Monday, September 28, 2009

Race Report: See Jane Tri 2009

Note to friends & friends...I blog semi-anonymously over here, so if you see names like "Mr. Handsome-and-Handy" and "Thing 1" and "Thing 2," that's my husband, son, and daughter (nicknamed with respective nods to "The Red Green Show" and the mischief-makers in "The Cat in the Hat"). Don't tease them (too much) when you see them in person...Thanks!

Finally...I bring you:
(insert trumpet fanfare)
My See Jane Tri 2009 Sprint Triathlon Race Report!

Wow...where to begin? If you couldn't tell from my twittering, facebooking in CAPS, and on-the-fly email post on the way home...




I had a blast!!! I'm still kind of pinching one of the few places that aren't sore, of course. I really did this thing!

But I'm jumping ahead of myself here....

I spent Friday pretty much as a keyed up bundle of nerves. I felt much better when we finally got on the road to Pleasanton in the early evening. Traffic was bad, but we were expecting that. Thank goodness for the portable DVD player! When we arrived, we headed straight for the In & Out Burger, dinner of...well, maybe not champions, but this triathlete found it mighty tasty. We checked into the hotel, and then popped down to the microscopic pool for a swim. It was just big enough for us to splash around in and cool off a bit. Then up to the room, and pretty much to bed. I didn't lay awake as long as I thought I would, but I did wake up several times in the night and peeked at the clock.

As it was, the alarm went off early enough. Ugh. Thank goodness the hotel TV had Disney Channel, I don't know how we would've gotten the kids up otherwise. I ate my oat bran+flax+ peanut butter+sugar-free syrup. (And thought of Miz and Lori! :-) I slathered myself with BodyGlide and put on my sports bra & bathing suit, then my pants and shirt. No coffee carafe? How'd I miss that one??? Mr. H&H went to get the kids their donuts and us some coffee. He got back and we were ready to go to the park.

It wasn't too crowded yet, but there were plenty of people pulling into the park. I was a little nervous on arriving; what to do first? I fell in with the line of people and bikes walking toward the event area. The event was extremely well-coordinated. I checked in and got my numbers, then went to the table to get my timing chip. (Then I got my t-shirt!)

All set up in the transition area. I'm amazed that my bike managed to dangle there and not fall down!

"Why do they have to start these things so darn early?"

I went to the transition area and staked out a spot at the end of the rack, near the swim exit, so it would be easy to find. I chatted with a woman who usually did relays with her husband and was doing the full one by herself this time for the first time. I laid out my stuff: towel next to bike, shoes and socks ready, sunglasses in shoes, shorts and shirt on bike seat, helmet and visor hanging from the handlebars. (I got myself a visor with terrycloth band so I wouldn't have sweat dripping in my face!) This worked well. I didn't bring the bucket for dipping my feet, because I was wearing aqua shoes, but that might have worked out better. Got the markings. (Ooo! It's for REAL! They write your race number on your arm and leg and your age on your calf). When I returned to the car, it was light already.

Dawn at Shadow Cliffs Regional Park

Mr. H&H and the kids were finishing up their donuts and watching cartoons on the DVD player. (It saved our bacon...many times!) They saved me a couple of donut holes to go with my coffee. They were fresh and warm! Hea-ven-ly!

We all got out and wandered down by the lake. Lots of geese. Lots of goose poop. Ew. Then it was warm-up time! The "SuperJanes" led us in exercises. "Whip It" was a good choice, but I felt much internal cringing when they played "Eye of the Tiger" and "Let's Get Physical." Oh well! Campy good fun.

Warming up with the "Super Janes"!

Serious business. (Oh heck no. They are NOT playing "Let's Get Physical"...? Ugh, yes, they ARE.)

I trotted back to the transition area to get my swim cap and goggles and aqua shoes on. I chatted with another gal (Hi, Lisa!), who (it turns out) is setting her sights on Ironman Coeur d’Alene next year! Wow! How utterly cool is that?!?
"Are you nervous?" she asked.
"No, I was more nervous about getting here," I said. "Now I'm just excited!"
She nodded. "That's a good place to be."

Then it was back over to the swim start area; it was time to watch the first wave go. I was in the third wave, so I wanted to be close by.

"I do this for the fashion!"

The first wave was for 18 and under, 50 and over, special needs and relays. Some of the swimmers ended up taking a really long time, so the lifeguards delayed the start of the 2nd wave. We strained to see the tiny dots that were the swim caps of the remaining swimmers, hoping they were making it okay. This race had several people on "buddy boards", where swimmers could take a little break during the swim, in addition to many lifeguards.

UPDATE: The race delay was much more serious than I realized. The event organizers sent an email to the participants, updating us that "the woman who was rescued from the on her way to a full recovery thanks to the amazing lifeguards and on-site paramedics." I searched the web for news, and found another racer's report, and she said that the woman had been pulled out of the water without a pulse...but the paramedics managed to restore a pulse before taking her to the hospital in an ambulance. I'm thwacking myself in the head now for being utterly clueless. How terrifying that must have been for her and her family, and the people trying to help her. Sending good thoughts and prayers for her speedy recovery.

The race delay meant that the second wave ended up going nearly an hour after their original start time. I decided to go to the bathroom one more time, and the kids wanted to go, and we were dashing over and Thing 2 tripped and scraped her knee. We hurried to the bathroom and got her washed up, but her hat ended up falling into the toilet! Ew! Mr. H&H had band aids in his wallet (ever prepared!) and patched her up. We got back right before the 2nd wave went in. I gave my family kisses and hugs, and I got into the starting area.

Poised to jump in the lake....

One of the women near me was laughing about having to pee again. (Note to self: do not swim too close behind anyone, and not just because they might kick you in the face.) I felt more excited than nervous: I was here! I was ready! And then the horn went off!

...Well, more like trot into the lake. You can't see it here, but body marking includes inscribing one's age on one's calf. (No, there is no modesty in triathlon. Having children was great preparation for this sport.)

And away we went! The mud wasn't too sticky, thank goodness, and I was glad to be wearing my aqua shoes. I stuck to the back of the pack; I joked above, but I really was nervous about getting kicked in the face. I shared a lane often at the pool, but this was my first time doing an open water swim in a crowd of people. I ended up using a variety of swim strokes--mostly breast stroke, but some side stroke--but forced myself to do a few freestyle here & there, because I didn't want to be too much of a wuss. (I'm pretty much the same speed whichever stroke I do, so it's not like it held me back much.) The few times that I did freestyle, though, I got whacked by people doing backstrokes; at one point, I collided with a gal who was floating on her back. We were a polite bunch, though, with "oh, sorry about that!" "no, I'm sorry!" Also, my goggles were a little leaky, and I had to pause a couple of times to empty them out.

The water was really murky and green, but it felt good! Not too cold. I reveled in it, knowing the rest of my day was going to be rather toasty. As we rounded the last buoy, I started to see the was a forest of lake plants! (I thought of you, Christie O.! No jellyfish, though, thank goodness!) I swam until I was nearly scraping the bottom (other people around me were walking out of the water, but I figured I'd go faster swimming), then popped up and into transition.

"Hey! I finished the swim, and I didn't get kicked in the face!"

I felt a little lost in transition. I ended up not drying off much, and throwing the towel down to wipe my feet on, then putting on shirt, shorts, and shoes. (I ended up wearing my cotton ones by mistake...the $8 I spent on proper socks went to waste. Oh well. The shorts, which didn't work too well in spin class, worked great here.) Helmet, sunglasses, visor. I sprayed with sunscreen (this + layer on in the a.m. worked great) and drank some coconut water I'd snagged at the food tent. (Thought of you, Lori! So much for the "no new stuff on race day" rule....) I paused, thought about the heat, and then drank the rest. I strapped on my fanny pack, grabbed my bike, and away I went!

Dashing onto the bike portion of the course, with my trusty hybrid bike. Nope, neither toe clips nor clipless pedals...yep, very much the newbie!

The bike course was mostly flat, but there was a very steep hill out of the park at the beginning. Thank you, See Jane Tri FAQ, for warning us about it! The hill was short, though, and I rode up it no problem. That made me feel good!

But see that blue thing in my hand? It was my watch. I'd fully intended to put it on, but didn't, and it cost me. As I rode, I opened the back pocket of my fanny pack to put it in, and stuff came flying out. Was it just the lip balm? No...the hotel room key card was gone, too! Dang! I stopped and ran back to pick up my stuff. I felt a twinge of frustration...I really hadn't thought out the transition stuff very well. But oh well. I took a few breaths, got back on my bike and rode.

So many people passed me, but it was a really pleasant ride. (At some points, the bike lane was narrow, and being slow and on the right meant being closer to the passing cars. Gulp!) We rode down into the part of town where the vineyards were, and one of the roads was completely closed, which was nice; this was where I ate my energy bar and drank some sports drink. Coming off of the closed road at the intersection, we had to stop at a stop light. The girl next to me shared some of her energy beans, which was sweet. Green light, and we were off. I pulled over and let the fast people pass me, because the bike lane was narrow. I hopped back in and kept going.

We wound past more vineyards, and then some rolling hills, one fairly steep but short and doable (thanks, spin class!). The downhill parts were nice; I couldn't gain any speed by pedaling, so I chose those times to coast and stretch my legs a bit. Some of the bikes were really fancy, with the aerobars and the drink bottles that wedge between them. I didn't like reaching for the bottle in the cage, so I probably didn't drink as much as I ought to have. I just remember riding along, and thinking how pleasant it was, and enjoyed it fully. THIS was why I'd worked so hard at the gym! So I could do crazy stunts like this! Then we rounded the turn and were heading back into the park. Woo hoo! 2 of 3 segments accomplished!

I racked my bike and--since I was wearing my running shoes already--I realized that there was nothing to do, so I headed out for the run. I took my drink bottle with me. I called Mr. H&H and let him know that I was starting the run. "Wow! Already?" was a nice thing to hear. The run was challenging. I felt a small pain in my hip socket that I get on long runs, and it was the beginning of this one. But nothing was going to stop me. By that time, it was pretty warm out, and the running course was mostly dusty trails, a lot of flat but some uphill and downhill parts. It looped around quite a lot; we passed the water station a couple of times. I enjoyed the shady parts, and there was a lot to look at: a pond with some people playing fetch with their dogs in the water, water lilies in the pond below the bridge, a dragonfly, the shirt of a runner in front of me that made me chuckle: "Team V.A.G. (Very Athletic Girls) 'We Deliver' " (she was part of a team of Labor & Delivery employees of a local hospital).

On this segment, I could chat with some of my fellow runners at times, which was nice; several of us congratulating each other on our first triathlon. At one point, I stepped wrong and almost twisted my ankle. Yikes! I sipped often from the bottle, glad I brought it, because it seemed to take forever to get to the water station on the outbound loop. When I did, I gulped half and dumped the rest on my head, and continued; I did this on the inbound loop as well. Other than the water station, I jogged comfortably the whole course, walking briefly at mile 3 to call Mr. H&H and to let him know I was approaching the finish line soon.

And there it was! The lake, the parking lot, and at the end, the finish line! Mr H&H and Things 1 & 2 were sitting in the shade near the restrooms, and I slowed so Mr H&H could take my picture.

Heading for the finish, but slowing down briefly for a hammy "victory!" pose.
Or is it "cheesy"?
Or ham & cheesy?
Mmm...ham & cheese sounds pretty good right about now...

And then there it was: a straight shot to the finish line! I had plenty of energy left, so I did a burst. People cheered! Cowbells rang! My eyes teared up a bit; this was the moment! I ran under the arch as the clock said 1:51 and some seconds. I'd done it in under 2 hours! I thought it would take me around 2 hours, maybe a little longer, but I didn't think I'd make it under 2! I felt so proud, humble, and grateful.

Volunteers collected my timing chip and put the medal around my neck and handed me a water bottle. I wandered into the finish area, a little dazed, a lot content. I decided a nosh was in order, so I wandered to the food tent, collected some food, and circled until I found my family. Hugs, snacking, and it was time for me to pack up. Mr. H&H took the kids back to the car, and I wandered back into the transition area and packed it up. I ran into Lisa again and we exchanged email and blog URLs.

I overheard some other first-timers exclaiming, "This is the BEST thing I've EVER done!" It's definitely on my top ten list, that's for sure!

Race is done, I'm still glowing...

Back in the car, Mr. H&H was a little cranky at the crowd of vehicles heading out, but oh well. We eventually got out, and we checked out of the hotel and drove home. Lots of traffic, but getting some pizza and calamari at Rainbow Pizza on the way home eased the pain a bit. ;-)

I checked blood glucose in the van on the drive to the hotel. 158, higher than normal but not so bad for all the race-day excitement and more-carb-than-normal foods. The temperature ended up being in the high 80s, so that was nowhere as bad as I'd feared. (It's a dry heat here in California-land, which isn't as intense as a humid heat, but it can also sneak up on you if you're not careful.) I way overpacked the nutrition, even with the free coconut water that was an unexpected bonus. I didn't touch my electrolyte gels or my glucose tablets, and I only used my one water bottle of low-sugar electrolyte mix. (But I think just having some fast-acting sugar+ electrolyte calories strapped to my body made me feel reassured.)

Later that day, the results were posted! It turns out I'd done even better officially than I thought, which was exciting! This race was a good baseline, because at no point did I feel like I was getting too tired or not able to finish. I didn't push myself as hard as I could have, but I sure did enjoy myself. There's always next time to get competitive with myself. ;-)

Overall time was 01:46:40
Overall ranking was 596/700
Age-group ranking (40-44) was 115/126

Swim: rank = 589, Time=12:02
T1: 4:31
Bike: rank=611, time=45:04, MPH=14.6 (?!?)
T2: 1:22
Run: rank=586, time=43:42, MPM=14:34 (no surprise there, I knew I was going slow)

Post-race Postscript

Firstly, I must give a heartfelt thanks to my family, for supporting me while I was in the grip of triathlon obsession. My husband got my bike ready for me, drove us there and back again, and watched the kids the whole time. He's the one that should get the medal, that's for sure. (He did get some peace and quiet for football-watching on Sunday, and he even got to see the Detroit Lions win one without too much angst, which I suppose was even better to him than getting a medal.) The kids were troopers. I think they were impressed that I'd done it, and I think they kinda-sorta did like being there, even if it meant a lot of waiting around. (It would've worked out better if the lakeshore wasn't covered in goose poop and if there'd been a playground.) Thing 2 was jealous before the start, because she wasn't the star of the show; but after a brief diva-tantrum, she got over it and I got a warm hug, kiss, and smile before the swim. It meant a lot to me to have my family there, even though it wasn't hugely fun for them to get up super early, or to have to wait around for me while I was off doing stuff. But I thought it would good for them to see what the atmosphere was like, to maybe catch a glimpse of what I found so compelling about participating in a sporting event. At home, the kids were playing that their race car and pet toys were having triathlons, so I guess the seed is planted. ;-) I told Mr. H&H that I didn't plan to drag them to any more events unless they really wanted to go...unless it was Kona. Then they HAVE to go. (We both had a good laugh at that one, of course.)

And thanks also to my blogging buddies for your constant encouragement! Especially to my fellow triathletes, Christie O. of Baby Tea Leaves and Lori of Finding Radiance, for leading the way!

And mad, mad props to the organizers and volunteers of the See Jane Tri event! There were volunteers at every key turn of the bike course, cheering us on and helping stop traffic where necessary, brave souls! And there's no way I could have followed all the mad little twists and turns and loops of the run course without the crew in yellow shirts pointing the way. Thanks for helping all of us tri newbies have a great experience!!!

And now it's back to ordinary time, back to mild-mannered me. I felt tired and headachy on Saturday afternoon (in spite of excellent pre-race hydration); moderately sore on Sunday; and even less sore today. I am waiting for the post-race letdown, but it hasn't happened yet...maybe because I'm already plotting and scheming in my head to do another one, and thinking of how I can improve? What's next? Another go at the See Jane Tri next year? Or the Mermaid in Santa Cruz? Or...?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Kinda says it all, doesn't it?

Woo HOO!!!!! I did it! Here I am, packing up, after finishing the See
Jane Run sprint triathlon. It was a BLAST! Definitely want to do that

Official result time was 1:46:40.

More later!

Friday, September 25, 2009

In 24 hours...

...if all goes well, I'll be on the bike phase of my very first sprint triathlon!!!


I'm trying to not self-combust with excitement and nervousness here. We're packed, and thanks to Mr. Handsome-and-Handy, my bike is all checked over and ready to go! Thanks to Google street view, I've checked out the bike route. (They lied. It's not ALL flat.) I've been hydrating and resting and eating sensibly. I bought that BodyGlide stuff, and a CO2 bike pump thing, and tried on (but did not buy) a full tri-suit. (Though if I like this tri-business, I might go back to REI and buy it, it was on clearance.)

For this event, I'm dragging my family along, and I didn't even know it was "National Family Health and Fitness Day" (thanks, Miz!)! Things 1 and 2 are looking forward to staying at the hotel tonight and going to the pool. They haven't seen me do an event before, so I'm hoping they'll enjoy it. (Even though we have to be there early, like when it's still dark.)

I've had to keep telling myself, "Stay." That's my mantra lately. As in "Sit! Stay! Good brain!" As in good ol' crunchy-California-granola "be present" (hee hee, this crunchy-granola California girl got a big kick out of Juice's treatment of the phrase.), don't let my mind go tearing off on logistics and "what ifs" at times when it shouldn' during my drive to work when I ought to be paying attention to the road. *Ahem*

I've been listening to Pirates of the Caribbean movie music and feeling all intense and swashbuckling.

I'm trying to not worry about the heat. I'm not used to it, and it's supposed to be in the low 100s in Pleasanton tomorrow. Of course, I'm basing my "not used to it" on when I was still lugging around 80 extra pounds. Sheesh, that's like carrying around Thing 2 *all the time*! That, plus high blood sugar, no wonder I was so tired all the time! I'm bringing lots of water, and I figure I can always throw myself in the lake briefly before the run if I get too hot.

Do you want to know what I'm really worried about? I'm not worried about how I'll do during, or what my time will be, or will the transitions go smoothly, or will I get trampled too much during the swim, or that hill toward the end of the bike, or losing my way on the twisty 5K course. Well, I'm lying, of course I'm worried about those.

My biggest worry is getting there. Just getting there and starting. Because I've TOLD people I'm going to do this thing. I've blathered on about it on the blog. I've bored people with it in real life. I'm burning to do this thing. But as I was whining over in Christie O's excellent article's comments, if the car breaks down or I get sick or if they mysteriously lose my registration info and won't let me compete, or....well, you get the idea...then I'll not be able to do what I said I was going to do. Suffice it to say, that would suck.

So I'm going to tune into some "Pirates" music and think affirming, Pubsgal-suited-up-by-the-lake-and-poised-to-leap-in thoughts. Pubsgal biking. Pubsgal running...walking...crawling...whatever it takes to finish. Pubsgal sporting a little medal and a new t-shirt thoughts, hugging her family and giving them my granola bar swag thoughts.

Okay, well, I guess I'd better go be present with some more tea now...or go hurl, I'm not sure which sounds more appealing at the moment....

P.S. A very happy birthday to Christie O of "Baby Tea Leaves"! Virtual tri-buddy, sister of the shrinking jeans, super mom & homemaker, champion of premie babies and their families, awesomely funny writer, and now...seamstress? Hope you get spoiled rotten this weekend, girlfriend!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Weekly Update, 9/23/09

What's New?

Happy Fall, Y'all! We're still fog-shrouded in my coastal town, and it's supposed to be the nicest time of the year weather-wise. That's okay, though, it's still my favorite. I see the farms setting out the pumpkin patches during my commute, so I know that we're in the season.

One of the patches was open already. Things 1 & 2 begged Mr. Handsome-and-Handy to stop at Farmer John's, which had opened in honor of the first day of fall yesterday. Fun and Kodak moments ensued. The Things ambushed Mr. H&H in the teepee and pelted him with hay, and we have 3 beautiful pumpkins on our doorstep now. (They even got a tiny pumpkin for each of their teachers! Boy, that Mr. H&H thinks of everything....)

Meanwhile, I got to enjoy my autumn teeth cleaning. It must have been the hygenist's day off, because my dentist cleaned my teeth himself this time. Nice, smooth teeth, but I do wish the man had left a little gum tissue in there.
"Does it hurt?" he asked.
"Think of it like a workout," he replied.
Funny, I usually sweat rather than bleed during a spin class. Perhaps I'm not doing it right. (Or perhaps I'm just going to the wrong dentist. :-P)

Shrink for Good Challenge Update:

Well, here's the part where I distract y'all with the saga of the cans. I was back up 2.2 pounds this week. These guys are looking rather lonely. :-(

photo credit: Microsoft Office clip art library

Well, the cans aren't the only sassy ones. It's a little scary how easy I've found it to taper this week. Also how my eating hasn't had a corresponding taper. I'm going to go easy on myself and make the best choices possible, while reeling with stress/excitement about the weekend ahead. I can hardly stand waiting!!!

Mantra for the week: "Sugar-free does not mean low calorie."

"And I'd like to thank the Blogcademy..."

Christie O. over at "Baby Tea Leaves" (and of "Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans") had a post today about bloggers who inspire her, and I was one of them! (....Huh? Who, me? That means I really do have to do that triathlon in 3 days, now, doesn't it? ;-) How sweet! And right-back-atcha, because Christie and her blog have inspired me, from the "Hot (or in my case, Halfway) by the Holidays" challenge to our respective triathlon adventures.

She made a nice little bit of what she dubbed "bloggy bling" as an award:

Everyone sing with me now: "Isn't it loooooove-ly! Isn't it wooooon-der-fuuuul!" (Sorry, Stevie W., but that song just popped into my head, and I'm a sucker for the Muse.)

And guess what? I get to share it! Sweeeeet!!! I enjoy reading so many blogs. But I want to thank in particular the following bloggers, both for sharing their life experiences and knowledge through own blogs and for cheering me on as regular commenters here:

Lori of "Finding Radiance," who inspires me not only through her weight loss maintenance, but also her athleticism. She is one of the reasons I felt inspired to "try a tri." (It's supposed to be 100 degrees for mine this weekend...I might not be feeling so fond of Lori on Saturday morning, but I'm sure that will pass. ;-)

Debby of "Debby Weighs In," who inspires me through her long-term weight loss maintenance, her sharing of adventure with food and fitness, and her gorgeous quilts!

Biz of "Biggest Diabetic Loser," who shows people daily that having type 2 diabetes does not mean you have to eat boring food!

Juice, of "All Things Juice," whom I actually met in person! Her delightful blogging has expanded into areas beyond weight loss, and I love that she enjoys making people laugh.

Carla ("MizFit") of MizFitOnline, who generously gives fitness advice and fosters a wonderful community; hers is a blog I read multiple times a day, so that I don't miss any comments.

Lynn of Lynn's Weigh-The Journey Continues, who helped me get started in my journey and continues to guide through sharing her maintenance story.

And lastly, diabetes blogger/writer Jenny Ruhl of Blood Sugar 101, the site that has likely saved my eyesight and limbs, if not my life.

Question: Which blogs inspire you?

Episode 8 of "Fear Factor: The Gym Edition" (or, "Day 288 of Fitness and Fun")

Way back in December 2008, I overcame my fears of going to the gym and gave it a try. It's been great! But as it turns out, there was an unexplored area ripe for a stunt....

MizFit's tale this week regarding "training weak areas", in which Arnold (back in the body building days) cut off his sweats so as to expose (and be aware) of his calves, hit home for me this past week. Albeit inadvertently. I was at the gym, changing for my BodyPump class, and realized that although I had dutifully packed my sports bra, I had forgotten a t-shirt. Whoops. I'd missed the previous week. I didn't really want to miss twice. And given that Charlotte Hilton Andersen was thousands of miles away, I figured I was safe from being cited in any "What Not to Wear: Gym Edition" reprise she had planned. SO...

(Takes deep breath.)

...People, I bared my midriff in BodyPump class.

(Listens for thuds of people falling off their chairs in disbelief. Inserts appropriate legal disclaimers here.)

Yes, that would be my very much work-in-progress, post-2x-preggo-and-laprscopic surgery, fish-belly-pale midriff.

Usually there is at least one Sweet Young Thing (i.e., girl under 40) wearing a sports bra as a top, but not that day. The instructor was a substitute (male...and by the way, is having a Brazilian drill instructor accent a prerequisite for BodyPump instructors?), so class started a little late. I stood there shivering in the A/C and hoping the sports bra would, er, pass the temperature test. (It did. Whew!) Yes, I did feel self-conscious, being a rather zaftig lass up top. It made side planks were rather awkward, that's for sure. (But sports bra also passed the "will my cup overfloweth?" test. Barely.) The class is held in the downstairs room, with 2 walls of windows facing street level and one wall of windows facing a battalion of ellipticals, stair-steppers, and recumbent bikes. A formidable challenge. I have to say it's probably the one day of BodyPump that I did not forget keeping my abs tight

Naturally, I thought of Roni's "exposure therapy" experience blog post. Like Roni, once I got going with class, I was just another woman (hear-me-roar...*snicker*, couldn't resist) pumping iron, committed to getting a little healthier every day. Yeah! While I did feel like I'd accomplished another milestone in chipping away at my gym modesty, I believe I'm going to keep a spare t-shirt in my trunk from now on...although, if I forget again, well...let's just say the good folks at the gym are just going to have to put on some sunglasses and endure the glare.

Have a good week, everyone! And now for the boring stuff....

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 101 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 97 (met goal of less than 120)
This was somewhat of a fake low average, because I got a bad strip reading Sunday morning. My meter read "39," and displayed a thoughtful little message: "Do you need a snack?" I found this amusing, because were it in fact a real "39," let's just say I'd have needed much more than a snack. I felt absolutely normal, though I retested just to be sure, and it was 103.

Weight goal: +2.2 on the week-to-week, -2.2 since the start of the challenge. Still 6.7 away from breaking into the 170s.

Food goals:
- Got in 0 meatless meals and 0 fish meal.
- Fiber: at least 4/7 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: Tapering this week...
- Wednesday: 60 minutes BodyPump class.
- Thursday: 35 minute swim and walking at lunch
- Friday: Lunchtime stroll
- Saturday: Strolled dog
- Sunday: Utmost sloth
- Monday: 50 minute walk at lunch
- Tuesday: 30 minutes stationary bike (*sigh*...reading and exercising at the same time! Woo hoo!)

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
- Keep tracking.
- 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
- Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
Tapering this week. Minimum of 30 minutes of non-strenuous activity 5 days/week. Oh, and finish a triathlon.

Misc. goals:
- 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Weekly update, 9/15/09

What's New?

Not much new since the weekend, other than feeling really good about my working out and eating habits lately.

On the "Shrink for Good" challenge, I'm happy to have added back the missing half of can #3 and to have found a new friend to add to the stack:

Meanwhile, the other two cans seem to have gone on a little beach vacation. (Although I'd be much more convinced of this, had they used proper photo editing software.)

I'll be coaxing those sassy cans back into the stack....

In other news, I tried to make a parsnip and carrot mash last night (Inspired by Debby!). Except our bag of baby carrots had expired...which I hadn't realized until I reached in and grabbed a handful. Ew! After washing off the carrot mucus, I dug out some fennel to try instead. (Had bought some because Thing 1 had tried it and liked it on a recent field trip. It's pretty good on salad, too.) I chopped up a bit of the root to boil with the parsnips (which I did peel, although it probably would have been more nutritious unpeeled). I blended them with a dash of 1/2&1/2 and some butter/canola oil spread. (No additional salt or spices.) It was one of those times when I wish we had the blending stick thing, because the blender kept stalling out. But I got it mostly mashed. If you like the taste of fennel, you'd probably like this; the fennel added a nice sweetness to the dish. I couldn't go crazy with it, though, because the parsnips have a lot of carbs (1/2 cup cooked has about 13 grams carbs, but 3 grams fiber). I ate half of what I'd made, and then reluctantly packed up the rest, but it will make a nice lunch side dish for today.

OH yeah! And then there's this leeeetle event called the "See Jane Tri" coming up in...*gulp*...10 DAYS!!! So, here's a question for the triathletes out there: any last-minute advice? Did you taper for your sprint tri? By how much? I was planning to do my usual things, but at lower intensity, next week.

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 103 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 106 (met goal of less than 120)
Ah, looking much better on these numbers!

Weight goal: -1.8 on the week-to-week, -4.4 since the start of the challenge. (That's with a little birthday cake & pizza, too, but more days of sticking to my food plan and not going crazy with the nuts.) Still 4.5 away from breaking into the 170s.

Food goals:
- Got in 8 meatless meals and 1 fish meal.
(Fewer leftovers led to lunching at Whole Foods and trying some new vegetarian things. I'd never tried tempeh, and it was tasty with peanut sauce. Friendly on the blood glucose levels, too.)
- Getting there with fiber; at least 4/7 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: Only one strength and no swim this past week, but I felt really good about my workouts this week.
- Wednesday: 30 minute run in the a.m.
- Thursday: 20 minute walk at lunch + 20 minute walk in the evening
- Friday: 40 minutes on the stationary bike at home
- Saturday: Nothing
- Sunday: Nothing
- Monday: Gym - 40 minutes running/walking and 20 minutes arm exercises with weights. I tried the treadmill's 5K setting; next time, I will start with it set on a more comfortable pace and work up, rather than starting fast and having to take walking breaks. Or I'll try the speed interval setting. I felt really slow.
- Tuesday: Brick @ gym - 55 minutes spin class, 15 minutes run on treadmill

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
- Keep tracking.
- 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
- Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
Minimum of 30 minutes of activity 5 days/week.

Misc. goals:
- 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm really dragging today, and I'm not sure why, but I've got my 2nd mug of coffee + chia seeds at my side, and I'm sure to be at normal operating levels soon.

To warm up, though, I think I'll share my weekend top 11. I apologize for the lack of pictures, but I didn't upload them from the camera yet.

11. I got in a nice stationary bike ride on Friday night, when I had lost hope of getting any exercise that day. Mr. Handsome & Handy went on a real bike ride, which inspired me to hop on the in-house bike, since the kids were occupying themselves. (Can't believe I made it a whole half-hour without being "paged.") (Forgot to mention that Thing 2 trotted in at the 30 minute mark, urging me to ride longer and lending me her tunes--mainly from "Phineas and Ferb." She no doubt took pity on my taste in music, although I find Django Reinhardt wonderfully peppy.)

10. Bacon. 'Nuff said.

9. I had a craving for a cheese souffle this weekend, and I actually had time to make it. And it didn't "soufflop" until it cooled, and even then it was still nice & puffy. I made Mr. H&H come and see it when I pulled it out of the oven, it looked so pretty. I even took a picture. I will post it later.

8. It rained! We can always use rain.

7. But it didn't rain the whole time, and it was dry at key points, like when we were bringing stuff in and out of the party place (more at #1).

6. Successful shopping trip at Target with Thing 2: we found pants that she liked. Thing 2, unlike her mama, is quite slender. I was worried that her preferred pants would feel too tight--they seemed kind of snug to me--but she liked that they didn't feel like they were going to fall off. (I had been trying the "buy it and have her try it on at home" tactic, but that's not working so well lately. She hates trying things on at home, but loved going shopping and using the dressing room. Ruh roh....Although I think it was her anticipation of selecting her well-earned "staying in my OWN bed all night" prize that helped also.) I made her sit and run and jump in them to make sure they felt good, and verified that yes, she would wear them to school, so I feel like I did due diligence. Here's hoping they don't shrink too much in the wash....

5. We also found her Halloween costume. She wanted to be a "cheetah princess" this year, and we found a pink leopard outfit that was just the thing, for $20 less than in the catalog. (Cheetah, leopard...close enough for 5 years old, thank goodness!) I enjoy making costumes, too, but I don't sew, so this one seemed more like a "buy it" one. The kids like playing dress-up, so they do use the costumes after Halloween. (Also, in our pumpkin-festing area of the world, Halloween is more of a "season" than an individual day, so there are many opportunities to sport one's costume.)

4. We didn't have to clean our house once, let alone twice (see #1).

3. Mr. H&H found a free iPhone app, "iMapMyRun." I'm looking forward to trying it; it uses the iPhone's GPS to track one's run. I will definitely review once I have a chance to give it a whirl. The reviews on the App Store were mixed, but we'll see. (I also found some interesting fitness DVDs at the library, including a couple of kid ones...hoping to have time to review those, too.)

2. We had a mix-up on IM regarding the day of Thing 1's party, and our dear friend "twriter" showed up at our house on Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday. So we thawed some steaks and had a little impromptu birthday celebration that day as well, and Mr. H&H had company for enjoying college football while Thing 2 and I finished our shopping trip.

1. Thing 1's most excellent 8th birthday party at the local gymnastics place! Oh, it was too fun: they had a zip line, and the swinging rings (the kids swung out and kicked over a tower of huge foam blocks), obstacle course, trampolines, and the "air track," an inflatable structure that they could climb, slide down, and then bounce along to the end. We had a seriously sweaty group at the end of the gymnastics portion, all the better to feed pizza and cake. Several parents hung out to watch the fun and offered critical help at key points (like passing out the cake). And the staff complimented us on how well-behaved our group was, so there was much parental kvelling. (Coincidentally, "kvell" was the M-W online "word of the day" on Thing 1's birthday *last* year! Still appropriate, both Things 1 & 2 make us kvell on a regular basis. Although it's MizFit who deserves the credit for adding another wonderful word to my vocabulary. :-)

Signing off until the weekly update on Wednesday....

P.S. Congratulations to Christie O. on completing her tri-turned-du last weekend!!!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11/2001

Lots of people are remembering the events of 9/11/2001 today. Although I was here on the west coast, and did not personally know any of the victims or their families, I will always remember and hold those affected in my thoughts today.

I was in the hospital holding my 1-day-old son. I got a call from my step-dad about it: "America is under attack!" I turned on the TV and saw the footage of the tower on fire. They were interviewing people who were talking about running down the street, and a woman carrying a baby tripped and fell, and how people stopped to shield the baby from being trampled...and I had to turn it off. (I kept off the TV and radio after that point, although later on I did read more about what happened, but I couldn't bear to follow the story so soon postpartum.)

A couple of days later, on the morning we were scheduled to leave, our hospital had a bomb threat. Fortunately it turned out to be a hoax, but it felt terrifyingly real. Especially to my husband, who was caught outside and managed to get back in to be with us. (He was carrying some of our stuff to the car, and when he found out what was going on, he dropped everything on the sidewalk and started frantically looking for a way back inside.) I remember how brave the hospital staff was, going about their duties, trying to stay calm and not upset the patients, all the while wondering if they were going to be the next terrorism victims. I remember my mom calling to see how we were doing, and my lying to her: Oh, everything is fine, but we're kind of busy getting ready to check out, and would she mind if we called her later? (Yes, I did 'fess up and apologize when we got home safely.)

So while we were not directly impacted by the tragedy, no one who lived through that time could be totally unscathed. I feel horrible for those who died and their families, and for the others who are still suffering. And this may be selfish, but I can't help but also feel a bit sad for my son, too. He's too young to understand it yet, but when he is, I'm sure that his birthday will always be shadowed to some degree by what happened the day after he was born.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Weekly Update, 9/9/09

What's New?

First of all, thanks for all of the comments and encouragement last week! I appreciated it very much! And lots of great ideas for post-workout snacks, too. My workout week was pretty light last week, so not a lot of opportunity to try them out, but this coming week will be different.

"Shrink for Good" update: Sad to say, I'm up 3 pounds from last least it's not back up 5.6 pounds to my starting weight (or more!), but it still makes a sad picture.

Thank goodness this was a 7 week challenge, not a one week challenge. I want to get those cans back on the stack, and add to them!

Weekends are a real challenge for me, and this past one was no exception. I don't *feel* the struggle per se, I just go with the feeding flow...but then, I feel it later.

Interestingly enough, the challenge was not the art festival we went to. (It was more the grilled meats at home.) Lots of walking around in the redwoods, enjoying the fresh air and movement and beautiful arts & crafts. Part of our fair-going involved selling cookies; it's one of our school's big fundraisers. I took Things 1 and 2 around with a cookie wagon, and Mr. Handsome-and-Handy worked at the booth. Rich irony indeed, a person with type 2 diabetes pushing cookies as big as my head to fair-goers...but it was all in the name of education. Of course, no one said I had to *eat* any of the cookies, but I did eat some parts of my kids' and husband's cookies. I usually prefer chocolate chip, but the peanut butter ones were superb.
See? They really were as big as my head. (My shirt reads, "Come to the dark side, we have cookies... -V" I thought it was an appropriate for the occasion.)

Must say I'm loving the school scene! I helped with library inventory for about an hour yesterday and this morning. Some of the titles cracked us up.
"...Three Days to Perfect..." said the guy who was helping, reading the title off the card catalog card.
"Wow, only three days? Took me at least five..." I remarked.

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 110 (met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 107 (met goal of less than 120)

Weight goal: +3 on the week-to-week, -2.6 since the start of the challenge.

Food goals:
- Got in 3 meatless meals but no fish meals.
- Getting there with fiber; at least 4/7 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: Hmmm...while I met my goal of doing at least 30 minutes of activity 5 days/week, I only got in one strength workout and one swim (no bike or run).
- Wednesday: 60 minutes - BodyPump class.
- Thursday: 30 minutes swim
- Friday: 60 minutes yoga
- Saturday: Nothing
- Sunday: Walked for hours up & down hills at the fair.
- Monday: Nothing
- Tuesday: 30 minute walk at lunchtime.

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
- Keep tracking.
- 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
- Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
Minimum of 30 minutes of activity 5 days/week. My workout schedule is going to be a bit wonky this week--with school and family events going on--but I'm hoping to get in at least 1 BodyPump, 1 run, and 1 spin class before next Wednesday. (Yeay, I got in one 30-minute run this morning...I popped awake at 5:15 a.m. and decided!? Usually that sentence ends, "...roll over and go back to sleep." I know, I'm wondering what they put in those dry-roasted wasabi edamame beans I had for lunch yesterday, too! Found them at Whole Foods, they are really tasty!)

Misc. goals:
- 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The OTHER Weekly Update, 9/2/09

What's New?

As I wrote yesterday, the "Shrink for Good" challenge is ON! We weighed in on Sunday, and the starting number was 188.8. My weight earlier in the week was 182.8, and it's so weird to see how wildly it fluctuated this past week. It went from the flukesome low of 182.8 last Tuesday to 188.8 by Sunday, and then today it was back to 183.2! (Which is actually up .4 week-to-week.)

WTH??? How does anyone go up and back 6 pounds in less than a week? No, it's not that time of the month...which would have been my first guess, too. Probably by not being as careful about how much I was eating. Pizza toppings (I strip off the toppings and eat a little of the end crust for fewer carbs) and hot wings--I mean, salt and not-so-good-for-me fats--played their role. I suspect some portion-creep, since I don't consistently weigh and measure over the weekends. Sluggish, um, *constitution* may also have had something to do with it. Possibly also the change in routine was throwing me for a loop. Well, whatever the reason, the new challenge is at least helping me be more mindful of my food choices. And now, it's the hard part: maintaining that good start, so that I can keep adding to the stack, not (gulp!) taking away.

And it's definitely to the benefit of Second Harvest Food Bank! I liked Christie O's idea of showing a picture, so here's my 5.6 pounds:

Question: How do you eat after you exercise?

Does anyone else feel ravenous after exercising? I wish I wasn't so darn hungry afterward, because the intake I WANT would in no way be less than the output, calorie-wise. I think my hunger mechanism must be totally screwed up, because I'm getting plenty of calories, but I still get the physical hunger sensation quite a lot (as opposed to just wanting to munch on something, or craving something). Do I need to try something different? I usually go for peanuts, because they're readily available here at work and they are salty. Ideas with less than 15 grams carbohydrate?

Review: HydroFit Class

I usually lap swim, preparing for the triathlon, but I got curious about the HydroFit class on the other side of the pool. The women over there always seem like they're having a nice time, and I thought it might be fun to get some strength exercise in the water instead of on land. So this past Monday, I gave it a try.

I felt a little awkward through the class, you can tell that everyone there is a regular (albeit friendly regulars) and knows the routine. It felt a little more intimidating than a gym class, where people come & go more often and newbies don't stand out as much. Except the yoga class, and HydroFit's social vibe was very much like the yoga class I tried at the gym. Several also recognized me as one of those lap swimmers, and joked about me defecting to the dark side. Muuuuah-hah-haaa!

I picked the foam barbell with the most resistance--hey, I'm a BodyPump regular, right? Well, that was pride before the plunge: next time, I will go a little lower, because I think my form suffered a bit. I also felt a little comical. Unlike my graceful, serene classmates, who chatted comfortably, I churned and bobbed around and contorted as I shoved the large chunks of foam around under the water. When it was time to jog across the pool while working the hand weights, I couldn't get traction and sort of whirled in place. I didn't run into anyone, but I did come close a few times. Like most fitness endeavors, it will take a little time and patience to feel comfortable.

Overall, I'd have to say it was a terrific upper body workout, moderate lower-body work out, but not so much for the abs. Not so sure about the cardio effect, water can be misleading that way. I wasn't as sore as after BodyPump, but I could definitely feel the fatigue in my arms. If the gals don't mind a once-a-week attendee, I could see myself adding this to my routine.

A Case Study: Type 2 Diabetes and Trying a New Food

I like trying new foods, and I'm always on the lookout for treats that are diabetes friendly. I was hoping that the new low fat chocolate pudding I found at Whole Foods this morning would be a good food choice for me: Potter Family Organics low fat chocolate pudding. It has 12 grams of carb (6 sugar, 2 fiber) and is sweetened with agave syrup, which is supposed to be nice & low-glycemic. It was really tasty, sweet but not sickly or artificially so, good chocolatey flavor, and only 70 calories. If you have a fully functional pancreas, or if you test it and don't react in a spike-ful way, I'd highly recommend it.

Didn't work for me, though. When I ate it with my lunch (2 oz. pork and approx. 2 cups of steamed brussel sprouts--which was 24 gm. carb, 8 of those being fiber, so 34 carbs at lunch all together), my 1 hour post-meal reading was 179. 179??? (Yes, that's high for me--I aim for 140 or less at 1 hour post-meal.) I tested again, to make sure I hadn't gotten a bad strip, and the next one said 177. Crikey! 2 hours later, and I'm back down to 106, which is a fine 2-hour post-meal number. Wow. I never would have known about that 1-hour spike if I hadn't tested at both intervals. Looks like I'll have to pass on this one. *sigh*

Progress last week

7-day blood glucose average: 120 (did not met goal of less than 120)
7-day fasting blood glucose average: 107 (met goal of less than 120)
I'm trying to not freak out about this trend, but my morning fasting numbers are running 10-15 points higher than normal. I'm wondering if it could be variations in the test strips? I'm due for an a1c later this month, so that will let me know whether it's a fluke or a real trend. And if it's a real trend, I've got to figure out what it means and what I need to do. The 7-day average had a few higher readings, thanks to an extra bite of donut on Sunday (drove to the donut shop instead of rode bike, too) and yesterday's experiment.

Weight goal: +.4 on the week-to-week, -5.6 since the start of the challenge.

Food goals:
- Got in 4 meatless meals and one fish meals.
- Getting there with fiber; at least 4/7 days were over 30.

Exercise goals: I'm pleased with this week's workouts. I need to get in a longer run during the upcoming week, though.
- Tuesday: 68 minutes, spin class + treadmill run.
- Wednesday: 60 minutes - BodyPump class.
- Thursday: Nothing
- Friday: 50 minutes - 16 minutes run, 4 minutes strength, 30 minutes swim
- Saturday: Nothing
- Sunday: 50 minutes - 20 with dog (slow), 30 alone (moderate).
- Monday: 70 - 10 minutes run and 60 minutes HydroFit (great resistance exercise!)
- Tuesday: 55 minutes spin class <-I'm proud of this one. I was planning on going to the lunchtime class, but I got distracted and when I looked at the clock, 12:01. Drat! But there was another class at 5 p.m., and I made it.

Misc. goals: If you count the hours, I'm meeting the sleep goal. But I'm still getting used to the earlier wake-up. Dreams have greatly improved, though!

Goals for this week

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or make progress toward goal.

Food goals:
- Keep tracking.
- 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
- Track fiber. Minimum 30 grams fiber/day. (Include both insoluble and soluble sources.)

Exercise goals:
Minimum of 30 minutes of workout 5 days/week, with 1 spin class, 1 BodyPump class, 1 swim, and 1 run.

Misc. goals:
- 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Weekly Update, 9/1/09

I'll be moving my weekly updates to Wednesdays for the next 7 weeks, because that is the "check-in" day for The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans' "Shrink for Good" challenge. With "Shrink for Good," each participant buys (weekly) the same amount of food as they amount they lost (for example, see -.5 on the scale, buy an 8 oz. jar of peanut butter). The food collected at the end of the 7 weeks goes to one's local food bank, and one gets a physical sense of how much one has achieved. Good cause? Motivation for my goals? Sign me up!

P.S. - The first week of school has gone well! The kids are rarin' to go every morning and they have made some new friends, and we're getting to know a lot of new people ourselves. Thing 1 loves the morning kickball games. (One of the parents shows up about 15 minutes before school starts and coordinates the game.) Thing 2 likes having some dedicated "mom time" on the playground before school. I wasn't sure if I'd be up for the extra driving every day, but it's nice to get some extra time with the kids.