Whole-ish 30

Today is January 30 and I am wrapping up my second attempt at a Whole30. In a nutshell, it is eating extremely clean – no grains, legumes, sugar, dairy – for 30 days.  I first tried it in November 2012 but totally fell off the wagon during my son’s birthday party (chocolate cake!).  I have been following the 80/20 Primal eating style since March of 2012 but, honestly, it had become more 60/40 over the past few months.  I was given access to an online support group for the month through my coach so I thought I would give it another go.

One problem I had with the Whole30 program the first time is that it is so extremely strict and if you divert from the plan at all you are supposed to restart at day one.  This seriously triggered my disordered eating issues and I knew it would still be a problem this time.  I really did try to stay 100% compliant for the first few days but I was making myself insane by trying to find the perfect bacon (they all have sugar!) or accidentally using red wine vinegar (wine!) so I quickly changed my mindset to a Whole-ish 30.  This more relaxed stance worked well, overall.  Some days I did totally dive off the wagon (and roll down the road, into the ditch, with two cookies stuffed in my mouth) but most days I kept the course.  I was even able to handle the nights when my husband has classes quite well.  Historically, this has always been my problem night and I would wind up eating nothing but junk as I took care of the various household tasks.


I was 98% compliant on dairy and have found it to be a problem area for me.  I was definitely over-consuming it before (tons of calories!) and it seems to affect my skin quite a bit.  I plan to keep it out of my diet as much as I can from now on.

We might have a problem…

I identified my nut addiction (Hey! Mind out of the gutter!) and realized that, shockingly, if I don’t keep an open bag of almonds on the counter, I don’t mindlessly eat handfuls at a time.

I learned how to handle my solo-parenting nights and still be mindful of my eating.

I lost some weight! It’s not the goal of the program but it’s always nice.

Not Good

I need to work on my fueling after hard workouts.  I did eat a mini bagel out of desperation and had a few incidents of becoming quite light headed and dizzy while showering after a tough push.

I need to work on avoiding “just a bite” of my son’s snacks.  Overall, I did pretty well but I still ate more than I should have.

I seriously need to work on my weekend cook-ups so we have enough quick meals during the week.  Now that the whole UR family hits the gym almost every night, it’s tough to get a quick meal on the table before homework and bed.

I seem to have developed a slight Lara bar addiction…

She’s my cherry pie… damn it!

Going Forward

Like I said, I plan to keep the dairy out of my diet.  I also miss my protein shakes.  I know they aren’t natural by any stretch but I do feel they play a part in my recovery strategy so I plan to experiment with some various brands.  I am also going to continue to play with the various fuels to prevent the crashes.

Overall, I think this was a successful month.

Have you done a Whole30?  How did it go?


I’m feeling a bit unmoored lately.  This training year has been so drastically different from last year and I don’t feel like I’m handling it well.  Last year, really since October 2012, my focus was on the Marathon – capital M because that’s how it always looked in my head.  Ever single step I took in 2013 was built to get me to the starting line on October 27.  When I started, my longest distance was a 10K so I carefully built my miles during the first half of the year so I could start strong when the core training kicked in.  I had a long check list and I clicked off every single one of the boxes.  I had a few “just for fun” races like the two obstacle runs and a couple of small, local events but everything else was on the Plan.

This year? Not so much.  I have my first (super) sprint triathlon at the end of March that has me cross-training like mad and my first half marathon is in 7 weeks (Rock N Roll DC – kinda lost track of that!) but neither of those are my “A” race.  Thanks to the new MCM lottery, I don’t even know what my “A” race will be!  If the sprint goes well, I might try for an Olympic distance at the end of summer – is that my race?  I don’t know.  If I’m locked out of MCM, I will still do the 10K and then maybe either the Richmond or Pittsburgh Marathons.  Are either of those The One?  I still don’t know!

At the end of March, I’ll know if I enjoy triathlon enough to shoot for the next distance level –  I already know that if it’s good, the super sprint will not even come close to scratching my racing itch.  In a few weeks, registration opens for the 17.75K Golden Ticket race (finishers are guaranteed entry into MCM like last year) and then the lottery opens a few weeks after that.  By the end of April, my plans should be more focused but, right now, I’m very much adrift and it’s making me batty!  I have many (many!) races already on the books and am constantly fighting the urge to do more!  I’ll be glad when I’m back to full training and the season is under way.  Maybe then I’ll finally settle down.  Hope springs eternal!

Swimming Along

I have stupendously bad eyes.  They are also “weird” in that I need prisms in each lens to reflect the light correctly and I see double without glasses.  I also have very poor depth perception, even with glasses.  It became noticeable when I was 7 and was having problems reading the chalk board in class. I also fell a lot and tended to walk into doorways but everyone thought I was just klutzy.  When I was finally fitted with glasses, my eyes continued to change so quickly that one doctor told me that I would be blind by the time I was 18 – a great thing for a 9 year old to hear!

I didn’t go blind but I am legally blind without my glasses.  I used to become quite panicked when I wasn’t wearing them.  Because of this, I wore them all of the time, even to swim.  I took a few swim classes when I was a kid but I would never put my head under the water because I always wore my (quite expensive, especially when we didn’t have insurance) glasses.  Needless to say, I never develop any sort of form. I can, however, float like a champ 🙂

When I decided to seriously consider triathlon, I knew I needed to learn to swim with my head down and that would require prescription goggles.  Unfortunately, my crazy prescription made that no easy task.  I finally did find one company that could handle them, Liberty Sport, and had them ordered through the ophthalmologist office. They were shockingly affordable!  Which just shows what a racket prescription eye wear is…


I tried them the first time at the tri clinic that I took last March.  While the class was helpful, the pool segment started out rough.  I was one of the last on deck and everyone else was already in the water by the side.  I assumed that the water was shoulder height so I slipped over the side… and went straight down!  The surprise and cold water almost sent me hyperventilating!  Honestly, I had a hard time focusing the rest of the hour because it shook me so much.  That combined with the problems I was having keeping one strap tight – which caused leakage and fogging and hey, I’m blind again! – made for a stressful time.  So, the goggles came off and they sat for nine months.

Finally, in January, I decided I was ready to try again so I signed myself up for a level III swimming class at the local rec center so I could learn to get my head down and breath.  The morning of the first class found me in a panic!  I was beside myself with nerves and I was convinced it would be an utter failure!  I seriously considered just sitting in the parking lot for an hour and lie to everyone that it was fine.  But, I forced myself out of the car and I’m very glad I did!  The instructor immediately picked up on my nerves and put me at ease.  I pushed through the first lesson and left with the knowledge that I could improve.

My strap was still a problem so I found a bungee cord system that has since proved to work well and drops to help with the fogging (no, spit, dish soap, water, etc. did not work).  Two problems solved!

Game changer!
Game changer!

I had my first “long” swim session last week and I was given 1100 yards.  Oh boy. I bulled through it but my breathing was bad and I was going on sheer will power rather than any form.  I did it in a very long 45 minutes.  My jaw ached when I got out from clenching my teeth so hard!  Okay, one week down.

I had my second class this past Saturday and we really worked on breathing drills.  Somewhere toward the end of class, I finally learned to relax and I actually breathed semi-properly!  I wasn’t prairie dogging!  I was really excited to see how that would translate into my weekly solo swim!  Last night, I did the same distance as last week but with a 10 minute improvement!  My jaw didn’t hurt afterwards, either!  I did sputter and mess up for the first 100 yds or so but then I did some kicking drills to calm down and all was well after that.  I definitely need to learn how to quickly relax in the water.  I’m reading the second book by Andy Holgate and I just finished a section where he was describing some giant jelly fish he saw in an open water swim at one of his races so I imagined that I was swimming above the jellies, too, and just tried to relax (yes, I know they sting but the are so pretty!)

Baby Moon Jellies at the National Aquarium in Baltimore
Baby Moon Jellies at the National Aquarium in Baltimore

I know I still have a ton of work to do on my form but I also know I will eventually get there.  I may be blind as a bat but I’m also as stubborn as a mule!


Working With a Coach

I will be the first to admit that I am a lazy athlete.  I know my performance would improve if I was more diligent in my training and didn’t give myself so many “free passes”.  For example, the dog has been up at 3:00 for the past two days.  We normally get up at 4:10 so this effective loss of and hour we desperately need is leaving us mainlining coffee. The “Normal” (hah!) me would let tonight’s workout slide.

I would totally pay for this

But, that’s not going to happen now!  When I decided to really train for a triathlon, I knew I needed guidance and an occasional butt kicking.  I needed someone who could help keep me on track and who is not a stranger to trying to train while still being a good wife, mother, and employee (with a long commute). I decided to hire the woman who got the idea in my head in the first place, Swim, Bike, Mom.


I am wrapping up my first official week with her and it is, to put it delicately, kicking my ass!  I hurt in places I didn’t think possible and my entire body is going WTF?!  That coupled with the sleep deprivation seriously makes me want to skip tonight’s workout out.  But I won’t. Because I know someone is holding me accountable.  SBM uses Training Peaks to build my workouts.  Every morning I receive an email saying what’s on tap for today and tomorrow and then I log in after each workout to say what I did.  I could fudge lie and record a workout even if I don’t do it but that does me absolutely no good.  Might as well flush my training money down the toilet.  Instead, I’m going to put on my big girl panties and GET IT DONE.  With the help of a lot of coffee!

Not my BGP but my attire for the Cupid’s Undie Run next month.

If you need help staying focused and sticking to your workouts, a coach may be a good move for you.  It’s not uncommon to work with a coach long-distance and you may be surprised by how affordable it really is!

Bring on 2014

I’m not a big believer in “resolutions”, mostly because they never end well.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry – Robert Burns

The road to hell is paved with good intentions – Various

It’s easy to go to hell – Virgil, The Aeneid

I much prefer “goals”.  You can meet your goal or you can fall short.  There’s no value judgement built into goals like there is with resolutions.  If you don’t meet the goal, you just reset it and move on.  The goal helps you focus in the short term while you work toward the bigger picture.

When I set my goals, I try to have enough stretch to push myself but not so much as to set up a situation for failure.  I may not hit every one but I know that I will be a better person for trying.

And it’s YOUR year, too!

With no further ado, I give you my GOALS for 2014!

1. Be able to do at least 5 real pull ups before the Spartan race in the summer.

2. Complete at least 3 triathlons of varying degrees.

3. Take 40 minutes off my marathon time.

4.  Support my family as they work towards better fitness (it’s not all about me!)

5.  Be a volunteer for at least two races.

6.  Keep working on my self talk and mental view.

7. Do at least one thing that scares the crap out of me!

As I was preparing to talk to my new tri coach on the phone the other week, I grabbed a freebie notebook that some publisher had given me from my desk and jotted down a few notes.  I didn’t notice the cover until after I finished writing.  I found it supremely fitting.

My mantra for 2014

What will you be doing to claim the year and expand your capabilities?