Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2, 2013

Happy Canada Day!

I have decided to revitalize my blog this month. It fell off the wagon this year when I fell off the wagon this year. I had nothing inspirational to write, so I didn't. Here's a brief catch up on what I've been doing - like I said, it's not inspirational, but it's true.


I was really motivated to train in January but I got quite sick for 3 weeks and then had some back issues that totally derailed me.  Once I recovered, I had a hard time getting my mojo back. I kept on running 2 times a week, but stopped riding the trainer and didn't swim at all.

On Feb 12, I did a fun indoor triathlon in Pentiction - swim laps for 15 minutes, ride the trainer for 30 minutes, run laps including stairs for 20 minutes. Furthest distance wins.  I didn't win anything in my age group but I had a lot of fun!

After March break, the weather was awful - it has been a super wet spring and I was slammed at work.  I came home tired and unmotivated, and could only force myself to run a couple times a week. I tried to keep up my long run to 10km but that was it.

On April 21, Erik, my daughter, and I did the Vancouver Sun Run 10km.  It was a blast. I was slow and took a few walk breaks but I had fun and I enjoyed doing a race with Carly.

From April to now, I've only run once a week. Work got busier and in trying to be a good teacher, I began to be a bad athlete.  I continued to sleep poorly (menopause) and got home from work late, and exhausted. Without a race to motivate me, I couldn't muster up any mojo to train. To be honest, I'm not even sure a race would have motivated me.

My focus has been on planning my trip to Europe (we leave tomorrow) and my hope is that I will get back my mojo and start training again when I get back in 3 weeks.  I want to do a half marathon in the fall.

So that's it - uninspired, full of excuses, not much to write home about.


I did the paleo thing for quite awhile and liked it but I could never totally give up dairy (plain yogurt and cheese), and I missed eating legumes.

After a lot of reading and testing, I decided that the most important thing is to make healthy choices and eat fresh foods, the less processed the better.  Some research shows that low fat diets work, some show vegetarian diets work, some show high fat low carb diets work.  The thing they all seemed to have in common was lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. Ultimately, I have decided to do just that - eat fruit, veggies, lean meats, legumes/whole grains on occasion, healthy fats, nuts and seeds. I still try to lean towards very little process carbs and only eat bread once a week.

At least that is what I want to do in theory. In reality, with the lack of exercise, I have struggled with my weight and that in turn has caused me to struggle with healthy eating choices. I am now up 5 pounds of my ideal comfortable weight (10 lbs over race weight), and I can really feel it. I feel weak, out of shape, uncomfortable, and down right fat. Ugh.

Although I'll be doing lots of walking (no cycling this time) over the next three weeks, a trip to Europe is not likely going to help me in the weight department, so I have to hit it hard again when I get back. I guess July 25 will be my "New Year's Day" this year.  I feel like if I have a date and a goal in mind, I can focus on the prize.  That being said, I will try to make relatively healthy choices while I'm away and it's true I am much less likely to snack when I am travelling so that will help.


So my focus this year has been on work and I feel really good about all that I have accomplished.  I was being evaluated this year and I decided I wanted to completely change my whole Math program which took a ton of time and planning but I'm really happy with the result.  I also had a student teacher from January - March which took a lot of my time and energy. In addition, I piloted a class set of ipads in my room March-June and had a blast with the kids learning how effective ways to use them. I am now designing inservice for the teachers at my school to train them all in the use for elementary schools. This program has taken a TON of my time but I loved every minute.

I've found that although I have a lot of energy and excitement for all aspects of my life, I can only focus it on one or two pursuits at a time. Apparently, this year it has been school.  When I'm training, I have to let school go on auto-pilot as I leave as early as possible to get my workout in before dinner. That has been impossible this year but I'm not sorry.

So that's it - the first half of 2013 in a nutshell.

I am hoping to do a regular update of my blog over the next 3 weeks while Erik and I travel in Europe. It will have nothing to do with fitness so some people won't be interested in following it. I usually keep a written diary of my trips and thought the blog might be a fun way to do that this time since I'll have my ipad with me. We'll see.

Here's our Intinerary:

July 3 - Leave Kelowna via Vancouver
July 4 - Paris, France
July 5 - Munich, Germany
July 6-9 - Salzburg, Austria
July 9-11 - Vienna, Austria
July 12 - Venice and Pisa, Italy
July 13-15 - Riomaggiore (Cinque Terre) Italy
July 15-20 - L'isle sur la Sorgue, France
July 20-22 - Paris (and finale of the tour de France!)
July 22 - Vancouver
July 23 - Home

Au revoir, auf wiedersehen, arrivederci!!

Here I am tweeting from Apt, France in 2009. :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Another Month of Trying Something New

There are three main endurance sport diets out there:

1. The Vegetarian/Vegan - they claim to feel better than ever before, have more energy than ever before, and be faster than ever before and they have scientific data that suggests that it works.

 2. The Paleo / Primal / Low-Carb People - they claim to feel better than ever before, have more energy than ever before, and be faster than ever before and they have scientific data that suggests that it works.

 3. The Eat-Whatever-You-Want-People - They claim to train and race simply so they can eat whatever they want and they have fun doing it.

For the most part, I've been a number 3, with dashes of number 1 and number 2.  I eat what I want within reason, I try to eat lots of healthy fruits and veggies, I enjoy holidays and the food that goes along with it, I have an indulgent meal at least once a week and a glass or two of wine on the weekends. When I'm training all-out (usually Jan-June) I can maintain my weight on this "diet". The rest of the year I cannot.

Last September I tried a month of vegetarian diet. I liked it a lot, felt good, and gained several pounds.  Was it my normal September weight gain? Was it the diet? Was it because I let myself eat crap JUST because it didn't have meat in it?  I dunno.  All I know is that I didn't lose any weight.

So - I decided that in January, I would eat a Paleo / Primal diet for one month and give that a test. As with anything, there are plenty of versions of this diet.  I am actually following the rules for the Primal Blueprint diet by Mark Sisson primarily because he allows some dairy products and puts a little sugar in his coffee in the morning.

I will eat:  meat, chicken, fish, eggs, vegetables, nuts, fats, some fruit (berries are best), coffee, and a little red wine and dark chocolate

I won't eat: any form of sugar, any grain including rice and quinoa

I will avoid: dairy products, especially during the first week, but will likely add back yogurt and some cheese.

Why Paleo / Primal?

Since I "hang out" with a lot of endurance athletes on Twitter and Facebook, I have plenty of opportunity to listen to the debate about the various schools of thought on what constitutes healthy eating. I guess you could say I'm jumping on the bandwagon, but really, I just want to give each of these diets a try and see if I can notice any positive effect on my body and my training energy. But the main reason I decided to finally try a version of paleo is because a pair of real life friends have been eating that way for several years and it seems to really be working for them. I chose Primal for the reasons I noted above, plus Sisson talks about an 80% rule. He says follow the rules 80% of the time. Makes sense to me. Seems manageable.

So after one week, how's it going?

I have just finished my first week (6 days) of primal eating and so far so good. One thing I can say about this diet is that it's really easy to incorporate into a regular family meal. For the most part, I replace the starch at dinner with an extra vegetable and/or salad.  I have cut back on any sauces that contain flour or sugar, but for the most part, I don't think my family have noticed any change.

The biggest challenge for me is the morning - I love sugar in my coffee and since I am avoiding dairy, I can't have cream either. My friend suggested a coconut milk coffee creamer that is low in calories, has no sugar (in the plain version) and tastes great!  I put quite a bit into my coffee in the morning, and I seem to be surviving without sugar.

Since I was still on holiday this past week, I wasn't always having a full breakfast AND lunch but most days I had a couple of eggs for brunch (2 strips of bacon on a couple days). Some days I also had a cup of frozen berries with a little coconut creamer.

Lunch was leftover chicken or steak from the night before or a can of tuna or salmon plus either a salad, or a bowl of homemade chicken vegetable soup.

I had at least one snack per day. I had 1/4 cup mixed nuts each day, and usually an apple. I also made some parmesan flax crackers that help to fight my craving for a cracker-type snack. 

Here are the dinners I had this week.

* Grilled Chicken, large tossed salad with oil/vinegar, spinach, squash

* Fish Tacos - home made, I used a large lettuce leaf instead of a shell. Sour cream. Salad.

* Taco salad - the boys had tacos one night, I just dumped the meat on a big salad. I did indulge in a little cheddar and sour cream.

* Steak, salad, carrots

* Chicken Cacciatore - I ate mine without pasta, had a big salad, and spinach.

I did some form of training every day (I ran twice, biked twice, and went to the gym for a strength workout twice).

Since Tuesday, I have lost 2 lbs. Tomorrow is my official weigh in day, I hope I'm still 2 down then as well.

So - I'll keep you posted on how this experiment goes. So far so good.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A New Year

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love the new year.  I love making "resolutions" and I love the new start.  Some people hate them, some think they are a waste of time, but they work for me.  I guess part of it is because I don't make "resolutions" once a year. I have several reaffirmation dates throughout the year, mostly coinciding with school or seasonal breaks ie March Break, July 1st, and September 1st.

Notice how I put "resolutions" in quotation marks?

The other day I tweeted that "I don't call them resolutions, I call them my training plan" and that is pretty much how I view the new year. November/December is my 'off-season' (although truth be told, it's really more like Sept-Dec ;) and training always begins in January. I don't really make resolutions so much as I make decisions on what my goal races will be, and I renew my focus on healthy eating and as usual, a plan to get back to race weight.

So what are my plans?

My first race this year will be the Okanagan College Campus to Campus Half Marathon on April 8.  I hope to PR the course, but if not, I just want to have fun and have an early race as a goal.

However, the rest of my year is still a little up in the air - I have been wavering back and forth between doing the Abbotsford Marathon again this spring (May), or doing Oliver Half Iron (June) - they are a week apart so I can't do both.

So right now - I have two plans - A and B - and I really am still undecided about what to do.

Here are the Pros and Cons for each plan

Plan A - Campus2Campus half marathon in April, May marathon, Apple sprint tri in August, and half marathon in October

* I really like running and would love a chance to improve my time on that course
* The timing is good (end of May) so there aren't likely many impediments to my training

* I won't be able to do a Half Iron in 2013
* I will only be able to do one triathlon in 2013 - the Apple


Plan B - Campus2Campus half marathon in April, June Half Iron, Apple sprint tri, and a full (or half) marathon in October


* It gives me a chance to get back to triathlon training and racing
* Oliver is a good race for me - the time of year, and the course
* I would have time (theoretically) to train for a fall marathon after Oliver


* I am going to Europe for a few weeks in July so any fall marathon training will be minimal, and long runs will be disrupted

* I have a REALLY hard time keeping up with long runs between June - September. I'm not even sure if I have enough weeks to train for a marathon (2nd week of October).  I know in theory I would have a good base built up after Oliver, but in reality, it'll be June and if history repeats itself, it will be a struggle to maintain the half iron fitness with the disruption of school in June and travel in July.

* Therefore, I will likely have to revert to a fall half marathon.

So really, the big question - am I willing to give up doing a full marathon in 2013?  That's a distinct possibility with Plan B, although not a guarantee.

I guess I need to decide fairly soon....

Healthy Eating

Post coming in the next day or two  :)