Monday, February 28, 2011

Does Anyone Else Notice a Disconnect?

I still have some pain in the shins today, so I opted for another running-rest day.  I might get some help from a world class marathoner though (more of that possibly to follow up in the future).  In the mean time, I went to the gym for a bike and swim this morning and while working out I came to a perplexing thought...

Yesterday was my rest day.  When I hopped on the bike for a short 10 mile ride, I felt fresh.  My legs were able to push through the higher intensity moments with greater ease and I didn't have to battle thoughts of easing off.  I think most people would expect that response the day after resting.  I then jumped in the pool and immediately felt less in shape than last time.  My stroke wasn't as strong, I was fatiguing quicker, and I had to pay more attention to my technique in order to keep it in line.  This effect I also know has been constant over 9 years of competitive swimming; after our day off on Sunday, Monday's practice was always the biggest struggle of the week. 

Does anyone else notice a disconnect there?

Why when I take a single rest day does my cycling and running feel stronger and smoother while my swimming seems to take a hit?  Does this mean that cycling and running require shorter time periods for tapering or is it simply that the "fitness" portion of each is different enough to have that separate an effect?  Any thoughts?

As a change up in my schedule today, I went to a yoga class this evening after work.  I've only been to a hand full of classes, but I've always liked it.  I'm a fan of getting being and feeling strong in a wide range of motion.  They recently switched up the yoga class schedule at my gym, so I decided to give it a try. 

We sat down and the instructor seemed to know a number of people in the class, which seems typical for all the classes I've been to myself.  His name is John (or Jon, however he spells it).  Since he knows there a few new people in the room he opens the class by informing us that he is an intense instructor (I like this guy already!).  Tonight he deemed the class a "demo" because it was a new time slot, so we changed around a lot doing a few poses of all the genres instead of focusing on just one, but he says that the classes are normally more intense (what he means is it is not as much focused on stretching and relaxation, but stretching and muscle work).  I can't do a balance pose if my life depended on it, but I seem to be generally flexible and good with holding other poses because John came over to me twice asking if I could do something "a bit more advanced."  Apparently I'm a "natural" (again, NOT including balancing).  I liked the class and I was happy to hear that his Sunday morning class is his more intense since that fits much better with my schedule.  So from now until I say differently, Sunday morning is reserved for Yoga!

Tonight's food piece is...  Chalupas!  These come as a secondary link to A Runner's Fuel's quesadilla post.  Remember the craving I had for quesadillas?, and how I forgot the chicken?  This time I made the chicken with taco seasoning as well as rice and combined it with fresh green pepper, fresh mushrooms, and muenster cheese on flat bread delivered straight from NYC itself (no joke, my roommate buys "stocks" for us when he goes down to the city).  All together, they made some very good chalupas! 

There was plenty left over today for lunch and there's even more left for another round tomorrow.  I've become a big fan of having lots of leftovers.  With as much as I eat and my self-packed schedule, it's easier to cook a LOT all at one time and have leftovers for those rushed meals throughout the week.

Today's Workout

1.  10 mile bike ride (30 min on Random, level 15)

SWIMMING
1.  500 warm up (free, back, breast)
2.  10 x 50s free on 0:50 - pacing
3.  10 x 50s drill down (catch up), swim back free on 0:55
4.  5 x 1,2,3 with 5s rest and 30s rest between sets - maintain pace of initial 25 (this really pushes you to test how long you can hold a pace and later, how to pick out a distance pace from the start)
5.  500 Cool down (free, back, breast)
TOTAL = 2750 yrds (1.56 miles)

EVENING
1.  Yoga (1 hour class)


Questions:
1.  How do you feel after a day of rest?  More fit, less fit, or no real change?
It seems to be different depending on the sport for me. 

2.  Have you done yoga before?  If so, are you a fan or not?  If not, is there any reason you haven't?
I tried yoga for the first time last fall when a fellow student offered a free class and then I've taken free classes through my various gyms.  I love yoga, but I'll do it at home before I go pay for a separate class. 

3.  What is your take on leftovers?  
I know some people can't stand having leftovers.  Some people (me!) live on them.  Where do you fall?


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Rest

Hey guys and gals!  Today is my rest day, which I am honestly finding it harder and harder to take, but I guess it's "necessary" so I force it. 

If you didn't see yesterday's post HERE, I am still looking for help with the shin splints.  I spent a lot of time reading up on it (again) today and I've got a few ideas as well as a friend willing to let me borrow his running shoes to compare.  However, I'm always willing to listen to more advice. 

I wrote about shin splints in the past, HERE, so I must have had them more than I can remember.  (It's nice to be able to forget the bad moments in some ways).  I'll be updating this previous entry in the next week or so with what new ideas and approaches I've found, used, or have been told of.  Hopefully I'll find something that will make this my last real entry on the topic (*crossing fingers*).

Again, thank you for the help!

On a related note, during yesterday's run, I tested out running with my hydration pack.  As I mentioned before, I have a high sweat rate, so once I get up to marathon distance run training (I'm guessing in about a month and a half) I am going to need to carry water with me on runs.  Since I am not a fan of holding a water bottle in my hand or the fuel belt bottles, I figured the hydration pack is my next option.  I know a few people who use it in that way, so I tried it (this time without water in it).  At first, it was annoying.  I could hear my keys jingling and the straps were a bit restrictive, but once I was a mile or two in, the only complaint would be it made me sweat more.  I can't say what adding water in it will change, but it remains a possibility for my longer runs thus far.  

Switching gears, like to take a second and thank Austin over at Enjoy The Ride for being such an awesome example of the triathlon family.  He held a quick little giveaway a bit ago and I was lucky enough to get a profile design aero water bottle from him.


 It even came with some AUTHENTIC New Orleans Mardi Gras beads, which he explains in his post HERE are now littered all over the streets he runs on now.  But this way he gets to spread the joy and clean up his running routes all at once. 

 Yes, I need to shave.  But it's my rest day, so I was lazy.  

So a big THANK YOU goes out to him for helping support newcomers to the sport and being so generous!  I guess now is when I should start looking at some aero bars for my bike, huh? 


Lastly, since I've been encouraging food posts, I figured I'd share my own meal.  In between writing yesterday's post I made asparagus, rice, and Swai (a fish very similar to Tilapia).  I boil the asparagus in water (the tops cook faster, so add the bottoms first), remove the water, fry them for a couple minutes, melt butter over them, and sprinkle on parmesan cheese.  The rice was the lazy Rice-A-Roni (just follow the directions).  The Swai I pan fry on medium heat for about a couple minutes per side with a light sprinkle of Cajun seasoning.

I've become quite a fan of Swai, so I tend to have some on hand most days.  It's even cheaper than Tilapia!


Questions:
1.  On your rest days, do you struggle withe the urge to workout or is it a relief to not have to?
Working out is my form of destressing and I genuinely enjoy the post-workout soreness, so I find it hard to take a full day and purposefully avoid the gym

2.  For those of you who bring water with you on runs, how do you do so?  
I've never carried water with me on runs, so I'm open to any ideas or thoughts on your experiences

3.  What are you looking forward to this week?
I'm looking forward to a full week of workouts and no required rest until next Sunday.  Yay!!


Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Runners! Please Help Me!

I am officially asking for the advice and help of any runner out there.  As of about 6:00pm EST, I decided I could not deal with my recurrent shin splints anymore.  I need your help figuring how how to fix this!

I headed out of the apartment at 5:45pm for a 4-6 mile run and 100 feet down the road, my shins were already in pain.  What does that tell you?  You need to rest and take the day off.  What did I do?  I continued on and ran 4.26 miles through the constant pain.  

I sometimes wonder about where I fall in the realm of sanity.  On the up side, I sure can put up with pain come race day.  I just hope I end up making it to that day. 

Anyways, I am asking anyone with the slightest bit of information (trivial, basic, advanced, or anything inbetween), to let me know what can cause shin splints and how to avoid and/or treat them


I seem to come down with shin splints every other week or even every week and I am at a loss as to what is causing it.  Ok, that's not true.  My personal guess is that it is my shoes, but I have no conclusive evidence so I don't want to place blame without reason.  I am going to try and borrow someone else's running shoes for a test, but until then I can't say anything. 

Here are the facts...
1.  I have recurring shin splints.  I can't seem to go a week or two without having them.
2.  I spend a lot of focus making sure I am landing flat footed and not heal striking (though I have not video taped myself to verify).  It has seemed to help, but obviously not enough. 
3.  I run 2-4 miles a day four to five days a week
4.  I rarely stretch prior to a run; only if my muscles are noticeably tight.
5.  I stretch after a run about half of the time; I know I should do it more though.
6.  At this point I don't do any interval, speed, or hill work, just building up distance so far.
7.  I bought a new pair of Asics at the end of December.  They are much stiffer than I was used to.  They are supposed to correct my slight overprotonation. 
8.  In training for my half-marathon last October, I don't recall this continual issue.  I had splints every so often, but not this repetitive.  I was also able to run 8-10 miles at a time with no issue. 
9.  For treatment, I use both ice and heat; ice if just one.  Lately it seems biking (even right after a painful run) can dramatically remove any pain. 
10.  I've been running 12+ miles a week for 5 weeks and haven't increased distance OR frequency much. 
11.  This IS the first time I've trained in the cold.  Does that have a differential effect?
12.  My run paths have slight hills, but nothing major.
13.  When I run outdoors, it is on sidewalks and road.  The trails are not open yet to run on. 
14.  I seem to get the shin splints whether I run on a treadmill or outdoors. 


If there is anything else you think might be relevant, but I haven't included here, let me know.  I'll add it as soon as I know what you need to know.

I am being extremely serious.  Tell me the most basic thing you know, even if you think I already know it.  This is my first real year training as a runner and I will certainly not admit any high level of knowledge.  I have so much more running in my future and I don't want something so simple to ruin me.  If I can't figure it out in a week or two, I might just look for a professional running coach. 

Please, and Thank You!

I hope your training is going better than my own!



Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Super Powers!

Have you ever been asked "If you had a super power, what would it be?"  If not, that's a lie!; I just asked you. So really... 
 
If you had a super power, what would it be?

Feel free to pull from your favorite cartoon, comic book, movie characters or use your brilliant imagination to come up with something more unique. 

As kids, we all run around pretending that we're jedi knights, fairy princesses, that we can fly or turn our enemies into ugly animals.  Even as adults, we all wish we had a bit more ability than humanly capable. 

Personally, having been a die hard swimmer for so long, I've always dreamed of having gills and being able to swim around underwater for hours.  I just feel "at home" so much in water that I think gills would enhance the experience much more.

However, following in the large steps of irony, we all seem to end up with our own unique human qualities that every once in awhile seem to stand out as a "special power."  Something along the lines of "Really?  Out of all the cool things I could do, THIS is what I'm 'blessed' with?  Yeah, I'm certainly 'special' in my own way."  haha  I've been through many of my own 'special power' moments and I even had one this morning!  That's right, in the full display of the general public, with no mask or way in which to hide my true identity, I displayed my very own super power.  So if they all know, I might as well tell you, right?

I am a human water balloon!

Awesome, right?  Think of how many uses that could come with.  I might get my own comic.  If you had any momentary glimpses of a somewhat cool idea from that, please let me know.  I could use it to spin this in a better light.  haha

So here's the story...  Due to rain I ended up at the gym for my long run today.  Now, on the treadmill I get bored VERY quickly, so I split the run up; I would run some, bike a bit, and run some more.  I hopped onto the treadmill and ran 3.5 miles.  At this point, I had drunk about half a water bottle and was sweating a good amount (my tech shirt had already started sticking to me, but nothing more than normal).  I jumped over to the bike and went 10 miles in 30 minutes with the Random program (which should really be called the 'Play with your mind' mode).  I had gone through almost a full bottle of water on the bike and when I hopped off I noticed that not only was my tech shirt drenched, but my tech shorts were dripping

What the heck?!  I might as well have been outside in the rain for how wet my clothes were!  I decided based on some version of gym etiquette I have formed in my head that I should not go back to the treadmill and sweat ALL over it, so I cut my workout short and went home.

So with all of it's grand usefulness, I hold the power of being able to take in a lot of water and subsequently release it in order to soak someone.  Unfortunately, the power is only currently directed at soaking myself.  :\  I have a lot of super power training to go through.

Really, this just means I have a high sweat rate, which I had blogged about awhile back, HERE I release about 2L every hour through sweat, which let me tell you is difficult to keep up with during a workout!


Today's Workout:
RUNNING
1.  2 min. walk at 4mph
2.  1.0 mile at 7:30/mile
3.  2.0 miles at 7:03/mile
4.  0.3 miles at 6:00/mile
5.  0.2 miles at 7:30/mile

CYCLING
1.  10 miles on Random, level 15



Speaking of super powers, you might be interested to follow Dean Karnazes on his newest adventure, 3000 miles in 75 days.  Click HERE to check his progress live!


Questions:
1.  If you had a super power, what would it be?
I would go with gills.  It's not extremely useful, but a long time wish of mine.

2.  Do you have a "special" power?
Besides my sweat rate, I can put both feet behind my head.

3. Do you know your sweat rate?
I expect not many people do, but it can help in knowing how much water to drink during a race in order to avoid dehydration. 


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Learning to Deal

Last night I started noticing that my back was very stiff.  My best guess was that my Erectors were the issue (the muscles that line your spine).  Since I've finally been continuous with my running, I have no doubt that that was the main culprit.  Really, it's more the fact that I'm not taking care of my muscles post-run, but I prefer to blame running.  haha

I talked to a friend who is a massage therapist and aside from a massage which I may very well look into getting some time next week, she suggested spending some time in the hot tub or doing stretches for my back and if I could, do them in the shower with hot water on my back. 

This morning I woke up and for obvious reasons didn't head out for a morning run (I'd prefer to relax my back first).  So instead I went to the gym for a swim.  I ended up doing a longer swim than I've been doing and it felt great.  Afterwards I spent some time in the hot tub and then took a very hot shower and stretched.  My back is still a bit stiff, but it's much better.  I will have to try and make a habit out of the shower stretches since I always shower after running.  That and I've got to try and relax my upper body more when I run.  I'm the only person I know of that gets cramps in my shoulders and back while running.  :-p

On another note, I have an all day training on Saturday.  So I will have to alter my training schedule a bit.  I will push the Saturday Tri to Sunday.  I haven't decided if I want to make Saturday my rest day or put it off.  I wanted to run a total of 18 miles this week and I'm 9.4 miles short.  I thought about doing a run this afternoon, but ended up eating too much at lunch time and then forgot that the sun still goes down pretty early.  So in light of my sore back today, I am continuing with the rest on running today and planning on a long run tomorrow with a shorter run Saturday evening after my training. 

Finally, it seems my snack craze is no longer a secret (though I never meant it to be anyways).  Yesterday, I got the following for my birthday...

The bananas and peanut butter on the right are from Kristin.  And on the left is Chelsea's "cake."  You can see that her peanut butter has "frosting" labeled on it and there is also the word "cake" written on the bananas.  What an imaginative cake!  So I now have post-workout snacks for awhile now.  haha  Thanks guys!!

I also got a new book!

Now I hold all the secrets of ultramarathoning!!  Muah-ha-ha-ha-ha!  Ok, maybe not, but Dean Karnazes is one amazing super-human.  Did you hear he is now going to run 3000 miles in 75 days?  Read all about it HERE.  I would love to be able to do things like that.  Ok, I'd prefer to do something with swimming.  Running is not my forte.  But until then, I'll read about it and work my way up to one marathon before attempting multiple. 


Yesterday's Workout:
MORNING
1.  3.97 mile run (7:10 pace)

EVENING
2.  20.25 mile on stationary bike (60 min)
3.  1.0 mile run (a friend told me to run a mile just for them, so I did)
4.  0.5 mile walk/jog cool down


Today's Workout:
SWIMMING
1.  500 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
2.  10 x 50s free on the 0:50
3.  5 x 4,2,1,1 - Alternating free and stroke with each 100.  50s and 25s all free.  10s rest after 100 and 5s after 50s and 25s. 
4.  100, 200, 300 - 100 free, 50 stroke maintaining pace
5.  10 x 50s - alternate free and free/stroke on 0:50
6.  450 Cool Down (free, back, breast)
TOTAL: 3550 yrds (2.02 miles)


Questions:
1.  What was your workout today?
I swam 2.02 miles and focused on relaxing my back.  


2.  Do you have any fitness related "injury" or "condition" that you always seem to deal with?
Between shin splints and tight muscles, I always have one or the other.

3.  Has anyone read Dean Karnazes' book 50/50?  
I'm excited to get into it.  I have to jump between the Triathlete's Training Bible and 50/50 now.



Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

'Quarter Life Crisis' or 'Stirring in my Soul'?

Does anyone know the song that has a lyric that goes like this...

"It might be a quarter life crisis / Or just a stirring in my soul"?

I'll give you a hint - it has a really fun-to-play verse guitar riff.  No?  That doesn't help anyone? 

It's by John Mayer.  Any closer?  Ok, fine.  It's called "Why Georgia" and it's one of my favorite songs by him.  I love the beat (that's why I learned how to play it) and I really appreciate the song's theme of realizing you're not exactly happy with your life, getting up, and changing it despite the fact that it may be scary to do so.  And to be honest, despite not living in Georgia, the song fits me so well!

A bit of bio...

For those who aren't aware, I graduated from the Honors Program at Boston University with a Bachelors in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a Minor in Philosophy.  I love science and saw myself going into biological lab research for either drug addiction or aging.  So as many science majors do, I entered a Ph.D. program which is what brought me to CT.  I really liked where I was.  I made some extraordinary friendships, I was moving towards a very 'out-of-reach' goal for many people, and I was spending every day learning new cool things about the world (science has so many fun applications if you have the imagination for it).  As anyone can guess, it was then that various forms of stress set in.  I worked through it for a long time, but after two years I found myself very unhappy

Being a perfectionist and very much the mathematical person (everything has an absolute answer, right? haha), it was VERY difficult to admit that I may choose to change my path and leave the program.  I took a month to think on it.  In the end, my best friend told me to look up "exercise physiology" so I did.  He knew that I picked up triathlons over the summer, trained for and ran a half-marathon in October, had put up a goal of the Ironman and had spent the last six years studying hard science.  To him, it was a no brainer!  It took a bit of convincing, but he won.

As of early November, 2010, I chose to leave my Ph.D. program.  I cannot tell you how internally difficult it was to make that decision mainly because I very much disliked the idea of leaving something I had already put so much time and energy into.  However, after having made the decision, I have never regretted it.  I am much happier because of it.  My career goal now is to make a living out of fitness.  I would love to be a professional athlete, but I'm shooting first to be a personal trainer.

So that's my story; Science to Fitness, Experiments to Triathlons, or whatever you want to call it. 

Now back to the song...

I've always been a big fan of Why Georgia since I first heard it.  And I think now with my switch in career focuses, the song's theme fits well with my own life.  I kind of look at this whole endeavor as either my own quarter life crisis or a strong stirring of my soul.  I can't wait to see what I do when I hit my mid-life crisis.  haha 

Anyways, the reason I chose this as the topic for today's blog is that as of 12:04am today, I turned 25 years of age.

Now as much as it might surprise some of you (maybe all of you), I must inform you that I have forgotten my own birthday in the past - actually twice!  So it shouldn't surprise you that I'm not one to do anything big for the day (Birthdays are just another day - why not celebrate any of the other 364 days of the year?).

However, with all the new blog followers, I thought it would be appropriate to follow up the Celebrate! post where I recapped why I blog with a bit more background as to how I found myself doing what I blog about.  I have very dramatically changed my path in life and it all started with one person asking if I'd like to give a triathlon a try (I wouldn't be able to guess where my life would be today if he had not asked me).  I'm a very big advocate of the quote "Do what you love.  Love what you do." and I'm happy to have found something I truly do love.


Questions
1.  Have you ever forgotten your own birthday? (I can't be the only one!)

2. What is your career?, and how did you find yourself there?
I currently work for Girls Scouts of CT, but I'm working towards becoming a personal trainer. 

3.  If you choose ANY career in the world, what would you be?
I'd be a professional athlete, run a show like Mythbusters (but better - they have a lot of scientific flaws), or be a professional musician.


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Running Induced Disabilities (R.I.D.s)

If you can't laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

I read a blog yesterday by Tall Mom on the Run (THIS ONE) that pointed out the fact that when you run, even the simplest thought tasks become difficult.  Tall Mom (Mel) had gone out on a run that ended up being a different distance than she had planned on, so it came down to some simple math to figure out how far they had gone and how far they needed to go.  In the end, she took a guess and went with it.  haha  I would have done the same!  I had my very own experience this morning with this sort of ordeal.

I like to consider myself a fairly smart person.  


I'm certainly not the most intuitive and I can't read people if my life depended on it, but I loved math from an early age, I've always been an inquisitive person, I love thought experiments / puzzles, and I have a Masters degree in Biomedical Science.  I figure something in there has to count for something, right?  Apparently that all goes out the window when I start running!

There is a street down the road from my apartment complex that is my one mile mark.  If I'm only up for a short run, I'll go to that road and back.  Or sometimes when I run down the other side of the road for my long runs, I'll decide before getting back if I want to add another two miles on - it's nice having a preset path for that given distance.  Anyways, I was running this morning on a detour from my normal path.  Lately I've been going up to the mile mark, part way back, and then detouring on Reservior Rd, cutting across on Groveland Terrace, down Eagle St., and then back home on Fenn Rd.  Today I decided to do that in somewhat the reverse order to mix it up.  I was going to go up Eagle and instead of cutting across on Groveland, I'll take Eagle and swing all the way around the detour for some extra mileage.  Easy, right?  NOT!

I started up Eagle and everything was fine.  Eagle turns into Kimberley and I knew that if I just stuck to the left, it would eventually turn back to Reservior.  Kimberley then turned into Cherry Hill and I figured I was maybe 1.5 miles in.  My shins were bothering me and I started debating whether I should turn left when I hit the end of Reservior and go up to my mile mark before heading home or turn right and just head home.  My mind told me I should go left, but my body was pulling for right.  Either way, I kept running down Cherry Hill, kept running, kept running...  

"Where the heck is Reservior?  I didn't pass it did I?  Maybe I read the map wrong."  I never have a fear of getting lost because I'm really good at back tracking, but I did start questioning this route.  Then I started going downhill which means I was getting close to the main road, but I should only be doing that if I'm back on Reservior.  "Did Cherry Hill turn into Reservior without crossing an intersection?"  I wouldn't put it past CT - their street naming system seems a little spastic at best.  Then I saw a street light and I knew I was definitely coming back to the main road. "Oh well.  I'll check the street signs next time around.  Should I go left or right?!"

Then I noticed that none of the houses looked familiar.  I had run up Reservior a few times before and this looked different.  I get closer to the street light...  "Wait a second, this isn't the Reservior intersection!  Where the heck am I?"  I get to the end of Cherry Hill and where am I?  Low and behold I popped out RIGHT AT my mile marker.  Remember the marker I said that's one mile down the road from my complex?, the marker is Cherry Hill Rd

I don't know how many times I thought the words "Cherry Hill Road" while I was running (a lot), but it was quite entertaining to realize that not once did I put two and two together to realize it was my mile marker road.  hahaha  Mel, you're not the only one that has a R.I.D. (Running Induced Disability).
As a scientist, it's interesting to see how different faculties are depressed while others are heightened during various activities.  My common sense certainly goes out the window!  Though, some people would tell me that my common sense is already gone once I decide to go running in 5 degree Fahrenheit weather.  haha


Questions:
1.  Have you ever noticed a R.I.D. (running induced disability) in yourself?
I kept track of pace well on my half marathon, but can't make arbitrary connections.

2.  Is there a temperature at which it's too cold to go outside and run for you?
I've been outside running down to -1 degree Farenheit thus far.  I get stopped more by wind, rain, snow, and ice than temperature.

3.  Do you have a 'go to' remedy for shin splints?
I limit my distance, focus strongly on striking flat, take rest days, use ice and heat packs, cross train, stretch, and even take pain relievers as a last resort and thus far I still end up with them.  I'd appreciate any additional thoughts.


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Healthy Eating Habits

It wasn't long ago that I stepped back, looked at what I ate, and realized that I had some bad eating habits.  I ate a lot of what was easy; prepackaged, processed, cheap foods.  On top of that, I ate very little fruits and vegetables.  At the time, I considered peas the only vegetable I would touch.  I'm sure my diet wasn't much different from the average American, but for my own sanity and personal goals, I decided to take some action.

That was 5 years ago.

The first step I took was to try out being a vegetarian for a semester of school.  This was borne out of another power of suggestion (my best friend had given up meat for lent) as well as a desire to avoid the unhealthy eating habits of college dining hall food.  All but one dining hall made burgers with frozen patties that had very little taste.  The french fries were THE hottest item (the disappeared the fastest) and we all know how they're made.  Breakfast was a production line; liquid eggs, prepackaged fruit, extra salty bacon, etc.  All-in-all, I knew I was not eating a healthy let alone a well balanced meal, so I decided to go on a diet - No meat, fried foods, or desserts for one semester (4-5 months).  

For that semester, I lived on pasta, grilled cheese with lettuce, toast, salads, and lots of liquids.  I was not that imaginative with food at that point in time, but despite the monotony of my daily diet and the smell of all the food I couldn't eat, I stuck it out.  On the last day of the semester, I decided to indulge myself.  I piled my plate with a burger, french fries, and cookies.  I couldn't finish any of it.  I was astonished.  My tastes had completely changed.  The meat might as well had been seasoned rubber, the fries were WAY too greasy, and the cookies tasted like 100% sugar.  From that point on, I've grown an appreciation for food.  All of my meat products are lean and never prepackaged.  Fried foods make me feel drained; I always opt for a salad or veggies over fries.  Desserts are almost non-existent because I've lost my sweet tooth.  I prefer European desserts because they lack the American overly sweet taste.

Ever since that personal experiment of going vegetarian plus, I've learned to eat MUCH healthier out of pure taste as opposed to a drive to be healthy.  I cook most of my own meals (and really enjoy cooking).  Meat is always in moderation and can easily be replaced by various vegetables.  Eggplant parmesan (baked, not fried) is one of my favorite meals.  I keep a box of clementines on hand throughout their season.  I never liked broccoli or asparagus, so I took time and learned how to make them to my taste; now I love 'em.

So you might be wondering "Where did this come from?"  Well, ever since this past fall, I've acquired a favorite snack - bananas with peanut butter.


And then recently I was out with friends for dinner after a show and found a new healthy snack - celery!!  I literally have not had celery since my days of Ants on a Log.  Don't remember what those are?, check them out HERE.


Even back then, I'd lick off the peanut butter and leave the celery when possible.  But all of a sudden, add a bit of Bleu Cheese dressing and celery is delicious!  I have to thank Kristin @ Cupcake Confessions for this discovery.  She was the one not eating her celery that night and allowed me to try it.  So thanks Kristin for the opportunity to discover yet another healthy habit!

So now I have a list of clementines, bananas, and celery on my healthy snack habits.  It sure beats the old days of potato chips, cheesy crackers, and soda pop!  I love when being healthy is so tasty!


Today's Workout:
1.  Ab work with Chelsea (30 min)
2.  10 min. bike ride (~3.5 miles)

SWIMMING
1.  500 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
2.  10 x 50s (50, 25, 25) - freestyle with 10s rest b/t 50s, 5s rest b/t 25s
3.  10 x 25s - Breathing drill, start from center of pool in order to include flip turn; 5s rest
4.  2 x 1,2,3,3,2,1 Relays (1st was free, 2nd was stroke)
5.  500 Cool Down (free, back, breast)
TOTAL:  2050 yds (1.16 miles)


Question:
1.  What are your favorite healthy snacks?
My number one is bananas with peanut butter - I have one after every workout.

2.  Have you ever experimented with your diet for non-medical reasons?
I went vegetarian for a semester and have recently considered the raw vegan and ketogenic diets as future experiments.

3.  Did you have today off for the holiday and if so, what did you do with it?
I worked out, worked on lesson plans, and caught up with bloggers.


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Power of Suggestion

After yesterday's post, I went and zoned out for a good couple hours, but then got back online to see if anyone else had posted a new entry (I really enjoy keeping up with people's blogs); it seems people post either in the early/mid morning or the late afternoon/late evening.  Being the latter portion of the day, I found a few new entries and began reading.  The effects have still not worn off!

First, I find a new entry by Megan called "dance a little, eat a little, run...later."  She goes through telling an adorable story about a daddy daughter dance she attended as a disney princess.  I honestly love hearing about those crazy cool events for kids and their parents; you should check it out (no, really - go!).  Anyways, onto eating.  At the end of Meg's posts she always leaves a few questions for her readers.  One of these was "What is your favorite way to eat potatoes?"  I like the idea of having questions to engage your readers; it engages them.  For myself, I began thinking about potatoes - maybe baked potatoes with butter and a little cheese; especially with a good steak or fish fillet.  Or maybe home fries!  Ooo... home fries!  (*eyes begin opening wide like an excited child*)  This is when I began having a craving for home fries.  So I did the only thing I could - I made home fries!


Ok, so I waited 'till breakfast, but the power of suggestion manifested itself into my action of getting up and heading to the grocery store early to get potatoes, seasoning, and strawberries.  I'm quite happy with my choice!  Craving satisfied!!  Thanks Megan!

After reading Meg's blog entry, I went to read anther new entry by A Runner's Fuel called "6 Miles is Now a Short Run."  This entry wasted NO time by having a big picture of pizza right in your face!  The power of suggestion strikes again - I want pizza!  Unfortunately (or maybe "luckily") it was already late for me last night when I got to the blog, so I didn't have time to pop a pizza in the oven.  But the craving is still there!  I already had breakfast and today's lunch and dinner are already planned for a friend's birthday, so it might have to wait until Monday, but pizza will be on the menu much sooner than later.  haha

A Runner's Fuel also posted a THIS RECIPE for home made granola bars a day or two ago that are on my "to make" list!  

I love to cook and come up with cool new ideas for food, but it's much easier to just get cravings and/or suggestions from others (less brain power required).  Therefore, I encourage you all to continue posting pictures of food!


Questions:
1.  What did you have for breakfast today?
I made what you see in the picture above.

2.  What are you up to on this Sunday?
It's my lazy day off, so I made breakfast, gonna' go to lunch, see Shrek the Musical, and hang out with friends.


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday Triathlon

Time for something a little different.

As you know, I took yesterday off from running due to some slight shin splints I've been managing through; I figured after a week of it I should try to let them rest.  So yesterday was a swimming day and my plan for today was to swim and then do a short leisurely run to see how my legs were doing; to see if the day off had helped.

Well...  I woke up this morning and decided that just wasn't going to work.  I needed to do something a bit more interesting.  A light brick workout just wasn't enough, so why not do a full triathlon "brick"?!  So I did.  I met a friend for a swim workout, then hopped on the stationary bike, and finished with a run.  And man did it feel great!!  Ad lib fitness at it's finest!!

Chelsea and I started out with a 2000 yard (1.14 mile swim) swim; it took us about 45 minutes.  We were both sore, but it was a good sore feeling.  Then I hopped onto the stationary bike and despite my preconceptions of possibly getting too bored, road 25 miles in about 1:15:00.  Let me tell you, books on tape works wonders in helping that time go by!  This was my first time trying it and I will certainly be doing it again.  It felt great to get onto a bike for the first time since last fall, but the "Random" setting I used for the program was certainly not as challenging as I expected it to be.  It was still good for my first ride though.  Finally, I jumped off the bike and onto the treadmill and ran 3.0 miles.  I was impressed to find that my shins didn't hurt at all (maybe that day off really did the trick) and it felt like nothing to maintain a 7:03/mile pace.  I would have run further or upped the speed, but I decided to take it easy on my shins.  In all, I spent over three hours at the gym today and I'm BEAT!



I might start doing triathlon style training every Saturday with the goal of getting up to doing a full 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run for endurance purposes.  I like the idea of being able to see where I stand every Saturday and altering the following week's schedule accordingly.  We shall see how it plays out.  But as of yet, I am certainly better trained for the swimming over the rest; who would have guessed since I grew up a swimmer?!  haha

Anyways, I am currently battling my heavy eyelids, so I will depart at this junction and spend the rest of the afternoon/early evening imitating this little guy.


Question:
1.  What did you do for your Saturday workout?  Anything new?

Today's Workout:
SWIMMING
1.  250 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
2.  5 x 50s - free, 10s rest
3.  10 x 25s - drill down, stroke back (3-10 kick drill), 10s rest
4.  5 x 50s - free down, stroke back, 10s rest
5.  1,2,3,4 - 15s rest
6.  4,3,2,1 - 10s rest
7.  5 x 50s - stroke down, free back (75% pace), 10s rest
8.  250 Cool Down
TOTAL: 2000 (1.14 miles)

BIKING
1.  25 miles on Random setting

RUNNING
1.  1.0 mile at 8.0 mph (7:30/mile)
2.  2.0 miles at 8.5 mph (7:03/mile)
3.  2 minutes at 3.0 mph (20:00/mile)


Stay fit.  Stay healthy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Celebrate!

I thought it would be good timing after the previou post about self-doubt to take a moment and celebrate!!


I know - you're wondering "What are we celebrating?"  As the title may hint at, Becoming An Ironman made it to double digit followers (haha, I sound like the radio hosts I used to listen to who argued over who had the most followers on Twitter).  Anyways, I wanted to simply take a moment and thank each one of you for following along on what for me has been an incredible journey and will only continue to grow I'm sure.  I also wanted to take a moment and recap the goals of this blog and my journey because let's face it, who really goes back and reads all the back posts?!  If you do, Go You!  I know I don't. 

So first off, here's the blog in a nutshell...

First and foremost, as I hope the title of the blog makes obvious, I am here to log my experience in becoming an Ironman.  After being easily convinced to give a triathlon a try this past May, I quickly became wrapped up in the sport and at the end of the season put the Ironman as my main goal.  I used to watch the Ironman Hawaii on tv every summer as a kid, but never considered it doable.  Also, if you had asked me to go running prior to this triathlon adventure, I would have laughed.  So it's quite incredible to now be working towards the "impossible" goal and doing so through activities I used to dread; who would have guessed.

As far as why I am choosing to make this journey public, my first post HERE still summarizes the project quite well.   My reasons for starting and continuing to run this blog are the same:
1.  By making my goal(s) public, it will help me stick to them.
2.  I'm hoping I can find people to help me learn things (how to train, nutrition, racing tips, etc.)
3.  I want to use this opportunity to see if I can inspire even just one person to be more active and healthy

I've thus far been able to hold to each one.  I set a goal of a half marathon and finished it last October!  I keep a page of goals where you can find all of my short and long term fitness goals.  I've picked up plenty of tips from friends both local and afar on how to train, how to recover from injuries, and how rest is an okay thing (in special circumstances).   I've also been able to take on the responsibility of training two of my close friends.  And I hope that is only the beginning!

On top of that, I've taken some time to use the blog as a medium to flesh out my opinions on various fitness related topics such as nutrition, training schedules, types of training, etc.  This comes from my side "project" of wanting to become a personal trainer.  In a nutshell - that's why I'm here.


And now I just want to thank you guys for being a part of this journey.

Kristin, you were probably the first person keeping up with this whole journey.  You're own blog gave me the idea of starting this one myself, so tips to you on that!  You've been there for every up and down I've hit thus far and I hope we can both be there for each other through many more.

Collin, you remind me a lot of myself when I started swimming; "We just have to finish this and then we can go in the hot tub, right?"  Haha.  You're an inspiration in your own right and I admire the amount of effort you put forward every day.  I wish you the best of luck with your leg, but until then you and I shall rule the pool!

Liangfang, you were an amazing source of support this summer at the triathlons and even gave one a try yourself!  As always, I hope your heel turns in a positive direction and you're able to get out to race more this coming season.

Blair, as my resident massage therapist and anatomy guru friend, you have been a non-stop source of information from the start and I cannot thank you enough.  I venture to guess that even Jim finds our conversations a bit too intellectual sometimes; that or he feels you're feeding into my crazy fitness schemes more than I need.  haha  Either way, I'm psyched to have you around.  And yes, I know that it would be easier if I moved to N.C.!

Amanda, your blog 5 Miles Past Empty was the first Ironman (or should I say Ironwoman) blog I really connected with.  I always read your posts and think "That's so me!" or "I just had that happen last week."  I'm glad to have a fellow blogger in the same shoes to follow along with.  And after reading some of this Triathlete's Training Bible, you and I will have PLENTY to talk about.  haha  I wish you the best of luck in your Iron(wo)man journey!

Tonia, I started following your running blog because I was focusing on the running portion of my race and it is now one of my top favorite blogs to see an new entry for.  You use the best mix of training info, personal stories, and stories about your hilarious little girls!  Every time I see a new entry I smile.  And I will honestly say you are an inspiration for my future parenting (stressing FUTURE).  You're an amazing fitness role model for your kids and I'm always happy to see kids exposed to healthy lifestyles!!

Stacey, you said something in a recent post that I just laughed at.  "Now, I don't normally do half marathons...I am an all 26.2 or nothing type of gal..."  I couldn't help but laugh.  I still have a bit of the non-runner in me, but I really hope I can make it to that type of level some day.  I'm sure having 25 marathons under your belt helps to mold you into that mentality.  I will certainly be looking for tips on how to get there!

Danny, I must admit I underestimated your blog the first few times I read it.  I certainly was wrong to do so.  Maybe it was the math teacher persona, but either way, with 5 marathons under your belt and the fact that you still don't consider any of those a PR, I see more and more similarities between you and I; setting very high goals and sticking to that bar.  I may be focusing on the Ironman now, but after that, I'll be moving onto the Boston Marathon.  So I'm behind you 100% on your goal to make it to the NYC Marathon.

Monica, you have a goal that I probably hold to the highest respect.  I've met a lot of people who have goals of winning a race, being able to do a certain activity, or alike, but the ones I most respect are people who simply get into fitness because they want to change themselves.  I know a guy in N.C. who did just that and now is a three (maybe four) time Ironman.  He has changed his life around more than he ever would have guessed and you are doing so every single day.  So my heart goes out to you and of course I wish you the best at every step!  You'll hit your goal, I have no doubt.

Stephanie, you were the official #10.  And I am looking forward to sifting through your previous posts to see how your raw food adventure went in January.  I stumbled across a guy named Tim VanOrden who runs the website RunningRaw.com and have since become incredibly interested in the nutrition benefits of raw food, but haven't yet been able to try it. 


I'm really happy to be able to do this entry.  If I ever hit triple digits, this is going to get a lot more difficult, but I would welcome the extra work any day!!


Stay fit.  Stay healthy.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Self Doubt

I want to ask you guys a question...

How do you deal with self doubt?

When you're out on the road and your body wants nothing more than to stop and walk for a bit and you haven't even finished the first mile...  Or when you wake up and you realize it's the morning for your early swim and you roll over hoping when you open your eyes it'll be tomorrow...  When you finished that second set and are thinking of a million excuses as to why that third set is not necessary...  What do you do to make it through?  Do you have sayings memorized to re-motivate?  Do you have an image to remember?  Or maybe your alter ego coaches you through it...?

I ask because I had a point of self doubt this morning on my morning run and it stuck with me for a bit.  I planned out a 4.42 mile run on a slightly new path to keep things new and headed out.  The first mile (sometimes two or three) is always 'ad lib' before I settle into my cruise speed/stride.  However, when I finished mile two, I hit a big mental block.  I could tell my stride was shorter than normal and there was more of an effort being put into it; I didn't like it.  I pushed myself and managed to finish without stopping to rest, but for the last two miles I kept trying to figure out what was up - I was really going out of my way to doubt my abilities (i.e. If I can't run 7:00 pace this morning, how do I expect to run 6:00 pace in July?!, nevermind the fact that I have PLENTY of training time before then.)

What got into me?!  I have one run that's a little off and I start seeing the demise of my world.  hahaha 

I've been reading the Companion to the Triathlete's Training Bible and in Chapter 2 (Attitude), Jon talks about mental toughness.  He points out a number of characteristics surrounding the idea of mental toughness that he says are key to success, one being "Desire to Succeed."  He describes this in two bullets.  First, can you train alone?  Athletes who are able to train alone are more apt to not become relaxed in their training, are self-motivating, and don't rely on others for success.  Second, do you find a way to workout despite any conditions (weather, personal commitments, etc.)?  This one seems more obvious - athletes who put training as a high priority and find time for it no matter what else is going on move ahead first.

I've always trained alone.  Despite the fact that I wish I had someone to push me at times or simply to break up the monotony of the conversations I have with myself, I've always swam, biked, ran, and lifted on my own.  Sometimes it's nice to have that time to yourself and sometimes it'd be nice to have someone there to share it with.  I do feel self-motivation to train is important, but I think self-motivators who are able to link up with a partner for long runs, bikes, or any other workout are better off; we all can use a bit of a push time-to-time.  I always train alone and I'm sure a training buddy would help me improve.

So I leave you with my question:

How do you deal with self doubt?

I would love to hear your thoughts, ideas, and stories.  It sure would give me a better arsenal of my own for future self doubt moments; with everything I'm setting myself up for, Lord knows I have plenty more to come.  Thank you in advance!!!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spring Fake Out

Anyone who lives in New England knows that we recently had a ridiculously warm day.  It was all you heard about on the radio stations and all your friends were naively screaming about how Spring had finally come.  haha  Here in CT, yesterday was our warm day.  When I got up in the morning to go to the gym, I layered up, grabbed my bag, and walked to the car and as soon as I stepped outside I thought "Why am I going to the gym to run?  It's so warm outside."  I ended up at the gym anyways, but vowed that if the weather was to keep up, I'll do my runs outside from now on.  As soon as I turned the radio on, I heard that it was supposed to be in the 40s and 50s all week.  Despite my love for winter, I was celebrating inside.  "I get to go back to outdoor training, yay!!!"  Little did I know, Mother Nature still had a joke or two up her sleeve.

I got up this morning to go run (outside of course) and just before I headed out I checked the weather.  Expecting to see something like mid-30s or low-40s, I was surprised to see that it was 21 degrees fahrenheit with a 16 degree wind chill, meaning it felt like 5 degrees.  Hmmm...  Not quite the Spring weather I was expecting (unless of course I lived in Siberia).  I was already dressed, so I couldn't back out now!  I'm so glad I went.

The wind was a bit annoying for the first mile or so, but once I turned around at mile 1, the wind was at my back and I warmed up rather quickly.  I hit cruise at about 1.5 miles.  By "cruise" I mean I settled into a pace that felt like I could go forever.  To my surprise, I was actually able to run further than two miles as well.  I had not expected the treadmill training to have done much for outdoor running, but apparently it does because I ended up doing 3.3 miles and only stopped to avoid further shin splints.  I felt GREAT and I was outdoors again, yay!!  Tomorrow is supposed to be in the mid-40s as well, so I should be able to run with less winter clothing which is always nice.

On other notes, Collin will be going to the gym himself tonight since I will be detained at the movie theater.  I'm proud of him taking the initiative to go on his own!  We shall see if I feel up to going to the gym tonight after the show to swim.  I don't need the extra swim training, so I may see about doing another run instead. 

Ok, I will leave you with another question.  Hopefully you are all enjoying some great fitness weather!!


Question of the Day:
1.  Has anyone else been able to make fitness-related use of some recent blips in the winter weather?


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

V-Day

For those of you with significant others, Happy V Day!!  

For those of you without a significant other: Happy Single Awareness Day!

As a guy (in following the stereotype), I spend very little time thinking about this holiday until the last minute.  I actually didn't realize it was Valentine's Day until I had to write the date on a form this morning.  haha  Typical guy, right?

As a scientific, logical, critical human, I find holidays such as this more of an entertainment than a requirement.  I've done things on V-day before for others, but I find it funny how people go out of their way for this one day.  The holiday has a religious foundation, the industry made use of it for profit, and people fall straight into it.  If you have a significant other, I would bet that 70% of you would be thought ill of if you didn't do anything (buy flowers, candy, set up a date or something special).  Sure, I've done things in the past, but I personally find it funny and would prefer to just randomly do that kind of kindness out of pure desire than expectation.  Just saying.

As a single individual, I find no sadness in not having someone today.  Everyone seems to have single parties so that they don't feel left out (aka, trying to get people to hook up with one another).  Yet another piece of entertainment for the day. 

But Aaaaaanywaaaaaayssss....

Who is religious?!  Anyone? Well, I usually get a package of candy for Valentine's Day from my beloved mother, but despite the lack of candy (which I'm perfectly happy with) I instead got an early birthday present; my new bible.  No, not the King James version.  It's a specialty bible made for those who pray to a different type of religious figure; the fitness gods!

(Yes, we still have our Christmas tree up)

Yes, I got the Triathlete's Training Bible by Jon Friel as well as the companion book.  I will be breaking into it tonight and you will of course subjected to many blogs in the future inspired by its pages.  And you'll love it!  


I'm so excited to start reading it - thanks goes out to Amanda for tipping me off to it.  And as today's sacrifice to the fitness gods, I did a double workout:

Morning Workout:
1.  2 min. walk at 4 mph
2.  2.0 mile run at 8.0 - 10.0 mph
3.  2 min. walk at 4 mph
4.  Dumbbell Press (10 reps with 55 lb)
5.  Seated Bicep Curl (10 reps with 50 lb)
Repeat #4-5 for a total of three sets

6.  Tricep Vertical Dip (10 reps)
7.  Lat Pulldown (10 reps with 70 lb)
Repeat #6-7 for a total of three sets

Evening Workout:
SWIMMING
1.  500 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
2.  400 Free - pace
3.  300 Free, back, breast - pace
4.  200 Free - pace
5.  100 IM - strong
6.  10 x 50s Drill down, swim back with 10s rest
7.  2 x 4,3,2,1 with 10s rest
8.  500 Cool Down (free, back, breast)
TOTAL: 3000 yds (1.7 miles)

Unfortunately, I haven't done an upper body workout in awhile, so the morning stuff kind of screwed up my elbow a bit.  My muscles can keep up, but my ligaments/tendons can't quite do so well unless I ease into it and I always seem to forget that fact from time to time.  That should serve as a sign to stick to circuits and lower body workouts aside from swimming.  haha


Tomorrow:
1.  My plan is to get up and do my double workout in the morning.  I might even mix it up and swim BEFORE running.  That or I might run through some new circuit exercises since I have Jess coming to the gym with me tomorrow and that's most likely what I'll have her do.
2.  I'm going to see a free screening of Cedar Rapids in the evening after work, so I may not get around to posting here until Wednesday.  I'll let you know what I think of it.


Question of the Day:
Does anyone have suggestions for good fitness or health related books to read?  Aside from the Bible above, I have Born to Run on my list too.  I'd be happy to add a TON more, I just don't know where to start.


Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sleepy

One thing I recall very well from my years of competitive swimming is the fatigue and sleepiness.  I would come home from practice every night and if I closed my eyes for more than five seconds, I would most likely drift off.



Scientifically, your body works on a cycle.  If you wake up at eight A.M. every day, then your body gets used to doing so and you probably get tired enough to go to bed around twelve A.M. every night.  However, this is based on the fact that your body needs to recover spent energy and it does so by periodically shutting down.  So when you're tired at ten P.M., it really is your body saying "Hey, we're getting low on energy here.  I'm gonna' shut down for 8 hours and recoupe."  So really, we work on an energy cycle, not a sleep cycle (not completely accurate, but good enough for my purposes here today). 


Therefore, when I go to the gym and workout for 2+ hours and run my energy stores low, my body reacts like it's evening and asks me "Hey, can I shut down for a bit?"  Now, we all know you can push through it and you'll be fine; who ever pulled an all nighter at school before an exam, spent all night out at a party and decided just to stay up, or for any other reason spent a straight 24 hours awake?  We all have.  But when you take a nap in the middle of the day, your body is simply telling you it's low on energy.

I've been thinking a lot about that last bit lately.  I've been upping my workouts this week and in response, my body has been extremely tired and sluggish afterward; it gets low on energy.  I always make sure to eat fruits/vegetables after I workout and juices in an attempt to give my body a quick energy boost, but it doesn't seem to be enough.  After awhile I'm sure my body will adjust better to the energy output (meaning my muscles will get more efficient and I'll most likely be consuming more - oh gees!), but I need to take some time to look into ideas on how to re-energize my body after workouts.  If you have any ideas on post-workout energizing foods, I would be MORE than happy to hear about it.


Friday's Workout:
1.  2 min. walk at 4mph
2.  2.0 mile run at 8.0 - 9.0 mph
3.  2 min. walk at 4mph
4.  Tricep Vertical Dips (10 reps)
5.  Lat Pull Downs (10 reps with 70 lbs)
Repeat #4-5 for a total of three sets

6.  1.0 mile run at 8.5 - 9.0 mph

SWIMMING
1.  500 Warm up (free, back, breast)
2.  4 x 25 - strong / pace
3.  4 x 50 - pacing
4.  4 x 100 - IM
5.  100 Cool Down
TOTAL: 1300 yds (0.74 miles)

Saturday's Workout:
1.  2 min. at 4 mph
2.  2.0 miles at 8.0 - 8.5 mph (7:30 - 7:03/mile)
3.  2 min. at 4 mph
4.  0.7 miles at 10.0 mph (6:00/mile)
5.  Side Plank Twists (10 reps per side)
6.  Pushups (10 reps)
7.  Sit ups (10 reps)
8.  Crunches (10 reps)
9.  Russian Twists (20 reps)
10.  Stretching

SWIMMING
1.  500 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
2.  1 x 200 - maintain pacing
3.  1 x 100 IM - maintain pacing
4.  2 x 50 - strong pacing
5.  4 x 25 - sprint
6.  500 Cool Down
TOTAL: 1500 yds (0.85 miles)


Stay fit.  Stay healthy.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Attention All Triathlete's!

Thanks to Amanda over at 5 Miles 2 Empty, I've been hearing a lot about this book called "Triathlete's Training Bible" by Joe Friel.

Joe Friel is a long-standing coach who decided to put his training plans and tips into a book.  I've never picked the book up myself to look through it, but I've heard so many positive things about it from Amanda that I decided to go ahead and order it anyways; it should arrive mid-week next week.  However, I did find a few related online resources that I thought you might be interested in.

First, Joe Friel's Blog.  I've only read through two entries, but if the book is anything similar I'm sure I will get through it quite quickly.  Since I am trained in science, I'm happy to see people taking methodical if not straight scientific approaches to fitness and training.  Joe seems to be doing just that!

Second, the website for the book has a section for free resources.  And who doesn't love FREE?!  I'm sure the book holds much more information, but for someone looking for some helpful tips to work on before actually looking to purchase a book, video, or such, this could be very helpful. 

Ok, time to cut out.  I've got to go get my own workout in today before I spend the entire day sitting in bed with my computer.  



P.S.  A friend of mine enlightened me about a fun running article about a crazy Australian HERE.  Apparently this Aussie is an amazing ultramarathoner and has decided to take on the challenge of running from the North to the South pole.  Crazy, right?  I can't wait to see him do it.

Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Better Planning

Everyone has days that are planned out so perfectly that nothing in the world could be out of place, right?  We all know how those go.  One thing falls out of place and the world comes crashing down like the apocalypse came early.  Or you remember too late that you left something out of your plan and again, apocalypse.

Right now, I feel like I could eat an entire buffet and still not be satisfied; quite literally.  Ok, maybe not a Chinese buffet - food that's not only "odd" (even for Chinese food), but also bad quality food, not a mix I prefer.  But anyways, I had my day planned out well (so I thought) and around 9:00pm I realized I overlooked one little thing, cooking.

I went to my first day as my new job (Girl Scouts - look at previous entry for more info) and then headed to the gym for an extended workout.  Two and a half hours later, I get out and I'm ready to EAT!  I stop at the store to pick up my post-workout snack (bananas) and head home to make quite possibly my favorite meal, eggplant parmesan.  I had the banana with peanut butter, a glass of chocolate milk, and a yogurt figuring that would be enough to cover me for an hour.  Little did I remember, eggplant parm takes two hours.  On top of that, the snack only lasted me about 20 minutes!!  *sob*sob*sob*  I need to plan better!!

Now, before you start thinking "Really?  He's complaining to the entire online community about the being hungry?," here's a bit of inside info - while I deal with the feeling of hunger quite often given my appetite, it is one of my most detested feelings EVER.  On the flip side, the feeling you get after finishing a well made and satiating meal is one of my top three physical feelings.  So go ahead and laugh, but don't be surprised when I tell you tomorrow that I ate the entire dish. 


Today's Workout:
1.  2 min. walk at 4mph
2.  2.0 mile run at 8.0 - 10.0 mph
3.  2 min. walk at 4mph
4.  Tricep Vertical Dips (3 sets of 10 reps)
5.  Lat Pull Downs (3 sets of 65, 70, 70 lbs)
6.  1.0 mile run at 9.0 - 10.5 mph
7.  Side Plank Twists (10 reps per side)
8.  Pushups (10 reps)
9.  Sit ups (10 reps)
10.  Crunches (10 reps)
11.  Russian Twists (20 reps)
Repeat #7-11 for a total of three sets

12.  1.0 mile run at 8.5-10.5 mph

SWIMMING
1.  300 Warm up (free, back, breast)
2.  4 x 200 - maintain pace
3.  4 x 100 - pacing
4.  4 x 50 - pacing
5.  4 x 25 - hard
6.  300 Cool Down
TOTAL: 2100 yds (1.19 miles)



P.S.  Eggplant parm is a favorite meal of mine, so I encourage all of my friends to make it for me - who doesn't love great home made food without the hassle of cooking it?!  Anyways, I've been complimented multiple times on how mine always turns out better.  We still have not found out why, but my guess is the fact that I bake the eggplant instead of frying.  Not only does it turn out great, but it's healthier!!  The sauce is also homemade, but I must give compliments to my roommate who taught me how to make it.  If you're at all interested, I'd be happy to send you the recipe!

Stay fit.  Stay healthy.

Subconscious Craziness

I'm sure most of you at one point in time have woken up in the morning to find that you've tossed a pillow off the bed, am I right?  Maybe you've even kicked off your socks, taken off a shirt, etc.

As a kid, I was known to do stuff like that EVERY night.  I'd wake up and I had taken off all but my underwear, my comforter was on the floor, and a pillow was clear across the room.  Don't even ask me where the shirt went 'cause half the time it took a day or two to find it.  I also moved around a lot in my sleep.  Once, I woke up a complete 180 degrees from where I started - my feet were lying on my pillow and my head was under the covers at the end of the bed.  Why?, I have no idea.  One of my favorite positions to wake up in was a pretzel; apparently it's comfortable.  Lastly, I also talk in my sleep though no one has obliged me with asking me questions when I do (I've always wondered what my subconscious would answer to some things).

Last night I added to the list of things I do when my subconscious takes over.  I woke up this morning and noticed that I had a pair of green sweatpants on.  My first thought was "I didn't put those on last night.  I put on the plaid green pj bottoms."  Wait a second...  It was then that I noticed I still had the plaid pj bottoms on underneath the sweatpants.  So instead of the typical removal of clothing, apparently my subconscious was cold last night and decided I needed a second pair of pants.

Some times I wish I had a video camera set up so I could watch myself do stuff like this - it baffles me!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Random Wrap Up

 No real coherent story/theme today, so I will leave it up to randomness!  ChaosEntropyAnarchy!

1.  Feelings I love that people call me crazy for:  Sore shoulders, droopy eyes, tight calves, heavy chest, an insatiable appetite...  Yup, those are my ideal daily feelings.  haha 

2.  Today's "Proud" moment:  After wrestling yet another bug over the weekend (this time just a minor sore throat and runny nose), I got back to the gym yesterday with Collin.  It had been nearly two weeks since I had gotten him to the gym, so it was fun (maybe more for me than him) to tire him out both yesterday and today. With all the little bugs I've gotten this winter season, I'm debating purchasing stock in Mott's.  Every time I feel ill, I carry a gallon jug of apple juice with me most anywhere.  It's been a life saver!

3.  Nutritional tid-bit I will follow up on later:  For those who are interested, Collin started a Detox diet.  This is his choice, not mine; he did it once before and said he got great weight loss results.  I will certainly be following up with him and giving my own interpretation of what the diet is doing and my suggestions for it, but overall it is mainly a fruit and vegetable diet.  Besides fruits and vegetables, he is allowed to drink a specific amount of skim milk, yogurt, granola, and brown rice (possibly a few other items) throughout the day.  My quick interpretation is that fruits and vegetables carry very little calories and pack a good amount of nutrients, so you're providing the body what it needs nutrient wise, but not volume wise which forces it to look to the stores of fat, glycogen, and protein in order to obtain the necessary energy. 

4.  Personal NoteI start a new job tomorrow.  As of this week, I am an official CT Girl Scout.  I know, I know.  Have a chuckle (I know I did!).  I will be developing and running various programs for groups of girls in CT.  What does that really mean?  I get paid to do arts and crafts, fun science projects, be active, and use creativity and childhood imagination.  Talk about a kick ass job description!  This does however mean that instead of the morning run I thought I'd be able to do tomorrow, I'll be getting ready for work, but as much as I'd like to think my training will pay bills, it won't (not yet at least). 


Tuesday's Workout:
SWIMMING
1.  200 Warm-Up (free, back, breast)
2.  5 x 50s easy (free)
3.  10 x 25s drill down, swim back
4.  5 x 50s free down, stroke back
5.  1,2,3,4,3,2,1 Pyramid (free), 10s rest
6.  200 Cool Down
TOTAL: 1550 yds (0.88 miles)


Wednesday's Workout:
RUNNING
1.  2 min. walk at 4mph
2.  2.5 mile run at 8.0 - 9.0 mph
3.  3 min walk at 4mph


SWIMMING
1.  150 Warm Up (free, back, breast)
2.  5 x 50s free
3.  5 x 50s drill down, stroke back
4.  1,2,3,4,3,2,1 Pyramid with 10s rest
5.  4,3,2,1,2,3,4,1 Reverse Pyramid with 10s rest
6.  5 x 50s hard down, pace back
7.  10 x 25s pace down, sprint back
8.  250 Cool Down
TOTAL:  2300 yds (1.31 miles)

 Stay fit.  Stay healthy. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Naivity or Insanity?

 How many people have had goals that you honestly had no idea how you'd manage to complete?

I recently obtained of a copy of the Ironman's 25th Anniversary DVD and I watched it for the first time last night.  As you all know, or should from the title of this blog alone, that my goal is to complete an Ironman.  However, that is only one of many goals.  I have "stepping stone" goals lined up prior to that such as last October's half marathon, a full marathon, July and September's half Ironman, etc. and there are plenty of post-Ironman completion goals.  Last night while I watched the Ironman video and I took a dip into either goal naivity or insanity.  I'll let you decide which.

The video goes into bits of the Ironman history, the start of the race, the greatest racers over the last 25 years, and the iconic moments.  With every Ironman great, they showed them crossing the finish line.  As you know, my main goal is to simply finish the Ironman.  Beyond that, I've already somewhat planned to race one Ironman race every year until I'm physically unable.  However, on top of this, listening to all the stories of the kings and queens of the Ironman, I get the idea in my head that "I can do that;" not just finish, but WIN!

I'm either completely unafraid of challenge or have a disconnect with reality; maybe both.

I have no quarrels with the swim.  As an ex-competitive swimmer who should have raced distance anyways.  I simply need to find enough time to train.  2.4 miles will be nothing!  The bike is my black hole.  I've held off training for the bike until spring.  I've have managed to hold an average speed of about 18-19 mph, but can I do that (and more) over 4-6 times the distance?  Then, after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles, the best Ironman racers run sub-three hour marathons.  Now, I've never ran a full marathon, let alone after swimming and biking, but my first thought is "A three hour marathon is just under a 7 min/mile pace.  Hmmm... I could do that."  Am I crazy?!  My half-marathon time was 1:34:35, a 7:14 min/mile pace.  How do I get the idea that I can double the distance and increase my speed?!  I have no idea, but I love it!!  If you set a goal, it might as well be a challenge, right? 

Back in high school I had a goal of making it to the 2004 summer Olympics.  That obviously didn't happen, so maybe this is the replacement goal - become an Ironman legend.  I feel like a kid again, like the world is my playground.  Damn that's a good feeling.


Anyone have any thoughts?  Am I naive?, insane?, maybe both?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Oddities in Life

How many people have ever had a "what the heck...?" moment about something you normally completely overlook?  Everyone, right?

So today I noticed a few things...

1.  Pockets on suit jackets and vests are sewn shut. 

Have you ever had a suit jacket, a vest, or something similar that you would normally think should come with functional pockets, but instead where there should be a pocket, it's just a slit to make it LOOK like there's a pocket?  Clothing company fooled you!!  Well, apparently the joke's on me now. A coworker of mine pointed out to someone this morning that he hadn't "cut open his pockets."  Having no idea what he meant (because cutting open functional pockets makes no logical sense to me), I watched as he showed the other guy that he could pull on what seemed like a 'non-pocket' to rip apart the sewing and viola!, a pocket.  I was so taken aback that I immediately looked at the vest I had on.  I've always wondered why they would make slits in it to LOOK like pockets, but not put them in. But now I am even more perplexed as to why completely functional pockets have been sewn shut.  That makes no sense to me at all.

2.  Service men and women (in my experience) are by majority overweight.  

There are two points to this oddity.  First, if you have a movie, commercial, or whatnot of a firefighter or a cop, they're typically decently built, somewhat athletic, able to carry themselves well, and NOT OVERWEIGHT.  So this morning when I stopped at a light which was right in front of the fire station, why did four noticeably overweight firefighters get out of a truck?! 

Secondly, firefighters, cops, mailmen/women, etc. are either on their feet a good amount of the day or should be in regular training to some degree; at least that's my view.  In this light, either they start the program significantly overweight and have actually slimmed down or they are not getting the training/exercise they need.  It makes no sense to me, and of course being the fitness-oriented person I am, I notice these things.

3.  No desire to compete for gas prices.

Out of care for keeping my car in the best shape possible, I've always attempted to go with Mobil gas.  There are certainly times when I'll get something else, but by majority I do my best to stick with Mobil.  Recently, I've filled up with just about everything BUT Mobil.  I'll drive down the road and pass Mobil with gas at $3.39/gallon and continue on to either Mercury which is 0.2 miles away or Citgo that is 0.6 miles away and get gas for $3.19/gallon.  I understand when one gas station is a cent or two different - maybe they feel they have the better gas and can still win customers over.  But how does anyone stay in business when they charge twenty cents more?!  It's hard to see people still pumping gas there; I question their motives.


Just some ideas for thought...  Go ahead and discuss.