Exercise Habits – I See Patterns

Making exercise a habit, something you do as part of your every day lifestyle, is a very good thing.

But when I look back over the last several years of participating in races, I have noticed something in my exercise habits that aren’t really good.

When I sign up for a race, I am always super excited to get into a structured training program. It keeps me accountable and I can notice my fitness improving weekly.

However, I have also noticed something else….

Most programs have a cycle of 3 weeks building fitness, and then 1 week of easier workouts to give your body a bit of a break.

But I am finding about 6-8 weeks into my program, there always seems to be things that start to get in the way of my exercise. Either work or family things or housework, etc. The list is long.

I am actually OK with taking a week off exercise if I feel I need it. Sometimes I feel like I have taken on too much in life and just need to take a week to re-group.

But getting back into the routine of daily exercise is a whole other story. Usually at this half-way point is when my training unravels all the way until race day. And on race day I am kicking myself for my lack of training….again.

The advantage I have this time is I really see what I have done in the past…. and I am changing it.

Last week I had some fantastic workouts. Not all the ones I had planned, but the ones I did were really good!! I still hate the treadmill, but on one run last week, I actually thought I liked running! Lol. It was one of those workouts that I got off the treadmill smiling:)

If every workout was like that I don’t think anyone would ever have a problem working out!

I had a couple of good bike rides too, but the funnest work out of the week was snowshoeing.

A few other families and us had planned to go snowshoeing in Waterton on Friday. But that lovely Alberta wind kicked up, and we decided that trying to snow shoe in Waterton in 100km/h winds might not be a lot of fun.

It is really hard to reschedule when it is a bigger group so we decided to go to Indian Battle Park in Lethbridge.

On the drive there I thought we were nuts… It was SO windy!!

But once we were in between the trees in the river bottom it was calm and beautiful.

I still want to go snow shoeing in Waterton sometime, but the river bottom was a good substitute! And considering the highways around here were horrible later in the afternoon, I am sure glad we stuck closer to home!

This week, weather permitting, we plan to go snow boarding for a day. And I think I am going to try that stair climber at the gym. It looks really hard, but I have been told it is a fantastic workout!

I am also getting back in the pool this week. Last week we went for a fun family swim, but because of weather and work, I have neglected fitness swimming. Time to get back at it!

The rest of my workouts are the same old thing… but I really hope to get outside Saturday afternoon to get a 7 miler in!!

The Big Surprise

I weighed myself Friday and I was still 161lbs, and I was OK with that because I really do feel good. I want my weight to go down, but if I am doing everything right and its not going down, so be it.

So imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scaled this morning, and it was 159lbs….. a 2lb weight loss over the weekend!

I have no idea why. I had a couple glasses of wine on Saturday night. I didn’t snack a lot on Sunday so maybe that helped… I don’t know. I just hope it doesn’t hop back on next week, because now that I am finally back in the 150’s, I want to stay there!!

Categories: Uncategorized

Living Minimalist Lifestyle – Possible for Triathletes?

Hey, hope you all had a great Family Day yesterday!! I did almost everything I planned to do so I am happy with that. I biked, got my counters clean (which lasted about 10 full minutes), made a Keto friendly lime cheesecake (without the crust because I was short on time…but it was delicious!), and went swimming with the kids.

We lasted about 40 minutes swimming at the pool before we bailed…

…it was very, very peoply in there!

Anyways, I will let you in on my past week before I tell you what brought me to wanting to write about living a minimalist lifestyle (I don’t right now).

A Write Off

Last week was a complete and total write off. I did nothing.

I worked Monday, and though it’s always hard to get a workout in on days I work, I can usually make it to the gym to do some kind of workout.

Tuesday I was beyond exhausted. Don’t have a clue why, but I was tired enough to have a nap in the afternoon, and simply couldn’t find the energy to workout. I haven’t felt like that since before I started Keto.

I have been letting my eating habits slip here and there, so maybe that is why!

Wednesday was the start of the snowstorm….shoulda warmed up on the bike….but I didn’t. No reason why not, just didn’t.

Thursday I worked, and due to the really bad roads, we were short-staffed, so I didn’t get to the gym.

Friday I had a work course in the morning and the older kids had exams in Lethbridge in the afternoon.

Saturday is best described as LAZY. We watched Netflix, and would go out every so often to shovel the sidewalks.

Netflix

We like to watch documentary style movies or travel videos on Netflix. Our favourite is Departures, which I think we have seen every episode of all three seasons!

Anyways, we watched a show on living a minimalist lifestyle. As we watched, I looked around my cluttered, messy house, (which I should have been cleaning instead of watching Netflix), at all the stuff we really don’t need.

I think there are extremes people take to live minimalist, but I know we could definitely do with a lot less “stuff”.

But yesterday morning, while I was on the bike looking around at my basement, which is also cluttered, it got me thinking…

Is it Possible for a Triathlete to Live a Minimalist Lifestyle?

When you are doing triathlons, there is definitely some gear you can’t get by without. Especially when you are doing longer distance.

I’ll start with the swim. A cold, open water swim requires a good wet suit. One you can move in and that fits well. But wet suits tend to chafe at the back of the neck while you are swimming, so you need some Bodyglide.

You also need a good set of goggles…maybe two. One that is clear for while you are practicing in the pool, and a tinted one in case you are swimming in sunny conditions on race day.  John and I both like the Aqua Sphere swim masks as they are much more comfortable!

Another good thing to have is Ear Plugs. I have swum without these, but I get vertigo when coming out of the water, whereas if I have ear plugs in, it is not as bad.

In the rules of most races, it states that public nudity is not allowed. So a Tri Suit, or SOMETHING to wear under your wet suit that doesn’t bunch up, is a MUST! Lol, the people pulling off wet suits as you exit the water will thank you for that.

Which brings me to the bike.

Well, you need a bike. That’s a given.

If you live in Canada, you need a bike trainer. I use CYCLEOPS Fluid 2 Indoor trainer…good trainer for a decent price.

And probably a block for your front wheel to level the bike….though we have used books in the past. They aren’t as stable.

Most likely you will have Cycling Shoes, bike shoes that clip into the pedals. This isn’t necessary as you could have regular pedals and wear the same runners as you will be running in, but it is easier to go faster when you can pull up and push the pedals as you can with the pedals and shoes that “clip” on.

And then there are spare tubes, pump or C02 cartridges, tires, water bottles, gels or bars, helmet, sunglasses (My favourite are Rudy Project), sunscreen (though some races provide this).

And then there is the run. You need runners, obviously. (I run in Altra ….why? That will be another post 😉 Also, I put a link in so you could see what they look like, but the sizing can feel a little different, so if you are interested in them, go to Runners Sould and try some on!)

And socks…if you wear them.

A hat or visor to keep the sun off your face.

If you want to know your pace or how long you have been racing, you will want a Garmin or other sport watch.

I use an older Garmin 910 and have the attachments so I can have it clipped to my bike, but when I start my run, I can take it off my bike and attach it to the wristband.

Now, there are newer, nicer looking Garmin Forerunner , so check them out!

A Running Belt that holds water bottle and food type stuff for the run. Though in Ironman racing there is usually an aid station every mile….so if you are comfortable with what they are serving, you may not need to carry anything. Just check ahead of time to make sure your stomach can handle the options they have!

That’s for the race, but also there are things you need to have handy for while training!

Such as tools to change your chain rings if you need to.

Chain cleaner stuff. Chain oil for once its clean. Alan keys for making adjustments to handlebars or saddle.

I personally don’t use a lot of the maintenance items, as John does all the maintenance on my bike. And you could bring your bike in to a reputable bike shop to get serviced. But if you can do it yourself its cheaper.

So…

It really depends on what your version of minimalism would look like. Most of these things I mentioned for triathlon are necessary.

Minimalism is having only the things you deem necessary.

So I think you can be a triathlete and a minimalist! Just don’t buy all the extras that you don’t need!

This Week

The past week I have also let my eating habits deteriorate. I didn’t go crazy, but I was eating popcorn, blue corn chips and had some french bread with a couple of my meals.

This isn’t necessarily detrimental, but it would be enough to kick me out of fat burning and back to using carbs or sugar for energy.

I didn’t weigh myself yesterday, and won’t at all this week, because it would be pointless. While following the Keto lifestyle, you will retain water when you re-introduce carbs. Which means weight gain on the scale. And even though I know its just water, I don’t want to see it.

I had a good bike ride yesterday, and will be getting to the gym to run as soon as I am done writing this.

Back on Track!!

Hot Yoga Workout – A New Adenture!

It is really good to get outside of my comfort zone once in a while. This applies to different areas in everyones lives, but when we challenge ourselves in different ways than what we are comfortable with, that is when we can have the most “growth” personally.

A group of friends and I used to plan fun things once in a while for a “moms night out”. We would usually plan something that involved physical exercise like skiing, or wall climbing, and then go out for something to eat.

Its been quite a while since we have done anything, letting our busy lives get in the way. But finally, last week, some of our schedules lined up and we decided to take a Hot Yoga class and go out for lunch.

I have never done any kind of yoga, but I figured it would be really good for me to get some gentle, deep stretching in.

With all the biking and running I have been doing, I have been getting some tight muscles, especially in the hamstrings. It can be hard to get these big muscles stretched and feeling lose again!

Anyways, I have never thought of Yoga as a workout, just stretching and I guess for some people, it’s meditative.

I worked Tuesday night, so didn’t get a chance to sleep before leaving for Yoga, but imagined an hour and a half in child pose, or something laying down….no one would ever know I fell asleep in a nice, warm, 40 degree Celsius room….

I generally don’t like being really warm. Some friends who had done Hot Yoga in the past, described how sweaty a person gets in there. I wasn’t sure I would love it, but chalked it up to something I would probably only do once.

We started out laying on our backs, in a very dim room, with typical, gentle music playing in the back ground. The room wasn’t super warm at this point and I was loving it. I could totally do this for 90 minutes….

But then it started.

First were some cleansing breaths. I am a little familiar with breathing techniques since I have read a lot about how in general, we are not using enough of our lungs. I try to remember during the day to do a few exercises of breathing in until I can’t breathe in anymore, and then forcefully exhaling until my lungs are empty.

This is supposed to be very good for your lungs and your entire body.

Anyways, we weren’t allowed to talk in the room, and I assume that includes laughing as well.

When these regular yogis breathed in and out, it was an out loud, exaggerated sort of sound. The breathing out was a “Haaaaaaaah” sound with a squeak at the end when the air ran out.

I didn’t want to be rude and disrespectful, but it just shocked me and I was having trouble not laughing!

The one we did was 26 & 2… so in the 90 minutes, there were 26 positions and each one was done twice.

The temperature was slowly turned up to 40 degrees.

I was sweating, my legs were shaking with effort of the positions, and I couldn’t hold my arms up for the amount of time we were supposed to.

We got to lay on our mat for 20 seconds between positions. But the positions didn’t flow into each other like I have seen on TV. (Apparently there are different types of yoga). So it was a lot of up and down and a lot of balance involved.

By the time we were done, I felt like I had a good workout….totally not what I was expecting!!

After Yoga, we went out to the Mango Tree for some Indian food….very delicious! (Even though I passed on the naan bread…which is my favourite ;'( . The coconut chicken was more than enough to fill me up anyways!

The next day I was shocked at how sore I was….my poor hamstrings and shoulders!! Again, I was not expecting this. I quickly texted my friends to see if they were in the same predicament as I was…

Most of them were.

This motivated me to plan to go to Hot Yoga again this week. (Weather permitting….these roads, eh?) I figure if it can work those stabilizing muscles in my legs that obviously aren’t getting worked by my regular exercise routine, then it must be good for me!

The only thing I am planning different for after Yoga this week, is to go for a massage 😉

Bikram Hot Yoga Lethbridge has an intro package for those new to their facility… for $40 you get a month of unlimited classes, and mat and towel service (they give you a yoga mat and a towel to use for the class, and wash it afterward)

The drop in fee is $20, so it made total sense to go for the $40 first month deal, as it would be paid for in 2 visits, plus I can try a bunch of different classes if I would like too!

The Rest of My Week

I didn’t get out for a swim last week because of the roads. It is a little frustrating, because I actually miss it and feel like I was gaining strength in the water.

I am really hoping the roads are OK this week so I can get to the pool a few times!!

I had a few good bike rides, and Saturday I did 6 miles on the treadmill!! This is a major victory for me, because I have such a hard time on the treadmill, but the weather and slippery roads have made outdoor running a little treacherous.

Anyways, I did a 5-minute walking warm up and then did 5x 10 minutes running and 2 minutes walking. This brought me to 5.9 miles and then I did a 5 minutes walk to cool down, for a total of 6.15 miles.

I was super happy with this! I signed up to run the 10km Moonlight Run in March, and I would love to finish in an hour.

The Numbers

The scale went down 1 lb this week… I am 161 lbs, for a total loss of 15 lbs in 3 months. It feels a little lame. I totally expected to be in the 150’s by now, especially since I have not had junk food since our Christmas getaway.

I didn’t measure myself when I first started working out consistently and eating a Keto diet.

But last year when I was doing Crossfit, I did measure every month. So I took out my book to do some comparison.

I have lost 7 inches total since last February.

Again, it really isn’t much but if it keeps going down slow I will just have to be OK with that. Its much better than the alternative!

Dairy?

For quite a while I have been reading articles on how people without a gallbladder do well without dairy. I have dismissed this as hogwash, since dairy is such a huge part of my diet!!

I can leave the milk alone no problem, but it’s the cheese and cream and sour cream, and dips and sauces….

I had my gallbladder removed when I was in my early 20’s. I have never had stomach issues because of dairy, but I have read that when the gallbladder is removed, the body has a harder time processing dairy.

And I have read that dairy can cause some people to plateau when trying to lose weight….

I am very resistant to trying dairy free diet, but I might have to, to start dropping these stubborn pounds.

Does anyone have suggestions or comments about a dairy free diet?

 

How to Stay Focused on the Big Picture – Staying Fit and Healthy

Today I had to really sit back for a bit and remind myself that I need to stay focused on the big picture. It is easy to stay positive and motivated when things are going well, but it is so important to have a “big picture” reason for staying on track when things don’t seem to progress.

My Big Picture

Right now, my “big picture” is making sure I am well-trained for Ironman 70.3 St. George. Ideally I will lose some more weight before St. George in May.

Workouts

Last week was not a great week for me for workouts.

I didn’t end up doing a bike on Monday. I worked Sunday night, slept for a few hours Monday morning, and spent the rest of the day trying to clean the house and get the kids caught up on school work.

I simply didn’t have the energy.

Tuesday I worked, but ran on the treadmill on my supper break. It wasn’t my best run, but I got 3 miles in and was happy with that.

Wednesday I did another FTP test on the bike. I feel like I have been gaining strength on the bike and was pretty excited to do this test, because I was sure it was going to go up by a lot!

The FTP (Functional Threshold Power) is the power you can sustain for approximately 1 hour. The FTP test that I did is biking for 20 minutes as hard as I could sustain for the full 20 minutes. Then Trainer Road multiplies this number by .95.  It went really well and I had sweat pouring off me….to me, a sure sign I had put in a great effort.

I was excited to see the number…

But it was only 1 watt higher than my previous FTP that I did months ago. What a let down after the high of a great workout!!!

I was almost in tears and really frustrated. I have been working hard on the bike and I expected better.

Oh well. Moving on. It is what it is and I will do another one at the beginning of March.

Thursday Becky and I were going to run hills, but both chickened out because it was too cold.

So I found an interval workout on Pinterest and took it to the gym. It looked like this….

5 minute warm up

Incline 30 seconds @ 4%, 30 seconds @5%, 30 seconds @6%,

1 minute flat, then repeat the inclines higher than before if able.

1 minute recovery

Speed at 7mph – 30 seconds, 7.5 -30 seconds, 8- 30 seconds.

1 minute recovery and then repeat faster if possible.

1 minute recovery and do these sets all over again!

 

In the end I did 3.5 miles and it felt like a good hard workout so happy with that one.

Friday….

I slept 5 hours Friday morning after working Thursday night, but it just didn’t seem enough. I went on the bike at 3 or 4 in the afternoon, planning for a 1.5 hour bike ride.

I quit 40 minutes into it.

Now I was literally in tears. I was completely spent, not 1 ounce of energy….and I didn’t know why.

Thankfully John was home, as he can always calm me down quickly.

After talking about it, we decided it was a combination of only 5 hours of sleep in the previous 37 hours, and lack of enough food in that time.

I ate OK on Thursday, but I was running a little late for work Thursday night so just grabbed some veggies and cheese, but it was only about a snack size, not enough for a meal.

I HATE quitting a workout. It just doesn’t sit well, and it bothered me.

I believe the bike training is the most important of the 3 disciplines….probably because John always tells me that 😉

So Saturday I got back on the bike and had a great 1.5 hour ride. I felt good about getting it done!

However, I did not get a long run in, and no swims at all.

This morning was supposed to be a swim, but it snowed all night and I am a too chicken to drive on the highways after it has snowed a lot.

And Then There Is That Stupid Scale

My eating has continued to be good….no sugar, no carbs, high fat etc.

And yet, during the week I did not feel I was losing any pounds. My clothes still fit great, but not getting any looser.

I didn’t weigh myself at all during the week because I just didn’t want to deal with the negativity that comes with that. I knew I was doing what I needed to do, and that was good enough for me.

So when I stepped on the scale this morning, I wasn’t expecting much.

And I didn’t get much.

Number is still stuck at 162lbs.

2 weeks at that number.

But again, as I look at the big picture, I am doing OK. My first weigh in was 12 weeks ago at 176lbs. I didn’t get very far the first 4 weeks, so I started the Ketogenic Diet 8 weeks ago and that’s when I started losing more weight.

So I have lost 14 lbs in the last 2-3 months. Not a big number for that amount of time, but it is still a loss.

I feel great. I have pretty steady energy, and I love the food I am eating. I don’t crave fries or chips or pasta or bread, and those were my biggest downfalls before starting this way of eating.

Even if I don’t lose another pound (that better not happen) I would still eat this way because it makes my mind and body feel good.

My Plans For This Week

Ideally I (and everyone who has every tried to lose weight) would like to see the number on the scale go down every single week.

And when researching the Keto diet, it sounded like the weight would fall of really fast. For John, it did.

But obviously for some people it doesn’t.

There are a few things I have been doing that are not recommended by Keto people….things that could possibly be stalling my progress.

#1 is alcohol.

I really enjoy having a Vodka and Diet Root Beer with John in the evening about 4-5 times a week. Though this is technically not sugar, alcohol can affect different functions in the body to make the body not run as smoothly as it could.

And we all know Aspartame in diet pop is horrible for the body and can confuse it because it thinks its getting sugar.

So my goal this week is to not have any alcohol and no diet pop. If that doesn’t help me on the scale, I may have to look at cutting back on my dairy…..which would be horrible!

I love all cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, feta cheese, and I add cream to all sauces I make and to scrambled eggs….it would really suck to cut back on these fats, but there is a real possibility that I may be over eating on these things…LOL!

So I would rather try cutting out the alcohol first.

What We Eat For Supper

When I make supper, I only make carb free suppers so we are all eating the same thing. We were never big potato eaters, so the kids haven’t missed that much, though they do miss pizza and fries and perogies.

Some examples of what we ate for suppers this week:

  • Steak seasoned with Montreal Steak spice and fried in butter, and a salad with olive oil dressing or ranch
  • Pork chops breaded with crushed pork rinds and Parmesan cheese, fried in butter and olive oil, and a side of steamed broccoli with cheese sauce (cheese sauce is made of cream, butter, cream cheese and cheddar cheese)
  • Slow cooked roast wrapped in bacon, with cauliflower mashed “potatoes”. John makes this mashed cauliflower so much better than I ever do! It is mixed with cream, butter, sometimes french onion dip, salt and pepper, cheddar cheese, etc. Then we pour the left over juice from the roast for gravy. So delicious!
  • Cheeseburger casserole – fried hamburger seasoned and mixed with a little cream cheese, put in the bottom of a casserole. Mix up some eggs and cream and cheddar cheese and pour that over the hamburger. Sprinkle chopped pickles next and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake until done and serve with lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, mustard and ketchup….this is for sure a winner with the kids! They don’t even care that they don’t have a bun with it.

If anyone has any other tips on getting over this weight loss plateau, feel free to leave them in the comments!

This week is going to be a GREAT week! 😀

 

 

Treadmill vs. Outdoor Running

This week was a week of 2’s….two swims, two bikes and two runs.

My swims have been feeling pretty good! I added some distance and I am feeling comfortable in the water. I still like using the pull bouy to keep my legs up, but I am doing OK when I am not using it too.

I feel like I have really made some gains on the bike, so it’s time for another FTP test to see if my functional threshold power has gone up!

I plan to do that Wednesday, even though I kind of have a packed schedule already that day. The next two weeks are busy every day, so I just have to squeeze workouts in wherever I can!

Friday was my first ride that was over an hour. I have stuck to an hour each workout, but it is time to start bumping it up and getting more time in the saddle! I did 1 1/2 hours and I still felt good… I am happy with how my bike workouts are going.

Now….the Running

I didn’t run Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. By Thursday I knew I needed to run, and I knew mentally I really needed an outdoor run. But I have a hard time to run steady… I often walk, because there is no one telling me to keep running.

So I called up my sister-in-law. We have run together quite a few times in the past, but she is always way faster than me, and I feel like I hold her back.

But she has been on a little hiatus from running and just getting back to it, so I thought she could give me a good push, while still having a good run herself.

And what a fantastic run it was!!

The weather was perfect, not too much ice, and running along the river.

To be honest, the first half a mile, I was panicking in my head. We started out faster than I am used to and there is a bit of a hill near the start. I was trying not to breathe too loud and heavy because I didn’t want to let her know I was struggling a little!

After a bit, I managed to settle in, and it started to feel hard but still good. As we neared the turn around, my bladder betrayed me and I had to hit the outhouse….

So a quick 2-minute break and we were on our way back. She was still recovering from being sick and not sleeping well, so this was to my advantage… I thought.

As we neared her house, she said, “Sprint to the end!” I tried my hardest. I really did. But it was really no contest. She could have given me a head start and she still would have beat me!!

But it was such a good, hard, fun run for me, and I was high on endorphins for the rest of the day! I forgot to wear my watch, so I have no idea what pace we ran, and don’t really care. I know we ran just over 3 miles because my SIL has run that route often.

Then Came Saturday

I really need to start running with the Saturday morning group, but I always have some excuse or another. Friday night I was so tired, and just wanted to sleep in Saturday.

So I had a good 10 hour sleep. I considered running outside on my own, but it was cold outside! So off to the treadmill at the gym.

Last week I was mentioning to my neighbor Cindy, that I have such a hard time running on the treadmill just because of the mental aspect.

She suggested bringing a towel and covering up all the numbers on the screen of the treadmill and just running. So I did this….and it worked!

Everything else was working against me that morning. I couldn’t find my Bluetooth ear buds, so I grabbed some wired ones, but those are a pain because I tend to rip them out of my ears when my arm hits the wire while running.

But I was going to give them a try anyways….but when I went to put them in, one of the soft covers on them were missing, so it wouldn’t stay in my ear.

And then….even though the gym has two options for WiFi, my phone was being temperamental and wouldn’t connect to either of them.

By this time, my heart rate was getting up there, and I hadn’t even started running yet!

I decided I would just have to run without music. I covered the display with my towel, checked the speed I was running at and settled in.

It was going surprisingly good, until I really had to go to the bathroom! (OK, so I have been feeling very dehydrated, so have been upping my water in take a lot….good for my body, bad for running continuity…lol)

I check the mileage under my towel and I was at 1.75 miles.

I quickly went to the bathroom, but when I got back the treadmill had cleared itself, so I was starting at zero again. At other times, this would have made me say, “Forget it” and go home.

But I knew I REALLY need to start getting in some longer miles, so I had to at least try running some more.

In the end, I ended up running a total of 5 miles, only walking every 10-15 minutes for a water break!

I was really happy with this. But what do I think is better…..

Outdoor running or treadmill?

Outdoor running wins hands down, because it is way more enjoyable. However, treadmill running has its place too, because elements are controlled!

The speed and hills can go up and down whenever you want to, and I could probably get better at sprinting if I tried it more often on the treadmill!

Also, when the roads are really icy, the treadmill is the better run option as I am not risking wiping out and hurting myself and then not being able to train for a while.

But I definitely prefer running outside!

The same goes for the bike. Biking indoor on a trainer can be boring, but it tends to be a better workout because it is controlled and you never have real “coasting” time that you get on a road! Plus it is safer, as there is always a risk of getting hit by a car on the roads!

But riding outside really is such a pleasure!. I really enjoy the views so much more while riding my bike than I do from a car. The smells and sounds are all part of a great experience. We try to ride roads that aren’t too busy, but it isn’t always easy in farming country!

The Dreaded Scale

This past week I tracked the food I ate most days on My Fitness Pal, and I was right where I was supposed to be. Because my weight loss has slowed down, I kind of weighed myself every single morning.

Big mistake. The scale was all over the place! I would be up 1 lbs, then down 1.5 and then back up again…so this week is a bust in that department, but there is always one week out of every four that it doesn’t matter what I do…the scale is not going to budge.

But in the big picture, that is OK. I feel great, I love this way of eating, and I don’t plan on going back to carb binging!

This week will be a week of just fitting in workouts whenever possible. I have a plan of bike Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and running Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and getting a couple swims in somewhere too.

Is anyone else done with the snow and ready for Spring to arrive?

Categories: Uncategorized

Why Do I Do It?

A common question that anyone who does something that many other people don’t do is, “Why do you…?”

Those of us in our small town who participate in longer distance triathlons, often get asked….”Why?” And last year after a grumpy race at Ironman 70.3 St George, I asked myself, “Why do I do it?”

The short answer is “Because I can.”

I work with people who have physical and/or mental disabilities, and with older people who are having a hard time moving around due to various issues.

I know people with Multiple Sclerosis, Cerebral Palsy (click the link to check out Becca Neels’ blog), severe arthritis, Ataxia-Telangiectasia (A-T), cancer, and other barriers….

Who cannot run.

Who cannot bike.

Who would probably give anything to be able to exercise freely.

Instead, they battle every day to perform daily tasks that the rest of us do without having to think about it.

If we have a healthy body that is not limited by physical ailments, THIS IS A PRIVILEDGE!

This is a privilege that we should not take for granted. It is a gift.

There have been many times in my life when I was just simply too lazy to exercise. I can go months without doing a single thing that is strenuous. And there really are times in every ones lives where family and work must come first, and there are simply not enough hours in the day.

John and I have four children, and we home school them. I work part-time which can easily turn in to full time hours if I don’t say no to shifts. My kids are involved in sports and other activities. I am training for a triathlon.

Our life gets a little crazy at times. We have become negligent in visiting parents, grandparents, good friends…

Every once in a while I need to take a step back and get my priorities straight. But exercise is a priority. And not just because I am training for a triathlon.

Mentally, it is a fantastic mood lifter, anti-depressant, and problem solver. There have been many times in the last 10 or so years of our marriage that John has told me to go for a run. I am almost always resistant and grumpy at him because I really don’t like to be told what to do….

But I know that he is always right ;D

He knows me and knows that my mood can do a complete turn around just by getting outside and clearing my head while running or walking.

Anyways,

that was a little off topic, but I really want to drive home the point that when we are given a body that has the ability to move with no restrictions, we need to take this gift and use it.

Exercise.

Just because you can.

And because your mind will be happier.

And because you will be able to move through daily life with ease.

And because it is a great way to spend time with your kids, spouse, friends.

Don’t waste this gift! You do not need to train for triathlons, or marathons, or cross-fit game, or anything big at all. Go for a walk. Go for a bike ride. Go snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing. Take every opportunity to refresh your mind and body through physical activity.

Because someone near you is wishing they could.

Triathlon Swim Training – My Nemesis

I hate swimming. At least I tell myself that often simply because I am not good at it. I have a very real fear of drowning and have actually had nightmares about drowning. So I always dread getting in the pool that first time when triathlon swim training begins.

Last week Monday Logan and I were ready to go bright and early to the pool. The plan was to be at the pool at 6 am when it opened, but we ended up not getting there until 6:45 because my youngest woke up with a fever and that needed to be looked after first.

It actually worked in our favour though, because most of the early birds were getting out of the pool when we were getting in, so we had lots of room! We did an easy 800m and it actually felt really good!

My breathing was good and I could swim continuously without getting very short on breath. Last year when I started swimming I could do 50m max before stopping for a break… I was constantly gasping for breath!

That was the only swim I got in last week.

Today at lunch, Logan and I went for a swim again and did 1000m. We did a combination of swim, pull, kick, and threw in a few 25 m sprints in there too. Again, I felt great! There is hope for me yet! 😉

Strategies for Open Water Swim

Knowing I have an issue with open water swimming, I have been looking up strategies on the best way to prepare myself.

The issues most people have with open water swimming is all or a combination of these:

  • cloudy or murky water where you can’t see anything
  • cold water (this literally can take your breath away before you even start swimming!)
  • Feeling claustrophobic from the wet suit or from so many swimmers being close to you
  • Fear of becoming disorientated
  • plants or fish that may brush against you

Paul Newsome in an article at www.220triathlon.com suggests slowly exposing yourself to these triggers in a controlled environment. Doing these swims in a local lake with friends as the other swimmers can do a lot to help you practice calming techniques for the real race day!

The things that bother me the most are the murky water, cold water, and the wet suit.

1. The cold water is actually the least of my worries, because even though it can take your breath away when you first get in, once you have a little water in your wet suit, your body warms it up nicely.

But it’s the pace that gets to me…once the group you are in is allowed to get in the water, you have to swim out to the start line, and this makes you have to quickly adapt to the cold water and do a quick swim even before the gun goes off!.

And last year I wasn’t even near the starting bouy before the gun went off…lol! I guess that’s another goal for 2018….get to the starting bouy before the gun goes off for my age group…:D

2. The murky water is my second least favourite thing. When the water is dark or murky, and all I see is swirling floaties in front of my face, and that makes me want to get my face out of the water right away!! I have tried closing my eyes, but that is even more scary.

3. But the worst thing for me is the wet suit. I have a decent wet suit that has a lot of flex through the shoulders and chest, so I should not feel constricted. But I hate things near my neck, and the wet suit comes near around my neck…if it didn’t it would let in too much water and cause drag.

I was also near the top of the weight range for my particular wet suit when I wore it, so hopefully this year I will be a little less and maybe that will help!

The best way to prepare for any of these things is to try get into any lake in the area in April…BRRRR! Also, in a month or so I will get John to go swimming with me once in while to splash and be a nuisance to simulate hundred of swimmers around me.

He offered several times to do that last year, but I would just get mad at him if he did that, so I declined. This year I will try not to be too much of a princess and allow him to splash and push me around in the water :O

Last Weeks Workouts

Last week I did 3 bikes, 2 runs, 1 swim and 1 weight workout. All the workouts went really well, but Fridays bike ride was tough. It was 2x 20 minute efforts at threshold power, and I did not have enough food in me before doing them. I have not had any issues with being hungry during workouts, but when I was done that bike ride, I headed straight to the fridge!!

My runs were OK, but I am going to make more of an effort to run with people this week. Miles fly by when running with friends, but drag by when I run alone!

The plan for this coming up week as far as work outs is pretty much the same as last week. Next week I am going to look for a different weight workout as I am getting bored with the one I have. Good to switch it up once in a while 🙂

 

The Food

The eating went good last week….it’s been really easy so far with the Keto way of eating! I haven’t been tracking what I eat because I have felt good and the weight has slowly been coming off. Yesterday I was 162lbs so half a pound down from last week.

Its not much but still down. And a non scale victory is that I finally could wear my Boise 70.3 shirt for a workout! Truth is it will fit much better with 5 or more lbs off still, but it fit.

(Sorry for the sideways pic…still trying to figure some of these things out)

Saturday I decided I should track what I eat to see if fat/protein/carb macros were close to what they should be. They were pretty close to what I should be at, but I was pretty high in calories.

We have been reading a book by Maria and Craig Emmerich called Keto. There is so much information in there that it is going to take a while for me to get through! What they did say in there that calories still do matter, but not so much in the calories in/calories out way.

A quote from the book:

“Calories and hormones matter; a ketogenic diet is so powerful because it can be used to address both. A ketogenic diet keeps our hormones in balance, which helps us to feel full longer and eliminates cravings – and we can do this while eating fewer calories.” Maria and Craig Emmerich

So this week I am going to try to be more aware of how much and what I am eating. I really hate tracking food because then I have to measure everything. But if my weight stalls or I need a little boost then I think I will have to track things I eat to find out why.

More and more people are jumping on the Keto wagon lately, and have been losing weight, which is exciting! I am happy I am doing this because I feel great and I really do not have any cravings at all, so if it works for others as well, that makes me happy!

 

Beginner Triathlete – or Intermediate?

As I mentioned last week, this past Saturday was 16 weeks until Ironman 70.3 St. George. 4 months seems like a long time, but it sneaks up quickly! I am glad I started working out more regularly and dialing in my nutrition before now, because it is daunting to have to start from scratch and easy to get overwhelmed with the workouts!

I will often look for 16 week training plans online to guide me through my training, and then modify it to what I need. This past week as I was looking through training plans, I had to think, “Am I still a beginner triathlete or an intermediate?”

Does It Matter?

When training plans specify whether it is a beginner, intermediate, or advanced plan, usually that implies the fitness level of the triathlete. But I think once a person has a number of triathlons under their belt, they are no longer a beginner.

Experience goes a long way in a race. Even if you’ve trained hard, trained consistently, you could go out too fast and use too much energy at the beginning of your race. When you have done a few races, you learn how much you need to hold back in the beginning in order to not crash and burn half-way through the race.

So I would consider myself an intermediate, even though I am not very fast.

My Training Plan

I will be loosely following Matt Fitzgeralds Super Simple Ironman 70.3 training plan for the next 4 months. Mostly for the run and swim training, as I feel my bike training needs to be more specific to the St. George race course.

The run training I will probably adjust a little as well, as there isn’t really a flat section on the run course in St. George. But overall, this training plan will be a great guide for me…. I will just need to add a couple of days of weight training.

This is what my training schedule looks like for this week:

Monday – Bike: Trainer Road * Budawang* + possible swim

Tuesday – Run 4 miles: 1 mile warm up, 2 miles of 10-20 second hill repeats (6% incline), 1 mile cool down + weight workout.

Wednesday – Bike: Trainer Road *Mount Foraker -1* + swim 800m minimum

Thursday – Run 4 miles + weight workout

Friday – Bike: Trainer Road *Gray* + swim 800m

Saturday – Run 6 miles

 

The Past Week

This past week was a fantastic one for me. I did every single workout except for the swims!

My body held up well, though by Friday night I was getting John to roll me out with the stick, because I was too lazy to use the foam roller 😉  It was rather painful, but in a good sort of way.

My bike rides went really well, but my runs are still not where I want them to be. I think it is more of a mental issue than anything, because I just can’t seem to run long on the treadmill. I put music on, try not to look at the numbers, but it is just SO BORING!

 

I usually do intervals of some sort with lots of walk breaks just to make it through. I need the roads to clear up so I feel safe running outside!

I also really need to get to the pool and start swimming. Swimming is my biggest weakness, and I need to be working hard on getting better! It is the hardest to get done though because I have to drive a half hour to go swimming anywhere. And I am to chicken to drive on snowy highways!

This is me coming out of the water last year…. I am hoping to be smiling when I come out of the water this year!! Lol

 

 

I ate well all week as well, besides at the hockey game Saturday night. I didn’t plan on any non keto food, but I didn’t eat enough during the day, and by 8 pm I was starving. We had ordered the kids some waffle fries and I ended up eating about 10 of those.

That’s just life sometimes. As long as it doesn’t happen every day it’s OK!

Down Again

I was nervous to step on the scale this morning, because, as much as I don’t want this journey about the number that shows up on the scale, it is one measure of my progress.

Thankfully I was 162.5…. 2 lbs down from last week!

My clothes fit good now, but I am looking forward to being in the mid 150s! That’s how much I weighed for years and years and so it is definitely my comfort zone. That’s also how much I weighed when I did my first Half Ironman in Boise, Idaho!

Ultimately, I am going for 140, which is totally not unreasonable as I am only 5’2″. But I don’t really have a timeline for that….as long as I am fit enough to complete the race and have a good time, I am happy!

 

I hope everyone else has had a great week, and eats wisely and exercises consistently this week! It is a huge confidence booster when you make it through a week when the healthy eating and the exercise all comes together ;D

 

70.3 Training – Here We Go!

This coming up Saturday is 16 weeks until Ironman 70.3 St. George. That means that my 70.3 training officially begins! I have been trying to build a decent base, but the last few weeks haven’t been that great. But it is “GO” time now and important that I workout every day. My goal is still the same… I want to have a fantastic race and enjoy it, and the only way to do that is to go into it fully trained!

This Past Week…

I only did 2 workouts this past week, but I enjoyed them both ;). Tuesday morning I ran with Becky and it was absolutely beautiful out! There was no wind, the sun was shining, and I believe it was only -6 degrees Celsius…perfect running weather!

Thursday I did a bike workout on Trainer Road that had three 9 minute reps that were just above my threshold. Between each rep was 6 minutes easy spinning, so plenty of rest. I really enjoyed this workout and will probably do it often.

That was all I did for exercise. Because I work casual, I don’t always know which days/nights I will be working ahead of time. So I ended up working Wednesday, even though I didn’t plan to. This will probably be the hardest thing in the next four months…getting my workout in no matter what happens that day.

This Weeks Workout Plan

Because I am weak muscular wise, I really want to have regular weight training in my plan. I have been trying to find a reasonable plan to go with my swim, bike, and run training that will not overwhelm me.

I came across Mark Allens (six-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion) 12 recommended strength exercises for triathletes who are over 35, have limited training time, and want to guard against injury.

They are:

  1. Lat Pulldown
  2. Leg extensions
  3. Leg Curls
  4. Bench Press
  5. Squats
  6. Lateral Dumbbell raise
  7. Calf raises
  8. Dumbbell Pullover
  9. Backward Lunges
  10. Bicep Curls
  11. Tricep Extension
  12. Leg Press

And sit ups are recommended often as a strong core will keep me in good form through the whole race!

To start off with, I will do 1 set of 15 repetitions of each of these exercises 2 days each week. This will probably add a half hour to my workout, so I will try to do it on days that I have a little more time, as long as it’s not two days in a row.

Monday – Strength Training and 1 hour bike

Tuesday – Run 3-4 miles with 2 minute hill repeats ( possible noon swim)

Wednesday – Morning Swim (if I didn’t do a noon swim Tuesday), 1 hour bike

Thursday – Strength Training and 3 mile run

Friday – Morning Swim and 1 hour bike

Saturday – 5 mile run

Benefits of Strength Training for Triathletes

Strength training is highly beneficial for every single person, no matter what your age. But, as a person ages, it is even more important.

In our 30s and 40s we start to lose muscle mass, but in our 50s, we start to lose it faster. But even if you are in your 50s or older, it’s not too late to start weight training! You can significantly slow the process, and keep yourself active as you age!

I recently watched a video on Facebook posted by Crossfit Pincher Creek , about a 65-year-old Grandmother doing crossfit because she wanted to be able to play with her grand kids.

If that isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is!

But triathletes often neglect strength training, because, well, they are already training for 3 disciplines with swimming, biking, and running. To train properly, a person needs to be doing each of these 3 disciplines at least 3 times per week…so that is already 9 workouts per week!

And, understandably, most do not want to add a couple more workouts to that load.

But, from what I have read, it is totally worth that extra two workouts per week.

When we are training and racing, we put a very heavy workload onto our legs. During the bike, we push hard gears to go fast, engaging our glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. And when we run, we are using these same muscles, but in a different capacity.

Swimming uses all upper body strength and core muscles. When we swim, we are working our chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders, forearms….seriously a great workout!

Even if you are not training for a specific event and just looking for an exercise that is easy on your joints and provides a good cardiovascular workout, I highly recommend adding swimming to your exercise routine every week.

That being said, I hate swimming. I am like a rock and sink rather than float. When I am in a race situation, I usually wear a wet suit because the swim is typically in a cold lake.

A wet suit make you more buoyant, and so the legs easily stay afloat while swimming. So when I am in the pool, I will often put a pull buoy between my legs to keep my legs up and then only use my arms to pull me through the water.

This is a harder workout, because I am not using my legs to kick and help propel me through the water. But it benefits me when it comes to race day, because when participating in a triathlon, I want to save my leg muscles for the bike and run!

 

When we have imbalances in our muscle strength and in the tendons and ligaments supporting these muscles, we are leaving ourselves more prone to injuries.

Women tend to have more knee and hip issues than men, so it is even more important for me to strengthen these areas so I can keep doing the races that I want to do. Bring on the squats, lunges, calf raises, etc!

When we strengthen these muscles and tendons, we are not only able to stay healthy and injury free, but our endurance and speed can increase as well! I am counting on this….;)

Weigh Day

Well, this morning I was pretty nervous to step on the scale. After my little 2 1/2 day sugar/carb fiesta, and gaining 5 lbs, I was hesitant to see what the number was.

I had a good week in the eating department and that definitely showed up on the scale….164.5 this morning! That means I lost the 5 lbs I had gained, plus 1 more.

I am feeling really good, and am excited to see how my body responds to the heavier workout load this week!

I hope you all had a great week, and are sticking to any New Years Resolutions you may have made, remembering it is all about the lifestyle change, not short term change!

 

 

Did New Years Resolutions Start?

January 2017…. The top New Years resolution made by over 21% of the people surveyed, was to lose weight or eat healthier. About 72% of those people stuck to their resolution through the first week, but 6 months later, over half of those people had quit.

January 2018 probably has about the same statistics. So, did your New Years resolutions start? Or did you not make any?

Lifelong Resolutions

In the past, I have not made too many New Years resolutions…but a New Year really is a great time to evaluate things in our lives. We can reflect on things that have happened in the past year, things that have worked in our lives, and things that need to change in the upcoming year.

Change is so hard for most people. We are so comfortable in the habits we have made for ourselves, and its very uncomfortable to get out of those habits.

Whether it is our goal to lose weight, quit smoking, drink less alcohol or quit drinking, keep a cleaner house, etc, these goals should be lifelong. A New Year is a fresh start to reassess our goal, but these lifestyle changes are ongoing.

I love the beginning of a New Year. I love that I don’t know what will happen, good or bad. I love that my family is still at home. I love that my oldest will be an adult this year.

Things change and that’s good!

Holiday Results…on the Scale

So, as I knew would happen, Wednesday supper, and all of Thursday and Friday were non-Keto days. Wednesday night was pizza, Thursday was burgers and fries, biscuits, and pie. Friday was bagels, donuts, and croissants with bologna.

These days were not just off Keto, they were carb and sugar loaded. Truth is, we probably could have had a lot less carbs. But those are the foods that are so easy for grab and go!

Saturday and Sunday were 100% Keto, and I even did the intermittent fasting, where I ate nothing until noon, and then had most of my calories between noon and 8pm.

Sunday especially, I found my pants felt too tight and I was just overall bloated.

Still, I expected to only be up 1 or 2 lbs on the scale, because I had 2 days back on Keto before I stepped on the scale.

But… this morning I was 170.5. A 5 lbs weight gain.

I panicked and quickly started looking up forums to see if other people had gained a lot of weight after going off keto for a few days.

What I Found Out

I found out that most people who have a high carb meal or even a couple high carb days definitely gain a bunch of water weight.

It was a relief that it was common, and that it is just water weight. (most of it anyways, ;))

When you consume carbohydrates, your body converts them to glycogen, which is then stored in the muscles for energy. For every gram of glycogen stored, you gain approximately 2.7 grams of water. This water retention occurs because your kidneys hold on to sodium in response to carbohydrate consumption……

livestrong.com

As we have not been working out in the past week, and have not been consuming very many carbs for longer than that, our bodies definitely retained a lot of water.

The good news is, it should be off by the next time I step on the scale. Hopefully….

Is it OK to Cheat?

There are many opinions on whether it is actually beneficial to take a break for a meal or two from low carb high fat eating.

Some people swear that taking a break fires up their metabolism, even though it takes them out of ketosis for a short time.

Others just need a break, as the Keto Diet is quite strict! I have not found it too difficult to stay on track while I am at home, but I have only been doing this for a short time!

Sometimes, people plan cheats when there is a special occasion that they will be attending, or a holiday.

My opinion is that it is OK for some planned lapses while on any eating plan that you choose. BUT, only if it doesn’t throw you off for an extended period!

Know ahead of time that if you will be eating some food that are not on your eating plan, you may gain some weight! Sometimes more than you think! Lol 😉

But it will come off again. If it helps, stay away from the scale for 1 week when you have rebel meal! Or day…or days…

Get back on track ASAP and don’t wait for another Monday to come!

(In the past, if I went off my eating plan on Wednesday, I would consider the rest of the week not worth eating good, and eat like crap until Monday, and then start my diet again….and in this way, dieted my way up to the high 170s)

The Week Ahead

I have no more day shifts, so workouts should be easy to plan again, as well as sticking to my eating plan. Tomorrow I plan to run with Becky (depending on the snow drifts…) I am SO looking forward to running outside….and with a friend!

Workouts have been a lonely road this past month.

I didn’t workout today, but will be working out every day for the rest of the week. I am really looking forward to it! Plus, exercising will get me back into ketosis quicker as well.

What About You?

Have you made any New Years Resolutions? Have you succeeded at past New Years resolutions? What are your diet and exercise plans for the New Year? Comment below!! I would love to know if other people are doing this with me, or are doing something else that works….let me know!

Categories: Uncategorized