Chugging Along

Nothing exciting to report.  Damn, but progress takes forever!

Weight Watchers is going well.  I love love love that most fruits and veggies are 0 points.  That might be what makes the difference for me this time, and allows me to be successful.  Because, for real, there is always a point at which I feel compelled – either by actual hunger or some feels – to have an eat attack.  And that usually derails me, because I’ve messed up, I’ve blown it – I’ve gone off my diet.  But when those moments strike… you know the ones:

hunger

I can just eat a pile of vegetables and everything is A-OK.

I’ve done my triathlon training workouts as prescribed five days in a row.  That feels pretty good.  I have a Groupon for a massage, and I promised myself that if I do all my workouts through Sunday, I’ll book it as a little reward.

That is the State of the Gina.  How are you doing?

Sup guys?

I just “ran” for the first time in months (and the time before that was probably months as well).  The quotation marks are because I only had to run for a total of 5 minutes – and even that I did at my usual lumbering pace.  It did not feel good.

Platitudes that are not consoling me:

  • Every journey starts with a single step
  • You’re still lapping everyone on the couch!
  • The only bad workout is the one that didn’t happen

Still, hey, I’m glad I did it.

Look at all that GREEN!

About a month ago, I asked Coach Irondad to help me start training for this year’s races (the Goleta Beach Long Course Triathlon, the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon, and the HITS Palm Springs 70.3).  It started out bumpy (I’ve gained 50 lbs and had become ridiculously inactive), but I’m getting into the groove.  I feel a little better every day, and I love that I’m starting to get stronger (if not yet significantly lighter).  Definitely not perfect, but I’m sleeping better, getting up earlier, making it to the gym before work at least a couple days a week, and trying my best to do my workouts when and as prescribed.  I’m inching towards consistency, and it feels pretty good!

Untitled

The Sting

Wow. There’s so much I want to write about — I’ve had some crazy awesome training over the past week, a bunch of it with Coach Irondad – but I have to write one thing at a time, and I have to start somewhere. So I’ll start with the first thing that comes to mind, and that is the sting of so often being the fattest and the slowest.

Image

As you know, my life sort of imploded this year. From August through October, I was pretty much in survival mode. I ate whatever I wanted (and didn’t track it), I barely exercised, my sleep schedule was whack, and I certainly was not using my Game Plan. Result: I gained back more than 20 pounds and lost most of my fitness.

Image

This makes me very sad.

But since then, things have improved. I’m settling into my new job and getting back on the wagon a little bit at a time. And I’ve been trying to take advantage of my LA Tri Club membership, because it’s easier and more fun to do long workouts with a group (and because open water swimming solo is not terribly safe).

But the truth is, I’m really not in good enough shape to keep up. I tried an ocean swim a couple of weeks ago and had to cut it short when I could no longer see the group (in fairness, I did tell them to go on without me because I didn’t want to keep holding them up). I did a group ride on PCH this past Saturday and I believe they waited for me for at least 15 minutes (maybe longer) at the turnaround point, because I rode so much more slowly than everyone else.

Image

Now, I’ve never been fast, and I don’t really ever expect to be. Even at my best, I was at the back of the pack. But I have to say, it really stings to be working so hard and still coming up short. The feelings always come in stages:

1) Panic as I start to fall behind. (Oh man, I can’t go at the pace they’re going! What’s going to happen?)
2) Irrational blaming of others. (Alex is pushing the pace, with those crazy long legs of his! or They said this route was going to be flat!)
3) Self-loathing. (This always happens. I am the worst. I am a fat slob. Why do I kid myself and even try these things?)
4) Ridiculous determination. (Well, I am just going to run 5 miles, uphill, every day for a year until I’m amazing and this never happens to me again!)
5) Acceptance. (Ok, I’m just gonna swallow my pride, gut it out and finish this, and try again next time.)

Now I KNOW (in my head, if not in my heart) that the last bit is the most important. I know it’s about finishing and doing my best, and not about competing with anyone besides myself. I know that the athletes and friends with whom I train are kind and compassionate people who mean it when they say that it’s ok, and they’ll wait for me, and they hope I come out again.

That doesn’t really stop it from stinging. It’s no fun, being the fattest and the slowest. The only solution, though, is to keep working at it – both my fitness, and my feelings. And that’s one of the things I love about triathlon, constantly working at pushing out of my comfort zone and becoming someone I really like.

It’s Like Juggling, Which I Also Don’t Know How to Do

The Warrior Dash was great! We got through the course in a little over an hour, despite the first mile being pretty much completely and steeply uphill (I heard someone say, “this isn’t a 5k, this is a hike!”). As always, my favorite part was the obstacles; I can’t wait for the official photos, because I know I hammed it up whenever I saw a camera. The last challenge was swimming through a mud pit, which explains our “after” picture:

Image

The fundraising for St. Jude was also very much a win-win; not only did we help sick kids, but we got access to showers (which we promptly turned into mud golem murder scenes) and free food. It was rad!

I tried to be good yesterday, but was derailed by exhaustion and Sprinkles cupcakes. I did, however, track all of my food in MyFitnessPal and plan to do so again today. I think successful getting-back-on-the-wagon may best be achieved like juggling: get one ball in the air, then add another, then another. So my first ball is food tracking, and I hope to add more balls before the end of the week. Anything is better than throwing them on the ground and giving up, which is kind of what I’ve done every other time I’ve tried this month.

Yikes

It’s crazy how much of an impact one’s job has on one’s fitness – and by “one’s” I mean “my,” and by “fitness” I mean “complete lack thereof.” Let’s recap:

July: I think it would be great to go back to teaching English.
August: I accept a position at a charter high school and transition out of my office job at a law firm. I put everything else in my life on hold and work my ass off (60-80 hour work weeks) but feel like I’m drowning anyway.
September: I resign because the high school (and maybe education in general these days?) is 700 kinds of broken and messed up.
October: My life is a cavalcade of interviews, temporary work, and ill-advised trips that were planned (and mostly paid for) months ago.

I had to defer my registration for the 70.3 in Santa Cruz until next year’s race. I haven’t tracked my food in MyFitnessPal for months. I’ve exercised occasionally, but not nearly enough. Until this month, I hadn’t blogged. I’ve gained back almost 15 pounds. It was a pretty epic fall off the wagon.

Image

Now that I’m starting to feel like myself again, I’m finding it really difficult to get back ON the wagon, because there is no routine to my life. Every day I have to figure out what I’m doing, where I’m going, when (and where and what) I’ll be eating… all that stuff that kind of goes on autopilot when you have some semblance of structure. It’s hard to make good choices when they require so much extra effort and planning.

But if I fall down 1304983 times, I just need to get back up 1304984 times… so that’s what I’m doing. Warrior Dash tomorrow (wooo!) and a concerted effort to track my calories and make it to the gym at least three times next week. These are my short term goals. Let’s do this!

To Big Kahuna, or Not to Big Kahuna?

Sorry to interrupt your regularly-scheduled Recipe Monday, but I would love to think and write about this issue a little bit, and get some feedback: I am seriously considering not participating in what was to be my A-race this season, the “Big Kahuna” 70.3 triathlon in Santa Cruz in September.

Image

There was no one big catalyst for this, more like a bunch of smaller things adding up to leave me feeling unmotivated and disinterested. “Incapable” is a word that comes to mind but isn’t quite right. I know I COULD do it – I could force myself through training, and I could slog through the race… but right now it seems pretty unappealing. I think this started with the Sacramento International triathlon… the feeling of being slow and fat and close to last after working so hard for the past couple months was just awful.

Image

I wasn’t even happy at the START of the race…

I’ve also bitten off more than I can chew in my social/personal life. I’ve joined a burlesque troupe and the time involved in putting together costumes and rehearsing is significant. Add that to work (which is its own separate issue) and just having a life in general, and any free time I have lately, I tend to want to spend flopped on my bed reading a book.

Image

My idea of heaven.

Depression is something I’ve struggled with most of my life, and stress is definitely a trigger. Without getting into too much detail, let’s just say there is plenty of stress to go around lately, and it’s getting to be about time to visit my therapist. So just, in general, I feel like a mess. Everything seems really hard. For the past few weeks, I’ve missed more workouts than I’ve completed. And for the next few months there seems to be something eating up every other weekend, which is when longer training sessions have to happen.

Oh! Not to mention, I still haven’t found the right saddle, and on my last long bike ride I got two matching and very painful saddle sores. So bike training seems especially daunting.

MEH. Let’s do some pros and cons.

Reasons NOT to do Big Kahuna:

  • Don’t want to. Doesn’t sound fun anymore.
  • It would be a big load off, time and stress wise, to not be training so much over the next 47 days.

Reasons TO do Big Kahuna:

  • Follow through on commitment, meeting this challenge will feel good in the end.
  • Not waste money (registration fee already paid, though hotel is not…).
  • External goals help me meet fitness objectives.

That’s all I’ve really got.  What do you think?