Sunrise and consistency

I always struggle with workout consistency. Triathlon training is gonna be rough.

I have the best of intentions. I plan, I schedule… I make pretty schedules.

I get the gear, I research, I find people to admire in the industry. I drool. I wish. I procrastinate.

I constantly procrastinate.

Or I start… but the I trail off. And procrastinate some more.

Bleh.

Being consistent: I usually suck at it

What I really have a problem with is just doing the work. Showing up. Just getting out there.  I get so easily distracted from the overall goal or wishing on a star, but never just on doing the work and getting it done and finding workout consistency.

I know my ability to follow through must change since I decided to do a triathlon.  A tri is a BIG freaking deal. There really can’t be a half-assed approach if I’m going to be able to successfully swim bike AND run all in one race and have any success.

Success?

Success and its definition probably requires a whole post to its own. (Definitely adding that to my list of todos now.)

I want to explore how I define success. Is it showing up? Conquering it? Winning? Is it about finding balance and consistency? So many factors.

Sunrise over water. Workout consistency means I get to see more of these.
Being consistent means I get to see more of these.

If I can juggle all the workouts and complete 80% of them and keep a positive outlook while finding balance in the rest of my life, is that success? I am realizing how much I need to write down what I’m planning to achieve for myself with this whole triathlon deal.  In a year’s time, what will I be proud of?

Right now, with some quick reflection, I think I really will be proud of myself if I figure out a system that works for me. If I can get up 5 days a week and put in the work.

My plan of action for workouts

  • Wake up in the morning.
  • Go do it.
  • Repeat.

That simple.

Shopping for bike trainer workouts

As I mentioned yesterday. I totally bought a  stationary bike stand aka the bike trainer aka the MONSTER OF EVIL PAIN AND SWEAT AND SUFFERING!!

My tri coach had given me just another 90 minute ride today and it was raining again so I decided to do it on the trainer. I only made it 45 minutes into the session before I was just plain board of moving my legs. I was watching TV and I was trying to get a feel for my new CycleOps Fluid 2, alternating between going far to easy and hard.  Sometmes I would get distracted and then pick up the resistance to make up for it but I just feeling like I wanted to die from the monotony.

Also, it’s hot. I really need a good fan that I can use when I’m on it. The movement of air around the trainer is going to be key.

Looking for the right bike trainer workouts to ease the insanity

So I decided to hop on Google again and search for some options that I could try for making the time pass by quicker on the trainer. Of course, I’ll have to verify these with the coach this week but I found some options that I thought were really promising  - some more complex than others.

The Sufferfest
The Sufferfest

1) A really cool one is The Sufferfest. It’s a bunch of really intense cycling videos that you watch while you are on the trainer. I could see it being really entertaining! However, the home-made testimonial videos of cyclists watching the videos while suffering on their bikes was really overwhelming, it made me feel like a lazy piece of shit.

Bike Trainer Workouts
BikeTrainerWorkouts.com

2) I found this funny Piranha Pete character that posts simple text-based bike trainer workouts. The blog posts there are pretty crass but super funny. I would actually like to try the test set and also the bike trainer brick workout and I’m going to ask my coach about them.

3) While more technical than the others, TrainerRoad offers a range of bike trainer workouts and it’s pretty cool too. It basically lets you watch your progress on screen while you ride. I’m going to have to figure out if my bike and my trainer are compatible with this because I could see it be being super addictive! I also see that you can watch tv or online video while you see your progress! Win win!

So I’ve got some really cool options. I wonder, for all you triathletes out there… what do you use that consistently gets you on your trainer and relieves the boredom?

Another thing I’d like to do is set up the perfect “pain cave” or area for my trainer. Right now I’m in the living room, but maybe I can put it permanently in the garage and have a dedicated video screen, fan and lots of towels ready to go there.  There are all kinds of photos of people’s set ups on The Sufferfest site in their bike torture chamber section and it made me want to do the same thing!

 

 

Beautiful rain, just not when I'm cycling. Thanks.

Got my first stationary bike stand. Look out!

So as I’ve been learning with triathlon, there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes training consistently.  Even for people in warm climates like here in California, there can be rainy days or times when the weather just does not cooperate and you want to get your workout in.

This week, there was a horrible downpour on the day I was supposed to do my 90 minute ride. I’d never done that before, but I was determined to not miss my workout.

Rain over the golden gate bridge makes me want a stationary bike stand
Rain over the golden gate bridge makes me want a stationary bike stand

In cycling, I’m a total beginner, with newbie bike handling skills to match so heading out in the rain with slippery roads and chilled hands was quite a challenge.  There were so many times when I felt a little too out of control just because I didn’t trust my stopping power or that I wouldn’t skid out on a turn.

I avoided some of the really steep areas up in the hills and stayed on the flats as best I could. I just didn’t want to try to navigate a descent yet. I realized at the end of my ride that my abs were sore… from bracing myself and being nervous. I’m sure it will get better but I’m not so keen to go out there again this week.

What I learned is that A) Riding in the rain feels really badass and B) Riding in the rain is freaking cold and C) Riding in the rain is not something I want to do very often. :-)

I totally bought a stationary bike stand

My new stationary bike stand
My new trusted workout companion!

So… without any further hesitation, I went online to buy one more piece of equipment that I have to add to the long list of items I have already purchase for my sport.

It’s the (often dreaded) tool with many names: stationary bike stand, bike trainer, turbo trainer (my favorite) or resistance trainer.

It basically converts my road bike into a stationary exercise bike where I can then do my workouts inside and in the comfort of my home. A lot of people who use them watch TV while they are on them so it can’t be that bad! I’m kind of excited to try.

I did my research and decided on the CycleOps Fluid 2. I bought it in on Amazon after I googled about stationary bike stand options and found this comparison chart of stationary bike stands and it seems like the one for me! So alas, I bought it and it arrived and now I’ve set it up and am ready for my next workout.

Bring on the rain and inclement weather! This girl is ready for anything!

How to sleep with a snorer!

I know, I know. You’re frustrated. So was I. It’s one of those things that when you start the relationship, you let it go and you don’t worry about the fact that your new lover sounds like a chain saw. But as time goes on, you realize how much you miss those nights of peaceful bliss and quiet. Since deciding to do a triathlon, my sleep is so much more important.

The day I realized that I couldn’t take it anymore, I had been up  four times from his loud outbursts. He was totally oblivious to the LOUD MONSTROUS SNORING HELL SOUNDS coming out of him, but I was just laying there crying and sobbing and trying to figure out how I can do this for the rest of my life.

This girl is thoroughly needs some anti snoring devices.
This girl is thoroughly not impressed with her snorer.

Snoring can be due to a wide range of factors, such as nasal issues, sleeping position, misuse of alcoholic beverages, and etcetera. Depending on your partner, it can be a really touchy subject too. If you you have researched the health effects of snoring at all,  you will find many correlations between health and wellbeing and snoring. However, opening the conversation up with “Hey honey, maybe you are snoring because you are FAT AND YOU DRINK TOO MUCH” isn’t really the most productive start to addressing the issue.

While there are medical test that can be taken, I don’t suggest going down this route on day 1.

Phase 1:  Carefully approach your snorer

Stay positive. Heavy snoring makes for a frustrating situation and can be exacerbated by defensiveness. If you you think your partner might have trouble handling the truth, make sure that you keep this totally fact-based and make sure you keep telling them you love them.

  • Let them know that your sleep quality is diminished.
  • Ask them if they ever get woken up or frustrated by their own snoring.
  • Ask them if they have any ideas on how it could be reduced.

Don’t JUMP to solutions yet. Here is the time to talk.

Phase 2: Get one of the many anti snoring devices to try and play scientist

Don’t come home with armfuls of anti snoring devices and wrap his head up in belts and buckles. You have to play this one cool.

Anti snoring devices aren't really sexy
Anti snoring device aren’t really sexy

Start with one thing. Just one thing. ONE THING. I found this site that compares just two anti snoring devices which could make it easier to pick. They fit in the mouth like a mouth guard for sports.

Remember, you are the scientist in this experiment. You are finding just one anti snoring mouthpiece to try and limit the other variables.. Keep it fun and if it fails, that’s ok, you learned something and now you can move along to try the next thing.

Tips for your new anti snoring device experiment:

  • To make it easier, you will handle the payment, the shipping of the device. you might want to try.
  • Make it more fun by getting one for each of you and you can both have your tongues gently sucked out to alleviate the sounds and have some serious laughs. (This tongue sucking technique is curtesy of Good Morning Snore Solutions.)
  • Create a time box on the experiment, just a 3 night trial. You can modify this based on your partner’s willingness to push through discomfort. Most of these devices (and I’ve tried lots of them) have a day or two of “getting used to it”.
  • Give your partner feedback! This is an experiment after all. Let them know how great a nights sleep you got. Talk about it.
  • Be grateful. Thank them constantly for trying it and let them know how much you appreciate it.

Phase 3: Rinse and repeat!

Not everything works for every couple. Keep playing the scientist. Keep it fun and directed in a positive way.

I want to hear from you. Have you tried any of these devices? How would you approach your partner?

 

Night sky

My tips for how to sleep well

One of my ongoing struggles is getting a good night’s sleep. I come from a long line of  night hawks and these tips for how to sleep well are hard-fought battles with my natural defiance of bed time.

Quality rest is so important to health, vitality and weight loss too.

There are a few things I’ve learned that work for me. I’m sure everyone’s different but these are a great start if you want to make some changes.

Wake early

Getting a good nights rest is more achievable when you’ve woken up early.  Don’t start out too drastically but try to wake 15 minutes to a half hour before your normal rising time. (If you’re like me, and starting to train for a triathlon, then early swims at 5:15am will suffice… shoot me now.)

Dim the lights a half hour before bed

Allow the natural melatonin levels in your blood can rise. Also shut off any LCD screens (laptop, iPhone etc) and allow yourself to get sleepy. I also had some trouble when I was reading eBooks before bed on a lit up screen. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite works without the light.

Sleep in complete darkness

This one is so key and it’s way too easy to do. Your body need darkness to get its full rest and deep sleep. We live in urban environments where there are lights on 24-7 and you would be surprised how much light leaks into our bedrooms.

My favorite solution to this problem is Bucky eye covers. I love them so much I get them for everyone around me. It’s like a molded bra but for your eyes and it helps me get the best night sleep every night.

Exercise

You heard it here. Exercise. Putting our bodies into an exerted state during the day makes it way easier to go to sleep at the end of the day. Even 15 minutes of intense intervals or body weight exercises can have a positive impact on the quality of your sleep.

Deal with sleep disturbances proactively

There may be things in your sleeping environment that are less than optimal. Make a list and figure out how to deal with them. Noise? Ear plugs. Too hot? Fan. Snoring partner? We’ll deal with that later. :-)

 

 

 

The stage.

You are performing on a stage and the audience is with you. They notice every expression, every emotion and are rapt with attention for your next sentence. 

They laugh at your jokes and they applaud wildly as the curtain falls. They get you. The performance resonates with them deeply. It makes their day better and in turn it makes you feel great too.

You know this audience is amazing but you might take it for granted. Sometimes, you have a shitty day on stage and nothing seems to work. You feel like you totally bombed. But your audience doesn’t care. They stay because they love you and they want what’s next.

Then… you try a new audience. You might want to stretch, to grow, to explore a new stage…

This new audience gives you nothing. You deliver the lines. You shed a tear. You act your heart out. That trusted joke bombs. You look up and everyone is checking their iPhone. 

It hurts. A lot.

Deep down, you are fundamentally the same. The “art”  is the same. The performance is the same. And you know you are amazing. But suddenly, you are questioning it.

Until now, you have been used to the compliments and the cheering section. You have been sheltered from criticism by your old audience… they actually loved you but weren’t at all reality.

A cheering section could be your mom, your spouse or a good friend; someone who makes it easy to get on the stage. Someone who loves you for more than the art.

If you want to grow in your art (whatever that may be) then you have to take on some tougher stagesNew stages are everywhere: New jobs, new relationships, new places to live…

It’s easier said than done, but have to be ready to bomb many times over. You need to put yourself out there and experience what it’s like to just be who you are and enjoy what you do.

Find joy, acceptance and love in the art, not in the applause. Appreciate criticism for taking you beyond the comfortable and into the space where you can grow.

Snap decisions are fun… Deciding to do a triathlon

People always ask me why I decided to do it.

Triathlons are kind of an anomaly because they involve a whole lot of endurance and suffering and time to do. It’s also a lot of money considering the bike purchase and gear.

I think most triathletes are crazy. In fact, I know they are.

But somehow, I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to have “done it”, “conquered it” and join the ranks of the crazy.

I made the decision on new years day and I was  thinking how I always have resolutions but I never follow through with them… or rarely do. I never have really made them a priority. I was also looking over my “bucket list” (which is really just a big list of things I want to do that lives forever in my head) and I thought that if I don’t do it now, I never will get around to it.

I also realized I rarely pick a an event that I have to show up for. Would a resolution be more solid if I paid a $200 race fee?

I’ve always been someone who goes all out on new passions. I knew this one would give me lots to learn and even more to push myself.

Deciding to do a triathlon
Why not pick one of the most grueling triathlons for my first one?

It was decided. I signed up for two triathlons. One was only 6 weeks away and was a local mini sprint and the next one was an Olympic distance in May. It was the famous Wildflower triathlon in California and it was big and SCARY and holy hell I did not know what I was getting myself into.

But I signed up. So now I had to show up… and figure out if I could swim and buy a bike (don’t have one)… at least I know how to run.

Note to self: I really need to make a real bucket list and formally write down my goals! I’ll make it a part of this new game of improvising, but try to write it down.

 

Introducing my favourite book on weight loss

I saw her on Oprah and fell in love. Geneen Roth.  Sigh. Her book on weight loss was everything I needed because it was so unlike any other one I’d heard of.

While my heart was first smitten by Eckhart Tolle, Geneen came along and took all of that juicy Eckhart wisdom and concisely translated it into why I stuff my face. I devoured her book Women Food and God,  and I think I’ve read it over 8 times now.

Geneen Roth on Oprah with her amazing book on weight loss
Geneen Roth on Oprah

Being aware that I have an eating problem has been a tough nut for me to crack.

I can be “aware” that I am up 5 lbs. I can see the higher number on the scale. I can feel that my jeans are too tight. And I can use both of those things to feel frustrated and then use food as a drug to “numb out” from dealing with the deeper issue inside of me.

It’s kind of cyclical. At least it is with me.

I like how she encourages the brutal awareness on those time when we make excuses. I had just an “aha” moment when I realized how I was using food as a drug. It sounds harsh to say that, but I totally look at it as an escape mechanism.

Women Food and God is a much better book on weight loss
I loves this book.

I am so good at distracting myself from the situation with a(nother) donut (or protein bar or fruit or popcorn) or getting on Facebook or just anything to move away from the icky feeling. I should step into the icky feeling. Since I keep running from it, I’m not growing. And in those moments… I usually feel I don’t have the desire, the self control or the “care factor” to face my issues.

On a side note, I think the title having “God” in it turns some people off. It’s definitely not a preachy book, but it talks about connecting to something bigger than yourself and seeing that longing in your soul that you keep pounding back down with a cheese burger.

“No matter how developed you are in any other area of your life, no matter what you say you believe, no matter how sophisticated or enlightened you think you are, how you eat tells all.” – Excerpt from Women Food and God

All that said, I entirely recommend this book and will keep recommending it to my closest friends.

 

Improvising

You know how everyone seems to claim that they have no idea what they’re doing with their lives? Well, I’m in that boat.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been all about spur-the-moment decisions in hopes that happiness and well-being are with me in the process and in the end.

What I’ve outlined above is the gist of what this site will be about. I’ll also touch on my quest to become a healthier individual – yep, I’m trying to drop weight – find a job that truly makes me happy – yep, I disliked my previous job – and to appreciate this wonderful life and the moments I’m given.

Here’s to getting started!