Thursday, February 27, 2014

How Not to Eat Like a Triathlete

   Next week will be the 30 week mark for Ironman Chattanooga. It might seem that 30 weeks is a long time, but considering that it's almost March and Christmas seems like yesterday, I know September 29th will be here before I know it.
   So, it's time to get a little more serious on things. While I'm not starting my official training plan until April, I'm building a pretty strong base. Well, as strong as you can get when you can't swim (going to try to start again next week, we'll see how it goes).  However, one huge thing I'm completely blowing is my diet. Like most people, I gained a few pounds over the holidays. Unlike most people I know though - I haven't lost the weight post-holidays. Why? My diet is terrible.
   My horrible eating habits started with the holidays, and then continued when I got sick. Normally, I keep my diet somewhat in-check, but not this year. This year, it's really been a struggle. Maybe because it's been so freakin' cold and I just want to hibernate.
    I'm trying to do all of the things you're supposed to when managing your diet. I log everything I eat (for the most part), and I have pretty lean, balanced meals. I'm just BAD when it comes to snicky-snacky things in-between meals. I've totally turned into a grazer.  Do you know how hard it is to log calories when you're grazing? And it doesn't help that I basically have a candy store down the hall from my office. What's worse is that I actually bring good things like carrots and almonds to the office so I won't be tempted by crap, but I still go for the candy. Did I NEED to eat four Twizzlers today? The answer is, of course, NO. No one ever needs Twizzlers, but sometimes I'm just helpless in their presence.

This is in one of my co-worker's offices EVERYDAY.

   Then there are the "special occasion" splurges. You know, the "it's (enter random name here)'s  birthday - I HAVE to have a piece of cake!"  Unfortunately, I have one of those "special occasions" about 2-3 times a week. It could be a birthday, or a going away party, or book group - doesn't matter - they all have cake.

This is at my house RIGHT NOW from book group last night!

   Anyway, it's time I stop the madness and start getting serious. Not that I'm trying to drop a ton of weight or starve myself, I know I'll never be "skinny." I don't have the genetics for it. However, I would like to be a little leaner and more toned. My goal is to drop 11 pounds in the next 11-12 weeks.  Just to lay it all out there, that would put me at 125. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.

Friday, February 21, 2014

No Swim for You!

   It's been almost two weeks since my mysterious chest pain suddenly appeared.  Unfortunately, after taking the assigned medication for the first week, my symptoms (stabbing pain in my right chest when coughing, sneezing, etc.) hadn't really gone away.  In fact, there were times when I felt that it might even get getting worse.
   So - I called the doctor again. Being that I only received one week's of medication, surely I was supposed to be healed, right? Nope! Turns out this inflamed sternum / muscle tear/ fractured rib thing I have going on can take 4-6 weeks to heal! 4-6 WEEKS! And what's frustrating is that I didn't even do anything to injure myself other than cough! Stupid, stupid illness.
   The worst part about this is that I'm supposed to be limiting my movement during this time. No heavy lifting, gardening or...wait for it...SWIMMING! That's right - the only sport that you can usually do whenever you're injured is now off limits to me. This is really annoying because I'm FINALLY starting to really like swimming. Last season, you almost had to pay me money to get me to the pool at 6:00 am once a week. Now I'm there at least three days a week and want to do more.
   Again, I'm not set to officially start training for Chattanooga until April. I really, really hope that this is the last of my setbacks so I can have six solid months of training. Sigh.

I'll miss you, Pool!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hot Chocolate 15k Race Recap - The One Where I Fell

  Yesterday was my second race of the year - the Hot Chocolate 15k. This is one of those giant, theme races that travels around the country that, truthfully, I generally try to avoid. Just a personal preference - the more I race, the more I appreciate smaller, locally run races. BUT - this one was raising money for the Ronald McDonald House, which is dear to my heart, so I signed up. I had originally thought about doing both the 5k and the 15k, but the price was a little steep - something like $45 for the 5k and $64 for the 15k, with no discounts for doing both. So...nope. Just one race for me. Which worked out fine since I'm still working my way back from being sick.

Hot Chocolate Baby! 

   The 5k started at 7:00, but the 15k started at 7:55. Being that parking was going to be somewhat limited, we (me and Kathy) decided to get there with the 5k runners. Which meant I had to pick Kathy up at 6:15. That. Was. So. Early. Ugh. It was painful. However, it did allow us to get total rock star parking for the race. Win!
   Kathy and I decided to go cheer for the 5k runners as their race started, rather than sitting in the car for the next hour. While, in theory, this would have been a good idea, the reality was that it was FREEZING cold and standing around for an extra 50 minutes probably wasn't the best idea. The temperature was in the 20s, but the wind chill made it feel like it was 12. TWELVE!! And it was that bitter, bone-chilling cold that just hurts.

I've asked myself this almost daily recently.

   My feet hurt, my legs hurt, my fingers hurt, my face was bad. We didn't even try to find any of our friends that were running the 5k. Not that we would have been able to find them anyway, since everyone was so bundled up they were unrecognizable. Instead, we huddled up in the swag tent trying to stay warm. We weren't the only ones with this idea.

Seriously. Cold.

   Finally, the race was about to start. We met up with some of the regular Saturday running crew, Sara and Alicia, as well as one our FTP teammates, Jan.  

Sara, Jan, Kathy and Alicia - all smiles even though we were all freezing.

   There were about 6,000 people total, though I don't know how that was broken up between the 5k and the 15k. I will say there were a lot more people running the 15k than I thought would be. We kind of started towards that back and it took us 6 minutes to get to the start line.  

Finally. The start line.

   I don't have many words for the course, other than it was 9.3 miles and hilly. VERY hilly. It was another one of those courses that seemingly has more uphill than downhill. How does that happen?  But since I didn't really have any time goals for this race other than just finishing, I wasn't too stressed about it. Unfortunately, it was so cold that I never really felt like I was running. It was more of shuffle-walk kind of thing. My form was terrible. I was so cold that I couldn't pickup my knees or do any kind of kick. It was so bad, that I actually tripped on some uneven pavement coming out of Centennial Park. Fell right in front of a ton of people. It was awesome. Fortunately, I'm not injured, but I did ruin my best pair of running tights.

Yeah...these were expensive.

   I had about three more miles to go after I fell. They were the longest three miles of my life. I was still really cold, and my endurance is only good for about 5-6 miles right now, which is really frustrating considering I was running 11-12 miles before I got sick. But what are you going to do? I shuffled-stepped through the rest of the race. Those last few hills about killed me, but I ran the entire thing. Hazzah!
   After the race, we all went to get our giant mug of hot chocolate and chocolate fondue, which is the main selling point of the race.

Who needs a medal when you can get chocolate?

With all the fixin's.

   The chocolate was good, but really messy. They didn't give us any napkins and that chocolate just got everywhere. Seriously. I was like a grubby, little kid. My face was so frozen that I couldn't feel anything either, so I had it all over my face, but couldn't tell. Fortunately, that's what friends are for. They were kind enough to tell me I was a mess.

So happy it's over! Nom Nom Nom!

   Unfortunately, any warmth that was created by running almost immediately left because of the bitter cold. We hung about for about 10 minutes and then decided it was just too cold to chat, so we left. By the time we got back to the car, I could barely feel my fingers to open the car door. It was that cold. 
   Overall, the race was fun. It would have been more fun if it was about 5-10 degrees warmer and if I didn't fall. I was pleasantly surprised at the organization of the race. I had friends who ran it in DC and it was a cluster, but this race was very well-organized. I am having an issue with their timing system, as it looks like they gave me my gun time (1:38) rather than my chip time (1:32) in the official results, but I've registered a complaint so hopefully that'll be settled soon. I ran OK. It's still frustrating that I was running about 30-45 seconds per mile faster before I was sick, but it'll come back. At least, I hope it will!
   My next race is March 2nd. It's the Little Rock Half Marathon. It's only two weeks away, so hopefully, I'll have a bit more strength by then. We'll see. 
   Happy training, y'all!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It's Always Something...

   Remember how for the past two weeks I've been sick and haven't been able to work out at all? Well, the good news is that I'm pretty much past my illness now and I started working out again over the weekend. Hazzah! The bad news is that last Sunday, I started having severe chest pains whenever I took a deep breath, sneezed or coughed. SEVERE chest pains. Which is AWESOME, by the way. Just picture how it might feel to have someone take an ice pick and stab it into your chest every time you cough - and that's how it feels. So. Much. Fun!
   I went to the doctor on Monday. That's how much it hurt - I rarely go to the doctor except for regular checkups - I never really think I'm THAT sick. Well, that's not exactly true. I either think I'm not sick or I'm dying with some crazy, incurable disease. But, generally speaking, I don't go for regular colds or what not. In fact, I'm so stubborn about not going to the doctor is that the ONLY reason went for my upper respiratory infection last week was because I knew my boss would ask me about it. Turns out - I was officially sick! Who knew?
   Anyway, my point is that my pain had to be really bad if I thought I needed to go to the doctor right away. I knew that a stabbing feeling in my chest when breathing couldn't be a good thing. Of course, I started immediately googling my symptoms. After ruling out a heart attack, I pretty much narrowed it down to pleurisy or a pulmonary embolism. See what I mean about thinking about I have some crazy disease?  Surely, I'm not the only one who does this.
   So, on Monday, since the pain really hadn't subsided at all in 24 hours (which was kind of freaking me out), I went to the doctor. After taking some X-rays and an oxygen test, it was determined that I had somehow damaged my sternum / upper right rib area and that tissue around it was inflamed, which was causing the pain. He gave me a steroid shot and some pain meds and sent me on my way. It's now Wednesday, and while it's definitely gotten better, I still have some pain when coughing. I have a few more days of medications, so I won't start panicking again until those are through. But the question remains - HOW did I injure my sternum while I was sleeping? Seriously! Has this happened to anyone? Or am I just a freak? Considering I pulled my back out once while sleeping, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility for me to injure myself while asleep, I still just think it's a pretty random injury.
   One funny part of the doctor's visit was when I got my shot, the nurse said that it was going to hurt. "A sting and then a burn" is what she said. Honestly, I barely felt the thing. I kept waiting for the "burn," but it never came. She told me I must be pretty tough, to which I responded "I'm a triathlete. I hurt myself for fun." Which really sounds like a pompous statement after seeing it in writing, but I didn't mean it like that at all. It was more of a statement that as a runner, or a cyclist, I push myself to my limit on a regular basis. I'm used to a certain level of pain. That shot? Wasn't even close to my pain threshold. And I have to say, that felt pretty cool. I guess all of this training has given me a small level of bad-assery after all.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

My Mind in a Nutshell

   This happened in the last 10 minutes. So, I'm taking a little break for lunch and catching up on what's going on in the Olympics when I stumbled upon this photo.

Holy Abs!!  

   This came from Olympian Kris Freeman's Twitter feed. He's on the right with Kikkan Randall on the left. They are both Olympic cross-country skiers currently representing the USA in Sochi. So, I immediately think "I'm totally taking up cross-country skiing!  Look. At. Those. Abs!"
   And then, not five minutes later, a co-worker walks in my office with these:

Sooo Tasty!
   Immediately, I experienced a case of mental whiplash so great that I almost got brain freeze. My thoughts changed from fitness and health to the extreme opposite by wondering if I could eat an entire box of Samoas for lunch (I LOVE them). And I'm definitely NOT thinking about keeping these here at the office so I don't have to share them with my husband. I would NEVER do that (Hi Honey!).
     So, this is my life - it's a constant back-and-forth and my thoughts can do a complete 180 in about 30 seconds. Fortunately, now that I'm back to working out on a regular basis, the voice of reason will eventually set in and I won't gorge myself of Thin Mints. Though I really, really want to.
    On another note, it's supposed to be 60 degrees in Nashville next week! After two months of freezing temperatures (it was 17 degrees this morning), I'm REALLY looking forward to a little warmth! Winter, be gone!  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My Planner

    I've had a few people ask me about my new planner, so I thought I'd show it to you in a little more detail.  It's an Erin Condren life planner. I am a total planning, spreadsheet, organizational geek when it comes to my workouts. I have the personality type of "if it's on the sheet of paper, I must do it," so a planner like this is a must for me. In the past, I've created calendars in Word and used those to plan my workouts. My diet log was written down somewhere else. I'm loving the idea of having everything in one place.

     This is the cover. There are probably twenty different covers from which you can choose. You can personalize the covers with your name, initials or nick-names - I'm really mad that I didn't put "Mylls to Go" on it, instead of my initials. Oh well. You can even upload a photo on the cover, if you want. I went with a good, old-fashioned, inspirational quote. You really can't go wrong with Thoreau.

   There are actually inspirational quotes throughout the planner. You can't personalize the quotes or the pages inside the planner. At least, I don't think you can. The choosing of the cover was stressful enough for me, so I might have glossed over other options.

   This is one of several calendars in the planner. This is the month at a glance. This is where I'm going to plan my races and where I'm meeting people for workouts - a more generic overview of my schedule. Again, I don't think you can choose the colors or anything inside the planner, so if you don't like a lot of color, then this isn't the planner for you. It's pretty bright.

   This is another one of the calendars. Each column is a day that is broken up to morning, afternoon and evening. This is where I'll log the actual workout for the day, as well as my diet. There is also an extra column for "goals & notes" to the left.

   One of the later pages is a contacts page. This is actually a page that I recommend everyone have, no matter what type of planner you have. When my parents house burnt down in 2012, my mom happened to keep a contacts page like this that had all of the phone numbers that you rarely call, but when you need to call them - you NEED to call them. You know, like your cable provider, the electric company and things like that. The day after the fire, I took my mom's list and called the everyone who needed to be contacted and it was SO MUCH EASIER since I had all of the contacts right there. Seriously - do yourself a favor and create a list of contacts like this.

   Like any good planner, there are a couple of pockets for extra papers...or labels that Erin Condren sent to me for free!  

   And I love these (yes, I'm a huge geek)! These are small stickers that say things like "birthday, appointment, concert" and what not. Put these on your monthly calendar and never forget a birthday again!
   So, that's pretty much it. I mean, when it comes down to it, it's a fancy daytimer. But it's pretty and a lot more fun to use than a standard daytimer. They even have matching pens and elastic bands you can order to go along with the planner. Yes, I know, everyone has a smart phone that can help with your planning and contacts, but I really like to write things down. It's fun to flip back and look at past workouts and see what my notes were for that day. For whatever reason, I don't really write as many notes or review my workouts when I'm logging things digitally. 
   If you're interested in ordering a planner, you're going to be a little late as I think you can only order them January - December. Mine was about $40, but I had a $10 discount. If you're interested, I can send you a link for the discount, as well. You can order them at

Friday, February 7, 2014

Starting Over

   Sigh.  So, I've been sick. Nasty upper respiratory infection. It's been really annoying because the first couple of days, even though I wasn't really "sick," I didn't workout in an attempt to ward off any oncoming illness. And while I was freaking out about how many workouts I was missing, I kept thinking that it was for the greater good, and that I'd be back at it in a few days. Not. So. Much. The illness came anyway and now TWO WEEKS LATER, I still haven't worked out AT ALL.  I finished four books and caught up on this season's "Downton Abbey"...but no exercise.
   It's interesting, because the first few days, I was pretty anxious. I'm not good at sitting around and doing nothing day after day. But as time went on, I got pretty used to just doing nothing. I guess it's true about what they say about habits being built after two weeks, because I am now officially out of my workout routine. And you know what? I don't care!  While I'm still not 100%, I'm probably well enough to go for a run or something. But I'm kind of like, "Eh - what's one more day off? I'm comfy here hanging with the Corgis."

Henry using the patented Corgi mind-meld to convince me to stay home with him.

   I didn't go through this blasé attitude while I was injured with my sprained ankle last year, even though I was off for six weeks that time. The main difference was that even with the sprain, I could do SOMETHING. I could swim, or bike a little, or maybe do a little light yoga that didn't stress my ankle. So, while running was out, I didn't have the opportunity to completely get out of my routine.
   Because you know what I do when I get completely out of my routine? I eat like crap. Seriously - it was BAD this time. For one two-day stretch, I didn't eat anything but Kraft Mac & Cheese. Yes, the one in the blue box with the powdered cheese, which is the way God intended Mac & Cheese to be created, if you ask me. Don't judge me - that stuff is GOOD.
   So, now here I am, on the flip side of my illness, and I have race season rapidly approaching, and I have completely lost motivation. I mean, I have the Little Rock Half Marathon in three weeks! That's NOTHING! But what did I do last night? I ate a Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt Caramel bar.  Do I generally eat things like this? Nope. But that's what I do when I'm out of my routine. And y'all, it was amazing.

Possibly, the best chocolate bar ever.

   Fortunately, I did get a little spark of inspiration yesterday in the mail. My kick-ass Erin Condren "life" planner arrived in the mail.  This came at the recommendation of my friend Kim, aka The Blonde Mule, who is going to use it help plan for her first Half-Ironman later in the Fall. I'm kind of a geek when it comes to planning, and spreadsheets and the like, so this planner is right up my alley. It has the basic stuff that most planners have, but this different...because this one is pretty...and comes with stickers. Don't laugh - that stuff makes a difference. I'm totally psyched that it finally arrived. I've already started figuring out where I'm going to log workouts, meal plans, etc. The only thing I don't like about it is that I didn't get the matching pens that went with it.

Totally should have gotten "Mylls to Go" as the personalization instead of my initials.  Sigh.

   So, with planner in hand, I'm starting over again tomorrow on my quest for Ironman Chattanooga. Only 232 days left!!  Better get on it!