sweet potato

Uniquely Normal

How do you define normal? Is normal something it’s good to be?  Of course not—we are all unique, all different, and each have our own special abilities and strengths.  However, there are some times when each of us as unique individuals come together to do normal things. Where am I going with this?  Well, first off, it’s the first time in a while I’m not just writing a race report so that’s a good start!  But I’ve had some talks with some really good friends lately that have been helping me put a lot of things in perspective.  One of the things I was reminded of was a previous blog post I did where I realized that I can’t let my eating disorder define me.  I can’t let the eating disorder be an excuse for justifying my behaviors.  Like, “it’s ok that I’m skipping swim practice to workout on my own—it’s because I have an eating disorder” or, “I’m going to eat dinner on my own instead of with friends because my eating disorder is making me do it, so its fine.”  No, it’s not fine.

Many of you know I basically follow a paleo diet (for me that’s no grains or legumes) and I work closely with my nutritionist to monitor this.  But something that was brought to my attention lately was—is it a good idea for someone trying to beat their eating disorder to be following a restrictive diet?  While I truly enjoy eating paleo and can’t really think of anything I would change, I thought this was a very good point.  It’s preventing me from going out with friends for dinner or other social situations… and maybe I’m just using it as a way to hide my eating disorder behind another diet/lifestyle. So as these conversations occurred I decided I should talk to my nutritionist about it.

Her response: HELL YEAH you need to go out and live life and enjoy time with friends and eat WHATEVER you want in those situations!  That’s normal!  And I also need to eat more!

Basically, she and I talked and while she is a proponent of paleo, as am I, she wants me to have those “cheats”, to not worry and go out with friends , and to just do some “normal” things.  She amended my meal plan to include at least one BIG cheat a week (or I should say “normal” meal).  For as hard as I train and for as strict as I eat the rest of the time, this cheat is mandatory (I’ll be honest, just writing this has my mind telling me “you’re going to get fat because your writing this”, but I’m ignoring it!)  But my other biggest fear hasn’t been “this isn’t paleo” but more “eating this will make me fat”, but I’ve got to get over it.

I also had a great conversation with my friend Jess and she said some things that really moved me and pushed me:

So did I do it? Hell f-ing yes.  I had a burger. At a restaurant.  No turkey burger, no lean buffalo burger; a real burger.  With cheese.  And avocado.  And sweet potato fries!  Do you know the last time I had a burger at a restaurant (a real one)?  I do.  9th grade.  My friend Anna’s birthday, and it was at Glory Days Grill and had 3 cheese and was delicious.  Then I became entrenched in my eating disorder and hadn’t had one since.  Well I did it.  And I’m not dead.  Here’s the burger I got from Square 1 Burgers here in Tampa!

And you know what?  I put in some serious mileage and training over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and I actually left this meal still starving!  Haha, I’m going to need a bigger burger next time… or maybe a pizza?

I’m looking forward to embracing life even more now!  I’m finally starting to make a good group of friends here in Tampa who I get to train with and I also got to hang out with them all on Friday night at Meghann’s place.  Living life less restricted but still being me is what life is about.  I’m never going to be 25 and single again! (Although, I’ll gladly change that “single” part lol)

So besides that, I’m redistributing my meals throughout the day, SERIOUSLY focusing on pre and  post workout nutrition, and overall sleep!  Training has also been really solid as well—Rock the W!

  1. What’s the best burger you’ve ever had?
  2. How do you feel about just letting yourself live and simply not stressing over useless things?

3 days!

Ironman Augusta is now only 3 days away!  I'm feeling an absolutely crazy mix healthy anxiety and excitement for this race. I know I'm ready and hella excited to try out the work I've doing with my swim stroke in a real race, but I'm also just nervous due to the fact that this is my first half Ironman since June and 3rd for the year.  It's also going to be a great way to get in some intense training and racing to get me closer to Las Vegas ITU Worlds in November.

Whatever, my head is going nuts right now and had to get something out there!  I'll update you guys after the race!

Good luck to the other members of the Apex Endurance team racing this weekend!

And this is what it looks like when a Paleo triathlete packs for multiple days of travel...

Yikes.  I won't want any sweet potatoes for a few days after this race, I can assure you that!

  1. What's your pre-race dinner?  If you've ever done a race long enough to Carb-load for, how did you do it?
I'll discuss my art of a modified carb-load next week!
Happy weekend!

The Nations Triathlon: Dry-land in DC

No really—I wanted to swim!  As shocking as that sounds coming from me, I was incredibly bummed when I found out the swim portion of the Nations Tri this past Sunday would be cancelled.  Due to the hurricane, the second hurricane that kept the aforementioned hurricane stuck on land pounding DC, and the earthquake, the Potomac River was a mess of debris and runoff.  I have been working weekly with my swim coach though, and wanted to see what kind of changes this may have on my stroke.

I was so bummed, I almost backed out of this race and thought about heading down to Williamsburg to race the Patriots Half Ironman.  However, I would have had to figure out how to get my bike there, how to get it back, all the other travel arrangements, but the biggest reason I didn’t was that the Half Ironman was on Saturday not Sunday and I just didn’t have time to work everything out.

But I’m really glad I stuck with the Nations Tri, and Olympic distance race—it was a blast.  Over 3,900 people were in the race and the entire event was huge.  The format was done in the same way as the swim waves would start—every 15 seconds letting about 15 people run into transition based on your age group.  It was a mess of corrals, but when my group went off, we sprinted into transition, grabbed our bikes and gear, and headed out.  My new tri shoes and pedals from Exustar are awesome and made a huge difference in my transition time!

The bike was pretty fast with some rolling hills and was very crowded due to the starting format.  It made the course much like an Ironman race where there are just so many people.  I wouldn’t say that there was any drafting, but definitely a lot passing and riding near people.  I felt like the entire “out” portion of the course was downhill and was nervous that the entire return would be uphill… but I guess I was mistaken since coming back was just as fast if not better!  My overall bike split for the 40k was 1:06:17, which was over 22 mph.  I was really pleased with this—love that Felt!

**Scary side note—proceed reading with discretion: On the way back on the bike, there was an ambulance on the side of the road.  I look over and saw the EMTs performing CPR on a guy laying on the ground.  I’ve never felt so sick as I did then and it was all I could think about for the rest of the bike.  Most of the time spent riding after that was praying for this guy hoping he would be ok.  Unfortunately, I found out the next day that man actually died.  So please say a prayer for him.

I can’t tell you how motivating it was to see my mom and dad cheering for me as I left T2 and headed out on the run.  They don’t get to make it to a lot of races, so to get up at 4:45 to drive me to the course means so much to me.  Ha, apparently my dad wasn’t too pleased that I “couldn’t even smile at them” when I ran by, but sorry pops, I don’t smile at all on the course.  It’s business.  But my dad is such an awesome guy- He wanted "sun protection" and snagged this hat from another family.  Yes... we recycled a hat from the Dollar Store...

The run was a fun one and was relatively flat except for a long hill at the beginning..  Or I think that was the only hill… I dunno, I just kind of get in my zone as run.  I’m always cognizant of everything and am very focused on how hard I’m pushing and I always remember how much it hurt.  However, if you asked me to recall the whole course, I wouldn’t be able to do it… although I could probably remember all the funny things I thought while running.  I spent most of time passing people and had no real issues at all.  I felt good and just get repeating my mantra to myself that I always using during races: “Speed, Strength, Fluidity”.  This helps me keep focused on the most important aspects of the run.  Coming down the home stretch, I saw my mom screaming and just turned on the afterburners and passed a few more people as I broke the finish line.

My run time was a 38:46, although I “think” the course may have been a bit short—however, as a sanctioned race, it should officially be the required 10k, so I’ll have to believe the Race Directors.  This was a pace of 6:15 minutes/mile.  But if it were a bit short, it may have been close to 6:20.  I was happy with this regardless!!

Overall, I finished 34th of 362 in my age group (top 9.4%), and 265th of 3884 overall (top 6.8%) and my final time was 1:49:38, sans the swim.  Overall this was a great race and could definitely see myself doing it again next year.  It was so incredible.

Then I went home, ate, changed, and was back on a plane for Tampa by 5:00.  Nothing like meetings  at work to cut a trip short.

From here on out I’m basically racing every weekend: THIS WEEK!! 9/25 Ironman 70.3 Augusta (half Ironman), 10/1 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, 10/09 Rev3 South Carolina (Half Ironman), 10/15 Men’s Health Chicago Urbanathlon!  It’s gonna be a blast!

Then ITU Worlds on 11/05 to end the triathlon year.  However, I would like to do a marathon if there is a convenient one by the end of the year.  I also want to do the Tough Mudder in Tampa!  A hella-crazy 12-mile adventure race on 12/03.

If anyone is doing any of these races, let me know and lets meet up! Or if you live between Tampa and South Carolina/Georgia and can house me for a night, lol, let me know!

Yo check out my new kicks

And to do fuel this, I’ve tried out a few new spur of the moment recipes this past week!  Also, I tried to focus my nutrition very well in the days leading up to this race: check out my pre-race day lunch:

Here is what I should have had for my pre-race breakfast...

Earlier his week I made Blackberry jam and goat cheese stuffed chicken breast.  I coated a breast in some coconut flour, then filled it and just baked it.  Very good!  But don't overcook the chicken:

 

Later this week there are definitely a few topics I want to talk about mostly.  Mostly about living what I say, "racing weight", and self-sabotage which I am becoming very guilty of.  I think I could have even better results if I treated my body and mind better.  Goals?  I think so.

I know this comes over a week after it all happened and a lot has gone in between, but I figured I would pare it down and keep it basic so this doesn’t turn into a novel.  More to come soon!

  1. What was the best part of your weekend?
  2. What do you have planned between now and the end of the year that you are excited about? (Anything!)

If you don't know who you are...

...How can your dreams come true? My triathlon season is 5 days away from kicking way back up into high-gear.  On Sunday I'll be in DC racing the Nations Tri- a pretty big and competitive Olympic distance race. I am feeling very confident about myself and firmly believe that what you believe is what you will make happen.  The opposition is going to be fierce so I will take it for what it is, however, after doing some research lately, I'm coming to believe that our minds are our only limiters and that believing in yourself, you can push through any pain that you believe limits you!  After this race, I have a week off before Ironman 70.3 Augusta, my third half ironman of the season.

But lately I've been somewhat questioning myself- not questioning my ability, but questioning WHO I am racing for.  Recently, it has seemed that I am not grinding through hard workouts solely for myself, but so that I can work harder, work more, and live up to the expectations of the people who follow me.  Whether it be coworkers, friends, my family, and even all the other triathlete I interact with on Twitter... What if they are doing more that me, what if they rode their bikes 60 miles and I only rode 50? Well what F**king if?!  If I do "less" than another person, does that make me a worse athlete?  Does it mean that I then need to eat way less to make up for that?  I'll let you decide on what you think the answer is...

Who cares?  I need to race/train/LIVE for me, not anyone else. But this being said, let me train, race, and eat because of them, not for them. It is motivation to see the success of others- people who have turned from non-athletes to Ironmen, of for people who cannot do what I do as much as they'd like to. Or even for those who have NO desire to do anything I do--I know my mom is absolutely no way wants to do a half-Ironman, but I do know that she is proud to watch me race in HEALTHY, competitive, properly nourished fashion.

So who am I? I'm someone who races for the love and passion of it all- not to be "better" than anyone else, or, God forbid, for an excuse to all myself to eat.

What really has me excited and nervous though, is my impending ITU Long Course Championships triathlon in Las Vegas in November.  This race, as I've mentioned, is on the world stage and is going to require a lot of hard work from me starting... well a month a go, ha. I got my registration notice in my e-mail today and have to sign up by the end of the week (gulp!)  The race is like a 3/4 ironman so it will be the longest race I've done to date.  But you know what?  Who knows when I will get this chance to be part of Team USA again?  It will be hot, hilly, windy, and unforgiving... But I'll finish... and I'll finish strong.

And check out the new Team Apex Endurance gear I'll be repping for the rest of the season!

I missed all the rides I had planed this weekend, but was really proud of myself for getting out and putting in work on my own.  Sunday I did a 4.5 mile run, 25.5 miles bike, 3.2 mile run, 60 minutes on the spin bike (20 miles), and another 1.6 mile run. Then Monday, I used the same format, but made the outdoor ride 10 miles longer.  Dude, the wind was BRUTAL this weekend!  This was all on the old Felt too, as the my baby, my B12, is en route to DC!

So if you're in DC this weekend, let me know and let's meet up!

I also know its been forever since I've blogged!  Here's a quick recap of my why and whats been going on:

First I was in New York with the family for a day (and got to meet up with Katelyn!)

After that, the family and I went to a lake where I got to spend another day with them before jetting off the Virginia Beach for work

After spending the week in Virginia Beach, it was back to Tampa for a weekend or so. Got some good training in and some awesome homemade grub.  I've basically just been using coconut oil to bake butternut or sweet potatoes fries... um like every night. So healthy, and if it tastes good, why not, right?? I have like 30 different variations now, haha, so just ask if you want to know what they are.

Then, later that week, I had to fly to Atlanta for work for a couple nights.  Finally I'm home, but I'm flying to DC Friday morning for the race! And, yay, I get to fly home just hours after the race to be back at work Monday... whoop whoop!

Think about something you do that your are passionate about... now ask yourself WHY you are passionate about it?  Rekindle that love for it and do it for you!

  1. What is that thing you are most passionate about and why?
  2. Best thing you had to eat this week? And how do you use coconut oil, if you don't, any reason why?
Have an amazing week!

Changes and Challenges

I had another triathlon this weekend... but since my past 2 posts have pretty much all been about triathlons, I'll keep this recap short, ha.  This race was at the country's "Number 1 Beach" at Siesta Key Beach in Sarasota, Florida, about an hour south of Tampa.  It was gorgeous, although I would definitely want more waves if I was going to spend very long there.  But the sand and water were beautiful... you could actually see the bottom! For the race, I finished 3rd in my age group and was generally pleased with the results, although not elated.  This was a train-through race, meaning the only taper I did was a short workout on the day before, which in itself was still tough considering I'd run 9.5 miles the day before, a 30 mile bike ride, and 1800m swim.

This beach is on the Gulf of Mexico so the water was extremely warm, which doesn't really make for fast swimming.  It was also pretty choppy considering there weren't really many waves.  My swim split was awful so we won't even get into it lol.

The bike was ok- I average right about 21 mph.  Also had a fun little crash where the chick next to me didn't seem to want to move over during a turn and I had to slam on my brakes to avoid smashing into a car.  Couple scrapes but nothing remotely serious.

The run (to my surprise) was totally along the beach.  Ha, ok the beach is pretty and all, but damn.  The sand is hard pack, meaning its pretty firm and not hard to run on, but still not nearly as easy to run on as pavement.  I was able to hunt down a lot of people who were ahead of me from the swim and bike and ended up with the 6th fastest overall run split.  My average pace was about 6:38 min/mile which I was ok with later on once I found out how I did comparatively.

This was also my first race since I had been trying out a Paleo lifestyle/diet.

Now, I know some people may have issue with this: “you’re cutting out an entire food group”, “all fat is bad for you”, “saturated fat causes heart disease”, “cholesterol clogs your arteries”, ”you need grains!”, “you won’t get all your vitamins and minerals.”

While I am not a paleo hardcore advocate, I have done plenty of research, consulted with many people and experts, and will never push this way of eating on anyone else.  I can’t even say I’ll eat like this for the rest of my life- that would be absurd.  However, to all the critical statements above, I have plenty of evidence and research to refute:

While my diet will be lower in carbs, it will be higher in fats which are burnt as a fuel source.  I am also still including carbs in the means of fruits, squashes, and sweet potatoes… I could probably eat butternut squash fries or sweet potato fries every night and not get sick of it

Next, fat is not bad for you!  What is important here is where the fat comes from—all fat that is “created” is bad, i.e. trans-fats.  What is also important is your Omega 6 to Omega 3 balance.  Ideally, these should 1:1 or 2:1 but our diet has most people eating about 20:1 or much much more.  The fat should also be pure and come from grass-fed sources, not from grain-fed animals like is found in most commercial meats.  Remember, “you are what you eat eats”

It has also been proven that saturated fat does not cause heart disease.  It can be exacerbated, however, from things like processed carbohydrates and excess sugars.  I just heard of a study that “showed that saturated fat corroborates heart disease.”  However, this study looked at people eating Egg McMuffins with hashbrowns: White, processed English muffins, pasteurized commercial cheese, trans-fatty margarine spread, and potatoes made in vegetable oil.  I think we have a lot more at play here… plus, the saturated fat would have to come from egg, which is relatively not that high in saturated fat.

Speaking of eggs, I won’t get started on how many articles show that egg yolks don’t raise cholesterol.

Finally, I’m getting tons of vitamins and minerals from the fruit, vegetables, nuts, squashes, sweet potatoes, organic dairy (Most paleo diets leave out dairy, but I am still including it right now—but in organic and raw versions where I can find it), and grass-fed meats.  In fact, I’m probably getting more vitamins now since so many vitamins are fat soluble and my diet now actually has that fat to absorb it!

This is a tough one for me though—the adding of fat.  Since ‘”fat” is what spurred my eating disorder so many years ago, it’s still a tough bump for me to get over.  I am hoping as I eat this way and hopefully see only positive outcomes, that I can change my mindset forever.

Many people also think that paleo just means going low carb because it makes you leaner or lose weight or whatever.  This is what you will see in published studies on “what is the best diet” etc.  In fact, the reason for moving these grains—and most importantly wheat—are for the negative effects the reap on your body.  They have an impact in your digestive tract and cause many issues which I will go into in another post.—I’ve written enough as it is haha.

So, there you have.  I’ll let you know how I progress, but don’t think I won’t still have some awesome recipes!  Here are some of the meals I’ve been making lately as well a bonus recipe video at the end!

What do you think of the paleo diet—are you for or against it?

Would eating this way really be any different, from a societal standpoint than if someone followed a vegetarian diet?

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvb8Ecl5A54]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvb8Ecl5A54&feature=youtu.be