Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sleepless in Massachusetts

Why is it that when I'm insomniatic (which is usually rare...although i fear might become more frequent in the coming months) that all night I toss and turn and can't sleep, yet when my alarm goes off I instantly fall asleep and then can sleep between snooze button pushes?? That is rather unhelpful with the whole need to get up to work out routine that I've found rather difficult to do anyway, but workouts in the AM are about 100X more likely to be achieved than workouts in the PM.

Stress is fun. (dish that up with a cup of sarcasm please :-) ) We won't get into what KIND of day I had yesterday. It was unpleasant, that's for sure.

Oyi...i'm not sure if i'm OK with lack of sleep. It makes me a little slow and rather loopy that no amount of coffee can counter act. But rather funny to laugh at.

So even after a restless night, I did attempt a 40min ride on the trainer. Um...let's just say that I cannot multitask while riding my trainer. No...checking my email and trying to do things on my computer does not mix very well with trying to keep my HR up and focus. Not a very effective workout. But now I know. Due to the late start to my morning, i didn't get my weights workout in that I had planned. I'm still fiddling with my schedule to try to see what day I can put the dreaded weights workout in where I will ACTUALLY do the workout. So far, no success in achieving that weight workout.

So...better luck tomorrow. And hopefully I will be able to sleep tonight.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

all good things

I did an 8 mile run this morning and during and after my run my initial reaction was disappointment. My min/mile were 9:45-10:00 min/miles. And as my inner self wanted to dwell on it as it wasn't as quick as I'd like, I came to my senses and realized...THAT'S GREAT. I went out and ran 8 miles...that is great!! No my time wasn't fabulous compared to what I was peaking at this season. No it wasn't what I wanted to see...but I get to run. I got to run. I will run AGAIN next week.

I run. I am a runner. I am a triathlete.

I do stuff.

I am active.

It is great.

Even days that I wish I were going faster or know I have the ability to be faster...it is still great. Because I'm doing something good for my health and myself. And that is good.

I got all 'techy' today too and put on a powermeter-y thing that goes with my indoor trainer. It's not a fancy-smancy Powertap thinger that costs a billion dollars, but one that is supposedly calibrated to my trainer (so only will correctly calculate power while on the trainer...i'm suspicious of how it calculates power...but I will just blindly pretend that the numbers mean something) and will give me relative power output. OK I admit it...I like numbers, I like data...yes...I am a scientist and data can be fun (and evil...all at the same time).

And on other good things...I managed to lose a pound this week by employing the 'tricks' from the book "Mindless Eating" that I mentioned earlier. Sweet...and it is Thanksgiving week...i don't know how that happened...mindlessly. :-) I also realized my weight is down from when I raced Hartford. Hmmm...how did I over look that one. So that's great.

It's good.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Move along...

Got 'Zilla all packed up and sent her on her way...snif. :-( It's always hard to watch friends move away.

Recently I've had a hard time with the thought that I'm going to be living somewhere else this time next year. It is unfortunate that there really aren't job opportunities for me in the specific area I live after I graduate, because i'm pretty happy here. (aside from that whole grad school thing and if I were graduated, everything else in my life I'm fairly happy about). Sigh. Some chapters in our lives come to a close whether we write the end of the chapter or they just get written for us. Sigh. Well in all truth I'll be doing a lot of writing at the end of this chapter as it will be ending with a dissertation...literally. But with graduation comes a new place to live...new job...new people to work with...new places to bike...run...swim...do triathlons...make new friends...find a new church...new places to get lost in...new city to explore...I'm trying to be more excited about it...but it's hard...sigh.


move along...

Chillin out

So...this is what happens when I start to figure things out...i start to tinker. So I've done a little bit of formatting. I'm starting to get the hang of what to do with all this code and stuff. It only took me 5 months to figure out up from down on this blog thingy. But now that I kinda figured out how to change the formatting, I now can't figure out the workout tracker I've put in the side bar (giggle). It won't let me put multiple workouts up there. Why? I'll either figure it out or give up and then have to take off the workout tracker from the blog because that would be a worthless piece of sidebar space.

I did manage a 33 minute run. I had planned on further, but I didn't get up earlier even though I woke up before my alarm. Sigh...I wish I just BOUND out of bed when I woke up in the AM. It is too bad it is such a chore for me. That gets old.

Tomorrow I'm planning an 8 miler or a trainer ride or I could take my bike off the trainer and GO for a ride. There's a thought.

Thanksgiving was great. The right amount of people, conversation and yummy food. It was a fun time of hanging out with people you make family when you aren't with your own family.

Monday, November 20, 2006

This...and that

I just realized today that I have a 5K that i'm racing in less than two weeks...and I've been running...err..not tons lately. Maybe I should...err...run or something. I'm not really 'racing' this one as I convinced about 6 of my friends to run the 5K (most of them it's their first)...so i'll be chillin/running with them for the race. I'm excited for them. One of them commented the other day that she never thought she'd ever like running and she's beginning to. That's fun to hear.

I am planning on actually running tomorrow in the sub 30 degree weather in the AM...brrrr. NEW ENGLAND....arg...yea, yea...i'm from Idaho and I'm supposedly supposed to be OK with coldness...OK...i admit it... i'm just a whiner when it comes to being cold. I know that. Maybe i'll get over it one day. This will be my 5th NE winter and counting...hmmm, donno if it'll happen this winter. I can't say i'm going to move somewhere with milder winters because Minnesota showed up on my radar as far as job prospects. And Massachusetts has potential too, but so does sunny California (and then there is the potential of overseas...we shall see). But...nothing is being offered, nothing has official interviews and at this moment...i still have a billion hours til I graduate and that doesn't look the most promising at the moment. Blech

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Finished the book

Yesterday, I finished the book Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think. by Brian Wansink. I loved the experiments that they conducted. (I wonder if this guy needs a post-doc that is trained TOTALLY out of his field :-) ) Truly amazing and fascinating. What I also love about the book is that there isn't an emphasis on people needing to overhaul their lives to stop the progression of continual weight gain, they just need to change a few habits first. Baby steps. His main point is to figure out where we are accruing 100-200 calories through mindless eating and figure out what habits need to change to reverse or modify around those calories. His suggestion is to tackle just three habits for 28 days (as that's how long it takes to reverse a habit or make a habit) and check it off each night as you accomplished the habit.

Here are the three habits i'm going to focus on for the next 28 days
1) Snacks must got in a bowl or plate.
2) minmum 8 glasses of water (he doesn't talk about this too much, but I'm totally lazy about it and it's important)
3) Try to follow the 1/2 plate rule as much as possible...1/2 the plate are non-starchy veggies and the other half is divided into quarters....meat and starch. And if i'm in a situation where I'm not able to follow this idea then try the 20% rule...go for 20% less of heavy calorie sorts of food.

Even if you aren't actively looking to lose weight but you find that your weight at times will gradually creep up on you, this book is really good at explaining where some sneaky calories are creeping in when you aren't considering them as fully as you might think you are.

Check out this guy's website: http://mindlesseating.org/ it talks about some of their findings and stuff. Granted I'm totally facinated by all the experiments which is why I think this book is the coolest.

Friday, November 17, 2006

AMAZING book!!

I had read a review of this book in the nytimes the other day and after reading about a billion other book reviews I decided I wanted to have a 'look' at the book in person to see if I really wanted it. And when I went to the store today and started to read it...i knew i just had to have it. The book: Mindless Eating: Why we eat more than we think. By Brian Wansink.

Through a bunch of different experiments explained in this book, the author shows how we all mindless eat in different situations and shows how our environment or what we think we are eating is more of an influence on how much we actually eat. All the little food decisions we have to make sometimes will lead us to believe we are eating a lot less than we actually are and in the end we end up overeating.

OK I will admit this...I am a scientist (giggle), therefore I like ACTUAL experiments and ACTUAL data and percents that tell me HOW people are prone to overeat in certain situations. I think i've discovered that these kind of experiments would be really fun. (way more fun than my lame experiments that's for sure).

One experiment they gave people going to a movie theatre popcorn. Half the population got a BIG bag, and the other half got a medium bag. Now the 'trick' was that the popcorn was 5 days old. Someone afterwards described the popcorn as if they were eating styrofoam peanuts...basically it was really gross yet people still ate it. Two people actually forgot that they didn't buy the popcorn and tried to get a refund for the popcorn. The point being, the popcorn was gross. Yet even when the popcorn was gross people who had the BIG bag still ate more popcorn. They tested this in different cities, with fresh and stale popcorn and the verdict was the same. People ate more if they had more.

They've done TONS of different types of experiments showing how our decision making about food is largely influenced by how much we perceive we are eating which is has a lot to do with the environment we create while we are eating. He advocates that you can use the findings from this study to your advantage to pile in the good stuff and also use the information to limit the bad stuff.

I'm only 4 chapters into the book...here are a few tidbits that he's broken down from these studies.

Think 20% more or less.
Dish out 20% less than what you think you want when you are going for food...you probably won't miss it. But try to increase your veggie content by 20% more.

See all you eat
Put everything you think you want to eat on a plate before you start eating. Pre-plate your food.
Keep visual score of what you've eaten to remind yourself of what you've eaten. Dinners, snacks, everything.

Put your mega sized boxes of food in smaller boxes to dish stuff out of (like cereal) and pour into smaller bowls. Dish up your plates on smaller plates because it will seem like you are eating more.

The studies are really fascinating. And if you were to cut out 200 calories a day just by mindlessly avoiding them, that translates into 20lbs in a year. The book shows the subtle ways we "convince "ourselves to eat more bad stuff, but also shows how we can create "good" cues to eat the healthy stuff too.

I really am loving this book and I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

trainer F-U-N

I like the trainer...no i really like the trainer. This evening it was fun...I set myself up to catch up on some good 'ol 'Grey's Anatomy' because you can watch it online (and well...we don't have cable and can't watch any sort of TV and yes I am addicted to that silly soap opera...sigh.) Anyway it's GREAT I can set myself up with whatever I want to watch and just keep an eye on my HR and WRRRRRRRRRRRR. Since i'm sorta in off season...base building...sorta whatever season, i'm just looking for some time with aerobic building. I do have some more dedicated trainer DVDs i'll use also, but I'm beginning to think that I may be able to balance FUN DVD aerobic training and more focused stuff with spinning DVDs and good tunes pumping. I think the combination will make trainer time, fun...interesting...or something like that. This evening I managed to get an hour in.

And since it seems that life...well...will continue to be...life and is proving to be a bit on the more emotionally draining side of things for awhile, I am thinking that I'm going to need to move to a more structured training schedule. Hmmmm...OK i won't speak too soon on that one. :-)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

back to running

I got a 4 mile run in this morning despite some areas still hurting some from my fall 3.5 weeks ago. Yeesh. But, the run had to happen more for my emotional sanity than anything else. And it didn’t hurt that bad, just some discomfort.

Life is well…life. There are times when everyone goes through things, we struggle with the realities and truths that are part of our life and it’s just one of those times for me. A small part, yet important part of how I handle my life situations involves exercise.

This morning, the only thing I NEEDED was a RUN. Nothing else was really going to substitute. Tthis morning, pounding the pavement was really the only thing that would start to make a dent in my emotional state. (If I had had my act together a little bit more, and I wasn’t still trying to let my body heal…. what would have really helped would have been a track workout…hmmm…)

Anywho…I got it done.


Mile 1: 10:08 Avg HR 154

Mile 2: 9:19 Avg HR 163

Mile 3: 9:18 Avg HR 166

Mile 4: 10:50 Avg HR 152

The good news with all this ‘offseason’/falling down the stairs/going back home/not working out as much as I should/could/whathaveyou is my weight is not up. Granted it’s not down (which is a goal of mine)…but considering how things have been over the past month…that’s OK. It is how it is.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

birthday chaos fun

Birthday...chaos...fun was the theme much of last week. Not much training happening, but I was back in my hometown out in Idaho with the fam, celebrating birthday's, celebrating family, and hanging out for a few days trying to take a little break from the ol' lab. My birthday was last week and we celebrated my mom's 60th birthday as we managed to get the WHOLE family together. That can be quite a feat as I live cross country and I have a sis overseas with her two kiddos (5months and almost 2 years old). Met the 5 month old for the first time on the trip (she's quite the cutie with an amazing smile). The two year old...he's great. Lots of fun when he's not cranky (but really...who is fun when they are cranky?). And got to see my other two nieces who live in my home town with my other sis. They are both roughly 3...five months apart...figure that one out ;-) (OK, OK one of them is adopted). The older one is quite the drama queen and wears a Dorthy outfit from the wizard of Oz...a gingham dress with the ruby red slippers. She will also emphatically tells people that her name is Ariel (She went through a Belle phase last year). Really, if you met her, you wouldn't question it. And the other niece is a real sweet kid.

It was a great weekend. My sisters and I had to go through all the heritage 'stuff' that my mom saved for us. The old books (we all fought over), certain pieces of clothing from child hood that well...are hard to part with...and the RANDOM stuff too that you just laugh at, take pictures of...and give it to Good Will!

We found this in the pile of stuff...and I can't seem to part with it. Seriously...it's just a cake box and a paint stick, you'd think I could get over it. But it was my first 'violin'. I learned with the Suzuki method and you first have to prove that you can hold the violin before you actually get to 'play' a real violin. I was pretty young (5 years old)...when I started. You can start kids as young as 3 with the Suzuki method. .

So...speaking of birthday's...I received my Kurt Kinetic trainer while I was gone and assembled it last night. It's in my room. It gives me the giggles that my BIKE is in the middle of my room. It also keeps me pretty accountable when it is STARING at me and begging me to come and ride it. Anyway, i tried out the trainer tonight and had a great time. 50mins...used part of the 30min Spinerval video that came with it and had fun.

Tomorrow the plan is weights and then swimming. I hope I don't sink.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

all of 58 seconds

58 seconds...that is all I ran this morning before I thought "um...no, this hurts too much". So a whole 10 calories burn...whoohoo...lots there.

But the beauty of being a triathlete...you have two other disciplines to pick from when one isn't cooperating. So...being a beautiful day...a little cold...i hopped on my bike for 50 mins. Nothing serious. But it was nice to be out. Weird to bike with it is cold because you are equally cold and warm at the same time.

Saw a small flurry of snow today...winter is a come'in

So..i think this next week will be some swimming, biking and yoga. Running won't happen til some of the bruising stops hurting. Maybe next week.

Friday, November 03, 2006

and I swam

I even swam this morning. 1500y

First 500 warm up

next 250 higher effort
5x50 with 10-15 sec between

500 cool down.

Total fiasco: 32 minutes. On my high reps I saw between 52-55 sec per 50. High HR...but i'm not exactly in super swim shape at the moment and i'm trying not to be too hard on myself with workouts this week. That whole tumbling action and pain all in my back sorta put a hamper on my plans. So i'm rolling with it.

Areas of affected soreness...did alright. I might attempt to run tomorrow. That might be funny.

Oh...and I've been told the bike trainer is venturing my way!! My birthday just a week away. Fun with bikes.


I have a confession…


…I did not become a triathlete 3 years ago.

I became a triathlete 10 years ago…gasp.

This is taking the definition that once you have done a triathlon (no matter the length), you are therefore a triathlete.

I did my first triathlon 10 years ago…it was a super-sprint (as I’d call it)…so maybe it doesn’t really count as being a triathlon…but I swam, I biked and I ran. I only swam ¼ a mile, biked 6 and ran 2 miles…but it was a triathlon…body marking and all. I even took second in my category the next year. Ohhh, I had two ‘seasons’ back to back.


It’s not like I trained for either event…in fact the second year I got locked out of my house and ended up running in pseudo-sneaker/running shoes that you’d wear around, not run in. I didn’t even know I got second til they mailed me my ribbon.

Again…does it count to say you placed when…ahem…there were only two of you in the category (giggle).

Anyway…I’ve been thinking recently HOW I got into this nutty sport. And as I think back I realize that the seed that was planted of even knowing what a triathlon WAS happened in 8th grade. It was after some boy I had a crush on in one of my classes signed my year book and wrote across one of his pictures: IronMan (including the M-dot)…and I just thought…WHAT? I’m not sure if it was that year that I figured out what an Ironman was, but the memory still sits with me.

It’s funny because after those first two ‘seasons’ I didn’t think about triathlons for another…errr…4-5 years. The thoughts of triathlons surfaced again when I was working in New Zealand and one of my colleagues was training for IMNZ. Before his training, he had never done a triathlon…and he just decided he wanted to do an ironman. My initial reaction: OK Mr. Wack-o

But somewhere along the way, I thought I wanted to do a triathlon, but not of the iron variety. But something triathlon-esque. It wasn't summer at the time when I decided to try this out...So I started with a duathlon…

and I discovered….um…the biking part…not so hot. I was the slowest biker on the course. But I did manage to pass a couple of people on the run and not come in last. Mildly demoralizing…but I’m still here…so obviously not too scarring.

And I wasn’t too traumatized because I still thought I’d do a triathlon. I thought an Olympic would be a good place to start…um…yea…not so much. I got through about 5 weeks of the training, and then ended up moving back to the US, moved cross country and my thoughts of triathlons faded for another 1.5 years.

And then…I did my first sprint in 2004

And then I did 3 sprints in 2005

And then I got a new bike

And then I was REALLY hooked

And then I did two “Oly’s”, and two sprints in 2006

And now…I’m starting to think that I will be a triathlete for as long as I can.

So…I’ve started thinking…interesting and entertaining thoughts. Who knows what the future holds. ;-)

So yes, I confess…

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Or as they say out here on the east coast: I-D-er

Which ever way you chose to say it…I HAVE AN IDEA!! Idea, idea, idea, idea…I’m doing the “I have an idea dance” and no one can stop that dance. :-P

One of those Ph.D. ‘milestones’ is to come up with an original research idea and propose it…write it up in a specific format…and defend it to your thesis committee. I’ve thought about/prayed about/hemmed and hawed about/dreamed about/screamed about/been depressed about coming up with an original idea that was scientifically relevant for the past…err…2.5 years. And well…I HAVE AN I-D-EA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


It’s still in its beginning formation…but I think no one has done it yet. AND I’m pretty sure it’s fundamental research-ish enough to fly. SWEET.

Get’er done.

Idea…idea…idea…idea…I HAVE and idea…idea…idea…idea.

OK you get the point, but you don’t really understand how excited I am to finally have something to start with.

Funny thing is…it just ‘happened’ yesterday in the lab when I was doing an experiment…out of no where, the thought just came to me. SOOOOOO…stinkin… cool.

Doing the ‘idea dance’…idea…idea…idea.

feeling better

Well overall I am starting to feel a little better. Fortunately I didn't feel worse on Wed than I did on Tuesday or I would have ended up lying around on the couch all day long, because i wasn't moving very fast on Tuesday. The bruising is definitely Black, Purple and Blue. I definitely won't be able to lie down on my right side for a long time, but I'm OK...and feeling better.

Went and did some 'gentle' yoga this morning. I'm going to attempt to swim tomorrow. I may even venture and try to do a short run on the weekend. Although since running takes a fair amount of stability through your back, I'm not sure if my back is actually up for it. We shall see. Next week may be a lot of swimming and yoga. This is not what I had in mind when I thought i needed more yoga in my off season. But it is what it is. I'm grateful nothing is broken and I didn't receive a concussion from the fall.