Friday, June 27, 2008

Top 5 Ways I Break the WW Program Rules...and Don't

Good Morning! Before I start rambling about how I do (and don't) break the WW rules I want to celebrate my weight loss this past week. 2.6 pounds down! I'd been eying my weight this week and it looked like I might lose but I didn't want to get excited (or tell y'all about it) in case it didn't stick. But it did :) The last time I lost more than a pound was about a month ago so I'm excited. You might recall I like to figure my monthly pounds lost. For past figures see this post. So for June I lost 3.6 pounds. Not spectacular, not bad. I'll take it! Now, we shall commence with the rambling...

I love the Weight Watchers program. It's so reasonable and rational - I believe they've got it fine tuned to near perfection. But that doesn't mean I follow the program to a T. Jessica got me to thinking about the various ways in which I don't follow the WW program - so I decided to share in a list.

Top 5 Ways I Break the WW Program Rules

5. I hardly ever pay attention to getting my oils in. If it happens, great. If not, eh.

4. Probably forget my daily vitamin 70% of the time. But those 30% days I'm rocking! Just kidding, I don't notice the difference. We're supposed to take the vitamin because we're on a reduced calorie diet and could therefore be missing out on some nutrients or something. Well, the only nutrient I really worry about is my Chocolate nutrient, so I'm careful to get plenty of that in my diet.

3. I get 2 servings of milk in...when I have ice cream for desert. Wait, Ice Cream doesn't count as a dairy? Ok, I never get two servings of milk. Better remember that multivitamin more often.

2. I eat chicken breast and lean fish in any quantity I want. 3 oz? Ha! No matter how much chicken breast I eat I call it a breast, 3 Points, and I'm good. When I go to Subway I get double (lean) meat & no cheese. Do I count the extra meat? No way, man! I need that protein to stay full. Is this appropriate WW behavior? No. Please don't tell my leader :) If it's fatty meat (sausage, steak, etc) then I count it appropriately...most of the time.

1. All apples and all oranges are 1 Point, no matter the size. I did not get fat eating apples and oranges.

I had a discussion about this with a newly minted lifetime member in my meeting yesterday. She and I talked about ways in which we break the rules and concluded that as long as we're losing it's all good. But if I stop losing I have a place to look to make some changes. Especially #2 above.

Now this begs the question, which 5 rules do I consider unbreakable? Weeelll...

Top 5 Unbreakable WW Rules

5. Must eat five servings of fruits/veggies per day, however much that is. I just eat fruits/veggies with every meal and for a snack and hope it adds up right.

4. Must drink at least 64 ounces of water.

3. Must exercise (for me, right now, that's 3-4 times per week).

2. Must track & eat within my points range. (that's two isn't it? But Top 6 doesn't sound so good)

1. Now I know this isn't a WW requirement per se, but for me it is...MUST go to weekly meeting. Oh, and never give up.

But just because I'm saying these are unbreakable doesn't mean I don't break them now and again. But when I do break these I see it as a problem that needs to be addressed.

In general I've found that I tend to go through cycles where I'm doing really well in one area but another area is suffering. I then shift focus to the area where I'm struggling but lose focus in something else. It's all a balancing act and I have to remember that it's what I do most of the time, it's my habits that determine my success. Anomalies will occur, mistakes will happen, that goes without saying. I try to remember that it's not about the falling down, it's about the getting up.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Bits & Pieces

YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST! I just love all the positive comments I got about my first triathlon. I am so inspired and encouraged by all of you. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and to cheer me on. It's very motivating!

One question was, What happened to the sore throat? Well, on Saturday after the tri we ran errands all afternoon (really, Miguel? We need to do this today?). By the time I got home late Saturday afternoon I was dead tired. I took a two hour nap and wondered if I was getting sick.

On Sunday I was tired but had no symptoms so I thought I beat it. I went to work on Monday and a client canceled on me so I ended up with a huge gap in the middle of the day with nothing to do. Aha! I'll go to the gym. I went to the gym and did my cardio, including a lovely 3 mile jog on the ol' treadmill. While jogging it felt like my chest was sort of tight. We're dealing with a bunch of wildfires here in Northern California and I wondered if this was related to that. After the jog I did lower body weight training. A few hours after I left the gym I knew it wasn't the wildfires, I have a full-on cold. Blech. I was so glad I went to the gym when I did because I don't think I would have made it after work. Did you see I ran three miles again? I'm starting to think it's not a fluke and that I can actually run three miles. So my cold, yeah, mostly it's just a stuffy/runny nose and tiredness. But the worst symptom is a foggy head. I'm not moving so fast and can't think very well. Thank God I don't have a cough though, that chest congestion stuff kills me. Oh well, today's a relatively easy office day so not much is required of me.

I realized there were a few things I forgot to mention about my tri. Well, I told you about the swim going off course but decided a visual aid was in order. The black line is the swim route (not to scale, of course) and the red line is me, except I'm sure I didn't swim that straight. My swim coach Jean had said this event would teach me which way I "drift" while swimming in open water and I did. I drift, of course, to the left. Oh, and another neat thing. The run was a sort of a twisty, curvy route in which participants are running in both directions on the trail. A little ways into the run it occurred to me I might see Miguel. I started looking for him and within a few minutes he came around a bend. Yay! We got to smile at each other and do a little hand slap as we passed. That was such a nice little boost. My mom told me later that he was all excited after he finished the race (and while waiting for me) telling them, "She looked so good, I know she's going to finish!". She said he gushed on and on and was so proud of me. I love him. You know, I was not sore even one tiny little bit after the tri. I think all the preparation really paid off. That and the relaxed, cruising approach I took during the event. Next time I'll have a sense of what's involved and can push myself a bit more.

The group that puts on this tri started a blog. On Your Mark Events. They put up some comments about the event with a few pictures. Sadly I'm not in any of them :( The official photographer pictures should come out later this week but they are really, REALLY expensive. I will probably break down and buy one finish line picture, if I like it. Who knows if they got any of me on the course.

So I weighed myself on Sunday and my weight was WAY DOWN. But, it's back up. I kind of sat around eating all day on Sunday and did more munching yesterday evening. I hope I eek out a loss this week but with the cold and all, I'm not banking on it. I want to view times when my weight is relatively unchanged (say, less than a pound in either direction) as practice for maintenance. Everyone says maintenance is harder than losing and I believe it. Having regained lost weight twice before I'm all about maintaining. I strongly believe I have to get comfortable with not losing, or with gaining small amounts, because maintenance will be all about that. All that said, I hope I lose this week :)

So, I have a confession. I spent more money on bike related stuff. I had vowed not to do this after purchasing my bike and shoes and pedals and.... But I needed a bike computer for my road bike. If I'd had one on the tri I would have known the remaining miles to go and how fast I was going, which is totally necessary right? So what I really wanted was a Garmin Edge 305. But they are really expensive. But it didn't make any sense to spend money on another item I didn't really want when I knew I'd end up getting the Garmin eventually. Plus, with the state of the economy I really should be doing all I can to help out, right? So, you guessed it, I ordered the Garmin. I got the package that includes the heart-rate and cadence monitors. I'm stoked about the cadence, I want to work on maintaining an even pedal rate. Don't I sound all official and everything? But I am in debt now and it sucks. I'll be paying off my bike and Garmin for the next few months :( Anyway, Miguel and I played with the Garmin a little last night. Hopefully I can get it on my bike this weekend.

Speaking of this weekend, Ales & Trails is already upon us! It's a mountain biking day at China Camp State Park this Saturday. Basically you ride all morning and drink beer and listen to music in the afternoon. Sounds like my kind of event. It will be neat to get back on my mountain bike and the weather is supposed to be great. I have no plans for Sunday. What?! This must be remedied right away. If I sit around at home all day then I eat all day. Can't do that. Alright, if I find nothing else to do than I'll go to the pool and swim some laps and lounge in the sun. Ohhh, that sounds lovely actually.

I'll be sure and post after my Weigh-In on Thursday. Oh! I have to give a shout-out to Misty Pilgrim, aka Geekgirl, aka The Athena Diaries - Tales from the back of the pack. She finished her 2nd Ironman event yesterday and rocked!! Check her out.

Update: 2.6 Pounds Lost This Week!! Wooooot! So that puts me over 70 pounds total. 72 Pounds to be exact. Whoa. I'm 161.8 Pounds now. Shoshana and I are doing a 5 pound summer challenge. The goal is to lose 5 Pounds by the end of summer, which is 9/22/08. Now I'm thinking we should up it to 6 for a 1/2 pound per week average. We'll see what Shosh wants to do. ANYWAY....2.6 pounds! Yay!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Very First Race Report - Tri for Fun Pleasanton 6/21/08

I DID IT!! 1 hr 35 min!! I AM A TRIATHLETE!! I cried at the finish line.

That's the text message I sent out right after the race. Wow, the adrenaline and excitement at the end were just too much. But let's back up a bit...

I had been keeping a secret for a couple days. This past Wednesday I started getting a sore throat and it got worse every day. I woke up on race day and it was worse, swollen and hurting. But I did what I'd been doing up to that point - ignored it. A sore throat by itself is nothing, right? It didn't seem to be affecting my energy level or anything. Still, after the alarm went off I laid in bed thinking, "Why did I sign up for this? Maybe I'll just sleep in." Nah, I got up and got moving. After all, I have a triathlon to do!

Despite every book and article I read saying to get to the event location as early as possible when Miguel suggested the night before that we shoot for getting there at 6am instead of 5:30am I agreed. We got up on time but left later than planned and didn't get to the event until 6:15. And wow, that place was packed. I was so nervous and excited I was almost numb. There were a line of cars down the street waiting to get in. But we got in and made our way to the registration booth to pick up our numbers.

As we were standing in the registration line with our bikes I hear over the loudspeaker, "Don't take your bikes to registration! Rack them first and then get your bib". Oops. But I was too close to leave so I got our numbers and then went to the racks. They were full. I noticed people just laid their bikes on the ground in open areas so that's what we did. Here are our bikes with our towels holding all our stuff pre-race. Notice Miguel's transition "bag"? He didn't bring a backpack so he put all his stuff in that NorthFace shopping bag.

With our bikes and stuff set up we headed off to get our numbers marked on our bodies. Wow, this makes it seem so real. They had an organized assembly line set up and a woman marked my arm while a man was marking my opposite leg. Darn-it if I don't feel like a friggin' athlete now! And I got the coolest number ever, 1010. How friggin' awesome is that?! I'm hoping that red ink stays on my skin for at least a month.

And that's my tri swim outfit. Those are Sugoi Blast Tri Shorts, which I wore throughout the race. They have a thin bike pad built in so they dry fast after the swim but you still get a little cushioning for the bike ride. The top is a SkirtSports TRIKini Tank. I wore my Moving Comforts Melbourne Sports Bra under the tank. It all matched very nicely :) Here's a picture of Miguel and I all ready to go.

At 6:45am we headed to the beach to hear the "newbie talk" from a coach. She was very encouraging and gave great advice. Wow, lots of people milling around. I found myself looking at all the different outfits and all the different body shapes and sizes. I thought, "we're all nuts but isn't this cool?!". The coach described the swim route, tips on how to get around the buoys, how to get out of the lake, etc. Miguel and I decided to go on our own so he was in Wave 2 with the men ages 18-39 and I went 10 minutes later in Wave 4 with women of the same age. Here we go!!

I watched Miguel take off and then went to see if I could find my mom. No luck. Back to the beach, it's almost my turn. Eek! I was in the water, which was perfectly temperate and calm, and nervously waited for the airhorn. Off we went! It all happened so fast. The route was out, sideways across the lake, and back to the beach. As I rounded the first buoy I noticed I was breathing really hard and got nervous. Wait, I'm swimming too fast. I slowed down and got into a rhythm. I bumped a few women and a few bumped me but all in all things were going well. I spotted halfway across the sideways portion and realized I was swimming too far inland. I corrected and barely rounded the second buoy. Whoa, the swim's almost over. I swam until my hand hit the ground just like the coach said and got out, looked around for Mom (no luck there) while I walked to the transition area. Yes I walked, but quickly :)

I was so amped! I put on my Shebeest Cycling Jersey and then realized that, Oops!, I'm supposed to take off the Tankini first. Took the cycling jersey off, which had my race bib pinned to it so that was no easy task, off with the Tankini and back on with the cycling jersey. Put my Injinji socks on (each little toe gets its own sock!) and then my cycling shoes, sprayed sunscreen (I am IN LOVE with KINeSYS sunscreen) on my arms and face, on with the helmet, sunglasses, and gloves. Grabbed my bike and walked out of the transition area.

The bike route started with a little hill up and out of the park. My bike was in the granny gears and my adrenaline just pushed me up that hill without any difficulty. The lanes we rode in were closed and I thought, "Wow, I am doing this, I am in a triathlon, riding along with a number on my chest and wow, wow, wow." I passed some people and some people passed me. About 1/2 way through the ride I started chatting a little bit with other women, which was fun. I noticed that the longer the ride went on, the more people I passed.

Still, I wasn't flying by people by any stretch of the imagination. I did get quite irritated with this guy with whom I played leapfrog the last few miles. He never stayed to the right (so that faster riders could pass him) and never announced when he was passing ("on your left"). And once, when I called out that I was passing him, he sped up! Come on, man, this isn't the highway, move over! Oh, and the people on the sidewalks cheering us on made me SO happy. They were just out walking their dogs or what-not but they shouted, "good job" and "you're almost there" and I could have cried I was so touched.

There was one short, steep hill (other than that the ride was fairly flat). A fellow rider with whom I was chatting warned me about it and gave me all the details. It was nice not to come around the corner and be surprised or scared by it. Granny geared up it and then downhill all the way! Wheeeee! Wow, there's the park, we're done!? I rode back into the park, unclipped my shoes and, hey! There's mom! Hi! See you soon!! I took my bike into transition, switched shoes, off with the helmet, on with the visor hat, more sunscreen, grabbed an AccelGel ("do I really need this? oh, well, I'll take it just in case") and off I went.

I have no idea what time it was (wasn't wearing a watch) but it was getting warm. We're in the middle of a heatwave and the sun was beating down. I started out jogging and made it up the first hill to the first water station. I drank some water and shortly after got a cramp in my side. Ouch. I started walking and thought, "Well, that's it, I'll be walking the rest of it." Then I thought, "Wait, why accept that? Don't be afraid to jog, you can always walk if you have to." So I walked for a little while longer and then started jogging. I don't know how much time I spent walking vs. jogging but I definitely did a lot more jogging, albeit at times quite slowly. And the side cramp never returned. After probably a mile I was getting tired and remembered my Accelgel. Yes! I ate it and think I felt the effects about 15 minutes later. It was just the boost I needed. The run was on a trail and there were a fair number of hills. I chatted with more women and played leapfrog with many of them. More than a few times I thought, "I will NEVER do a tri longer than this, this is enough for me".

As I neared another hill there was a volunteer at the top shouting, "It's the last hill! You're almost there!!" Oh my goodness, the last hill, thank you volunteer lady! I jogged up and over it, then down the other side (Don't fall, Michelle!) and around the bend. Concrete path again, I must be getting close. Then there they were, the cheerers lining the finish area. They were screaming and shouting and banging bells and I started crying. Oh my God, I'm here. I jogged along glad for my sunglasses so they couldn't tell I was crying.

I crossed the finish line and started looking for Miguel and my mom. As soon as I saw Miguel I hugged him and cried a bit more. Whew! I made it! I'm tired, but excited, and happy, and whew! I made it! Miguel gave me an orange wedge, which I couldn't manage to eat, and some juice. We figured out my time, which (after subtracting 15 minutes for Wave 4) was 1 hour, 35 minutes. Not bad. It took me a while to calm down. What do I do now? I know, go cheer on the others. It felt so good to have people cheer me to the finish line I just had to do it for other people. I screamed and shouted and clapped for I don't know how long. I was just so happy for everyone. Here I am post race, followed by me next to the lake post-race...

Here's the route I uploaded on for those that might be interested.  

When it was all over we headed back to the house for a quick shower and then out to breakfast. I wasn't hungry for a while after the race but once I got hungry I was really hungry. Pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggbeaters (yep, eggbeaters!?), hash browns, and water. Yummmy. And then I was exhausted. Wiped out, finished, kaput.

Well, there you have it. My very first ever race report ever after my very first ever triathlon. The day was perfect, I couldn't have asked for anything more. I spent this morning researching future triathlons. I think I'm hooked. It was a blast and a half and I want to do some more. I think I can do a little longer one too, despite what I said on the run. Apparently after a women gives birth her body releases a hormone that causes a mild amnesic effect, the end result being she doesn't remember the pains of childbirth. I think the same thing must happen after a triathlon. All I remember is the glorious fun of it all.


*(many moons later) Addendum: Turns out I was newly pregnant (probably about 5 days post-conception) when I did this triathlon and didn't know it. Also, I did this same tri again a couple months later. For that race report click here.