Adjustment and Acceptance

Since my most recent post, there has been some progress.

I’m so grateful for the comments and tweets from all you amazing folks who have experienced the same doubt and frustration.  There were some great suggestions, many of which I knew I should do but really appreciated hearing in a supportive (instead of self-critical) tone.

One of the suggestions was to potentially ride with a Camelbak.  For some reason, I thought this was verboten but I didn’t find anything to that effect on the Augusta 70.3 website.  In fact, I found numerous threads on different triathlon websites about their use.  Most triathletes on the boards were against it because it’s not aero (don’t give a sh*t), it’s dorky (super don’t give a sh*t), and it’s hot (fair enough).  The idea of being able to drink continuously at my leisure and only have to refill it once lifted a large weight off my shoulders.  Ironic!   Pulling over to gobble some food every half hour won’t add more than 5 min to my bike time and will surely save me 5 minutes on the run since I’m less likely to bonk the bonk of death.

I chose the smallest one.  It feels very comfortable and holds 1.5 liters.  And it’s pretty.

My new, pink friend who will save my life!

My new, pink friend who will save my life!

It was suggested that I just get in the pool and swim the whole distance.  Touché.  It’s on my training plan for this week.  So is a 3+ hour bike ride and a 9 mile run.  If I can successfully complete those three workouts, I will believe that I can do this.

This weekend, my wonderful parents visited from Seattle.  I discovered that my dad had some concerns about triathlon in general but specifically the swim.  As I explained to him about the kayaks AND safety folks out on the course AND the buoyancy of my wetsuit AND the speedy current AND the fact that I could always breast-stroke, I realized I’m fine.  It might be hard and scary but it will end.  Same with the bike.

The most significant progress I’ve made in the last few days is in the form of adjustment and acceptance.  Training for this 70.3 has not felt how I thought it would feel based on previous training.  It’s been fun and successful physically but draining and demoralizing emotionally.  I’ve been too focused on what I can’t do that I haven’t celebrated or trusted what I can.  That negativity has fed on itself week after week to the point where OF COURSE I WANTED TO QUIT.

It isn’t what I thought it would be but that’s okay.  I don’t feel like superwoman.  I’m unsure.  I’m disappointed with this whole endeavor and that in itself is disappointing but again, it’s okay.  I’m beginning to accept this for what it is and intend to make the most out of the next 4 weeks.

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I don’t know.

Augusta 70.3 is one month away.

Last night, I took a UK-themed spin class at Ride Oakland.  Sometimes I hold back on the resistance in spin but this time, I really brought it.  At the end of an intense seated climb, I imagined myself pushing, pushing, pushing up one of the hills on the Augusta course.  I had a realization as I pushed:

I don’t know if I can do this.

I truly do not know and in that moment, all my ambivalence made sense.  I’ve never done anything so challenging and I’ve never felt less sure that I’m capable of completing the task.

I’m completing almost all of my workouts as though I’m still working toward that 70.3 mile “victory lap” but I’m not sure I see it happening.  I don’t know if I can get through the swim.  Everyone says “of course you can!  It’s the easiest swim course!  You could float a piece of paper down the river in 45 minutes!”  I haven’t yet completed that full distance in the pool so those comments unfortunately feel demoralizing rather than comforting.  I have absolutely no idea if I can do the ride.  I think so?  My legs are strong and I have certainly ridden for a long time but all on the trainer.  There are so many question marks around the bike and so many regrets.  The skills and confidence I needed to build over the last 5 months didn’t come easily and immediately so I procrastinated.   Now I’m a month out and I still can’t eat or drink on the bike.  I have no confidence climbing hills in real life, despite being able to push like a monster in spin.  Oh and then 13.1 miles of “running” without music or distraction?  After all that hard work?  I do not know if my mind is that strong.  As I type that, something deep quietly says “…yes….you will get through it once you’ve come that far…” but I can’t picture it.  None of my friends or family are coming with me so once I cross that line, I will be alone.  It’s hard to imagine that too.  Sitting in the grass, texting people that I did it.  It’s very bittersweet to imagine.

Crying now.

I want to write separately about how much I’ve changed since I wanted to do this and now.  That’s the bright spot in this entire process.  I am strong and don’t need the validation of this goal anymore.  But I’m on the hook for it and it feels insane not to see it through after working so hard.  In this last month, I hope to make some strides so if I do get on that plane and go through with this, I’ll feel more assured and enthusiastic.

Sigh.

Things I’m Loving (Hang on to Honeymoon Edition)

Riding the wave of having the mental space to write!

In my blog absence, I took a very special trip to Hawaii.  Yep, HONEYMOON!

YEP.

Forever please.

I always enjoy blog posts where people share books, products, foods, and entertainment they’re loving.  Here are some things I’m loving that remind me of our wonderful week on Maui:

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt:

The Goldfinch

I flew through this rich novel poolside.  I didn’t realize that it was massive because a. I read it on my Kindle and b. the plot unfolded at a steady pace.  I was surprised to learn that people either loved it or hated it.  I suppose that’s to be expected; It won the Pulitzer for fiction which surely invites deeper scrutiny.  I loved it.

Available through your preferred bookseller.

Alba Botanica Pineapple Enzyme Facial Scrub and Jasmine and Vitamin E Moisture Cream:

Alba ScrubAlba Cream

 

Between sunscreen, sun exposure, and lots of salty sweat, my skin has been pretty terrible this summer.  Browsing Whole Foods, I found these products that smelled just like honeymoon (!) and featured mostly natural ingredients and don’t include parabens.  I think that’s a thing that people don’t want touching their face?  I’ve been using these products for a couple weeks and I’m enjoying them.  Nothing revolutionary but my skin feels much cleaner, tighter and a bit brighter!

Available all over the place.  Whole Foods, Drugstores, Internets…

You Made It Weird Podcast:

PeteyPants

My friend, Pete.

[source]

I love podcasts.  I discovered You Made it Weird through one of my other favorites, The Nerdist. Both are hosted by comics (Pete Holmes and Chris Hardwick, respectively) and feature long-form conversations with interesting guests.  Most of Pete’s guests are fellow comics, many being close friends who give him endless shit and gamely participate in conversations about art, sex, and religion.  A highly entertaining place to start would be the episodes with his close friend Chelsea Peretti.

The Nerdist features amazing guests in a slightly less personal format.  Chris Hardwick is a huge fan of many of my favorite shows (Mad Men and Breaking Bad) and frequently interviews their creators and actors.  He’s had some unbelievable guests.  The Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Vince Gilligan, Matthew Weiner, and Aaron Paul episodes are some of my favorites.

I clearly need to do an entire post on podcasts.  Stay tuned.

Poke:

Poke

NOM.  Poke is simply fresh raw fish, onion and some type of marinade.  Think Hawaiian tartare.  I buy a pound of ahi tuna from Whole Foods or Tokyo Fish Market, cut into large cubes and toss with thinly sliced white onion, green onion, soy sauce, sesame oil, and a bit of chopped garlic.  We ate tons of poke in Hawaii and it was beyond delicious.  It’s very easy to recreate at home and healthy as well!

Anne Burrell’s Poke Recipe

How to Make a Poke Bowl Like a Local

What’s your favorite way to escape back into vacation mode?  Share it in the comments!  Aloha!

Aloha!

A Good Day

Today I ran 9 miles and then took a great and intense Dailey Method class.  It felt awesome.  I felt strong, energized, confident.

I felt like myself.

I needed this.

Tomorrow is the beginning of week SIXTEEN of training for Augusta 70.3.  I have no idea how to articulate how it’s been going.  How about a good old Pro/Con list in the form of Good/Bad:

Good

* No injuries.  Today’s 9 miler was an important test.  I haven’t run that far since the marathon almost a year ago.  It was the 9 mile run during training for the curs-ed Oakland Running Festival where my ITB, knee, and hamstring collectively voted NO.  I’ve been more consistent this training cycle but I have missed some long runs.  I’m very relieved to know that my legs are holding up, especially at a faster pace.

I am super fit.  I am, without a doubt, in the best shape of my life.  I’m very satisfied with my “easy” and “moderate” paces.  They’re considerably faster in all three sports than ever before.  I’m not pushing them much because it’s all about going looooong these days.  Still, I’m noticing fitness gains and that always feels nice.

My mental endurance is improving.  Today’s 9 miler was with a podcast.  Yes, I still had some distraction but I did not require thumping music to motivate each step.  Mentally and physically, I was chill.  Just moving forward.  I’ve listened to podcasts during most of my epically long trainer rides and have been sufficiently entertained.  This is really important as I will not have music during the actual race.  Here’s hoping that the other racers, crowd support, and focusing on nutrition will be enough to get me out of my head.

I’ve really figured out the food thing.  I’m eating enough, not too much.  Eating almost completely “clean” which for me means no gluten, very little dairy, very few processed foods.  Minimal food rewards.  I’ve maintained my slightly-reduced weight within 5 lbs for the last four months.  It feels really good.  Last year, during marathon training, it was way too easy to justify ice cream and pizza as pre-long run loading or post-long run recovery.  Not this time!

I am completely in love with indoor cycling.  It is one of my favorite thing EVAR and I wouldn’t have discovered it had I not been required to cycle so much.  Give me pumping music and a gnarly hill climb.  I am happy.  I am so looking forward to spinning my ass off for forever and ever after training is done.

I am doing a whole lot of workouts.  I have not done every single workout on my plan but let’s save that for the other list.  I HAVE done many, many, many, many workouts.  I’ve hardly missed a single cycling workout.  I’ve missed some runs but not enough to derail a safe ramp-up, as demonstrated today.  I have swum many times.  Best news: I’ve managed 2-4 Dailey Method classes per week, in addition to teaching several a week.  I maintain that the strengthening and lengthening of TDM keeps me injury-free and sane.

There’s another list to write but today is a good day.  Let’s leave it there. :D

How have your summer workouts been going?  What’s on your good list??

Happening

Things have happened, are happening, and will happen.

I’m a Dailey Method Instructor!

LE.GIT.

LE.GIT.

I had hesitations about taking on Dailey Method instructor training during 70.3 training for obvious reasons.  The training, class observations/assists, endless practicing, and mock classes were just as time-consuming and emotional intense as I expected.  The quality of instruction is very high and TDM means a lot to me so I knew I would have to fully invest myself in the process.  That investment really paid off.  I felt confident and prepared for the mock classes at the end of my training.  Mocks typically don’t have high attendance so please picture my face when my second mock had 11 people, 6 of whom had never taken TDM before!  I was a bit intimidated but it went well and I learned a lot about how to respond to who is in the room and how to spontaneously tailor my language to the needs of the present clients.

On Sunday, I taught my first official class.  It was a typically light time slot but just like my second mock, it was inexplicably PACKED.  More and more people came in and I realized I would be teaching my first class to a nearly full room.  I taught TWENTY people (the room holds 24) and had a ball.  Friends and other instructors came to support me and we had some serious thigh-shaking fun.

First Class TRIUMPH!

First Class TRIUMPH!

I had several more classes this week and they all went well!  My language is feeling more and more organic, which is a huge relief.  I opted to script all my transitions and cues which ultimately gave me the security to go rogue.  I even killed a spider without losing count or my train of thought.  SO PROFESH!

So, how did this all balance with the last 8 weeks of Half Ironman Training?

I’ll just show you:

Funfetti of Training!

Funfetti of Training!

June looked like that too except all the workouts were longer.

In the last 8 weeks, I’ve maybe missed 5/90 workouts.  Without question, I’m in the best shape of my life.  I’ve lost about 10 pounds by adjusting my food (gluten-free, no refined sugar or carbs.)  I generally have a lot of energy and have completed workouts without problems.  This last week has been really tough and I’m not sure why.  I’m hoping it’s hormonal because I’ve been struggling bigtime physically and emotionally but that’s a topic for another post.  Generally, training is going well and I’m making progress in all three sports.

Some exciting things have happened in my singing life.  I traveled to the Ojai Music Festival to perform Beethoven, Ives, Feldman and a program of spirituals.  I sang a solo recital of Debussy and Wolf that got a positive review.  There are some other exciting things that I will share as soon as I can.

Not in sweaty spandex!

Not in sweaty spandex!

The big thing I’ve taken away from these intense months is to just GO FOR IT and take risks.  People have been unbelievably supportive of each leap I’ve taken and that makes the successes so much more wonderful.  I hope to have the space to blog more and elaborate on some of what I’ve been going through, especially in my 70.3 training.  In the meantime, I hope YOU are having a wonderful summer and taking some fun risks of your own.

 

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And we’re off!

It begins!

Where ARE WE?

Where ARE WE?

After absolutely CRUSHING yesterday’s rest day, today brought the true beginning of Augusta training.  I had a 50 minute trainer ride that had to include 5 x 20 seconds in a big gear at a high cadence.  My plan for the ride was to execute those intervals and also keep my cadence above 90 and stay in the big ring if possible.  Mission totally accomplished!

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 8.14.08 PM

I began the ride with the pilot of Lost.  The first three seasons are amazing and engrossing (don’t get me started on the infuriating downward spiral of that show or I will LOSE IT) so I thought they would be a nice motivator during my trainer rides.  The ride began in my basement but as sweat poured down my everywhere, the patio beckoned.  Set my trainer up in the shade and enjoyed watching the 580 commute.  None of us went anywhere!

Oh, your car is not on a trainer?  Sorry...

Oh, your car is not on a trainer? Sorry…

When I moved outside, I switched to music and found myself cueing Dailey Method thigh work.  That sure helped the time pass!  I imagine I’m going to spend a lot of my Augusta training thinking through my new teaching.  Great way to get out of the “are we there yet?” mindset.  Because, no, we’re not there yet.

Due to a light work day and wanting to take Dailey tomorrow, I moved my swim to today.  I figure that it doesn’t really matter if I swim on a running day or a cycling day.  I intend to follow my schedule as planned, the only exception being moving swims and TDM sessions around.  I also won’t ever put off a training session.  I can only move them earlier, not push them off.  Rules is rules.

So, it’s like a million degrees this week and I’ve been looking forward to trying some of the outdoor pools in my area.  My house is right between the pool at Mills College and Lions Pool in Dimond Park.  Just being specific in case you live in the East Bay and are looking for a pool near my house!

I really enjoyed the Dimond pool.  There are two large lanes (slow and medium) and one narrower lane for faster swimmers.  Word on the deck is that if you even swim freestyle in the slow lane, some regular aqua joggers will get in your face and tell you to move up to the medium lane.  I actually heard it happen!  Thankfully they didn’t give me shit when I moved into the slow lane to do my kicking set.  Probably because I was going very, very, very slowly.  Or they could tell that I would splash them if they sassed me.

I cannot TELL you how heavenly this swim was.  Yes, the lane was busy and there were some people who didn’t totally get the circle swimming but generally folks were friendly.  I introduced myself and asked questions about how people were planning to swim and all was well.  I felt amazing.  Strong, steady, and so happy.  None of the nausea or yuckiness I had experienced at my gym pool.  Totally hooked.  And totally tan.  I seriously have a full swimsuit tan already.  How the hell am I supposed to get sunscreen on my mid-back, btw?

My happy place.

My happy place.

I didn’t quite finish my workout because the lap swim ended when I still had a few hundred more meters to do.  Who knew kicking was so hard and slow?!  The YouTube video I watched did not mention that.  I did 4 of the 8 x 25 prescribed and did not feel bad about moving on to my main set.  Since it was literally my first time with a kickboard, I’ll make up those extra yards later this week.

All in all, it was a phenomenal first day.  I ate enough to feel happy and energetic all day but didn’t go off the rails in “celebration.”  As in, I didn’t consume any of these things.  Just this wonderful thing:

Mmmmm compressed and sliced meats salad.

Mmmmm compressed and sliced meats salad! Love those crazy Greeks…

And now, we foam roll!

What are you favorite swimming drills?  Any kicking tips?

 

#TeachItDailey

OMGEEEEEEE!!!!

IMG_8606

 

I am going to teach The Dailey Method!

This is old news if you know me or follow me on Twitter or Instagram but this is literally the first moment I’ve had time to sit down and write about it.  And I only have time right now because I’m digesting breakfast before heading out for a run.

Awhile ago, I was approached about the possibility of teaching.  I died of SqueeDelightProudness.  I’ve been taking Dailey Method regularly since I began this blog in February of 2012 (!) and the invitation to teach felt like a wonderful validation of the hard work I’ve put into my practice and the strength I’ve gained from it.  TDM’s deep commitment to anatomically correct alignment and form is in sync with my approach as a voice teacher and I have the schedule flexibility to teach classes so…..no brainer, right?  Just say yes?

Well, there was one thing holding me back.

(Well, two if you count the audition which seriously sent me into a full PANIC every time I thought about it.)

I HAVE TO SWIM BIKE RUN 70.3 MILES IN FIVE MONTHS.  

I knew the training for Dailey Method would be just as time and mind consuming as training for Augusta.  Especially because I pour myself completely into anything that’s important to me.  I obviously couldn’t take both on at the same time.  My goal during Augusta training was to get to TDM a minimum of twice a week but probably not much more than that.  Both Augusta training and TDM training are sure to push me way out of my comfort zone.  How could I handle being in wonderful but anxiety-producing situations so much of the time?  No way, right?  Also, the audition.  I had to teach a short portion to one or both of the studio owners and the idea of making a fool of myself in front of these women I respect was SO BARFY.

So, I explained that I had already committed to training for Augusta and that I was really interested in pursuing it in the fall.  Everyone was happy with that and I filed it away in the “future” folder.

And then I got a sweet email saying “Well, we’re having these workshops and it would be great if you could come so why don’t you just audition and we’ll see…”

GACK!

So, I prepared like a crazy person and successfully auditioned.  The feedback I received made me feel much more confident and like most things, once I know I can sort of do it, I REALLY WANT TO DO IT.  Just tell me I’m okay at something and I’m off to the races.

You want me to do what now?

You want me to do what now?

And then I went to a weekend of workshops and ascended into TDM nerd heaven.  I just LOVE learning about things that I enjoy doing.  Digging into the how and why of every single exercise, position, and cue gave me even more respect for this method.  I always knew that my instructors were very knowledgable and I often marveled at how they would tell you to shift weight or engage a certain part to activate a certain muscle and it always happened!  Learning to facilitate that experience for someone else has been fascinating and really, really fun.  I also have a great cohort of ladies who are currently training and one of my besties trained to teach last year and has given me tons of helpful tips.

Waterski with my girl Tonia and the amazing Susannah.

Waterski with my girl Tonia and the amazing Susannah.

When I agreed to attend the workshops, I figured I would pick away at the training through the summer and ramp up after Augusta.  And then I was hooked and decided that instead, I would compress the intense part of TDM training (class observations, workshops, and developing my training class) during the base phase of Augusta.  My hope is that as Augusta training ramps up, my TDM training will be tapering down to the point where I’m presenting mock classes and going live on the schedule.

So, basically, I’m insane and thrilled and Britney Spears.

 

Instagrammed Selfie = Fitness Professional Headshot.  #WhatAWorld

Instagrammed Selfie = Fitness Professional Headshot. #WhatAWorld

See you at the studio!  #TeachItDailey #HappyFit #AllNewHashtags

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You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round Like a Record Player Right Round Round Round!

The motto of Augusta 70.3 training (which officially starts in about two weeks, holy crap) is…

JUST DO IT.

Meaning:

*Cut the drama.

* Ignore the nerves.

* Get your work done.

I employed this motto for the first time about a month ago when I spontaneously decided to put on my hand-me-down pedals (thanks, Jess!) and clip my hand-me-down cycling shoes into them (thanks, Velia!)  I figured I would watch thirty YouTube videos and practice in my doorway for a month before actually attempting to clip in outside.  I floated this idea with my stepbrother (who can literally eat a spaghetti dinner while riding his bike in the snow) and he said “why don’t you just go ride?  Just do it!”

So I did!

Customary excitement and falling!

Customary excitement and falling!

I only had a couple little tipovers, AFTER I had clipped out and put one foot on the ground.  That’s how I do!

So, riding clipped in is AWESOME.  You all knew that.  I love being able to use my hamstrings and glutes more.  I could definitely feel the difference riding in the wind and I’m sure hills will be infinitely easier.  Hear that, Bears?

In the spirit of just doing stuff, I went to my first spin class today!

The class was held at my gym.  I arrived about 15 min early to ensure that I got a spot.  When it was time to enter the studio, I introduced myself to a few other classmates (including another brave newbie) and the instructor, Benjamin.  He was super cool and helped me set up my bike.  I clipped in and started gently spinning until the class officially began.

I LOVED IT!  WHERE HAS SPIN BEEN ALL MY LIFE!

Loved the hill climbs.  Loved being out of the saddle.  Loved the sprints.  Loved cycling in time with the music.  Loved it loved it loved it.

Without question, I need to get comfortable riding outside.  I will not substitute spin classes for outdoor time in my own saddle but a mid-week ride?  YOU BETCHA!

What have you “just done” this week?

Any triathletes out there incorporate spinning?

Anyone want to give me infinities monies to go to fancy spinning in SF?

Like, TOTALLY!

I didn’t think I could love The Dailey Method more than I already do and then they introduced:

#FITNESSFLASHBACKFRIDAY

Themey music and festive costumes? And a hashtag??  DONE.

Last week was 70’s and we had a disco blast.  No Warren Zevon but no problem!  I just sang ‘Excitable Boy’ during the drive home…

[This was one of the primary albums of my childhood.  Google the lyrics to 'Excitable Boy' or 'Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner' and my personality might start to make sense? Thanks, Dad!]

Today was 80’s so obviously this had to happen:

Wear all the neon you own, you say?

Wear all the neon you own, you say?

Any excuse to wear my SPACE CAT leggings….

With Kerry Corcoran - TDM - Berkeley studio owner , anatomy guru, and rainbow legging enthusiast.

 

Photo courtesy of Kerry Corcoran – TDM Berkeley studio owner, Anatomy Guru, Legging Enthusiast.

Kerry nailed the playlist!  Practically every song had the class smiling and laughing.  Highlights included: One Night in Bangkok (so random), We Built This City (a childhood favorite), and my favorite karaoke jam Total Eclipse of the Heart.  Music absolutely inspires me go a little deeper and work a little harder.  Or at the very least, it entertains the one percent of mental space I have left after adjusting my alignment and feeling pain.

And of course, the class was just as painful as always.  Thankfully, we did prone seat work which I’ve been training for since the 80’s.

Prone circa 1982.  Note the lifted seat appearance.  #happybaby

Prone circa 1982. Note the lifted seat appearance. #happybaby

Stay tuned for 90’s day when brown eyeliner may or may not be used as LIPLINER.

Like, totally #happyfit

What’s your FAVE 80’s tune?   Mine is P.Y.T even though it’s creepy!

#AFIProject

Those of you who follow me on the Twitters have seen many, many photos that look like this:

I painted those walls!

I painted those walls!

Right before New Year’s, I got the idea to watch all 100 films on the AFI (American Film Institute) Top 100 Films.  I love movies but there are a ton of iconic films that I’ve never seen.  I also wanted motivation to watch some genres that I wouldn’t normally gravitate to like Westerns and Silent Films.  As of today, I am on #50!  Here are some details about the project:

* There are 2 versions of the list.  The first list came out in 1997 and then a 10 year anniversary list with adjusted rankings (including some removals and additions) came out in 2007.  I am watching the updated list.

* In what order?!  This was quite a connundrum.  Chronological? #1-100? Backwards from 100 to save the “best” for last?  I opted to start at #1.  If I lost steam in the project, I wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss the highest ranked ones.

* I’m watching the majority of the films streaming or on DVD through Netflix.  So far, I’ve only had to get one movie from another source because it wasn’t available on Netflix.  I updated my DVD plan to 2 at a time. 

* I’m tweeting frequently about the project with the hashtag #AFIProject, in case you want to go back and see my immediate impressions of the movies I’ve watched!  

This project is one of my favorite things I’ve ever done.  There hasn’t been a single movie I haven’t liked.  Some that I didn’t think I would enjoy completely surprised me.  Only a few have been underwhelming but only compared to the amazingness of the others.

Later this week, I’ll post brief impressions of the top 50!

What’s your favorite movie?  If you read this post, PLEASE comment.  I would love to see what everyone else is watching!

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