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Crabby Monday: A rant

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

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 |

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 |


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…


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!!!

The detox did more than I realized…

posted on Monday, July 10th, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox |

I will stubbornly admit that some of my day 21 conclusions seem erroneous, especially after a plunge back to eating some sugars. I don’t want to deter anyone who may be considering the detox from trying it, so I figured a few more highlights of the good stuff would be worthwhile – because I really do recommend this detox to anyone looking for a good, healthy change!

I have been back to more ‘normal’ clean eating for a few days with some added treats, and I have to say, this did some damage. At least, an abrupt reintroduction of sugar took its toll. While I won’t blame it all on the dried fruit, I have had some stomach issues that I didn’t have before, and I’m willing to bet my sweet unicorn woodcut art that the burst of carbs and sugar I added to my menu are behind some, if not all, of those problem.

First, a confession of the bad things I’ve eaten in the last couple of days (warning, it’s bad and the opposite of what is recommended when coming off of the detox):

  • You know, that bag of dried mango. And the few dark chocolate-covered espresso beans.
  • A few rings of dried (unsweetened) pineapple, Monday night and last night.
  • A few dark chocolate-covered dried blueberries (literally like 3-4) over the course of my work trip Monday night through last night.
  • 2 square of chocolate, left on my bed at the hotel Monday night…after watching everyone eat cheese and drink wine, my desire to resist one more delicious thing completely disappeared.
  • A few small handfuls of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate-covered PowerBerries last night, which are NOT in fact real berries and not at all something you should ever eat, but they are delicious and I ate them knowing I should not.
  • One bite of banana pudding (not the cookie crust) on our snack stop at the Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen in Louisville…as everyone ate ice cream and pie, I had a Paleo granola bar and caved for one bite of the most delicious banana pudding I’ve ever tasted.

Writing that down makes me feel like a pretty huge failure, especially in the week leading up to my big race. I’m going back to NO CHOCOLATE and NO DRIED FRUIT for the remainder of the week to ensure my stomach problems aren’t a factor race day. Chocolate is definitely a sometimes for me and I know it’s not a recommended part of daily eating, but I just so enjoy dark chocolate! This is about eating and living, so as long as I can keep my dark chocolate in moderation, which clearly it hasn’t been the last few days, it can stay. If I can’t control it, it might have to go.

I’ve also been drinking WAAAAAY too much black coffee. But I don’t want to risk withdrawal symptoms before the race, so I won’t rock the boat too much there, but it’s something to address after the race.

In the grand scheme of things, my diet is still really clean. But I went a little sugar crazy, and that is the opposite of what I should do following an intense three weeks of eating at my cleanest. That’s dumb. That’s also over. I think a calorie burst is fine to shake up my metabolism, so I’m not too worried about my list of dirty deeds, but the ensuing digestive issues I’ve had are clear indicators that this is not how my body wants me to eat moving forward. Being bloated and, ahem, a bit congested in the intestinal region is unpleasant and a yucky reminder of how I lived before eliminating junk from my system.

Which brings me to the point of posting this. The detox did another huge thing for me that I failed to give fair credit to, and maybe because I just hadn’t had the chance to realize it yet…it taught me how to recognize and react when my body clearly doesn’t like what I’m giving it. I learned what I need to do to react properly and fix the issues, which is precisely what I’m doing. It’s an amazing benefit and I don’t want to downplay it one bit. Knowing how to fine tune my fuel is empowering – I can listen to my body more effectively. Do I always know the right solution when something feels off? No. But I have a better understanding of what food does to me, and can therefore react better and tweak things that need to be tweaked.

As an athlete, I still struggle with the balance between natural sugar and carbs, and trying to fuel for optimal performance. I don’t feel like my body has taken to burning fats in place of carbs just yet, so I’m not sure what my nutrition will look like for Sunday, and that worries me a bit. If my body is reacting negatively to sugar, maybe my Lara bar with breakfast isn’t the way to go. But heavy protein isn’t right, either. Sweet potatoes might have also made my stomach ache the last time I ate them, so I worry about having that as my pre-race dinner. I’m a little freaked out, but it’ll all work out. I’ve done the training and put in the hours, so hopefully my nutrition will work out just fine and I’ll have the best race ever.

So if anyone is looking for a way to jump into some healthy changes, learn from my mistakes and take on the 21-Day Sugar Detox with positivity, knowing you will reap amazing benefits that will be unique to you, your lifestyle and your goals. I’m so glad I went on this journey, and look forward to doing it again over the winter months when my training is at a much less intense level. I’ll continue working to get my body primed to burn healthy fats, and supplement with all-natural carbs when needed. If you’re curious, REI has a great selection of natural options in the sports nutrition area, great for if you’re looking to eliminate gels and chews filled with sugar and chemicals.

I’m so looking forward to Sunday. I ran my two fastest miles ever Monday morning (9:04 and 9:22 splits), and I feel like my body is ready to get me to the finish line efficiently and speedily. So wish me luck! In a few short days, we’ll know if my hard work has paid off…and I’m willing to bet it will.

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!

Day 17 of 21: Meh.

posted on Monday, July 3rd, 2013 under 21-Day Sugar Detox |

I don’t know if my work trip yesterday threw me off my game, or if I’m just having a blah week in general, but I am NOT in a good mood today. I’m not crabby or in a BAD mood, but I just feel like everything is just meh.

I woke up yesterday, flew to KY (I HATE flying), ate a homemade snack I brought on the way to our meeting, ate the turkey meat off of two sandwiches, along with some bacon (yes, I ate bacon and didn’t hate it!!!), snacked on pistachios, grabbed some grilled salmon and lima beans before heading back to the airport and ended the day with a yummy grilled grassfed burger with…dare I say it?…more bacon.

Then today, my stomach was screwy and the scale fluctuated up. I blame the bacon.

I also worry that I’m replacing my crutches with other crutches. Instead of eating a ton more veggies, I’m snacking on nuts more. I’m getting more veggies for sure, but I could be doing far better. But then I think about all the fruit I’m missing out on, and I get frustrated that I’m beating myself up for having raw almonds or pistachios. I want a strawberry, dammit, not some cauliflower! And pistachios are a good choice…but veggies would be even better.

But I guess that’s kind of the point.

I can drink black coffee now and enjoy it. I like that. I don’t want to lose the taste I’ve developed for new things. But as the end of the detox approaches, I look forward to enjoying fruit again…and I’m torn about that. No, I won’t live the rest of my life denying myself an entire group of healthy, natural foods. As I’ve said, nutrition is personal, and my personal preference is to have fruits. But I know I need to keep it limited so I don’t go right back to being a sugarholic and undoing the good I’ve done.

But today it’s hard to see any good. The scale is back where it was at the beginning (I know, it changes so much day to day), I don’t feel much leaner, I am not currently feeling crazy energetic, and I feel like I must be doing something wrong. This detox was supposed to be such an amazing change. How am I not feeling amazing all the time? I’ve had a couple rad days, but this week…not so much.

It could be the amount of things I have on my plate. The detox and eating clean is its own bit of work, but one I welcome. Then I have actual work, plus freelance projects I’ve picked up, plus the stress of prepping for and trying to fit in spin auditions and then, eventually, actual classes, all on top of the tri training and personal training I already do each week. Plus, you know, having a life. As I’ve said before, some days I feel like I have balance.. This is not one of those days. Or weeks.

I struggled through Monday’s workout with J-Derp. I had a hard time focusing a few times in my meeting yesterday. I’m bummed today and don’t feel like myself. What gives? What am I doing wrong? Maybe there was something I shouldn’t eat in the one restaurant meal I had on my trip yesterday…but that doesn’t explain Monday. I feel bloated today and the giggly poops took a vacay day, so maybe bacon really just isn’t for me? Or maybe I ate too much meat yesterday in comparison to my norm, or just not enough veggies?

That’s a whole separate topic…meat. Ugh. I’m not a crazy carnivore. I tolerate chicken (only love it when it’s shredded, go ahead and judge), I love turkey meat (ground, smoked, whatever), I’m eating more grassfed GROUND beef and I adore seafood. I hate steak. I don’t dig pork (though again, shredded is preferred). And I just don’t love eating it all the time. I even tossed out my homemade turkey sausage from my breakfast sammie this morning because eating meat was grossing me out too much. So what the heck am I supposed to eat?

Clearly, this is one of my ‘woe is me, my choices are so hard, pity me’ days and those suck. These are the right choices made for the right reasons, and I love them most of the time. But today, surrounded by office bday treats and talks of July 4th cocktails and trips, I’m just feeling deprived and failing to see the good in my great new habits.

So please don’t yell at me for bemoaning something I have total control over. I know this is my choice. I just need a little bit of support right now, because life is feeling a bit overwhelming. But hey, it’s halfway through WedFriday, and I have 4 days of detox and relaxation in front of me…so hopefully those two will get along peacefully. Thank glob for Pinterest, that’s all I have to say.

And just because it makes me laugh, and I need that:

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.