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October 2013

Stolen moments


Stolen moments. One of my favorite times in the day is when I get to do my little girl's hair. I don't know how long more she will have me do her hair. Each day, I see her, I see her growing up and becoming more independent. I see me being less and less needed in her life....hope she doesn't realize this for many more years. I love this child of mine.

Work it!


I saw this picture today, and it was as if it was targeted to me.

It is so TRUE! Today, I didn't feel like working out, at all. I figured I had already ran 5 miles this morning, so I didn't want to go and WOD this afternoon. It meant another shower and having dinner later but as hubby was getting dressed. I couldn't help it. I dragged my sorry butt and got dressed and ready to go to the box. 

As we got to the box, I looked at the WOD and it didn't look so bad. I hate push ups, but that is because I SUCK at them, completely. Anyways, the WOD started so I did my best at it. 

800 m run

50 push ups

40 pull ups

30 sit ups

20 high pulls (35 lbs)

10 ring dips (with a band).

The thing is that as I started, I didn't feel good, I felt sluggish but then as the WOD continued, it got easier. Once we were done, I was feeling super!

The next class arrived and our friends started warming up and one of them jokingly asked if I was going to do it again with them, there were only 3 of them for the class, so I said sure, let's do it!  As I said yes, then my hubby and my friend decided to join too.

We not only did the WOD, we overachievers did it twice! I love it! Alone, I would not have done it at all. But then with my friend there, both of us goofing off and dancing to the music, my attitude completely changed and I felt so much better.  :)

Moral of the story: Work out...even if you don't feel like it :)


Paleo...week 4.

I am here on week 4 of this paleo journey. First week, it was kicking my butt energy wise. Now, I am ok with energy but I am starting to feel the anguish from not having sweets. Today, I wanted sweets so badly that I grabbed a handful of extra dark chocolate chips to satisfy my sweet tooth. I am craving Mexican sweet bread so badly...I imagine it with a big cup of Mexican hot chocolate (extra dark and rich and creamy!). If I survive this week without giving in to my sweet tooth , it will be a miracle!

Mexican bread

I am trying to find a suitable recipe for bread. Bread to make sandwiches and use as hamburger buns but I haven't had any luck. 

Yesterday, I ventured to make "paleo tortillas". What a disappointment! I have decided that there is no suitable substitute for a good old fashion, corn tortilla. 

I have also decided that if I had been a "cavewoman" that I would have figured out how to grind the corn and make tortillas. I mean, it doesn't take a genius to grind it between a flat rock and another rock and them mix it with water. Ha! But, apparently it is something about GMOs or whatever. I must research this further. 

As a runner, I decided that I must have some sort of long lasting carb in me so I have given myself the allowance to munch on some corn tortillas or rice the week prior to a race. Hopefully, it doesn't come to bite me in the a$$.  I am now also looking forward to race week even more! Sign me up for more races, hahaha. 

So far, I have seen great progress with the Paleo diet. I am not bloated. My lower abdomen doesn't look like I am 4 months along anymore (just 2, hahaha!). I measured myself around my waist and I have gone down 3/4 of an inch. I can also see more definition in my upper body--my traps look more defined as well as my arms.  Some other things that have happened since I went paleo: I finally got my handstand push ups and was able to crank out 55 in a WOD. The most impressive of it all, I was able to PR my Clean and Jerk by 10 lbs!!! Sitting now at 105, that is 90% of my body weight!  I am definitely thrilled by this gains :). 

Onto a side that I wasn't expecting nor was I ready to tackle. I have also found that it is very  hard to explain to someone why you are on a "diet" when you already  "look skinny". It is even harder to tell them that you cannot eat most of the stuff they offer you.  Sometimes, I think I sound more rude than anything turning down certain foods. How can you say "no" to a large family size Philly Cheesesteak pizza? Do they even know how hard it is to turn it down? It is even more heart breaking when they tell you "one piece of cake is not going to do anything to your body, you will burn it off before the day is over with all that you do" can you tell them that it is not about your body,  but, it is more than that, it is a sense of feeling "well", feeling accomplished, nourishing my body so that it works at its top condition. At the end, it is best to tell them a list of things that I can eat--meats, veggies, fruits, nothing processed and definitely no sugar. As they look at you with a face of disgust, you are left with a sad feeling in your heart and a seed of doubt is planted that perhaps this new journey is not the right one.....

Right now, I am looking forward to my next "free meal" where I can just indulge in something other than good carbs...perhaps a Conchita (Mexican bread) is in my near future. But for now, it is me hitting the box hard and running. 


6 Years and Going Strong

Tomorrow is a special day, not only is it my birthday, but it also marks an important milestone in Happy30th my life. Six years ago, I took my driver's test and passed. With my drivers license, I received a sense of freedom that I had never experienced before while living in Utah. In New York, it was easy to get to places, public transporation is phenomenal there, but not the case in good old Cache Valley, Utah. But on my birthday, six years ago, I was schedulet to take my test and thankfully I didn't crash and was able to parallel park! I got my driver's license, and, with that came freedom! But this post is not about my driver's license. It is about what I decided to do starting that very same day.

I decided six years ago that I was going to join the gym and become healthy by exercising everyday. The very next morning, I was up by 5:30am to attend the 6am spin class. I was nervous and afraid of what the people there would think of me. I was a fat rolly polly and didn't even know how to ride a bike. I was sure that I was going to manage to fall out of the seat and make a fool of myself. I arrived to the gym 15 minutes early and went upstairs to the spin room. Most of the bikes were already taken and some people were already riding. I was sure I had missed the start of the class but there was no instructor there yet, so shyly, I made my way to the back of the room and found an empty bike. I was so chuby and so self-consious of myself.  As class time approached more people started showing up, I was there with my baggy boy shorts and a big tshirt, something to hide the big body that I was carrying around. I knew the instructor as soon as he came in, he looked so happy to be there and greeted everyone in the front row and smiled around the room. I tried to make myself smaller so he wouldn't see me, the intruder in his perfect class, but it didn't work. He spotted me right away and as soon as he placed his stuff down, he made his way to my bike and introduced himself. I felt so ashamed for being there. I was not in shape, what was I going to do in his class other than warm up the seat! He told me that I was going to be ok and just to go slow and rest when I needed. His name was Rod and he helped get my bike set up that first day and a few extra times when I forgot how to do it. This stranger, with spiky blonde hair became one of my favorite people to be around for the next two years! He inspired me in ways that he will probably never know--he had ridden the Lotoja various times and had biked up and down mountains and had so much energy to drive a room full of hard-core cyclists for 50 minutes straight! Every single one of them, rode harder, climbed faster just by him saying so. Did I mention that they were all hard core outdoor cyclists?! Yeah, I happened to decide to join the class where all the outdoor cyclist went to stay in shape during the off-season. The guys with the fancy jerseys and the clip-on shoes and calves the size of big boulders! Yeah! I joined that class...the chubby, rolly, polly amidst the greatest of Cache Valley. Thank goodness I didn't know all this when I joined up, it took me a few months to realize who I was "rubbing shoulders with", hahaha, otherwise, I would have stayed in my warm bed all those winter nights. 

Back to my story of my first day; boy was that an eye opener! I died about 5 minutes into the class. I felt weak and wanted to puke. My heart for sure was having a heart attack and I was sweating burgers by the drops! I was heaving and pouring sweat from every pore in my body. Rod, the instructor,  would look at me from his bike, up on the pedestal, and he would yell my name and say that I was doing great. Hahaha, I would laugh and say in my head "good thing, you can't see me all the way back here". The fact that he took a second every now and then to look at me and tell me those words was the only reason why I stayed the entire time that first class. I wanted to die! When the class was over, my legs were shaking, my arms were shaking, but my heart was racing! I wanted to crawl out of that room and get in my car and never come back! Yet, Rod stopped me before leaving the room and reassured me that things would get easier, to not give up. So, I did, I showed up to the next class, and the next, and the next. 

I stayed in his class for two years straight, 3 times a week, at 6am. He and his motivational class was the first venue that got me in shape. I lost 15 lbs that first year, not counting all the muscle that I gained in my legs. But more than getting in shape and getting a bit of muscle. His class gave me the confidence I needed. I didn't feel like an "odd person" anymore. I belonged somewhere and I knew I belonged in his class. About 3 months into the class, I moved from the back row to my permanent seat, not in the front row, no, I wanted to be in the middle, right in front of the coach, where I could see the coach and see his riding style, my bike was number 23 and after awhile everyone knew it and they left it open for me.  I made friends who would save my bike for me. Friends who would ask me where I was when I missed class. I became one of the group--complete with cycling jerseys, cycling shorts, and clip on shoes, and, wait for it--a real road bike!!! 

A year after I started spin, I decided to put my 1 swim class in college to use, and I began my swimming journey. Instead of getting up at 5:30am, I was up at 4:30am and I would swim before attending spin class. Of course, I would first go upstairs and "save my bike" my putting my towel and spin shoes by the bike. 

I would swim for 1 hour and then hit my spin class. At first, I would only complete about 1,000 yards of swimming in one hour but as time progressed, I got better at it, who whould have thought?! I made friends with swimmers at the pool and I found another place where I "belonged". 

It  has been six years now and I still love a hard spin class. It was my spin instructor, Rod, who first planted the seed in my head to become a spin instructor. I laughed and said that I was too fat to be anyone's role model. I am glad he saw the potential in me that I couldn't see in myself.  

A lot of the time, I feel left out, like I don't belong, but then I go to the gym or to my box, and I feel like I "belong" there, it just feels right. 

Making the decision to get healthy and in shape was the best gift I have ever given myself--the gift of finding a place where I belong. 

In the past six years, I have accomplished so much that I never thought I would have done in a lifetime.

15 marathons (Including the Boston Marathon and next month ING NYC Marathon-both for which I had to run a qualifying time!)

23 half marathons

2 olympic triathlons

4 sprint triathlons

1 half ironman (70.3)

3 ragnars

Various other little races

In addition, I did become a spin instructor, and a group fitness instructor, and a Zumba instructor. I am now leading my own classes, trying to inspire in others what Rod inspired in me my first day in spin class. It has been a lovely six years!!! 

St. George Marathon 2013


St. George marathon, once of my favorites yet one that I totally dislike while running it. You see, I am not very good at hills and despite the fact that this one is mainly downhill, I feel the hills each and every time. This was my 4th St. George Marathon and I had great plans for it, wonderful plans that unfortunately had to be thrown to the side due to my torn lateral meniscus.

Four weeks ago, I was squatting and doing my thing at the box and I heard a pop, just a normal pop and I figure it was just that, just a pop but after a few more squats, my calf just didn't feel right and my knee was hurting, so I stopped and went home and iced it. Next morning, the entire knee was swollen. A year ago, I had torn that meniscus badly teaching at Zumba class at a gymnastics studio and my knee has never been the same since. Well, the injury came back to haunt me 4 weeks ago with it went my dreams for getting an under 3:30 marathon. I knew I had trained well for it and I knew I had it in the bag but life had other plans for me. I missed two races that I really love-Big Cottonwood and my favorite Top of Utah marathon. I hobbled around as my hubby and friends ran these two races. I was able to provide support for my hubby during the TOU marathon and I took tons of pictures of all of them. But it was not the same as running it.

The day of St. George approached and I knew that I wasn't ready to run it. I knew that I couldn't get the under 3:30 I had been dreaming of all year. However, I also knew that I didn't want to sit out on another marathon. I wanted to run/walk if needed. My doctor had cleared me to run after 4 weeks, no, not a 26 miler but he said that I could run. I didn't tell him how long I was going to go, just that I was going to run.

Day before the race came and the whole family piled up in the car and we went down to pick up our packets. It is such awesome feeling to be there with all the other runners, feeling of their enthusiasm and their pre-race excitement. We got our packets and we headed eat dinner and then to the hotel to get ready for the big day. I taped myself up as well as I could around my knee, giving it all the protection I could imagine. That night, as I was falling asleep, I prayed to Heavenly Father to give me the strength to finish the race and not to disgrace myself in front of my kids. I didn't want a specific time, but if I could, I wanted to finish in under 4 hours. I prayed for the pain to be manageable and I prayed for guidance so I could know if I should pull out of the race at any point.

Morning arrived and I laced up my shoes and we headed to board the buses at 4:15am--crazy!!! Hubby was concerned about my knee and kept telling me to just take it easy and to listen to my body. He knows me well and he knows that I will push until I can't do it anymore. We had about 1 hour and 30 minute wait at the top where we just hung out by the fires. It was so cold--not a good thing for my knee as it is now a great weather predictor. I waited to the very last minute to shed my extra layer, was very sad that I had not worn my tights instead of my skirt.

The gun went off and we were still putting our clothing in the truck, gah, running late, good thing it is by chip time. We managed to squeeze in and go out with most of the 3:25 crew. Sam with his wide shoulders was able to carve a little path for me and I was able to get to a not so crowded area. I found my pace and my tunes started playing and I was in a happy place. He was in front of me and I could barely see him as it was still dark but knowing that he was up there gave me comfort. The first two miles went by super fast and I was surprised to see that I had already ran 2 miles. My knee was ok, not great but ok. I was hopeful. Then at mile 3, the pain just came out of nowhere, sharp and I could even taste a bitter taste in my mouth. I want to pull to the side and just stop. Then I looked to the right and I saw a SAG Wagon or what I like to call the SAD ride down. I looked at it and I contemplated for a few seconds just boarding it and letting the pain stop. Then I imagined my son at the hotel waiting for me to finish and to ask me how the race went. I couldn't. I didn't have the heart to ride the wagon. I just couldn't quit so early in the race without really pushing myself. So, I looked up ahead and I kept running. I kept repeating, one foot in front of the other, you can't stop because if you stop, it will still hurt and you won't be moving forward.

The following miles were the same. I kept repeating in my head, it is just walking, one foot in front of the other. Don't stop. I kept imagining the area in my knee where it hurt and I just imagine a big flame of warmth and love around it. I sent all power I had in me to that area.  I don't know if it was all my "imagining" or my pleading but the pain did switch to a dull pain.

After the hills, I was waiting for mile 14-18, typically my fastest miles in this marathon, but by that time my knee had had it. It was at the 13 mile point where I decided that I wasn't going to ride the SAD wagon down. I had already managed 13 miles and I wasn't going to throw them in the garbage. I continued forth, slowly. I tried speeding up down Snow Canyon but my knee didn't want to bend back very much, so I couldn't speed down. Instead, I admired the beauty of the canyon and painted a picture of it in my mind, the beautiful red cliffs with the sun hitting them. I could imagine touching them and feeling the warmth of the sun passing through my fingertips.

It was during the last 13 miles when I realized how blessed I was. I had never really taken the time to admire the beauty of this marathon. I had always been rushing down, never taking the time to see how blessed I have been to have a body that allowed me to do one of the most wonderful things in this world, run! I felt free! I felt happy to be moving. As I admire those around me, I kept thinking of how amazing runners are. We test our limits, not physically but mentally each time we go out there and attempt such a mighty distance.

I had prayed to Heavenly Father to carry me through the first 20 miles and that I could do the last 6 on my own. I am glad HE knows best because he didn't leave my side at all. After the 20 mile mark, things got ugly again and I just wanted to quit. My right calf was tight from the stress and my left leg was tiring of pulling all the weight, hahaha, all 115 lbs of me! I stopped at the following aid station and got some goey stuff put on my leg and grabbed some vaseline for my chunky arms--they were rubbing my armpit area raw! I limped through the aid station and I saw others limping too. I took courage in knowing that they were continuing forth and as such as should too. I shuffled down and started counting down the miles.

At mile 23, I said to myself it is just a 5K, you can do this in less than 30 minutes if needed. The crowds at this point where exactly what I needed. I high fived all the little kiddos who had their arm extended and I took the energy from the crowd and went forth. And then a great surprise, one of my crossfit friends was there, Angie, she came out and ran with me. I think I even hugged her but I can't remember, I was delirious at this point. She looked so happy and had so much energy, it was great to have her next to me and to have her run a few yards with me. I ran a bit more and then I stopped for some popsicles. I needed to give my knee a break, so I walked and ate my purple popsicle. As I was eating it, I was contemplating that it was not paleo and that it was throwing my entire paleo day off. Then I laughed at my thinking, hahaha, what person in their right mind can be bothered with paleo food when running 26 miles. Only me! So then, I thought about my non-paleo meal I wanted to have after the race. I figured running 26 miles was deserving of some Mexican food, so I imagined sitting down and having some sopes and tamales with a side of shrimp. I was going crazy.

The last mile finally came and I didn't want to be walking it/shuffling, so I ran. My knee was screaming but I didn't want to finish the race walking. I sent one last prayer for help. It was as if the heavens opened up but for about 1/2 mile my knee was back to its old self. I could run. I could bend it all the way back to kick back and stride. I ran with all my heart. I crossed that finish line and I knew that it had been the best race I had ever ran. It was not the fastest race I have ever ran but it was the race where I was grateful to be out there running.

I saw a sign twice along the course that I have not forgotten. A  small child held it and it said "When your legs are tired, run with your heart", the heart portion had a little heart drawing in red. I ran this race with my heart and I found out that it is a lot stronger than my legs!

Official time: 3:49:15

When we got back to the hotel, my kiddos where very extied to tell me that they saw me on tv, running to the finish line :). That was the best news ever--they were so happy to see me finish.



Eating to fuel your body

More opening up....this is starting to be more of a personal journal than a public blog, oy! Clean diet

We all struggle with different things and while I struggle in many areas of my life, I am only prepared to share the vainest one.  When I started working out, I wanted to get smaller in size. I was a chubbette and I didn't want to be a chubbette.

So, I did what I could to get thinner, I worked out.I worked out a LOT. I would get up at 4am to get to the gym, I would swim for 1 hour then I would spin my heart out in spin class, then I would put in 30-45 minutes of lifting (baby weights). I lost the weight within a year. I started running to get thinner, note, it wasn't to get stronger, it was to get thinner. So I ran, and I ran a LOT. I got very good at running, I went from running 12 minute miles to 7 minute miles. But, I reached a point where running was not enough. I was thin but I looked frail. I don't want to look frail, there was no muscle in me, at all! I was just a thin, soft woman. My middle was squishy still (and it still is, ha!).

Then, I finally progressed, I didn't want to be just skinny, I wanted to be both, skinny and strong. Thus, I started lifting heavier, started attending crossfit classes. While I enjoy crossfit, it is not my first love, my heart belongs in the running world. Perhaps it is because I am so small and I know that I stand very little chance to be a "good" crossfitter, unless I eat super clean and get my ass to the box more often and kill myself at the bar each and everyday AND stop running long distance. There lies my problem-I am not willing to let go of the long distance running. I love it. I love the challenge it presents to me and I love crushing my previous times. But, continuing in the long distance means that I most likely won't be able to lift very heavy. But even with lifting, my midsection is still squishy!

I have tried all forms of exercise. I exercise all the time. I exercise hard. I know that I give 100 percent every time. Even when I don't drop to the ground after a wod, I have given it my all. But the midsection still remains squishy!

In the progression of things, you probably know where I am going with this. Yes, I finally realized that no matter how hard I work out, it is not going to matter unless I fuel my body properly. All the delicious tortillas, tortas, bread, fruit tarts, chocolate covered marshmallows, pasta, and rice--all of it is getting stuck in my midsection. Each time I put one of these things in my mouth, I am sabotaging my very own goals. :(

Eating habits are very hard to break. Working out is easy, eating properly is not.

And thus, I start my journey into the next stage--clean eating. I am 4 days into is hard. I woke up with a headache from the no sugar intake. I am cranky because of the no sugar and the no bad carbs.

Again, working out is easy, eating properly is not.