Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Don't give up so easily

As I hinted in my race report, I've been having a tough time lately. I struggle with bouts of depression and I've been muddled in a mild bout for the past few weeks. It's been tough. I remind myself of all the blessings I have and try to remain as positive as possible but it's hard. When I go through these bouts it's literally like having a grey cloud sitting on my head. There's a dull ache in my head, a dullness to everything and just a general, overall, yuck. I hate it. But it's part of my life and I do my best to deal. I know it will pass and I no longer dive my feelings into food. I do find relief in exercise, especially running and running so hard I'm gasping and sweating and hurting. That really helps a lot. 

In addition to feeling a little blue it's been a challenging summer. I have felt overwhelmed personally and then there is my weight.

My happy "perfect" weight is about 145 - my I'm OK weight is 148, my "this is it" weight is 150. I have to officially be 152 to "be free" at Weight Watchers as 150 is my goal and you have two pounds of wiggle room.  So 152 and over is my "Oh shit" weight. 

I have not paid for Weight Watchers since 2010.

Today I had to pay. Oh shit.

I probably hit about 155 but the last few weeks I've worked my ass off to try to fix that. I have counted every point, I've cut out most treats, I have run harder and longer, I have added more workouts, I've done a lot and the scale isn't really moving. I thought I got it down enough to at least hit 152 for free WW.

But I didn't. I was 152.4 -- I missed the boat by .4

And I about lost my shit. I had to seriously work hard not to cry on the scale - which is absolutely ridiculous. I didn't cry on the damn scale when I was 250 pounds. I didn't cry on my WW journey when the scale went the wrong way. (OK I might've complained but I didn't cry.) 

I feel strong and healthy. I don't even hate my body or how I look. Getting this upset and obsessed is not my usual thing. What gives?

I lost it because in all the chaos I've been going through and the bad feeling of late I really needed the small victory of feeling in control of something. And I wanted desperately to be able to say - "it might all be falling to crap but I've got this thing!" But I didn't. And it really punched me in the gut. 

Not to mention that in the back of my "fat girl" mind I'm always worried about the slippery slope - the fear that a few pounds will somehow come back as a hundred.


I went home, took a shower, put on some lipgloss and headed to NYC for a big meeting today.

I decided that it was OK to be up in weight. To be overwhelmed, to not necessarily have it all together. I'm doing the best I can at any given moment and that has to be good enough for me. 

I kind of got serious with myself. 152? REALLY. This is what is going to make you come undone? I mean talk about being silly. I decided to truly count my blessings. I'm such a lucky girl. I can't let the depression, the weight, the black cloud and mean girl voices rob me of my happiness. It's always going to be a challenge but I have to battle back. I can't give up. 

And on the way to the city the clouds began to lift and the sun began to come out. I started to feel better. 

I had a great meeting. Things were starting to turn in my favor. And then I got to the subway platform  for my return home, in time to see the doors to my train close. I had just missed it. My face must've said it all, as I thought, "Shit. Of course a day late and a dollar short again."

The conductor saw me and said, "Are you getting on this train?" I said "yes." And he opened the doors for me! If you've ever ridden a NYC subway, you know they do not do this. They do not reopen the doors once closed. I felt lucky.

He then came into the car and double checked that I was on the right train. I said thank you and he said, "Hey, no problem. You know, you shouldn't give up so easily."

I know this all sounds like it's straight out of some corny movie or episode of GIRLS - this stuff really doesn't happen but it happened to me. On this day of days that I needed to hear it the most. His words resonated with me.

He's right. I mean talk about the ultimate cliche. A door closed but another one opened. You just can't give up so easily.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Armpocket giveaway winner!

At long last (and thanks for bearing with me - I know I'm two weeks late with this is:)


Here was your post:

Courtney, get back to me with your mailing address and look at the website for sizing within the next two weeks and we will hook you up!



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

My First Tri: Final Thoughts, Lessons and Being Mental

The very awesome Moms In Motion Tri finishers! 

Thank you for coming on this journey with me.

In case you haven't read my swim, bike, run reports, spoiler alert, I made it! :)

Looking back now I am extremely grateful for the love and support of the Moms In Motion and especially our coach, Dana. Words can't explain how much it means to me to have these women and this group in my life. It's such a blessing.

The Tri sports:

The swim.  I was baffled why I had such a tough time in the water. I've done the distance before and beyond. My swim training is usually 20 - 40 mins and I was only in the water 13:30. The week before I practiced for a half of mile in a bottomless lake!

But I think I know where the "OMG" came from:

#1. I didn't factor in race day nerves
#2. Even though my plan was to stay slow I think I still probably started a wee bit fast in an effort to at least keep up with the 'slowest' woman who still was too fast for me.
#3. I was waaaaaay over far left from the buoy's I think I actually made my swim harder.
#4. The next wave catching up to me freaked me out. All of a sudden there were all these very fast arms and legs and I was startled. I never expected that was going to happen and assumed the waves would be further apart.
#5. Between feeling so behind my group, the waves behind me catching up, and the lifeguards yelling "keep an eye on the blue cap" I spiraled into insecurity and feeling very out of my league. It really messed with my head. All of a sudden I doubted my training and felt embarrassed and like I was failing. The voices in my head is the thing I'll have to fix the most. I should've just stayed focused on what my goal was, stuck to my pace and found a positive mantra.
#6. I couldn't see - it was bright and spotting was just hard. I don't think my glasses were foggy but maybe spotty on the outside or something. I just felt confused looking up but that could've also just been the circumstance.
#7. The only other time I did open-water lake swims was with a wetsuit perhaps that played a factor?

The Bike.  I still have to figure out seat height, getting to my water bottle, possibly adjusting my handlebars and probably nutrition. Thank goodness it wasn't as hot as it had been because then, not reaching my water could've been a serious problem. My feet got a little cramped up on the ride and my knees are still sore.  All in all I think it's basically a matter of practice, getting stronger and continuing to ride.

The Run. I have to do speed work and get back to running more. I've let my running slip a bit because I take for granted that I can run a 5K and have been more focused on learning and gaining confidence in the other two sports - also, I guess if part of the race is on a trail, it couldn't hurt to train once or twice on a trail.

Transitions.  Dana helped me really lay all my stuff out right so I could just grab and grow. She suggested I have some water in a bottle available to help rinse the dirt off my feet before having to put my shoes and socks on  - genius suggestion. I am sure there are faster ways to transition but I was content to not rush too quickly through it just to have a second to catch my breath - of course, even while not rushing, I forgot my running hat anyway. :-) Suggestion: get there earlier if you are new so you can make sure to have enough time to properly rack your bike and lay your stuff out. Don't forget that you'll have to leave your shoes behind so if you very tender feet and don't feel like going bare foot to the water, bring a pair of $.99 flip flops with you.

Mentally:  I've received tons of support and well wishes from friends and family on this newest challenge and I know that I'm blessed. Really blessed. Still, I can't help but to feel disappointed in my times. I've gained some weight and it's been a real uphill battle and back-and-forth to get it back under control and it's freaking me out. If I was thinner I'd be fitter and faster.

Unfortunately (and thanks to revealing Tri clothes!) The "fat girl in my head" was in full-swing that day. I felt like "the fat girl" struggling in the water, and the last "fat girl" on the bike and the "fat girl" who is running the slowest 5K ever. I can see the fat girl coming back in my pictures - and I'm afraid that she will catch me. I know it's wrong and rationally I know what I need to do to take off the few pounds before they turn back to 100 pounds. Why do I struggle to be content with who I am at this moment? I've got to learn to not look back and not look forward but to love myself for who I am right now - even at 8 pounds over goal and 9 minutes slower on my 5K run.

I can't let this shit get into my head especially during a race!!

I have to remember to Race your own Race which is easier said that done. I know I shouldn't look sideways but finishing at the bottom of the pack still makes me feel like getting picked last in gym. I have to fight these emotional demons of doubt and feeling inadequate. I'm good enough and better than I was a few years ago when I was smoking cigarettes, eating pizza by the pie-full and sitting on my ass.  I am healthy and I have been successful in continuing a healthy lifestyle for more than 3 years now. That counts for something.

You know what? First one to finish or last… I earned this and no one can take that away - not even the mean girls in my head.

My truck just got a little fancier
Just writing about it is making me feel better already. For now it's still my battle to fight. I'm sorry to wrap this race report series up with this but it's part of my journey and it would feel dishonest to not be candid about some of the dark moments I have.

Even with all the negative chatter in my head, I am thrilled that I did this. I am proud of my accomplishment. It was a truly great day. I am excited to learn more, grow and get another shot at Triathlon in the IronGirl event in September and it will be awesome to see a few more MIMs cross their first triathlon finish lines too!!!


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My first triathlon race recap: THE RUN

Part 3: The Run
Distance: 3.1 miles

Finally I was getting off my bike and getting ready for the run. All I had to do was grab my race belt, my coconut water, and my running cap.

That's it.

Apparently all this tri stuff is making me one forgetful person.

First, I took a swig of coconut water and almost choked to death. My coconut water was accidentally the kind with pulp which I noted in the AM and forgot about until that very moment. OOPS.

Then I started running and realized that I totally forgot my running cap. Boo. Oh well, no time to turn around now. Then what was briefly mentioned on the race forum and also forgotten about was that most of the run was on trail surfaces.

Shit. I've never trail ran before and for good reason. I have always been pretty sure that I would twist an ankle and/or trip and break my ass. I'm quite happy sticking to smooth, flat surfaces. But not today. And not after swimming and biking. So I set out and ran slowly with my eyes glued to the ground.

My goal was simple - run the whole damn 3.1 miles. That's it.

I started running and tried to avoid rocks, roots, twigs and the like. I tried to get used to the feeling of mulch under foot and navigated the best I could. Every so often we'd have a little bit of running on pavement and the 3.1 miles alternated between trail and pavement.

I passed a few walkers and a few run/walkers.

And I got passed twice on the run.

Once by a girl who was 42 years old and once by the 67 year old silver-haired lady who I passed on the bike! Touche, lady. Touche.

(By the way, that lady actually did beat my overall time and later was kind enough to offer to take a picture of me with my medal. She is pictured below)

oops. The 'selfie' way was on when she
was trying to take my picture.  She
got me on the run! 
I was a little tired but I was feeling pretty good on the run. I wasn't cramping and I knew that I was within minutes of my goal - I just had to keep moving forward.

And I did keep moving. And I didn't walk.

I was so excited to round the corner. The only bummer was that the finishing road was not roped off and it was the only way in and out of the area so as I was finishing all the people who had finished before me were on the path, walking their bikes, chatting it up, milling about. I felt like I wasn't even going in the right direction and once again felt a little like the last person to the party. It was like everyone had finished this thing HOURS ago and I was in a race by myself. I felt twinges of embarrassment and disappointment in being so slow - those feeling of inadequacy that I need to find a way to silence - but then I heard my fellow Moms In Motion screaming my name and welcoming me home. They had all waited for me and I could hear their legitimate excitement in seeing me so near the finish and that made me happy. It gave me a little pep in my step and I pumped my arm in the air as I neared the finish line.

Here I come - Coconut water in hand, hat-less and in one piece

Whatever. So I finished 6th from last place. I did it. I swam, biked and ran to the finish line.

The lady did get a nice picture.
Glad she beat me on the run
The bling close up:

A year ago today I ran my fastest 5K:  26:46 (a 8'37 mile) which seems like a dream time for me now because even on my fastest day I'm lucky to break 10'30…

Today I ran a 5K in 35:50 (a 11'33 pace).

But a year ago I wouldn't have dreamed that I'd be doing a triathlon.

Overall I am very happy and although jokingly said on Facebook "Not sure if I loved it or hated it" I can honestly say that I loved it and will be "TRI-ing" again.

Read about the swim here and bike here.

Next up: Final Thoughts and my biggest obstacle.


Monday, July 22, 2013

My first triathlon recap: THE BIKE

Part 2: The Bike
Distance: 11 miles

So I make it onto the beach. Disoriented but the swim is done!

Yay. I made it to land!
And I get to transition and again, this photo speaks for itself. I'm still dizzy, a bit shaky and trying to pull it together. Gotta love my speedy, hustling transition. HA.

Wow. Wet, in tiny unforgiving Tri clothes, and sporting
the whitest legs in America. LOOKING GOOD. ;) lol
So I get out on the bike and because I felt so slow out in the water, I'm pretty sure I'm one of the last on the bike course. But I was wrong. There were still plenty of people behind me to pass me by and remind me of my slowness. Though I did count 3 people who I passed on the bike including one silver-haired lady of 67 - who obviously had a better swim in her wave than me since i was only now passing her and she was two waves behind me.

Once passed, I was on my own a lot of the time on the ride. I had space for miles. So I guess that's a benefit of being a back of the packer. No jockeying for elbow room and the volunteers are very kind in support. 

I have to look at my bike later. I think it felt harder yesterday but that could've been because of the swim first? Not sure. I felt like I was pushing harder than usual.

Also - I have to adjust the water cage. Since changing my bike seat height, I can't reach the bottle! I was getting so thirsty and had this bottle of water out of reach. I was too stubborn to pull over to swig so powered thru. 

I counted down the miles and was so happy to make the turn into the final stretch: 

Yay! I'm almost done!

Oh yeah. I still have to run.
I have to get cage things for the pedals - look at my knee and I felt like I kept slipping off the pedals. The only cramping of the day I had was in the arches and top of my feet during the bike. Not sure what to make of that but something to figure out.  I may need even more seat height. My knees feel a little achey today.

All in all the bike was pretty good. I wish I was faster but this was only my fourth time on an outside bike since I'm 10 years old so I can't complain. 

Total time on bike: 49:34 (13.3 mph pace) 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

My First Triathlon Race Recap: The Swim

Part 1: The Swim
Distance: .25 mile


What a day.

So many emotions swirling around I don't know even where to start.  

I got up at 4:45 AM and this whole week I had a strange sense of calmness for such a big event for me. I felt like "I got this."  

And then I rounded the corner to the event and saw all the triathletes and bikes and began to hyperventilate. OMG I'm really going to do a triathlon! I suddenly got REALLY nervous. But I managed to get my bike out of my car and walk it over to the right place. I was feeling shaky though.

My coach and friend Dana called my name and I was so happy to see her. She's so comforting and positive and really helped me get into the right place (and space) without her I would've never had been able to rack my bike or set up my transition - I was just too nervous to focus. :) 

By the way, all of these great pictures you will see are courtesy of Dana as well. She's the very best. 

Getting ready 
A few of the other Moms In Motion were doing this one too so I wasn't entirely on my own, though the rest of them were doing the "Try a Tri" I along with one other MIM (she has done other Tri's before) was doing the sprint.

I forgot about the barefoot thing though and from the bike to the water was black top with pebbles and I've got sensitive tootsies.  Ouch, ooh, ouch… I thought to myself, "this should be interesting coming out of the water to bike."

136 baby - love those numbers - so official! 
I got in the water for a warm up. Temp was nice. On the very warm side which I personally like.

So far so good

Then I got out and started to scope the course. 


Um. I think I can make it.

How many buoys? What? Oh.
And then the race started and I was definitely last in my wave. There was about 15 or so in my wave and none of them looked like newbies so I was OK with being last but then all of a sudden I started getting mowed over by the fastest of the wave behind me. EEEKS! And then the fastest of the wave behind that. OY VEY. Where the hell am I? At some point I realized I had about a million buoys to go (or three - same thing).

How'd my swim go? A picture speaks a thousand words…

OMFG What the hell am I doing here? Heeeelllp Meeeeee! Gasp. Gasp.
Seriously. I laughed for forty minutes over this picture. Though it was no laughing matter at the moment. In addition to being totally demoralized by getting smoked by several other waves behind me, I kept hearing the lifeguards shout to one another: "Keep an eye on the blue cap." Well the Jersey in me was like "Don't you worry about the blue cap. I'm fine. I'm just slow... (and having trouble swimming and breathing but this is how I roll.)"

Though, I'm glad someone was on it in case I dropped dead in the middle of the swim. It was comforting they "had an eye on me."

And then I was done and feeling relieved that I made it out alive it was over. 

When I looked up my swim time I had to ask what "13:30" meant. They said that was my time. I said that was certainly an error because if I had to guess, I was in the water for at least 4 hours - minimum. They said, "nope, that's it." Longest 13 minutes of my life.

I've got a lot of work to do before my IronGirl which is twice the distance and probably in rougher waters. 

Good news about the swim though was that I was so shaky and appreciative for land that I didn't even notice my bare feet. I could've walked across glass coated nails and I would've been the happiest person on earth to be out of the water - I didn't even notice the run? crawl? shuffle? I don't know how I got to my bike but it was totally fine.

Despite the not-so-great swim experience, I'm proud of myself for doing it and not dying giving up. 


Friday, July 19, 2013

Jumping in the lake feet first

Only two days until my first tri!


I'm a little nervous but mostly I'm excited to see if I can do it  to DO IT!

Last week I was in KY wrapping up our production and I had the opportunity to swim in gorgeous Lake Herrington.

I also got to try out both a long and short wetsuit, courtesy of one of my best friends and business partner, Angela - who dragged both her wetsuits to KY just for me to try. (Yeah. She's the best.)

First up, trying on the full wetsuit. ohmygod how the hell am I to get into this thing? It was trying to shimmy into spanx that were 10 times to small but harder. I never quite got the crotch part to where it probably should've been but it was good enough.

I looked down at the dark deep water. Hmmm. OK, here goes nothing.

I loved it. It was so much fun and so much better than swimming in a pool. The wetsuit (no matter how annoying) was great too. I felt like a superhero and I felt a million times faster. It was great. I did a quarter of a mile - which is the distance for this weekend.

woo hoo! I didn't drown! 

A few days later I decided to go in the short one.

Short wetsuit was so much easier to get on - and jump.

Well, this day the water was way more still and I kept having the feeling that things in the lake was bumping into me… drift wood? Fish? Turtle? Loch Ness monster? I don't know but I started to get a little freaked out but still - I went for a half of mile and felt victorious.

mental note: low bun to avoid scary cone-head look

I am so glad I got some open-water swimming in while away.

And when not swimming - kicking up my feet and relaxing on a boat wasn't half bad either ;)

Angela's feet left / my feet right 
See you on the other side of my first triathlon!! ;-)

Do you prefer swimming in a lake, the ocean or a pool?

PS: I still have to pick a winner from the giveaway. I'm sorry I'm tardy with that. Will do that this by next week.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Tri Training and The Bike: On a Roll

I am so sorry running but I have a new love.

I didn't mean for it to happen. I thought it was just innocent flirtation. I'll never leave you completely but I have to admit it.

I love the bike.

Today was my second time on the thing and I rode for 12 miles. I felt 100 times more confident and it just felt so good. Even in the oppressive heat I caught some nice breezes and my favorite park whizzed by. It also was 100 times more comfortable because my triathlete friend Scott from Train Fat Boy immediately caught that my bike seat was waaaay too low when he saw my last post and urged me to fix it.  Luckily, today's ride was with the Moms In Motion and Dana (our fearless coach and leader) helped me get it adjusted right. Wow - what a difference proper seat height makes!!

I am second from the left pink shirt - MOMS In MOTION ride

I got my ass out of bed on a Sunday morning at 5:30 AM to be at the park by 6:30 AM - Unheard of! But once out the door I felt good and I was so happy to be on that bike path. Maybe I can become a morning person after all.

I can see why triathlons are so addictive. I'm having a blast mixing up my workouts and learning new things. It's scary, challenging and fun all mixed into one.

After the bike I ran for two miles and even the run was slightly more electric - I felt bad ass for just riding for an hour and now was running too.

I've been keeping up on swimming too. I am coming along - slowly. The good news is, I'm not afraid of the water. I grew up with swimming lessons and flapping along in the deep end of pools and lakes. The bad news is I'm slow and not a particularly great swimmer. I've been studying YouTube videos to get proper technique and they've been helpful - but I've learned that there's a LOT to think about. How I tilt my head to breathe, how you point your toes, flex your ankles, not to kick from the knee, tuck chin and stare to the floor to make sure your hips float more and your kick isn't too deep, fingers together, stroke…  etc, etc. so much to think of and I feel like it takes me forever. But even still. I've never finished a swim session and hated it. I always enjoy my pool workouts and am looking forward to getting somewhat competent. (I know. I aim high. Just keep swimming and don't drown is really the goal.)

But poor running. I just don't have the same passion for it. My runs have been 2 - 3 miles lately. With this baaaaad heat and humidity I haven't had the motivation to run longer. I guess that's OK for now as I have no half marathons on the calendar. I do have a ten mile race in October that I can't forget about though.

Don't forget to try to enter and win an Armpocket! You have until July 15th to enter!

Don't forget there is still time to sign up for an Iron Girl Triathlon and save $10 on your entry. All you have to do is find your race here and enter IGfinishline at checkout.

Have you discovered anything new along the way that you enjoy to do more than or as much as running?