It may look like I'm going slow but I'm just getting started.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

South Beach Redux

My carb addiction has landed me back on the beach...South Beach. I had to do a self-intervention after an afternoon of not one, but two, packages of Scooby Snacks (graham cracker not dog treat) were dipped in Nutella and consumed in the span of five minutes. And that was after several other questionable food choices. I blame it on camping and s'mores. But truthfully, I was going down the long road of carb overload before the graham-y goodness. So I had to take drastic measures and return to the carb detox. I don't know if I'll make the whole 14 days. We are going out of town on the 15th day and it seems like asking for trouble to assume I'll start adding carbs back sensibly while on vacation.

And this carb reduction couldn't come at a better time, as I have not exercised for a week. At first it was the foot I hurt while trying to retrieve my daughter's shoe from a meandering creek but then it just turned into pure, unadulterated laze. On the positive side, I had plenty of time to think (before the carb reduction started and began making my brain fuzzy). I have been taking a hard look at my goals and expectations and I came to the conclusion that I technically only have 10 more pounds to lose before I reach the highest limit of my "Healthy BMI." Having a BMI of 25% or lower has always been my plan but I always wanted to lose enough that I had a cushion if I went up a few pounds. At 174 (depending on the day, sometimes more and sometimes less) I am 10 pounds from the max healthy weight of 164. And just 14 from my goal of 160. No wonder it's so hard to lose weight. I always feel like the person who is in the middle of my weight loss but I'm actually at the tail end. And I need to acknowledge how much harder it will be. Additionally, while I would love to weigh below 160, essentially the weight I have to lose now is vanity weight. I'm probably healthier than a lot of "skinny" people. I know being lighter will automatically make me faster, right? I can dream. Give me something to hold onto. I just know it's going to be a struggle and what I'm currently doing is fine, if I want to maintain. Because I have reset my weight by about 20 pounds and I think my body likes it here. I just don't like it. So I need to get real about what it's going to take and what I'm willing to do. And eventually I have to make peace with carbs. Wish me luck. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Warrior Dash Report (Finally!)

Everyone knows that the most important part of any adventure race is...the costume choice. Duh. Did you really think I would say preparation or training? Fortunately for me (and my husband, since he was going to have to wear a tutu), the royal wedding provided plenty of inspiration for race day. Specifically this:

So seizing the opportunity to incorporate pop culture of the moment into my own look, I came up with:


And my husband just went as Braveheart because that was easy. After all, you wouldn't expect me to actually start the hat project until at least 9:00 the night before. So we had our costumes and our attitudes and we were signed up for the first wave. My only regret about the whole day was not forcing my way into getting a picture with Sione from The Biggest Loser. Because seriously, that's the only show I watch on a regular basis because my life is sad.

They finally fired up the fire cannons (technical term) and we were off. The first part of the course was really, really long. And quite boring. Imagine running around a farm. A desert farm. (Not deSSert farm, but that would be awesome). I didn't bring my Garmin because 1. mud and 2. this was the only thing I've ever signed up for that was supposed to  be "fun." I don't know how long we ran before the first obstacle. Could have been a mile. Could have been a half marathon. But as soon as the first obstacle came and went, there was a lot more walking (from the people around us, OK and me too). The first thing was an over/under (insert your own inappropriate joke here because I just don't have the time or will). We went over a little wall and then under a beam with barbed wire attached. The easiest way under was crawling. Finally I was getting what I paid for!

The next obstacle was made up of high dirt mounds. I approached with a running start and looked ever so graceful going up and over in my princess hat. And then we came to the junkyard. I have not had a tetanus shot in recent memory so sincerely hoped I did not gash my leg on rusted metal. I think my definition of junkyard and the WD definition are two separate things. I was thinking Sanford and Son but they were more "impound lot." Needless to say I did not require stitches or a DipTet (bonus if you caught the Raising Arizona reference).

I look like I'm getting my shimmy on.

We continued walk/running along the course and desperately yearning for a drink of water. This is the desert Warrior Dash. Perhaps water at mile 1 would be nice. We probably did some other forgettable obstacles but since it's been so long I can't remember. Anything over 2 hours days is iffy for me. The next obstacle I remember is the hay bale climby thing (because we have pictures).

Look at me and my "muscles"
Hay climbing done we continued on to the cargo net climb. It may surprise you to know I have absolutely no upper body strength (especially in light of the muscles I seem to be sporting on the above picture). I was a little intimidated by the climb but I heard people behind me talking about strategies so I just blindly followed their suggestions. And I'm pleased to say it worked. When I got to the top I was all Womanly Roaring and such (not literally) but then I figured out I had to go up and over. I spent a short amount of time imagining what would happen if I fell. I came to the conclusion that it would hurt. So I decided to avoid that at all costs. I played it safe, as evidenced by the following pictures:

So jauntily approaching the top

So clinging on to the top for dear life

Obviously I made it down the other side. I would have high fived the people around me but they were oblivious to my awesomeness. Because can I just remind you that I did this whole thing with a bum arm (yes, from falling off my bike while standing still). The adrenaline really numbs the pain. After the high of the cargo climb we had to climb a rope up and over a wall. But that was mundane at this point. I already made it up and over one big thing. How hard can it be? Pleased to say I made it up and over the wall. And there were boards to climb down on the other side so it wasn't too rough. I think the hardest obstacle of all was the cargo crawl:

Sure, it looks easy (to you, sitting at your computer) but that rope really digs in. I didn't follow the volunteer's advice and roll across. Um, I don't think anyone did. I just made my way slowly by crawling and the next morning my knees looked like...I don't know, something involving someone on their knees a lot. I was going to make some tasteless joke but really, too easy. The pinnacle of the race is near the end. The jump over the flames. I was so psyched for this. I just imagined my triumphant picture soaring over a wall of fire. And this is what I got:

Yes, two pictures of my husband soaring over the flames and me in the background looking like Ma Kettle. "Come on over here flames, Im'ma gonna jump you now." If you have no idea who Ma Kettle is then that last reference is probably completely lost on you and you should just move along. So, no triumphant flame jumping pictures for me. But the day was not lost, as I had this to make up for it:

My very own picture in a newspaper slide show. Thank you Arizona Daily Star. After the mud crawl (and surprising tenacity of my head wear) we were hosed off-repeatedly in the face-and managed to change in port-a-potties. A lot of firsts occurred that day. My only complaint about the mud crawl would be to take issue with the alarming number of small rocks embedded in the mud. I mean I'm a Warrior not a super hero. My knees looked like I took sandpaper and rubbed them vigorously. And y'all that does not work to remove hair so don't try it (more than once). Overall though the race was a total success and I would gladly give them money to torture me all over again. Who can argue with such looks of appreciation:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Daft Schemes

OK I am so behind on my blogging and such. And possibly I do way too many events. I can't seem to compose posts about them before a new one comes up. And I totes have to describe the Seville Tri in agonizing detail (hint...I-yes me-placed in my age group and Athena). So I'll get right on that. Later. For now I would like to write about the beginning stages of my plan to join The Half Fanatics during my R'n'R training. I just have to complete 3 half marys (yes, I am aware of how pretentious/stupid it sounds to call a half a "half mary" and I will never do it again) in 90 days or 2 in16 days. I like the sound of the 90 days better. Like you have 30 days to slack off between each attempt. And the beauty of it is, you don't have to be fast. I could walk a half and still qualify. What do I have to lose (possibly the use of my legs). Aaron wants to run a marathon too copy cat and I had to explain that we could not run a marathon at the same time because someone needs to (minimally) parent our children. So now we're looking for races for him. And we found this: Route 66 Marathon. How can we not do a race in our hometown (right before Thanksgiving, which technically gives us the OK to consume as much as humanly possible). I'm also still considering the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll half in St. Louis with my bestie. That just leaves one more race. Maybe the Women's Half in November? When I look at the fact that all the races are 2 weeks apart I start to cry a little. But then I look at my training calendar and realize I'm supposed to be running 15, 17, 20 miles two weeks apart. And then I cry harder. If I can pull this off, I can do anything. Anything! And make no mistake, I will sleep for two weeks straight and eat Ben and Jerry's for dinner every night after it's all over. And then I'll start something else.

P.S. I was going to call this post "Crazy Schemes" but then I remembered my stance on not using "crazy" so I had to change it to "daft." Classy.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Summer of Fitness

I really need (or want, since it's less of an imperative) to do a Warrior Dash report but I'm real, what's that word again, oh yes - lazy. I was even featured in a slide show and everythang! So I'll get right on that...soon.

This Sunday I am doing a mini sprint. I originally planned to totally dominate the Athena category but that was before I fell off my bike and hurt my arm. And this turn of events both depressed and frightened me so I became lazy (er) than normal and didn't train as effectively as I should have. But I'm still going to do the race, which is a huge accomplishment for me. I am regularly one to just flake out if things don't go my way. But how can I flake out of a 150 meter swim/10 mile bike/half mile run? I'm just going to get out there and do it. And hopefully there will only be three Athenas and I can be second or third. I rode the bike course yesterday and, after getting turned around, managed to make pretty good time. Hopefully my luck will hold Sunday.

After Sunday I have a whole summer of super fun runs planned. That makes me laugh. the summer. Alas I will brave the heat (and desert tortoise comparisons) to participate in the Arizona Road Racer's summer run series. Five runs for $35 is a steal. And I won't feel bad about flaking out on a couple (3 or 4) if I'm only losing $35. I spend that on one trip to Starbucks, hence the reason I need to run. It's a cycle. They also have a walk series so if anyone is intimidated by 16 minute 5Kers (me-not the 16 minutes, the intimidation) you can sign up to walk. I'm just trying to gather some support here. Possibly enough people to carry me back to the car.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

I've Lost That Carb-y Feeling

I could probably go on and on about my love/hate relationship with carbs. OK, admittedly I have gone on and on about the subject. But I am coming to certain unsettling conclusions in my life and I am horrified it has taken me so long to figure things out. Let's just say I like carbs. A lot. And it's not like I will eat a loaf of bread or binge on cereal (most days) but I tend to eat a lot of processed things that are high in carbs. And sugar. If given the choice, I would probably live each day like my youngest child - on carbs, sugar, and several glasses of milk. My foray into the South Beach world did result in weight loss but I could barely keep my eyes open during my personal training. And everything felt SO hard. Or maybe I was just being a wiener baby, which is entirely plausible. The main thing I remember from lowering my carbs is the feeling of being on an even keel all day. No ups and downs and crying jags, (did I mention I started tearing up during a preview for that movie about the dolphin who lost his tail) I just felt steady. And I believe I was a much nicer person. But the reality of that apparently was not enough for me to continue with the lower carb lifestyle, as I just went on a binge of carbs as soon as I was allowed to eat them again and I never looked back. So lesson learned?

Now it's 2011 and I'm still fighting with this ten pounds and the carb monkey on my back. But I have a secret weapon. It's called...carb reduction. You don't spend as much time online as I do and not find 101 random diseases to diagnose yourself with. Lately I've been reading about insulin resistance and I am going to go out on a limb and just maintain that this is what I've been struggling with. Fatigue, sleepiness after eating (particularly high carb meals) weight gain and inability to lose weight. Yes, in your face OB/GYN who thinks my fatigue is a result of having three kids (and yes, for the fifteenth time, we are not having any more children).

So somewhere between starting this post and today, life intervened and totally shone/shined (you know what I mean) a spotlight on my carb addiction. Easter. I think that's all I have to say. One sweet and innocent day full of brunch and chocolate animals. And oh, hello, 5 pounds are back and I'm binging on cereal again. Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? And when I overdo it I feel so sick. You think I would learn. But no, my brain loves the carbs and my body can't take them. It's like a biological Odd Couple sitcom. But the host ends up dead and no one laughs. That really brought me down. I know what I need to do, I know what actually feels better and I know what is at stake. But I'm stuck in this single child Veruca Salt perpetual tantrum where I don't want to accept that life is not fair and I can't just do whatever the hell I want and continue to get away with it. Yes, I need to grow up and start following the advice I'm more than happy to offer everyone else.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Defying Gravity

Lately I've been really hard on myself about being last in my age group for the Marquee Duathlon. And sure, unknowingly I was competing in the robot 34-39 division (possibly those ladies were androids, so hard to tell), and sure all of the other age categories from 20 to 80 had slower people. But I ran a mile in 10:38. I've never run a mile in 10:38. Why can't I just be happy with knowing I've only really been running steadily for less than a year and I can now, miracle of miracles, talk while running? Why can't I be happy knowing I would have never done anything like this in my teens or twenties or even early thirties?

People have commented on Facebook that I cannot possibly be the same person they knew 20 years ago. After all, I got a D in phys ed. Granted it was mostly due to the fact that we were in the swimming portion of the semester and I refused to swim because I felt they did not give us enough time to get ready after. Backcombing your bangs takes A LOT of time (if you weren't aware). And I'm not the same person. I'm not the person who walked the mile for the Presidents Physical Fitness Test (though I would so totally still get a 0 on the bent arm hang), I'm not the person who started and gave up running a thousand times before, I'm not the person who was convinced they would never run because it was just too hard, I'm not the person who struggled with weight gain and postpartum depression and just kept eating and being inactive, I'm not the person who joined more than a few gyms and had a personal trainer but never lost a considerable amount of weight or gained an appreciable amount of muscle, I'm not the person who slacks off in the back of fitness classes and I will no longer be the person who accepts the limits of my overly cautious reptile brain. OK I'm not going to starve myself to death and run 100 miles. But I will start expecting just a little more.

I've been considering the idea of the next big thing for a while now. I'm not quite ready for the Iron distances (half or full, hell who am I kidding, Olympic even) but I have faith in my ability to complete a marathon. PF Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona Marathon to be exact. And I just signed up for it. January is 9 short months away. It's like I'm growing and birthing a marathon baby!! I just hope it remembers me on Mother's Day.

I have a feeling I will be replaying this song over and over (if not on my iPod then in my head because if "Firework" is any proof, singing to myself really confuses the old cerebral naysayer). And I will possibly have to actually see the musical Wicked but that's another story. For the first time, and I mean literally the first time, I feel like a runner.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lessons I've Learned The Hard Way #1

It may seem like a no brainer (which is usually good for me on a race morning) but checking your bike gears before the start is a great idea. I fully intended to do this on Sunday but then there was the whole covering Ruby with a mile wide tarp to consider. OK Sunday morning while I was airing up the tires (also another great idea) would have been optimal. But I didn't. And "lucky" for me, I hurriedly took Ruby in on Saturday to have a little tune up and gear adjustment.

Starting out on the bike was hampered by my race belt mishap (stupid bib tore while I was trying to turn it around) so by the time I started pedaling I was already flustered. I went about a mile and thought, "Why do I suck?" (Even more than normal). I looked down and realized, oh, I am in my big chainring. The big chain is great for really speedy flats but it takes more out of your legs. So I was pumping along wondering why my legs felt as if they were pedaling a tricycle. Now I know. At least I didn't fall over when I started pedaling.

So the lesson is: Always Check Your Bike Gears Before A Race.