Sunday, September 29, 2013

Let's Get Real

photo credit 

I rarely discuss my family life or my children on this blog.  My goal with this forum is to discuss "dreaming big" -- specifically inspired as I crossed the finish line of my first Ironman.  I had chosen a goal, followed through with my plan, and obtained my dream -- doing something bigger than I ever though possible as a not-so-competitive adult athlete.  It changed my life as  I then became a USAT Certified Triathlon coach, helping others achieve the same dream I had.  And I hoped that through my writing and coaching, I could help and inspire others to reach for something beyond their comfort zone and dream big, as well.  
But my dreams  don't always involve athletic pursuits.  Today my dreams are specifically for my children.  You see, my three girls (I also have a son) look at blogs of seemingly perfect model types who dress in ridiculously expensive clothes, with never a long, flowing hair out of place.  They browse through blogs with "candid photos" of  women strolling through of exotic locations wearing designer shoes and carrying pricey handbags.  The post photos are of "what they want", and "what they've already got."  In a word, my kids are bombarded by snapshots of a perfect world which is completely unattainable.  The shoot location is dreamy, the girl and her boyfriend are smiling, and the image is completely .... unreal.  
I dream for my kids is to live life constantly pursuing a better self.  I want them to strive to improve physically, spiritually, mentally, academically.   I want my girls to have a strong and confident body image without showing it off through immodest clothing.  I want them to take care of their outward appearance without breaking the bank on a out-of-their price range ensemble.

In the seemingly perfect world of these famous bloggers, one never reads about how they afford to wear what they wear, or who is financing their wordly travels, or who on earth is taking their "selfies" as they look away from the camera in a perfect pose through immaculate light.  Is anyone ever without makeup?  Girls ...  all girls,  comparison is the thief of joy!

I GET it.  These bloggers do what they do to get advertisers.  And wear what they wear because they are "sponsored".  Which begs the question: what is reality?  And why are you choosing to believe this is THEIR reality?

I'd love for my children to prepare meals that are colorful on their plate and help fuel their body so they are energetic!  I'd love my children to be able to run in a charity race or get their namaste on at yoga, or tackle a challenging Crossfit class.  I want them to be confident in their beauty and rock a Target sweater and drugstore makeup.  I want them to be well read, enjoy a beautiful piece of music, and get mesmerized by a masterpiece of art.    I want them to travel when they can afford to travel.  And to be good people -- who know who they are and where they came from.  

And from my book of life:

Show Up
Be A Good Friend
Find Courage
Take Chances
Remember Your Worth
and of course, always
Dream Big

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Right Bra, Bro

Workout clothes, don't always have to be expensive.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good Lulu purchase when I am in need of a motivational boost or reward from a race well done.  But I haven't found anything quite as comfy and inexpensive as the Champion Seamless Racer Bra at Target.

I am pretty picky when it comes to holding in/up the ladies.  I don't like too many buckles, or adjustable straps or uncomfortable seams.  This bra has solved all those issues.  It's seamless, supportive and even comes in cute colors.  Target knocks a buck or two off the price when you buy two.  So I'm stocking up.

Take it from me, I've done extensive sports bra research.  I've tried the hoity toity Lulu bras thinking they HAD to be worth the price.  But I turned right around and drove to Target after trying all the expensive bras on for size.   I'm sticking with Champion.  Good price.  Comfy for the gals.  And something that keeps me motivated to run for less than a $20 sticker price.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Shifting 101, Thank you Bicycling Magazine

The Basics of Bike Shifting

With a little practice, changing gears can be as intuitive as pedaling. Here are six things to remember.
ByNeil Bezdek (1)
1. The Gears
Most bikes have two or three chainrings in the front and anywhere from 7 to 11 gears, or cogs, in the back. Moving the chain from the smallest rear cog to the largest eases your pedaling effort incrementally. Moving it between the chainrings in the front results in a more noticeable change—pedaling feels easier in a smaller chainring and harder in a bigger one. 

2. Shifter Savvy
The left-hand shifter changes the front gears; the one on the right controls gears in back. If you get flustered on the fly, remember: RIGHT = REAR.

3. It's Okay To...
• Use only the rear cogs and the small or middle front chainring when you’re just getting comfortable on a bike.
• look down to see what gear you’re in.
• shift whenever a more experienced rider does.

4. When to Shift
The reason bikes have gears is so you can pedal (relatively) comfortably no matter what the terrain. Shift to an easier gear on climbs or when you’re riding into the wind. Use a harder gear on flats or if the wind is blowing from behind. When in doubt, shift before the terrain changes. When you shift, ease up on the pedals, especially on hills; if you’re pushing hard, the chain may skip or fall off.

5. Avoid Cross-Chaining 
That means the chain is at an extreme slant, either in the big ring up front and the biggest cog in back, or the small ring up front and the small cog in back. This not only stresses the hardware, but it also limits your options if you need to shift again. 

6. Cheat Sheet
For: Uphills and headwinds 
Use: Small or middle front chainring + bigger rear cogs

For: Downhills
Use: Large front chainring + a range of rear cogs

For: Flat terrain
Use: Small or middle front chainring + ­smaller rear cogs

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Well, Crap

Nine Surprising Foods With More Sugar Than a Krispy Kreme Doughnut

A new report finds that some supposedly healthy foods are actually laden with sugar.
By Dana Liebelson on Fri. September 13, 2013 9:41 AM PDT

It's Friday! After a long week of work, you're probably ready to curl up on the couch with a big box of doughnuts. But having read Gary Taubes' expose in Mother Jones on the sugar industry's terrifying campaign to convince the American public that sugar won't kill you, maybe you'll reach for a "healthier" option instead—like a green Odwalla "Super Food" smoothie.

Not so fast. According to a new report by Credit Suisse, you might be better off eating a doughnut than some of the stuff marketed as healthy. Here are nine surprising foods that have more sugar than a Krispy Kreme doughnut, which, at 10 grams, seems saintly in comparison:










Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Ride To Remember

LOTOJA 2013 was one for the record books -- a remarkably beautiful day, light winds, light rain, two full rainbows and a group of friends who accomplished what they had set out to do: 206 miles, three states, in one day.

Rather than give you a blow by blow of my day, I'm going to pass along what I've learned and what helped me through a sunrise to sunset journey on the bike.  Our merry band of six clocked in at 12 hours of ride time and 13 hours of actual race time.  It was a LONG day.  But we accomplished our goal, riding as a group,  and finishing together.

Nerves kicked in for me the evening prior to the ride.  And the morning wake up call proved that the anxiety had followed me into the morning hours.  I was about to attempt something I had never done. My longest training ride had been 125 miles.  Now I was going for 206.  Could I do it?  Could I hang with the pack?  Would I slow the group down?  Was I going to be the weak link?  Here is what I learned:

1.  Preparation Works!  Every Saturday morning from April to September I put in 80-125 mile rides, along with three mid-week training rides.  I created and followed a training plan allowing for builds, tapers, and recovery.  I brought my bike on vacation with me and rode with my husband.  When I was not with him or other friends, I rode alone.  But I was consistent.  I never missed a LONG Saturday ride.  I tested the food I would eat on race day.  I tested the shorts and DZNuts that I would use.  I allowed for recovery rides and sprint and interval days.  I came to the start line fully prepared for any type of weather, mechanical problem and even had my headlight charged in case I needed it.  Call me a Boy Scout, whatever you like, but I was prepared to face the day.  I rode into Jackson Hole strong and smiling!

2.  Riding with a Group is Good.  We had a group of six that vowed to stay together on race day.  While there were a few hiccups on the route, for the most part, we kept a pace line and stayed together for the entire 206 miles.  Several of us, at different points along the ride, felt sick or uncomfortable or even wanted to stop.  But the camaraderie of friends kept spirits uplifted.  We coaxed each other on and it made the mental game so much easier to handle.  Riding together is a good way to tackle your virgin LOTOJA experience.

3.  I Rode with a Camelback.  Now this is not for everyone, but I chose to ride with a backpack hydration system allowing me to take quick sips of fluid while I rode.  It also kept me hands free while I was in a pace line or racing downhill.  This was a lifesaver when we rode next to the rumble strips where I wanted both hands on my handlebars.  I never ran out of water or had to conserve my liquids between aid stations.  I didn't want to bonk and  the Camelback was my security blanket.

4.  Keep Your Stops Quick!  We spent a little too much time at each aid station.  My legs got cold and it became harder to start pedaling once it was time to go.  Communicate with your team that your stops should be about a minute or two.  A bite to eat, a potty break and then take off!  When our group splintered, some of those stops took up to 20 to 30 minutes long -- not an effective way to race or ride.

Two of our SAG crew at the starting line
5. Choose An Amazing SAG Crew!  I will always be indebted to the family and friends who helped us cross the finish line this year.  You cannot do this race alone.  Your SAG crew is there to cheer you on when you come around the corner.  They give you positive words of encouragement.  They refill your bottles and hand you nutrition and place cold towels around your neck.  Thank you, my dear SAG Crew.  You made LOTOJA 2013 a perfectly amazing day.

6.  Enjoy The View.  Lift your eyes, look around, marvel at where you are riding because it is perhaps one of the most beautiful places in the world.  The flat farmlands, the rolling hills, the dramatic Snake River Canyon and the majestic Tetons -- it's majestic and overwhelmingly dramatic.  We were blessed with a light rain storm and two amazing full rainbows that greeted us at the spot where our dear friend had passed away just one year prior.  Thank you, Rob, for that heavenly display of love.  We know you were watching over your wife and family and our crew that day.


Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.

Dreams That Have Come True