefully many victories in the name of human rights.

Now hurry up, you remaining 38 states, and make marriage equality happen!

One last parting thought…since gay means happy, shouldn’t churches actually SUPPORT what they insist on calling gay marriage?? So on that note, I will leave you with a smile: