Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Making some changes

The fact that you haven't heard from me in a while is a good thing. It means that I am starting to feel better and getting back to "normal" life stuff. I'm back to working full time (and then some) and am almost back to a full training schedule as well. I have returned to the pool for the first time in six months (whoa!) and it has been tough, but I am so happy to be back at it. As far as surgery recovery, I am about 90% pain free and feeling super comfortable with my new body. The digestive issues and rash/hives are still coming and going but I still have some work to do to fully detox my system. I am confident that will help me get back to 100% health.

So, speaking of a system "detox," it's time for me to make some changes. I have really enjoyed being lazy and eating/drinking whatever I want for the last four months. But I like sugar a little bit too much and as a result the pounds are packing on and I really do feel like the sugar is a big contributor to some of my ongoing health issues too (especially the skin rashes). Starting May 3 I am making some big changes to my diet and lifestyle as part of the Whole Life Challenge (WLC).

Here's what I LOVE about the WLC:

- It's set up like a game and who doesn't love a little healthy competition?!! You earn points every day for staying compliant with nutrition, for exercising, taking supplements and for mobility (such as stretching). You log point and comments every day....right up my alley!
- You get to choose your nutrition level, from advanced to beginner. I'll be doing the beginner level which allows me to maintain some good-for-me grains like quinoa and brown rice. It also allows me a glass of wine every now and then (officially every night, but I think that's extreme so will probably try to stick with 1-2x/week). And it also allows for some fermented dairy, like yogurt....I am trying to go dairy free, but nice to have Greek yogurt as a back-up plan with all the travel I have coming up.
- You get "credit" for working out and active recovery days! I already have a good handle on the workouts, but it will be nice to have extra motivation to do some active recovery (like walking the pup!) on my rest days.
- You join a team (or two) and have the support of a community. I've done a few elimination diets before but always on my own. It will be SO nice to have lots of other people going through the sugar withdrawals at the same time!

Now that I've shared how awesome this experience is going to be, is anyone else interested in joining me?  If so, follow this link for a $10 discount: <www.wholelifechallenge.com>. But sign up soon because the discount ends this Friday (4/25) night! (p.s. If you are going to join, let me know and I'll tell you which team to join!)

-- HER

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Scramble - April 18th 2014

This week was recovery week for Schmitty. I won't get into 'splainin' the nuts and bolts of periodization training but in the most simple of terms -- an athlete progresses through a training plan made up primarily of three-week "build blocks" broken up by one step-back week to help the body recover and to promote adaptation (science!). Anyway, this recovery week still included 8.5 hours of the swimming, biking and running fun. Coach Liz has already loaded the next three week block to Training Peaks and it looks like Schmitty is set to suffer through devour up to 15 hours of triathlon goodness per week. Yum! Delicious Ironman -- in vanilla, chocolate and new Mountain Berry Crush!

Recovery week is usually a good time to baseline your fitness since we are still about a month out from the start of race season. And last night Coach Keith herded the goggled, swimming masses at the UIC pool for another 10x100m threshold pace swim test (:20s rest between each 100). I loath swim tests but gained another 3-4 seconds per 100 over my last test. Schmitty's still slow, just less slow than a month ago. As I say at all my races...any swim that I can walk away from is a good swim.

Is it selfish of me to think that I'm really glad Jen is getting back to her Jen self? I've tried my very best to keep things together here in casa de Schmitty but if you pull back the curtain there's a lot of Scotch tape and gum keeping everything from falling apart. Up to this point I've been just smart enough to keep my life, work and training propped up and moving forward. But Schmitty is reaching a tipping point and Jen's recovery is coming along at a good time. Thank God for our Triathlife together. There's no such thing as quit if you're a Schmitty. Although there's plenty of whining, complaining, shaking fists and cursing when the alarm goes off in the morning.

The current shoreline water temp for Lake Michigan is 46 degrees. The big ITU World Triathlon race here in Chicago takes place in about 70 days. I here there are reports of ice chunks still floating about in the middle of the lake. That being the case the ITU has declared a rule change for the swim whereby a swimmer may grab hold of an ice float to rest as long as they do not use the ice to propel themselves forward. (Thank you Schenectady! You've been great!).

Monday, April 14, 2014

A case of the Mondays

Mondays.....Monday means that I spend the morning sneezing chlorine and the entire day in the pantry trying to fill the post swim hunger vortex. For the better part of the last three years, while the rest of the general triathlon training public takes Monday as their rest day, Coach Liz and Coach Keith strictly believe that Monday is one fine time for a swim. Because nothing says welcome to the start of your work week like crawling out of the wrapper at 4:30 am to jump half naked into a cold box of water. And while there's no love loss between me and swimming, even I can admit that there is something truly satisfying about having a swim workout completed before the week even gets off the ground. But it's not easy. And Monday likes to fight dirty. Like hair pulling, eye scratching, kicking below the belt dirty. Which is why I have Jen.

Jen is in charge of Mondays. I can't trust myself to Monday. In the light of day, Monday cannot hide it's true evil self. But under the cover of pre-dawn, Monday is a succubus -- tempting me with a warm bed and the cool side of the pillow.

Fortunately, for yours truly, Jen is impervious to Monday morning. If Monday is my kryptonite, it's Jen's yellow sun. She rocks Monday and if not for her I wouldn't see Monday morning until it was too late to do anything about it. And today was a great day -- even if it was a Monday (that's right Monday I'm looking right at you) because for the first time in over 4 months, Jen went with me to the pool.

I guess Mondays ain't so bad after all.

- Him