Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I can not out-train a bad diet

Repeat after me:

“I can not out-train a bad diet.”

How many times have we heard this? I’ve read it or heard it at least a half dozen times. Maybe more.

But seriously, who believes that’s true? No one. Plus, who believes that their diet is “bad”? 

As of yesterday I had lost 9 pounds in ~6 weeks. My clothes fit. My face is lighter too. I am told daily how my new haircut looks great on me. My energy is increased and hell, even my skin is on board with the new plan. I feel and look as good as I've felt or looked in a long time. 

But, somehow, that’s not the best part.

The best parts are the moments like the one I had recently at a post ride gathering. I was chatting with an athlete who said, “Yeah, I would love to go to Tina, but I don’t know.... Don’t you feel deprived?”

I swallowed the bite of hamburger in my mouth and washed it back with a swig of amber beer.

“Um,” I drawled as I glanced down at my nearly empty glass. “No?”

We both laughed when she realized how silly that must have sounded in the moment.  I don’t feel deprived. I feel strong. I still do fun things, I just do them less frequently. I follow the plan to The T every day that I can with the knowledge that there are times when I will not have access to the foods I prefer. Thus, it allows me to make substitutions in the name of convenience or fun, without feeling deprived.

And as I said, beer is on the list of “things that are OK twice a week”, and that’s working for me.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Deep Blue

As usual, riding trumps running for another week. I'm relegated to PT exercises and strengthening the weakened area. I can't be sad though. One of the weak areas has been my brain, and today I had the most perfect ride. ~mojo~

50 miles. Perfect Weather. Exquisite Company. Beautiful Route. It all came together.

As I was sitting at coffee afterwards, sipping on the deep nutty roast that I enjoy for my post ride drink, I realized that pneumonia is a fading memory.

When I first crawled out of bed in April, my workouts were like pair of crisp new jeans. They were uncomfortable, but I still made them work. I had to, they were all I had. They didn't fit quite right, they weren't the correct length. They hadn't molded to my shape. The blue was too deep.

And each ride or swim I finish washes a little of the blue out of them.

The crispness fades, and they become softer and more comfortable. I slide into my ride like a girl shimmying into her favorite jeans. With a quick snap and a zip, I can enjoy the way they fit across my tightening muscles. The length is about right. The break-lines are where they belong.

I do not have to fight with my workout anymore. I can stretch out and enjoy it. I can say yes when I'm invited to go for a ride.

It is a glorious feeling.

~enjoy the ride~

Friday, June 14, 2013

If Runners are Weird, Cyclists are Crazy

Cyclists are all deluded.

All of them.

I’m being darned serious here.  One thing I find most entertaining about this is that they’re the first to tell you, “Runners are weird”.

Roadies casually schedule 3, 4, 5 hour routes for a Saturday morning like it’s nothing. They start at o'dark thirty. They are constantly talking about driving to the mountains to climb XYZ mountain on their bikes. They insist that there is a fierce camaraderie found in “suffering” together on hills.

A runner would never say that sort of thing....

The gear is weird too. Tough to argue with me on that point. After all, it takes a confident man to shimmy into a Lycra and spandex blend and walk around in shiny white shoes that tap on the blacktop. Clickity clickity clip.  Also, there are very few folks who look good in spandex. Even professional athletes aren’t all that sexy when squeezed into bike shorts.

There are exceptions to that rule. There are always exceptions. But I am The Rule, not The Exception.
Sprint Tri '13
Oh yes, Cyclists are a different breed. They perch on saddles constructed of a 2 inch plastic triangle covered in a sliver of leather for hours of hot sweaty fun and think nothing of it. Really, on that note, sane people shouldn’t mess with cyclists. They clearly have a pain tolerance higher than the average bear. Or woman, for that matter.

Many Cyclists I have encountered enjoy dishing advice to people they perceive as “noobs”, even if the noob isn't really a noob... The best advice I ever got was last summer, regarding cadence.  “You are pedaling too hard. You need to spin more in a circle pattern, and pedal in a lighter gear. But not too light. So basically pedal hard enough, without pedaling too hard.”
Gosh. Thanks.

Also, they are very big into safety. As they should be. This sh*t is scary dangerous.

So, safety advice like, "wear a light" is responsible and everyone should listen.

Safety advice like, “Let’s all be safe out there today” is less brilliant.

Or, other safety advice that is critically important:  “Don’t forget to grease the crease”.  No, there will be no further details here. #tacos

Frankly I don’t know why anyone does this sport.

It seems nothing but trouble. "Mechanicals", "Chaffing", "Cars" are all part of the repertoire.

But let's not dwell too long on Cars. They are scary business. To me it seems that cars hate cyclists because they believe that roads are for cars and cars only. My inner therapist thinks they hate cyclists because bikes scare cars, or do they scar cars? Could be either one, really.

I notice in my area that the roads that have bike lanes are in terrible areas for cycling.

The roads that have fewer cars, and are thus logically more appropriate for cycling, have only about 3 inches of “extra” road on the other side of the white line so when one does encounter a car, it’s always a cozy experience. Often these roads are hemmed by 8 foot ditches on either side which makes sharing difficult for even the best intentioned driver or cyclist.

15K '13
Kicking A**
By far though, the strangest part of this sport is in the territorial boundaries between the active people who do it and the active people who do everything else. From where I'm perched on my 2 inch plastic triangle, Cyclists and Runners don't mix all that well.

Weird, right?

Runners hate cyclists because Cyclists hate runners because Runners hate cyclists because...

Of course, from what I’ve seen of them, Swimmers are bright enough to stay out of the mix.

Probably besides they know they’re superior to the cyclists and the runners.

~enjoy the ride~

Monday, June 10, 2013

An Open Letter of Apology

Dear Galactically Bada** Body,

I owe you an apology. In a big way.

I’m sorry for all the time I spent cussing you for not being what I wanted. I apologize for verbally abusing you. You never deserved it.

I apologize for not wearing sunscreen as a teenager.
And for not wearing sunscreen last week....
For Failure to Rescue
For Failure to Hydrate.
For Failure to properly Fuel.

I am really wicked sorry about my habit of “ignoring symptoms”. It’s unfair to you and I appreciate that if I listened when you whispered, I wouldn’t have to cover my ears when you shout.

I am sorry for all the times I didn’t see you for the beautiful thing that you are.
For setting you aside to do something else.
For “tomorrow I’ll....” and the tomorrows that never came.

Most of all, I am sorry for accusing you of failing me, when I am the one who has failed you. You are my responsibility, my companion, and my vessel.

Now that I better understand that, I will strive to be a good steward of the wealth of gifts that you have bestowed upon me.



Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Affair

It's hard when you first realize it.
The lack of presence.
That feeling that the magic is gone from the relationship.
And the knowledge that there is happiness between others where there had once been happiness at home.

I can't really blame anyone though. I was laid up in bed for freaking weeks. WEEKS.

And when I wasn't in bed, I was at school.

or coughing.

or coughing at school.

It was hard for me this spring, watching the secret smiles exchanged when no one was looking. Hearing the gasps and giggles, among other breathless noises that made my mind race. The time spent apart grew longer and longer and I found myself wondering, "how in the world is this happening to me?" and "will it ever go back to the way it was?"

I'm not sure when it started, and and I don't really have proof, but I'm pretty sure my Mojo was having an affair with another runner for the entire pre-season.

"Damn that Mojo! For breaking my heart like this!" I ranted and raved!

I crawled out of bed and got in the pool where I dragged myself through the paces. I felt like a fish out of water, only I wasn't. I was a lame swimmer with a bum leg. And Mojo doesn't have time for that. "Aint nobody got time for that".
I hit up a spin class to regain the stamina, thinking, "if I am fit, Mojo will want to come sweat with me." But it didn't work. Mojo likes the outdoors and sunshine.

Eventually I got on my bike. I struggled and cried my way through the lonely miles while the wind snatched my breath from parted lips. I finished each ride gasping and sad, mourning for my Mojo.

Mojo was clearly out running a Marathon.
Mojo had obviously headed out to a rainy Triathlon.
Mojo showed no signs of returning to me in a timely fashion.

I missed my Mojo but I wasn't going to sit at home and lament the loss. I hit the streets and searched for ways to get my Mojo back.

I saw Doctors and Dietitians and Chiropractors and Therapists ... ok, technically she was a massage therapist.  I sought the advice of coaches and coaches and coaches. And more coaches.  They all assured me, if I kept up the work, my Mojo would come back to me.

And so about a week ago I had THE BEST RIDE EVER. It was the easiest 33 miles I have ever done. It was the hardest 33 miles I have ever done. I finished feeling accomplished and spent. But I knew I could do it. I hardly dared look, but it became clear to me by about mile 20 that my mojo had returned. At least for a day.

And then on Saturday, again. Mojo was with me on the ride. Right there, where I could almost taste our shared energy! The thirty miles melted under my tires.

Today... again. My Mojo showed up at 5 this morning. We nodded to each other as I checked my tires and snapped my helmet into place. From the beginning of the ride, we were together. We laid out 16 miles before the rest of the world was awake. It was freaking brilliant.

It seems Mojo has come back to me, though I'm hardly celebrating a permanent return.

We've entered an uneasy truce. And while I'm hopeful Mojo will stick around for a few more rides, I know Mojo could leave again without a moment's notice.

~enjoy the ride~

Monday, June 3, 2013

Food Diary of the Mostly Dead

When the weird virus that got me this spring was trying to off me, what I ate was done with very little thought. I was on a HORRIBLE antibiotic that, while it cheerfully saved my life, altered the way things tasted to me. My daily eating process went like this:
some of the watermelon was
poached off this plate by a
6 yr old klingon.

“Does it taste good?”
“Ok. I will eat”


“Does it taste good?”
“No... then I don’t need to eat today”

Good thing that came of this: Splenda now tastes like acid to me. I have a giant pack of packets going un-used, if you live near by, holler. You’re welcome to them... Also, I now like my coffee black. Weird. I mean, I can drink it with creamer, but I can also enjoy it black.

Bad thing: I stopped eating my typical "healthy" diet with a salad a day, and didn't even realize it.

So NOW:  what am I eating? What am I avoiding?

If it comes in a package, I’m probably not eating it.
If it can spoil in 3-4 days, I’m probably eating it.

Here’s my food log for a typical day. I didn’t give up lentils... but I had to return to meat. I have completely given up milk, cheese, yogurt (~sniff~) , ice cream, etc. My dietician says this is a temporary solution, we will be tailoring the protein needs to my body.

Breakfast – 2 oz protein, 1 fruit, 1 starch
another favorite - white fish,
brown rice, greens tossed with
jalepeno infused cucumbers
2 poached eggs
½ cup cooked oatmeal (about ¾ of a serving)
½ banana
Snack – 2 oz protein, 1 fruit
2 oz Boars Head Roast Beef, or left over Chicken, etc.
1 c. watermelon
Lunch – 4 oz protein, 1 starch, 2 fats, unlimited vegs
Salad with 2 hard boiled eggs, 2 oz turkey, 1 Tbl dressing, 1/8 avocado, chopped red/green/yellow peppers, 4tbl Hummus
Snack - 2 oz protein, 1 fruit
Small Apple
1.5 Tbl Peanut Butter (*note, for many people pb is counted as a fat)
Dinner - 4 oz protein, 1 starch, 2 fats, unlimited vegs
4 oz Grilled Chicken breast*
½ c. Quinoa
Roasted summer squash mix (*olive oil used in cooking)