Sunday, January 31, 2010

MY FAVORITE GEAR

My week in a little overview went something like this. It starts at 6:00 am Monday morn tri-swim class, Tuesday morn boot camp, Wednesday morn group strength and on Thursday and Friday work and weather got in the way. I had to go in to work early on Thursday and missed group strength. Then on Friday, we had a weather system come in(snow and sleet) that closed down the gym so there went that class. Yesterday (Saturday), my hubby and I were finally able to make it to the gym and I ran around on the inside track for 10 miles...that's 90 laps on a little oval. Afterwards I swam 20 laps in the pool (1000 yards). So all was not lost in 'work out world'. Instead of using this blog to express the thoughts in my head that randomly occur, I thought I would use this moment  to share my favorite gear. So here they are :
My favorite shoes are Asics Gel Kayano - I have tried many, many different shoes, but I always come back to these. They have gotten me through the toughest of times and have never let me down yet. I love the new side lacing on these shoes. Several years ago they came out with a leopard print - wish they would come out with more crazy colors like that- this year, it is just boring blue, but I bought them anyway :
  
My favorite socks are the feetures bamboo socks - love em in the winter and in the summer!

My favorite way of carrying fluids & snacks on long runs are my fuel belt - can't live with out it! I also bought an extra pouch so I can carry my cell phone. They come in different colors - my favorite is pink, but I ended up getting the red - it was the only one in my size with four water containers. Buy it snug so it doesn't jostle around during your run. You will also need some 'tightening' room. If you are like me you tend to shrink a bit around the middle on those long runs. So you'll need to be able to snug it up some as you put in those miles.

My favorite fuel to fill my fuel belt with is coconut water. Ever since I have switched to coconut water I haven't hit the wall. For me, not hitting the wall meant trying to keep my blood sugar from plumeting, and this seems to be the key. Unlike gatorade and those other sports drinks it is not sugary, so you don't get 'sweeted' out if you have been drinking it for four to five hours on end. Also, If you have trouble with cramping, then this is a drink you should try. 
My favorite running bottoms are CR-W tights. It compresses your lower body and almost feels like you are getting a nice massage while you run. It also helps control the 'jiggle'(Not that anyone here has that problem..LOL ;)- The only draw back about these pants is trying to use the bathroom after you have ran for a while - hard to get off and back on a sweaty bum.
My last, but certainly not least, is my most favorite gear of all. My Garmin! I love the fact that I can go anywhere and get my miles in and know exactly how far I went and how fast I'm going, or rather, more like, how slow I'm going. As long as I have my garmin, then I no longer have to get in the car to drive my miles to see how far I went.  After a run, I walk in the house and it instantly uploads my route to my computer giving me a complete overview of how my run went. I opted for the cool green one!
I have many, many more favorites, but for the sake of time, and not boring you to death, this will do for now. Hope you enjoyed my favorite gear. Please feel free to leave me a comment with your favorite gear. Would love to hear about it!
Namaste'

Sunday, January 24, 2010

INSIDE YOUR HEAD


It has been another busy week. It began with triathlon swim class @ 6:00am on Monday. I  alternated my morning workouts with group strength and boot camp and after class I head off to work.  I made one exception to this routine . After much debate, my friend Denise and my co-worker Dayle opted to do The Starting Block's Resolution Run 5K in Springfield MO on Saturday morning. So I broke my workout pattern on Friday where Denise and I arrived at the gym @ 6am to sit in the hot tub. I know, I know, why would anyone get up early and go in just to sit in the hot tub? The thought behind it was to give our bodies a break and a little pampering before the next day's 5K. Besides, as busy as we are, we rarely get to take advantage of the hot tub, steam room and sauna that our gym offers, so why not? It paid off. We arrived at our 5K Saturday morning at 8:00am fully refreshed. The weather was calling for rain and thunder showers all day. It was 43 degrees and the dark gray sky looked as if it could burst forth a hard, runner torturing rain. There were 330 other brave (or some call us foolish) souls to run as well.  When the gun went off I ran away from my two friends Denise and Dayle. I had decided to give it my best to see if I was getting stronger.  So far to date, my fastest 5K PR is (don't laugh) 28:31. As I was running the last mile and struggling every step I began to focus on what I was thinking. I found that I was saying to myself 'No, I can do this.' and 'No, I won't give up.' Every time that I thought these thoughts I realized that I instantly wanted to stop and walk the moment that 'No' came into mind. So I consciously started thinking 'YES, I CAN do this.' and 'YES, I am going to PR'. About a half mile from the finish line, a young lady, whom had kept the same pace as I, breathlessly said , "I've been pacing with you, you are carrying me through, please get me to the finish line." She was struggling just as hard as I was and using me as her gauge. I wondered what the dialog was inside her head. I turned to her and said, "Hang on tight, I'll get you there." And with that, we picked up our pace and crossed the finish line together. I was thrilled to see that I had PR'd with a time of 27:10!! While we stood at the finish line waiting to get our chips cut off our shoes my fellow runner gave me a hug, thanked me and introduced herself as Cassie. She said that when I took off in the beginning, she had made it a goal to keep up with me. Had it not been for me, she said, she would have never made it to the finish line in that time. I was thrilled. If your a runner, then you can relate to the bonding that takes place at these events.
After it was all over with, I pondered the importance of the dialog that each and everyone of us has inside our head on a constant basis. This dialog, if not consciously thought about, can be very detrimental to us.  It can keep us from doing our best. Had I not realized that the word 'no' was triggering a negative response from my body, I probably would have given in. By consciously thinking about what we are thinking, we can change our destiny. We can even change little things, such as a PR in a 5K. I had no idea that another person was counting on me to get them to the finish line. Had she not said anything, I would have never known. So I ask, you the reader, to take a moment in your day to day activities and think about what you are thinking.  Think about how your body is responding to your thinking and then you have the power to think differently! You may never know who is counting on  you to get them to the finish line!
Namaste' 
P.S. After the race they had drawings and gave away random prizes. My number was drawn and I won a massage and acupuncture! I gave my appointment away to my hubby, who opted to stay at home because of the forecast. He loves massages. He later showed me how grateful he was- It's all Karma my friends, all karma ;)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

THE CLOCK OF LIFE



I sit at the computer this unusually lovely Saturday late afternoon drinking a warm cup of Starbucks French press coffee and reflecting on the active week that I have had. I am constantly trying to find a balance with my hectic life schedule. Somehow, I must fit in workouts, runs, full time job, family etc. I have certainly realized how precious time is in many ways. Time is such an important, yet overlooked virtue that we often take for granted. But first, before I talk about time I'll give a summary of my weekly workouts.
It started out perfectly. I attended my first triathlon swim class this Monday at 6 am and I loved it. I'm learning to find my 'balance' in the water. I'm also learning not to fight the water but glide through the water to preserve energy and be more 'stroke' efficient. I'm going to learn a lot and am very glad that I signed up for this swim class. My other 6 am classes were Tuesday and Thursday boot camp and Wednesday and Friday group strength. Great classes and glad I'm doing them. I can only hope that they will help make me a stronger runner. After my workouts I shower and head straight to work, which happens to be a very convenient 3 minute drive from the gym.  
I had started the week with the goal of watching my diet. I need to 'lean' up for the Ironman so my intentions were to focus on eating frequent, small amounts of healthy foods.  Unfortunately, in the job that I do as an RN Case Manager at a Specialty Hospital I am 'marketed' a lot by vendors seeking my referrals.  So it started out on Monday morning with fresh, warm, home made sugar cookies from a home health agency.  Then a catered lunch of smoked barbecued brisket with mashed potatoes & gravy and yet more cookies from a medical equipment company. Then  the most wonderful Bavarian cream pastry that I have ever tasted from a TPN company, followed by a whole package of Butterfinger candy bars from a skilled nursing facility. You get the jest of it, lots and lots of unhealthy crap! Unfortunately it all jumped right into my mouth! I couldn't help it.  I was a victim! It came at me every day, from all directions, screaming "EAT ME". When I wasn't even near it and it innocently sat on my desk and I was clear down at the nurses station, I could hear it call my name. It was horrible! A junk food fest-frenzy fit only for the biggest of the bariatric!  Yes, I succumbed. Normally, when I get this food, I politely say thank you to the gift bearer and quickly take it to the nurses station for all the employee's to eat. But this week, I was selfish! I ate it all, yes I did!! And it was good! Oh, so very good! O.K. enough about my feeding frenzy, and back to the diary of my quest to the Ironman.  
Today, I squeezed my now bigger butt into my CR-W tights and stiffly headed out the door praying that I would not have a 'blow out' and cause permanent emotional damage to everyone who happened to witness it (Please God, let the seams be stitched with steel). My hubby, my dear friend Denise and I met my running group at Sequiota Park this morning at 8am.  I had not run with these wonderful women since the Bass Pro Marathon.  We had all disassembled and normally resume our runs back up again in May to train for the Bass Pro again.  But this time I had received an email from our group leader Zoe who stated that they were getting together to run this Saturday.  So we joined them.  I can honestly say that I was thrilled to see everyone! It was so good to run with them and I felt like I was 'home'.  If you have never been a part of a running group, I strongly encourage it.  There is a bond like no other when you train, sweat and endure with a group of people for months on end and then complete a marathon with them. It made me realize how precious these ladies are to me.  For 14.3 miles we chatted like old times as if we had never missed a run. The time  that we spend together is precious.  Which takes me back to the beginning of this blog...time.  To reflect very seriously on how you spend your time is of the utmost importance.  At the end of your life are you going to remember the couch and TV shows that you watched, or are you going to remember the times where you challenged yourself?  I can assure you this, the one thing you will look back on are your accomplishments, whatever that may be i.e. going back to school at a late age, trying a new class, running a marathon, or trying a triathlon. Have you ever inspired anyone? Made a difference in a person's life, the community, etc.? I believe it is important in one's life fulfillment to ask yourself these questions.  Life is too short to make sitting on the couch a priority. Even if you fail, doesn't that beat sitting on the couch? At least you had the guts to try it.
This morning as we pulled up to the park, it was a cold, dreary 40 degrees.  It was also raining, which made it feel that much more cold (The weather ended up clearing up during the run and you could not have asked for a more perfect day for a run). There were about 20 vehicles parked in the parking lot. I laughed and pointed out to my husband.  "Look, every vehicle here has a 26.2 sticker on their back windshields." He laughed and stated, "Because we are the only ones foolish enough to be out here in this."  But in fact, it was guts.  Guts that got us all out on this dreary day, and guts that will carry us through to the end.  These men and women have completed a great accomplishment and proudly display their accomplishment on their windshields.  What are you displaying on your windshield? Will you look back in the end and 'wished' you had done something? Why not now? When is there a better time...there may never be.  Appreciate this moment, for it will never be again. So I end this blog with this little poem that I found. I hope that you are as inspired and blessed by it as I was.
The Clock of Life is wound but once 
And no man has the power 
To tell just when the hands will stop 
At late or early hour. 
Now is the only time we own 
Love, live, toil with will, 
Do not wait until tomorrow, 
For the Clock may then be still.
Namaste'

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just Enough

Well, the week started out with a big bummer! All across the country there has been record breaking cold, snow and ice. Here in Missouri we've had snow and extreme cold.  It is 12 degrees F as I write.  To help me accomplish my New Year goals I had signed up for a triathlon swim class to be held at the gym on Monday mornings at 6am. I missed my first class :(. The roads were slick and I was unable to make it in that early. The plows had not yet been through our area, so I opted to play it safe and drive in later to get to work at 8am. I was able to make it to boot camp on Tuesday at 6am. The temps were -2 degrees F. We had a great class and it was well worth getting out for. On Wednesday I did group strength at 6am. There weren't very many people in class. I suppose they opted for a warm bed instead (whose to blame them). Wednesday afternoon we had another weather system come in. It happened to be around 5pm when it came in. I had to stay late at work to get my BLS certification renewed so I was driving home in the midst of it. Blustering winds, more snow and record cold. Thursday morning bootcamp was canceled along with all the area schools. So there went that class :(. Dayle, a wonderful nurse practitioner that I work with, asked me to join her in a Hot Yoga class. I was thrilled! I love yoga and have been trying to figure out a way to incorporate it back into my hectic lifestyle. With all my running my ligaments have gotten so tight that yoga would be perfect for me. Dayle is a runner as well and she loves Hot Yoga. So we planned on Friday after work to go. Then we had record breaking lows come in along with advisories to stay home. The temps were to get -10 to -20 degrees below. So our Friday Hot Yoga class was canceled :(. This weather has certainly put a damper on my goals. So now this brings me to today, Saturday January 9. Mike and I got up this morn, drank our coffee, watched a bit of the news and headed off to the gym for a run.  We decided to do 8 miles on the indoor track. I followed my hubby around an oval and watched his hiney for 72 laps.  The only good things about running on an indoor track is the surface, no wind resistance and certainly no hills, so our pace was a nice 8:50 min per mile. Which is not to shabby for me since I tend to be a very slow runner. Otherwise I don't like running on a track.  It makes me feel like a hamster in a wheel, much the same way a treadmill makes me feel.  You also have to dodge all the newbies who can't read the signs that are posted everywhere that say 'walkers on inside lane and runners on outside lanes'. It can be quite an obstacle course at times with the old people in there SAS shoes and jeans and the New Years Resolutioners in their cotton shirts and sweat pants. I can only hope that some of them will stick to a more active lifestyle this time.  In a couple more weeks the gym will clear out and it will be back to business as usual. After we ran, I swam 20 laps (1000 yards) and it was a perfect way to end our workout.  The water felt so refreshing after a run.
I have a bad case of Spring fever.  It does not help that Mike and I have our new bikes in our bedroom that we look at daily and say "Oh I wish I could ride my bike". It is killing us!  But it also gives us hope, something to look forward to.  I know that this weather will not last forever and that this season makes us appreciate the Spring and Summer.  It is the blessing of 'just enough'. Just enough winter to make you appreciate the Summer, just enough of not working out to make you appreciate working out. Just enough of not running to make you appreciate the fact that you have a body that can move. Yes, this may be a blog that has a lot of gripes in it, but in all actuality it is a blog about blessings. There is a reason for all this bad weather just as there are reasons for every season in our lives.  It forces me to sit down and reflect about how lucky and blessed that I am and that I have just enough. :). Now that I am done blogging, instead of yearning for the sounds of birds singing, I'm going to enjoy the beauty of the prismatic colors and the crackling, soothing sounds of a nice warm and cozy fire.
May you, my friend, be blessed with 'just enough'.
Namaste'

Sunday, January 3, 2010

MY 2010 GOALS


Now that 2010 has suddenly arrived  I find myself wondering where did 2009 go? Last year was a good one. I ran several 5K's, two marathons (Nashville Country Music and Bass Pro), tried my first sprint triathlon (Republic Tiger Tri) and went on my first official 47 mile bike ride (Tour de Bass). This year is going to be an even better one.  We are off to an excellent start. Yesterday, Mike and I picked up our new road bikes, mine is a lavender fit woman Felt and his is a beautiful black,white & red Bianchi .  We could have bought ourselves a REALLY nice flat screen HD TV with a surround sound system, but both of us agreed we would much rather have the bikes. Besides, they are much better for us than a TV and we would certainly get more enjoyment out of them. Neither one of us watch much TV. I believe that the world would be better off with less TV's anyway! We brought our shiny new bikes inside and parked them in our bedroom and was so happy this morning to wake up and see them first thing. The only problem is that it is 12 degrees out, snowed four inches overnight and is still snowing as I write :( As for furniture, give me a garmin (which I have & love) and for clothes or jewelry, give me a new pair of running shoes or CR-W pants and some tech shirts and I am as delirious as a cat with catnip. Our vehicles are old and proudly plastered with bike and 26.2 stickers. I can't wait to put an ironman sticker on them (after we earn it)! We don't hesitate to jump in our vehicles with our sweaty bodies, dirty kids and dogs, or hitch our bikes on them. We would gladly give up material things to pursue that which brings us joy and helps us live life more fully. So that brings me to my goals for 2010. This is going to be the year for trying new things and attempting new challenges.

GOAL #1 : BRANSON IRON MAN 70.3
Mike and I are going to attempt our first 70.3 Iron Man!  We have decided to do Branson Missouri's first official 70.3 Iron Man in September. People are saying that we are nuts because the bike course is going to be "challenging". But we have home court advantage.  We live only 20 - 25 miles away and can easily go to Branson on the weekends and practice swimming, riding and running the course. And for those of you who do not know what the Iron Man 70.3 entails it is this.  The swim is 1.2 miles long, the bike is 56 miles and the run is 13.1 miles.
My weakest point is the swim, so to help me overcome this, I have enrolled in a beginner triathlon swim class that starts tomorrow at 6am.

GOAL #2 : LOSE WEIGHT
I am only 5'1" and I am not overweight. However, my big booty seems to be perpetually stuck between 114-116 lbs. I would like to get my weight between 105-110 lbs. I know that I will never be a competitive athlete, but I would like to know that I have done everything that I can do in order to achieve MY best time. I am competing against myself and in order to do my absolute best I need to be at a good, athletic weight.
My husband is 6'2" and weighs 225 lbs. His goal is to get down under 215 lbs. This seems like a lot of weight to carry, but he has long, thin legs that carry his big frame pretty darn fast. So lots of fish, chicken, salad and sensible eating for us if we are going to get serious about achieving this goal.

GOAL #3 : RUN AT LEAST 2 MARATHONS
This is certainly a do'able goal for me. It will be my 5th and 6th marathons.  Mike has not run a marathon yet, he would rather work on increasing his times in the half marathon. So this one is my goal.  I have been sponsored by the Missouri Beef Council and have been entered in the Go St. Louis Marathon to be ran on April 11, 2010.  I am already training and feel certain that this will be a great one. I also have plans of joining my running group for the 3rd year to train and run the Bass Pro Marathon in Springfield MO in November 7, 2010.  If I can work in another marathon somewhere I certainly will! So here is my time goal...don't laugh... I would like to run a marathon under 5 hours. My best time so far was Bass Pro this last November in which I came in at 5:22:46. So if I lean up a bit and do some speed work along with my cross training for the triathlon I believe this is certainly a very do'able goal.
GOAL #4 : JOIN A BIKE CLUB AND RIDE!
Now that we have our new bikes we want to do the MS 150, the Tour de Cox and the Tour de Bass. We will probably join Springbike Bike club and ride with other local riders. My twin Audrey and my best friend Denise bought new bikes too, so we plan on being a cycling team. We have appropriately named our team 'Slow Riders'. It is going to be a fun and exciting year with our new bikes.

GOAL #5 : HAVE FUN!!
The most important thing in ALL of these goals is to have fun. We are doing them for the adventure and to enjoy life.  Life is too darn stressful as it is.  We work hard so by golly, we plan on living it up! The most important thing is not the time in any of these events, but the sense of accomplishment. I enjoy the strengthening of relationships that all these events have provided for me. It has strengthened an already strong marriage. My husband and I love and cherish our time together on the bike or watching each others butts jiggle as we run the roads together.  I have never had so much fun and laughed so hard as when me, my sister and my best friend ride or run together. I have also met new friends on this fitness journey who have enriched my life beyond words and is, as the commercial says....priceless! And absolutely nothing can describe the way it feels to cross a marathon or triathlon finish line!!
So that is pretty much it. I will blog my journey and progress along the way. So stay tuned!  In the meantime, get out, get moving and challenge yourself to try something new!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Namaste'