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Month

July 2011

Headed Off to Camp….

Tomorrow morning I will be taking off for the weeklong family camp that I have directed for the past 7 years. This is such an enormous undertaking I can barely even describe it. It is overwhelming, exciting, thrilling, exhausting, emotional, fun, fulfilling, moving, stressful. It is the culmination of a year’s work. I am both excited and nervous (as usual).

One year (before 2009!), I gained ten pounds during the week of camp. It was high stress, and I was just snarfing down the Sloppy Joes and cookies like there was no tomorrow. I’ve now had two summers of “healthy mindful camp” and I just want to keep that up this year. I know that when I get back I will begin my triathlon training and I am excited about that. I don’t want to stress too much. I’m bringing handweights and some workout DVDs and my running shoes of course, but my DirectLife monitor told me that I was expending well over 100% of my daily target just running around.

I doubt I’ll have the chance to blog much while I’m gone. I haven’t even had the chance to line up any guest posts. Don’t go away on me people, I’ll be back and blogging like a madwoman when I return on July 23rd and go to my Team in Training Kick-Off Day! Woot!!!

P.S. See if you can “find Foodie” in the picture above from last year’s camp. Click to enlarge!

Review: Blue Bunny Frozen Mini Treats

Once again I was contacted by the kind folks at Blue Bunny to see if I’d want to try out their new Sweet Freedom sugar free, snack size yummy treats. I did not say no!

They arrived in a carton of dry ice. Sadly, Juniorette was not here to play with it and conduct science experiments to her heart’s delight like last time. This time, we have learned to actually read the instructions and Let the Product Thaw For One Hour before consuming. (last time we almost broke our teeth!)

These little products, a mini ice cream cone and a mini ice cream sandwich (chocolate and vanilla) were tested by me, my mother and Mr. McBody. My personal favorite was the ice cream sandwich. I am a BIG fan of ice cream sandwiches of all kinds, but the very small portion size really won me over. It’s just two or three bites. One, it’s cute, and two, it doesn’t do too much damage. Also, the sugar free aspect is a winner for me. Combination of that AND the small portion kept my blood sugar from getting whacky. NICE COMBO.

Mom loved the little ice cream cones. “So cuuuute!” she said. I saw her going back for seconds. 🙂

Bottom line: Thumbs up (paws up?) for the Blue Bunny. I actually liked these treats more than the original ones. I recommend!

“It’s Just Like Riding A Bike!”

I used to hate it when people used that phrase because it’s used to imply something that is easy, something that you never forget and can always pick up on at a later point in life. I’d mutter to myself under my breath, “Easy for YOU to say.” Because for me, “riding a bike” was fraught with anxiety.

When I decided to sign up for this triathlon, I knew it was going to be as much (or more) a psychological challenge as a physical one. (although that isn’t anything to sneeze at, either!) I feel like I pretty much can deal with the running. Last week, I got into a swimming pool for the first time in 17 years and.. I didn’t drown! I didn’t exactly meet the goal of 200 yards with only a 10second rest (starting recommendation for the Olympic distance triathlon) but I did the whole thing freestyle, and I know if I’d mixed it up with some other strokes it would have been OK. So I checked that off the list.

Last weekend Mr McBody went to pick up Junior’s bike from the house she’d left it at. I totally hemmed and hawed all week, even when he asked me if I wanted to take it on a little spin around our cul-de-sac. NO thank you. Honestly, I was terrified. But today I told myself, I’d give it a try.

First I woke up late. Then I did a pile of paperwork, paid bills, and organized an entire purse and deskful of receipts into a neat little accordian file with sticky tabs. That took me pretty much half the day. Then I had to have lunch. And a cup of coffee. And fret about my clothing. Mister McBody was laughing at me. “What’s the problem?” I was wearing long leggings. “But what if it’s hot?” “Then wear shorts.” “But I need something to protect me.” “Protect you from what?” “From the BIKE!” I was envisioning my legs getting caught in gears and chains and having half my calf skin torn clear off. Finally, I went outside and it was indeed hot so I put on a pair of shorts.

He put air in the tires and applied some greasy goo stuff to the chain. I went into the house to go to the bathroom and procrastinate in any other way I could think of.

"Take your time, honey."

Finally we loaded up the bikes and drove down to the Estuary Trail, which is a lovely path I’ve often run on. It goes along the water and a bird sanctuary and ends up near the Oakland airport. It is utterly flat with just a couple curves here and there and best of all, no traffic. It was the perfect spot for a first (in many years) ride. How many years? Well Juniorette is 17 years old and she swears she has NEVER seen me on a bike in her whole life. She denies any memory of such a thing. I told her I’d ridden along the Truckee River at Tahoe, and she said she didn’t believe it. So it’s been a lot of years.

I was tense. To say the least.

Not a happy camper.

Finally it was the moment of truth. We fiddled with the seat and then I got on and… at first my hands were gripping those handlebars so tight I thought the skin was going to shear off my knuckles. But after a minute or two I realized I wasn’t totally struggling to stay upright. I skidded to a stop and jumped off at the sign of any turning, but eventually I got the hang of that too. We took off down the trail and it was pretty good for about five minutes. Then my pocket started ringing. I realized it was Junior, calling me from her day off. She is off being a counselor at circus camp where they have NO EMAIL, NO TEXTING and NO CELL PHONE reception so we’ve been completely incomunicado from her. So when I got this call I knew that she was on her day off and was once again in cell range. I HAD to answer it.

We ended up standing there in the trail for a good half hour, talking with our offspring. (Good thing I chose Mr. McBody for my first riding partner and not anyone else, because nobody else would’ve put up with that!) We had a very good talk in which she pondered her many life paths ahead of her, and by the time we got going again I had almost forgotten I was terrified.

We rode for a total of 10K or 6.2 miles. ME! Wow!!!!! Now, granted, this ride involved no hills or traffic or cars, BUT the fact that I survived it without having a complete physical or mental breakdown was a huge reason to celebrate. I was so relieved! SO RELIEVED.

yahooooooo!

On the way home we discussed our dinner plans. I really didn’t want to go out. But I also didn’t really feel like cooking. But I wanted to celebrate. What to do? Then I remembered Danica talking about Foodgawker yesterday and I remembered how I love that site and that I’d just added the iPhone app. I opened it up and it jumped out at me: MUSSELS! We love mussels but we’ve never made them at home. We veered off to stop at Market Hall which is a collection of tiny special food shops including seafood, produce, cheese… yum.

They had mussels. Yay! And they weren’t expensive! Then I saw these gorgeous heirloom tomatoes and I thought, “Caprese salad!” Mister M picked up some Prosecco and other wine, and some mozzarella di Bufala, and we were set.

WHAT A FEAST!

This is the recipe I used, which I originally found via Foodgawker. It was soooooooo good.

And here are some fancy pics from our fancy at-home dinner. SO GOOD and a wonderfully fitting celebration for my unfatal first foray into bike riding. One more step to being less terrified! Cheers!

gotta have fresh lime juice
mussels in coconut curry broth: YUM
crusty bread for dunking
amazing Caprese salad: OOPS, forgot the basil!

Fitbloggin’ Local Comes to NorCal!


Today was Fitbloggin‘ World Meetup Day – what a great idea! It’s hard for many people (especially in California) to get all the way to Baltimore for the BIG Fitbloggin’ so Roni has come up with this fabulous idea of local meetups everywhere. Today was the day that people met all over the country at their various spots. I had volunteered to host and organize our Northern California meetup. My idea was to make it a mini-replica of Fitbloggin – a combination of activity and learning about blogging.

We started out in the morning with a hike at Redwood Regional Park, a few blocks from my house. We chose to drive up the steep hill and leave the walking part for the trails. It was a beautiful day that had started out foggy but was perfect for the walk.

We got back to the house right at noon. LUNCHTIME! Yum! Everyone brought the most amazing food, and then people set to doing what food bloggers do. This is my favorite picture.

The food was so amazing!

 

fruit & marshmallow! dip!

 

shrimp ceviche!

 

vegan pasta & barley salads!

 

angel food cake with cream cheese frosting

 

strawberry pie, lemon bars & nutella banana muffins!

 

how on earth to choose???

After lunch we had a great presentation by Danica at Danica’s Daily – “Taking Your Blog to the Next Level.” It was inspiring and informative and helped me get over my feeling of having missed a lot of the great bloggy talks at Fitbloggin.

After the fabulous blog talk, some people had to leave but a small group stayed around to have a private Nia demonstration class by Terre, wonderful Nia instructor. It was the perfect way to end the day.

Special shout-out to Sue W who provided all of our tech support – helping us be able to see Danica’s powerpoint on the big screen, and helping us with Terre’s Nia music (even if it ultimately didn’t connect!). It was a huge public service!

Other shout-out to Annelies of Attune Foods who brought us bags of amazing goodies, from chocolate bars (MMMMMM) to fancy storage bowls to coupons and cereal and wow!

All in all it was a fabulous day with great people. I love the idea of Fitbloggin Local and can’t wait wait for the next one!

Who was here?

Front row: Sue W @way2wild, Yvonne (“friend of blogger”)

Second Row: Courtney (@courtpancakes), Terre (@helpyouwell), ME, Ashima (@healthyengy), Danica (@danicasdaily)

Top Row: Annelies (@attunefoods), Deb (@debroby), Tracey (@tjstestkitchen), Marlene (@marbaird), Melissa (@sfmelissa)

Courtney, livetweeting?
Deb, Marlene & Annelies

The Twitter Fitness Web

Every once in a while, I think I have GOT to write a book called “The Twitter Diet” although I think there already is such a thing. But sometimes I am just overwhelmed with the incredibly community and power that is the Fitbloggin’/FitTwitter world. Just last week I blogged about needing more accountability and consistency in my fitness life.

My buddy Kris responded, “Me too!” and just like that, a little thread of accountability was spun between us. And every day we check in on each other. We had an energetic holiday weekend and cheered each other on with all kind of high fives, but then…. we went back to work today. Both of us were feeling a certain degree of stress and “how are we going to do this?” When I got home from work it was hot and I was tired. And I needed to make dinner and and and…..

The pile of excuses.

Then Kris Tweeted, “8pm. Twenty minutes of ANYthing.” And there it was. My accountability. She lives over 200 miles away from me and yet she is my exercise buddy. Which I already established that I really NEED. So I hemmed and hawed after dinner “I’m really full!” but then it was 7:49 and 7:55 and I said, “I’m putting on my shoes.” She wrote, “No fancy exercise clothes, just regular shorts.” Which was what I was wearing, too. I told Mr. McBody I was taking a walk. He had a look of consternation on his face. He worries about mountain lions.

When I got up to the park it was half full of cars (which is a lot for 8pm!). Lots of people and dogs had been waiting for it to cool down. I headed up the trail carrying a big stick anyway, and I whistled loudly and out of tune to my iPod.

I had a great walk. I went 1.75 miles in 35 minutes, which was more than the “twenty minutes of anything” I was hoping to accopmplish. I even jogged a tiny bit and worked up some sheen.

While I was out on my walk, I saw that Deb had also joined us from her own location. Three friends walking together simultaneously, many miles apart! Kris sent a photo of the view from her hill.

Pretty, huh?

This, my friends, is the best of what technology has to offer. It shrinks worlds and allows connection, not just between people glued to their computer screens, but out in the world, on the trail, getting healthy together/apart. I know tonight that if it were not for my friend 200 miles away, I would NOT have put on those shoes and gone into the woods. There were just too many reasons NOT to. But I did it and feel so grateful and glad.

Getting Over the Bikophobia

In the past, I’ve kind of lumped together my “bike and swim phobia” as if they were equivalent. Having gone swimming yesterday, I am realizing that my feelings toward these two activities are in no way equal.

The swimming felt initially very refreshing and nice. At first, it felt good. Then I started getting tired and having breathing issues. But I feel confident that with some decent training, I will eventually get better at this sport and I am open to the idea (even looking forward to) of even one day enjoying it. I feel like chances are good that this could happen. I still have some anxiety that I’m going to have some major panic situation and drown during the tri, but hopefully I can manage my way (mentally) out of that idea. I did have a near-drowning experience in the Outer Banks of North Carolina when I was about 16. I was rescued by a bunch of sailors who made a human chain to rescue me against the riptide. I’ll never forget that experience and I’m hoping that this tri will be a way of “taking back” open-water swimming.

I also had a bike accident when I was 13. When I was little, starting around seven, I had a super cool bike with long handlebars and a banana seat. I used that bike to go all over my neighborhood to visit my friends. It was like having a car (independence!) in the 2nd grade. I feel such pity for the children who don’t have the freedom to do this nowadays. (including my own, who didn’t learn to ride literally until she was 16)

But when I was 13, a bunch of my friends were going for a bike ride. My friend (taller than me) let me borrow her bike (my own bike had been welded to a frame and transformed into an “exercise bike” in the basement). It wasn’t set at the right height and I remember the fear of not being able to touch the ground with my feet.

We were driving on the one trafficked street in our town, the “main street.” I remember swerving too close to a huge truck and losing my balance. I panicked and kind of flung myself (and bike) onto the ground in fear of running into it. I ended up landing UNDER the truck, and the bike was a twisted mess. I had gravel and concrete burns and ripped the skin off my whole leg from ankle to thigh. That was the last time I got on a bike for about 20 years. Since then, it’s been few and far between and I ONLY bike on bike trails that are flat and have no traffic. Or like they do in Golden Gate Park on Sundays – they close the road to traffic and let the skaters and cyclists have the road. That is my kind of biking. I’m not exactly sure what I”m going to do if we have to train on ROAD roads. I might need hynposis or something (I’m not kidding).

I have an almost hysterical fear and loathing of bicycles on roads where cars also drive. If I’m driving a car, I’m anxious that I’ll hit a biker. If I’m on a bike (hypothetical, since I’d never do this) I’m anxious about being hit. I have often said that I think that bikes on car roads should be illegal. I realize that this is a MUCH bigger mental obstacle than I’d realized and I’m going to have to deal with it if I’m going to accomplish this tri.

Mr McBody just went to pick up Junior’s bike so I can use it to start my training. Part of me is hoping it will fall off the back of the car and get crushed before he gets home. Gulp.

Toes in the Water, Out of the Comfort Zone

Toes in water by ♪ MissMaryMakk ♪
Toes in water, a photo by ♪ MissMaryMakk ♪ on Flickr.

Wow. Today I did two workouts that were both wayyyyyy out of my comfort zone. First I did another treadmill interval workout courtesy of Junior. I’d been dreading this one but I wanted to give it a try. Whereas the “Mountain” workout is all about upping the incline (not the speed), the “Treading” workout is about the speed. Which scared me.

Why is it called Treading? Because it’s like treading water and you feel like you’re gonna drown? Or because it’s on a treadmill? I have no idea.

So the drill is that you’re supposed to warm up for five minutes. (love this part)

Then, 5 minutes ALL OUT, maximum heart rate, the fastest you can run. Now this is tricky because if you’ve never done it, how do you know what speed that is? I decided to start out at 6.1, which is just below a 10 minute mile (like 9.5). I know lots of people run entire races sub-10min/mile but that’s not me. Depending on the length of the race I’m anywhere from 12-15 minute mile. But I have always wanted to run at least a 10 minute mile so I thought I’d try it.

I made it four minutes and then I really though I was going to fall over and puke. So clearly that was too fast (heh).

What you’re supposed to do after the 5 minute sprint is to bring it WAY DOWN to walking, to slow your heart rate down for another 5 minutes. I got confused here since I didn’t complete the 5 minutes. So I cooled down and walked for 4 minutes.

The pattern is supposed to be 5 minute ALL OUT, 5 minute recovery. 4 minute ALL OUT, four minute recovery. 3 and 3, 2 and 2, 1 and 1. Repeat.

The four and three minute sprints were hecka hard. They really were. And they reminded me of when I first started to try running. i was probably running at this level and of course couldn’t keep up the pace. So I quit.

I fooled around with the speeds but as I kept going down in the time lapses, I was also getting more and more warmed up (boiling hot is more like it). By the time I got to the one minute interval, I was sprinting at 7.0 for that minute (8.3 minute mile pace, woo hoooooooooo!).

When I got done I went back up to the five minutes and was able to do it at 5.9. It actually felt easier.

Again, like yesterday, I was absolutely drenched in sweat and beet red at the end of this one.

THEN i decided to go in the pool (partly to cool down, because I was dying of heat!). The requirements for the Olympic level triathlon include being able to swim 200 yards with “10 seconds rest” (total?). The lifeguard said the pool is 25 yards long, so… 8 lengths. OK. I bought myself some silicon earplugs (I am so prone to swimmers ear) and some new goggles. I hopped in. The first 2 lengths went OK but then it started being a struggle. I rested a few seconds at the end of each length. I’d estimate I probably rested a total of one minute, and when I finished the 8 I was JELLY. I was panting. I was really really wiped out.

When I got home Mr. McBody asked me what stroke I was doing and I told him Crawl. Because it’s like the only one I remember. He said it would be a good idea to alternate breast stroke or others (side?) because then I can get a rest from the breathing. I knew my breathing pattern was super inefficient and just WRONG, and it was pooping me out. I can’t wait to get some good coaching on this.

I haven’t swam laps since I was pregnant with Juniorette. She’s 17 now, so…. a long time ago.

Both of these workouts were very, very humbling today but i was glad I pushed myself out of the comfort zone. It reminded me of when I first started running. There has to be some equivalent of couch to 5k for swimming right? (probably alternating strokes or some such) In any case, I am very glad I’m going to get some training in this area because I sure as heck need it.

Climbing the Mountain, Feeling the Sweat

Today I did this “mountain” treadmill interval workout that Junior taught me, that she learned at Fitness Ridge. I swear, I have not had any workout produce THIS MUCH SWEAT ever. It’s incredible!! And I thought I’d share it because it’s just crazy awesome and also unexpectedly both hard and not hard.

Get on treadmill. Warmup at level incline (0) for five minutes. Whatever pace you like.

Then crank up the incline to whatever feels like “medium-hard” to you. Last week, I started at level 6. Today I started at 8. Go at a good walking pace. For me, I had it at 3.0. Which doesn’t feel like much when you’re on level incline, but when you start cranking the mountain, believe me it’s SOMEthing.

Go for 30 seconds. When your timer hits the :30 mark, hit the + incline. It will go up .5 to the next level. (ie, 8.5). Now you’re going up the mountain! EVERY 30 seconds, hit it again. Until you’ve gotten to the “top.” (for me, 15) Stay at the “top” (aaaghhhhhhhhhhh!) for one full minute. Then hit the (-) button so it just goes down 5. (ie, to 14.5). Keep going down every 30 seconds until you reach your starting incline level (ie, 8). Now you’re going down the mountain!

Then do it all over again!

If you climb two mountains in 30 minutes, that is a KILLER CRAZY SWEAT-PRODUCING workout. It’s awesome. AWESOME, I tell you.

Just thought I’d share that. Because it’s one of my new favorite workouts. Now to shower! Man, I need it.

My Life As A Guinea Pig

I’ve realized recently that my life this past two years has been an interesting experiment. I’ve been both guinea pig and scientist as I’ve tried to pay attention and understand how my mind and body work.  It’s been a dynamic process. Things change, and I change, and nothing ever really stays the same for long.

A few things I’ve observed, though:

  • If I stay away from my scale for more than 3-4 days, it means that I’m in avoidance and/or denial, and there is probably trouble brewing. If things are going well, I weigh myself every day and even if it fluctuates by several pounds, I don’t fret about it. If I don’t want to look, that means it’s bad news.
  • I need accountability. Even the most “imaginary” accountability works for me. When I was doing the #7daychip, I took it very seriously. I made a promise to myself, I had chip buddies (hey @justjerakah!) and it kept me on track. As soon as I wasn’t officially doing the #7daychip anymore, guess what? My workouts came to a dead screeching halt.
  • That’s why I am soooooooooooo excited about joining Team in Training again after 12 years. I’m going to have a coach! and a group! and a schedule! UBER accountability!
  • Some foods just send me right over the edge into can’t-stop-eating land. Recently it was peanut butter. It went into the trash. Then it was trail mix. ACK! That’s going into trash as soon as I go home today. CANNOT HAVE in the house.
  • My eternal Achilles heel is going to be stress/emotional eating and I really need to put as many resources I can into addressing this. Sometimes I can deal with it in appropriate ways, and sometimes it trips me up. Keep it on the to-do list.
  • In general, I’m not great at working out by myself. If I’m not being accountable to someone else, I often will break dates with myself. Ditto re the team in training- YAY.
  • I continue to thrive with my relationship with Weight Watchers. It’s good for me to enter that conversation with 30+ people every week.
  • Things continually change, and I have to continually Pay Attention and change things up as well. Change is good.
And those were my scientific conclusions of the day!
What have you learned about yourself on your (cough) (for lack of a better word) Journey?

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