Saturday, May 16, 2009

Back on the skag, baby!

The Steelhead is over and out. And I loved it! An all-women triathlon isn't that bad. Competitors aren't super friendly, but I think it does attract more women to come out for the sport. And you find that in the real world, women come in all different shapes and sizes. I felt rather comfortable in my own skin this day.

But even better, I really had a great time. I felt like I pushed myself as hard as I could. I didn't think I left anything back. I did have a minor seat problem, as a bolt fell off about 1/4 of a mile to the transition area. But I hobbled to the transition and tried to make up for lost time during the run.

The course had one fairly large uphill during the first mile of the run and bike. I didn't take super accurate time, but my run splits continued getting less after that first mile. The first mile I ran a 10-minute mile, than an 8-minute mile, and then a 7 1/2-minute mile. The last mile and a half was all downhill. That was joyful to my heart. It took me quite a long time to feel like my legs were underneath me. I kept reminding myself of my brother B.J.'s training words: run tall and proud. I also tried relaxing my face and my running stance; allowing my legs to just flow forward. I think it helped, if not in actual time than definitely in psychology.

I ran into my second-cousin Kimmie at the start during the swim. Kimmie grew up in southern California, but then moved to Utah when she was in junior high. I figured by default, a southern-California girl should swim faster than a southern-Idaho girl, so I told her to swam in front of me. And for her first triathlon, she did awesome! I couldn't catch her on the swim, but I caught her in transition. I hope I'll see her around some other races. I swam faster than I predicted: 7:10 for a 300-meter swim. I thought I'd swim it in 8 minutes. I was joyous when I came out of the water. I don't know why one woman who decided to sidestroke the swim thought she could do it in 8 minutes. She got passed by everyone. But bless her heart for even doing it, is how I always feel about this sport I love so much.

Kimmie and me waiting our turn to start the swim.

Perhaps the goofiest picture of me ever, but I think my face displays how much I enjoyed that swim.

Kulani was a great support. He was at the start with all the girls in tow. They cheered me along the whole way.

Total race time: Around 1 hour 24 minutes.

Loved it! Next up: Spudman. But I may try to squeeze another race in there before the end of July. Hillman? Maybe I'll try that deathmarch again.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Women of Steelhead

I've got a race tomorrow, and I'm actually pretty excited about it. I haven't trained great, but it's a sprint and I'll survive. It's an all-female race, which I've never done. When women get together, they can be pretty cutthroat. That's why I'm calling it the "Women of Steelhead" instead of the "Women of Steel."

I've lost some weight. I'm down to 158. I hope to be at 145 by Spudman. I don't want to be less than that.

I've stuck with my yoga, miraculously, and only thanks to my instructor, Chicago Amy. She's fierce and kick butt and has a rockin' body at 37. I hate yoga, honestly. It's really not my cup of tea, but it has grown on me. And supposedly it will help me have long, lean muscles. And it helps with core strength.

I've also tried to cut out my sugar and salt intake to a big degree. I eat a lot of egg whites, raw carrots, and canned green beans. I usually have a protein and salad for lunch. For breakfast it's exclusively oatmeal, or a variety of oatmeal. I bought a package of Dee's Cereal, which is basically grains, a few raisins, and twigs. It does help me stay full until lunch. I have to add a teaspoon of Splenda, because that stuff does not taste good. For dinners I eat what I make the family, and it's usually a protein, salad, a potato or rice, and a vegetable. I also eat yogurt for snacks, and hard-boiled eggs for snacks, but I don't usually eat the yolk.

I've tried to focus my mind on things I CAN eat. It seems hard when starting out to find foods. But I've realized that a cut-up tomato is a pretty good treat, especially with a little bit of garlic salt. Avocados are awesome. Those pre-packaged and pre-frozen fish are delicious heated up in the microwave.

My training still isn't as great as when I first started the sport. I'm going to fix up my trailer, so I can ride it anytime I want to go somewhere with the girls in tow. My running is fine. My swimming and biking need work. Currently I'm only devoting one day a week to each of those. It's just easier to jump on my treadmill. However, I did finish the Sprint DVD of the Carmichael cycling training series. It killed me! But I'd like to do it again, so it didn't beat me.

I'll post more after my race.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Week Two Evaluation

This week has been a great week for me getting back into the sport of triathlon. I worked out everyday.

Monday: Run for 1/2 hour. Yoga for 1 hour.
Tuesday: Swim for 10 minutes (laps were too crowded with Scouts). Spin bike for 1 hour.
Wednesday: Run for 50 minutes.
Thursday: Yoga for 1 hour.
Friday: Run for 1 hour.
Saturday: Swim for 40 minutes. Recumbant bike for 1 hour.

Though my weight is slowly dropping, my fitness is picking up rather fast. I can run at a 6.0 mph pace for about 40 minutes.

Yoga doesn't burn a lot of calories. According to Weight Watchers, I only get 2 negative points for a whole hour of yoga. But it has really helped my back. I had back pains after my Wednesday run, but after yoga on Thursday, I felt great. My back tweaked a bit again after running on Friday. I think once my core gets stronger, back pains will be less frequent and intense. Losing weight will also help the back. My brother-in-law the doctor says something like 90% of people experience back pain almost on a weekly basis. Back pain is a part of life. So I'm learning to work through it, and honestly, yoga is a great tool for alleviating pain.

The biggest benefit, however, has been my attitude and energy. I haven't had to take my afternoon hour-long to two-hour long nap this whole week. Instead I have used that time to exercise, and I haven't missed the sleep. I also find dealing with the kids is easier. It's easier to hold my 2-year-old girl; I don't fall asleep reading my girls books; and I seem to have a more even temperament.

For next week, I'd like to throw in a Zumba dance class on my Tuesday nights, the nights Kulani gives me all to myself.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


It was Christmas 2004. I looked like this:

Not too bad, really, when I think about it (better than what I look like now, at any rate). But in my head, I wanted to look different: thinner, more athletic. At 163 pounds, I began my journey of weight loss and fitness. After dropping a few pounds, I picked up the sport of triathlon, which culminated with my first triathlon in Salem, Utah. I had successfully dropped 20 pounds and looked like this:

Okay, so maybe I look better in the first picture because I have make-up on and my face isn't broken out. (Who knew acne would still be the bane of my existence at age 32? And don't be givin' me your holistic solutions. Acutane has been the only thing that has worked, and now that I'm in baby-having mode, that will not do.) And perhaps I really wouldn't ever look great in a bathing suit no matter how buff my body is thanks to my pastey, white skin. But still...

I remember feeling exhilarated for all of three minutes after that race before someone questioned why I didn't go faster. I have never done triathlons based on speed. It's always been about fitness and looking good in a swimsuit. There. I wrote it. The smaller part of me would like to go faster, but the biggest part of me just wants to be comfortable in my skin; be confident when sitting in a hot tub full of skinny girls. Actually, that was part of my original impetus to lose weight. We were invited to a friend's cabin that had a hot tub. I came out in shorts and a T-shirt. The other wives came out in teeny, tiny bikinis and looked great. I usually don't care about being the biggest, but I was pretty humiliated that day. I just felt frumpy. I'm rarely the skinniest girl in a group, but I can at least feel better about myself if I'm at a weight I'm comfortable with.

But here we are four years later and another child, and I need to lose 26 pounds this time. And I can do it. I've signed up with my Weight Watchers, and I've mapped out two triathlons to do in May and July.

So begins this journey again. My triathlon lifestyle that is really a front for my desire to look good in a bathing suit. And there is that side benefit of making me happier about just being me, and making me a happier mother and wife as well. Allow me to share my log of activity, hills and valleys, with you via this blog.

Starting weight: 166 pounds
Goal weight: 140-145 pounds

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Triathlon Genes

I think sometimes people assume I would be a really fast triathlete. I have a brother who is gaining ranks in the triathlon world. My youngest brother Ed seems to be a natural at it, taking fifth overall at the Spudman, as well as placing first at other local races. But I'm not fast. I don't know how to will my powers to run faster, swim faster, bike faster. I feel like I'm going fast for me, but others have their doubts (hmm, mmm, Kulani). This year's Spudman was still one of my favorite races of all time, despite the sad death of one of the competitors. I completely finished my race before I heard the news. However, I did hear some rumblings about someone dying when I was on the run. I assumed they were talking about a different race. It was also my slowest Spudman finish to date. I've done three of them so far; the fourth time I've done the bike (I was part of a team one year--we took first in our division--thanks to the quickness of Mary's run and Hetty's swim). My swim was okay; 22 minutes. My bike was slow because at mile 20 my tire lost a lot of air, but didn't flat enough for me to stop riding. I didn't have anything to blow it up or change it, which Kulani says I couldn't have anyway because they were cemented-on tires, or something like that. Kulani (Zen) takes care of all of my bike maintenance so I am woefully dumb about the art of bike repair. Even still, I average 18.5 mph. The bike was really fun this year. I found myself in the middle of an all-women peloton, all of us riding about 21 mph and none of us knowing how to pass one another or let others pass. I loved that. I hate riding in pelotons generally, but I really like riding in this one. I found myself being able to take a little break. And then, as always, I really enjoyed the run. My goal was to make it under an hour, and I made that goal by two minutes.

But back to my going faster. I really could if I'd dedicate my mind and lost some weight. It's really appealing to me, and I like the results of it. I don't think Kulani would mind if the house was a little messier than usual if the trade-off was me with an awesomely buff bod. And maybe then I could fit into my triathlon jeans (or genes).

Friday, June 20, 2008


Haven't done much post-race training. We walked for about an hour when we were in Hawaii. And then I ran for 40 minutes on Wednesday. I've been using every excuse to not train. Even so, already I'm thinking about that Vikingman, and already I'm thinking I enjoyed it. Don't get me wrong; I hated the bike and swim part, but I quite enjoyed the run part. Every triathlete does this. Give them some down time and they start thinking about the next race, what they want to do next, whether the last race was really worth it or not, etc. And usually, if triathlon really gets in your blood, you almost always want to do another one.

But a big reason why the Vikingman was so fun for me was because it was in my home town. We began the swim next to the house where my young women's leader lived. We swam past my best friend Keri's old neighborhood. We biked past my dad's old carlot and our family's old home. On the way in, I biked past my old church building and my old elementary school, the same school my grandmother and father graduated from. On the run, I got to see parts of Heyburn I haven't been to in close to 15 years. I ran past John Koyle's house. John Koyle was my first-grade crush. He invited me to his birthday party, and my mom dressed me in a dress. But I still managed to keep my dress clutched between my legs when competing in the head-standing contest. So many memories came flooding back to me to keep me company during the long day. I thought of many old friends I'd made through my early burglary years (thanks for that, Morrissey). I treasured the memories.

Kulani and I like the idea of doing triathlons in far away and exotic places. The idea behind it being we can train hard and do the race, then spend the rest of the week gorging the local food and taking in the local culture. Heyburn isn't a far away or exotic place, but for me, it was a great trip down memory lane.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I ... did ... it

Hardest ... Half-Ironman ... Ever. Well, maybe not ever, but it was difficult. We had head winds at 25-35 mph for the swim and bike. While swimming, I'd come up to breathe, and a big wave would smack me in the face. It took me 57 minutes on the swim. I had the second slowest women's time. The Snake River has a huge current that should have allowed me to do the swim in 35 minutes. Had there not been a current, I'd probably still be out in that river trying to finish. The bike was also awful. The head wind allowed me to average possibly 11 mph for the first 23 miles. On the way back, without any trouble at all, I reached as high as 32 mph. Yeah, the tail wind was awesome, but not worth the head wind. And then the run. Again, head winds and tail winds. I thought I was standing still, but I didn't turn a too bad half marathon: 2 hours 22 minutes. I really contemplated quitting many, many times. My dad was one of the helpers in the boat making sure people didn't drown. I swam up to his boat, but actually didn't get in. My total time: 7 hours 30 minutes. Slower than even Hawaii's difficult course. i just kept telling myself: the Vikingman will not beat me. I will beat it. I will be the viktor. I will be--the Vikingman!

I really do think I'm done with this distance until Lilia is old enough to watch the girls. I say that now, but this time, I think I'm sticking by it.