Elephant in the Room

Hello world.  Crazy how time flies.  I did not realize it has been close to 2 years since my last post.  I never even wrote an Ironman Lake Placid race report.

In a nutshell, if you did not already know.  I did not make it out of the swim that July of 2015.  I was beat up pretty badly while trying to sight using the yellow rope underneath the water.  Here I was thinking that I would save so much time on the swim not having to sight by staying on the yellow rope.  Well dumb me did not even consider that this would also be the brilliant race plan of every fast swimmer out there.  I was punched so hard the wind was knocked out of me but I was able to keep going.  The second time I was hit, my back went into spasms.  I climbed out of that water and went straight to medical.

My heart was a broken hot mess.  I felt like I let everyone who supported my campaign down.  It was rough.  All the money I spent on this event.  All the time invested and I did not even make it out of the swim.

I was pretty deep into my self pity party until the volunteer that assisted me inside the medical tent suddenly stopped with helping me peel off my wet suit. She saw my MMRF team jersey and with tears in her eyes, she told me that her husband was fighting multiple myeloma. She then gave me a hug to thank me as I struggled to hold myself together.

So even though I was a DNF in Ironman Lake Placid 2015, this volunteer inadvertently reminded me that this was not about me. This journey was really for the patients and their loved ones.  My effort still went to help with those that are still fighting the battle. It was not at all a waste.

And hey, I was still alive, right?  I was not knocked out cold at the bottom of a lake.

I have been doing some soul searching since that day.  Took some time off from triathlon to re-prioritize.  The sport will still be there when I am ready to come back.  The triathlon world had consumed me.  I had a longing to take my world back. I had a spiritual hole that needed healing.

Now that I had all this extra time not dedicated to Ironman training, I could finally go on the Zen cruise with one of my oldest and dearest friends.  In only four days out at sea, I discovered the spiritual healing I was seeking. Since I have been back it has opened so many doors for me like Kundalini yoga and gong meditations.   When I returned to the mainland, all I wanted to do was find a community that would surround me with this beautiful energy daily.

So I took the plunge and signed up for Lifetime’s 200-hour Life Power Yoga Teacher (RYT) program. I decided to keep up my running on the side, and my Wednesday night indoor cycle class while attending school three times a week.  I had an amazing 3 months with a wonderful group of ladies that I will never forget.  I did not only learn about the health and mind body benefits of yoga but I also found the love and support of my new yogi sisters.  Johnny Kest has put together an incredible yoga program that I am so honored to have studied.

I graduated in May 2016 but have not started teaching yoga yet.

Mainly because all my spare time has been devoted to attending as much Pilates sessions as my time allows.  I attended my first Pilates class while I was in yoga teacher school and immediately felt a connection. I love feeling so alive and connected again.  So I keep going back for more.

And because I cannot seem to get enough of it.  I made the decision in 2017 to go after my Pilates Certification. I started my training with Balanced Body and now I am working with a private training program at a local studio.  I have even put running on the back burner to focus on my training (but still teach my indoor cycle class at Embody, in case you were wondering).  It connects the mind and body like yoga but it also has the physical challenge I seek to push my body to the next level.  I am so grateful for my yoga training because it has given me a deeper understanding to the mind-body foundation while I focus on learning the Pilates mechanics.  My goal is to be fully certified by the summer.

By the way, I have several hours of Pilates student teaching to complete (for Mat and Reformer).  If you are interested (and you are local), please message me and I will add you to my list of guinea pigs…(ahem)…I mean volunteers.

So finally addressing the elephant in the room will blow the cobwebs off this blog (yeah, I am referring to my Ironman DNF).  Obviously this blog will be shifting to different interests.  Maybe triathlon will be back but for now I am content with this new lifestyle. Time to usher in stories about my new adventures.  Buckle your seatbelts…and enjoy the ride.

65 Days and 65 Years

65 days left ’til Ironman Lake Placid.

My dad would be 65 years old if he was alive today.

It has been 17 years since he has been gone but I still get those “punched in the gut” moments when I miss him and it is always at the most awkward times.

Like at the office.

We have 5 years left until our mortgage is paid off and now when I look at it, it is no different than the amount of a car loan.  So I have questions.  Oh, so many questions.

Like what if I wanted to shop for a new loan with a way cheaper mortgage rate?  Where do I start? What kind of loan is it?  Home Equity?  Personal loan?  Does it have to be refinance type deal?

My head goes on and on until I realize that what I really need to do is call my bank.  But I don’t want to call a stranger at an institution because really, the bottom line is, I want to call my dad.

17 years later, and I still want to ask him money questions.

The amazing man with all the answers. He knew all the finance tricks and tips.  He knew loans. He was so frugal.  Who knew how to save for retirement.  And this would be the year he would finally get to retire.

65 years.

Yeah. Punched in the gut.

But you can’t dwell on the sadness very long.  I am at work so I have to keep it together.  You just swallow that lump and keep going.  You research.  You remember all those smart friends in your life that you admire and respect on how they handle money and you reach out.

Back in September 2001, 6 days after September 11th, I was driving home from being stranded from the airport.  I rear ended someone making a left turn on a two-way country road.  I totaled my cute little 1994 Honda Civic royal blue hatchback.

So now it is time to go car shopping but this time there is no Dad by my side.

Sucker punch in the gut.

Again.  Swallow the lump.

I need to drive to pay those bills.

So I bought a book on how to buy a car.  I looked up the Blue Book values and researched all the add-ons.  Armed with all my information,  I went to three dealerships.  Told them point blank that I was buying from the dealer that gave me the best price.

And I did.

Bought a 2002 Honda CRV Ex in deep forest green.  I will never forget that moment I picked it up.

I did it and I am still driving it today.  My CRV is 13 years old this year.

On a lighter note, I had a good run tonight.

Whew.  Finally.

It has been so raining so much lately that our livable forest is as humid as a tropical rainforest.  Breathing in this soup is tough.  I had my dear Ironman Texas friend run with me tonight.  He entertained me with a full race report so the miles flew by.  I sure needed that boost since my confidence in my run has been down lately.

Gearing up for a 3-day weekend and then I am off to Miami.  Time is ticking by.

65 days to train and 65 days to raise enough funds to reach my fundraising goal.  If you are able to help fund the research to beat the cancer that took my dad’s life, please donate HERE.

I have my moments in training and in fundraising that I don’t know how it is all going to work out.  I start to get scared and doubt myself.  

But then I remember that I just have to swallow that lump and push forward.

Tri-Dork Bag Drawing

Who has two thumbs and has her hands on this beautiful TRI bag??
This chick.  Yeah, the patriotic one above.
SO, you now can either choose the JJ Watt signed “SWAT TEAM” football that I am giving away (yup, I still have that too). For every $10 donation, I will add your name to a hat and will draw one name to give this ball a proper home.
OR for every $5.00 donation, I will put your name in a hat for a brand new, never been used, Rudy Tri Bag in a protective plastic cover (which means it still has that enticing new bag smell).

Want more?  Check out the detailed review in the video below. 

You will be impressed.  It will knock your socks off.  Maybe wipe away some drool.  Well, okay, maybe if you are into this triathlon sport thing.
 I like how it is a sturdy duffle bag but it still converts into a back pack. For those times you need to ride your bike AND carry your bag.

And if you donate, you will support my effort to raise money for Multiple Myeloma research.  You just can’t go wrong here.

If  YOU want to win either then please donate here.
If you already donated, I will be contacting you personally to see if you are interested in the drawing.
Drawing for both will be on July 27th, 2015. Yes, the day AFTER the Lake Placid Ironman.  
Even if you don’t win, then you are still helping to contribute to the research of an ugly type of cancer called Multiple Myeloma.  You help the patients and their families win.  Every little bit helps.
Thank you kindly for your support.

Less than 11 weeks

I know, I have been quiet.

I have 72 day to go and I am trying my best to stay on target.

I have hit the half way point of my fundraising.

Training every day. My workouts are not pretty but I am getting them done.

I saw my friend Jessica last week who recently became a Metabolic Specialist.  She taught me about Metabolic Efficiency and how to eat to burn more fat.  I am gradually trying to adopt this way of eating.

Rest day today.

Please help me reach my goal.

Slip Sliding Away

Some weeks, I feel invincible.  Workouts are going great.  I feel on top of the world.

And then I hit this week, and it is all headwind.

Taxes were due today and I have been so distracted.

I have already missed a trainer workout and a swim workout this week because I have been so focused on taxes.

I have kept up with my daily runs but they feel slow and sluggish.

I have gotten up to my app Alarmy but then in 5 minutes, I go right back upstairs and back to bed.

What the heck is wrong with me?

I can not let this slip turn into a slide.

Tomorrow, I put on the brakes.

Coffee Pot Hero

So what is so special about this photo of my coffee pot?

Well, this photo of my coffee pot got me out of bed this morning.

Yes, finally.  And it was not by drinking the coffee.

I had a losing streak of not going swimming in the morning.  Today that streak was broken.

You see, I found this awesome little alarm app called Alarmy.  (I have a Samsung Galaxy S5.)

First, you take a photo of an object in your house.

I chose my handsome looking coffee machine (Keurig) in my downstairs kitchen.

When my alarm goes off, the way you turn it off is to go downstairs, down the hallway and in to the kitchen and take a good photo with all the lights on.

It must be the exact same photo…and in focus.

It sounds easy…but at 4:30am I tried to take a photo of the bunch of bananas instead.

But the point is, it gets you out of bed and you have to use enough brain power to use your camera phone. Eventually you get it right and it semi-wakes you up.

Then the trick is….you must not go back to bed.  (Like I did the first 3 times.  Ha!)

Complicated, I know.

My masters swim coach gave me a huge hug when he saw me.  That was worth all the effort in getting up at 4:30am this morning.  I also have more time with my Charlie and Gizzy after work (another huge added bonus).

The Self Torture In My Head

Today was a rough day at the office.

I trudged home through traffic.  Let the dog out.  Fed the dog.  And then layed down on the couch to cuddle with Gizzy and started surfing Facebook.

My eyes started to get droopy.  I look at the time.  It is 5:44PM.

I sure could use nice little cat nap.

20 minutes would hit the spot.  Only 20 minutes though.  I could start my workout at 7pm.

You know, I don’t HAVE to do my training tonight.  I could use the rest day.  After all, I will be working hard on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

And here I am starting to negotiate.  Stop.

I jump off the couch and force myself up the stairs to change.

Then I start sorting my laundry. Putting clean clothes away.  Next I am sitting down at my vanity to clip my toenails.  Hmmm….now filing fingers.  I start dayreaming about getting a good manicure.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

Call the dog to play with me upstairs.  Lay on the floor and stare into his loving eyes and gush on him.  If I go train, I would leave him home ALL alone.  So sad to be so alone.

Started thinking, hmmm….I could take the night off and get all my laundry done instead.  I can watch Gizzy sleep.

Again with the negotiating.

Enough.

I pack my gym bag for swim and lace up my Hokas.

In my CRV finally…and driving at 7:07PM.

Perfect time for me to get 45 minute run in before dark and in the pool before closing.

I need to do track workout first so I head to the Kingwood High School Track.  It is paved nicer than the Kingwood Middle School.  I need to do a 1 mile warm up.  Run hard 800meters.  Recovery for 200 meters.  Repeat 4 times.  1 mile cool down.

I am kinda pumped to do this workout.  I need to run hard.

I turn left to face the high school parking lot and sit at red light.  Uh oh. I see people in the bleachers.

Crap. Looks like there is a game going on.  Maybe a track meet?  Too many cars in the parking lot.

Abort mission.

Now it feels like years that I sitting at this red light into the high school parking lot.  I start debating if I could break the law and get away with it.  I feel trapped. I. CAN’T MOVE.

That’s it.  It is a sign.  I should go home and take that rest day.  All my time is being wasted at this red light. I should just call it right now and go home.

But damn.  I drove all the way over here already and I am dressed to kill (well, for a workout that is).

Greenlight.  I take the next u-turn and head to the YMCA.

Fine.

I will run from the Y.  At this point it is now 7:31PM.  Do I have enough time to run and swim?  Maybe I should skip the run and just swim.  Maybe I should skip the swim and just run?

Maybe I should pee first?  But I will lose too much daylight if I run inside the Y. Aye. Just suck it up and hold it.

Oh crap.  Forgot my Garmin.  Can’t run without that.  Return to my car. Dig in trunk.

As I stood at the entrance of the running trail while waiting for my GPS watch to pick up satellites,  I bet I came up with 5 more reasons to abort and go home .

Finally, I am running.

This is not so bad.  Feels pretty good actually.  Nice breeze.

Ok, so I will do my favorite 5K over Lake Houston and I will stride the straightaways over the bridge.

Wow, that went faster than I thought.  Satisfied with my time.  Best of the week.

Pool time and I actually have the pool to myself.  That never happens at the Y.  I put in a good 45 minute swim and then start packing up my bag.

I start to eavesdrop on the two high school life guards ladies talking above my lane.  I pretend to stretch a lot. Bouncing back and forth like Spiderman on the wall of the pool. They both say  “like” every third word. I started to find them very entertaining and soon I was counting all the likes in their conversation.

I, Can’t. Stop. Listening.

I want to ask my mom if I talked like that.  I must have made everyone around me like crazy.

Showered.  Picked up my favorite sushi roll and drove home.

I think I put in more effort on how NOT do my planned workout than doing the actual workout.

Why do I do this???  It is pure crazy.

But I must say even after all that…I am so happy it is done!  So glad I did not listen to the other me.

‘Til tomorrow!

Forced to Meal Plan

Fact:  I do not enjoy cooking.  Never been my passion.

AND when I am lazy, it is the last thing in the world I want to do.  I would rather take out garbage.

In fact, if I EVER win the lottery, the first thing I would do is hire a personal chef.

But…two people eating out every day is crazy expensive.

So I took a giant Post-it note pad and made a weekly plan.  I stuck it on the back of our front door.  Oh, how my husband loved that (yes, that was in sarcasm font).

Monday: Salmon Burgers (bought pre-made at HEB) and Quinoa bowl
Tuesday: ATE OUT
Wednesday: Tortilla soup with fresh avocado (another soup kit from HEB)
Thursday: Sausage Meat Sauce and Spaghetti
Friday: Split Pea Soup
Saturday: Pizza night
Sunday: Family night at my Mom’s

Only slipped up once.  Tuesday night Charlie and I went out for Greek food.  Pizza night was planned but the Greek night was not (that was supposed to be leftover night).

But 4 for 7 is a huge step considering we were eating out 7 out of 7 days.  I am quite proud.

And yes, cooking still sucks, but it is feeling pretty good to resist the temptation of instant gratification.

And when I do that math, my lunches average about $10 a meal.  Dinner about $15.  That is only $25 a day.  But then there are two of us.  And Charlie has a man appetite but let’s just say that it cost $50 a day. Multiply by 30.  Aye caramba!

It is ugly.  Really ugly.

I packed a lunch every day this week (go me!).  What I paid for sliced Boar’s Head deli ham, Muenster cheese and bread was the cost of what I pay for ONE sandwich at Lenny’s or Subway.  So far, I have eaten 3 sandwiches, and I am only halfway done with the meat and cheese.

I had all these crazy ideas on what I could do to lose weight. Eat Clean for 3 weeks.  Paleo for 2 weeks.  Master Cleanse again for 10 days.  When suddenly, the obvious slapped me in the face.  Maybe if you did not eat out. Every. Single. Day. You would lose weight.

So just to get back in the habit again, I created a weekly meal plan of foods I know I like.  Am I analyzing them for their calorie count?  No.  Are they Paleo?  No. Clean?  Not entirely  Vegan?  No.
Are they super fast to cook?  Yes, since I have the attention span of a gnat that is a huge requirement.

I figured, once I get the habit down, I will start to fine tune and choose healthier options,

I don’t have to get it right, I just have to get it started.

Training this week.  I am on week 23 of Ironman Lake Placid Training.  Nothing too crazy yet.  But I missed more than 3 days of taking my Synthroid medication.  I packed it in my suitcase last week for Chicago and it lived there a little too long.  Sheez Louise, did the fatigue come back with a vengeance!  I have no idea how I even found the time to cook.  It was like squeezing out the last bit of toothpaste.

I am back on track again and back to the plan.  It is great to feel normal again.

5 Big Rocks for 2015

Happy New Year!

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind with my job and the holidays and as a result my blog updates have taken a back burner.

But now, I have 3 glorious days freed up and I am ready to get back at it.

Let me start off with my training.  
I thought it was not going well but in the past 3 days, at the Snowdrop 55 Ultra, I covered almost 50 miles in 3 days.  And to my surprise, I am walking quite well today.  I am even tempted to go running today because my legs feel so good.  I was not expecting that.  Score!
On the other hand, my swimming for December was 4 for 7.  Which means, THREE times I skipped. Nope, not proud of this fact.  If I want to get better, then I NEED to get my ass in the pool.

Enough said.

My running this month I thought was so going poorly since I had hurt my hip in Louisiana.  I tried to do the 30K a week after Baton Rouge and ended up walking most of it.  I took it easy the rest of the month.  I still ran, but was a little leery of anything long mileage.  
I played the conservative card at the Ultra 55.  I did not set out to conquer 100 miles.  I had the goal to do as many laps as my body allowed in 55 hours.  I thought if I ran 50, I would be really proud of that since I had never run that distance in 2.5 days before. I ended up pretty darn close at 48 miles.
I ran when I felt good, walked when I didn’t, and slept hard when my body was ready.  I drove home every night, put my feet up in front of the fire and returned to the park recharged and ready to go.  I loved every minute of this event.  The human spirit there will blow you away.  I am honored to have the chance to know every runner and volunteer at Snowdrop to bring awareness for pediatric cancer.
And I digress…back to the December training recap.
Finally the bike.  On the bike,  I have no pain.  So I could keep biking and I was able to do that as planned.
Okay, so now with the training update out of the way, it is time for my nerdy side.
For the new year, I bought a giant poster size sticky pad.  I am going to put it up on my bedroom wall with my weekly plan.  This is going to be my attempt to balance my family life, training and fundraising.  I will take a photo of it when completed.
Somehow I need to figure out the diet thing. This always seems to be my weakest link.
Working out, no problem.  What to eat?  Ugh.
As far as New Year resolutions go, well honestly, I like to do them all year long every month.  I always have areas I want to improve and the beginning of each month is like a clean slate. And a year, well, that is another ginormous clean slate.  So here are my 5 big rocks. Really, it should only be 3, but since 2 of them will drop off after July, I will still have a big three.

2015 Goals
  • Food Planning.  I really need to nail down the diet thing.  And not diet, by means of only eating rabbit food,  but by finding a routine to eat something on a regular basis and stop eating out so much.  Having a meal plan and following it.  I am still trying to figure out how to unlock that code.
  • Purge the Excess.  2015 will be the Year of the Purge.  I have too much stuff and not enough space.  Time for it to go.
  • Prioritize Commitments.  Focus on not putting so much on my plate.  I try to take too much on. If it does not fit in to Family time, Training or Fundraising outside of my day job then I need to reduce these from my schedule.
  • Training for another Ironman.  Stronger and better then Tahoe training. Be more consistent.  
  • Raise Money for Multiple Myeloma.  I need to raise 5 grand and that is scary as shit.  I need to put my creative skills to work and not be afraid of this goal and to look it in the face.

Unexplainable Happiness

Today was a day of contentment.

Usually I notice days of sadness without really understanding why but today my heart was full.

It is rare to have an entire day like this.

My birthday is in 2 more days.  Could this be it?

I love birthdays.

Unexplainable happiness.

All day long.

I did not make it to swim at 5am this morning but I did go after dinner.  Nice long swim alone.

And I did make my run yesterday.  Yes, hip still sore but I ran on a dirt track with friends and that seemed to have helped with the pain.  It faded away after a mile.

33 weeks until Ironman Lake Placid.

21 days until the 55 Hour Ultra.

Week 1: 2 hours swim/2 hours bike/3 hours run (7 HOURS TOTAL)