Thursday, December 28, 2006

Early Morning Weight

I'm fascinated by The Weight Room.

Fascinated and fearful, in a way.

I go and spend time there, but I never really feel at home. I show up in the wee early hours, when I would assume that other people serious about their health and training show up, and I feel like less of an 'insider' than I would at a convention for evangelical political pundits in a presidential election year. Fearful that the moment I open my mouth or make one concerted move, I will instantaneously be discovered as an outsider and the floor will magically open up, swallow me whole, and drop me along side the New Jersey turnpike, dazed, confused, and feeling a little slimy.

I had a session with a trainer way back when I started this whole triathlon training trip and it was definitely a smart move. Realizing that I had zero idea of what machines to use and how often or, well, how...I buckled down and dropped the c-note for an hour with someone who did. She's also a triathlete, and a serious one at that. I told her my plans and she put me to work. I learned a solid circuit of exercises both on the nautilus machines (in the safe know, the one with the treadmills and other familiar machines) and in The Weight Room.

I kind of felt like a fool -- an interloper or sorts. Clearly I was getting a lesson on the basics, so I was basically a beginner. I swallowed my pride and went with it and the process payed off. Over the following months I slowly became more comfortable using the free weights freely. I got used to switching out using a machine during recovery. I even figured out where to look in a room full of mirrors and buff guys without completely embarrassing myself. (Com. On. A room full of mirrors and we're NOT supposed to look? Good grief!) I began to recognize the regulars as I became a regular myself.

And, luckily, the floor never opened up and swallowed me whole. I managed to avoid the Jersey roadside and was all that much stronger for the process. Yeah. The definition in my arms alone was worth it. And, recently, we all know that I've been religiously adhering to the cheese steak diet, so I'm ever so slightly less buff than before. And when I say "ever so slightly," I really mean "shockingly." No worries, the New Year is here.

And, now that the New Year IS here, I've been working on my training plan. Finances have dictated that I need to wait until later in January to purchase my TrainingPeaks plan of choice, so I'm pulling together my own prep month plan based on an amalgamation of the bazillion books and mags I've been reading recently.

But, the weight lifting portion of the plan has forced some self-education. Last year -- when I participated and didn't compete -- the basic circuit was just fine. Any strength gain was a bonus. I was going up from the bottom, you know. But this year is different. I want my time down in the bowels of the Y -- in the dreaded Weight Room -- to be really beneficial. Well spent. So, in this process, I found a great site that y'all may be interested in visiting: I've been hanging out on the Exercise and Muscle Directory section to familiarize myself with any number of variations of hip abductor exercises and what the heck the difference is between an adductor and abductor.

I found it really informative and helpful. Maybe you will, too!

And, I'm pleased to say that I've landed on a set of exercises that I think will really payoff. Yes, make me sore in an unholy and evil way. Yes, I will walk for the first week ever so slightly bent over and grunting along the way. But, bring on the high protein/low fat diet and let's tear some muscle tissue. Booyah!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I'm It

I've been tagged! This is my first tagging, so I'm kind of tickled by the whole idea. Thanks JohnnyTri! Here's my entry into the Blog Book Tag...

What to do...

1. Find the nearest book.
2. Name the book & the author.
3. Turn to page 123.
4. Go to the fifth sentence on the page. Copy out the next three sentences and post to your blog.
5. Tag three more folks.

Being that I work in a counseling center for families and individuals, you would imagine the there are a BUNCH o' psychological books around. But, I stuck to the task and grabbed the one physically the closest to me -- Self Analysis, by Karen Horney, MD. It was published in 1942, which is particularly interesting when you consider the history of analysis, psychoanalysis, and its rise and decline in popularity in professional circles. The first readers of this edition would have likely been contemporaries of Freud (albeit geographically distant) and lived in a world unfettered and unaided by psychiatric medications. The book must have been donated to our center, since it's inscribed to "Elizabeth Anthony, from D.G., Christmas 1944." How very interesting...

p. 123, from "The Analyst's Share in the Psychoanalytic Process"

Like everyone else, the analyst will observe general qualities in the patient's behavior, such as aloofness, warmth, rigidity, spontaneity, defiance, compliance, suspicion, confidence, assertiveness, timidity, ruthlessness, sensitivity. In the mere process of listening to the patient he will, without direct effort, gain many general impressions: whether the patient is able to let himself go or is tense and constrained; whether he talks in a systematic, controlled fashion or is jumpy and scattered; whether he presents abstract generalities or concrete details; whether he is circumstantial or to the point; whether he talks spontaneously or leaves the initiative to the analyst; whether he is conventional or expresses what he really thinks and feels.

In his more specific observations the analyst learns, first, from what the patient tells him about his experiences, past and present, his relationships with himself and others, his plans, his wishes, his fears, his thoughts.

Not bad for a random few sentences out of a random book.

LBTEPA, Spokane Al, and Donald -- consider yourselves TAGGED!

(oh, this is fun!)

I could not have said it better myself

Sunshine, you hit the proverbial nail right on the head. May we all find this in the coming year!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Oh, and don't forget... register for the GYGO Virtual Tri-Geek Challenge! A fabulous way to start the new year doing exactly what most of us will be up to all year long (swim, bike, run, rinse, repeat comes to mind...).

I, myself, have already checked that the Y is open. So, I'll be joining all of the New Years resoluters (It's a word!)* with some splashing around in the water, drying off on the bike, and shvitzing my way through three miles on the dreaded mill.

But symbolism goes a long way, people, and I'm DOWN with the symbolism of this event.

So. Go. Register. Pick whatever distance you want and have FUN with it!!

Kick the year off on the right foot. Or fin. Or whatever.

* okay, not really

Monday, December 18, 2006


da da daaa daaaah
da da dadada
dada da daaa
dada da da da ...

Okay, enough annoying 80s songs to get stuck in your head on an early Monday morning.

Going on a little hiatus from the blog-o-li-cious scene for the holidays. The next week is ridiculously full, which I should count my lucky stars for, but it seems a little overwhelming right now. So much time needs to be spent gathering glorious gifts and wrapping them for all my loved ones. Visiters are coming into town (yeah Lil'Sis!!!!!) and Mighty M and I will be traveling around the area making sure everyone we love knows it. I'm looking forward to the hours my sister, Dad, and I will spend around the tree and by the fire. Plus, this year is all that much fuller with M's family who is, thankfully, also local. (Whew.) We get to share gifts with a 2 year old niece who never stops chatting and I always want to stow away in the car with us when we leave, and her baby sister who is just a nugget of cuteness. And hopefully in between we can steal some time to ourselves for our first Christmas together.

So, I'm going on a little blog vacation, but will be back soon. And you guys should, too. Spend time away from the computer if you can -- and away from training for that matter -- and gather those you care about around you. Be well, travel safely, and take advantage of the time together.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Morning musing

Less then three weeks until Ironman training begins, and a thought occured to me last night that, while not original or even all that insightful, calmed some of my worries of lost ability.

Achievements that take many days, weeks, months, or years are not undone in less time. The achievement itself may seem tenuous and vulnerable, but when it was hard won and based on honest effort, those impressions of vulnerability are your own perception, not the reality.

Just thought I wanted to share that with you this morning.

In other news, I have solved the website issue (try...the hosting company forgot to actually purchase the domain!) and have picked my training plan for Once the holiday crush is over I'll get that purchased and uploaded for all to see. And, yes Jeremy, I still do owe a race report on the marathon. I guess I'll have to actually make this one funny, since it's so late! Thanks for keeping me honest...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Ode to Edamame

I'm not even done eating this dinner and I have to post its crazy quick and easy recipe. Thanks to the NHL and M's penchant for naps, I'm on my own for dinner tonight. Here's what came of rather slim pickin's in the fridge. The edamame are the key -- they're so naturally flavorful and ridiculously packed with protein (not to mention the soy benefits). Don't skimp on the butter. A pat won't kill you and it really brings out the flavor.*

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
1-1/2 cups fresh green beans, halved
1/4 cup water
salt, pepper

2 cups cooked brown rice

Saute the frozen edamame in butter and oil combination for 5 minutes on medium heat. (Beware of adding any frozen food to hot oil -- the sputtering can really hurt! Start everything together in the pan if you love the skin on your arms!)

Add the green beans and toss to coat. Season with salt to taste. Add the water and cover, simmering on medium heat for 8-10 minutes or until green beans are crisp-tender. Remove lid and cook for 3 more minutes to cook off any remaining water. Season with ground pepper and salt. Serve over brown rice.

Serves: 2 regular people or 1 hungry triathlete

Yup, that simple. But it's really wonderful on taste. Really.

I'd show a picture, but now it's all gone.


* Why butter AND oil? The oil allows the dish to cook at a higher heat, but protects the butter from, literally, burning. So you get the great butter taste and the ability to cook the beans at a relatively high temperature for a short period of time. This works really well with steaks, but you already know my issues with beef.

Friday, December 08, 2006

J'hello Fitness

Last night Mighty M and I had sinful food for dinner. Sinful, delicious, horribly fattening food for dinner.

And it was joyous.

Cheese steaks with fried onions and mushrooms. Mmmm.

So all is good and then, later on before we went to sleep, M asks me the following evil question:

"So, how many more days until you can't have any more cheese steaks?"


Evil, evil man.

But, of course, he's right! * Yeah, um, that would be something like 23 days 6 hours and 18 minutes. And a handful of seconds. In training I wouldn't dream of an evening of random gluttony with zero nutritional value on a Thursday night. No -- I would be patient and wait for great celebration or meaningful milestone to take on the fat, salt, and calories with a smile on my face. Nope, random gluttony won't be in the cards. (And, seriously, Thursday is a long run day so I wouldn't even have TIME for the darned thing!)

My Ironman training begins at the very moment millions of others across this world (give or take a time zone or two) are making bold promises of changed lifestyles. At the crack of midnight, I'll be shifting gears to early morning departures for the gym, bleary eyed plunges into the never-quite-warm-enough waters of the Y pool in the dark hours, and Saturdays spent slamming a brick rather than snuggling a boyfriend.

I'm definitely looking forward to it all, but for a nice period of time I've grown accustomed to rolling out of bed at 8:00 each morning and spending laundry time on my delicates rather than my dirty gear.

There is one thing that I certainly miss -- my fit body. I've never been "Iron Fit," even when working out regularly. (Although, I am very curious to see the changes Iron training will have on my bottom line, so to speak!) Somehow my genetics seem to be my limiter in the hot bod category of triathlons, but I certainly hold my own, albeit in a curvy way. Less Rosie and more Selma Hayek. Kind of.

Anyway, the lack of purposeful activity and the influx of sinful, sinful dinners has left me not so Iron Fit. Perhaps more like Tin Fit. Or Jello Fit.


Jello Fit.

Now, I'm not going to give up those 23 days and whatever minutes. I'm enjoying having no fitness master for now. But he's looming -- right at the edge of my view. Waiting for the clock to strike, the ball to slide down, and for me to join the rest of the world in shifting gears. Literally.

So, bring it on on the first. But in the mean time, can you please pass the popcorn? Thanks, you're the best.

* Yes, sweetheart, right just like the shoes at the mall. Just. Like. The shoes.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Training Plans and Online Help

Not the most creative title, I know.

Give me a break -- busy week, but wanted to get this out there.


Ironayla recently posted about a topic that has been on my mind quite a bit recently and is actually tri-related. (GASP -- could it be!?! Is she actually blogging about tri-related stuff and not her Christmas tree??) How do you find a training plan that is detailed enough for your needs, but doesn't put you in the poor house or provide info you could get in other (namely, already purchased) sources, like books?

(That's a very convoluted question. Mr. Piligalli from elementary composition would not be pleased with that one.)

I pulled the trigger and signed up for the package that allows me to plan, track, and compile my training information in what seems to be a relatively easy format. If I can use it, any monkey locked in a room with a computer and a swizzle stick can, too. It has a number of added benefits (visually interesting and useful graphs and reports, fast loading pages, nutrition logs, and interfaces with Garmin/Polar/etc). Plus, I'm on the computer all the time -- morning, noon, and night -- so, that fits in well with my habits.

And, let's be serious, the closer I can get my training 'tools' to match my well ingrained habits (bad or otherwise), the less likely I'll sabotage myself from the get go.


Here's the big question now -- training plans. I've read Big Papa Joe Friel's books. And Wes Hobson, and what feels like a gadzillion other books. So I have a least a beginning base of understanding the process of periodization and how and when to peak. But where my understanding falls short is the minutia.

What drills do I do in the pool on the second swim of a Build Week 3. How do I get the most power out of my legs for a hilly IM, while having little understanding of wattage. Hours of training recommended for the second week of Base. In short -- how do I actually execute my training on a daily basis.

For those who actually know what they're doing (or, like Jeremy, have a personal Ironman Rockstar on speeddial) -- then read no further. has a massive library of sessions to choose from. If you know what you need to do, then just take a couple hours and plug it all in, and then it's gravy.

The rest of us? Read on...

So, my thought was to purchase a plan -- compatible with -- and then tweak it to match my planned A/B races. In fact, there used to be the perfect plan on the site (iron distance for beginners, specific for hilly races), but it was recently plucked away and replaced with other plans that are possibly too advanced for me and are 50% more expensive.

Btw, NOT a wise decision from the team up there at! When I could have had it for $80 last week and you now want $150?? Come. On. I know the value of the plan didn't magically what motivates me to shell out almost double for practically the same thing? (To be fair, the pricier option -- now the only option close to my ability and specific to my race -- is for intermediate level racers, not beginners.) But seriously. Remember that scene in Pretty Woman? Bad move, TP. Really bad move. Cause let me tell ya -- it's Christmas and I'm in the buying mood.

What do you use? Do you like it? Any ideas where a penny pinching triathlete can get a useful starting point to craft a IM season?

Monday, December 04, 2006

...and After...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

O' Tannenbaum

As the moments tick away from my last night of vacation, I feel warm and content inside as this little darling sits in our living room. She's slowly unfurling her boughs and will be dressed for the yule tide ball tomorrow night.

I'm happy to say that my vacation week was filled with absolutely nothing notable. And while nothing exceptional was accomplished (aside from finding a wonderful tree), I actually do feel like my tanks are topped off and I'm ready to take on what comes tomorrow. And Tuesday. And beyond.

So, I'm heading off to my oasis for some Sunday night fizzy water, my new Runner's World, and the knowledge that I can actually do nothing for a week and do it well.

Sleep well, all my bloggy buds. I'm out...