Wednesday Weigh In

Previous Weigh In 158.8
Today: 158.6
Two Week Weight Loss:  0.2 lbs
Total Weight Loss: 16.4 lbs

Starting to feel like I’m getting into a groove.  Back in a routine of activity with my school schedule.  Obviously I’m not losing right now, but I’m OK with maintaining for the last few weeks which have been busy.

At this point I’m backing off of the Fast Metabolism Diet a bit.  I’m still mostly following foods that are on plan, with a small amount of dairy thrown in.  I’m very loosely following the phases, but allowing myself a few more fruits and veg than are on the Phase 2 lists, and probably a little less fat than is normal for Phase 3.  Still keeping the foods that I know are good for me that I really enjoy (chocolate spinach smoothie, mug cakes, etc).  I had put on a few pounds (found myself above 160 there for a minute) but I pulled it back in and am back within a pound of my low point this summer.

For now, I’m keeping to swimming at least once a week (now that it is fall our local HS has open swim in the evening, which is much easier for me than driving to the Y 25 min away), run/walking 1-2 times a week, yoga at least once and strength at least once.  I’ve done some hiking which I really like.  And walking as much as I can at work.  That feels doable and structured enough for me.

I don’t have any real goals at this point other than to maintain my fitness level from tri training and lose some more weight.  I hesitate to put a time frame on that, but it would be nice to be down from where I am for the holidays.  Ideally I would like to drop another 20 pounds total…maybe by next spring?  That technically would still keep me at an overweight BMI, but I know from past experience I would feel good at that weight while still living my life.  Can I get there now that I’m working and have less time to exercise?  I hope so.

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Wednesday Weigh In

Previous Weigh In 158.8
Today: 158.8
This Week’s Weight Loss:  0 lbs
Total Weight Loss: 16.2 lbs

This week’s exercise:

M: none
Tu: 2.25 mile run/walk
W:  none
Th: 30 min bike, 30 min strength
F:  2 mi run/walk
Sa-Su:  Girls’ Weekend (only exercise was raising a glass to my mouth)

So it has obviously been a zero weight loss week, but I”m OK with that.  With a huge girls’ weekend this week with lots of eating and drinking, a no gain is a win in my book.  While I did eat a lot of cheese, I steered mostly clear of the bread and ate lots of veggies and protein.  Lots and lots of wine, but also lots and lots of water.  I came back up but within two days I was back to what I’d been last week, so I’ll take that.

Still adjusting to afternoon workouts with school back in session.  I’m using my treadmill at home a bit more but really missing the pool.  Definitely going to make that a Saturday morning routine now.  I don’t miss the bike as much but I would like to get a few rides in before the weather changes.

The weather has been a bit cooler this week and so that means putting on clothes I haven’t worn since last April or May.  The great news is that a lot of things that didn’t fit or were tight last winter are feeling pretty darn good.  So that’s exciting.  Still a long way to go but that was a pleasant surprise this week.

Still a work in progress!

Weekly Weigh In

This was a recovery week after the triathlon.  Wasn’t sure how much or little I should be doing, so I kind of took it easy and let my body be my guide.  I found myself hungrier than usual, even though I wasn’t exercising as much.  I felt OK on Monday, but by Tuesday I was exhausted.  It was almost as if it took a few days for all of the adrenaline and effort from the tri to catch up with me.

I wasn’t super careful with being perfect on my phases this week, either.  It was my birthday and so there was a little celebrating with some dinners out.  I did try to choose healthy options (cioppino with no bread at one meal out, salad at the other) even though they might have been off phase.

Along with that is the inevitable change in routine that comes with going back to work.  When I’m not working I always work out first thing in the morning, but when you work at a high school, that’s impractical.  I already get up at 515, and adding a workout in before that is just more than I can realistically expect of myself.  On the other hand, I’m off of work at 2, so if there isn’t a lot going on, it is pretty easy to run to the gym or hop on the treadmill after I’m done.  Swimming is tougher; the pool is a solid twenty five minute drive.  I haven’t been brave enough to try that after work yet with rush hour and all, but I will probably next week.

Beyond exercise, going back to work means meal planning.  Last spring I usually took salads to work and other small things for snacks, but it requires planning.  I found myself hungrier than what I brought with me to school each day, so I found myself running to the cafeteria and looking to find something healthy for snacks.  I wasn’t always successful in light of all the choices available (they have a cheese and crackers side that kept calling me this week) but I will get back into the routine of shopping and preparing.

All in all, the week went about as well as I could have hoped with the post tri tiredness and birthday celebrations.  I’m just grateful to be where I am, feeling healthier and more able.  The compliments I received at work (they haven’t seen me in two months) were a good validation that while I might be perfect, I am on the right path.

Previous Weigh In 159.6
Today: 158.8
Total Weight Loss: 16.2 lbs

This week’s exercise:

M:  50 lap swim
Tu:  Rest Day
W:  Yoga
Th:  30 min bike, 30 min strength
F:  Rest Day
Sa:  60 min strength class
Su:  7 mile challenging hike (3 hours…this was a lot more than we planned!  But felt good)

Weekly Weigh In: Accountability

I wasn’t going to post this morning.  I haven’t been careful or on plan for two weeks, giving myself a bit of a pass in the final push for triathlon training.  As you can imagine, my weight is up today, by about 2.5 pounds over my last weigh in.  I was just going to let that simmer and have a good week and come back next week and post about it.

But that isn’t real.  That isn’t what is happening and whole point of me using this blog to push myself forward is not for what *other* people perceive my journey to be.  It is to motivate *myself* to make healthier choices and hold myself accountable.

So I’m up 2.5 pounds today.  I know some of that is bloat from several celebratory days of restaurant meals celebrating my triathlon and my birthday (I am 48 today).  And I’m OK with that.  But I want to keep myself in check and be sure that I take this chance today to be mindful and to make choices that will make that number go back down instead of going up.

That being said, for one of my birthday dinners last night I put on clothes that I haven’t been able to wear for nearly 2 years.  So I was pretty psyched about that.  My weight is higher than it was a few weeks ago, but my body is still leaner than it was.  The pants I couldn’t wear at this same weight at the start of summer, but I can wear them now.  So that was great validation that I am going in the right direction.

I am going to spend my birthday going to the YMCA to swim, which is something I wouldn’t have thought to do before the tri.  Now I know I am able to do that, I enjoy it, it’s a great recovery workout.  Then I’m going to celebrate my 48th birthday.  My mother died just 6 days after her 53rd birthday, so as I inch closer to that milestone I am very aware of trying to make choices that will extend my days beyond that.  I’m never one to complain about getting older.  I’m going to embrace every year I’m able to get.  Each one is a gift, and in the words of Leo D:  “I don’t intend on wasting them.”

Previous Weigh In 157
Today: 159.6
Total Weight Loss: 15.4 lbs

Womens Triathlon Race Recap

It’s over, just like that.  Even in the moment, I couldn’t believe it was happening.

The whole day before, after work that is, was spent in pre race prep.  My girlfriend and I went to the packet pickup, a nearly three hour ordeal due to the distance and traffic.  By then it was 6pm and I was getting edgy…I’d wanted a nice, quiet evening.  A “quick” dinner out, and then it was time to gas up, and load up.  We ended up deciding on my 17 year old mini van for the job, since it is spacious and roomy and I don’t have a bike rack.  By 8:30 I had everything loaded, my bag packed, and my alarm set for 4am, with the plan being to drive up at 4:30am.

Of course I woke up at 3:30.  I never need alarms on big days like this.   I got up and put on my sports bra, swim suit and running skirt combo I’d tested last weekend.  I organized my transition bag and triple checked everything.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t use half of the contents of this bag.

I ate a hard boiled egg and downed a cup of coffee at 4am, with the plan being I’d eat a Clif bar on the road, and then a Larabar between the bike and the run.  That plus water I figured would get me through.

We hit the road without any issues and made it to Winding Trails while it was still dark.  We were early.  Very early.  But fortunately the women I was traveling with like to be early too, so they were fine with it.  By the time we unloaded the bikes and our bags, body marking and bike check stations were open, so we took care of that before heading into transition.

At this tri, each section was marked off for a group of bib numbers, each rack for about 25 people.  By the time I got into transition there were already 3 or 4 bikes already racked, all near the exit (aka fewer steps away).  I quickly staked out a spot and set up my transition area under my bike.  This is something that I remember researching a lot more or feeling more familiar with the last time I did it.  This time, I just tried to put things out in a way that made sense…little tri towel on top of everything since I’d need it first, then the shirt I’d put on, which would be on top of the shoes and socks.  That kind of thing.

Yes, it was still dark when I set up my bike in transition.

Once everything was all checked and set up, I could relax. We still had an hour to go before the race but it felt like time was flying by. We decided to go down to the beach to see how big the swim looked. I honestly was a bit relieved. I remember thinking it looked super huge and scary last time, but this time it looked about the way I expected it to, and certainly I’d swum longer distances at the beach in open water.

This isn’t the whole swim course.

Time ticked away quickly, and it was soon go time. We snapped this photo of my friend and I just before the race started. At this point I was struggling a bit with self doubt. I knew I’d trained hard for this and was ready, but seeing lots of super athletic looking women in super serious looking triathlete gear was intimidating me. My swimsuit felt suddenly amateurish and out of place.

Our wave was first on deck, which honestly was a relief. I was ready. We got into the corral and the horn went off. It was time.

The water was warm, and while I had been working hard at my swimming, I could see immediately I was headed for the back of the pack. I struggled with pacing, wanting to be faster but knowing what I was capable of. I finally was able to get into a rhythm of gulping down two breaths each time and pushing myself forward. I saw people dropping to backstroke but refused to do it; I wanted to really do what I had trained for. In retrospect I probably should have allowed myself a little bit of rest like that but I just really didn’t want to. I did do some breast stroke but overall my swim felt much stronger than my previous tri. So even though I was definitely in the back of my wave (I finished with the next wave colored caps all around me and even some from the wave after that) I felt really good about the swim.

0.5 mile swim: 27:31

I was determined to tighten up my transitions this time. It is a long way from the beach to the transition area, probably a quarter mile or so. I walked/jogged it in my barefeet, stopping to dip my feet in a little blow up pool they set up at the entrance to transition. From there I just mopped off, took several big swigs of water and struggled to put my t shirt over my wet body. Once I had that on, I snapped on my helmet, wiped off a bit more, took a bit more water and then walked my bike out.

T1: 3:03

Once out on the bike, I tried hard to catch my breath; I was still breathless from working hard at the swim. I always say the bike is where you can rest, but I didn’t want to rest. I wanted to make up as much time as I could on the bike from my slow swim and what I knew would be a slow run. So I pushed where I could, passing where I could. I was able to catch my breath a bit, but I really did give it more than I ever had on any training ride. As I re entered Winding Trails, my friend snapped this pic:

Happy on the bike, my strongest performance of the 3.

11.5 mile bike: 49:34

The second transition felt super fast. I racked my bike, took two swigs of water, totally forgot to grab my Larabar, ditched my helmet, and took off.

T2: 1:33

The run was always going to be slow. I knew this going in, despite having trained for it. Firstly, the course on this race is a very hilly trail. Challenging all on its own and would never be a fast race for anyone. But with me having previously injured my hip, I was erring on the side of caution. I walked even more than I’d planned on though. I tried hard to push to run more but I was so spent, having worked hard on the swim and the bike. I couldn’t catch my breath. I just tried to mentally not freak out with every person passing me. I tried to remember it was a miracle I was even here, doing a triathlon. And I just hoped beyond hope that my swim and bike were strong enough to at least be on par with my previous tri, if not a little faster.

5K Run: 48:43

As I got closer and closer to the finish I could hear the announcer and the crowd noise and I tried to pick up my pace. Finally, I left the woods, a few women by my side, and we all made for the finish line. As I got close I saw 2:10 on the clock and realized I was definitely going to beat my previous time. I was thrilled.

Finish: 2:10:24

In the end, I was more than 7 minutes faster than my previous triathlon on the same course. Everything about it was faster, minus the 5K run, which I expected. Considering I entered this training cycle in far worse physical shape, two years post broken hip and surgery, I am beyond thrilled with how everything went in the race. If you would have told me two years ago, when I was still limping around and not sure I would ever get my life back, that I would compete in a triathlon again, I am not sure I’d have believed you. I’m definitely going to keep up with the swimming, biking and run/walking and I am already trying to figure out which triathlons (yes, maybe more than one) might be in my future.

The only thing better than bling is bling shared with friends!

Triathlon Training: OMG TOMORROW

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!  My triathlon is tomorrow.  Final instructions have been sent, I will pick up my packet items this afternoon, and all of my workouts are complete.  I’m alternately excited and freaking out.  The saving grace is that I’ve done this before so I know it will all be fine.  But it isn’t stopping some of the nerves.  I cannot believe that at this time tomorrow I will be slogging it out on the course.

The weather forecast is PERFECT:  our heat wave has broken, and it should be cloudy and cool tomorrow morning.  It is the perfect set up:  warm all week so the lake will be not too cool, but the air temp will be better for biking and running.

I plan on getting back between 5-6 tonight from packet pickup, packing up everything, loading my bike and everything in my car, and going to bed between 8 and 9.  I don’t imagine I’ll sleep much but I want to be up by 4 and on the road no later than 5, ideally earlier.

This week was a short taper week, but I managed to get in three good workouts.

Monday:  Open Water Swim

I did another 45 min open water swim at our local beach on Long Island Sound.  It was a beautiful morning, hot, so the water felt amazing.  I felt strong and capable.  Great confidence booster.

Tuesday:  Indoor Brick

The plan called for 45 min bike and 15 min run.  It was insanely hot that day and I had to do this after school, so I headed to the gym.  I ended up doing 20 min on the run (2 min run/2 min walk) because I felt so good.

Wednesday:  2.25 mile run/walk

Another hot day, and after a second day in our hot school, this workout did not feel as good as the one the day before.  I felt overheated from the start, even though I was indoors on a treadmill.  I did a Couch 2 5K workout which was 2 min run/2 min walk/3 min run/2 min walk repeated over and over until I hit 26 min.  Then I just kept going until I hit 2 miles because that’s what the plan called for.  I ended up going a little longer on distance just to cool down.  It didn’t feel great, but I got it done.

Thu/Fri:  Rest/Taper

No more workouts.  I’ve done every workout in my training plan.

I feel strong and ready.  I won’t be the fastest out there, but I am confident I will finish and plan on feeling good doing so.  I hope/think I can at least hit the time I did the last time I did this tri, but obviously in my head I’d love to beat it.  In the end I will be happy at the finish line no matter what happens.

Wish me luck!  Here I go!

 

Triathlon Training: Week 9

This is it, guys.  By this time next week I will have completed my tri.  I am beyond excited for it to finally be here.  A little nervous, mostly about logistical kind of stuff.  I definitely feel ready.  Even though I started this cycle in far worse shape fitness wise, I feel like I’ve done a better job focusing on the training plan.  I have a much better bike which is going to make a huge difference.  And I do know what to expect having done this same triathlon before.

Here’s what I did this week:

Monday:  5.5 mi walk/run

I hadn’t intended to go this far at all on this day (the plan called for 4 miles), but everything was just clicking so I went with it.  I used my Couch 2 5K app and did three rounds back to back.  I maxed out my intervals at 5 minutes.  I could have gone longer, I’m sure, but I just didn’t want to do anything that would injure me at this stage so close to the tri.  The run will be my weakest of the three, and I don’t want to do anything to make that worse.  I know I won’t run longer than 5 min intervals on race day, so I didn’t push it.

Tuesday:  14.3 mi bike

I challenged myself to do more of the hills that I’d tried the previous week on this ride, so I didn’t feel the need to go the full 16 on the plan for this week.  Plus it was super hot and humid. I noticed a significant difference riding on properly inflated tires…but was also hoping some of the ease was improved strength and fitness.

Wednesday:  64 lap swim

This was the last day before school started, so I really wanted to get the swim in then since it would be a lot harder to do schedule wise when I’m working.  With my usual YMCA closed for repairs, I went to another community pool nearby.  It was fine, but I missed my beautiful glass enclosed Y!  I pushed myself here to finish my last long swim before the tri strong, so I blew past my planned 60 and added 4 extra laps.

Thursday:  30 min stationary bike/30 min strength

This was my first day back to school.  It was 95 degrees and I work in a building with no air conditioning.  I was hot, my feet hurt and I’d been up since 4:30am.  I had every excuse I could have not to go to the gym that day, but I forced myself to go knowing the gym would be impossible to do the next day.  It wasn’t my hardest effort for sure, but I felt good just having walked in the door all things considered.

Friday:  Rest Day

Saturday:  Mini Tri

I had wanted to do a “mini tri” this weekend to test out my planned outfit, transition strategies and just get a feel for what it was like to do all three.  My girlfriend offered her pool, which I decided was going to have to work.  I could have gone down to the beach, but I just don’t know the area all that well and I didn’t want to get lost.  I decided to do 2/3 distance on everything.  I rode my bike over to my friend’s house (about 3/4 of a mile away) and set up my little transition area with everything I brought over in a drawstring backpack.

I decided I would wear the bathing suit top I’ve been wearing for all my training swims, a sports bra underneath for extra support during the bike and run, and a running skirt so that I wouldn’t need to add shorts after the swim.  I threw a T shirt on over that and hoped this combination would be a winner for race day.

20 min swim.  I gauged this based on the fact that it took me about half an hour to do my half mile swim when I did the tri three years ago.  It honestly felt longer in the much smaller pool, I’m not sure why.  I didn’t bother to count laps, I only set my phone timer to go off after 20.  The skirt did feel a little floaty in the water, but not anything that would be a problem.  It passed the swim test!

8 mile bike.  I got out of the pool and padded over to my bike.  Unlike the beach, where my feet will get all sandy, I didn’t have to do much to clean them off.  A little water and towel and they were ready for socks.  Socks, shoes (no way am I not wearing socks).  I toweled off a bit on my arms and legs and then pulled my shirt on.  A swig of water, then I threw everything in my drawstring back and off I went.  Did a quick detour to drop the bag at home and kept on going.  I was worried how the wet skirt would feel, and while it felt weird at first, it was fine.  It was probably wetter than my knit shorts would be…I dripped water for a few miles, but otherwise, everything felt good.  My shirt was wet at first but it dried before the end of the ride.  The ride felt really great.  My route had bigger hills than I know I will encounter on race day and I still felt strong when I finished.

2 mile run.  I dropped the bike at home in my garage and decided to use the bathroom.  Obviously hoping not to have that issue on race day, so it was a good reminder to figure out my hydration a little better.  I mopped off a bit, took a big swig of water.  I had decided fueling would need to happen here so I had a bit of energy for that final push, so I unwrapped my Larabar I’d put in my bag, left the wrapper and took it with me and started my walk/run.  Like before I allowed myself a solid 5 minutes of warmup, which took the jello out of my legs, and then started my intervals.  Super short ones because I went on a hilly road (this mimics what I know is a hilly course on race day), but they felt strong.  I did not feel winded at all or wrecked.  I could have easily gone a full 5K here, but chose to stay conservative.

I am SO glad I did this mini tri practice.  It really bolstered my confidence going into next week.

Sunday:  4.2 mile walk with a friend

I wanted to keep things low key because I wasn’t sure how I would feel after my practice session so I planned for just a walk this day.  Really glad I did.  This felt great.

Onto the taper.  I will do one swim (thinking open water since I will have time on Labor Day), one shorter brick and one 2 mile run walk.  Temps are set to go high this week so the brick and run might be indoors…which I’m OK with since this is supposed to be a taper after all.

I can’t believe it’s almost here!