Friday, February 29, 2008

Eat me/Drink me

So, back to normally schedule blogging thankyouverymuch.

A gazillion years (pre-weight epiphany blogging tangent), Trying to Tri asked me a question about getting calories on the bike. And, since I don't have her email address, I was going to leave a really protracted response on her blog. On a totally unrelated post. Which might violate some blogging rule somewhere. I dunno, but I'm not going to risk it.

Protracted post goes here.

[oh, and by the way, i'm pretty sure there's a way to let people see your email addresses when you they can reply...cause you know, there are bloggers out there who i've been DYING to write (and this means YOU, AGA!) and never can because their emails are hidden...just saying]

So...eating on my bike. And, for that matter on the run.

I've changed things up recently on account of advice from the Elf and a commitment to never have to puke in the water again. It really wasn't even as pleasant as it sounds. Seriously.

The Elf gave me advice lots of advice on coming to what works for me, but I'm going to just highlight a couple of things here. I hope she doesn't mind. Maybe she'll never know...she is down with the girls in somewhere like South Cakalacky on a hunt for the wizard. SOMEONE, QUICK, DISTRACT THE COACH! I'M GOING TO GIVE AWAY SOME OF HER SECRETS!

First -- do your race nutrition all the time. And I don't mean kind of sort of maybe do your race day nutrition when you're training. I mean every time you eat or drink on the bike or run, you eat or drink what you would during a race. That was a mistake I made last year -- I was trying a million different products and I would use certain things for longer rides and totally different products for medium rides. It was a mess.

Now, I have a plan for getting a certain number of calories on board based on the clock. If I'm doing a 90 minute ride, then I get 90 minutes into my master plan. A 3 hour ride? Same plan...I just happen to get 3 hours into it. You get the picture.

Second -- Make and stick to time markers. I never ever ever would have thought of this, but it makes absolute sense. Decide when eating on the bike works for you. And then ever single time you're on the bike (for long enough to need the nutrition) eat at those times. For me? 0:10, 0:40, 1:20, 2:00, and so on for intervals of 40 minutes.

Now, I don't even think about it anymore. I see 1:20 on the CatEye and I eat. It takes the thought out of it, and I've been screwed in the past by asking too much of my noodle. In West Virginia last year I was all over the place...eating at odd intervals, trying to get down too much at one time to catch up with my plan. Not good.

Now, I have my numbers. And my noodle can take a break and think about other things. Like staying upright and watching for potholes. It's a good trade off.

Third -- break it down into units for each feeding, with each unit in kind of the same caloric ballpark. That way, you can move units around, based on how you're feeling. If my stomach is feeling sour 90 minutes into the bike, I can switch out a bag of beans for a 1/2 of a power bar. Close in calories, and gives me some flexibility. And since I've taken the variable of when out of play, I can manage the variable of what.

Fourth -- this isn't eating, but it's always a good idea to do a sweat test to see if you're sweating as much as you think you are. Turns out, when I'm in my basement without a fan, I only need 16 oz of fluids. Later in the season, when I'm spending more time outside I'll test again.

So, to answer Trying to Tri's question, here's what I plan on doing this weekend for my long ride. I hope it helps!

0:10 - Fruit Punch sport beans (100 cal)
0:40 - 1/2 Powerbar protein plus (145 cal)
1:20 - 3 Clif Bloks (1/2 pack)(90 calories)
2:00 - 1/2 Powerbar protein plus (145 cal)
2:40 - Fruit Punch sport beans (100 cal)

20 oz Accelerade each hour (180 cal)

So for a three hour ride, I'm consuming about 1120 calories.

Be Merry
(but only on intervals of 40 minutes)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Say it only once

I had no idea.

I guess I should have, but I really didn't.

I had no idea how writing about my weight would resonate with so many people. I certainly didn't predict the response, but I am changed by it.

Thank you. Everyone.

The private notes. The comments. The support. The empathy.

Thank you.

It's really wonderful to know that Mom was right -- if you put positive and honest things out there into the world, you will get the same back.

Thank you.

Monday was a rougher day for me than I would have liked. I was really affected by this, mainly because once I said -- OUT LOUD -- that I was unhappy with my current weight and wanted to change it, I was committed to it. I don't usually say anything like that without making sure it happens. I only once said I was going to stop drinking. I only once said I was going to stop smoking.

Oh goodness. I just said I was going to lose weight.

Well. There you have it. Time to do it.

Tenacity is something I got from my Dad. He would never admit I got any positive quality from him -- asserting in the contrary that it was my Mom that passed on all my attributes. But my tenacity is from my Dad.

He's a researcher. Of somewhat a obscure classical musician. In a land far away (okay, Germany). In a far off time. Francesco Antonio Rosetti.

And he didn't just research this man's work and life, he slowly and surely learned everything there was to know about him, his world, who he knew, what he touched, how it came to be...everything. He cataloged every single piece of work this composer wrote. Every. Single. One.

The catalog is thousands upon thousands of pages. It took him 26 years to write.

That, my friends, is tenacity.

And I have those genes. I am my father's daughter.

:: SO ::

It's go time on the weight issue. And let me assure everyone who wrote about crash diets and extreme measures. That's not what I'm about and (thankfully) this isn't fueled by emotions that would elicit those types of decisions. I'm healthy now, I'll stay healthy through this.

But what I will say is that this is going to be more than just cutting back on chocolate and drinking more water. As I was saying to a girlfriend of mine this week over email -- if it were that easy, I would have achieved my goal weight by now. For me -- because of biology or genes or history or whatever -- I will need to go beyond what works for others.

I've already tried the preliminary tactics. Seriously, I've been heavy most of my adult life...I've tried most of the daily tricks people suggest. In fact, I've incorporated many of them into my daily habits already (lots of water, avoid too many sugars, whole grains, lean proteins). And while it's frustrating (okay, enraging) to have to continually respond to suggestions that I just try _blank_, it means that I'm already in a good place. But it also means I'm in a challenging position, because even in this good place, I am overweight.

Here's where I'm starting from...

Activity: well, duh. I train typically 5 - 12 hours a week. Swim, bike, run, weights/core. I work with a fabulous coach who is not only on board with this effort, but is a source of really (really) realistic advice and a commitment to my health. And my winning. It's a good mixture.

Eating: I don't eat fried. I prefer lean meats and I adore vegetables. I bake or saute almost everything. I pack my lunch almost every day. I never touch fast food. I read and understand labels. I am comfortable (ney, excel!) in the kitchen and do the grocery shopping and cooking at home.

Alcohol: Never will you hear about me worrying over the three or thirteen glasses of wine I had over the weekend and how it was all sugar and I could never have burned that off in time. Never.

Sleep: Love it. Get it all the time. In fact, I want more of it in my life. Carry some around in my back pocket and name it George.

Water: Drink it all the time. Love it. Rarely touch softdrinks and have a bottle of water with me all the time. Yum.

That is a good place to start. I have to remember these coming months that I am starting ahead of the game.

So what are the next steps? Here's my thinking...

First, talk to my coach. And I have. And the conversation will continue.

Second, keep the good habits. Start ditching any bad ones.

Third, get some baseline information. Done. I have weight history from the last two months (informative re: what fluctuations to expect and (ahem) when), a fat composition test, and a metabolic rate test.

Pay attention.
I started tracking my eating on Training Peaks, along with all the other training data I keep there. I'm hoping that patterns, habits, and weaknesses may reveal themselves there. It's also a good way of keeping aware of consumption on a daily basis. Accountability is good.

Get help. I'm ahead of the game on activity and healthy habits, but still overweight. Which, to me, says I should consult with someone who knows where to look for the answer. I'm working on finding some money (or insurance coverage) for consulting with a nutritionist -- one that the Elf recommends -- who knows endurance sports and endurance athletes. Because if one more person (ahem, my doctor!) says that I should try to work out a half an hour, three times a week...well, I may just kill them. Justifiable homicide, I believe.

Support. There are three irreplaceable people in my life, and two of them have joined me in this little quest. My sister and Mighty M. We're in it together. I suspect they will be invaluable.

So there you have it. The gauntlet. A little scary, no? But some of the most amazing changes I've ever experienced were absolutely terrifying at first. So I suspect this, too, will be transformative.

Thanks for coming along for the ride and being part of the process.

Monday, February 25, 2008

No Longer Just Fine

I battle with my weight.

I don't write about it much here, except when it comes into play with my Athena status. But I don't really write about it a lot.

But I think about it all the time.

I think about it when I dress in the morning and struggle with which pants will fit, I think about it when I do my ritual morning weigh-in at the office to keep an eye on the numbers, I think about it when I put my swim suit on, when I look at race photos, and athletic catalogs. I think about it when I put on my cycling shorts and when I look in the mirror after taking them off. When I pick what shirt to squeeze into and what tights to wear for the run. When I look in the mirror and see pictures of myself.

I think about it all the time. And it's not often positive.

I have always been a large woman. Big breasts, a double chin, and belly that belies my childless status. I have curvy hips and a round face. I always look like a chubby girl who carries and dresses it well.

And all of the social and psychological implications aside, its made racing and training harder for me. If you're a woman around 130 pounds, I want you to consider grabbing a 40 pound weight next time you go out for a run. Just pick it up, maybe put it in a backpack, and then do your long run or tackle some hills.

Being a large athlete is hard.

In the past, I've paid attention to my eating habits. I like whole foods and to cook, so I eat healthy meals. I have a strong, above-normal metabolism. I don't ever pig out on anything -- there's no binging. And yet I carry around more than I should.

And I'm tired of it.

I'm really tired of it.

This weekend, we got pictures from the family meet-up, where Mighty M's family met mine. It was a great time -- lots of laughter and easy conversation. And picture taking! Imagine two proud papas with their families in tow. Lots of photos.

And I was devastated again to hate the way I look in them. I saw the thick neck and double chins. The swollen looking visage and the layering outfit to conceal the ill fitting jeans.

I tired of these experiences. I'm so tired of worrying about fitting into my training gear, and how my weight is impacting my times. I'm sick and tired of it.

It impacts me more than I'd like to admit. Last week I turned down the possibility of sponsorship by a major brand name because it was possible that they would not have clothes that fit me. I had been sponsored by them before and the kits didn't fit. The bra was tiny, the running shorts were an impossibility, and the shimmel was a joke. The cycling top was horribly tight and, as a result, horribly scratchy. So I decided against sponsorship again this year. Because of my size.

And there are so many times when I sit on the stair landing in our living room, talking to Mighty M about it. How it feels when people at the gym assume I'm just starting to learn how to run because I'm heavy, talking down to me with condescending advice. How demoralizing it is to train hours upon hours each week for months and realize no benefit except being better able to carry the excess weight across the finish line. How I feel less attractive to him as a woman and as a future wife. How it leads me to frequently ask why he loves me or burst into tears when trying to dress for social events.

To date, I've been relatively silent about weight and training and (especially) the psychological wake of trying to accommodate one with the omnipresence of the other. I've been the well mannered Athena who makes it appear that she's perfectly happy with her status. But I'm not.

This year I've been working my ass off, more so than ever before. I'm more committed. I've dedicated many more resources towards my performance. And I really, really care.

Last night I logged onto the registrant list for a big race I'm doing later in the spring. The Athena field has started to fill up and, according to Athlinks, I have some very serious competition. I saw me not hitting my goals (of placing in the regional series) as a possibility. For the first time. And I know that there's something holding me back. My training is on track. I'm already realizing great improvements. I'm working very hard and changing things. But there's a limiter there.

My weight.

With all of this on my mind these past weeks, I started taking steps towards change. Tentative steps. I've never actually dieted before. I've always avoided that classification, label. It always seemed desperate to me, all rolled up in a ball of expectations and media and socialized image. My weight has fluctuated, but not because of started or finished "diets." I have had periods of skinny jeans, but they were fueled by a diet of vodka, depression, and couscous. I have healthy weight periods, too, that came during my 20s. And I've had long periods of inactivity and great weight gain. Throughout, I've never "dieted." And I don't plan to now.

But matter how resentful it makes me alone will not make me a trim athlete. For many it will. Mighty M is starting a running plan this week to trim down for the wedding. He'll hit his goal in under two months and continue to eat crap along the way. It's just the cards he was dealt. Mine are not the same cards.

So, two weeks ago, I dragged myself nervously into the gym and got my metabolic rate checked and did a three-point calliper body composition test. And I talked to my coach about the process and the results. And I started to be more careful about calorie content each day and hitting the goals outlined by the results of these tests.

And I gained two pounds.

Thanks, body.

I know that I want to lose weight. I know I want that loss to be in terms of fat, not muscle. I know I want to continue to train properly and be fueled effectively. I know I want to remove weight as my limiter.

And now I'm beginning to realize that this will not come from just wishing it so. And resenting that I cannot just train and "be careful" about what I eat will not be the key. Something else needs to step in. I need to apply what I know already works for me, and retool it for this particular problem.

So. There you have it. I'm no longer just fine with being my weight, and I'm going to do something concerted about it. It simply has to happen. I refuse to relinquish hard-earned performance improvements to the fact that I am carrying around remnants of my old life. I have no room for its impact any more. I have no tolerance for it being a part of my life any more. It has to go.


Monday, February 18, 2008

Like Normal

I'm a little thrashed, trashed and cashed.

Today is a nice little break at the end of the third build week. A nice, solid 11:40 effort and only 0:45 short of a perfect week.

(As always, the pool was my downfall -- I went for the ez swim yesterday and found full lanes and lacked the patience to stay. A better triathlete would have stayed and waited. I was not that triathlete. I was too distracted with the house that needed to be cleaned and a huge bike on the horizon of my day. Sigh.)

And for once, I feel totally normal about it. Yeah, I have some serious aches (quads, calves, hammies) and pains (how exactly did I bruise up my ankle so badly on Sat's long run?), but in general, I feel normal.

Which tells me something.

I finally got the formula. I got the right amount of sleep. I got the right amount of food. I stayed healthy and balanced. And came out the other side feeling, well, NORMAL.

Some interesting training experiences to share from the week...

  • It's a great feeling when, after being on the bike for 2:30 and managing 4 kind of monster Z2/sometimes Z3 intervals, you don't feel miserable. It's nice to not dread that last 15 minutes of a long bike.
  • Dialing in nutrition takes a long freaking time. But it's worth the effort. I'm starting to put the pieces together, in the hopes of never having to throw-up in the water again or take pukey pitstops along the road.
  • The irony of proper training nutrition is that you can't justify eating a whole pizza afterwards. For example, I did a pretty killer 2:45 ride yesterday, but I also consumed about 1200 calories along the way. No way a large thin crust will work with that math!
  • If you go out mad, you'll blow your zones. Mighty M and I fought on Saturday morning. (Don't worry, all healthy couples do occasionally.) I walked out the front door with a 130 heart rate. Over double my resting rate! It took me over 4 miles to get it even remotely under control, and I still ended up with a run that was farther into Zone 2 than I was comfortable with. Don't go out mad.

And here's the most important point I learned, which is kind of a follow up to last week's thoughts on missed workouts. When you work with a coach, it's really, really, REALLY important that you follow their plans for you.

If you can hit each of the sessions and do the effort they describe...well, you'll end up feeling normal at the end. A little beat up and a little sore, but normal. There's no over-doing it because you're adding on missed sessions, there's a lot less stress, and it makes sense. Knowing this will help me stay "in line" more in the future.

And's time for a rest week. Two whole days off. Itty bitty little sessions that have lots of Z1 and EZ in the description.

Which is good, since my Dad is coming to stay at the house for a whole week. And Saturday is our "meet the family" brunch, when Mighty M's family and mine meet for the first time. LOTS of things to attend to that don't have much to do with training!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bad hair day

My hair looks like crap. No "natural" (pshaw) volume, no casual toss, no flirty curls.


Tuesday night lifting + Wednesday morning "arms only" pool day = Noodle arms

I can't really, you know, lift my arms above my shoulders. Well, not without assistance.

Blow drying it was comical.

So now I'm pretty homely from that-there neck up.

Want to keep something away from me today? Just hold it up. I won't have a chance. Unless it's chocolate...I might be able to overcome the pain for chocolate.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Morning List

This morning I...

(1) talked myself out of going to the pool 3 times,

(2) talked myself into going to the pool 4 times,

(3) swam my first 25 with no breath and lived to tell about it,

(4) swam seven additional 25s with only one breath and lived to tell about it,

(5) experienced the sensation of of pins and needles creeping up my legs as I tried to swim without that fancy thing called oxygen,

(6) managed to avoid peeing in the pool (...this time...),


(7) saw him briefly. I always imagined him to be taller.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I was afraid she was going to say that

I have a bad habit.

Maybe you have it, too.

If you're a triathlete and busy and sometimes a little crazy, to boot, you probably have done this in the past. Maybe, just maybe, you've let it turn (as I have) into a bad habit.

Trying to pick up missed workouts.

Sound familiar?

This morning I shot the Elf an email about this week, asking if I should try to put in a missed swim session or find time for an extra "long" run. You see, my swim suffered last week with only one (gasp!) session and I had to cut my long run yesterday short since I'm feeling el crapo.

So my learned response is to add something to the coming week. You know, the one that already has 11 1/2 hours of training in it? Intellectually I know that's a stupid idea. First, there's no room. Second, jumping from the 7 or so hours last week (lower than planned) to more than 12 would be a second dose of stupid. Third dose? Take your pick -- potential mid-week burn out, injury, illness...the list goes on.

But that's not why her message hit home.

"Don't go back and pick up workouts -- just keep moving ahead."

Between those lines reads something more important. Implied there (and these are my thoughts, not the Elf's) is that don't assume when you miss a workout you can find another time to fill it in. Even if the reason is quite valid, your decision to train or not to that very a terminal decision. No adjusting later. Finit.

That's a hard one to manage for me. Not because it's unreasonable. More so because in the past, I've allowed myself some wiggle room in my weeks. It's a habit I picked up when creating my own training schedule last year, but I've carried it forward, so to speak. In a subtle, sub-conscious way, I've allowed myself to say justify moving things around in my schedule, thinking I can make them up later. As if time will magically appear later in the week. Or somehow my body will begin recovering at twice the rate, so I can do twice the work.

Again. It does make any sense, but nonetheless I've managed to craft a habit out of it.

And having a coach will break me of this habit.

First off, she'll say wise things like, "Don't go back and pick up workouts -- just keep moving ahead." Indeed.

Second, I'll feel the actual impact of a missed workout the moment it becomes missed. Without allowing myself to move things around (on paper or in my mind), the full weight of that decision will come at that very moment. I wonder...will it change my mind? I wonder...will I start finding another way or being more creative about solutions to get my training on?

You can guess what I suspect will happen.

So, I'm adding a goal to my current list. To break the habit of moving my training at the expense of my training.

Anyway, this certainly won't work if I'm perpetuating bad habits, right?



In the last year or so, since I've been training on a regular basis and watching what I eat, I've been relatively healthy.

Occasionally, I get hit with the hint of something bad to come. But I'm a huge proponent of preventing the bad cold/flu/infection/blahblahblah. When I start feeling sick, I start loading up on sleep and fluids.

My goal: never get super sick.

I used to get horrible illnesses that lasted forever and a day. I was perpetually immuno-compromised because of my heavy drinking and smoking. I treated my body with little respect, so I was always recovering from something or on the verge of something else. It was evident in my lung function, my energy levels, my skin, hair and name it. It was yuckdome.

So, in an effort to nevah evah go back there, I'm a prevention nut. And my efforts are meeting there match this week.

The throat thing started on Thursday. Kinda scratchy. Would you worry? Prolly not. Me? Absolutely.

Continued into Friday...and Saturday...and yesterday. I generally trained through until yesterday, when I realized this wasn't going to shake with just some positive thinking. So I went to bed. And slept. And then I woke for a while (actually to pack a bag for today's training), and promptly went back to sleep again.

And now I'm sitting at the office, with a throat full of yuck and what feels like a fever. And a headache. And my eyeballs are hot. My eyeballs are hot.


So...tonight is a prescription for a little training (it's an easy session on the bike, although I still can't figure out how "easy" and "one-legged drills" ever fall into the same sentence), the quickest next day prep I can manage (lunch making, outfit picking out, swim bag packing, horrah!), and then straight to bed.

Because I totally and absolutely WILL NOT get sick on a peak week. I refuse to. And I generally get my way. Except for about the flatware this weekend during registry shopping. Didn't get my way on that one. But I will for this.

Brute force and ignorance. Works every time.

Thursday, February 07, 2008


I don't talk about the bike all that much.

You guys probably think all I do is swim. And sometimes run. And occasionally fall off my Swiss Ball of Pain.

Mainly because I just don't tend to mention my bike time recently. I dunno why. I guess because lots of it is getting on and plugging away. Sometimes it's intervals of gears -- hard for a while, easier for a while, repeat until you're toast. Sometimes it's a series of efficiency drills -- spin for a while at at comfortable cadence, then for a while at a faster cadence, then for a while in a cadence that makes you feel like roadrunner on a fly wheel. Repeat until you're toast.

And don't get me wrong. I freaking LOVE all this bike training. Maybe that's why I don't write about it as much as the stuff that makes me that lady at the pool, who was nasty to me, who I will never forgive for removing me from her aerobics lane to shiver on the deck waiting for another lane to open. She knew I wasn't with those meathead guys who would ruin her class, but she just had to threaten me with a foam bar bell. Wave it at me, like some aquatic equivalent of the middle finger. Somebody pull a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct in lanes 1-2.

I'm off topic again. Focus.

I've been doing a lot of biking. In fact, more biking than anything else. That's what happens when you tell your coach that it is (a) your limiter, and (b) your goal to fix.

Oh, and when you have (count them) THREE half iron distances in the race season. Oh...and when the first is in (oh, that's right) very early May. Not to mention the fact that a month later is your return to the hills of West Virginia...the race that tried to chew you up and spit you out. The one you have some serious plans for.

So, this is what happens.

She warned me.

Wednesday night, there I was in the trusty basement on my trusty new-ish bike, yet again spinning away watching Court TV (er...excuse me...Tru TV...the stupidest branding decision in the history of tv...whatever). But this time we were going to do a little simulation.


Sounds fun. I'm down for it.

Let's simulate some hills, shall we? As in, find a solid (no, seriously...a SOLID) base to raise the block for your front wheel something in the neighborhood of 6 inches. Yup, like those two boxes of unused tiles that were supposed to go on the basement floor last summer when we bought them in a frenzy of home improvement ideas, right around the time we were distracted by the kitchen project that (dare I say it?) still isn't done.


Up goes the front wheel. On goes Able. Time for what my coach calls "Muscle Tension" intervals. 8 minutes on the biggest gear known to man (I mean, my bike) followed by 95+ spinning in a small one for 10. Repeat.

Let me ask you you know how much harder that is when your bike is propped up to the heavens?? DO YOU KNOW? DO YA?

First my left ankle twinged. Left ankle. Whah? I never have any problems there. Now it's feeling funky. Next? Leetle itty bitty tendons in my knees and calves add to the chorus of reproach for my new lofty post. About an hour in, the coup de gras, was a full blown cramp across the bottom of my right foot. I could feel my toes curling under.

Thankfully, it all ended at 90 minutes and I happily hopped of my perched bike. And I was reminded that *I* was the one who picked an early season half, and *I* was the one who wanted to PR in West Virginia. So *I* was going to see a lot more of these in the future.

And you know what? I've decided I like the pain. No. Check that. I love the pain of things like this. How often -- in your life -- can you do something so tangible and so concrete towards a goal. I didn't have to extrapolate from a swim drill the benefits I would be getting later in my race stroke. I didn't have to estimate or approximate what the impact a recovery run will have on my 1/2 mary splits.

All I had to do to see the point was look down at my legs, grinding away in the biggest gear, and replace the image of my untiled basement floor with a West Virginia back road. Close my eyes and I could feel exactly what it will feel like doing that 45 minute grind up the first part of the mountain.

Training sessions like this are a gift from a coach. You don't need any gymnastics of the mind to realize exactly what you're putting in the bank during those 90 minutes. I didn't need to be a coach to know I was preparing to make the most of that mountain come June.

Most of the time our plans or our coaches (or our watches) -- especially this time of the year -- are telling us to slow down, pace ourselves, don't get too excited. And it's sometimes hard to hold back when you're visualizing strong finishes and pick ups around the competitor in front of you. But occasionally you get a chance to look down and find a pretty darn good approximation of what it will feel like to be out on the road again, tackling hills, racing at your best. And somehow that makes all the calf twinges and foot cramps worth it.

That is, if you have a couple boxes of unused tiles around.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Roasted Tomato Soup

Monday night I had a shorter night than usual. Forty-five minutes of recovery spin on the bike and the Abs & Arms routine (otherwise known as Circle of Hell. You think I kid? The notecard by the t.v. says "Circle of Hell" plainly at the top, lest I forget).

So, when training gives you an extra hour, I say ROAST!

In addition to triathlon blogs...and running blogs...and fitness blogs...oh, and celebrity blogs...I also read foodie blogs.

Cause, you know, I have a lot of time on my hands.

Anyway...back to Monday night. Time on my hands. Recipe on the brain.

I've been meaning to make this soup since I saw it on the Cooking for 2 blog -- roasted plum tomatoes, yummy garlic, all mashed up into a thick brothy tomato soup. Y-U-M.

Let me tell you.

Love tomatoes?

Love roasted tomatoes?

Roasted garlic?

Warm, satisfying soup in under an hour?

Just go ahead and make it!

You'll thank me later.

Smack it

That's exactly what I did in the pool this morning.



Oh yeah, you heard me right. Going to make a stab at getting all three swim sessions a week in during morning hours...that way I won't punch anyone when they try to move me from my lane. Figure it's a good plan. Know your weaknesses and all.


Back to the smackage.

On deck this morning was a set of 3 x 500s on 10:50. The goal? Get all 100s on 2:05 -- which is T+5 for me now.

Want to know where I hit?

1 - 2:05
2 - 2:05
3 - 2:05
4 - 2:05
(I swear...I'm not making this up...)
5 - 2:05


exactly the same thing for the second set. HAND TO GOD.


1 - 2:05
2 - 2:05
3 - 2:05
4 - 2:10 (oh, you've got to be kidding me...)
5 - 2:05

And that my friends is as close to perfect as I'm ever going to get.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Apparently, Mississippi thinks I should eat at home...

...or at least a few of them do.

But more about that in a second. First, I've had a post about weight in the hopper for a while now. Some thoughts that have been knocking around about reshaping my body through the training process with the Elf and how that's altering my own body image and relationship with food. Changing composition, improving strength and flexilibility, and supporting it through proper food choices.

But there is a saying in our family that sticks -- "Short, fat and squatty. All a$ and no body."

Thankfully, I've avoided the tail end part, but not without thousands of miles on the bike. But I haven't been able to avoid the biological imperative passed down through my parents and their parents.

The short story is that I've always been short and I've always been heavy. I've never been whispy or slight and buying clothes has always been a struggle. And since the advent of my 30s, my metabolism has gained a surly attitude and needs a lot more convincing to work with me, rather than against.

But, I've begun the process of self acceptance. This is what I look like. And with the exception of some refinements in shape and possibly a little weight, this is essentially my body for life. And I've grown used to it and tried to see the sexy side to my curves. It's a process, for sure. I am green with envy when people talk about running an 8 minute mile -- that will never be in my cards. I still worry about what I will look like in my wedding dress and I harumph about getting the proper jean fit. I don't fit the norm of beauty, but I've managed to find my beautiful side.

And for the most part, I'm satisfied. Satisfied because it's perfect? Nope. Because it's not. But I am satisfied because it's mine. And I learned a few years ago that trying to fight the things out of your control is guaranteed failure.

So. Here I am. A kind of short woman with a great deal of muscle and an extremely healthy lifestyle. I don't drink, I don't smoke, I am careful about my nutrition, and exercise is my part time job.

And, there may be a point where I would be turned away from a restaurant in the state of Mississippi because as an OBESE patron, I would not be allowed to dine out. Anywhere.

Yes. LET ME REPEAT THAT. As defined by the state of Mississippi, I would be obese. Thus, restaurants (any that have more than 5 seats) would be obliged to turn me away. Yes -- that is they would lose their permits to operate if they failed to do so.

I swear. Read the proposed bill here. (Thanks to The Big Fat Deal for the heads up.)

Honestly, when are we -- as a populous -- going to realize that poor health status is not just about what the scale says and healthy decisions are made based on education, available resources, and healthy food options.

This is NOT about regulating behavior. This is about providing the collective resources for good nutritional choices, regardless of financial means or geography, and supporting a culture that incorporates and rewards physical activity. Regulating behavior by legislating access is a simple "answer" to an overwhelmingly complex phenomenon.

And moreover, the use of BMI scales is thoroughly inappropriate. Even if I were to allow for the argument of some form of regulation, the BMI scale is simply not a sophisticated enough tool. Period. I am a perfect example of how it can be over-inclusive (do I really need to be regulated by the state because I cannot manage my own dining decisions alone?), and the individual with a normal BMI number and dangerously high cholesterol or unmanaged diabetes is the example of how it can be under-inclusive. Want to regulate your residents? At least use criteria that is appropriate.

This bill to be motivated by stereotypes and is entirely too shortsighted and unsophisticated for what should be expected of elected officials. Reps. Mayhall, Reed and Shows should be ashamed of their submission.

Could it be? Maybe? No, don't say it...PROGRESS?

Running has never come naturally to me. I'm not built for it.

I have a friend who is also a triathlete and she's built like a gizelle. I saw her recently and she suggested going for a bonding run together and I danced around the idea because her legs come up to my navel. I said, "nah, I'm a really slow runner -- I wouldn't want to ruin your run." She countered with,"don't worry, I recently broke my foot...I'm running slower than I ever have. I'm sure we're well matched." Upon which time it was determined that her running pace with a broken appendage was still two minutes/mile faster than my tempo runs. That was a fun exercise in abject embarassment.

So, I'm just not built for speed.

Just by way of example, I am 5'4" tall (which is mighty short when the peanut butter is on the top shelf) and manage to pack 170 pounds into that frame. But even at that weight, I'm still a size 10/12. My point? I'm built more like a lumberjack than a lady. Maybe a lady lumberjack.

So running is that necessary evil tacked onto the end of a triathlon that I try not to suck so horribly at that I lose any momentum gained in the water and on the bike. Operable word: "try."

But I may have had a little encouraging news this weekend. I did my long run (turned out to be 1:24) on Sunday and stayed in my proscribed heart rate zones. Me and 155 were close friends for the entire Struble trail and then some. And since my Garmin will soon be going back to Garmin for a little tune up (it's a wee bit broken), I was relying on my new Nike HRM. Point? No pacing information...just ticker info.

I got home, showered, and got ready for Super Bowl festivities. But before heading out, I checked my distance on gmap and LO' AND BEHOLD my pace was considerably different this week.

Compared to my prior long runs in low Zone 2, I was running 0:45 seconds/mile faster.



For the first time in forever, my long run was out of the 12:00/mile range and solidly in the 11:00/mile neighborhood! far the Elf and I have been focusing on developing my swim and bike base, more so than my run base. (Not that the running shoes are ignored, don't you worry!) So this is progress (I'm assuming) through the accumulated benefits of building muscle through lifting, building an aerobic base with lots of cycling, newly developed core strength, and keeping on top of my running, too.