Monday, July 30, 2012

Week One Completed

Week one was a success! I dropped 5 pounds on my first weigh in. The lady who took my weight down was surprised at how fast my first 5 came off. We all know the first week is the most successful…doesn’t anyone watch biggest loser? LOL! It’s the luck of week one. The numbers in the weeks to follow always tend to be much smaller.

Going in to week two was tough…it’s the darn weekend that always presents a challenge. Friday night I’d watched the Olympic opening ceremonies with my dad who loves his Bud Light on the weekends. I hadn’t seen him a long time since I’d been too busy training for Vineman. I couldn’t say no to having a drink with him and a couple slices of pizza (no cheese)...strike one for the weekend. Strike two came the next day as our city had its annual community festival which is host to a chili cook off. I’ve looked forward to this for months! I love chili. Lucky for me, we had 12 miles on our training schedule for the morning. I felt so sluggish from the night before and wanted to opt for the 8 miles the rest of the team was doing but I had a great partner out there with me who pushed me to do the 12. I love my TNT teammates for this. It felt great!

The weekend was not that good for me however  I remained active and went for a bike ride the next day and spent the entire day doing laundry and cleaning (that’s gotta burn some calories, right?). I gave myself a little room to splurge since I knew I was going to start a slightly new plan. I’d still track my WW points but this, I was truly stoked about…
I was chosen to win a two week workout plan from a trainer via Twitter. Fitness specialist, Shaun Spencer had posted a contest. His 1,000th follower would win a workout plan from him. A huge thanks to the person who Tweeted this because I’d won! I was so pumped. This could not have come at a more perfect time. I'd found out mid-week but wanted to give myself a few days to review the workouts and nutrition plan that he’d sent. “I can do this!” I thought.

I geared up for his plan over the weekend by going grocery shopping and turning my fridge into my fat-burning, healthy fueling, storage unit. From egg whites to grapefruit, green tea and Greek yogurt, I was gearing up for a new, more lean me.

I even bought myself a little cooler to store my lunch…yes, a cooler. You’d think I was packing lunch for a week! We all know the trick to losing weight is eating small meals 6 times a day. Well, hence why I need a whole cooler for my food. I packed my meal for Monday and could not wait to get started. Each day begins with 300 crunches and a different workout plan. Day one, a cardio circuit! Stay tuned for this one…week 2  begins!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My Next Journey...

Day 1
I woke up this morning in a panic. My stomach felt awful and my pants just were way too tight! "This is it!" I thought. All my excuses for waiting till Monday were going to be thrown out the window. "If I wait till Monday," I thought, "I'll just keep eating like crap and gain more weight!"

Weight gain after competing a 70.3? YES!!! My scale had gone from the 150's to the 160's! How did this happen with all my training? Well let's just say training for all three sports added muscle (great!) while causing me to be more hungry (not so great!). I only ended up more hungry and oftentimes consuming more calories and, truth-be-told, not always the healthiest of choices on post-training meals. I also think what did it was making sure I was fueled before a training session. If I was going to ride the next day I'd eat a lot the night before and during the day before going out to ride in the evening.

Vineman was a real eye-opener for me. I felt very uncomfortable at T1 coming out of wet clothes and onto the bike. Wet spandex and having to move fast...not cute! I tried hard to lose before the race but it became such a challenge with my eating and being in a constant state of hunger. I tend to be ravenous days after a ride or long run.

I looked up the nearest Weight Watchers meeting that day and said, "That's it! I'm going!" I went and boy was the number on the scale bad. It was solid proof that I'd let things get out of hand. To be honest, I wasn't motivated after leaving. I couldn't stay for the meeting because of work which probably didn't help. The lack of motivation didn't come from the pounds I wanted to lose...27 to be exact for my optimum goal, 20 to feel more normal again, and just 12 to get back to my pre-training weight. My lack of motivation came from the fact that I'd been down this road so many times and have failed. Just look at the entries in my blog...two which I've written about in the past and have failed miserably. Is it embarrassing to post about this AGAIN? Yes! But the way I see it, it makes me human! I know there are people our there going through the same thing. Those who say, "This time is gonna be different." A few things I am doing differently already though is being more vocal about it. I talk openly with people to hold myself accountable. I've even shared with my co-workers and got someone to join again with me. It's a start and nice to have someone join me in the we go!  

Day 3
I'm officially on day 3 now of Weight Watchers! I have to admit, I actually enjoy running to my phone or computer to track what I eat. I try to track ahead of time so I know how many points I'm going to have but i seem to know roughly what things are and point range. Guess you can say I've been here a time or two...okay three. Surprisingly I'm doing well and staying within  my points and feeling very satisfied with my food. Although Weight Watchers allows you to eat whatever you want within reason based on a points system,  I've chosen to stick mostly with clean meals and snacks. Salads, fruits and veggies, and lean meats. This type of eating is easy for me since I do genuinely enjoy healthy foods.
One challenge did come today though and is going to be for the remainder of my journey...healthy fueling for endurance sports. I did an intense 24 mile ride on water and two Nuun tablets (sugar-free electrolytes). I don't want to do my normal gu's and gels because they're so unnatural so of course I suffered keeping my endurance levels up. To counter this I've purchased a book called The Feed Zone, recipes for endurance athletes. Most of the ingredients are clean and will more than likely help me with my fueling struggles. Now it's finding the time to make these and calculating points. It's a learning process that I will have venture through. Till next time..keep in tracking!

Day 5...technically 6The weekend was tough for me which I knew would be the ultimate test for me. The weekends are always hard because I always seem to have something going on. I had two events in one Angel game and a birthday party. I did well on my activity though...I ran a 10K Saturday and did a short recovery run on Sunday.

The game was great and I managed to wait until we left to eat but I did let loose and have a few beers. The drinking continued at the birthday party. I ate well until I ruined it with some Asian cracker mix and a Twizzler. I tracked every bit of it. I was proud that I didn't go overboard but disappointed  that I hadn't stuck to my trying to eat clean. I can tell alcohol consumption is going to be the hardest part of this journey since I enjoy a few drinks on the weekend. I guess if I try to keep it to a minimum and put in the work at the gym I should be okay. We'll find out at weigh in. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

I'm Officially An Ironman 70.3 Finisher

Last November I decided to go for it and register for a half Ironman. For those who have followed along, the road to this was not easy. There were several moments of self doubt, fear, and points in my training where I just wanted to give up. I remember staring at the drop deadline and contemplating giving in but a few of my friends who knew how much this meant to me encouraged me to keep going.

Weeks leading up to this sent me in a wicked frenzy. I'd wake up in the middle of the night anxious and if I couldn't sleep, I'd go for a swim or run  just to put myself at ease. One morning I even swam the entire 1.2 miles to see how I would fare on the swim for race.

Well race day was approaching and my anxiety grew as my travel plans had been up in the air. What started out as fear of not completing the event and travel worries, ended up being the best weekend of my life and ultimately the greatest accomplishment in my "One Step At A Time Journey".

I ended up going with a girl I'd met at Rock n Roll San Diego. She was there for the marathon and I was there for a TNT coach's training. We drove out Thursday and made out way to Santa Rosa where we were staying. She was with TNT OCIE Tri team and had planned to meet her team for a swim on the Russian River the following day. She asked me to come along and I did only to feel all my stress relieved by the beauty and calmness of the river and the positive energy from her team. The coaches were amazing and offered great support and even shared a few pointers with me.

The next day we rode the run course and drove the bike course. Again, helping ease my race day jitters. We did the expo thing (sorry Vineman, this part needs MAJOR improvement). I went to their inspiration dinner which reminded me once again why I love TNT and am so proud to be part of it again this season.

Saturday night we didn't sleep at all! We were so excited and nervous, by the time we knew it, it was time to get up. We got to Johnson's Beach and it was actually cold. Water was warm from the previous days but thank goodness, we were allowed our wetsuits.
I had a late wave start which gave me plenty of time to settle in although 8:22 a.m. came around rather fast. "Swim wave 11!" the announcer called. "Oh crap!!! It's time!!!!"

This was it...this was the moment I'd agonized over, dreamt of, feared AND looked forward to for months! This was the day I would test my mental and physical capabilities and put them through the ultimate challenge.

The swim was great! Finished 13 minutes ahead of my estimated time. It was actually the sport I'd trained for the least because I love the water and knew I'd be okay. I'm not fast but I'm comfortable and knew a wetsuit would help not to mention that the swim was known for being easy.

I kept at a steady pace and by the time I knew it, the swim finish was there. I'll never forget that moment I popped my head out of the water and saw the swim finish. I ran to T1 and quickly got ready for my 56 miles on the bike. This is where the race had really begun for me.

I'd trained more on the bike than all three. It was my weakest of the sorts and the one I'd feared the most. With being in such a late wave, I'd had a 5 hours to complete this portion before getting kicked off the course. For most that would be easy. For me it was mentally challenging because it then only gave me so much time on the run. It's all a numbers game when you're out there.

The bike was the worst part for me. Something bad lower back began and stomach began hurting by mile 5. "Shit! How am I going to do 51 more miles with this pain?!" I pushed through it and lost it half way in to the ride. Mile 28, I began to sob uncontrollably. I was sad because no one had come with me. My family had a wedding to attend and it just worked out better with me coming up with a friend. I was sad and starting to feel broken because of the back and stomach pain. I wanted to toss my bike on the side of the road and just quit! At his point people had passed me up and I was alone in the middle of beautiful vineyards.

"GET IT TOGETHER JULIE!!!" I yelled. "Your parents did not raise a quitter!!!" And with that, I wiped the tears off my face and kept pushing through it. Miles 29 through 43 came quick and I knew mile 44 was the infamous Chalk Hill. Right before getting there I got off my bike (by accidentally falling off of it) to stretch, mentally and physically prepare for what was ahead if me. Any other day, I could have done Chalk Hill just fine but this was not a good ride day for me. I pushed and pushed and ultimately had to get off to walk a bit. I made it to the top and knew I was in the clear. It was all downhill from here. 12 miles to go!!! The last 4 miles were the hardest because I was so close yet in so much pain. 52, 53, 54, 55...almost there! I reached the dismount area, clipped out, stepped one foot on the ground.

"DEAR GOD, YOU'RE KIDDING ME!" I thought. I'd been feeling some pain in my heels but only after running. Today, I felt it immediately stepping off the bike! WHY?! I took my time in T2, stretched out a bit and off I went. You can't walk out of the chute; it just doesn't look right. I ended up running till I could no longer see anyone. I could not believe I still had to go 13 miles! I tried to get on my 3:1 intervals since that's what I'd been doing with our marathon team all season but it was tough to stick with them. As the time passed, I just had to keep pushing and not give up. I wasn't fast at all but I did pass people in my determination to get ahead and not get swept.

At this point, I was seeing too many people who looked fatigued. I feared that those I was passing would not make it in time. I patted one woman on the back and said, "Come on hun! We're almost half Ironwomen!" She said she didn't have it in her to run anymore, I yelled, "Well then walk faster!" and kept going. I know it's selfish, but I was mentally broken already and sought for positive energy and this woman was not very positive. By the time I knew it, I was counting down again. "4 miles to go!" I texted my family and friends. I received a ton of encouraging messages which gave me the strength to carry on. 1 mile to go!!! That last mile went by fast and there I was, two turns into the school and to the finish line.

"And we have another Ironman 70.3 finisher, Julie Guevara of Cypress California!!!" They put the tape up, I crossed and all I could think was "I DID IT!" I heard a familiar voice call my name. It was our marathon team campaign manager. She came up to me, hugged me and I lost it again. "It was so hard Jenn!"

She just held me and said, "I know hun but you did it."

I could not have been more happy to see her there. I will never forget that moment.

Thank you Jennifer Martincavage!

And thank you to all who pushed me, inspired me, motivated me and sent me encouraging messages along the way. I did it and I have all of you to thank for the incredible support along the way.

We drove back home the next day and stopped to take some celebratory photos of course!

I'm an Ironman 70.3 finisher!!!

Feel free to check out the album recapping my entire journey here!