Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Open Water Mystery

In less than two weeks, I will be swimming in an open water triathlon.  For. The. First. Time...EVER. Sure, I've swam in the ocean but in those cases, there was a snorkel involved and I had tons of personal space and likely, visibility too.

My mindset about this has been to just find my inner peace.  Breathe and draw on those meditative moments from yoga.  Focus on getting in, around and done.  Stay on the outside, towards the back...don't panic.  Go slow, don't be afraid to flip onto my back for breath.  It'll be over in less than 15 minutes.  I can do this.  That's it. End of thought.

I left it at that.  I had really put this race in a drawer in my brain to deal with next week because I just haven't the time to think of it now.  Until, they posted the current lake temperature on the race facebook page, that is.  Now, my mind is racing.  Should I have practiced this?  Do I need a wetsuit? Can I just rent one?  But won't my arms feel heavy?  My noodle arms are not strong enough! But wait, what about a sleeveless one?  Where do I go? But I don't have time. Ahhh!!

So.  I'm gathering the wheels that momentarily fell off the bus.  Reading a few articles from both experienced open water swimmers (that still feel the same as the first time) and newbie reports of their first time learnings.  Lots of tips and guess what?  Panic over.  It'll be fine.  I also found that I can pick up a rental next week and worst case, practice in the pool with it the day before.  That's all I got.  I'm going back to my initial zen strategy.  The tips I picked up are pretty much aligned with my game plan so I am sticking to it.

The whole OWS (open water swim) concept seems to be the one piece of the triathlon puzzle that gets most people every time.  Luckily, it's the shortest part of the deal!

As with everything else, practice and going out there and DOING it are the only things that will remove the veil of mystery.  So...stay tuned, I'm sure I'll have lots to say when it's all said and done.

Happy hump day!


Monday, April 27, 2015

Recovery week wrap up

I cried "uncle" this week. Lack of sleep must have caught up to me because I just felt under motivated and tired. I listened to the signs and called it a recovery week mid week. It seems to have worked because I feel way better!

Here goes:

Monday - Power One Cycling - killer hill interval workout (early morning after a long swim night before). 
Tuesday - Skipped early wake up to swim so made it up with a quick 5k late afternoon. 
Wednesday - another skipped morning so I called it a rest day. 
Thursday - Hot Yoga at lunch (because again, I couldn't get up in the morning)
Friday - 30+ miles w dad aka cycling phenom. I'm not ashamed to say that I have a hard time keeping up after hearing the dreaded 4 words: "Stay on my wheel".  He just puts on the turbo boosters and he's gone.  It's truly a struggle to stay on the wheel to draft.  He's an inspiration and I loved our bonding time together doing what he loves best.  I always come away with great tips be it on form, power, nutrition or on ways to improve efficiency while in the saddle.  I'm hoping we can make this a regular outing. 
Me and my bro...I mean, dad! :)

Saturday - rest 
Sunday - Indoor tri - see recap here

Next week,  a concentrated & condensed workout week due to travel. Next Tri coming up May 9th! Open water! Ahh!

Have a great week!


Indoor Tri -The Not So Race Report

Another triathlon checked off the list! This one was an indoor Tri "powered by Lifetime Fitness and Ironman".  I started by membership at Lifetime in early January and had seen the posters all around about their push to get people into triathlon with their "Commit to Tri" slogan.  I learned upon joining that my particular gym had just hosted an New Year's indoor tri a week or two prior.  I was bummed that I had not known about it, it would have been a great way to get my feet wet with this whole tri business.

I asked about when the next one would be and it seems that not all clubs do all the events every time. The next one would be in April in the location in Katy or Sugarland.  Both those are pretty equal in distance from me so I just flipped a coin and registered for the one in Katy.

I got my friend to sign up too and sold her on how great it would be for us newbies.  And that it really is. The triathlon is set to be a 10 min swim in a pool where they count your lengths and later assign points based on number of participants.  Then, you have a 10 minute transition window (which is SO generous!) and then you hop on to a spin bike for 30 minutes (tennis shoes in basket clips or bring your clip ins) and then another 5 minute transition to jump on treadmill for 20.  And you're done!

After the initial sign up (and the friend boondoggle), I didn't think much of this again.  In fact, this week I pretty much gifted myself a recovery week because I flat out just felt worn out.  I probably should have swam at least once but I got my hair "did" on Friday and wasn't about to mess with that. For this.  On Saturday, I went down to Galveston to pick up my daughter and 4 of her friends from a sleepover party.  I had already decided that a side trip to Moody Gardens where Ironman 70.3 Texas would be taking place the next day was inspirationally necessary.  This gave me the nervous race energy I was lacking and am still not sure was necessary!

Late Saturday afternoon, I learned that my friend was sick and would not be joining me.  I was a little disappointed because I just didn't feel like going at it alone.  Again.  Nonetheless, I was registered and committed and I wasn't about to skip it.  Hell no.  I packed up my stuff and my daughter (12) asked me what I was doing.  She asked me who I was going with and I explained my solo status to her.  I asked, on a whim, "do you want to come with me?" and before I could brace myself for a "no", she said "sure" and then followed with "but I don't just want to watch, I want to DO it".  Um.  What? What a pleasant surprise!  But then I thought, is she joking?  Is the lack of sleep from her party making her delirious?  I had no idea if that was even an option but I didn't hesitate to call the club to find out.  As expected, no one that would have the answer to that question was there so we'd have to just show up in the morning and see.  Worst case, she'd be my cheerleader.

By morning, I thought maybe she'd have a change of heart.  But her bag was packed and I learned later that my words to her about being "together" with her struck a chord and motivated her to get up and go.  I was scheduled in the 8:40 wave so we left with plenty of time in the case I had to fill out paperwork for her late registration.

It was touch and go for awhile as there was uncertainty about her ability to join the event but after speaking with the club GM, he said that although the event was "closed", if anyone was a no show, she could fill the spot.  Lucky for us, that was exactly the case!  It wasn't until the last minute before start time that she was given the green light to jump in the pool and share a lane with me.  Happy day!

The Swim:

I was so happy to see her giving it her all with no training whatsoever that I barely paid attention to what I was doing.  And then I remembered what I was doing.  Ugh.  Swimming is not the forte for me and especially not without a warm up. It was WAY better than the last tri but I had moments where my breathing was way off and I had to catch my breath or when my legs just burned and I had to backstroke it.  I made the mistake of stopping for a few seconds to ask her how she felt and I'm afraid that ate up on the time for us to have completed another length.  I lost count and didn't do a good job of looking on the counters sheet to see how we did but I think we were both at 14?  I'll find out for sure when they post the results tomorrow.  I know I could have done better but I also know that I didn't swim all week and I was distracted.


That long transition time surely felt like a luxury.  I noticed some people completely changed out of their swim gear but I just opted to put on my tri shorts.  Maybe it's why I had so much extra time.  I put on my bike shoes and warmed up while we waited for the time to start.


This is was all about high cadence.  A 30 minute sprint consisting of your legs spinning as fast as possible.  I initially set a personal goal of 10 miles and was spinning away and decided to ask one of the volunteers what the "average" distance had been thus far.  He said it ranged from 8-10 miles but no one yet had hit 10.  I thought maybe my goal was a too aggressive and had miss calculated how the spin bike worked.  I didn't think of it much after that because I was more concerned about my daughter.  Her bike seemed to be set up too high and she was wearing tennis shoes that kept slipping from the basket.  On numerous occasions, I had to stop spinning and help guide her foot back in.  She hasn't quite learned the "flip" like I have on my mountain bike.  ;)

As the volunteer walked by, I noticed he would casually whisper to some what their "place" was.  When he didn't come to me, it dawned on me that I was NOT in the top three.  WHAT?  So, I stepped it up a notch.   I pedalled my heart out until I had to stop again for the kiddo.  I figured I'd make up for lost time while I could.  At the last 5 minutes, my legs were flying and I knew I was going to hit over 10 miles (the goal I had brushed off earlier).  I think my final was 10.10 but have no clue how the others did.  It will be a big surprise later.


Again, no stress transition.  I just had to switch shoes and walk over to the treadmill.


I started off I think at 6.7 mph which is a 9 something pace and cruised there for awhile.  For some reason, I kept hitting the front bar with my hip so I took that as me needing to go faster so I upped the speed.  I kind of played with it a little and kept upping it after the first mile.  I think the treadmill workout I did recently (5 miles in 45 minutes) really helped.  I felt strong and like I could have gone faster but kept worrying that I would run out of steam (or fly off the machine).  I didn't want to do either so I ended with a 2.33 in 20 minutes.  I know I could have gone further if I hadn't waited until that first mile to start increasing the speed.  Oh well.  Now I know.


I think the organization of this event was fantastic.  The facilities were clean and neat and the equipment was top notch.  The volunteers were great and they were especially sweet to my daughter. I LOVED having had been able to make this our first mother/daughter event.  She did great and I am so thrilled that she wanted to do it with me.  She rocked it!  I can't wait to do it again!  Hopefully she feels the same!  She wore her tshirt to school this morning so I am thinking she's feeling pretty good about it to.

I am not sure when they will be doing it again but check out their site on the link here for the list of events and locations.
me and my girl with race swag..tshirt and swim cap!

I'll be sure to post the final results when I see them.

Happy Monday all and congrat to all those racing in Galveston yesterday!  I've seen lots of photos and updates and it sounds like the wind was a bear and the heat was brutal on the run.  But the bling...super cool!!  Well deserved!


Update!  Results are in.  I came in 10th overall and 4th in my division (Women's Masters).  I guess I should have held off on the chatting in the pool, huh? Haha.

Valerie Villarreal 14.5 17 10.12 26 2.33 29 72 F Masters

Saturday, April 25, 2015

T-minus 12

12ish hours til the next triathlon experience. As per usual, unexpected turns in the game "plan".

We'll see how this all plays out.

I had a glimpse of inspiration checking out the setup today for the Texas Half Ironman tomorrow in Galveston. It was motivating but also made me nervous too  as if I were racing with them!

Anyway...very cool. 

Hopefully a recap late tomorrow of my little itty bitty indoor Tri. :)


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bloggin' from the where?

I'm multi-tasking!! :)

As I sit in the salon chair, I was thinking of my swim tomorrow and how ummmm...that's NOT happenin'! My hair is absolutely fried and in much need of TLC. Ugh. Granted, I'm not a very high maintenance hair gal (i.e. Lose track of time since my last hair appt) and I just learned I was here last NOVEMBER. That's just crazy talk, y'all. 

I know all the time in the pool hasn't helped either. I've searched high and low for something to put on my head to save my locks from frizzdom every time I go for a swim but nothin'. I may just to invent such a thing. Necessity is the mother you know. 

In the mean time, I've learned I should wet my hair with fresh water and put in leave in conditioner before I swim. This is supposed to lock the hair follicles and prevent the chlorinated water from getting in there. I will try it but that is extra steps to a workout that I already am iffy about. Meh. 

Any tips, tricks or products you care to share, I'm all ears! 

Tabling the pool 'till the mini indoor tri this Sunday. I gotta preserve the new do! Priorities! :)

Hope to hear from you! (And thanks for coming by again and again) ;)


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hump Day Realization

I was thinking of what I should do tonight since hubby is back from travelling and decided to flip through memory lane.  I started this "path" in mid February of this year.  Over 2 months have passed and a quick back of the envelope tally shows that:

I ran 85 miles.
I biked 21 hours.
I swam 26,000 meters.
I Yoga'd about 4 hours.
I strength trained about 5 hours.

And that last time I had a "recovery week" was over Spring Break.

So, I am taking a rest day yall,

Yaassssss!! (as my tween says)
Happy Wednesday all!


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Morning Psychology

What goes through a person's brain when the alarm goes off at 4:30am is quite remarkable.  Actually, it's pretty annoying.

~You've heard it all before so you can leave now if you don't want to be a part of my personal vent (beat up) session with myself.~

You've had fair warning.

I followed *most of the tips to help the process of getting up for an early workout today.  However, I had to push my alarm back FURTHER.  Hubby is leaving town so I had to be back before he headed out for an early flight.  Plus, I had a REALLY long swim workout in store which required more than 45 min to an hour.  Plus...did I mention SWIM?  Ugh.  The thought of getting in the cold pool while my body is in a warm, soft bed is enough to end this post because you'd know what I'm talking about.
I even had my new swim gear ready to go.  That was extra motivation right there!  Right?  I even text with my virtual buddy to make sure she was up for her swim.  And then my brain started doing this nonsense...this nonsense about "why are you doing this?" "you are not cut out for this" "this is like chasing rabbits" "why bother"  I can go on but you get the gist.

On the heels of being so super inspired and motivated by the Boston Marathoners yesterday, I was ready to find out what my friend's "40th" marathon was going to be so that I can train and do the same one.  Wherever in the world it would be.  What the heck...I was inspired!!

And then this morning I want to throw in the towel because I just can't get up?  Ugh!

Boo, me! :(
My friend did swim.  I am so happy that she got out there and did it despite her obstacles.  And the best part, she came back and gave me a pep talk.  Told me all the things I really needed to hear (although I didn't believe her right then).  I got a little teary eyed but brushed it aside because I had bottles to pack, clothes for two to pick out, a kid to drop off and breakfast to make for a STAAR test taking middle schooler.  Mama ain't got time for that! Haha.

By the time the kids all made it to their separate destinations, I had already thought about what I needed to do.  I felt better already and honestly was kinda pissed at me for being so hard on myself. It didn't occur to me that maybe, just maybe, I NEEDED sleep?  Last I checked my sleep patterns on my Misfit Shine device, I am getting 3-4 hours of restful sleep.  I am particularly worn out when I back a night workout with an early morning one (Sunday night/Monday morning) so good grief, Val...give yourself a break!

I decided that this open ended, pseudo, base building training program I'm on is quickly approaching the proverbial fork in the road.  I'm putting in a decent amount of work and time into my workouts.  I don't feel particularly overwhelmed however at times, it can be taxing and yet, I am STILL not getting in as much as I would need for a REAL training program.

So, I'm giving myself until the end of May to the pull the trigger on signing up for a 70.3.  I'm looking at two options...November in Austin or Galveston next April.  I think having a defined program with a start and finish will give me the structure (and satisfaction) that I am currently lacking.

This is me about judging me.  I'm my worst critic.
I do feel that my swim has improved dramatically since I started this thing a couple of months ago and I see improvement in my run times and my bike cadence has increased turnover as well.  But going on like this indefinitely brings concerns of burnout. Which then leads to quitting altogether.  Ugh.  I can't.

Because if I am not training for "something"  would I normally workout out 7 times a week? Um, no. I'd probably be content with 3-5 a week and have no guilt if I skipped a day and certainly not feel like making anything up would be necessary.  I'd gladly take the extra time to work on my house and a gazillion other projects I have my sights set on.

It's afternoon now and I'm feeling pretty darn good. The funk has been eradicated and considering I am a night owl, it's all upside from here.  Ha!

Now, how to make up the swim I missed?!

Hope your Tuesday is less conflicted than mine has been and that you make it to the other side too! If you're still here, thanks for sticking around.  As motivating and positive as I normally am, I have my down days too.  This space has me committed to keepin' it real.


Oh, that 40th Marathon my friend is running is in LESS than a Colorado.  Um...yea.  We're gonna go ahead and scrap that idea.  I have already asked her when #42 (or 45) will be.  Maybe I'll join her for one of those.  :)

Update:  Late afternoon...worked through my lunch run (and meal) but holding out that I can get something in between kiddo pickup or at home later (not my fave).  Still feeling great (in case you were concerned...haha) and weather looks amazing...hoping I can lace up for a quick run!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another week bites the dust

My goals this week were fairly general as they were last but I decided on a whim to add a tad of structure.  It may be a little ambitious but I am going to try to stick with it.

I regularly read the TriSwimCoach Facebook updates and usually, they are pretty spot on to what I am feeling or thinking about in the swimming department at any given moment (fears of open water, getting faster, new drills, conquering boredom on long swims, etc.)  I decided to download their app (2.99) because they have training plans on there that I think could WILL be helpful to ramp up my "pseudo" training.

I chose the 70.3 plan because I really wanted to test the waters (pun intended) on whether I can "handle" it.  It ramps up pretty quick so I hope that I can hang on.  The time commitment to longer workouts can be less than feasible most of the time so I'll just have to play it by ear.

The Goals:

Run - 10 miles
Bike - 2:15 (time)
Swim - 5000M (before taking the training plan plunge)
Strength - at least 1 class
Yoga - 1 class
Brick - 1

The accomplishments:

Monday - Cancelled PowerOne class so I had to improvise.  15 min Ab workout & 15 min Dynamic Yoga workout on the Nike Training Club app + 30 min on the trainer.
Tuesday - 5 mile TM run
Wednesday - Day 1 of 70.3 training plan - 1700M
Thursday - Barbell Strength (3 weeks in a row coming to this's tough but a great full body workout!)
Friday - The power went out in the whole building at work and they sent us all home...FREE DAY!!
Side note:  What would you do with your day off knowing that the weather will be sketchy the whole incoming weekend?  Sure I could have gone shopping (which I really need to do), run errands, get my nails done (Oh, yea, I shoulda done that) or just napped (aaahh...sounds good now) So is it nuts that I get excited at the possibility of cramming in all my workouts left in one day instead?! Hmm.

Ok, sorry.

Friday - 30 mile bike OUTSIDE!!, 5k run (OUTSIDE) BRICK!!+ a break for a sandwich and then 1250M swim.  I followed day 2 of the plan but had to cut it daughter was hounding me to get to the school auction so I can bid on something for her! :/  I figured I'd done enough in the day that missing half a workout would be fine.

Saturday - Rest day

Sunday - 2 miles on the Mountain Bike pulling babies to the park and a late swim post more family fun.  Day 3 of plan with 2650M in!!  That's the longest I've ever swam!  Also, the plan calls for yards so I feel like a total overachiever! ;)  I also wanted to finish off my mileage goal and jumped on the treadmill afterwards for my last 2 miles (brick!).  I also wanted to check on my left ankle that I twisted while teaching my 3 year old how to play hopscotch.  Seriously, why did I even attempt it with my LEFT leg?  Ugh.  First jump and it folded like an accordion.  I keep forgetting how old I am and how ratchety my joints are.  :(
I forgot how many hours I spent doing this as a kid.

Good news is the ankle if fine and more so, I hit 95% of my goals!!

Run - 10 miles ---> 10.2! Yay! CHECK!
Bike - 2:15 (time) --->3:15 CHECK! OVER
Swim - 5000M ---> 5600M! CHECK! (OVER - good thing I cut that one one workout short! Ha!)
Strength - at least 1 class ---> barbell strength CHECK!
Yoga - 1 class ---> 15 min UNDER about 45 minutes
Brick - 1 ---> 2! CHECK! OVER
Extra:  Sunburn and awesome cycling tan lines.

But look at all the Overs!  I think I've over compensated for the yoga I missed out on so I am A-OK with that.   Plus, did I mention that I rode tricycles, played with bubbles, waterguns and almost to a fault, hopscotch too?!

It's been a great week, now to plan for the next and up the ante (and remember the sunscreen).

Have a great one and Happy Monday!

Valerie :)

Oh!  And congrats to all the awesome runners in Boston today with some serious "wicked" weather especially my awesome friend, Doan.  Her 39th marathon and 4th consecutive Boston...and she only started running a few years ago!  My inspiration and hero!  Way to go guys rock!

P.S. - Thanks to the fine folks at Triathlete Blogger Network for picking up this little space of mine and mentioning it there. So super cool!  Welcome all!  Go check them out at their site and follow them @ChiTriBloggers.  Lots of great information for fellow newbie triathletes and experienced hardcore veterans too. :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

How'd you do?

Did you finish your week strong? I'm still holding out for my last workout of the week. Family priorities first! So, if you're still on this side of the pond, it's not too can still fit it in! Go for it!

Hope you've had a great weekend!


Saturday, April 18, 2015


What ever you do today, do it with gratitude. Every day is a gift. 

Happy Saturday!

Valerie :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Let Me Be Your Case Study

You know those people who come to you for advice and after you've given it, they do something completely different?  Yea, that was me.  To my own advice!
Ha! Sorry, I couldn't help myself. Lol!
I decided to ignore the "conversioning" tips I was so kind to provide on my prior post on lessening the pain of getting that early morning workout in.  It wasn't really on purpose or for the sake of this post but since it turned out the way that it did, I decided to make me an example of what NOT to do.  You're welcome.

I didn't let Monday be a rest day because I kept hearing "Never Skip Mondays" in my head.  Despite that of course, that only means if you didn't do a dang thing for the last 7 week days, but nonetheless, I did something.  I pulled a couple of workouts from the Nike Training Club app and then jumped on my trainer for a heart pumping, sweatfest half hour.

I got in bed knowing that I REALLY needed to get a swim in early in the week.  But also knowing that I REALLY didn't wanna (anti-psyching myself out, rule one broken).  I also got in bed not knowing where in the heck my swimsuit was (hamper?, workout drawer?, dryer? swimsuit drawer?). Meaning, I have already broke the first two rules of morning get yo butt up readiness! No clue where your gear is?  C'mon, lady! I told hubby, "meh, I'll figure it out in the morning" and he teased "I'll get up and run with you" (knowing this will get me off the swimming hook) and within 30 seconds I went from happiness to oh, crap he's totally pulling my leg.  :/

I woke up with the alarm and did text my buddy to make sure SHE was getting up for HER swim. Ahem. I had zero motivation to get up and snoozed away.  Apparently, she felt the same way because she didn't respond for another hour!  Ha!  So, the buddy system too, failed.

The whole morning was set in motion in cuckoo mode.  Because now, along with all the other morning rush must do's, I have to play catch up and be prepared for the opportunity of a Tuesday workout.  Pack a breakfast, lunch and a workout bag (putting together all the gear!) never know!

So, all this to say:  "Do as I say, not as I do!"  The tips work, y'all!

Tomorrow:  SWIM!! For real.

Have a good one!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Finish Strong

Almost forgot to update the prior week!

I started the week in a bit of a daze.  I signed up for my Monday morning class on Sunday night and had no other goals for the week until late Monday when I just decided to jot something down:

5100M Swim
2:10 Bike
10M Run
1 Strength Session
1 Yoga Session
1 brick Session

I knew the swim would force me to get into the pool at least 3 times which is what I really needed to do.  The mileage was very conservative since I had injury concern (more on that later) and everything else was more of a wish list (and cheating some knowing that the Cycling class already covered half my goal for the week)

This is how it played out:

Monday - PowerOne Cycling
Tuesday - Early morning swim in the "short" pool.  I didn't want to intrude on the Masters class already in session.  After a little math coversion in the office, I came out to a 1770M swim.
Left work a bit early to take son to practice and realized that I had a small window....OPPORTUNITY!!  I ran 4 miles!
Wednesday - I was planning an early spin class but snoozed one too many times.  Took advantage of the inadvertent switch up and went to Hot Yoga at lunch.  I felt redeemed!
Thursday - Last week was so good, I had to go back...early morning Barbell Strength at the gym!
Friday - Make it or break it day...if I didn't get it in early, it wasn't going to happen on this super busy day.  I managed 1600M swim followed by 15 minutes on the spin brick!
Saturday - This was going to be a rest day but I realized I still had too many things on the goal list not checked off.  So while babies napped, I jumped on the trainer for an hour then quickly laced up and went for a quick 2 mile run.  (they were awake by then but hubby was home) Another baby brick!
Sunday - day?  NO.  Rearrange and organize your entire house day? YES.  How did we accumulate so many toys and J U N K??  Ahhh!!  I sorted through EVERY bin, box, cubby and basket.  Put all like things together, collected outgrown "baby" toys and threw a bunch of odds and end crap away.  I visited with in-laws who came over for awhile and my first outing of the day was to pick up my daughter at Cotillion at 8pm.  PM!  When I set my mind to work on something...I. DON'T. STOP.  Hubby made us all super yummy shrimp pasta dinner and after the company was gone and the kitchen was clean, I decided...I still have time to reach my goal!!

I tried to convince my buddy to join me for a late swim but she couldn't get away.  So I packed anything I could possible need and headed out.  1800M followed by a super fast 5k on the treadmill! Brick!! I was walking out of the gym at 10:45PM but felt accomplished!

This is how turned out:

5100M Swim - 5170M check!
2:10 Bike - 2:15 bike check!
10M Run - 9.3 miles - almost there...whawhaaa
1 Strength Session - 1 - check!
1 Yoga Session - 1 - check!
1 brick session - 3 - check, check, check!!

I came close to the meeting the mileage goal but with the slight overages everywhere else, I'm gonna call it square.  And of note, NO rest days!  I'd say I finished the week strong!

So, since my Power class was cancelled this morning (I was relieved actually) I just may not do anything tonight. (But I probably won't)

Time to set this week's goals!

Talk at ya later!


Night to Morning Conversioning

I think I may have just made up a word.

One of the hardest things about trying to squeeze in all these workouts is the realization that there is no other way to get it done but sacrificing sleep and converting to the *dreadful* morning person. If I were a "go to bed at a decent hour gal", it probably wouldn't be so difficult.  But the thing of it is, I stay up late. And like it.  Giving that up will be the toughest.

My buddy has figured this out long before I, so getting her morning texts are very VERY helpful. It's good to know I'm not the only one waking up at an unGodly hour to go WORKOUT? I am the first to get up (or never go to bed) when there's travel involved. But the energy required to exercise at that time is sometimes nonexistent. Nor the motivation.

As a night owl, I'm reluctant to admit that it's getting easier. At least I can say that now, since today's early class was cancelled. My bedtime is slowly rolling back to mid Jimmy Fallon to early Seth Myers range. Ha! My binge watching of House of Cards with hubby is suffering though. I fall asleep and then wake up when something big has happened and I feel we have to watch the episode again. To be fair, he falls asleep too so it's a do over for both of us! Lol.

I started with one weekly early class.  Now, I am early rising 3 to 4 times a week!!  (WHAT?!)

A few things that seem to help this painful transition:

1 - Psyche yourself up the night before

Usually after one really good workout, start thinking of the next. Think about how "tomorrow morning" you will get the big run, swim or whatever done and off the list.  Think about how much stronger you are after each workout.  All this is necessary because you will need to remind yourself of this when the alarm goes off at 4:30 and you snooze and ask yourself "whyyyyyyyyy???"

2 - Get yo stuff together

Set your clothes out. Your gym bag, water bottle, swim bag, bike shoes/bike by the door, whatever gear you need...have it ready to go.  This minimizes the time fumbling around in the morning when your eyes are still stuck together which in turn means, more time in bed. See? Win-win!  I can get from bed to driver's seat in about 15 minutes.  (I can and have but doesn't necessarily mean I DO each in progess, k?)

3 - Fuel Up

I'm not saying you need a full breakfast but you certainly need a lil something in the tank to get you moving.  I've tried with and without coffee and maybe half a banana.  It CAN be done with an empty stomach or without caffeine but for ME, it was one less thing I can blame my sluggishness too.  It's a mind game, I tell ya.  If I had even half a cup of joe, it makes me happy and satisfied and ready to go. Whether or not the caffeine actually works is uncertain.  I'm thinking adrenaline takes over so really, whatever it takes to get you to the starting block is good enough.

4 - Pound the Alarm!

I have a motivational title to my workout alarm.  It's something to the tune of: "GET YOUR ASS UP!" followed by a string of workout and tropical destination type emojis.  Does it help?  Not really, but it's the isolated alarm for that purpose that gives it the sense of being special.  I can't let it down. Having the caps and bad word makes it feel like a mean personal trainer yelling at me. Not really, but just go with it.  Extra tip, you are a habitual snoozer to the point that you sleep through your entire workout session time, set your phone on the other side of the room (so annoying) but even more effective, put it on your non-early rising husband's night stand.  He will be SURE you get your ass up and out of the house in a hurry! (So I hear....ha!)

5 - Buddy System - Real or Virtual

This is by far, the most helpful of things.  If I committed to meet someone for a run before dawn, I would NEVER leave them hanging or sacrifice their workout for my lack of motivation.  I WILL BE THERE.  The same goes for our cycling class or meeting for group runs.  On the days when you have to go at it alone, however, draw on the support of the virtual buddy.  These are people that are in your same the same struggle of trying to fit it ALL in with limited time and opportunity. Your peoples, your tribe.  They scratch your back and you scratch theirs...text them when the alarm goes off, wake them up, give them the pep talk when they are just in a funk and don't wanna...and likely, they will do the same for you.  You will both like each other better later in the day when your workouts are complete! Ha! (experience speaking!)

What has helped me SO much with this transition is the feeling of getting to work after a good workout, getting kids ready and out the door, carpooling and traffic, knowing that it. is. done!  You can actually look forward to working the rest of the day and going about your evening duties (carpool/taxi/dinner/homework/family time) without the stress of having to find the time to leave all that and squeeze a workout in.

It's so gratifying that I don't mind nodding off a little earlier than usual.

Happy Monday all!


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cucumber Smoothie Recipe

My morning smoothies come into existence from two main things:  time and available ingredients.
My hubby is the grocery shopper (can I get an Amen?!) so smoothie ingredients are not on the "regular" list unless I make a special request.  I've been a total slacker in the meals department lately and have been winging it with the bare essentials for weeks and weeks.  Luckily, my daughter has started some health kick with her friends and has been tagging along with dad on grocery nights.

She takes fruit infused water bottles to school every day and makes herself a healthy lunch and snacks.  Thankfully, I've been able to hijack some of her ingredients for my smoothies! Ha!  Unfortunately, the only green thing she bought this time was cucumbers and avocados.  But fortunately, I've learned that cucumbers are AWESOME.

I threw half of one in my smoothie earlier this week and really enjoyed the crisp, fresh taste.  This morning, I had a few extra minutes to throw another together and used up some more of her ingredients (shhh) plus a few of my own non perishable ones. It was delicious!

Cucumber Fruity Smoothie
1 banana
3/4 cucumber
few strawberries
few raspberries
1 cup of pineapple
2 figs
chia seeds

I knew cucumbers had some healing anti inflammatory benefits.  I've seen them commonly at the spa sliced in water for drinking or heard of slices over the eyes to reduce swelling.  With all my exercise, I thought I could certainly use some of that anti-inflammatory action on my sore muscles.  Can't hurt right? Simultaneously yummy and healing?  Can't beat that!  

I decided to look them up and learn more about cucumbers and what else exactly they are known for. I found that they are a one of the world's healthiest foods! They're full of vitamins and minerals and are not only anti-inflammatories but also anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, great for skin and hair, aids good breath, rehydrates and even promotes joint health!  There are tons of articles out there (two of which I've linked) noting all of their wonderfulness.

I think I will keep these on the "regular" shopping list because in a pinch, they can make a refreshing smoothie or put a pep in a glass of water while reaping the rewards of all the benefits they have to offer.  I've found lots of easy recipes where we can quickly incorporate a summer salad with our dinners too!

Follow me on Pinterest if you've haven't yet to see what recipes I'll be pinning later to try out.

Happy Wednesday all and don't forget to keep moving!

Valerie :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

It's not too late...

It's still Monday.  Go out and MOVE IT!!



Creating a Virtual Workout Buddy System

The way last week started, it could have easily turned into a rest WEEK.  After the Tri on Saturday, I rested on Sunday and really had not set any gameplan on how the rest of the week would go.

Thankfully, my buddy Rox reached out late Sunday to ask about signing up for our indoor cycling class at PowerOne.  She and I always have a hard time syncing our schedules to workout together but we don't stop trying!  Our latest thing is to be each other's "virtual" workout buddy. We give each other a rough outlook of the workouts in the week ahead and then we keep tabs on each other daily to stay accountable and on track.  So if she tells me she's got bootcamp at 5, I'm getting a text at 4:30am telling me that she is on her way and waking me up for my barbell strength class.  I'll text in her return when I'm done with my class.  We never want to keep anyone hanging so getting a "text of shame" asking if you actually DID make it is a no-no.  ;)  It's been a week and so far, it's been working!  This Monday morning cycle class is the only one we seem to both be able to make and very unlikely for either of us to miss.  It is AWESOME.  I'll have to write up on that soon.

Monday's morning class and our induction of the buddy system was the catalyst needed to put the week on track.  This is how it played out:

Monday - PowerOne Cycling
Tuesday - Tested the "text of shame" theory (we both did)...missed my morning swim but made up for it with a late 4 mile run.
Wednesday - Procrastinated as I discussed on a different post but swam 1650M and regretted the hesitation.
Thursday - 5:30am Barbell Strength class at the gym (this was my first time and would prove to keep me sore, well...still a little sore.)  :)
Friday - Planned to swim early but skipped the alarm since I was off from work and could get it in later in the day.  Hubby decided last minute to head to office.  My plan was toast.  Called it a reluctant rest day. 
Saturday - Morning swim...this time to finish the entire workout I had intended on Wed.  This particular workout looked appealing to me specifically because there were drills included that I had not tried before.  The link, from Triathlete Europe magazine, includes three different workouts.  I did the shortest which I have attached here, which by the way, is the longest ever swim for me! Descriptions of the drills are included and I found them incredibly helpful.  That No Walls drill was challenging and probably looked silly to get to the wall and suddenly stop, tread water and go again but I could tell it was working the endurance.  Give it a try and tell me what you think.

Thanks to  Tri Swim Coach for providing link to this on FB.
Sunday -  I was hoping to meet up with Rox sometime in the evening for a run after Easter plans but as it turned out, hubby offered to run with me!  I hadn't heard from her and it was getting late so we decided to just go.  I am happy to report that he 1) didn't leave me in his dust (cause he's fast and gifted to be so without TRYING :\  ) and/or 2) didn't slack and slow me down either haha.  Also happy to learn that the big kids not only babysat the littles while were out but ALSO bathed them AND cleaned and picked up the common areas too!! WHAT?!

The weather was perfect and the company even better...a solid 5 miles to finish the fly-by-the-seat week! :)

It wasn't exactly a "training" plan but it was a get your butt moving and blood pumping plan that worked.  Off to start a new week and set a game plan for this week (to share with Rox) with my breakfast in tow: Cucumber pineapple smoothie, yum!

Cucumber, Pineapple, Banana, Coconut Water, a lil honey & ice.

Happy Monday, all!!


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Happy weekend!

Gearing Up.

I'll admit to having been a gearhead in the past.  I'd do all the research and get the latest and greatest of gadgets or gear that I HAD TO HAVE.  My first BIG investment was into my Garmin 305 way back when.
Garmin Forerunner 305

I was new to running and thought it was going to help.  It didn't.  I liked seeing it "work" while I did but I didn't do any analysis on heartrate or pace after the fact other than trying to get a little faster here and there and learning that my MHR (maximum heart rate) does not fit into the generic formula that lives out there (mine is way higher than the norm).  Nonetheless, I used it on every run and found a mount for my bike for the times I did that.  Later on, I used it more on the bike while training for the MS150 in 2010 & 2011 (gosh that seems like an eternity ago).  It was great until it stopped charging.  It became a nuisance going for a run or ride and having it die midway.  I found an awesome, innovative product through a kickstarter campaign and was pretty stoked to be part of this company's vision.  I bought a Bia through the program but while waiting for it to go through testing and finally get delivered, I found other options.

I found the Nike+ App for my iPhone (when travelling without my Garmin and wanting to go for a run) and fell in love with its format and layout and haven't looked back since.  Initially, I also used the MapMyRun and MapMyRide apps but as their platform has grown, just kept using the Mapmyfitness app. to sync and consolidate all workouts in one place. When I started using my bike indoors, I got a cadence/speed sensor that works with both MapmyFitness and Wahoo. Now, my phone has pretty much taken place of Garmin.

Misfit Shine
I don't mind carrying it really.  I have a mount on my bike for it as well (actually I did...I need a new mount for the 6).  Then the age of fitness tracker came into play.  Everyone had a fitbit or a jawbone that was on their person 24/7.  My friends were starting step challenges and talked about getting their 10,000 steps in a day and I almost did it.  I almost pulled the trigger but then I did the research and decided I didn't want to do it.  And then I found the Misfit Shine.

I saw it on an Apple commercial being used by a swimmer (I'm so gullible). That's it.  That would complete the tracking circle, I thought.  I could track my swim and push it to MapMyFitness and I'm set.  Well...not exactly.  It is super cool looking so I don't mind wearing it all the time.  I don't have to deal with charging it at all (watch battery that lasts for what seems like forever) and it tracks my sleep patterns (or lack thereof), my steps, distance, calories burned and allows me to "tag" my activity whether it's swim, bike or whatever and set goals.

Whenever it's near my phone it will sync to the app and update so no cables or hassle.  I really like it but the data is not specific enough for me.  I want to SEE my laps, my pace, my distance by activity not just one summed up number.  And now with triathlon training, I know I need something more robust so Misfit may be handed down to my hubby.  Although I doubt he'll use it.

All this background to say that I'm in the market.  To backtrack, I eventually got my Bia and it was great for the time I used it but there was still a lot of beta testing going on with the product and I didn't train or workout consistently enough to really get used to using it.  Now that I started training, I pulled it out to find out that it was completely dead.  I reached out to the company and they were SO awesome.  They immediately sent me a new Bia.  I got it, charged it an set it up only to see a Facebook update by their founder that the company would sadly not make it and that Bia tracking would cease to work after a certain date (can't remember).  Darn.  It's so hard for a little fish to make it in the big pond.  Total bummer.  I dug out my Garmin and finagled with it and got it to charge. Hooray, I thought!  I used it a few times and learned that the apps had upgrade a dozen times over since I used it and it would be perfect to use (and save some moola).  Until my Scotch tape trick wasn't enough.  That old thing is too unpredictable now. Bleh.

Garmin VivoActive
So again, I'm in the market.  I LOVE the new Apple iWatch that is coming out later this month but geez, I can't justify the $350 on the Sport version if I can't swim with it.  And if I go for a run, my phone has to come too?  Well, what's the point?  I already do THAT.  After all my reading and comparing, I think I am going to go with the new Garmin VivoActive.  It's sleek, waterproof, syncs to iConnect (which then pushes data to MapMyFitness), and has other smart watch capabilities like notifications, music, etc.  It also pairs with a heart rate monitor (that I already have) and the sensors on my bike too.  Their version of the app store could certainly use some work but it's new so I'll give them that. It's still not a "multisport" watch which would be great on race days but I think I can live without that. It's retails for $250 and it also tells time! Hey!  Haha...I just wished it looked like the Apple watch (sooooo pretty) but it's an improvement on the bulky look they've been known for especially with the cool touch screen.  Oh well, maybe the iWatch 4 or 8 will be waterproof and by then I'll be ready for it! Lol.

Stay tuned!

Share your favorite gear and gadget with me, won't ya?  Any similar experiences?  I'd love to hear from you.


P.S. - I know that for "true" Ironman training, I shouldn't screw around with apps and trackers.  I know what I want (the Garmin 920XT) but thanks to a wonderful suggestion from a reader, I will treat myself (or let hubby treat me) with that upon IRONMAN sign up.  Sort of a gift in advance for the pain to come. Lol!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Mid Week Motivation - Don't Quit!

Thoughts of the race and some of the difficulty I experience allowed self doubt to creep in.  I've manage to swing out of it by getting a daily workout in.  This morning's was the toughest.  Getting up early for a pool swim wasn't all that fun of a notion.  I always feel more enthusiastic about my morning workouts the night before...the not so fun notion feeling was dread by morning when my virtual workout buddy texted and the alarm went off soon after.

Ugh.  I procrastinated getting up.  I procrastinated getting ready.  I procrastinated leaving the house.  I even wondered "am I really ever going to get where I envision?" "is this a realistic goal?" "should I just quit the whole thing and go back to bed?"  I knew the answers to all the questions.  I am a positive, strong minded person so of course, I knew that was just the fear of failure creeping in to rattle me a bit and I just had to kick it to the curb.

I procrastinated getting out the car at the gym.  But I did.  I found a lane, set up and got in to that cold water.  I didn't procrastinate to start though.  I had a workout to follow and off I went.  Y'all it was SO good.  So very good that I was sad it was over.  WHAT?  Yes, I was sad it was over.  My breathing was rhythmic the drills were feeling effective and I was imagining swimming in a lake for a long distance and how that would go.  Progress!  I realized that I had procrastinated over a half an hour of my workout away where I could have actually finished all 2300M had I started on time. Shame on me but yay me for showing up and getting some of it done. 1650M!  One mile swim before 6:45am and lots of positive vibes and hope coming out of the pool.  I am looking forward to my next swim! it is.  It's hard and it sucks at times but gosh the redemption of success when you follow through is SO worth it!  It's that carrot dangling out there that lets you touch it every once in a while in hopes you can grab it.  Keep reaching, you'll get there!

Go out there and get moving!  Happy hump day!

Valerie :)