Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend fun

With school starting last week it's clear I need to find a new routine for my workouts. Somehow I thought it was all going to magically get easier when my oldest started school, um, yeah, not so much. I'm having to shuffle around what days I do what to be sure I can get to the pool on days when my youngest is at preschool, she only goes 3 days a week.Since I can take her to the gym to run on the treadmill or ride my trainer at home, priority needs to be put on the swims, so some switching around is going to have to take place.  At any rate, Tuesday's and Wednesday's workouts did not take place as I tried to juggle the back-to-school schedule with one very sad 4 year old who doesn't start school until Wednesday of this week.

I also decided to switch up my weekend workouts. Even though my schedule says to run Saturday and bike Sunday, I really love running on Sunday and it's easier because Scott takes the kids to the gym on Sunday morning, so getting up and going for a run is just so much easier on a Sunday. That means I sat on the trainer for 1 hour and 15 minutes on Saturday. Ouch! Thankfully I had Netflix and a Stephen King miniseries to keep me company, which seemed like a great idea until a dead women under a bed scene and I nearly jumped off the bike. Okay, maybe zombies are better than ghosts when it comes to riding the trainer. At any rate, I got it done and that in itself felt like an accomplishment.

Saturday night was Syd's swim team awards party. By the time Saturday night actually rolled around I was really unmotivated to go, even though we are doing Fall swimming, I feel like we moved on from swim team about 3 weeks ago when it ended. I bucked up and took the girls down. Thankfully they had coffee for the parents.

BFF's reunited
I have to say I never imagined that Sydney would make such a great friend and that her Mom and I would hit  it off so well. It sure made for a great summer for both of us. It's hard when you don't go to school together, but we're already planning our second slumber party.

Our pool (Moraga Valley Pool) has produced two Olympians; Matt Biondi and Heather Petri. Heather was a Sophomore at Miramonte when I was a Senior. She played on the boys water polo team and was instrumental in starting the girl's water polo team at Miramonte, talk about an inspiration! We talked a lot about Heather and the US Water Polo Team playing in the Olympics. Kylie actually sat and watched the entire gold medal match. Needless to say, the girls were beyond thrilled when Heather showed up on Saturday night to speak to the swim team.

Kylie was especially excited to meet Heather
Heather autographed the girls medals
Obliging the little sister in a photo op
It was really a great evening and I'm so glad we didn't miss it. 

Sunday brought my long run and I was so thankful to wake up and find fog and cool temperatures. Last weekends run had been a disaster that can be entirely blamed on myself and making poor choices. Coffee really is a bad idea before a long run as is running at noon on warm day when you fueled with coffee instead of water. Better planning and cooler temps brought a much better run and a sense of relief as it has been a long time since I actually enjoyed a run. I miss having running being my primary focus but I know it's all for the greater good! 

With the run out of the way that left all day to virtually spectate Ironman Canada where my friend Molly completed her 3rd Ironman with a 42 minute PR! Freaking amazing, I was smiling all day as I watched her times post on the live tracker. 

My legs are sore this morning and my shoulders are sore which is probably a result of sitting at the computer all day yesterday so I'm thankful today is a rest day. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vega Energizing Smoothies

I love smoothies and I love the idea of being able to get lots of stuff that is good for me in my body via a smoothie. I am also trying to find something that I can use as nutrition before my swim workouts. My problem is that if I eat something before my swim it tends to sit in my stomach like a brick while I'm swimming. If I hold out and eat after my swim I eat probably way more than I really need to. So a nutritional smoothie seems like a good balance of fueling my workout but is light enough to not drag me down.

The folks at Vega were kind of enough to send me a sampler pack of the Energizing Smoothies to try. Vega states that the energizing Smoothie contains two servings of veggies, 10 grams of complete, plant based protein, 5 grams of fiber and 1 gram of Omega-3. This all sounds good to me. It's important to note that I am not a vegan nor a vegetarian but I am open to trying things that may cover my own nutritional needs and these smoothies seemed like a good place to start.

I was sent the following flavors; Tropical Tango, Choc-a-lot, Bodacious Berry, Vanilla Almondilla and Oh Natural.

The first flavor I tried was the Berry. Being new to this idea of power shakes, I didn't have one of those nifty cups that are made special for this type of beverage. I used a regular glass and a whisk. This is what the powder looked like.

The directions say to use a ice cold water, juice or non-dairy liquid. I'm guessing they say non-dairy since this is a vegan product, but I'm tempted to try it with milk since I actually drink milk. For my first round I used just cold water. I will say that there is a plant type after taste to the smoothie which would make sense since it is plant based. The after taste made it a little distracting for me. But I had four other flavors to try and wanted to mix them up by trying different liquids.

The next flavor I tried was the Tropical Tango. This time I used coconut water instead of water. I sort of had the same thoughts about the after taste except I was getting the added bonus of the coconut water. To be sure I was doing this all correctly I went and bought one of those nice protein shake bottles.

Next up was the chocolate flavor. I had a swim on the schedule and it was going to be a hot day so I mixed up the chocolate flavor with some chocolate coconut water and took it to the pool. I drank about half of it before my swim and sipped on the rest in between sets. I could tell that I was getting closer to making this a palatable option for me. The chocolate on chocolate might have been overkill on my part, but I did drink the entire smoothie and felt great during my swim.

Fast forward to today. I made the discovery hat my fancy cup can be attached to the blender. Oh, the possibilities! I took the Oh Natural flavor, added chocolate coconut water and fresh raspberries and some ice. Now we are talking!

Visually it even looks awesome! I have happily downed this entire smoothie while working this morning. I think for me the key will be adding fresh ingredients to the Vega mix to concoct some great smoothies that I can run out the door with.

Last week an all-in-one chocolate nutritional shake showed up in my mailbox thanks to Vega and guess what I'm going to add to it? Banana! I'll let you know how that turns out.

Overall, if you are looking for a shake to meet your needs I'd say give Vega a try and experiment with the flavors and what types of things you add to it. If you can get your hands on one of these protein shake bottles that will attach to your blender you will be in even better shape. My biggest thing about smoothies is that I hate cleaning the blender, so having this makes it so much easier!

Thanks to the folks at Vega for giving me the opportunity to try their shakes.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crossfit Fundamentals Day 2

Due to my schedule it took me some time to get to my second Crossfit intro class. As I was making the turn onto the street I saw 5 women doing the 400 meter run and I felt some pain for them as I had a flashback to my first class, of course I felt even more pain for them for because it was about 100 degrees yesterday.

There was only one other person in the secondary class so that was nice. I was all smiles until he told us to go do the 400 meter run. Under normal circumstance I would love doing a short run but it was 100 out and I had already run. Thankfully my partner decided a nice slow jog would work for him.We followed the run up with a review of the moves we had learned  last time around and were introduced to a few new ones. Up until this point we had been using pvc pipes filled with sand but once we reviewed the overhead press (I don't even know if that's what it's called) we were given a real bar with no weights. I don't how much that bar weights but it was heavy and my wrists hurt just holding it in position. I managed to get it over my head three times, although it was not pretty. I was thankful when we moved back to the pvc pipe to practice the dead lift. While we were practicing he added weight to the bar, you have to be kidding. I could barely get the bar alone over my head and now we've added weight to it. Somewhere in the back of my mind I know that dead lifting is easier than getting the bar over my head, but lets also keep in mind that I already ran a 5k in the morning and my brain and ability to process is starting to slowly creep away. Much to my surprise I easily lifted the 65 pounds. Keep in mind that weight lifting is really not my thing and I don't have a lot of interest in it but even I was impressed with myself.

After we were done with all of the how-to's which included a ball and some move that I just really could not get (read total exhaustion and loss of brain function) we moved on to the days workout. We were to repeat the circuit of 5 pull-ups (modified since I can't do one), 10 push-ups and 15 squats over and over again for 10 minutes. This time around I paced myself. Remembering that last time around I hit the wall at the push-ups I tried to just take my time and not go all out. After two rounds it was evident that I needed to move to modified push-ups. Never in my life have I ever done a modified push-up but I had to do what I had to do to  keep going. At one point my partner asked how much longer and the answer he received is "you don't want to know, you'll be really bummed if I tell you how much time you have left." I took that to mean we had about 6 minutes left. The modified push-ups were helping and while I was still exhausted and hurting I wasn't at that pale white I'm going to puke moment (because I really just don't see the need to revisit that). I ended up getting through almost 7 rounds, I was a few squats shy.

Today I am sore. Today I had to ride the bike for an hour. I was worried about being able to get my leg up and over the bike but that was not my issue. My issue was holding onto the handle bars. It did not occur to me that not being able to lift my arms above my head would translate to not being able to hold onto the bars. I rode the trainer today and had the i-pad all set up with a movie and headphones. Sitting up on the bike and not holding the handle bars brought me relief, sadly my headphones are a little short for this and in an effort to not break the i-pad (which my children would probably never speak to me again if I did) I sucked it up and just held on. The first 20 minutes were brutal, thankfully after that my arms and shoulders agreed to play and I managed the full hour.

While I'd love to be kicking back in my bed reading or watching the last day of the Olympics I am forced to be in other parts of the house as my husband has some awful, I'm sure highly contagious illness going on. He's been in bed for two days and anyone who knows my husband knows that he must be really ill for that to take place. Needless to say I'm trying to stay as far clear of the germs as possible.

The jury is still out on Crossfit. I do like the circuits of squats and push-ups and sit-ups, but I can totally do that at home, right? I guess I have to schedule it on my Training Peaks calendar if I really want it to happen though. The next step for me would be the Foundations class where they do the regular WOD (workout of the day) but with less weight and more guidance. It was mentioned that I might enjoy the Endurance class that they offer 3 days week which is geared towards folks training for endurance events. I was told to look it up online, which I did and now I'm scared because it said in a nutshell that it's really, really hard. I know, everything is hard, but at least give me the illusion that I can do it when I show up.

The biggest challenge for me is timing. The Foundations class is only offered twice a week at 6pm. My husband doesn't get home until 6:45ish. The Endurance class is offered 2x a week at 6:30pm and one session on the weekend. Basically, my ability to make any of these is going to involve juggling and perhaps hiring a babysitter which is not really what I want to do.

I will continue onward and continue to share my experiences and thoughts. For the time being I'm pleased that there was no more talk of Paleo or pooping.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Walnut Creek Half Marathon and 5k Training Run

Yesterday the folks at Walnut Creek International Half Marathon and 5k held their first of many training runs. I really wanted to do this race last year but there are always so many events at the end of the year and coaching makes it difficult to train for a long distance event at this time of the year. I knew this year I would be in the same situation and I promised myself no long distance running until after I complete my first triathlon in April 2013, so instead I signed up for the 5k distance. I had a 45 minute run on the schedule for yesterday but I also had my second introduction to Crossfit class at noon so I decided running their 5k training run seemed like a good compromise to get everything in that I wanted to (they also offered a 10k distance).

I arrived at Sports Authority in Walnut Creek a little bit before 8am with a bunch of other runners. I had actually never been into the store before, it's huge. They also gave all of the runners a $10 cash card to use in store, so it was a great way for them to capture new business like myself.

If you live in the bay area you know that we have been experiencing a heat wave this week and yesterday was no exception. I was ready to get my run on early and try to recover before heading out to Crossfit. The plan (which I was not aware of) was to run to Heather Farms and if you knew what the plan was you were to have left your car there. If you didn't get that memo you could just walk back to the store. This didn't really mesh with my plans and I certainly didn't want to walk 3+ miles back to the store after running 5k and then going to Crossfit. I wasn't all that worried about it, I had my Garmin and I've run in Walnut Creek enough times to know how to get myself back so I figured I could do my own thing. Luckily right before we headed out we were told there was a turn-around point which he would stop to point out at which point he and the only 2 people who apparently parked at Heather Farms would run on.

I ran slow and just tried to enjoy myself. I also obeyed all traffic lights, because we all know that's how I roll. It was already warm in Walnut Creek and by the time I got back to the store I was dripping in sweat. They had Gatorade, water, bananas and granola bars for us when we got back. I have to say this was one of the few times where Gatorade was actually a welcome site.

They raffled off a training shirt and a free entry into the race and also handed out water bottles and coupons for free Peet's Coffee (yay!).

It sounds like there will be about 5 more of these training runs which I hope to take part in. Mostly because it's nice to mix up my runs and scenery. I believe the next run is on August 25th. If you sign up for their newsletter or follow them on Facebook or Twitter you can get the updates.

Tomorrow I'll tell you all about my second experience with Crossfit!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I survived

I'm sure I have some friends who think I'm exaggerating. but really, surviving my daughter's swim team season seems like a huge accomplishment. It also signifies a return to focusing on my own workouts and efforts. Although, fall swimming starts in 4 weeks...

Since I was never encouraged nor was it ever suggested that I participate in any type of athletics whatsoever growing up, it's astonishing to me to watch my own children and their accomplishments. I remember being in the 5th grade and qualifying as an alternate in some sort of distance dash for our annual Rotary Field Day. I was so excited because I beat out a few boys that I deemed as athletes. My world was then crushed when my Mother told me we were going out of town that weekend and I couldn't participate. I look back and wonder how things might have been different if I had attended that event. Would it have stoked a love of running as an adolescent rather than waiting until my thirties? I guess I'll never know.

This is why I want to give my children every opportunity to find what drives them. Last year we tried soccer, it was okay but probably not her favorite. We know she loves running and will continue that this fall and now swimming. I mentioned on Facebook that in March both girls took lessons at a local swim school. For Sydney my biggest concern was that she be able to swim the length of the pool. They spent time getting her up to speed on freestyle and introducing backstroke and diving. In April she started pre-season swim team practice. Where everyone else already knew all four strokes and Sydney had to work hard to catch up to her peers. Her first event was time trails in June. These were her results:

Free: 29:88
Breast: 68:34
Back: 41:52
Fly: 56:94 DQ for using breaststroke arms

2 months later her best times were as follows

Free: 24:04
Breast: 68:34 (she never swam breaststroke again, we're tackling that this Fall)
Back: 29:00
Fly: 28:57

She isn't the fastest swimmer and she's close to some bronze times, but what amazes me is the progress she has made in 2 months. I can honestly say that she inspires me. I guess if I could find a way to swim everyday for 2 months I could probably see some significant improvements as well. She still says that butterfly is her least favorite stroke because it's so complicated. The funny thing is she really nailed the stroke technically. Her coach told her at her last lesson, that her butterfly looked great and that all she needed to do was to hold her breath to pop her time. I know she is too young to understand all of this and one day she will get the concept of how these times reflect all of her efforts. For now I'm happy to just watch and enjoy her progress.

In other news I've gone back to work on a very part time basis. I'm doing one month on a contract basis to see if it's a fit and will evaluate the role early September. Hopefully I will be able to juggle work, workouts, coaching and family and still feel great about all of it at the end of the day.