Monday, January 12, 2009

Benchmark Monday

For some reason, I'm in the mood for benchmarking my progress today. When I started this process, I was not terribly out of shape, but I wasn't in the greatest of shape either. I can honestly say that I am in better shape than I was, but I probably still have a bit to go until I would say I'm in really good shape.

But, physically, I can definitely say there is a difference. I am a dress size smaller, and have more overall muscle tone (although I still need some work... I may add some weight training back in when I start doing the training for May's triathlon). I am definitely faster and have better cardio strength and lung capacity too. And I don't have as many cravings for pizza, ice cream, and chocolate like I used to (although after the holidays I have some chocolate cravings but they are starting to subside a bit - especially since I keep disappointing them with no sugar added cocoa, other than this weekend...). I haven't had my cholesterol check yet, but I fully expect it to be lower. We'll find out more toward the end of the month when I have it done. When I started it was a scary 296, but in my defense I've always been a pretty healthy eater (I've completely cut out fast food, but still have pizza occasionally and the fast food wasn't all that frequent before) but I probably have the genetic issue my Dad and Grandma do where there is a chromosomal thing that actually causes them to produce more cholesterol than the average bear. But the doctor was pretty excited that I was starting to train for a triathlon and thought that would help the situation (let's hope so because if it doesn't get it low enough she's putting me on cholesterol medicine and the thought of that just makes me feel OLD).

Any who. On the running side of things, I can do 2 miles in 20 minutes (if I run the whole thing) which is 2 minutes faster than before. On the swimming side of things, I think I'm about 2 minutes faster on the 400 also (it might be 3 minutes faster but I didn't have my watch with me when I timed last weekend and was using the wall clock... but at the very least it was 2 minutes and 20 seconds faster than the last time I timed myself). And on the biking side of things, I biked 9.25 miles in 40 minutes on Saturday whereas when I started I was doing about 7 miles in 45 minutes. YAY me! This is not to say that I am super fast or that I am going to be turning pro any time soon (perhaps when I'm 50 I can go pro on the Master's circuit if I'm fast enough by then), but I am rather proud of myself and feel like I want to keep going and to keep getting faster and fitter.

So, keeping up my training is something that I'm all about. I've also noticed a shift in the way that I've been thinking about the triathlon. I'm no longer thinking about it as working out, but now I think of it as training for an event like an athlete. I also noticed my competitiveness coming out a little bit too. While I'm trying not to pressure myself and stick to the goal of finishing and not finishing last as my goal for my 1st sprint triathlon and for my 1st international triathlon, I also notice that I want to hit a certain time frame for my swim, for my bike and for my run for the sprint triathlon on February 1st. I also notice that I'm paying attention to form while I swim and run especially, and that I notice what other people's form looks like at the gym and pay attention to what they're doing wrong and what they're doing right. My brain is no longer - I need to go to the gym so I can lose weight and feel better, but it's a competitive brain. I've begun a return to the athlete brain I had back when I swam and ran competitively. I personally think that's a good thing - especially since I've been pretty able to control that competitiveness to mainly the events themselves during my life time. The Sleeping Tiger awakes! : )

Ok. I had to laugh at that last sentence there because this morning the sleeping tiger would have liked a little more sleep... Mr. Darcy and I stayed up late playing a video game (in our defense we wanted to stop at a reasonable time but the level wouldn't let us save the game until we had saved all 3 of the guys 1st) and then Angelfish woke up this morning at 4 am yelling for me because she had a wet pull up (yes, she's moved into the potty training realm as well and Ladybug has moved as of this week to underpants all day every day, other than night time... she's still having accidents but much fewer - knock on wood). She was so cute too... once I got in the room she sat up in her bed and said "Mommy, my pull up very wet. I need new one." Then once I got her changed and back into bed, Ladybug said in a very, very soft voice "Mommy I need new pull up too. This one very wet too." The second Ladybug was changed she climbed back into bed and was asleep rather quickly. Angelfish wanted to hold hands for a long while, but eventually I told her I needed to sleep in my bed and she didn't give too much of a fuss.

A cute story from yesterday. We went to the outlets so that we could get the girls some new shoes (they had a growth spurt recently and are now wearing an 8.5 (Ladybug) and an 8 (Angelfish) - the poor things were in 7's before but when they don't complain it's hard to know that their shoes don't fit anymore! I only figured it out because finally Ladybug was talking about her toenails alot this week and then Angelfish kept yanking her shoes off the second you put them on her.). Mr. Darcy's parents were with us and Mr. Darch's Mom went into the Coach store and as I was going to catch up with everyone, Ladybug and I saw the Gymboree outlet store and wandered inside - just for a minute (originally). There was a beautiful and extremely cute navy dress with red tulips on it and a red sash. I showed it to Ladybug and asked if she liked it. In response, she said "Ooh, Mommy. It pretty. Find my size!" We ended up buying it and another dress for Angelfish. My excuse is that 1) they like dresses and 2) we can use them for Easter too! (Yes, I realize that is still a couple months away... shhhh.)

Ok, and now for the training workouts from Saturday and today. Saturday, I did a 100 m swim warm up and then a 400 m swim, followed by 40 minutes on the bike (9.25 mile on level 4), and then a 20 minute run (which I alternated 3 min. run and 1 min. walk because my leg is still recovering), then a 10 minute walk to cool down. Then I stretched well and went wedding dress shopping with Lauren (her dress is gorgeous...) and her very sweet Mom, had lunch with them, went shopping at the Millenia Mall (I will be going back to see the side with the haute coutre stores like Louis Vitton and Jimmy Choo, but will not be buying from them I'd rather have a new bike!), and they introduced me to Haagen Das Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream. My favorite has been Mint Chocolate Chip for years, but that Peanut Butter Chocolate gave Mint Chocolate Chip a run for it's money. I think it's a tie! I did a bunch of walking, so I'm not sure if that counts or not... Sunday was my day off, but my father in law told me that I couldn't say that I didn't exercise on Sunday in my blog (Hi, Dad! I know you're reading!) because we ran around after the girls at the outlet mall. I still don't count it as training, but I guess it wasn't being sedentary either!

Today because we overslept, I didn't go into the gym so I skipped the swim portion of my training today but I did my interval run training in the park (didn't encounter any neighbors though). That was actually where I started thinking about my benchmarking because with the interval training, I do 7 minutes of alternating 1 minute of walking with 1 minute of running followed by 4-6 x of 20 second sprint and then walking back to the start and then a 5 minute cool down. Well, when I started that took the allotted 25 minutes. Today, I ended up having to do 8 20 second sprints (with the walking back to start) and then run for 1 minute 30 seconds afterwards before I got to time for the 5 minute cool down. And that started me thinking about all that I have accomplished physically in the past few months. Another thing that I've done is that as of Saturday, I've raised $1985 for Leukemia and Lymphoma... and I have not hit the shops and doctors offices yet (but it's coming, don't you worry!) and I haven't gotten the donation from my work yet (that the CFO told me I would get). I want to raise more than the $2600 required and my $3250 goal!

Tomorrow is a 30 minute "hill" bike, which because it's so flat around here will probably be a 45 minute bike ride. I can't wait to ride my bike since I've had to use the stationary bike last week since there were a lot of swim bike bricks in my training schedule. Let's hope the rain we're supposed to get tomorrow holds off until after my ride! Until then, dear readers! Until then!

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