Sunday, September 25, 2011


"Be consistently consistent and results will come." -- Greg McCoy, Owner, Metroflex Gym of Plano


I was over on Marcus Martinez's blog and found a poem that a friend had written for him. I liked it, so I decided to post it here for everyone else to read as well.  I think it's fitting given the post that I just wrote regarding my own challenges to be consistent with my eating and training. It all boils down to making actions & behaviors become habits.  Enjoy! Thanks, Marcus!

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or your heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do, you might just as well turn over to me,
And I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.
I am easily managed; you must merely be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done,
And after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great men.
And, alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine.
Plus, the intelligence of a man.
You may run me for profit, or run me for ruin;
It makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me
And I will put the world at your feet.
Be easy with me, and I will destroy you.
Who am I?


I needed some extra motivation this weekend. I find myself struggling to follow my eating plan.  I run out of energy, work too long, don't prepare in advance..blah blah blah....all excuses.  My life is no busier or more full now than when I would work 70 hours per week at IBM while attending grad school and still competing and teaching.  However, I was still able to fit it all in.  Now that I am older, I realize that entire period was really unhealthy for my body. I was trying to do too much..pushing myself to the limits time and time again.  But I wasn't having this mental hurdle that I seem to be facing right now. 

Anyway, I decided to go back and look at my training journals from the time in my life when I felt that I was in the best shape.  Not so surprisingly, my struggles are the same.  I struggled with early morning cardio..struggled with making sure that I prepared my meals in advance and ate them..struggled with giving in to cravings.  However, I found myself smiling because I could remember every emotion and my mindset when I wrote in my journals then (the curse of having an amazing ability to remember events in my life).  And, I realize that if I could do it then, then I can do it now.  There will be ups and downs...highs and altering events..but, at the end of the day, it all boils down to what I can control in my day and what I cannot.  I find myself falling into my workaholic trap.  At least I recognize it now, and am trying to be proactive about not letting work or my love of learning new things get in the way of balance.  Right now, I am all about living a balanced, peaceful, low-stress life. My motto is that anything (or anyone) who causes me adverse stress gets cut questions asked.  Life is a gift, and I have a responsiblity to take good care of my body - inside and outside.  I feel happy, even though I struggle with my fitness goals.  I just try to do the best that I can with the time that I have.  However, I also try to note the areas where I'm not giving it my best effort and improve.

I had my bloodwork done, and my thyroid is finally back in balance.  My fasting glucose is still slightly elevated, which is the reason why weight loss is so challenging for me right now.  However, I can overcome that by training and eating clean CONSISTENTLY.  Right now, being consistent is my obstacle.  I'll do a good job for a week or two, then I will fall off for a few days..It's been a cycle.  One that can be overcome by better planning and setting better limits for myself.  I took some time yesterday really thinking about what motivates me.  I came to the realization that while having a kick a$$ home gym is amazing, I thrive when I am around other people. I need to go to a public setting, be in a gym, take some group exercise classes. I draw energy from others, especially those working hard to meet goals such as myself.  When I drag my butt out of bed in the morning to do my morning cardio, I am still half asleep and not working as diligently as I should.  I have tried a few gyms locally, but haven't quite found "the one" yet.  I enjoy LifeTime Fitness, but moreso for the amenities.  I never felt like I really got a good, focused workout there.  I've tried a gym similar to Anytime Fitness, but the atmosphere wasn't calling me.  I LOVE training at Metroflex Gym, but it's so far from my house that I only go there to lift. There is a new gym opening here that I toured and loved. It had the energy, tools, equipment, and the "it" factor that I'm looking for. It's kind of pricey, but I plan to give it a go through the end of the year.  My doctor said that there is no reason why I shouldn't be losing 2 pounds per week on my eating plan, even despite having elevated blood sugar levels.  So, as long as I am CONSISTENT with everything the results should manifest.

Anyway, that's my pep talk (to myself) for the day.  I'm not giving up. I will not get discouraged. I will transform. I will be honest with myself and admit my own shortcomings.

I am not afraid to be great.

Now let's go get a *bleep* *bleep* snack! (ode to Rex Ryan)

Return of the FitBit!

Man, how I have missed my little FitBit!!  I think that I mentioned that I had a little mishap with mine earlier this year.  Well, I went to Best Buy today and treated myself to a new one.  I really love that thing.  It helps keep me moving, since I have a tendancy to get tunnel vision at work and sit for hours on end.  I also love the free, online tools provided by FitBit.  I like to have the ability to easily enter in my daily food meals and see how closely I've been following my eating plan.  Granted, I could have kept using the tools without the FitBit, but I didn't....

More importantly, I really wanted to track my training during my time in the 9-weeks-to-5K program.  Our first session will be Sat, Oct 1st.  The only down side is that our weekly group runs are at 7AM on Saturdays.  Anybody who knows me knows that early morning cardio is really difficult for me.  Oh's just 9 weeks, and the focused cardio will do me good!

Welcome back FitBit!!  Now..if I could just find my Sony wireless headphones, it would be all good. I think that I lost them when I was at the library last Sunday.  I went back to see if they were in the lost & found, but no such luck...If anybody found those, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be a Good Samaratin.  I'll keep searching for another week or so before I break down and buy a new pair...

Decided to join a running group..Again...

Well, before the weather gets too cold, I decided to join the 9-weeks-to-5K program at my local Luke's Locker.  BF has decided to join with me.  The culminating event will be the Thanksgiving Turkey Trot 5K event, which is perfect.  I try to do the Turkey Trot every other year, more if the weather is nice during that time of year.  Last year I participated and it was FREEZING. However, this year, I thought it would be nice to actually train properly for it and see how I do. 

This should be exciting!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mission 2 - 5K

Well, I admittedly did not train at all for the 5K event. My plan was to just walk it.  However, BF and I just alternated jogging and walking. We tried to break it up into 1/4 mile each.  It took 50 minutes to complete 3 miles, which for me is fantastic!

What's next....?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mission Accomplished! - My first bike race

Today has been a great day so far!  This morning was my 15k bike race, which was my first organized bike event ever.  I only made the decision to participate in the race about 3 weeks ago.  My very short training plan was to just ride my bike every weekend (sat or sunday) leading up to the event.  I kept striving to complete more than the distance of the course with each training session.

For this first time, I wasn't as concerned about my time. I just wanted to give it my best shot.  Going into this event, my goals were very simple:
1) to just feel comfortable on my bike, maneuvering it, shifting gears, etc
2) to simply finish the race
3) not finish last

That being said, I was so nervous leading up to today.  I even considered not doing the event all together.  All sorts of things were going through my mind last night, such as:
  • I should have tried the course so I would know what to expect.
  • I should have practiced more hills.
  • What if I have to get off my bike on a hill and walk it up?
  • I've only been training for the past 3 weekends.  What if that wasn't enough?
  • What if it's windy like it was the last time I rode? I don't do well with wind resistance.
  • What if I run out of energy?
  • I've never done the entire 9 miles many times will i have to stop?
  • What if my cycle starts?
  • blah blah blah blah...
However, I somewhat reluctantly woke up bright and early, had a nice breakfast per my training eating plan, packed up my car, and made my way over to the University of Texas at Dallas.  The weather was just fantastic!  It was kind of cool as I packed up my car, but once the race started, we were comfortably in the 80's without alot of headwind, and the sun was shining but not blazing hot. 

There were so many participants at the venue.  I was very happy to have received my cycling jersey, as they weren't going to be given to us until race day.  Actually, when I checked in, I learned that some of the jerseys had been delivered to the wrong location and thus weren't available on race day.  My jersey of course was in that batch. However, a few of our team riders didn't show up, so I was able to wear one of theirs. The jerseys were gorgeous, and it really made me feel like I was part of the team.  Keep in mind that this was a company event, and all anyone who wanted to participate did was sign up. Today was the first day meeting any of the other riders and getting the jerseys. So, seeing the rest of the team made me realize that I wasn't in it alone.  I had major butterflies in my stomach and just began to get excited as we were waiting to line up to start the race.  As a team, only 4 of our riders would qualify for our overall team time. The rest of the us would earn our team participation points as long as we completed the race. At that point, all of the pressure was off.  I was still a bit fearful of the unknown course, so I asked some of the riders who had participated in previous years. I was informed that there were 2 hills on the course and cautioned not to start off too fast.  Riders who were going to ride for participation points only were instructed to start in the last heap, which was fine by me. The overall group taking off together was pretty large (about 75 riders).  My co-workers and I (6 of us) grouped together and started the pack off. That was a great feeling. I didn't feel as nervous since I didn't see people in front of me. I knew there were alot of people back there behind me, but I didn't want to take a peek and get intimidated.  Anyway, the announcer said "make you way up to the starting line.."  and then "this heap will take off in 45 seconds...30 seconds...15 seconds... and GOOO!!!"

I took off at a strong pace, but not too aggressive. I actually kept pace with one of my co-workers for the first mile or so. She and I had a chance to get to know each other, and we seemed to be able to pace each other pretty well.  I think that she noticed that I could probably handle more, and she said "If you need to ride ahead of me, go for it."  After she made that comment, we hit the first "hill" and had to part ways.  I wanted to ride a bit more aggressively, especially up the "hill" to get it over with.  I put in my earbuds and begin my journey.  I felt great because the "hill" that I'd been so anxious about was no big deal.  It was a gradual incline, but I was able to stay seated the entire time and maintained a good pace. I saw someone get off and walk their bike up. I was envisioning a super steep hill, and I was worked up about nothing.  The course was a good mix of flats and gradual inclines.  I felt great up to mile 6.  Then, the last "hill" presented itself, which was steeper than the first but I still conquerored it like a champion.  However, when I got to the top, I started to feel my energy plummet a bit.  I didn't wear my camel back today, and I had my water bottle in a hip pack. So, I felt very clumsy when I would reach for my water and fumble to put it back. Not wearing my camelback was the only mis-step of the day.  Anyway, when I got to the top of the "hill", I decided to coast a bit to catch my breath and get my 2nd wind.  That was a good move because I was able to raise my gears and really get an aggressive cadence for the last 2.5 miles. At one point I even clocked 92 RPM on my bike computer, which was fantastic.  I was almost brought to tears when I saw the "University of Texas at Dallas" sign because I knew that the finish line was right around the corner at that point.  I coasted in a bit because I wanted the photogs to get some good 'action shots' of me, and I took my time crossing the finish line because one of our company reps was there taking pictures of each one of our employees as we crossed.  It was such a wonderful feeling! I can't wait for the next race!

Now that it's all over, I am so glad that I did not back out of my commitment!! I am very proud of myself for going through with it. It was alot of fun, and I surprised myself along the way.  During my training, I often made stops to grab water, catch my breath, etc.  Today, I kept moving for the entire race - no stopping.  When I crossed the finish line, my HRM clocked in about 35 minutes.  I probably could have done it in 32 minutes if I hadn't been talking and leisurely riding with my co-worker initially. However, that built my confidence and then the competitor came out.  Regardless, completing the course in 35ish minutes was the most suprising accomplishment of all. During my few practice rides, I rode 11.5 miles (75 mins), 13.5 miles (50 mins), 10.2 miles (45 mins), and 4.2 miles (25 mins - very windy day). The last time I was on my bike was on Labor Day.  I didn't ride yesterday because I wanted to be fresh.  I am great at indoor cycling/spinning, but I am so happy to have completed an outdoor course.  I accomplished ALL of the goals that I set forward for myself.

Next weekend will be the 5K, which will be yet another challenge.  At least it won't be my first 5K. However, I am de-conditioned for running (and haven't really trained for the event at all), so my plan will be to jog/walk as best I can.  I only put in 2 miles of track work last weekend, and it was ugly - LOL.  I'll post back to let you know how next Sunday goes.  This was a long post, but I want to remember every moment of today and how it made me feel :-)