eat, move, think, feel


July 2011

Meet Izzy: One Big (Little) Reason I’m Doing This

One of the reasons we train with Team in Training is also to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. When I did my TNT marathon back in 2000, we met our honoree once I think. But I didn’t really feel a personal connection. This time it feels really different. Our team honoree is Izzy, the most adorable 3 year old EVER. Her parents are both training on our team as well. Her dad is one of the team captains and is leading many of the workouts. Her mom is also training for the triathlon. I met Izzy at our team kick-off last week and she just melted my heart.

Here’s a little bit about her (supplied by her mom).

June 29th marked Izzy’s one year cancer remission birthday.  She is currently in her maintenance phase of treatment which consists of oral chemo everyday, steroid 5days out of the month, a dose of vincrisintin (chemo) once a month through her broviac (a central line port), and inter-thecal chemo every three months.  Thankfully she is halfway through her treatment and has a little over a year left.  She just started ballet and tap class, loves anything Disney princess, and her favorite place is the zoo.

At One Year Remission Anniversary!

So this is one of the reasons that I am going to continue hounding y’all who have not yet donated to my fundraising efforts. If you are reading this and have not yet donated, please do. Give a little or a lot, whatever you are able. If you are local, I invite you to the fabulous Cocktail and Cupcake party I’m throwing next week. (I’m bartending) If you can’t make it, no problem – just visit my fundraising page! Easy peasy!

Click here.

"Have you donated yet??"

I have several other honorees that I’m training for (and in memory of) and I’ll be telling you more about them as the season progresses. If YOU have someone in your life who has (or did have) any form of blood cancer, and you’d like me to add their to my hat, please let me know. I’d be honored to honor them.

Triathlon Training: The First Week

Today is officially the start of my 2nd week of triathlon training. I did my second “big” team training this morning, and after a nice nap, I’m ready to do some recapping.

Part of me can’t believe I’m actually doing this.

Part of me thinks it’s not so bad.

Today we did an hour long swim including drills and freestyle laps (some/most of the drills are harder than “just” swimming!) up in Novato, which is about an hour away. Which means I got up at 6am, met my carpool buddies at 7 and then drove up to the workout. I was actually feeling encouraged that I think my swimming form and stamina have both improved over the week. I can really feel a difference from just a week ago! So yay on that.

Then we did a bunch of dynamic warmups before running. The running part was a big loop on a wooded trail. It was awesome to be outside in the woods and hills instead of on a track. They said the trail loop was a little less than 2 miles long. They said that people doing the Sprint distance or people in the “developing” level of the Olympic distance should do one loop. It included one semi-mild hill and then one crazy, steep insane hill. Which they recommended walking. Hahahaha. (as if!)  So I finished the first loop and was like, yeah! DONE! But the coaches at the water station were like, “Are you doing it again?” And I sort of did a double take. They pointed to my hat (Oakland Running Festival) and my T-shirt (Las Vegas Marathon) and said if I was going to wear stuff like that, I better be going twice. Gulp. So I took off for the second lap.

Not totally surprisingly, the 2nd lap felt MUCH better than the first one did. I really do need a significant warmup! and the first loop was much more of a struggle than the second one. After the second loop, we had been at it for three hours. Then they took us over to a field to do a bunch of core work.

Then I was tired.

I didn’t recap my first “official” bike workout yesterday. I was supposed to do an OYO (on your own) 30 minute ride. Mr. McBody took me to a little trail that goes down to our neighborhood town/village. It’s kind of a mild downhill. I was happy because I thought it would be a perfect way to practice hills, in a protected way.

It was a good challenge and it was not easy. At all. The trail was filled with walkers and dogs and little kids on trikes and strollers and just all kinds of obstacles. Each one put a little splinter of terror into my heart. I had to practice my slowing down and shifting gears and such. Which I did not enjoy. At the bottom of the hill there was a hairpin turn that went downhill and I just couldn’t do it. It terrified me.

I don’t like the machinery of the bike. There’s too much stuff.  It’s dangerous feeling. Once when I was getting on (or off) the gears “bit” me in th leg. Which hurt.

It just makes me feel so unskilled and also at the mercy of this piece of equipment. I can see now that this part of the tri is going to be my most challenging. I hope that as we do more team bike workouts, I will get more tips and feel more comfortable.



What?!? An Easy Workout?!?!?

I did a real double take when I saw our run workout for today. Five minute walk warmup followed by 10 intervals of … WHAT?!? Easy run of one minute (?!?!?) intervaled with one minute walks? ! WHAT?!?? Lily and I had to read it over a couple of times, pinch ourselves, and then read it again before we could really believe it.


So I guess after four days of really hard stuff, this must be our “active rest” or whatever. It basically was the same drill as the first week of Couch to 5k. AWESOME!

It felt so good. It really did. I mean I felt like I was certainly doing SOMEthing, but it was easy. It felt wonderful. It was a gift from the coaching gods!!

We’re beginning to get an idea of what these weeks are like. Some days are hard. Some days are easy. We’re getting a bunch of different things all together. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Maybe I can do this after all.

Big grin.


Swimming: It’s Getting Better

Mom's morning lap swim by AmyMags
Mom’s morning lap swim, a photo by AmyMags on Flickr.

Just a quick reportback to say that my swim workout was just a tad more encouraging tonight. I did 22 laps of freestyle without stopping and without changing stroke (to sidestroke or breaststroke) and without drowning. And without feeling like dying. It was fine! It was good!

Let’s see how the track workout goes tomorrow morning. Lily is coming with me this time. Yay Lily.

It makes alllllllllllllllllll the difference in the world to have a workout buddy.

And I Thought I Could Run…

Running Track by
Running Track, a photo by on Flickr.

Today was my first solo (and REALLY solo) track run. The team was meeting up for a coached run tonight, but I couldn’t make it because of my WW meeting. So I asked the coach to email me the workout.

It started out all messed up. First, I drove to a nearby field with a sort of rough track around it. I was only a few yards into it when I realized it was super muddy, wet and almost swampy in parts. It was not going to work.

So then I drove to a not-as-nearby high school because I knew they had a track. It’s a huge campus and as it turned out I was like half a mile away from the track place. Finally I found it. It was huuuuge and fancy and was one of those bouncy rubber tracks.

But just being at a track brought back some minor PTSD from my high school track team days. Yeah, I was on the track team! Originally I was a sprinter but there were too many sprinters so I was placed on the 880 (half mile) team. UGH. That is the worse race ever. It’s so hard because it’s too short to be long distance (like the mile) but too long to be sprinting. You just have to be going at full speed for two whole laps. it was really hard for me and I ended up dropping out of several races and puking on the side and just not having a happy time at ALL (and losing the races to boot).

The workout involved doing intervals based on RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion). We were supposed to do 2-minute intervals at level 6-8 which was described as “threshold pace. This is moderate to hard pace where conversation is possible but labored.”

This RPE is a very tricky thing for me. It reminded me of when I tried to do it on the treadmill. I think in face I was going more like level 9 where conversation was NOT possible. It was also hard for me to maintain for an entire two minutes. And then I got so wiped out I had to walk instead of jog for the recovery intervals. All in all, I think I don’t really know or understand my running self well enough to get these intervals right. It’s a work in progress.

So as a result, I was either going too fast (and feeling freaked out by exertion) or having to walk to recover. It was not the combo we were supposed to be doing. So it felt kind of messed up to me. I wish I’d been able to do this with a coach but I’ll have to ask more about it on the weekend.

It left me feeling kind of unhappy because here I’d been feeling like running was the one tri discipline I had already accomplished, and I was feeling comfortable with it, and now all of a sudden it wasn’t comfortable or easy or familiar. It also dawned on me that in my regular running life, where I run 3-5 miles, I don’t end up feeling really in the groove until I’m well past the first mile or sometimes two. With these faster, interval workouts, I NEVER get to feeling any groove or like I’m physically comfortable. It’s a struggle, and then it’s over. Yuck.

The only good thing about these workouts is that if they feel like a struggle, well there’s always a chance to do it over again real soon. Haha.

OYO (On Your Own) Workout

swim team by getthebubbles
swim team, a photo by getthebubbles on Flickr.

Today was the first day we were to start our OYO (on your own) workouts for Team in Training. I was lucky enough that one of my teammates lives really close to me and she wanted to come swimming at my gym.

I think I just don’t feel confident enough in myself to know that I would complete these solo workouts if I were truly solo. So I was so glad to have company and to have someone to swim with. I’m gonna be honest. Back in the day, when I was training with TNT to do my (walking) marathon in 2000, I had a schedule of solo workouts for midweek. I didn’t do a lot of them. I figured I could “catch up” on the weekends during the coached workouts. And that was fine. But this time around, I feel like I don’t dare miss a single thing because if I don’t keep up, I’m just… screwed. So I’m sticking to this schedule no matter what.

I think the motto of this triathlon training is going to be, “This is no joke.” The workout started out manageable enough, with a couple of lengths of warmup, then 4 lengths (100 yds), then 2 laps (100 yds). That all went fine.

Then we were to do a timed swim of 15 minutes and write down how many yards it was.

Fifteen minutes without stopping is a long time.

It’s like never having run before, and trying to run for fifteen minutes straight.

It was a verrryyyyyy long 15 minutes. I took a couple half-lengths to breast stroke or side stroke because I was getting pretty wobbly with the freestyle. But the phrase, “there’s no wall to touch in open water” kept going through my head and I just did my best to keep going.

I did the dumb thing of trying to count by 25s in my head and add as I swam. My brain was fairly addled so I think I got it wrong.

Lily said she counted 30 lengths. I was a few behind her so I’m gonna say I did 24. Which is 600 yards. Plus the 300 we did (including the 50 yard cooldown) — whoa.

We sat in the hot tub for a while afterward.

Again, no joke. I survived it. It wasn’t easy. I keep wondering, is this going to get easier? (because I get more conditioned) Or harder? (because they’re going to keep adding distance and speed) Or just be the same degree of difficulty the whole time?

I can’t think about it. I have to just take each workout, each day as it comes and just do the best I can.

It didn’t kill me. I wasn’t dying. But it wasn’t easy. And I’m gonna reiterate that if I didn’t have Lily in that lane next to me, I can’t guarantee I wouldn’t have quit halfway.


Triathlon: The First Workout

I promise I’m not going to present you a lengthy recap after every single tri workout, but today was the first. So you’re gonna get a lengthy one today. It was just… wow. Wow hard, wow good, wow scary, wow humbling, just wow.

Our little triathlon team is about 18 people in the SF Bay Area. Today we traveled out to a middle school in Pleasant Hill, about 30 miles from where I live, for our first combo swim/run workout.

First the swim coach gave us a demo of what our swim stroke is supposed to look like: head down, body aligned, blowing out bubbles at all times, and what she called the “catch-up Michael Phelps” stroke. So the “base” of the stroke is that you’ve got both arms extended straight out, arms at ears, and the hands are actually sort of crossed over one another. Then you remove one arm to come down and stroke and immediately return it to that position, and then you do the other side.

She asked us to position ourselves based on our own level of experience and I headed to the most “developing” (ie beginner) lane. Which turned out to be exactly where I needed to be. This was not a surprise or particularly devastating since I have, as I said before, not swum laps in 18 years.

So we get in, and there are 2 other women in my lane, and our coach (there was one coach for every 2-3 lanes) said, “Just go back and forth.” Um o-kay. I took off from the wall trying to be all Michael Phelpsish. We went back and forth a bunch of times. I was happy that my goggles are AWESOME (they aren’t prescription but they have corrective lenses and I could actually SEE clearly). By the 4th length I was panting. Way pooped. I was somewhat relieved to see that my lanemates were also short on the oxygen.

Then we did a bunch of drills during which we did lengths where we only kicked (no stroking) – that was hard, and some where we had our arms down by our sides (that was hard too!). Then we did 4 LAPS (back and forth) and then we did 4 LENGTHS. Um, dude, that’s a lot of swimming. I found myself getting ridiculously thirsty and thank goodness I had my water bottle at the side of the pool. One of my knees also complained a bit. But at the end of an hour (an hour!!) I felt like I was almost starting to get the hang of it. I was tired, but I also felt like I could’ve gone on.

But then it was time to run. We went into the girls’ locker room to change and it was a bit of a challenge putting running clothes (ie sports bra) on a somewhat wet body. Whatever. We went out to the track and did a bit of dynamic warmups – skipping, knee-ups, lunges, grapevines, basketball side running things and the like. Whew! That was pretty tiring.

Then we were to do 4 laps around the track (1/4 mile each) BUT we were supposed to “stride” (pick up the pace) during the straightaways. Which is about half of it. Intervals! Brutal intervals. They made me feel kind of pukey. But I did it. Then when we finished that, he said, “OK, now you’re going to do a timed mile.” They had given some sort of lip service to this notion of run-walking, but believe me I think about 90% of this team was RUNNING. And I mean running. Like 7-8 minute miles kind of running.

It was clear that my leisurely little jogging/wogging pace was going to put me flat at the end. Where I did not want to be. I discussed this with Mr M before leaving today. In most of my timed races I find myself around the final 1/3 of the crowd. Which is just fine. But this is a very fast, young crowd.

I tried very hard to stay focused. To keep my own pace. To not worry that I was getting lapped by the younguns. I just tried to keep my head up and keep running. But MAN. It was humbling. They did say we might want to “kick it out” for the final straightaway and I did just that. I kept at my slowish pace until the very end and then I sprinted in, punch in the gut style.

My time for the mile was 11:30.  Now I know that for many of you young runners out there, that is glacially slow. But people, I have not run an entire mile at that pace, like EVER. I’ve been averaging (according to Runkeeper) around 13-14 minute miles. So do do this mile sub-12 to me was totally incredible. But at the same time, I felt it. And I was third to last in the team. (I think. Maybe 4th. I didn’t really look behind me)

It was sobering. It was humbling. It was kind of exciting to know that I was running with the big dogs (actually, the young dogs) and sort of holding my own. But it also showed me that this is going to be no walk in the park. This workout (3 hours total) was NO JOKE.

After the workout a group of us went to a nearby cafe for brunch (we were finished at 11am!). I was in a bit of a stunned state. Part of me was like, OMG WTF did I get myself INTO? And part of me was like Go Ito, you did this. You didn’t drown or fall down or anything traumatic. You kept up. You stayed in the range.

Coach Haaken next to me. He means business!

The weekday workouts are much shorter versions and we’ll be doing 2 run, 2 bike, 2 swim (with one rest day, Mondays) on our own. The weekend workouts are going to be the long ones. I guess this is what my weekends are going to be looking like for the next few months.

I’m excited. And I’m also a bit in state of shock.

The other part of this, of course, is fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I have a bunch of really, really fun events planned locally. I’m going to be guest bartender at a local bistro on August 11th and they’re donating a generous percentage to my fund! (any and all invited!) Other fun things are in the works. Stay tuned, and if you can’t make a local event, please please please consider giving a little or a lot here.

And So It Begins: Triathlon Training

This morning I attended the “winter season” kickoff for Team in Training. It was a festive event with hundreds of people who are all training for upcoming endurance events. When I scanned the room, at first I felt reassured because I saw people of all Ages and Sizes. But then I realized that the vast majority of people who were my age (or older) or my size (or larger) were pretty much concentrated on the Walk or Hike Teams. When I made my way over to the Triathlon area, I saw a bunch of fit young people, many of whom were young enough to be my children. Big swallow.

That was one of the first “OMG” moments. The second one came when we went to our individual Tri room and they passed out the training calendars. I had been under the impression that the real training began next weekend, but no….. it starts TOMORROW. Swimming and running both! TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I spent a good part of the afternoon at Sports Basement, for which I had a 20% discount coupon (which ended up really really helping).  New running shoes (mine are a good 3 years old and pretty beat up), padded bike shorts, optical goggles so I don’t end up swimming through the Golden Gate, and a new swimsuit. They told us to try on our swimsuits, lean forward in front of a mirror and make sure nothing “falls out.” (LOL)

Looking in the mirror in the store, I thought, “I feel like a Before.” I wonder what these next four months hold in store for me. I wonder what After will feel like.

Starting tomorrow, I will be working out six days a week. (I think this counts as “doing something,” right, Kris?) I am both ready and ready. Terrified and excited. Confident and insecure. Feeling completely crazy. I just got a text from one of my carpool buddies. I am to be at her house at 7:10.

I better start sorting out that gear.


Guest Post: Kris says “Do Something!”

Do Something, ANYTHING, Every Day

It was a long, hard, tiring day, and I was feeling particularly haggish. Don’t get me wrong, I really love my evil twin, but I also like having control over her – calling her out when the time is right and enjoying her appearance.

When she controls me, it means that I’m not feeling so hot. A big part of my taming the shrew is movement. Cliché I know, but it is my truth.

It just so happened that Susan and I were feeling the same way, at the very same time. We had been on an exercise streak, but 3 days later we had completely lost our groove. And the motivation or inclination to do anything was long forgotten. And we were both lamenting our dilemma over twitter.

Since I’m a little by little gal, the idea of 20 minutes of movement everyday always appealed to me. For me, it is much easier to say, “I will go for a 20 minute walk,” rather than, “I will go to the gym for an hour.”

So the stars were aligned, exhausted or not, and Susan and I agreed at the same moment to do something, ANYTHING for 20 minutes that day.

And so it began.

We got off the computer and we went out.

We did it. Together.

We giggled.

We tweeted.

We felt better.

So we did it again.

And again.

And again.

Sometimes she got on her elliptical. Sometimes we got in the pool. Sometimes we got on a real bike. Sometimes we walked to work. But we always checked in with each other. We confirmed our 20 minute plans, and we encouraged each other every day.

There were days I was physically tired a day after a swim or a workout with my trainer. On those days, I spent 20 minutes on my mat. (My body loves my mat time.) There were other days where time and schedules seemed to get in the way, and Susan parked further from her work to sneak in the walk. There were also days that I was mentally tired, but I got up and got out anyway.

I walked. I didn’t even break a sweat. It counted.

Despite the physical or mental exhaustion, we did it. I can say that for me, I always shot for 20 minutes and many times I moved for longer. There were a few times when I did NO MORE than 20 minutes.

We did this for 14 days.

In a row.

20 minutes of ANYTHING.

EVERY day.

For 14 days.


And we felt better.

We found our groove again.

Thanks to 20 minute trickery and an amazing tribe.

Read More:

Care to join us? 20 minutes is all we ask.

Kris is a wannabe fitness/culinary guru who can neither cook nor jog. You can find her on The Heart and Humor of Being Human where she learns to mince basil and do kettlebell swings while tweeting, all while trying to find some balance in this distracting world. You can also find her on twitter @krazy_kris.

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