Friday, July 25, 2008

Impulse Buy

I just got back from a lunch-break walk across the street to Sportsman's and Ski Haus for a new pair of goggles.
Damn store WOULD have to put all the cute women's clothing right as you walk in the door.

So, I took a little stroll through to see if there were any nice looking t-shirts that I could get to wear for my new job. I found a few to try on, and while I was in the dressing room, a slightly large gal about my age was trying on a dress. It was just a little too tight in a few places, and really didn't look very good on her. Oh, how disappointing that is. I TOTALLY know the feeling.

I found a plain taupe tee that will look nice with a pair of nice jeans or chinos, and decided to get it. Then as I was putting back the other shirt I'd tried on, I spotted the same dress the aforementioned girl had been modeling. There was just one in a cool rusty brown color (not the banana color the girl was trying on or the of the one shown here... the photo just shows the style). Oooh, that's nice, I thought, checking the tag to see if what size it was.

Medium. Hmmm. I wonder...

So I headed back to the dressing room. I slipped it on and...

Oh my gosh. It fit. In fact, it fit great. It looked great. It felt great.

The sales gal actually called over to another co-worker, "hey, come look at this dress. It looks great!" "Finally," the other one said, "several people have tried that on and it just didn't look good on them, but that looks perfect on you!"

Yeah, they were right. This dress was made for me. So, I now own it.

I tried to justify the expenditure... well, I DO have a wedding to go to in a few weeks. I don't NEED a new dress for it, but this one would be really appropriate to wear there, and fun to wear something new. Plus, I could wear this for my new job.

But the real kicker was: I just walked in, tried on a Size Medium dress, and it fit perfectly. No gut popping out. AND it shows off my shoulders and upper back, which are becoming more and more toned and fit looking.

See, Self, the hard work of keeping food journals, skipping "extras," and working out a little extra every day DOES pay off :)

Me & McDreamy

No, not him!

My new bike. I call it McDreamy. For the Dreamsicle color (orange and cream), and for the Dreamy feeling I have when riding it :)

We had a nice afternoon yesterday, just the two of us. We started out at Salvation Army and rode up Airport Road to Foy's Lake, an eight mile stretch in which you gain about 530 ft elevation-- not a whole lot, in the grand scheme of things, but it makes for a steady climb almost the whole way up.

We stopped at Foy's Lake to take a potty break, then continued our upward motion, up a 1.3 mile stretch in which we gained another 220 ft, taking us to the top of Lone Pine State Park (observation: when you're riding and you turn into a neighborhood with any of the following words in the title, "Lone Pine," "Eagle" anything, whatever "Ridge," or something "Heights," go ahead and shift down to Granny Gear and get ready to burn!)

We enjoyed the scenic vista for just a moment, then took off for a fun downhill ride. Fun for McDreamy, that is. Perhaps a little scary for me! Over the next 2.5 miles we lost all 750 ft of elevation we'd gained. Whee! Good things those brakes work well! Then a short, fast 3 miles took us back to the start.

It was a nice ride on a gorgeous not-too-hot afternoon, under bright blue skies with white fluffly clouds.

And today I'm sore. My glutes are feeling all that climbing. Not bad-- just a little extra sensation that says "you did something yesterday." Myback, on the other hand, is really feeling it.

You see, I did a lot of practicing yesterday of riding in a more aerodynamic position. My friend Regina mentioned to me a few weeks ago that when cycling, you're really using your core a lot. Huh? I thought you just sat on the seat and let your legs do all the work. Apparently not. I stumbled across this article that talks not only about bike positioning, but also your body positioning while riding.

So apparently, to get more aero, you should tip forward from the hips, keep the back flat, and keep the head and chest up, and enjoy the feel of wind whoosing OVER you instead of INTO you.

As I rode yesterday, I experimented with this new idea of positioning. My muscle memory harkened back to yoga class that morning where we'd worked on the same tipping-from-the-hips-with-back-straight in Padangusthasana and Parsvottanasana. It definitely does take a lot of core strength to hold that position, especially while riding. So yeah, my middle back is a bit sore today from the ride. Cool. I love being sore in unexpected places-- it's a good way to find areas that need more work!

McDreamy and I have one more appointment tomorrow morning for a Brick workout, then it's time for him to go in to the shop for his One Month Check-up :) And then just a few more weeks til we Tear. It. Up. on those hills at Whitefish in a new & improved riding position!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My B.F.A. (body fat analysis OR big fun afternoon)

Nothing like getting a body fat analysis to make you want to do a tempo run!
That's right, yesterday I had an appointment with a trainer at my gym to get a body fat analysis done. If you've never had one, I'll tell you, it's a delightful experience. They take measurements with calipers from three points on your body: the flab on the back of your arm, the flab on your belly mid-way between your hip bone and belly button, and the flab on the front of your thigh. The person measuring you has to squeeze up as much fat as they can without grabbing muscle, then measure the width. Then you add all those numbers together and use a chart that has age and the fat number to figure out your percentage of body fat.

Lucky for me, they were training a new trainer at the gym yesterday, and asked if I'd mind letting them train her on me. Sure, why not. I was the first one she'd ever measured. So she would take a pinch and get a measurement, then the teacher would grab some more and get a higher number. Then the first gal would have to come back and try again. Then after doing all the measurements, they decided to run through it again.

So here I am standing in a room with two ladies pinching and grabbing as much flab as they can off my arm, stomach, and thigh. Lovely. What a great body-image builder. NOT!

When they finally were satisfied with their numbers, they ran the calculations and determined that I have about 29.7% body fat. Holy crap!!! You mean nearly a third of ME is fat?!?! Yikes.

So after that experience, plus after having sat at my desk working on a very mundate, rote report all day yesterday, I was ready to RUN. I had an easy 30 min run scheduled, with a tempo run scheduled in for this morning. But I couldn't wait. I felt The need. for speed.

It was all I could do to keep it slow and easy for my one-mile warmup. Then I hit the watch and started running laps around the track (yeah, I opted for the A/C of the indoor track rather than the 80 degree sun outside... I'm not THAT tough!). Twenty minutes of lap after lap at 1:09. It was terrific. Just what I needed. I did a great job of keeping my pace steady (I only varied between 1:08 and 1:10 per lap). When after the first mile or so I started getting tired, I thought of how fortunate I was to be here on the track rather than at my desk working on that report some more. And I thought about how in a few more minutes I'd be out of easy-to-reach energy, and my body would have to start digging into some of those fat reserves to keep me going. That was all the motivation I needed to bust out another mile. It was the perfect tempo run-- comfortably hard, but I could have kept going at that pace for a good while longer if I'd needed to.

It was the first tempo run I've done in probably two months or more. While I focused a lot on my running this spring, especially working on speed in preparation for the Run for the Trees 5k, I've since shifted my focus away from speed, exchanging it for distance work in prep for the Missoula 1/2 Marathon. And becuase I've been so slap-happy for cycling since getting my new bike, and since swimming is so much nicer to do in the heat than running is, I just really haven't spent much time or focus on running in a while now.

So yesterday's tempo run was actually refreshing. It felt good to go fast. It felt good to push myself on the track. It felt good to know that I haven't really lost anything-- I still comfortably ran at the same T-pace I was running back in the spring. In short, Walker can still Run!

After being pretty disappointed with my run at the end of my first triathlon, I'm determined to have a better run at Whitefish in a few weeks. Yesterday was a good confidence booster. Yes, it will be hard. But yes, I can have a stronger run this next time around. Because, heck, I have enough stored energy to call upon when things get tough, right?!

So after finishing the tempo portion and then jogging slowly for several minutes to cool down, I ran a few strides, then went to a Power Pump strength training class, then headed home for a super great supper. I had a big spinach salad with thinly sliced cucumbers, chicken breast, green pepper slices, and strawberries. Then I made a dressing with 1/4 cup plain fat-free yogurt, 2 strawberries, 1 Tbs lemon juice, and salt and pepper. I blended it in my blender, then poured it over the salad. Yum! Add in a few crackers, and it made for a fully filling dinner that was chock-full of protein and vitamins, and satisfied my sweet tooth, as well. All for about 400 calories, and hardly any of those were from fat.

Okay, so back to talking about the fat. What does that body fat analysis mean in terms of my goals? Well, being the math geek that I am, I did some calculations. Right now at 136 lbs and 30% body fat, I'm packing around 40 lbs of fat and 96 lbs of lean body mass (muscle, guts, bones, etc). So assuming that I'd like to keep all that muscle, bone, and whatnot, but just lose some fat, what weight might I shoot for to get to a certain percentage?

Well, to get to 25% body fat, I'd need to lose 8 more pounds, making me 128 lb. At 120 lb I'd have 20% body fat. According to this chart from the American Council on Exercise, at 120 lb I'd finally be considered an Athlete! :) But, hey, I don't really need to be an athlete. I'd settle for "Fitness," or a 24% or less (meaning 127 lbs or less). So, I think that's a pretty reasonable goal to shoot for in the next six months-- to get down to 127. That's just nine pounds from here. Oh, but those are going to be some tough pounds to shed.

In an effort to jump-start my downward trajectory, I've issued a self-imposed injunction against the following items for at least the next 4 days:

Chocolate, Cookies, Pizza, Beer, and Tortilla Chips

In reviewing my food journal over the last month, those are the 5 biggest offenders. They're the foods that give me the toughest time with portion control and can quickly wreck an otherwise good day of eating. With all, I have a hard time just having a little bit. So for the next few days, I'm going to have none, and really focus on getting a few solid days of negative calories. On Monday evening, though, I'll have to make an exception for beer, as folks from work are planning to take me out. So that'll be a good reward for 4 days of abstinence (and luckily will be a Monday night, and I'll have to drive home, so portion control goals will be easier to attain).

Ha! And now I don't even have to do a tempo run today-- I can go for an impromtu extra bike ride on McDreamy instead :) Life is good.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Buoyancy vs. Freedom

This morning I met my friend Patty out at Foy's Lake at 6am for a swim to the island and back. I noticed on the way there that the air temp was 57 degrees-- a few warmer than my first time swimming at the lake. Once I hopped in, though, I noticed what a difference a few months can make. The water was just plum pleasant. Not yucky I'm-going-to-catch-some-funky-disease-in-this-bathtub-water warm, but not holy-crap-I'm-nearly-hyperventilating cold, either.

I wore my wetsuit because I want to get more practice in it. I'll be doing the Whitefish triathlon in a few weeks, and wetsuits are legal for that race. I'm not sure what the temperature is in Whitefish Lake these days, but it's definitely a larger, deeper, cold river-fed lake, so most likely it's still a bit chilly. But I've seen kids out there swimming around for extended periods of time with nothing more than shorts or bikinis, so it can't be that bad, right?

So the big question is: should I wear my wetsuit for the Whitefish tri or not?

I've heard that wearing a wetsuit increases your buoyancy and thus helps your time, and so if it's legal to wear one, you should. But I'm having a hard time believing that my suit makes me faster. It always feels like I can't reach as far as when I swim in just a regular swimsuit. And it seems super slow if I try to sidestroke or breaststroke. And I feel so big and bubbly.

Which, I guess, is what the suit's supposed to do-- add a little extra layer so that you can trap a layer of water between you and the suit. Which in turn makes you more buoyant. Which in theory helps you stay higher in the water and thus be able to swim faster with the same amount of effort. But, oh, it just feels so odd.

Can the wetsuit really make a difference? Maybe for the pro's and top-of-the-pack age groupers-- those folks who have like 2% body fat and thus don't float worth a darn on their own. Those folks to whom a 20 second increase can make or break their results.

But what about for little ole me, who has plenty of "bouyancy" around the mid-section, and to whom 20 seconds doesn't mean much at all. I mean, heck, it takes at least 20 seconds to get the darn thing off once I get out of the water.

So is the wetsuit really worth it? Worth feeling weird to gain that much more speed? Or should I ditch the suit and go all natural (er, I mean, with just a swimsuit!)?

Being the good scientist that I am, I've designed an experiment. I'll mark out a 200 yd portion of lake shore and, after warming up a bit, swim it twice-- once with the wetsuit, once without. I'll record my times for each, then extrapolate to what my 880 (1/2 mile) time would be. It'll be interesting to see how much time difference the suit may or may not make. Once I see the results, I'll decide whether or not it's worth it to wear it.

Stay tuned...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shrinking (a weight-loss status report)

Someone must've put ME in the dryer on High, because I've been the one getting smaller than my clothes here lately.
Friday's weight was the lowest yet-- 136.2. And I'm feeling a difference around the mid-section, a little more firmness in the tummy area. Plus I've generally felt better and had better energy as a result of eating well. I get hungry a lot, sure, but I'm not deprived by any means!
Keeping the food journal is really helping me to track and be conscious of what I'm putting in to my body. Just like athletes need to keep training logs to help keep track of what they've done and be able to assess what works and what doesn't, I guess dieters need to keep a food log. It makes sense. It just takes a little more effort. Tend minutes a day, maybe. I've typically been writing in it twice a day-- in the morning I'll write down what I Plan to eat for the day, and in the evening I write what I Actually ate. Sometimes those match up fairly closely. Other times, things come up. Someone says let's go for a beer. Or I decide that I'd rather have a tuna melt for dinner than a bowl of soup. Or I goof and eat a whole chocolate bar at 10:00 in the morning (ugh!) In any case, writing down the plan for the day lets me know how much latitude I have to make choices throughout the day.
I've been using FitDay to calculate my calories eaten as well as calories burned. I've been aiming to eat about 1500-1600 calories a day. My basal metabolic rate (what I'd burn if I just stayed in bed all day) is about 1400 calories. Add in a few hundred for daily movement (walking around the house and office, washing dishes, etc), and we're up to 1600. So with no exercise, 1600 calories/day would mean I'd break even. Add in exercise, and I can burn anywhere from 300-700 extra calories in an average day of workouts, and a few more on weekends when I do longer runs (yes, running burns the most calories of any of the triathlon activities).
I've been shooting to have a negative calorie deficit at least 4-5 days a week, of 300-500 calories a day. Then 1-2 days a week I'm okay to break even (on lighter workout days, or on days when I'm extra hungry, or if I opt for beers or chocolate). It's been working pretty well, I think, though there have also been some days when I've gone over. But on average I'm burning more than I'm taking in, because shrinkage is happening.
I have a long ways to go, but it's nice to see, at the halfway point to my goal, that I'm progressing along nicely.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Race Report... Missoula 1/2 Marathon

When the alarm went off, I'd already been awake for 10 minutes. I tip-toed around the house putting on my outfit I'd set out the night before, gathered up my water bottles and PB&J, and snuck out the door.

It was chilly enough that a sweatshirt felt good. I hopped in my car and headed for town, driving over the Start line for the full marathon in Frenchtown. As I cruised down I-90 in the early morning silence, a song popped in my head and I started humming it to myself. Not satisfied with my rendition, I grabbed my music player and cued it up: Eye of the Tiger. I played it twice as I drove, singing aloud at 4:30 a.m.

Arriving downtown, I caught glimpses of reflective running shoes in my headlights. Parking was already tight, as runners were arriving to catch the shuttle buses out to their respective starting lines. I parked and found the bus stop on Main Street, and stepped up on the stairs of the first bus in line. "Is this going to the Half Marathon start?" I asked the driver. "Nope, this is the Full." So I stepped down. Not this year, at least.

I found the right bus, and took a seat in the dark next to a stranger. The passengers were pretty quiet, sharing a few muted comments about the weather or wondering when the last time they were on a school bus at 5:00 in the morning. But for the most part the ride out to Blue Mountain Road was pretty quiet. And long. Were we really going to run all the way back into town from out here?

I got off the bus and started walking around, partly to try to warm up (the temps were in the high 40's and I had on just a sweatshirt over my running shorts and tank), and partly to try to warm up my bowels so that I could get things moving before the race started. Amy arrived shortly thereafter, and caught up with me in line for the porta-potty.

I tried and tried to make myself need to use the bathroom. Tried being nervous, but I wasn't. Tried thinking about running. Nope. When I finally reached the blue box, nothing happened. Durn. I knew I'd have to stop somewhere along the way. Oh well, can't force Mother Nature.

We lined up at the start and took of at a slow jog when the cannon started. A lot of folks passed us in the first half mile or so, but that was okay. We were taking our time, enjoying the beauty of the river of colorful runners winding around the base of the freshly sunlit hills. It was stunning. And a bit chilly for that first mile or so, but we started to warm up after a while.

The course followed the Bitterroot River for the first few miles, which was just stunning. We jogged along at an easy steady pace. Nice and comfortable. Around mile 3 or 4 we ran over a bridge crossing the river, and cheesed it up for the photographer. Around mile 5, we were beginning to get into more tightly-spaced houses, and of course, that's when I began having urges to go. We passed a porta-potty, but there was a line, so I decided to hold out for the next aid station.

By the time we reached the aid station at the half-way point, there was no holding it any more. Amy decided to eat her Sport Beans while I waited in line for the potty. There were 4 girls in front of me!!! I waited for over 3 minutes, uncomfortably dancing around trying to hold it. Ugh! Finally I got my chance, did my duty, and popped out of the box ready to go.

Bummed that we'd taken so much time out to wait in line, I decided to pick up the pace a little bit. We started taking 10 seconds or so off each mile, which actually felt good. But I was hesitant to push our pace too much, knowing that the 6.5 mile marker isn't actually the half-way point in a half marathon-- it's the 9 mile marker that really marks the split between two parts of the run. The first nine miles are pretty comfortable; it's the last 4 that can really test your preparation.

We were winding through tree-lined neighborhoods in the early morning hours. At several houses, folks were sitting on their porches having coffee, watching the runners pass. Some shouted encouragement, some just smiled and nodded. Some had music blasting. And one house was even wafting the smell of bacon out into the streets (for once, bacon didn't smell good-- not after running for so long!)

All was going well until right after the 9 mile mark, when my side cramp reared up its ugly head. It wasn't too bad, so I kept running and breathing, hoping it wouldn't get worse. At the same time, Amy's knees were starting to pain her a bit. Yep, this is where it begins to get hard. Do we run faster and hope this all ends sooner, or do we keep it slow and not risk increasing the pain?

Well, we decided on a little of both. We kept increasing our pace ever so slowly, and by mile 10 were doing better. It's just a 5k now! We started noticing how many people we were passing... one or two every few minutes. Folks we'd been following the whole time were starting to slow, or at least weren't picking up the pace like we were. Others were tiring and starting to walk.

Around mile 11 it began to get fun. We started running through the University district, where more fans were out and more folks had music playing. Gold's Gym had parked their Hummer along the route and it was blasting out "Groove is in the Heart." Whoo hoo. That music really got me going. We cranked up the pace a good bit more, walked through our last aid station to revive ourselves for the final push, and then let loose.

Well, as loose as we could given that we'd already run over 11 miles. But we went hard enough that we weren't able to chat easily anymore. Conversation was limited to "you're doing great," and "wheww..." and "almost there."

The finish line was terrific. The last 0.3 miles or so took us down Higgins Ave, one of the main streets in Missoula, which had been closed off for the occasion. We could see the arch of baloons, hear the announcer in the background. Fans lined the bridge across the Clark Fork River and cheered us on as we ran strong to the finish. We High-Fived each other as we crossed the finish line, and I appreciated my second-in-a-row race finish in which I didn't immediately fold over and gag!

Craig found us at the water/PowerAid tank, and gave us a congrats. We spent the next half an hour or so wandering around in a semi-daze, our minds clouded by the exhaustion of the long run and the buzz of the crowd. The Good Food Store had a food tent set up, so after my stomach calmed down a bit and I got my appetite back, I grabbed a small plate of pasta salad and a couple slices of watermelon.

After a quick photo shoot, Amy and I parted ways. I returned to the bridge to watch the marathon runners and half-marathon walkers coming in. As I sat there, the river running below me and the mountains filling the background, I got a little misty-eyed. I thought of how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place, to have good supportive friends and family, and to have a body that can take me nearly anywhere I want to go. And I also welled up with pride for the perfect strangers who were running by-- what great accomplishments they'd made.

Looking back now, it was a good run. Definitely felt easier than the first half I ran-- probably because I knew what to expect! It actually felt pretty good to run faster for the last few miles, and made me want to go out and see how fast I can really run a half. And made me ponder more about whether or not I'll ever want to do a full. We'll see...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Race Report... the Appetizer

Okay, sports fans, another race report is due. I'm excited to write it, but at this point it's 2pm, I've been up since 3:45am (after getting a whopping 4 hours or so of sleep last night). I've been out in the sun since the sun came up. Oh, and I ran a half-marathon. So right at the moment I'm ready for some food and a nap. There's a pizza and a movie waiting for me in the living room.

But I know some of you are DYING to know how it went, so here's a little teaser....

We finished.

Okay, okay, a few more tidbits. We finished super strong, and neither had too many pains or problems, save for a few minor incidents. Here's the mile-by-mile breakdown of time splits and my average heartrate (and rough % max):

Mile 1: 9:45***, 158 (76%)
Mile 2: 11:37**, 160 (77%)
Mile 3: 11:28, 153 (74%)
Mile 4: 11:20, 160 (77%)
Mile 5: 11:07, 160 (77%)
Mile 6: 11:06, 163 (78%)
Mile 7 & 8: 21:17***, 165 (79%)
Mile 9: 10:54, 171 (82%)
Mile 10: 10:41, 171 (82%)
Mile 11: 11:16, 169 (81%)
Mile 12: 10:40, 172 (83%)
Mile 13 (plus .1): 10:08, 174 (84)
* all agreed the first mile was marked incorrectly
** second mile marker made up ground for mile 1
*** didn't see the mile marker

Total time: 2:25.18
Total time spent running: that minus a 4 minute bathroom break and walk breaks through each aid station
Pride level: high
Number of people we picked off as we increased our speed in the second half: lots
Certainty that we can go faster next time: very high

I hope that gets everyone their fix for now. I promise to write more after food, a nap, and some chores (laundry, dishes... yay).

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Therapy Run

As aforementioned, this week has been rather stressful and busy. I haven't gotten much good sleep. Had a lot on my mind. (more on this later, I promise)

So by yesterday afternoon I was tight, tired, a bit dazed. Mamie said I looked "shell-shocked."

I needed to run. I was hungry. It was warmer than I usually like. I was tired. Usually I could use any of those excuses to talk me out of a run, or at least make it feel more like a chore than something I really wanted to do.

But yesterday afternoon, the one thing in the world that I KNEW would make things better was a nice run.

Mamie joined me, and we took off at a nice, slow pace. Really slow. Like when I first started running.

I left my watch behind. Didn't bother with a heart rate monitor. Didn't have a route planned and pre-mapped ahead of time to know how far I needed to go. Nope, this wasn't a workout. This wasn't training. This run was all about running because running is good to me.

We jogged along, chatting about some lighter topics (I've written before about how hard it is for me to think or talk about heavy subjects while running). So we talked about buying shoes, about our new toys (my bike, her kayak), about how pretty the neighbor's flowers were. And we just ran around.

After a while, my nicely-tapered body was ready to rock. I did a few bursts of speed, and enjoyed the feeling of my legs turning over smoothly and quickly. But there was no intended purpose to this. It just felt good.

With each step my mood brightened. The heaviness on my mind lightened. I became more human again. I smiled a little bigger. And I gave thanks for the fact that running can fulfill me in so many ways.


(Tomorrow I'll try to remember that feeling as I go out for 13 miles of "therapy"!!!)

And now the rest of the story:
How was my eating for the day (especially after the run, when I was super hungry and headed out for Thai food?)
First, I'd done fairly well earlier in the day: a bowl of cereal for breakfast; half a bagel with light cream cheese mid-morning; a half roast beef sandwich (no cheese, no mayo) for lunch when I went out with co-workers; and a 12 oz skim iced latte mid-afternoon. Good mix of good carbs and protein. Very low on the excess sugars/fats end of the spectrum. Good portion control.

So for dinner, 4 of us went to Sa-Wa-Dee for Thai. We rode our bikes there from Kev & Mamie's house, which was fun. We decided to order 4 different entrees and swap around family-style. So I had a small portion each of: Pad Thai, MaSaMan curry with chicken, Curry fried rice, and Red curry shrimp. I probably ate a total of 1/2 cup of rice (rather than the full cup that I could've easily shoved down). And I didn't dig in for seconds (except for grabbing one more shrimp!). Oh, and I had one glass of white wine.

We got done, and I felt satisfied (and slightly warm and fuzzy from the wine), but definitely not stuffed. It was a nice feeling. Then someone said Ice Cream, so we hopped on our bikes and rode down to Big Dipper. I ordered a kid-size cup of El Salvadore Coffee ice cream. I ate it slowly, savoring the flavor, and didn't even want more. The half-scoop was plenty.

So, a successful day. Even though I went out twice, for lunch and dinner, I was able to maintain good portion control. And as a result, I felt so much better at the end of the day than I would have if I'd done my usual tact of eating double the portions. And instead of waking up this morning feeling fat, I feel flat (in my tummy area, that is). So I'm going to put on a skirt and tank top, and head down to the Expo to pick up my race packet, then wander over to the Farmer's Market, and perhaps stroll around downtown looking for new shoes... basically dawdle around all day and enjoy the "calm before the storm"!!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Blow Me

Weather forecast for Sunday:
Sunny, with a high near 86. South wind 5 to 13 mph becoming west. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph.

Let's hope that's a Tail Wind!!!

Still Here...

My, where has the time gone? I can't believe it's been over a week since I've posted anything on the blog.

This week has been super busy with work, considering new opportunities (more on this soon), and doing some good socializing while in Missoula for the week. A few highlights:

* Riding my bike to or from work a few days this week (a 17 mile one-way trip through the countryside!)
* Swimming laps in Missoula's new 50m pool with Jenny
* Enjoying the taper before this weekend's race
* Watching Mt. Sentinel burn while enjoying a margarita and delicious veggie salad with sashimi tuna at the Iron Horse on Wednesday evening
* Getting a goodnight kiss from Jim every night for the last week
* Feeling The Gut begin to recede a little bit more every few days :)

The next few days will be devoted to hydrating, eating some good carbs, and taking it easy before the 13.1 miler on Sunday. Amy and I are both a little nervous about how we'll be able to perform-- she's had some dental issues in the last few weeks and is on antibiotics and other meds to get the swelling and infection out before her root canal next week. Ugh. And I've been getting sharp, stabbing pains in my right lower ribs area every time I've run lately. Not really sure what that's all about; hope it decides to subside a bit for the run on Sunday. So we'll just have to try our best to do the run despite our freakishly failing bodies. We know that we've put in some good training and that under ideal circumstances could run a good race. So all we can do is hope and pray for good health, but accept whatever conditions may come on race day.

Goals for the race:

* ME: get a second 1/2 M under my belt, and further build my confidence in my distance-running abilities
* AMY: complete her first real 1/2 M (she did the Snow Joke a few years ago with two other gals, but they walked much more of it than they ran, so she's hoping to truly run a 1/2)
* BOTH: Have fun; Appreciate the fact that Missoula now has its own Marathon/Half-Marathon event; Run as well as we can given our physical conditions on Sunday; Thank the volunteers and spectators who'll cheer us on; Cheer on our friend Regina who'll be running her first full Marathon!!!

Cross your fingers for us... and if you're in Missoula, come out and cheer everyone on. The finish line is at Caras Park, along the river in downtown. We hope to be there around 8:15-8:30 a.m. (after a 6am start!)
(Photos of fire on Mt. Sentinel behind the UM clock tower on Wed night; and of the burned area on Thursday morning... both gotten from; check the archived stories for more articles and cool photos!)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The bestest, raddest, funnest weekend!!!

Boy, this week has sure flown by. I meant to get this post done on Monday... Anyhow, last weekend totally rocked. Here's a re-cap:

Friday night: Margaritas! And super-humongous nachos at the Iron Horse with Jim, Jenny, Liz, Dan, Kevin, Mamie, and Chris. Sat on the patio, chatted, lounged. It was great. Those ‘ritas hit the spot!

Saturday early morning: Thanked myself for only having 2 drinks :) Felt great, got up early, enjoyed hanging out in the house with the windows open and a sweatshirt on, enjoying the cool morning before the onslaught of the sun. Washed dishes, did laundry, etc. Appreciated quiet time.

Saturday mid-to-late morning: Did some more bike shopping. Rode several different makes and models at several shops. All seemed “okay,” but not great. Even the higher-end ($2200) Ruby Elite I test-rode just didn’t seem as great as I remembered the Trek being last weekend. So I returned to Open Road bike store and asked to ride the Trek 2.1 again. As soon as I hopped on, I knew. It was my bike. I giggled the whole ride, and went back to the shop with wallet in hand.

Saturday afternoon: Headed up the Blackfoot to go kayaking with Kevin and Mamie. Had a blast! It was my first time in a kayak since 2002, and it was great. I really felt like I was better than I was before! Perhaps the arms and abs are useful for something besides just triathloning!

Saturday evening: Kev and Mamie joined Jim and I for a cookout at our house. On the menu was grilled BBQ chicken, fresh corn on the cob, a big green salad, and lima beans. De-lish. Made even better by the fact that Kev and Mamie did most of the work while I sat on the porch and got toasty off of two light beers :)

Sunday morning: Met Amy for a 2 hour (approx. 11 mile) run in the Rattlesnake. The first part of the run was pretty nice, but by the end it was really getting hot (like, oh, 80 or so). Ugh! I got a super painful side cramp for the last few miles, which put a damper on things. But otherwise the run was okay. Hard, though. Nice to have that over with. It was our longest run before our ½ mary on the 13th.

Sunday mid-day: Went to the Good Food Store for salad bar and bread after the run. Then went back to Open Road to meet my awesome bike salesman Arthur who came in on his day off to help me get acquainted with my new ride. We spent a little over an hour going over the mechanics, ideal gearing, maintenance, tire changing, brake care, etc. It was totally cool of him to help out like that (new bike, dubbed “McDreamy” for it’s dreamcicle colorations and dreamy feeling, wouldn’t fit in the car the day before, so I had to pick it up on Sunday).

Sunday afternoon: Joined Amy and Jenny for an afternoon at the water park! We had a blast riding water slides, lounging around the “Lazy River” on inner tubes, and even doing a few laps in the 50m pool. A great way to spend a hot afternoon!!!

Sunday evening: Tracked Jim down in the hay fields. Took him a much-appreciated bottle of COLD water and rode around with him for a bit while he baled hay. It’s a little loud, but at least the tractor’s air-conditioned, so it’s not a bad place to hang out and chat on a hot evening (okay, so not really, but it was the only chance to get to see him, as he was going to be working til after my bed time).

Whew, what a great weekend. Exhausting, though!

And, as a note, I did really well with my “mindful eating” program this weekend. While Friday was an intentional splurge night, I planned well the rest of the weekend and ate well, enjoying good, tasty foods, but watching my portion control. For example, on Saturday for dinner I had just one piece of chicken (rather than the two or three I would’ve normally eaten), and shared an ear of corn with Mamie, used a smaller than normal amount of dressing, and had just one serving of the delicious limas. No seconds. No dessert. Two beers. I went to bed feeling satisfied but not overly full, and felt great the next morning. Yay.

This coming weekend’s agenda:
Fri: Get up and run 8 miles, shower, then hit the road for Livingston. We’ll meet up with Jim’s mom at the rodeo grounds in Livingston, where his brother David will be working the rodeo as a pickup man. I love rodeos on the 4th of July—what better way to be All-American?! It’ll be nice, too, to spend some more time with David’s fiancĂ© Sarah, whom we’ve only met once. We’ll share a model room with Jim’s mom that night (ooh, yeah, romantic, I know— we all decided that with gas prices and such, saving $100 on a room would be worth it for one night).
Sat: Drive down to Red Lodge and tool around for the afternoon, then attend Jim’s cousin’s wedding that evening. It’s at a super nice looking lodge, and we’ll have our own room for the night (no, we’re not TOTAL tight-wads), so that’ll be fun.
Sun: Head back to Missoula. Be glad to be home.
Then the next week I’ll be in Missoula for work the whole week, which will be nice. What will Jim and I do with all this time together?!?

The travel and weddings and such will present some challenges to the diet goals. Anyone got tips or suggestions for how to stay reasonably on track when out of your normal element? I’d love to hear them!