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!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Conquering My Fear of Mass Rides...

On Sunday I embarked on one of the scariest things I’ve ever done…a mass ride through the streets of Long Beach, San Pedro, Palos Verdes and back to Long Beach. The ride is called Tour de Cure which is a benefit ride for the American Diabetes Association. Boy, I had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. For starters, riding in masses freaks me out. I hate riding too close to people for fear of falling off my bike and getting trampled over. I fear not clipping out in time at red lights or trying to swerve away from another rider if he/she brakes too close. Needless to say, signing up for this type of event intimidated the hell out of me. Oh and did I mention that I signed for the 61 mile ride AND that there were hills, and by hills I mean practically mountains? Luckily I never saw an elevation chart or I would have easily backed out but I figured 61 miles was a perfect distance for me to gauge what my 56 miler for Vineman 70.3 would be like. I also signed up in honor of my dad who has diabetes. He is the reason why I have the relentless ambition that I do...thank you dad! I LOVE YOU!

Well in a nutshell…I hated it! Here’s what happened:

  • Fell off my bike at the start line
  • Got lost going uphill for two miles
  • Spent about a mile walking my bike up the steepest part of the ride
  • Fell off AGAIN as a cyclist pulled up too close to me giving me pointers (which I greatly appreciated but my fear of people riding close to me kicked in)
  • Freaked out again on the downhill as I hit speeds of 27 MPH
  • Called the BF in tears from fear if the down hills which I then had to again get of my bike and walk

There was some good to this though:
  • I met some really great people…thanks Team Cyclone and Team Cypress Church. You all were so awesome and supportive
  • Felt awesome once I got off my bike compared to others who were beat; I’ll have to trek 13.1 miles after my 56 mile bike ride for Vineman so this made me feel good!
  • I made it all 61 miles and three days later, no soreness!
  • Realized I STILL fear group riding and made a commitment to keep going out and tonight I did! 22 miles with a local bike shop team…I think I’m starting to get the hang of it!
Lesson learned here…keep striving, don’t give up, and remember, we all have to start our sport somewhere. To those of you out there fearing your first marathon, triathlon, whatever…get out there and do it because like the old saying goes, you won’t know if you try!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

And the Road to Vineman Begins...

After months of agonizing over a training program and weighing out the pros and cons of group training versus training on my own, I decided I would go with Vineman's online training program. For those who don't know what Vineman is, it's a triathlon event. There are two distances one week apart. I chose to sign up for the half Ironman distance. Why? That's a whole other story.

Well, the training plan finally landed in my inbox a few weeks ago with a start date of March 26th, just eight days after running the LA Marathon which was a MUCH better experience than last year. No rain this time, all smiles and a new PR!

Upon opening the program, my jaw dropped. Six days, no rest, ranging from 1:15 bike rides to 1200 meter swims, and a short brick consisting of a one hour ride followed by a 15 minute run all in the first week. Six days, no rest, that many meters in the pool and a brick already? Sheesh! After work social more, room for a "feeling lazy pass" way, bf/family quality time, after training! Oh and did I mention I don't know how to clip in to a bike at this point?

I took my training plan and started seeing what I would and wouldn't be able to accomplish. My weekend was shot. I had a family and Team In Training commitment early Saturday and Sunday morning. As much as I wanted to cancel my plans, I had to learn to balance it all especially considering this was going to be the next four months of my life. I managed 4 out of 6 days of training with two swim sessions, a 15 mile bike ride, a (running) speed workout, and a short brick (16 miles on the bike followed by a two mile run). I noticed after the second time, I already felt stronger in the pool and clipping in, while I've not become an expert, I clipped in on both rides. My co-worker accompanied me on my first ride which helped me gain some confidence on the bike. We've committed to riding at least once a week and she now has regained the "cycling fever". Four falls, six bruises and one gash on my elbow later, I am determined to get stronger and stronger each day! And with that said, I need to get off my butt and go for a swim!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Healthy Food Items You Need to Try in 2012

A few weeks ago, I’d posted about how a some friends and I started a weight loss challenge and instead of resolving to lose a certain amount of weight, I would resolve to consistently try to eat better. While I’m not down a huge amount (the holidays really took a toll…I’m weak when it comes to sweets! I’m sorry!!!), I have been trying some new things in our kitchen inspired by some of my favorite bloggers and healthy lifestyle experts that I just had to share with you all.

Tosca Reno's Carrot Muffins
For Christmas, we had a cookie exchange at the office where we each had to bring in either cookies or a something sweet. Everyone was to bring 24 of each item whether it was brownies, cookies, chocolates, you name it. I figured I would bring something healthy. I relied on someone I knew could help in this situation, the lovely Tosca Reno. Shelved behind some of my Nicholas Sparks books, there she was. For those unfamiliar with Tosca Reno, she is all about clean eating which in a nutshell, is eating foods that are not processed—sticking to the basics—fruits, veggies, whole grains, pretty much anything natural. There are a lot of health benefits to this and have always wanted to try eating this way but it does get difficult sometimes. Going back the cookie exchange, I’d found something in Tosca’s book that I knew would be a hit…her zucchini muffin recipe! I modified the recipe and used carrot instead but boy did they come out good! A perfect solution for your sweet cravings!

Tap'nApple Butter Spread
While out grocery shopping for some more healthy alternatives, the boyfriend and I stumbled upon this FANTASTIC spread for our toast called Tap'nApple. I can’t tell you how much time we spend in the peanut butter and jelly aisle looking for the healthiest options. I swear if we could live off of PB&J sandwiches, we would. The problem I have with most jellies is that they’re way too high in sugar and if they don’t have sugar, they’re sweetened with artificial sweeteners such as Splenda. I love Splenda but I really want to wean away from processed sweeteners…alas the all-natural apple butter spread. A MUST try!

Food Blogs (Homemade Salad Dressing & Chiobani Greek Yogurt)
Since getting into the blogging world, I’ve come across some great blogs that I absolutely love. A couple of my favorite ones are The Athlete’s Plate and The Athletarian....ironically both have the word “athlete” in them but my intention for following actually has nothing to do with their athleticism but more so the great advice and recipes they offer. My new favorite recipe is for a butternut squash salad courtesy of The Athlete's Plate. I’m so hooked to the salad dressing! Again, salad dressing is another condiment I spend much of my time contemplating when at the grocery store. I needn’t search any further. Most salad dressings are either too high in fat content, sugar or made with things I can’t even pronounce. This one only requires four and a dash of salt and pepper. Try it out!
In addition to this recipe, I was also convinced via The Athletarian to give Chiobani Greek Yogurt a try. I'd always been concerned about the sugar content (again) but there is a huge difference between natural sugars found in fruit and processed sugars. I'm horrible at remembering this because the word sugar often scares me. The one pictured is blueberry but I highly recommend pineapple...mmmm, mmmm, mmm!

And lastly, I know I promised no New Year’s Resolutions BUT I couldn’t help but push myself toward a SMALL goal…run 500 miles in 2012. It’s an average of almost 10 miles a week. It’s not much but I do have my weeks that I tend to slack off and think this would be a good little incentive for me to get out there. Wishing you all and safe and wonderful New Year…make it your best year ever!

Monday, December 19, 2011

My First Triathlon!

I want to preface this post by apologizing for how long it is...I'm still really excited about this experience. You never forget your first:

In 2010, I did my first half marathon, 2011 my first full and told myself that in 2012, I would do my first triathlon. Well, I completed my goal just a few weeks before the New Year and I feel GREAT! A couple months ago, I'd met Ironman Brain Boyle. If you haven't heard his story,
check it out! He was such an inspiration and the reason I ultimately decided to stop saying I would do a triathlon and actually sign up for one! On my 29th birthday, I registered for Vineman 70.3. Yikes! It was a crazy move considering I'd never done one. Knowing that I had to get a few under my belt, my friend Deb convinced me to do the Beach Blast Triathlon.

The event was
Rocket Racing Production's first triathlon. We decided on this one because it was local and great for the price. Rocket Racing capped the entries at about 75 participants so I thought it would be perfect for a first. I was a little bummed because it nothing like the marathon glory I was used to. No tech tee, no expo, and no medal. I went for it anyway knowing that it would be a good crash course in what a triathlon was like. My goal was simply to finish...

I followed one of the training programs from a book that had been recommended to me,
"The 12-Week Triathlete". Great book for anyone who's ever wanted to do a triathlon. I'll admit, the Thanksgiving holiday derailed my training a bit and the laziness continued on into December. I still swam, ran, and biked but I wasn't as consistent with my brick training as I should have been. I felt so unprepared physically, yet mentally ready...I even waited till the last minute (the day before the event) to even try on a wetsuit which was quite an experience. I rented the suit, came home, got my transition bags ready, and went out for a few drinks. Yes, guilty as charged! I had a glass of wine and a beer with dinner but like a good girl, called it a night early. I still couldn't sleep though. I can't say it was nerves because I felt confident in my ability to complete the event at this distance. I finally fell asleep at 3:30 a.m. only to have to be up a couple hours later.  

Next thing I knew, it was time to wake up. I grabbed my gear and off I went. I can't tell you how grateful I was to have Deb there. For some reason I couldn't get my front tire back on but she showed up and saved the day. We made our way to check in and set up our transition area. Once we were all checked in, the event coordinators explained the course to us; because it was a small event, the streets weren't closed off and there wasn't any signage. (A bit of advice, if you ever participate in a small event like this, PAY ATTENTION about the course). We made our way to the swim area and walked along the water to get used to the temperature. Not too bad for being December. I can honestly say, the water did not scare me at all. I credit this to being taught how to swim by getting thrown into a pool at a young age (thanks mom).The coordinators made sure we were all ready, I heard "GO!" and off we went. One arm in front of the other, kick, breathe, swallow some salt water and just keep moving forward. I kept at a steady pace alongside Deb but eventually she was a bit faster than me and I lost her. I kept looking for her but my eyes were more focused on the finish than findind her red swim cap. I got out of the water and started running to the next transition. As I was running, an officer who had been making sure we were safe crossing the street told me, "You're the second girl I've seen! Good job!!!" Come to find out, Deb was first, I was second and after us there were only about 3 or 4 other women participating out of 70 plus people. Pretty cool!

I slipped right out of my suit (much easier to get out of than to put on) and threw on my long sleeve, shoes, and my helmet. I was in such a rush, I forgot a few things like my sunglasses (not good because of debris on the road). Oh well. I kept going. I was worried about how I would feel in wet clothes but once you're on the bike, you just ride and don't think about anything but getting out there. Within the first mile, there was a pretty steep hill..."Be strong," I kept telling myself. I remembered a tweet from
Exmetal13 : @MissJewels212 be fear....and will do it. I got past the hill and kept riding. The bike part was great except for the fact that my feet and other parts of my body were numb from the cold. I got passed up by a few people but never once did I feel intimidated. I just kept pedaling along. At one point a couple people caught up to me and asked if I knew how to get back. I figured the same way we came but I honestly did not pay attention when we were being told where to go. Some chose to follow me and others went their own way.

I made it back, took off my helmet and threw on my cap. This is it...3 miles and you're done. Running 3 miles has never been an issue for me. I can usually do 3 miles in about 28 minutes...not today. I felt myself running really slow but I didn't care. It was my first time doing this and I didn't want to burn out. Come to find out, the distance was off (we recieved an apology from Rocket Racing; we'd done 4 miles in total). One of the guys I'd seen on the bike course who had asked me how to get back, passed me and said great job! It felt nice to hear that since there weren't volunteers, water stations or people cheering like in a normal event. I then saw Deb which again was great encouragement. I finally hit the turnaround and knew this was it...the last mile and a half (or in this case 2). I was still slow but again, I didn't want to clonk out. With my lower back begining to hurt a bit, I refused to walk at any point! Push through it Julie! As I neared the end, I picked up the pace. I could hear Deb saying "Go Julie!" I looked up and saw her but then I also saw something else that put a HUGE smile on my the finish was one of the event coordinators holding up a medal! Although it was a cheesy one, I was so happy because I wasn't even expecting it. I collected my medal and hugged Deb. It wasn't the finish I was used to with tons of spectators. I didn't cry like I usually do after a race; in all honesty, it felt more like a workout than an event but it really was a great practice for me. I never felt intimidated or scared. I just kept going knowing that every step I went pushed me closer to the finish and that one day I would be in Sonoma participating in Vineman. I loved this event for the fact that it was intimate, local, and the coordinators were so helpful. Thanks Rocket Racing for a great first time...both yours and mine!

Deb and I grabbed our gear and went off to celebrate our victory with some champagne and a yummy breakfast. A huge thanks to my friend for this moment and to our significant others for coming out with us after the race for support. I also want to thank all of you on Twitter for the well wishes. I sent a tweet at 5:30 a.m. about heading out to my first triathlon and many of you responded to wish me luck! Again, thank you!

Stay tuned for my triathlon lessons learned...