Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tri, tri and tri again

Two short days ago, I participated in my third triathlon! 

My event included a 750m Swim, 20k Bike and 5k Run. 

I began training weeks prior with the goal of completing the entire race. I swam many times. I biked many miles, including a 12 mile ride 2 weeks out from the race. I ran many 5ks and 10ks prior to the triathlon. I had set this large goal in mind, in order to get my eating habits back in to check and to take my exercising to the next level. 

As the event drew closer, I became more excited, but also more nervous. I repeatedly checked the weather for the area. The forecast stated it would be cold and rainy. Oh great, I thought, that will be perfect for an outdoor triathlon. I kept my fingers crossed that the weather would change at the very last minute, however luck was not on my side when it came to the weather. 

Now the day of the race is finally here. I woke up extra early to have time to eat a decent breakfast and to give myself time to calm my nerves (and also to triple check the weather in case I needed to pack warmed clothes). By the time I had gotten to the event, the rain began. As I had checked in and had gotten my bike and other items into the transition area, I was shivering because of the cold temperature that morning. As the final minutes are ticking away, I noticed steam coming off from the lake that within minutes I was going to enter. 

As I got ready for the event to begin, I got in the water. Surprising, the water was warm and the rain had stopped. Thank goodness, I thought. The countdown began and we were off. As I kept swimming, I told myself “This is going well. You’re off to a great start. Keep going”. About one third of the way through the swim, I noticed I couldn't see the bottom. I tried to touch the bottom, but it was way too deep. I just kept swimming.

 My next thought was “What is in this water swimming with me?” I thought of the little creatures probably just below me. My next immediate thought was of water snakes. I am not a fan of any kind of snakes, but this thought of water snakes possibly in the water with me, forced me to swim faster. Faster and faster I swam. As I looked towards shore, I noticed the rain had picked up.  Around the final buoys and I was able to touch the bottom once again. Now, on to the transition area.

I threw a long-sleeve shirt on and got my socks and shoes on as fast as I could. I had my items ready, but I neglected to cover them up and they were all soaked from the rain. I threw my helmet on and away I went. That was until the first large hill. Leading up to the race, I have trained to bike 12 miles. I had biked many, many miles and knew I could do the distance, but I didn't practice biking up many steep hills. As this point in the race, I was regretting my decision to not practice many hilly bike rides. I still kept moving. The course was 2 laps of a 6ish mile course. I knew once I had done the first three miles I was to turn around and head back to begin my 2nd lap. I felt so proud because I was proving to myself that I can do this. A little turn around and my second lap began, I thought to myself, I've got this. As I was looking out towards the road in front of me, it was down pouring. Rain was dripping of the front of my helmet. Many puddles of rain water were on the course. I initially biked through some and laughed out loud as I did it. I knew I was getting cold and the rain wasn't helping. I tried not to think about it, but it became difficult to switch gears because my hands were getting cold.

I didn't let the rain or the coldness stop me. In fact, I was in a great mood knowing that I have already biked 6 miles and now 3 more miles and working on my final 3 back to the transition area. As other competitors biked on by, I would hear “You’re doing great.”Keep up the good work” and my favorite “You’re almost there”, which I responded with “Thank goodness” and we would both share a brief laugh. At one point, a fellow competitor asked “Isn’t this miserable?” Yes, it was. I agreed with him and again a brief laugh was shared.

Back at the transition area, I hopped off my bike with enthusiasm knowing I was 2/3s done. I tried to unhook my helmet, but I was having difficulty with my cold fingers. After 3 attempts, I finally got it off and away I ran. I heard swishing noises and remembered my shoes were still soaked. The course went along the beach where I swam earlier in the morning. Still more steam was rising from it, but I knew it was surprisingly warm. As I was running, I followed the course flags into the woods, then along a parking lot, onto the same road I had just previously biked, then on to another dirt road. As I was running, I was trying to sing to myself, but that didn't last long. I kept my mind distracted from the cold, by repeating “Weather was nasty. Water was warm. Routes were hilly.” I had used this as a little cadence to match my steps accordingly and to keep myself moving.

I also kept thinking to myself, “You are almost done.” You’re on the last leg.” “Keep on moving.” After a brief turn around, I knew I just had to run back to the finish. Only 1 mile and a half was left. I had a surge of excitement knowing I was almost done. Shortly after the turn around, I heard another competitor say to me “Good job today. You should be proud. Call yourself a triathlete.” That instantly brought a smile to my face. As I kept moving, I repeated that over and over and over to myself. I used that to keep myself motivated. Off the dirt road and now on the paved road. As I was running, one of the volunteers said “I’m proud of you for sticking with us.”  I smiled and kept running right on by. I knew I was close. Now back into the woods. Closer and closer to the end. I repeated what my fellow triathlete told me. I was now in the home stretch. I saw my family member who was there waiting for me. I flashed him a big smile and a thumbs up. I saw the finish line and dug a little deeper. 

As I crossed the finish line, I heard the announcer say “Here she is.” I crossed the finish line and felt so immensely proud of myself. I went directly towards where the volunteers were handing out metals to all participants. I wanted to make sure I got my metal because I earned it. I also received another metal for competing within my age division. After receiving my metal, I was offered a slice of pizza. I declined with a smile.

As I was walking in the transition area to pick up my belongings, another participate congratulated me on finishing. Shortly after my interaction with him, another contestant came up to me and gave me a high five. He complimented me on my performance and said how I motivated him to dig a little deeper on those hills. As I had my hands full of my personal items while walking my bike back to my car, a final participate came to me and shook my hand and said “You did a great job. I have a lot of respect for you.”  

I am so proud of myself for setting this goal and not only impressing myself, but other triathletes. It’s been a few days, I’m still a little sore, but I haven’t been able to get this smile off my face this I finished. I’m just so proud of myself.

Now that this triathlon is finished, I’m starting to think about my next goal. I am considering registering for my 2nd half marathon.

Monday, February 16, 2015

My Fall from Grace

While I was planning what I wanted to say for this post, I kept debating with myself about posting my current weight. Why I am embarrassed to admit, I have gain some of my weight back. I am terrified to post my current weight on this blog, however I am going to. Or not. Yes, I will. No. Yes. No. Yes. I am going to, even though I am terrified to do so.

(Deep breathe, Laura!)

(Yes, I took a deep breathe, at least a dozen. Probably way more.)

Earlier this week, I weighed 281. You can probably see why I am embarrassed to admit it because it’s roughly 50 pounds that I have gained. This is definitely more than I would ever want to gain and I can’t believe I am so close to weighing 300 pounds again.

Regardless of the excuses that I used (and trust me, I used many!) this weight continued to add on because of my bad habits that I reverted back to thus causing my rear end to widen yet again. As I wrote my first draft of this post, I sat praying that I won’t have to move too much because I feared my pants would split. I didn’t realize how much weight I was actually gaining until this morning when I was getting ready to leave the house. I tried one pair of pants on first, they would not budge higher than my thighs. They were definitely not buttoning up, no matter how much I wiggled and jumped around. After changing into another pair, which I was able to button, I started walking very slowly, in fear that my pants would split and I would be reminded of a can of biscuits opening. After I buttoned those pants, I looked in the mirror and saw myself completely different than before. Even though I look at myself in the mirror everyday, I realize that I look completely different than what I did roughly 1 year ago. Most of my bad habits came back and boom there I am, looking at my 281 pound self in the mirror.

To be honest, I feel like I have wasted time. I have sabotaged myself because I am much further away from my ultimate goal. I’m not starting from scratch, but it sure feels like it. I have been a part of some very special events recently and when I look back at pictures, I dislike the way I looked. (At first I had the word “hate” but changed it to “dislike” because I was rockin’ some very cute dresses and my sassy nude heels!)

How have I gained 50 pounds back? I kept telling myself “You can eat bad just this one night, then restart tomorrow”. When tomorrow would come, same excuse. Day after day, week after week, same excuse. I would have a few good days, but not nearly enough to make a difference.  

I realize that why I think I have made a lifestyle change, I clearly did not.

I am so apprehensive to share this post because I didn’t want anyone to know that I am struggling, but I am still struggling and that ultimately why I wanted to share this. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

squats, squats and more squats

Earlier this week I started a 30 day squat challenge. Today is my 7th day, which means 80 squats. I just have one word to describe the first week of this squat challenge…ouch! I am really feeling the burn!

During this challenge, you do a predetermined amount of squats for three days in a row, one rest day then another 3 days of more squats, another rest day and so on until the 30 days are over.
On the first day, I had to do 50 squats, then 55 the next day and 60 the following day. I was so relieved for the first rest day to come. I have a feeling that I will look forward to those rest days for the remainder of the challenge. For the past few days, I did between 70 and 80 squats. Next week, over 100!  More and more squats will be added to each day. For the final five squat days, I have to do over 200 squats each day, with the last day having the most at 250!

I realized that I need to push myself to do as many squats in a row as I can, although I think my limit is 50 consecutive squats. Hopefully I can build that number higher as the challenge continues, although I doubt I will be able to do 250 squats consecutively.

If you are interested in doing this squat challenge, below is the plan! Enjoy!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A long road ahead

I have decided that I want to embark on a new journey. I have come to my decision after truly enjoying brainstorming ideas and writing these blogs.

I have decided that I want to write a book about my story and having healthier lifestyle. Since I decided that I want to do this, I have realized that I have a long, long road ahead of me.
I am only in the beginning stages, but I have already brainstormed a list of topics.

I look forward to writing, organizing and more brainstorming.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

It’s soup-er delicious!

I love, love, love everything about soup!

I have found that many canned soup, although tasty and delicious, are very high in sodium. When I do buy canned soup, I look for the lower sodium ones, while also looking at the nutritional label. I like to share a can of soup whenever I can because I have learned that there is not just one serving in a can. Possibly 2 or maybe 3 servings.

If I have more the ingredients available, I love to make soup. I have made all kinds of soup and very rarely do I follow a recipe. I have used the following ingredients to make different kinds of soup: dried beans; fresh, frozen and canned vegetables; brown rice; wheat noodles; barley and low sodium broth.  I never realized how much I really like barley!

Below is a picture of a low sodium Corn and Barley soup!


I have made tomato basil soup, many kinds of vegetable soups, Acorn and Pear soup, Butternut Squash soup, bean chili and just recently I made a Christmas Taco Bean soup.  

I have named this soup after the ingredients that I used. I used low sodium taco seasoning, frozen green peas, red kidney beans, green split peas, corn, great northern beans and barley. My idea was to serve this festive soup on Christmas.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Night time snacking

Night time snacking is my weakness. I can do very well during the day, but night time can be the worst.

I have found that I need to stay busy and distract myself from potential night time cravings.

I started turning off the kitchen lights at night. It symbolizes to me that the kitchen is “closed” for tonight and whatever I want to eat, I’ll just have to wait until the morning. This trick seems to work very well for me.

Sometimes, I still feel my self-control diminishing, I have to turn to something else. Recently, I have started to turn on the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods. This show instantly curves my appetite.  Not only do I not want anything to eat anymore, sometimes I can’t even finish drinking my water.

If you have never watched this show, try it!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Tis the Season...

This time of the year is quite difficult to maintain an exercise routine and continue to eat healthy, however I am still going strong.

Last year was the first year where I watched what I was eating during the holidays. I underestimated how difficult it actually was. I faced the challenges of eating healthy while being faced with the traditional holiday temptations. I remained strong and determined and actually lost weight during the holiday season.

This year will be no different.

I will be surrounding myself with healthier options including a bowl full of fruit and a veggie platter. Blackberries were on sale at the store, so I stocked myself up! I chopped some vegetables up last night. They are already for snacking during the days to come. I found a way to enjoy the holiday flavors without any extra calories. I really enjoy coffee and found some Christmas coffee and pumpkin pie coffee that I’ll be enjoying for the next couple of days.

My tennis shoes and workout clothes will be readily available.  Since we recently had a snow/ice storm here in Michigan, outdoor exercise will be limited. Brrr!! See picture below!


 Happy and Healthy Holidays!