Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Hellhole

I'm dreading tonight. After the office closes I'm going up to my grandma's place in the Bronx, and I'm meeting up with all my family there. With my living in Brooklyn, my grandma and uncle in the Bronx, and my parents upstate, the Bronx is by far the most convenient and central place for us to get together for the holidays.

My problems with my weight stem from a childhood of being told that I was overweight. My grandma would harp on me about how I've gained weight. Whenever we saw her, one of her first comments would always be, "You've gained weight", or "You're looking good". More often than not it was the former.

This led to two things. Firstly, I learned to base my image of myself on what my grandmother would say. If she said something nice, I felt good about myself. But if she said something negative, even if I knew that I had been working hard and working out and eating right, my self-confidence would plummet. Second, I came to RELY on her (unwanted) opinions to determine my self-worth and body image.

I remember once, when I was about 9 and my grandpa was in the hospital, we went to visit him. My grandma got on the scale in his room, weighed herself, and said "Oh good! I'm happy with that!". Then she motioned to me, and said "Get on the scale. I want to see how much you weigh". I froze. I was always a heavy kid, but I was always an ACTIVE kid, too. I Irish Step Danced for twelve years. I played softball and soccer. I ran around and played with the kids in my friends neighborhoods. But I was always a big kid. I blame genetics - I got the short end of the stick on everything - height, thunder thighs, weight (overweightness tends to run on both sides of my family), psoriasis, early graying of the hair. But regardless, I've always been an athlete. But my grandma never saw that - all she saw was that I wasn't skinny.

Luckily, in my grandpa's hospital room, my mom stepped in. She was furious at my grandma for trying to get me to get on the scale - a weight obsession is not something that a 9-year old needs to be subjected to. Unfortunately, by that point it was too late.

To this day, whenever I see my grandma I brace myself for a comment about my weight. Only now it's expanded to comments about my hair (too short), my clothes (too masculine), my watches (is that a man's watch? why yes, nana, it is), the neighborhood I live in (too Jewish. Whatever, nanny). I was training for a marathon, running 40 miles a week, and she would comment about my weight (You're running so much. Why aren't you losing weight? Because, nanny, I eat like a horse to get the energy I NEED to run that much. Gross amounts of running DO NOT necessarily equal gross amounts of weight lost).

While I realize that I am 24 years old, completely independent and capable of living and suriving and succeeding on my own, I revert back to an insecure pre-teen whenever I see my grandmother. And even though I know I am never going to live up to her expectations ("Are there any special men in your life?" "No, nana. I'm GAY." My god, I wish I could just tell her. Another entry, another time). Intellectually I know that I should just ignore everything she says, and not let it ruin the self-image I've built for myself. But I can't. I've been worrying about this for the past three days. I went out and bought new clothes yesterday to wear to dinner tonight, so that maybe that'll be one less thing she has to comment about. Even though I know I'll get comments about what I'm wearing from my mother. Suit pants and a dark red button down aren't festive enough, I'm sure. But hey, I'm PMSing and I'm bloated as hell, and I really don't feel like wearing a tight sweater that shows off said bloat.

Next week: How my family PAID me to lose weight on Weight Watchers when I was 13. 4 bucks a pound? Hell yes I'll starve myself!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Holy hills, Batman!

I joined the Brooklyn Triathlon Club a few weeks ago, and this week did my first group thing with them. There is an indoor triathlon coaching gym-esque thing in my neighborhood, and the club had reserved workout time. You bring in your own bike and hook it up to a trainer, which in turn is hooked to a computer that determines the resistence that you pedal against. There are eight trainers/computers/slots in total. And the computer has a virtual representation of a TON of bike portions of triathlons from across the country. They've got Ironmans (I don't think the plural of that is Ironmen, because it's not the men thats plural, it's the event itself. Right? It sounds weird), half Iron-mans, sprints and Olympic distances, time-trials, mountain stages, a few stages from the Tour de France, and more.

On Saturday, we did a mountain course. Mt. Wachusett, to be exact, which is actually a mountain in Massachusetts that my ex-girlfriend lives right by, so I've actually been to/seen this mountain before. I was like, "ooh! Mt. Wachusett! I know you! Be nice to me!"

Nice it was not. For those of you unfamiliar with the terrain in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and South Jersey, you would know that there are pretty much NO hills in this area. I was in trouble.

And ohmygod was I in pain. My body is not used to hills. While I maintained a solid 20mph on the bike course during my last triathlon, and am a pretty solid cyclist, these hills brought my average mph down to a measly 11.6. On the flats and downhills I kept myself between 19 and 26.5 (my max). But on one hill...a two mile climb with an incline up to 6.4%, I was down around 5mph. I think that, had I not been hooked up to a trainer, I would have fallen over. It was that bad.

So we rode for an hour, and I covered about 12 miles. HORRIBLE.

But, I did it. I went, I kicked my butt. My heartrate was around 177 the whole time, which is right in my cardio-building range. I burned 700 calories, according to my heartrate moniter, which I actually started 12 minutes late. So it was probably close to 750 or 775.

And then I went and drank a bunch of beer that night. Holiday party at my friends house. I'm not upset about it, and as long as I get to the gym tonight and tomorrow, and bring my bike and stuff home with me for the holiday, I think I'll be ok.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ok, so I guess I disappeared for a while. I haven't stopped training, but I did stop blogging about it. But a new year is approaching, my goals for 2009 have been set, and I need to get back on the proverbial horse. So here I am.

This is the plan for 2009. I'm running a Half-Ironman. That would be a 1.2 mile swim, a 58 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. In one day. Actually, in about six hours.

I'm aiming to run the Patriot Half-Ironman ( Yes, I am crazy. Yes, I am a sucker for pain. And yes, I am really seriously actually going to do it.

A friend of mine from Connecticut is thinking of doing it as well. He signed up for it last year but ended up not being able to. And I know enough people in Massachusetts that I probably wouldn't need a hotel.

But anyway. I bought a brand-spanking new bike (Trek Madone 4.5 ohsopretty), joined a triathlon club, and will be joining a new gym that has an indoor pool (because we all remember my swim saga from the last triathlon). I also took up rock climbing again, and found some awesome people to climb with once or twice a week, so that will definitely take care of any weight training I need to do. I've been riding outside every Saturday (even though it's been as cold as a witches tit, and tomorrow will probably be cancelled because of this snowstorm), and taking spin classes two or three times a week.

In all, I'm very excited. Kind of nervous, but very excited. I've got some nagging injuries that act up every now and then, but pretty much only when running, so I've been saving my running for after the spin classes. I hope that the triathlon club is fun and accepting of a nOOb like myself.

So anyway. Weight is at 173, hoping to get that down to about 150 by the 70.3 in June. I'd be perfectly content with 150, especially on my wicked muscular frame (reference: my calves are 12 inches around, solid muscle, that's not going anywhere. I am a muscular BEAST (with midsectional layers of fat)).

So thats that. I'm back, I'm running a half-ironman.

Oh yeah, another reason for running the half (which, from now on, will be referred to as 70.3 (as in, total miles of the race)) - Lindsay and I broke up, and we had planned on training for one together. Now that we're not together, I want to prove to myself (and, in a way, to her) that I am capable of committing to this on my own. Because I never would have run my first, or gotten into cycling, or fallen in love with mutli-sport events, if I hadn't been with her. So, while she completely broke my heart and made me even more cynical of lasting relationships, she introduced me to cycling and triathlons, for which I will always be thankful. And I always want to be faster than her, too. HA!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Check-In

I was a little better this week, I suppose. Well, so far this week I mean. Sunday we did a 30-mile bike ride, yesterday I ran (20 minutes at an insane 8:30 minute mile pace) and lifted hardcore. I'm so sore today it's ridiculous. Tonight doing Butt & Gutt with Michelle at the gym and maybe taking a spin class if it's not the late one. Otherwise I'll run and do spin tomorrow.

I've been really angry lately. I think it's because I really have to buckle down and figure out what I want to do with my life. It's time to go back to school and get either a masters or my law degree, or it's time for a job change, or it's time for both, and I just can't figure out what I want to do.

So because of all that anger, I thought that going to the gym last night and kicking my ass would help. It did, for like maybe a half hour.

Sources of anger to follow:

I hate my apartment. It's so dark and dirty and small and depressing. It gets no natural light except for in the bedrooms. I get NO cell phone service anywhere. Our new neighbors have to ridiculously annoying yappy dogs. Lindsay and I had a really, really bad fight this weekend over her not wanting to deal with the ramifications of me going to law school. I can't stand my roommate and her passive-aggressive way of dealing with EVERYTHING.

I know I'm afraid to fail. I always have been. I struggle with it constantly, and it's one of the reasons that I become so easily complacent in my life. And I know thats one of the reasons I've always struggled with losing weight. I'm afraid to take the leap and finally buckle down into a serious routine, because I'm afraid I'm going to fail. Or I'm afraid I'm going to be successful. Or I'm afraid I'm going to be successful and then fail, which would be even worse. Losing the weight, being happy, and then slowly putting the weight back on. I've done it before - after I left the Army I was the smallest I had ever been. Six months later I was the biggest I had ever been. And it's the same with making a career/education change - I know it's something I need to do to make myself better. I'm just afraid that I'm going to let go of something I'm good at (my current job, even though I'm not really a fan of it) to go into something that I may potentially fail at. For instance: what if I leave my job now (which has a lot of job security, even barring the current economic crisis), go to the police academy, and get hurt and have to drop out. I'm jobless. I have nothing. And having nothing in NYC is most definitely NOT a good thing.

So my issue lies mainly in the fact that I'm afraid to let go of something that works for me, something that I'm good at or in, to make a change and risk failing and having nothing. Even if taking the risk means doing something I've always wanted to do and would make me happy. And that goes for both the job and losing weight.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hi Slacker

I've been bad. I can admit this. I have just been so sore, so tired, and so run-down that it's amazing.

So I took the pump class on Tuesday. Wednesday I took my abs class, a spin class, and then I ran for ten minutes. The transition from the bike to the run was painful and I really don't want to experience that again, so I'm trying to practice as much as possible. Aaaaaand I haven't worked out since then. Oops. I was sore all the way till Sunday. Friday night Lindsay met my parents (went really well. Yay!) And then we went to see my favorite cover band with all my friends from home. We didn't get back to her place till 330AM. I slept in Saturday morning, she went to the gym (because she's crazy).

I was going to go for a bike ride Saturday afternoon, but when I got to the place I ride at and got on my bike, I realized it was totally busted. My saddle is falling off, my handlebars are bent off at a 45 degree angle...It was really weird. I proceeded to totally embarrass myself and fall off the bike, cutting open my knee which proceeded to bleed for the next 36 hours.

Sunday I went to the final game at Yankee Stadium, and spent 12 hours at said Stadium. So no exercise. Went back to Jersey yesterday because I left my running shoes there, and proceeded to not run. I'm going back out tonight, and hopefully I can convince Linds to go for a run with me.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Quick Update

It's Wendesday, and I think I've finally recovered from the tri on Sunday. I've been eating well (with the exception of a huge binge after the race, but come on. I had just swam/biked/ran for an hour and twenty minutes at my max. I deserved that grilled chicken with carmelized onions, jack cheese, and barbeque sauce on garlic bread. And wings. And fried ravioli. And two beers. But hey! The chicken was grilled!). I took Monday off because I wanted to let everything recover fully, and then went back to it yesterday.

I went out to Jersey to go to the gym with Lindsay. She is hugely involved with these gym classes run by this guy/company called Les Mills. They do everything - weights, step classes, high-impact aerobics-like things, yoga-esque classes, dance, a version of spin, and a few more that I'm sure I'm forgetting. I took the weights class (BodyPump) with her a few weeks ago, and really loved it. So I went out there last night and took the class again. It's an hour of non-stop interval weightlifting set to music.

Tonight I'll do my usual abs and spin classes. Tomorrow I'll probably try to run, Friday I'm taking off, Saturday I'm running and taking Pump again, and then Sunday we're going for a long bike ride (I'm hoping for at least 25 miles).

I'm excited, because I got a call back from my gym yesterday about a position I applied for. Nothing crazy - just working reception and the front desk. But I need to get another job, because the current financial situation (or crisis, I suppose) is the one and only majorly stressful thing in my life. I am, however, thinking about getting certification as a group fitness instructor in spin. Or Les Mills version of spin, RPM.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Ok. So maybe all my talk about drowning was a bit...dramatic, over the top, and ridiculous. Not only did I finish, but I met my goal of finishing in 1 hour, 20 minutes! I think I can easily say that I totally kicked ass. So here's my time breakdown:

Swim: 5:40
T1: 1 min 14 seconds
Bike: 39 minutes 40 seconds
T2: 44 secodns
Run: 31 minutes, 43 seconds

For a total finish time of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 8 seconds.

I'm taking those eight seconds off though, because I had a minor gaffe during the second transition. I had my CO2 cartridges (in case a tire was running low), in the back pocket of my jersey, since I don't use a saddle bag. They're kinda bulky, and bounce around in my jersey while running. I had meant to take them out after I put my sneakers on but FORGOT! So after I had left the transition area I had to turn around, go back to my area, empty my pockets, and THEN start again. But whatever. I DID IT!

We got the transition bag together the night before.

We woke up at 4:15, and this was pretty much how I felt about the whole thing.

So feeling like that it was my job to go outside and get the bikes on the car. I had never used this rack before, so I was all sorts of confused. I had to rack and unrack them like four times because I couldn't figure the damn thing out. But finally I got it done.

So we left, got some coffee, ate some breakfast, and made the hour-long trek to Lavallette. We got there, set up our transition areas, got marked up, and did a few warm-up laps in the bay.

So now, the race. Of which, of course I have no pictures of at this point. Lindsays dad was there taking pictures, and once she gets them online I'll steal them and put them on here.

But we were in the first wave of swimmers, and once the horn went off everyone started running into the bay. It was so cool, and totally a surreal moment, when I realized 'holy crap I'm actually doing this!'. The swim was a kind of out-of-body experience - I remember it, but I kind of felt like I wasn't there, if that makes any sense. I was pretty much able to keep my stroke the entire time, but I found it difficult to keep my head in the water because I was so unaccustomed to swimming with such a large mass of people.

T1: SO MUCH EASIER with a full-zip jersey! In and out with no problems. We were some of the first people there that morning, so we set up our bikes and everything right by the exit. It was pretty good.

Bike: LOVE the bike. I was only passed by some guys who were total elites - $10,000 tri bikes, aero helmets, the works. I think I kept a solid 18-20mph pace, and even passed four or five people on my own. It was so much fun. The only thing is, I wasn't challenging myself. I wasn't breathing hard, I wasn't really tired. But I couldn't figure out how to go faster. Less resistance, more pedaling? Higher resistance, less pedaling? Higher cadence? I'm not really sure. My quad starting to cramp up towards the last 3 or 4 miles, but it wasn't bad. I was able to stay in a crouch, riding on my drops, for all but a minute or so when I had to stretch out my back.

T2: Aside from the debacle described above, pretty good. Don't really remember it though.

Run: OHMYGOD so much pain. My shins felt like they were going to split open and explode. I don't know why - I never suffer from shin splints, so...Who knows. After about 1.5 miles they calmed down and I was able to find my stride. Got passed by a lot of people that I beat on the swim and bike, but thats ok. I know the run is my weakest area. Gotta work on that for the 12th. I know that I ran the last 1.5 miles in 14.5 minutes, so I was definitely running negative splits so I was happy.

I had forgotten to start my watch at the beginning of the swim, so I started it when I got into T1. My watch said 1:14 and change when I crossed the finish line, so I figured I had a time of around 1:23 or so, total. But then they said I finished in 1:20.08! I was so freaking ecstatic! I went back on the run course to meet Lindsay (who was a bit behind me), and run the last bit of the run with her. Afterwards we met up with her family and waited for the awards ceremony. They had told me when I checked in that there would be a prize for first time triathlete's, and I thought that with my time I may have gotten something in the womens category. So we waited. And hydrated. And, of course, took a picture (I'm wearing the sunglasses).

There ended up being no prize like they told me, so we packed it up and went home. And my thoughts on triathlons now? I love them and I definitely found my new sport!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Operation Find Don

Please help.

The author of a blog I read, Tomato Nation (written by Sarah D. Bunting, aka Sars), is searching for her 9/11 angel. Please help her Find Don. We all need to find Don.

And read her personal account of what happened that day. She was there; she experienced it; and she recounted it in a way that it more true, more accurate, and more heart-wrenching than any mass-media outlet could ever attempt.

I'm going to drown. Seriously

So my triathlon is on Sunday, and I haven't been in a pool in about...three weeks. I'm getting really, really nervous/concerned/scared shitless that I am going to need to be fished out of the OPEN WATER SWIM IN THE OCEAN OHMYGOD SHARKS AND RIPTIDES AND WAVES OH MY!


But. Seriously. I am rather nervous about the swim. It's 1/4 mile. I know I'm going to kick ass on the bike ride (11.5 miles, aiming for around 35 minutes), and the run (5k, hoping to break 30 minutes). But I'm only going to kick ass on those two parts if I don't DIE IN THE OCEAN first.

Sorry. Sometimes I can be dramatic.

I tried to get into the pool last night. Lindsay took me to the Woodbridge Community Center, but their open swim didn't start till 8PM (we went around...6). Then we went to the Metuchen YMCA, but their open swim didn't start till 930. Both of those times were far too late - I've found that if I work out after 8PM, I don't sleep well/at all that night. So we went back to her apartment and went for a 30 minute run.

Why is it that all these forces seem to be working against me getting into any pool?

But on the plus side, I did just find out about a private school in my neighborhood in Brooklyn that has an indoor pool that may be open for public use. So I need to look into that to work out for the Oct. 12 triathlon we're doing. Speaking of, I need a wetsuit...Ocean swim + October = really cold.

Training round-up:

Tuesday: Rest due to aforementioned scheduling debacle.
Wednesday: Abs and spin (and the spin class was great, btw. I could really tell the difference in my endurance and strength from being on my road bike so much lately).
Thursday: 30 minute run, 2 minutes of which were barefoot. I think I was running at about a 9:50/mile pace, which could hopefully bring me in under 30 minutes for the 5K.
Friday: Rest
Saturday: swim/bike/run brick on the actual race course. It'll be short - 5 minute swim, 6 mile bike, 12-15 minute run - just to get a feel for all the transitions.
Sunday: Triathlon (1/4 mile swim, 11.5 mile bike, 3.1 mile run). I'm hoping to finish under 1:20.

Wish me luck! I won't be able to update again until Monday, because like I said before, I only have access to the interwebz at work.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Missed workout, oh no!

So I missed my workout last night. I left my office (in the Financial District, NYC) at 420, got on the PATH train at the World Trade Center, transferred at Newark-Penn Station to a regular train, and my girlfriend picked me up at 520. By the time we got to her apartment, and were able to change, get the bikes, load the bikes, and drive the hour to where we were going to ride, it would have been dark. So that was out. She had run that morning, and I busted out 3.5 miles on Monday in an OLD (think 500+ miles) pair of shoes, so my joints were aching. The pool was closed. EVERYTHING was going against us.

So we went shopping.


Today: Abs and a spin class, because I (yet again) left my good running shoes at Lindsays.

Soon I will get this new schedule under control.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

HYC Check-In

Hi everyone.

This is my first check in. This week went pretty well, I suppose. My training has been going extremely well (with the exception of Sundays ride, of course). Yesterday I did a 3.5 mile loop around Prospect Park, and I finished it in about 32 minutes and change - one of my fastest times ever. At least, since I left the Army. So since last week, my mileage has been...

Bike: 31 miles
Run: 5.5 miles

I think I've dropped a pant size (see yesterdays post, where I think I could have taken a 10 in the pants I bought for work).

The abs class I wanted to go to last night wasn't actually scheduled, so I'll try to hit that tomorrow evening. Tonight I've got another bike/run brick with Lindsay out in Jersey. Wednesday will be abs/run, Thursday will be run/swim, Fridays a rest day, Saturday we're biking the course again, then Sunday is my FIRST TRIATHLON!!!! Yay!! I'm gonna go buy a new jersey for the race (a new jersey for my race in New Jersey. Heh). Hopefully I can get my hands on the Brooklyn jersey I've been eyeing. Gotta represent the 'hood! (a new Brooklyn jersey for my race in New Jersey. Heh).

So I've been feeling good about myself. I've been eating well (during the week, at least). I figure that as long as I really watch what I consume during the week, it's ok to go a little crazy on the weekends. Because I admit, I love my beer. I don't necessarily enjoy the buzzed-ness that comes FROM beer, but my god I love the taste of beer. But thats another entry entirely.

And soon I will really get into my reasons for creating this blog and joining the Healthy You Challenge. But not today - I'm at work, which for the time being is the only place I have internet. And that entry will be a little too in-depth for a quick work update.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Weekend review and week training schedule

Lindsay and I went out yesterday to ride the course for our triathlon next weekend.


Between the headwinds...And the sidewinds...And my extreme dehydration (due to the approximately 5 beers I drank the night before)...And my lack of food intake...And my flat tire...I felt like absolute crap after we finished. We did about 11.5 miles (which is NOTHING), and I think I averaged about 18 mph, which with the winds was actually an extremely respectable time. But around the last two miles I started to feel really sick, and when I got off the bike I was dizzy and shakey and nauseous and couldn't really think. My brain was functioning at such a low level that I couldn't tie the knots to secure the bikes to the rack on my car. So we went to the QuickCheck and Lindsay got me some chocolate milk (for carbs and sugar), a cliffbar (for food), water (for obvious reasons), and gatorade (for electrolytes). I downed the chocolate milk and cliffbar, and while I stopped shaking I was still really nauseous. I sipped on the water for a while, and after about 45 minutes I was feeling normal again.

We wanted to get a half-hour swim in, too, but we had so much to do that we didn't have time.

On the plus side, I had to buy a new pair of pants for work today, because I wanted to be able to spend another night with Lindsay. So I went to Eddie Bauer, because I love their clothes and had a gift certificate. And I fit into a size 12! And they were loose! I don't know how much weight I lost in the past week, but I do know that when I tried these exact same pants on three weeks ago, they fit but were a little tight. And today they're loose! And I probably could have taken a 10 in them, but I was in a rush and didn't want to have to try on another pair.

So that was very exciting :-)

This weeks workout agenda:
Monday: Abs class and a run (maybe - I left my running shoes at Lindsays. Oops).
Tuesday: Bike and swim
Wednesday: Abs class and a run
Thursday: Bike and swim
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Short bike
Sunday: Sprint Triathlon (1/4 mile swim, 12 mile bike, 5K run). I'm aiming for a 10-minute swim, 38 minute bike, 30 minute run - I'd love to finish under an hour and twenty minutes.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First Step in a New Endeavor

I've always been pretty bad at following through on 'resolutions' I make for myself. Be it eating better, working out more, reading new books, staying up-to-date on politics...Anything. But now, I'm tired of being the 'big kid'. Of having people be surprised when they hear I'm an athlete, that I ran a marathon, that I'm training for a triathlon (which, btw, is next week. ahhh!). I want people to look at me and see a runner, see an athlete, see someone who is strong because of their athletic ability, not solely because of their thickness.

So I am starting this blog, and joining the Healthy You Challenge, in the hopes that it will help keep me honest about what I do, what I eat, how often I work out, and will give me a kick in the butt when I skip a workout or five.

So on the agenda for tonight: 14 mile bike run, 30 minute run with my girlfriend down in New Jersey.

Food consumed (so far) today: 8 ounces V-8, banana-blueberry smoothie shake thing, apple cinnamon granola. And enough water to make me pee every hour.