Archive | December 2013

2013 Report Card/Year in Review

2013 was big for me. 2013 was the year I decided to change my life. Last year I joined the throngs of New Years Revolutioners to get fit and healthy and I would like to say that while I have awhile to go to get to my end goal, I am leaps and bounds above where I was a year ago.

Last year at Christmas, I was unhappy with myself, where I was physically and it was bleeding into everything, especially my personal life and my relationship. My boyfriend of almost six years at the time (we will celebrate seven years this March) sat me down to talk about it. He confronted me about how I was feeling and how it was affecting us. In 2012 he started his journey to get fit and healthy and it leaked into every aspect of his life in the best way possible. So he shared his journey with me so that I could get to a happy place with myself too. We are still on our journey, one which I think will always be ongoing. And I am so happy that he staged his own mini intervention with me because this year I pushed my limits and accomplished so much.

Goal 1: Compete in a triathlon A+
I completed my first sprint distance triathlon in April then another one in August and my first open water swim sprint tri in October.

Goal 2: Run a half marathon A+
Before this year I normally ran at most 3ish miles. Once I got up to doing an 8k but that was in 2010. I not only ran a half marathon this past year but I did it in my goal time of 2:30 (okay there were some seconds over that but whatever I don’t count them).

Goal 3: Get healthy B
This is definitely still a work in progress. I lost the first 20 pounds but I have more to go. I still have a slight addiction to sweets that I am learning to control.

Goal 4: Work on my relationship A
This year made J and I stronger than ever. We had more fun together and enjoyed each moment we got together. Every year we get closer and fall more in love. (You can all throw up now)

2014 goals coming soon!

How did you do in 2013?

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Weekly Workout Recap

Training this week was very, very light. I decided to full enjoy the holiday with my family and friends, which meant relaxing most of the time for a nice semi rest week.

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Rest. Although I did do some extreme shopping for like 5 hours, so that counts for something, lifting all the heavy bags and walking around. My legs felt like they were going to fall off.

Tuesday: 6.5 mile run with the puppy. I had set out for 8 miles, which meant 5 miles with Riley Belle before going back out for the last three (I typically only like to run her 5 miles), but I kept taking side street after side street so we ended up doing 6.5 miles together and then I decided to relax and make Christmas cookies instead of doing the last 1.5 miles. Riley kicked my butt. She is a great pacer and always pushes me. Whenever I start to slow down she gives me this look and I pick up the pace again. My run at home as some pretty killer hills so my pace wasn’t the greatest for this run, but I did it.

Wednesday: CHRISTMAS. Needless to say, I enjoyed a day of relaxation and hanging out with family and J.

Thursday: Quick 3 mile run with Riley Belle. I had hoped to do this a little bit quicker than my 9:23 average mile time, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to repeat my 5k PR pace from Thanksgiving. It felt good to get my sweat on that day.

Friday: Weights – leg day. Woof. My legs are still hurting right now. But it was a great lift.

Saturday: Four mile tempo run and weights – shoulders/chest/more legs. I don’t know why I did legs again. Maybe that’s why they really hurt today. Or maybe it could be the four mile run I also did on Saturday. I averaged about a 10:19 pace, which I was happy with. This is the first set of increased mileage in my training program. I had been doing 3 mile/5k tempo runs, but it’s pretty much January now, so I figured, time to up it to four mile tempo runs. Now to get those down to my 5k pace. Probably will be easier when my legs aren’t screaming.

Get ready for some exciting posts this next week, including my year in review and short/long term goals for the month of January and for 2014.

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I am an average triathlete, an average runner

I started my journey to get fit and healthy almost a year ago to the day. In that time I have accomplished so much that I am proud of doing. I completed my first triathlon (then my second and third), my first half marathon, lost 20 pounds, and got in better shape. My mile time on my bike and running has decreased significantly, and though I still have progress that I want to make in all categories, I am so proud of myself for my accomplishments.

Some days, I know I can push harder and do better, but most days I lay it all out there.

However, this doesn’t make me the best at any of the things that I do.

I am an average runner, an average triathlete.

My running mile time started at around a 12 minute pace, and sometimes during my longer runs my pace still drops down to this level. My 5k PR is 29:30, making it about a 9:23 pace. I am working to get faster every day, but on here you will not see crazy feats of speed and distance. You will see an average athlete striving to do her best.

I’m not saying this to put down any athlete out there who does amazing things, who can run fast and far because I aspire to one day be able to be on that level. But for right now, I am still in the middle of my journey and I try to keep that in perspective, as should anyone reading this. Everyone’s fitness journey is different. You may be slow or fast or able to do only short distance or are in it for the long haul. You may be tall or short or thin or wide or large or small.

But the most important thing is that you are trying. You are getting off your ass every day to workout and get healthy. That is what is important. It is about the competition against yourself and not comparing yourself to others.

It is about you, your journey.

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Ready For Tri Season Thanks to Christmas

This year for Christmas I was very blessed to have received not only thoughtful but very useful gifts from everyone in my family, and I wanted to share them with you all because I am so very excited for all of them.

(in no particular order)

1. Garmin Forerunner 620 GPS watch. THIS IS AMAZING. J, my boyfriend, really outdid himself this year. I had mentioned that I really wanted a GPS watch but that they were way too expensive and it was silly. Well, he did his research and completely surprised me. Look for a review in a few weeks whenever I have had enough time to test out all of the features. I’ve already gone on one run with it and I was a tad compulsive checking my watch, but it already made me push myself to go faster.

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2. Triathlon mat. I had seen this at my last triathlon and really wanted one, particularly after my towel with all my stuff soaked through and didn’t dry out for a week.

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3. Accessories: headbands, touch screen gloves, iPhone armband. All fantastic and needed. My mom and I had been lusting after touch screen gloves for a while and I am so glad she got me some. Now I can stay warm and still change the song, etc.

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4. Wrist wallet. This is really lightweight and a neat gadget to carry around just the essentials like keys and some money and if you really need a small music device (although I don’t know how I would feel with my headphones attached essentially to my wrist).

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5. Fuel belt. Another awesome gift from J and another item I had been lusting over. After my half marathon with no jacket to put all my nutrition in, I really wanted something like this. I look forward to running the Nike half with this sweet glow in the dark belt around my waist. Bonus, an extra piece of reflective gear for night or early morning runs and it miraculously fits my iPhone in it. Clutch.

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6. CW-X tights. O.M.G. I borrowed a pair of my mom’s for the half marathon and my legs felt amazing during the entire race (okay, maybe not for the last mile, but I think at that point it’s kind of assumed). I am so excited to try these out on my next long run.

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7. Tri bucket. My mom customized this for me and put all kinds of inspirational sayings on the side. I am so stoked to be able to easily transport all my tri gear to and from my races and look pretty awesome doing it.

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8. Salted caramel GU. Nom nom nom. I haven’t tried this yet, but I have heard amazing things, and it has extra sodium! Always needed.

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9. Commemorative Ornament. My mom made this for me for doing my first half marathon. It was such a sweet gift.

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10. Race gift certificate. This is something I asked for because I hate seeing my bank account drained and I really love signing up for races. A very usual gift!

Alright, I will do a real post soon. I am coming off of my Christmas high and all the fun I had with my family and J.

No longer running for weight loss

When I started working out to lose weight and get healthy last year, these things were seen as a necessary evil. I went to the gym to work off calories and to drop weight. I went running because I need a cardio exercise to lose weight.

However, somewhere along the way training for my first triathlon, I was no longer training to lose weight. I was training because I enjoyed training. I like pushing myself on the run, feeling the burn in my chest and legs as I turn it up a notch. I enjoy the time spent with myself in the quiet recesses of my own mind because my mind only turns off when I exercise. I like biking to see new places and new things. I swim to focus. I lift because I like seeing my body get stronger.

Weight loss of course comes with enjoying and doing all of these things and in my journey to get healthy, I appreciate it. However, it’s no longer my motivation. My motivations have changed and as they have changed and I have embraced my training, my body has changed.

I honestly try not to calorie count. I do sometimes, and I am a member of Weight Watchers. However, I do this more so because I really love the recipes on the website. I try to eat what I know is good for me, but this doesn’t involve ridiculous things like going paleo or not having a bun with my burger…or not having a burger. (Honestly, I might cry if I had to stop eating burgers.)

Transitioning to focus on my training has helped me let go of some of the guilt I feel when I eat one too many cookies because on top of that guilt, I am ashamed for feeling bad for feeling guilty. Because I shouldn’t.

So as the new year approaches and many New Year’s list of resolutions include weight loss, I ask instead to find your passion in working out. Whatever it is that moves you, that becomes more than weight loss but instead about finding a piece of yourself.

Weekly Workout Recap:
Sunday: 90 Minute Indoor Bike Ride. Yet another cardio cinema day since I pushed my workout off into the evening after being extremely lazy all day. This evening’s showing was of This Is The End, a spectacularly terrible movie that was grueling to watch and try to bike through. Next time, I will choose better Redbox.

Monday: 12 Mile Bike Followed by 2 Mile Run. Okay, doing my long bike ride then my BRIC workout two days in a row was a mistake. The bike ride was brutual. Then again, it may have just been because it was my first bike ride outside in a little over a week so I had to breathe in the cold air and deal with terrain. The upside however, I killed my run. I managed to run the two miles in just under a 10 minute mile. Now, need to actually concentrate on my speed work to get that close to 9 minutes.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 5 Mile Run Followed by BodyPump. I had orginially planned to do 8 miles today, but eh, I wasn’t feeling it. So instead I decided five miles would be perfectly fine as long as I pushed myself to go a little faster. I am determined to crush my half marathon time in the Nike Women’s Half, so I need to average under 11:30 minute/mile. Five mile average page 10:30 (now just have to keep it up for oh, about 8 more miles, easy peasy…right?!). Oh and then bodypump. I have really been digging this class recently. It helps me get a good one hour full body lift in and I love the instructor and the jams.

Thursday: Weights – back, abs, calves. Meh workout. It was okay but not too bad. I tried to do some sprints, but was not feeling the treadmill.

Friday: Weights – chest, arms, more abs. Fantastic workout. I was really feeling it that night.

Saturday: Even more weights – legs, glutes, shoulder. Even better than Friday.

So, obviously, the goal for the next week is to refocus myself on some more cardio, but I am really proud of all my lifts for this week.

Need for Speed

I am not fast at any of the three triathlon sports that I do. I am not a fast swimmer, biker, or runner. And normally I try not to let these things affect me too much because I am pushing myself and I am leaps and bounds above where I was last year.

My journey started last January. At the time I had put on around 20+ pounds during college and I was not healthy at all. I was a comfortable size when I started college, but I certainly wasn’t in shape or fit. So adding more weight did not do me any favors. I made a pledge to myself to change and to get healthy. This is still a struggle for me every day. I have shed most of the weight I gained in college and even though I weigh more than I did when I started my body is completely different in a good way. I have more muscle than I ever have and it keeps growing.

When I started my journey last year my 5k time was about 38 minutes. It wasn’t embarassing though because I was starting to run, and I mean actually run. I tried running and working out a few times during college, but I did it half heartedly. My latest fast 5k time was at the local Thanksgiving Turkey Trot where I PRed with 29:30.

I am so proud of this time, and while I have not been able to duplicate this effort since, I am striving to get faster. I want to push myself to new levels. I want to do better, faster, stronger.

That’s what this winter training is all about. I have about three more months before my first race of the season, plenty of time to get faster. But I need to remember this during the early mornings and late nights.

This week’s workouts have been bittersweet. I have been crushing it in the gym lifting weights, doing more and better than ever. I can literally see myself getting stronger. Unfortunately, I have been so exhausted that I have not done any cardio since Wednesday, which is not ideal for trying to get faster cardio.

I am going to look at my training schedule again and reevaluate what to do to really take myself to the next level and what is reasonable for me to be able to accomplish.

Confession…I really want to place in one of my triathlons this next year. I have no hopes for placing in my age group in any of the running races I am doing, but the triathlon, I might be able to do.

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

I am the Queen of Christmas. It is my favorite holiday. I love the smells, the giving, the joy, being around family. I love it all. I cannot get enough Christmas.

But this year, I have just not been feeling it. I don’t know why, but Christmas music doesn’t perk me up like it usually does. I haven’t baked very many cookies (besides one Christmas cookie baking party I attended), and the only decorations that I have hung is this fabulous wreath that I made as a joke to my roommate.

Where did my Christmas spirit go?

I think that being focused on training, setting a good foundation for this next year’s races, and not seeing my family or boyfriend at all since Thanksgiving has really got me in a slump this year. I am normally the best at giving presents and this year I have just been stuck (don’t judge me for occasionally buying Christmas presents months in advance! I love giving!).

That is until a few days ago when suddnely everything began flowing.I was suddenly thinking of fantastic gifts for my family, and this year’s theme is definitely “Find Your Fit”.

My sisters and I all have a different body shape and we carry our weight differently. Add my mom in the mix and you have a jumble of body shapes and sizes. My mom is the one who got me started on triathlons and we have done four out of this past year’s seven races together. My sisters are a different story, but for the first time ever they expressed interest in finding their fit. So I have two different lists of last minute presents you can find for those seasoned athletes and those just starting out.

For those just starting out:

1. Workout clothes. Who doesn’t want to work out whenever you buy a new outfit? Truthfully this gift is good for those starting out or for the seasoned athlete. Everyone appreciates new gear. I went all out at Old Navy and got my sister a whole outfit for her to feel and look good in. I highly recommend Old Navy for the newcomer because it is affordable and has some great stuff. Other great places, TJ Maxx. You have to look for it, but it is there for the savvy shopper.
http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=69873&vid=1&pid=525202002
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2. A workout plan. Now this may get too pushy for some. I discussed this with my sister in depth before deciding to get it for her. She is on a very tight schedule and needs to maximize her workouts. For her, I opted to get her Insanity DVDs. This works for her but may not work for everyone.

3. A water bottle. Here you can really go nuts because there is so much variety. Go crazy here. Hydration is key.

4. iPod shuffle. Priced at $49 this is a bargain and a nice tool for those who are starting to work out to get their groove on.

For the seasoned athlete:

1. Entry into one of their races. Some of the race companies may offer giftcards or if you know enough about the person you may be able to sign them up for it. If not I suggest making something special to go along with money for the race entry, normally something to do with the race (a flyer, whether printed or handmade is always good).

2. Great stocking stuffers: Gu, Nuun, Bloks. Who doesn’t love a few extra goodies in their stocking for fueling on their next run/bike ride? I picked up a few of these:

3. Running socks. These are always great and appreciated. My favorites are these:

4. CWX Tights. These are a little bit more expensive, but fantastic for running longer distances and helping your legs out.

5. Tire innertubes. Kinda dorky, but a spare never hurt anyone.

6. A Medal Hanger for all of those lovely medals. My mom and I actually make and sell them, check our out here:

Both of these lists could go on and on and on.

What are you hoping to get for Christmas?

What is your favorite gift for the new or seasoned athlete?

So You Want to Be an Ironman

When I first started training for triathlons, I started training for sprint distances thinking maybe, maybe one day I could do a half Ironman. But only in the distant future.

 

Then I signed up for my first half marathon and I was asked would I ever do a full marathon. I said no that a half was my limit. Reflecting on this past year though and all I’ve accomplished I realized something.

 

I was scared to think about doing such a distance or striving towards it because I was afraid I would fail. Afraid that even if I trained I wouldn’t be able to finish.

 

Now though, I know how strong I am, and while completing an Ironman is still several years in my future I have set it as my long term training goal.

 

This is the Ironman I am considering (in 2016). My sister goes to school out here, so I already have a place to stay!

What really solidified this choice for me was when I told my boyfriend that I had decided I wanted to do one and I could practically hear him beaming across the phone when he said, “I knew this day would come.” His encouragement has been one factor that allows me to keep going and pushing.

The road is going long and hard with several milestones on the way, such as

1. An Olympic/international distance triathlon

2. Running a marathon

3. A half Ironman

4. A lot of other shorter distances for fun and training purposes

While I will be keeping this long term goal in mind, I have a lot of short term goals I want to finish first, and I am excited to experience the journey along the way.

Week Training Recap

Sunday: BRIC workout 45 minutes on the indoor trainer then a two mile run
Sundays weather was not in my favor and it started snowing so to be safe I rode indoors then did a beautiful run outside. Not my fastest but a good workout

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: 90 minute bike ride on the indoor trainer (snowing again) while watching Love Actually
Watching a movie made this bike ride fly by

Wednesday: bodypump and 7 mile run
Easily the best workout day I had this week. I was feeling it the entire time. I hadn’t been to bodypump in awhile but I was lifting heavier than last time I went a few months ago and sweating buckets. Then that afternoon I enjoyed the slightly warmer weather with snow still covering the ground but not the path thankfully. It wasn’t my fastest run but I had a decent time. And this was my first long run since the Richmond Half Marathon in November.

Thursday: back/arms and indoor bike ride for 50 minutes
Both were decent but I struggled during the bike

Friday: 5 mile hill run
This felt amazing. I woke up a little after five and was out the door at 530. I had planned a four mile hill run but turns out I underestimated a bit on the distance. I warmed up almost immediately and I wore my bright pink running tights so I could be seen coming from a mile away. Great start to the day.

Saturday: chest/shoulders
This was a terrible workout. I struggled the whole time and eaten terribly all day but I’m letting both of those go.

How were your workouts this week?

What was your best workout of the week?

These Are My Confessions…

I promised to be honest and to write here to be held accountable. So here goes…

Today may have been one of my worst eating days that I’ve had in a long long time. I have been trying to eat clean and healthy in order to fuel my workouts and maximize my output, but my willpower failed me.

I’m not going to list every single thing that I ate today. I’m not going to list all of the things. I just want to reflect on how it made me feel because I think in moderation “bad” food is okay, but whenever it makes you feel gross and not your best…well then you’re overdone it. That’s how I felt today, I knew I had indulged too much. And now, you know too. And I hate this feeling. I hate working so hard to get the body that I want and then giving it up for some food.

I am learning to eat in moderation and to teach myself how to indulge the right way, in small amounts.

And now that I’ve confessed, it’s time for me to move on. Okay, so I had one bad day of eating. So what? It was a lesson. But that doesn’t discount all my workouts this week (tomorrow I will feature a workout recap of this past week). My next choice can be better and different.

One bad food choice doesn’t ruin you or define you. Just like one bad workout doesn’t either. It is about the pattern of behavior.

What is one of your confessions from this week?

Now, let it go.