Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions

Jason and I are jumping on the resolution bandwagon (like everyone else in the country). We need to get back to healthy living

Frankly, this is a perfect time to do it. We are both so saturated with junk food right now (especially sweet stuff) that it will be a relief to get back to some nice chicken and broccoli. I swear, I haven't been hungry in a week! We have been with Jason's family in Utah, where the snacks flow like water, especially the sugar-laden kind.

My sister-in-law and I are planning a bunch of appetizers for New Years Eve tonight, and we're going heavy on the savory. There is a bunch of candy in my stocking, and peanut brittle, toffee and cookies on the dining room table, and I am not enticed by them AT ALL. Jason and I talked a couple nights ago about how bloated we feel. Blurgh, carb bloat!

January 3 is when my New Years resolutions will begin. I'll be back at work and back to my regular routine. Also, Jason and I have a trip planned for the end of January during which I will be mostly wearing a swimsuit. I don't expect miracles and I know I won't be losing 10 pounds by then, but I can at least lose the bloat and feel a little better about myself by then.

Healthy Eating:
- We're cutting the carbs. Again. I feel the best when my diet is carb-light.
- Protein
- Vegetables (with maybe a small sweet potato once a week. I know I need to limit the starchy vegetables)
- Some fruit
- Some dairy. Ideally I would like to shoot for eating Paleo, but I REALLY like dairy. We'll see how it goes. If I'm still in my endless plateau in a month, I'll try cutting out dairy and see if that helps.

Exercise:
- 2 strength training classes per week. I went to the gym with my mother-in-law this week and got my a** handed to me by her trainer. It's amazing how weak I've become after only 2 months away from the gym. I know I need to make strength training an integral part of my fitness plan in order to see any results.
- 2 swims per week. I'll be doing Masters again, and then will have one additional coached workout to do.
- 1 optional cardio day (eventually). I'll start out the first couple of weeks with the 4 workouts above, then gradually work in a 5th. I don't want to strain anything by starting out too quickly (which has happened before and is a surefire way to totally bum me out). I'll walk on the path near my house, swim, or maybe do some HIIT on the elliptical.

Jason plans to get back to running, though I don't know if he's really thought through the specifics. At least I know he'll be eating well at home.

So that's the plan for the New Year. Work is a smidge less insane now than it has been for the past couple of months, so I think my plan is doable.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sick of Being Sick

Jason and I are in Vermont. It's 3:49 am and I have been awake since 1:15 am. There are a couple of reasons.

One is some family drama that has been swirling around in my head and preventing me from getting a solid night's sleep for almost 2 weeks now. No fun when work is also busy and I need to be able to focus. Last week when Jason and I were out running errands one night I actually took off from a stop straight into the intersection when the green arrow came on, but my light was still red. Thank goodness the drivers who were turning left and would have been completely justified in running into me were paying attention.

I'm sure that wasn't related to sleep deprivation AT ALL.

Needless to say, after we ran our errand, Jason drove home. I think he could tell it really shook me up because he's gone pretty easy on the teasing about it.

The other reason I'm up is because despite taking my prescription meds, today's migraine wouldn't go away. I'm out of the prescription drugs, so I popped a couple excedrin. The headache is waning a little, but now I'm buzzing from the caffeine.

Basically I'm a hot mess.

The migraine thing had been a huge issue lately. I think it's due to my overall stress level, but also to my lack of attention to my diet. Even though I've come to the conclusion that wheat seems to be a migraine trigger for me, I've kept on merrily eating wheat in some form pretty much every day. And I've been getting migraines every couple of days.

Also, my jeans continue to get tighter.

This needs to stop.

Right now, at 4:03 in the morning, I'm not feeling strong-willed enough to make powerful, enthusiastic declarations, but I do know that I need to make some changes and that I'm just really tired of feeling semi-ill most of the time.

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Road to Hell

I swear, I really do have the best intentions.

Last week was Week 1 of the new challenge and I did it! 3 swims and 1 strength training class. And if the pain I felt on Sunday tells me anything, this strength training class is going to shape my body up.

This week I swam Monday, but had a meeting at 7:30 AM (so wrong!) on Tuesday morning, so Masters was out. I knew I wouldn't get home Tuesday night until 10:30 or so, and thus no swim on Wednesday. But I could totally still meet my goal. Swim Thursday and Saturday, and take the Friday morning strength class. No problem.

Only, then on Tuesday my throat started getting scratchy. By Wednesday my left nostril had completely closed up and I felt terrible. I even ditched the Young Womens activity on Wednesday both because I felt so awful and because I didn't want to get anyone else sick.

Really, body? Didn't we just have a cold?

I think my problem was that I had a cold a couple of weeks ago, but I couldn't take any time off because work was too busy. Then we had company. So I soldiered on and finally collapsed in a voiceless, headachey heap a couple Sundays ago.

Of course, Monday, I was right back at work. I don't think I let myself heal. So I'm trying to take care of myself this time around. I brought a bunch of work home on Wednesday night and stayed home yesterday. I'm at work today, but it's not nearly as crazed as it was a couple of weeks ago so I'm taking things pretty easy. I'm using antibacterial gel all the time.

But the challenge is a no go this week. I hate to do this, but next week will have to be Week 2.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Note To Self

Self,

Crap food gives you migraines. Stop eating it. Otherwise you wind up looking like a lame-o when you crawl out of the pool after only 25 minutes of swimming because you feel like you're going to throw up.

Me

Monday, October 24, 2011

Let's Try This Again

I'm going to do a challenge. For real. Since I've recorded several successfully-completed challenges on here before, we all know I can do them. For a myriad of reasons, this one just won't stick.

Until now.

(Is that ominous enough?)

For the next 8 weeks (through week ending December 17) I will swim 3 times and take 1 strength training class per week. After that come the holidays and while I fully intend to get in some workouts, I probably won't meet any challenge goals for a couple of weeks there at the end of December.

I'm also going to take the suggestion of one of my SparkPeople swimming buddies and reward myself with one dollar per mile of swimming. My reward will be a swimp3. I've read rave reviews about them and actually ran into a girl at the Y who was using one and took the opportunity to pick her brain about it. She LOVES it.

So this morning, I swam. That's part 1 of the challenge.

I swam 1.21 miles. That's $1.21 into the Swimp3 Fund!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Oh, Hai

I'm sitting at home feeling sorry for myself so, hey, why not update the blog?

I'm missing all the fun today because I'm sick. Seriously, my body picks the most inopportune times to quit on me. Today is the 250th anniversary of the church in Cambridge where Jason and I sing (and where we got married). There was a big celebratory choral service this morning, which I had already figured I couldn't sing at since I haven't had a voice since early Friday morning, but which I planned to attend. Only I woke up at 7 AM, got out of bed, went to bathroom, and came right back to bed. I was coughing, stuffy, head-achey, with a bonus of a stomach ache that made me feel really crappy if I stood up for more than a couple minutes.

Also, Jason's brother had a conference in Boston this past week and he came down to Providence to spend the weekend with us. He also used to sing at Christ Church, so he and Jason are both up there, with plans to get together with some of our Boston friends this afternoon.

Boo! As I just posted to a friend on Facebook, my body couldn't have given out NEXT week? There's no 250th anniversary celebration and brother-in-law in town NEXT week.

I did manage to pull it together enough to go on a long drive with Jason and his brother down to the shore yesterday, and we made a nerdy pilgrimage to Quonochontaug, Rhode Island, where Fox Mulder's family on X-Files apparently had a vacation home.

(Nerd sidenote: Now that I live in New England, I realize how patently absurd it was that Mulder's family lived on Martha's Vineyard (which is an island, known for having vacation homes) and had a vacation home in Quonochontaug (an obscure community in Rhode Island). Also, it took Mulder 3 or 4 hours to drive from DC to Martha's Vineyard, which is about 500 miles away and, again, an island.)

Quonochontaug was actually amazingly beautiful. So beautiful that Jason started mulling over ways to do his lab work from home if we bought the amazing 4.25 million dollar home on the beach that we saw for sale because it's way too far away to commute to Providence every day. And, you know, a house like that is totally within our price range.

Last night we went to the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the zoo, which truly is spectacular. This is our 3rd year and I'm continually wowed by the details of the pumpkins.

The fun part for me was that in between the drive and the pumpkins, my sinus headache morphed into a raging migraine and I had to take a migraine pill and lay down for a couple hours. Lame. I swear, Jason's family really and truly must think I'm some delicate consumptive Victorian woman by now because I always seem to get sick when we're with them.

If you've managed to read this far, this post actually does have a tie in with the whole health and wellness point of this blog. First of all, I have not been eating well, I have not been working out and I have not been taking good care of myself for the past few weeks. I haven't been sick since I got the flu in the Spring (March, maybe?). I started swimming with the Masters group in April or May and since then have been pretty diligent with staying active and eating well.

Also, I've realized that I don't get migraines when I keep my carbs low.

But as soon as I slip up, I become susceptible and here I sit, pitifully coughing and sniffling and just feeling all around yucky. Also, over the last 2 weeks, I've been popping migraine pills like candy. This is after I managed to store up a fairly good supply because I kept filling the prescriptions, but not needing the pills. I took my last one this morning. Because this morning I felt another migraine coming on.

I feel extremely fortunate that I've found a medication that actually helps my migraines, since I know a lot of people either need a much higher dose, or don't get any relief from pills, but I would much, much rather not take them at all.

Despite my good intentions of starting a new challenge, I didn't follow through this time. In the past few weeks, I went out of town twice - once for business, once for pleasure. When I was home, I needed to catch up on work, so I got out of bed early, not to go to the gym, but to get to work. And I stayed at work late to finish. Wednesday I had a slight sore throat, Thursday it was getting worse, on Friday I answered the phone and my boss said, "You sound like s**t."

Work has been busy all summer and I managed not to get sick. I'm convinced it's because I was taking good care of my body outside of work. OK, so I wasn't losing weight, but I was healthy!

As soon as this cold thing is over, I am back to the gym. I'm going to restart my challenge again and this time I will do it! I'll keep you all posted.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Crazy Times

I've been a little busy. I've been coming off a little crazed in the emails I dash off quickly to friends and family members, and in my infrequent posts on the swimming list I visit. I have just been extremely busy at work. I work all day and when I get home at night, I really don't want to do much more than veg out in front of the TV. For the last couple of weeks, I just haven't wanted to get up in the morning to work out.

Also, I was in Baltimore at a conference on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, which means the work that I needed to get done wasn't getting done. I meant to do more work in the evenings than I did, but it's amazing how 8 hours of seminars can sap your energy.

We have a new associate starting on Monday, and my hope is that things will get a little more under control. Right now, both my boss and I are working from crisis to crisis, and letting a lot of other things slide. I finally sent off 2 leases to a client this morning that I promised her 2 weeks ago. Whoops. Every day I come into work with a plan in my head about what I'm going to get done that day, and every day my plan gets sidelined by what needs to get done RIGHT NOW.

My boss is out of the office today for Rosh Hashana and I am thrilled to report that I'm actually catching up a little bit. Maybe by the end of the day my desk will look a little bit less like an explosion of unorganized papers.

What this all means is that my latest challenge has gone completely out the window. I ate like crap while I was in Baltimore, and I felt it. I was lethargic and also really, really bloated. Bleh.

So I'm starting the challenge over as of Monday. 3 swims + 1 strength training class per week.

Also, I'm getting my eating back on track. Actually, I started that (kind of) yesterday. I ate well all day, but then we went to the Texas Roadhouse and I had some rolls. Because they are filled with crack.

Anyway, my goal is to eat healthy, whole foods, like I know I can. I actually already feel better and much less bloated. Today's breakfast was eggs. Today's lunch will be a salad and a few ounces of leftover steak. Tonight's dinner will be chicken on the grill and green beans from the farm share.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can I Have A Redo?

Week 1, and I did not, in fact, make it to Chisel!. (I kind of love that the class name includes the exclamation point)

But I have excuses. Yesterday was a really loooong day. Masters was at 6:30, which means I got up at 6. Then I got to work and hit the ground running, because that's the only way work is operating these days, driving to two different meetings and picking up things from client offices. Which means nothing got done that was actually sitting on my desk to get done. Pushed back another day. Sorry, clients!

Then we had Evensong rehearsal up in Cambridge from 7:15-9:15. Then I drove home and we finally made it home by about 10:45. You can ask Jason, I was exhausted and didn't even want to talk. At all. I get in those moods sometimes when I've been *ON* all day. I just - don't talk to me. It comes out harsh, I know, and I feel bad that Jason bears the brunt sometimes of this side of me, but I reach my saturation point and then I'm done.

Then I had to unwind a little by reading The Oatmeal. Totally necessary!

Today we have Very Important Meetings and other things at work, and I was actually at my desk by 7:55 AM. I could have never been in that early if I had gone to a 6:30-7:30 class. So here I am, taking the few minutes I have to scarf down lunch today to tell you all my excuses.

I have a back-up plan, though. It's called strength training class on Friday morning. If all goes as planned, that shouldn't be a problem. Friday! It's on!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Awkward

I had kind of an awkward moment in Masters swimming this morning. We did a ton of drills, focusing on our stroke. At the end of one set, the coach told me I looked good. Nice!

I've really been working on my stroke for the past several months, and have taken all of the constructive criticism I received from the coach to heart. Now my elbows are more bent, my arms go into the water wider, I concentrate on lengthening my arm at the end of each stroke before I pull down, and I no longer let my left arm drift toward the bottom of the pool when I breathe on the right. I didn't even realize I did that last one until our coach showed me a video of me swimming. Every time I breathe now, I consciously think about holding that left arm out straight. Hopefully, eventually it will become so ingrained that I won't have to think about it so much.

Today there were only two of us in my lane, so we were swimming together. I'll call the other person "B". She is the woman I wrote about before who didn't seem thrilled that I got moved up a lane, but who seems to have accepted me now that I've shown I can keep up.

At the end of the next set, the coach stopped us and told B to synchronize her stroke with mine. B is a fast swimmer, and part of that is due to her rapidly cycling arms. The coach said B needs to slow her arms down and be more efficient like me.

Awkward, right?

I kind of grinned sheepishly at B, and she and I took off on our next set. I realized that when B's arms slowed down, so did she, and I had to slow way down and wait for her so that she could stay parallel to me. The coach had us do that several more times throughout the workout, and I could tell B was not thrilled. She was nice about it, but it's never fun to be told you're doing it wrong, and, oh yeah, that person swimming next to you is doing it right, so do it like her.

Hopefully this won't mar the friendliness that B and I have now.

On the upside, though, I'm swimming really well lately. The last few workouts I've done, I've felt like everything was really coming together. I'm not kicking too hard, my stroke is more efficient, I'm breathing fewer times - everything is flowing nicely.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Next Challenge

I've been thinking about my next challenge and I've decided that it's really time for me to buckle down and add strength training back into my routine. But I'm going to do it in a fun way, not drag myself to the gym and do 30-45 minutes on the weight machines, which is kind of the most boring thing ever.

Probably half of the people in my Masters swim group take a class called "Chisel!" at the Y on Wednesday mornings. Everyone raves about it. I figure this will be a good way to get in strength AND I already have buddies there from swimming. The teacher does two other strength training classes on Monday and Friday, so maybe I'll eventually throw one of those on my plate too, but for now I'm just going to shoot for the Wednesday class and see how that goes.

I'm going to keep up with my swimming though. Jason has been on a surfing movie kick lately and I am in awe of the athleticism of the men (and the few women) who surf these giant waves. I sit through most of the movies with my jaw on the ground. The latest one we watched (and the best, in my opinion) was Riding Giants.

Watching these amazing athletes inspires me, not to take up surfing, but to get out there and DO IT! Like a Nike commercial. My sport is swimming and I've been getting better over the past 6 months, but I need to keep improving and working on my personal athletic skills.

I think strength training will only help my swimming efforts. I also hope that adding strength training will be the extra kick my body needs to start leaning out some. I'm so tired of being this size. I've whined on here enough about it, so I won't say anything more than this: you know what is really the most frustrating about being the size I am? I know I would be more aerodynamic and could get my times lower if I lost some weight. Right now, that is where a big part of my frustration lies. I want to be faster in the pool and losing weight will help.

So starting tomorrow (Monday), I'm going to aim for 3 swimming workouts and 1 strength training working per week. This challenge will run for 8 weeks, through the 2nd week of November (ending November 12th). This Wednesday I'll be at Chisel! and I'm excited!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Swim Across America 9/10/11

Saturday I swam my first open water swim with Swim Across America! I raised $920 for cancer research at Women and Infants Hospital right here in Providence. At the end of last week, I was getting a little nervous. Hurricane Katia was creating big swells on the Rhode Island beaches, and rumors of rip tides were floating around.

However, the water on Saturday morning couldn't have been better:
Not only did the swells really die down, but unbeknownst to me, the beach at Wheeler State Beach is protected by a breakwater because it's also the same area where the ferries head out to Block Island and Martha's Vineyard. So the water was actually pretty smooth - much smoother than any of my practice swims.

Here's the route for the swim (we mile swimmers made the loop twice)I signed in and got my yellow cap and my number
Plus, a sweet tat (which is still secured firmly on my shoulder, despite several showers and a workout swim this morning)
I ran into my Masters coach and introduced her to Jason, but she was a little distracted because she had been assigned to watch over Clara Walker, the 86 year-old former Olympian. Clara is a native Rhode Islander who swam in the 1948 London Olympics. Amazing! She swam a half mile on Saturday. Clara Walker is my new hero!

After I registered there wasn't much to do besides wait.I also snagged a pineapple Chobani for Jason, since he didn't have the chance to eat before we left, and they had food for the swimmers.

Jason snapped this picture while I was dutifully listening to the announcements and safety instructions.Right after the announcements, I bumped into a woman from my Masters group. We wound up having a mutual-appreciation conversation (I complimented her speed, she complimented my kick) and she made me feel much less nervous about the upcoming swim. It's always nice to have a buddy. She and I lined up together and ran into the water together, then she took off (because she's super fast).

The 1-mile start (the half-mile swimmers had pink caps and started about 10 minutes after us).After the 1st loop, I thought, "I have to do that again?! Maybe I should have done the 1/2 mile...", but then the 2nd loop flew by and before I knew it, I was finished.

Done!I met both of my goals, which were, (1) Finish, and (2) Don't be last.

About 30 seconds in, I realized I hadn't asked Jason to time me, and I had forgotten my waterproof watch. Darn it! However, Jason said we started at exactly 9:00 and he's pretty sure I came out of the water at 9:29 almost exactly. So I swam the open-water mile in 29 minutes, which I'm very pleased with, considering it's only about 10 seconds off my fastest pool time.

Jason and I spent the rest of the day at the beach. We stayed at Wheeler for awhile, then headed over to Scarborough, where the lack of breakwater meant we had some fun waves to jump. We also both got completely fried. Note to self: Jason hates touching sunscreen and will thus not apply it evenly, or even completely, on my back. My back is currently 3 different colors of tan.

All in all, the swim was fun and I'm glad I challenged myself. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of events I can swim next season.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Week Off

I just took an inadvertent week off of swimming, which doesn't fit into my swim challenge plan at all, but I think I needed it. Last Monday I didn't want to swim. Fine. 5 more days left to get in my 4 swims.

Tuesday I was fighting off the last remnants of a Monday-evening migraine. I'm not sure where that come from, though I think it might have been from the crazy pressure changes from Hurricane Irene. So no Masters swimming.

For the rest of the week, I just didn't feel like getting up and going to the pool. We have been so busy at work, and every morning I just wanted to sleep a little longer. By the time I got to Thursday morning, I wasn't even trying to get to the pool and officially decided I was taking a week off.

Yesterday, I thought about swimming, but wound up bumming around with Jason in the morning, then heading to Arcadia State Park, or as I like to call it, the most enigmatic park in the world. I don't think Rhode Island actually wants anyone to use the park. Heaven knows there are no rangers, or welcome centers, or helpful signs, or maps. There are 4 or 5 roads with signs labeled Arcadia, and I think we found the main park area, but I can't really be sure.

After driving around on dirt roads for an hour or so, we finally just parked, and started walking on a trail. Either it would take us somewhere interesting, or we would just turn around. About 45 minutes in, we ran into an older couple taking a snack break. We asked them if they were familiar with Arcadia and they produced a book and a big map of the park, with actual marked trails. We discovered that we could summit mighty Mt. Tom (at 430 feet. I love that they call it "Mt." Tom. Kind of adorable, really), then loop back on a dirt road to where we parked. We took note of the book they had, for future reference, happily ate a few of their homegrown cherry tomatoes, and continued on our way.

So this morning I finally made it back to the pool for Masters swimming. I have determined that a week off was exactly what I needed. I felt coordinated and sleek in the water, and my times were pretty awesome, if I do say so myself. Also, my breathing is more efficient - meaning I'm breathing less frequently, which adds to the whole streamlined effect. It felt great to be back in the water, and I'm actually looking forward to going tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meeting with the Nutritionist, Part 2

When last I wrote, we (the nutritionist and I) had just dealt with breakfast and she had explained that I needed to add carbs to breakfast and cut back on the fat and protein, and also that fat and protein will keep me energized and satiated longer than carbs. Ooookay.

On to lunch! As I mentioned, my lunch is usually a big salad with some sort of protein either on top or on the side, with a bit of gorgonzola or feta cheese, and some sunflower or pumpkin seeds for interest. The nutritionist wants me to halve the amount of cheese and seeds. So rather than 1-2 T of cheese, I should have 1/2-1 T of cheese, and rather than 1/2 an ounce of seeds, I should have a 1/4 ounce.

Is anyone else noticing that these are minuscule amounts? When I total up my salads in SparkPeople, they come out to about 400-450 calories. Nutritionist wants them more like 350.

Also, she says, eat more fruit! Fruit is apparently my key to success.

She glided over my afternoon snack, nodding with approval, and then hit dinner. Basically, my dinners look good. Protein and half a plate of veggies are just fine.

The summation of our meeting is that I generally eat pretty healthy. She told me about people who have come in to see her who know nothing about nutrition, but she acknowledged that I have a pretty good knowledge base (though I know she thinks my views on carbs and fat are completely out of whack).

But here's the part where I felt kind of insulted. I asked her, "OK, so I'm eating 1500-1800 calories per day now. What would you suggest my totals be?" (in my head: "if we're going with the 'it's all about the calories' theory") And she said, no lie, "Well, you're not eating 1500-1800 calories per day. These [gesturing to my logs] aren't accurate in some way and you're taking in more calories. Because if you were really eating 1500-1800 calories per day and working out as much as you say you are, you would be losing weight."

She said this all perfectly nicely, but looking back on it now, I'm kind of incensed. So despite logging my calories for, literally, years, and despite having previously lost 40 pounds by logging and tracking food and exercise, I'm apparently just fooling myself. Or I'm lying.

She also noted that my fat intake is about 50% of my total calories. Remember that whole fat is more satiating thing? Lots of people who limit their carbs have fat intake between 70-90% of their calories. Anyway, she asked me "how I feel" about that. How do I feel about it? I said, "Just fine." This was toward the end of the appointment, and so I said, "I just don't believe dietary fat is as bad as it has been made out to be. I don't eat trans fats, I eat good fats, and I don't realy think saturated fat is that bad."

I didn't say this, but the red meat and the dark meat in chicken and all those things that are considered bad because of saturated fat? Those are actually also good sources of the UNsaturated fats that we're being told is good for us. I am becoming more and more convinced that a diet of WHOLE FOODS is the way to go. Limit processing and eat food as close to its natural state as possible.

So the take-away is that I eat healthy right now, but I'm eating too much, and I'm eating too much fat, so I have to shave 50-100 calories here and there. Also, I need to eat more fruits and vegetables. That was key.

I immediately called Jason to tell him that I don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. He was quiet for a second and then asked, "How does she expect you to eat more fruits and vegetables?!" He sounded incredulous. He's been whining lately about the amount of vegetables I make him eat, and that's just for dinner. He doesn't even have to eat my big salad lunch and my fruit and/or veggie snack.

Jason and I talked a bit about why I'm eating the way I am now. I did low-fat originally, but then I stopped losing weight. I started researching and really becoming interested in nutrition, and I began limiting my carbs (ie, grains) and focusing on whole foods. I started losing weight again. Now I've plateaued again.

I told Jason, "I think the solution is, I just need to stop eating." He said, "Yeah, that sounds right."

Sigh.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Meeting with the Nutritionist, Part 1

I have a health professional who recommended I go speak with a nutritionist about my inability to lose weight. I think she's just sick of me whining about being uncomfortable in my own skin, Linkand we've ruled out thyroid. So I said ok, but was reticent because doing my own research has pointed me in a non-Conventional Wisdom direction, as you know.

It went about as well as I expected, and I know the nutritionist could tell I wasn't exactly thrilled, though I tried to be polite. She seemed a little disturbed at the end of the appointment that a light bulb hadn't gone off in my head and I wasn't completely convinced by her points. I told her I would give her tips a try.

Even if I disagree, I'll give it a try.

So here's how it went down. I prepped for this meeting by printing out 4 months' worth of food logs and meticulously writing down my workout on each log day (since SparkPeople doesn't have a report function that lets you print nutritional data and workouts. Get on that, SparkPeople.)

First off, I give the nutritionist credit for generally respecting the fact that I don't want to eat grains, especially wheat. I think it helps that gluten intolerance is getting a lot of exposure in the media nowadays. She was ok with that and we turned to my food charts. She said, "Hmm, well you're averaging about 1500-1800 calories per day based on these. Would you say that's about right?" I nodded. Then she said the thing that made me lose hope, which is, "Well, what it really comes down to is making sure you're taking in fewer calories than you're expending."

Oh really? That's all there is to it? Why didn't I think of that?!

So we went through my standard day, assuming I get up in the morning to work out. It was actually interesting to see when I eat. I usually do pretty good during the day with only eating when I'm actually hungry. It's when faced with a treat at home in the evening that I cave. Which is why I minimize the number of treats we actually have in our home. Which is why Jason always complains that there's nothing to snack on. To him I say, you're welcome.

Anyway, a standard day that begins with a swim goes like this:

6 AM: pre-workout snack of half of a Larabar (to stave off the working out with no food migraine. I get those. Not everyone does. Pre-workout eating is a personal decision, I believe.)

8:30-9 AM: breakfast (usually 4 eggs I cook before work and bring in with me in a 1/2 T of butter. Sometimes I'll have a piece of fruit or half a cup of milk with the eggs, depending on how hungry I am from my swim.)

12:30-1 PM: lunch (big salad. Greens + protein (chicken/tuna/salmon/turkey) + 1-2 T gorgonzola or feta cheese + 1/2-1 oz. sunflower seeds + 1 T. balsamic vinaigrette/bleu cheese/some other vinaigrette dressing)

4 PM: snack (apple/banana/carrots and hummus/celery and natural peanut butter/raw nuts)

7:30-8 PM: dinner (protein + pile of vegetables + possibly some sweet potato or beets)

If I don't work out, I don't eat the pre-workout Larabar (but I might have a Larabar for my afternoon snack), and I usually lose the piece of fruit with breakfast.

So we went through my meals and discussed what I should do differently. First, breakfast. She asked me, "Why do you eat 4 eggs?" Yes, the emphasis was there. I responded that I'm usually starving after swimming and I've found that keeps me satiated until lunch. Now, let's be clear. If we're talking about calories, my breakfasts usually wind up being around 400 calories. I think that's pretty reasonable for breakfast, considering that I have often just swam laps for 45-60 minutes.

Here's how she wants me to change it: lose 2 of the egg yolks. She made some comment about cholesterol. NEVER MIND that the link between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol has been basically negated, so much so that it's even been reported in popular media. NEVER MIND that despite my massive egg intake I actually have low cholesterol (which I told her).

Also, she suggested I add some veggies to the eggs and plan to eat my optional piece of fruit.

This morning I didn't swim so no Larabar. I prepared my eggs and dutifully dumped 2 egg yolks down the drain. Sad. So pretty and yellow and full of nutrients. I didn't have any veggies on hand to throw in easily. I'll work on that for tomorrow. I ate my eggs, and then I ate a banana mid-morning because I was hungry.

(I'm just going to note - usually with 4 eggs, I'm not hungry mid-morning on days I don't work out)

I found it kind of hilarious that after redoing my breakfast plan, she proceeded to draw me a little timeline showing that we use the energy in carbohydrates first, and protein gives more satiety. Then as a quiet side note she tacked on fat at the end and mentioned that it satiates the most and provides energy the longest.

Her chart:

Carbohydrates

Protein

Fat





(the horizontal line represents a few hours)

So, wait. She basically just told me to add in more carbohydrates to my breakfast, even though I told her the protein and fat keeps me satiated and even though her very own diagram shows that energy from carbohydrates is used first and used quickly. I feel like there's a huge disconnect between what she feels like is the correct thing to say and what even she knows is correct science.

It seems to me that it would make more sense to use such a diagram with someone who eats a bagel or a couple doughnuts for breakfast every day. Not for someone who is just fine with a nice protein and fat combo every morning.

Tomorrow: Part 2 in which we discuss lunch, dinner and shaving around 150 calories per day. Also, I am moderately insulted by the nutritionist.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Swim Challenge Update

So I've been kind of lax on the swim challenge updates. I actually thought I had been pretty lazy about the whole thing, but after going through my SparkPeople fitness record, I realize that while I haven't been perfect, I've been much better than I thought.

My goal is 4 swims per week, either in the pool or open water:

Week 6
3 pool swims
PLUS a few hours of kayaking and a half hour open water swim
PLUS a major, several-hour hike up and down a mountain
Assessment: 4 swims, plus a lot of extra credit.

Week 7
No pool swims. That big hike from Week 6? Wound up kind of crippling me for the majority of the week.
However, after most of the pain had worn off, we went to the beach and I got in a half hour open water swim.
Assessment: Only 1 swim, but my muscles were in major recovery mode.

Week 8
4 pool swims
1 open-water swim
Assessment: Nice!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Finally Recovered

Today was my first morning back in the pool since our hike. OK, so it didn't actually take my legs over a week to recover, but I did wind up taking most of last week off because my quads were so sore. I'm sure that swimming probably would have helped loosen me up a bit, but I just couldn't pull together the motivation to get to the pool.

However, I did do another open water swim on Saturday when we went to the beach with some friends. At one point I was chugging along, but paused to get my bearings and saw one of the lifeguards waving me in closer. I admit, I ignored him and just kept swimming. First of all, I was still far away from the buoys corralling the beachgoers from the open sea. Second, if I came in closer I would spend my entire swim dodging people. I noticed today in the pool that after swimming in the ocean and fighting the (minuscule) waves and the current, swimming in the pool feels easy.

This morning my coach told me to stop kicking so hard. Ooookay. I have never heard that one before. I have a pretty strong kick, I know. It helps me go fast (and usually means I beat everyone when we use kickboards). But she said that I have too much propulsion in the back and I'm crowding the front. Really? Is that a thing?

Seems to me that if I'm able to keep up the power in my legs over the long run and don't wear myself out, that would be a good thing. I suppose I should listen to my coach, but for the rest of the practice I felt really hampered by not being able to kick like I wanted to, especially when we did the fast sets. Any other swimmers who have been told their legs are too powerful for their own good?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

No Pounds Down

(This is another blog about my weight-loss (or lack thereof) frustration. If you're bored of these posts, skip this and I'll work on posting some more New Hampshire pictures tomorrow.)

I weighed myself this morning, which I told myself I wouldn't do until after Swim Across America, but I did anyway, because I was curious. And partly because last year's hiking pants didn't fit when I tried them on last week. Even though I feel stronger from my swimming and am noticing some more muscle, I don't really feel like the fat is decreasing at all. Just that I have a layer of fat over my new muscles.

I was right, of course. I've gained 5 more pounds.

What?

I have acknowledged on here that I haven't been totally Whole30 compliant during this Whole30 experiment. HOWEVER, I'm not that bad. In fact, to hear Jason tell it, he's going to die if I don't stop making him eat vegetables all the time and if I don't stock up the pantry with processed snack foods immediately.

And, as we all know, I've been swimming 4 times a week (and kayaking! and hiking!). Despite appearances, I am not a lump.

Part of me wants to throw up my hands and give up. Descend into morbid obesity willingly since that's where my body seems to be taking me anyway. Honestly all of the mental energy I spend fretting about my body feels so useless.

But the other part of me (the part that does things like swim 4 times a week and be a lawyer) is concocting plans because there has to be a way to reverse this, doesn't there? So here we go.



  • Swim 4 times a week (of course).

  • Log food. Even though I could probably tell you how many calories and carbs I've been eating for the last several weeks with a pretty low margin of error, I'm writing it all down yet again. I'll either see that I really am eating a lot more than I think, or just have it confirmed that being on this looooong plateau really is the irrational event that I think it is.

  • Walk 10,000 steps, 5 days a week. This week I learned that my heel pain isn't so bad when compared with hiking pain. My heel still hurts, but I'm tired of being so sedentary during the day. Today is beautiful in Providence and I went for a lunch walk because I remembered to bring my sneakers to work. It was lovely, both to get out of the office for a bit, and to be in the sun, walking.

  • Incorporate strength training. Yeah, I've been lax on this. I'll shoot for twice a week to start.
I was talking about this with someone yesterday and she commented that maybe I'm just one of those people destined to be a bit bigger. My people were survivors so I have this amazingly efficient metabolism. Great. So if we were all starving, everyone would want to breed with me. That's sexy.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Franconia Ridge

(Just a warning, this is long. If you want to skip my storytelling, just scroll down to the pretty pictures below.)

This past weekend we went up to New Hampshire for a hiking and camping adventure in the White Mountains. We hiked the Franconia Ridge loop trail, climbing up the Falling Waters trail, summiting at Little Haystack, Mt. Lincoln and Mt Lafayette, and coming down the Bridle Path trail. The hike was a personal victory for me since last year I begged off this same hike.

My hiking history is complicated. Jason LOVES hiking. Going up a mountain is his favorite thing ever and I feel really bad that I haven't quite caught the vision. Last year we hiked up the Beaver Brook Trail to Mt. Moosilauke in the White Mountains. The trail starts out all nice and casual in the woods and then ascends almost 2000 feet in a little more than a mile. Which kind of means you're going straight up. They don't mess around in New Hampshire. No sissy switchbacks in New England. It's straight up the mountain, every time.

I fully admit that I did not listen to Jason and take the proper precautions, and I wound up dehydrated about halfway up the mountain. Which means I went the rest of the way up the mountain, then back down that super steep trail feeling like I was going to die. FYI, in the mountains, Gatorade is your friend. The first and last 2 1/2 miles of the trail consist of these giant granite boulders. Going up, you scramble up and over them. Going down, you have to step on each and every boulder and maintain your balance. It's brutal on your quads, calves and ankles on a normal day. That day, my legs were already shaking like crazy from getting dehydrated, so every time I took a giant step down to the next boulder, I fully expected to just fall over.

For 2 1/2 miles.

Super fun.

And it's not like you can just stop because, you know, you're halfway up a mountain.

Fast forward a couple months later and we were back up in the Whites with a group from Jason's lab. We decided to hike the Franconia Ridge loop trail and everyone started out all excited and fearless and feeling like, yeah, we can conquer the mountain! After hiking for 1.4 miles, we reached Cloudland Falls and took a break for pictures and to assess. One of our group looked at the coming trail and said, "Now we start going up." One person in our group had never been hiking before and his face completely fell. He asked, "What have we been doing so far?!" Because even though the trail hadn't been too bad yet, there had already been a few scrambles and a few out-of-breath breaks (for those of us not in primo hiking condition).

Ultimately, he and his girlfriend decided to turn back. They had seen the beautiful falls, and would get in almost a 3-mile hike this way. They were okay with that. I decided to go back with them.

And it's eaten at me ever since. My experience on the Beaver Brook Trail had scared me out of finishing the trail with the group.

So Jason and I decided to go for it again. At the falls, I almost quit again. Almost. Then I saw a bunch of people up above the falls and decided I would like to see that view so we scrambled up there. Then we kept going.

Two things kept me going. One, on the way up to the top of the falls, there was this really annoying narrow, slippery ledge of rock that I had to scramble over. I did not want to go back down that (which is kind of hilarious to think about now, considering the rock faces I had to slide down going down the other side of the ridge several hours later).

The second thing, and this is really the main one, was Jason. He was being such a dear and assuring me that we could turn back if I wanted to. But I knew he would be so incredibly disappointed. I knew he was already worried that this trip was his last chance to convince me to, if not like, then at least not hate hiking. He loves it so much, and after I pushed myself to go up the trail over the falls, I just couldn't turn around.

He gave me a couple of more chances on our way up the mountain to turn back, but at that point, I was determined to do it for myself.

So I did it. It's kind of an amazing route. In one loop, you can get in 3 4,000 foot peaks - though technically Little Haystack doesn't count since there is less than a 200 foot descent between it and Mt. Lincoln, the next peak on the ridge. Whatever. It's the first summit you get to from the Falling Waters Trail and in my mind, it counts.

Starting out - take the Bridle Path .2 miles to Falling Waters (or you can go straight up the Bridle Path to Greenleaf Hut and on to Mt. Lafayette).

The Falling Waters Trail runs parallel to the river, interspersed by lovely waterfalls. The water was pretty low this time of year, but the Cloudland Falls were still lovely.
After this point, the trail veers away from the water and starts going up. New Hampshire is called the Granite State for a reason. There are huge granite boulders everywhere, including on the trail.
Heading up, still fairly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, even if I am a sweaty beast. It was about 75-80 degrees the whole time and pretty muggy (there were storms coming).

One of the reasons I am not the biggest fan of hiking is because I am extremely self-conscious. I've written on here so much about my struggles to lose weight. On Thursday night I tried on the hiking pants I wore last year and they are too small. Such an awful feeling, especially when I've been working so hard with my swimming. So I feel like I'm the fat girl on the mountain and everyone must be looking at me thinking, What is she doing here? (Though if I've learned anything from my experiences at the gym and the pool, it's that people are nothing but encouraging).

Here's the thing, though. Despite my extra weight, despite my flab and cellulite, I was right there with everyone else. I was keeping the same pace as the guys and the skinny girls. They were feeling just as much pain as I was.

The trail is pretty popular so we kept bumping into the same groups of people. We would slog along and come across one or two groups resting. Then we would rest and they would pass us. We would all smile at and say things like, "Slow and steady" or "We're getting there". There's a great camaraderie on the mountain.

First peak! At the top of Little Haystack
Cairn on the ridge.It was my understanding going in that once you get to the ridge, bagging 3 peaks is cake. That's not entirely true. Yes, all 3 peaks run along the ridge. What other people neglected to tell me is that in between each peak is a descent and another ascent. I suppose that's only fair if you're going to count them, but when I was looking up that rocky slope to the summit of Mt. Lafayette, having already come up the trail to Little Haystack, and then gone up again to Mt. Lincoln, I admit to feeling a little defeated.

My motto became "slow and steady" because, really, that's the only way to do it.




We did it! At the top of Mt. Lafayette, the final peak at 5,260 feet.
We ran into an Appalachian Trail thru hiker and his friend at the top, who kindly offered to take the above picture, if we would take theirs. He had a big bushy beard and a huge, beat-up frame pack with camp shoes dangling off the back and when I initially saw him I wondered if he was a thru hiker. Turns out he started in Georgia on March 20th. Amazing!
After resting for awhile at the top of Mt. Lafayette, we started down. It's easy to forget that what you just came up, you now have to go down. 1,000 feet down from the summit of Mt. Lafayette is Greenleaf Hut, which is maintained by the Appalachian Mountain Club. Partway to the hut, we started hearing bagpipes on the wind. When we arrived, a man was standing outside of the hut, playing his bagpipes, which he had carried up with him on the trail


Last year Jason and his dad did a multi-day trek and stayed at 3 huts along the way. Jason had suggested earlier in the week that he and I stay at Greenleaf Hut for the night and hike down the next day, but I thought it seemed silly to stop when we were only 3 miles from the car at that point.

Yeah, by the time we got there, it didn't seem so silly anymore. Alas, Jason had listened to me, and we had no reservations for the hut. We made a quick pit stop, and soldiered on down the Bridle Path. Jason took this picture of a lovely flat section of path just as we came back into the scrub forest.
In reality, this is what most of the way down looked like:
Yes, that is a trail.

I actually love this next picture.
Jason took it when I wasn't really paying attention to him, I was just trying to get down the freaking mountain.

The best way to describe the granite is "unrelenting". That was the word we settled on as we made our way down.

Here's our final shot of the hike, back at the start of the trail. Exhausted, but satisfied.
We went for our celebratory dinner at The Common Man, which is becoming a post-hike tradition, and then headed back to camp, where it promptly started raining. It proceeded to rain for the next 15-20 hours. We went to sleep to the rain and woke up to the rain. We packed up camp in the rain and drove out of camp in the rain.

After we left camp, we went into Lincoln, NH for breakfast, then headed back up to the mountains for some more low-key sightseeing. I'll post more about that next time.

The original plan was to camp for 3 nights. I'm sure it would have been very peaceful at the campsites last night since Rhode Island is the only state that has today, a random Monday in August, for a holiday, but Jason took pity on me and agreed to come home early. I was starting to get really sore and had a headache that wouldn't quit. I knew every campsite would be quiet, but very soggy after the hours and hours of rain.

Besides, I'm not exactly sure what we would have done today if we were still up there since another hike is totally out of the question. Probably would have just laid in the tent all day, trying to will enough strength into our legs to actually get out of the tent. No mean feat after a big hike.

I've learned from strength training and past hikes that the 2nd day after is the worst. I was kind of pleased when I woke up yesterday morning and wasn't in as much pain as I thought I would be. Today is worse. Going upstairs is bad, but going downstairs is just brutal. I feel like an absolute hero for walking up and down the stairs 4 times so far today to take care of laundry and other necessities. I deserve a medal.

Sitting here, comfortable in my house, I feel a huge amount of self-satisfaction. I did the trail that scared me last year. I bagged 3 more 4,000-footers so now I have 5 (Camel's Hump in Vermont and Moosilauke are my other 2). I am sore in that satisfying, wow, I really pushed myself hard way. I shared a neat experience with my husband. I saw views that only a small percentage of people ever see.

But, man, was it brutal.

I have a love/hate relationship with hiking up mountains. I'll leave it at that for now.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Whole30 Update

Well, I suppose I should comment on the Whole30 project that I started with Jenna at The Paleo Project and a bunch of other ladies. We actually have a long email chain going, full of questions and answers and everyone encouraging each other, which has been fantastic to participate in and read.

I must confess, though, I haven't been very rigorous. I've been good enough that I do notice a difference in how I feel when I do eat something non-Paleo, so I think that shows I'm making a generally positive showing in the Paleo effort.

For instance, the other night we had a couple people over for dinner and decided to use up some leftover raw hamburger patties and buns that we had on hand to have a cookout. I was rushing to get home in time to clean and make some sweet potato fries, so I picked up a cherry pie at Whole Foods for dessert. I COULD have eaten the burger without the bun (which I did last week when the burger patties originally made their appearance in our house), but I ate the bun. I also ate some pie and vanilla ice cream. The burger buns were whole wheat and the pie was a no-preservative Whole Foods basic, made with unbleached flour. For sides we had the sweet potato fries (baked with olive oil and a bit of salt) and I made a big salad from our Farm Share veggies. So really, on the whole the meal was not too divergent from what conventional wisdom tells us is healthy, right?

Later that night I crawled into bed with a rotten stomach ache. Not only that, but I was extremely bloated and felt like my stomach was about 2 times its normal size. By morning, I felt fine and was able to get to the pool for my swim, but I really felt yucky the night before.

Based on my own personal experiences, I'm starting to wonder if I have a mild gluten allergy. I don't seem to have the same reaction if I eat corn or rice. I might retain a bit of water, but I don't feel physically ill. Dairy doesn't seem to have a negative impact on me. I think my big problem might be wheat.

Which does not bode well for my traditional Autumn Tennessee Pumpkin Bread. I'm going to need to do some serious baking experimentation over the next couple of months to see if I can figure out a Paleo version.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Injured? Possibly.

Based on my super scientific Googling of "shoulder blade pain swimming", I think I might have swimmer's shoulder. The truth is, my right shoulder sort of hurts most of the time. I carry all of my tension in my right shoulder, which is exacerbated by my decidedly non-ergonomic office set-up.

(I actually have a good office chair, but crossing my legs under myself like a pretzel while I type probably isn't allowing the chair to live up to its full potential.)

Anyway, this is different than my normal shoulder pain and rather than being located in my lat up near my neck, like usual, the pain is more in my shoulder blade. Or rather deep down and right above my shoulder blade.

During my Masters swim on Tuesday it became more than just a nuisance, but I pushed through and did the workout. Yesterday, I wound up mostly kicking because every time I swam more than a 100, my shoulder started yelling at me. Today was supposed to be my 4th swim of Week 6, but instead, I woke up with a stiff and achey shoulder and decided to just let it go. It's not worth it to do further damage and wind up not being able to swim for a longer period of time.

The causes of swimmer's shoulder are overuse (duh) and crossing your arm over the center of your body during your pull. That second cause is exactly what I've been working on correcting over the last few weeks, but apparently not quickly enough.

We're going hiking and camping this weekend, so I know I'll more than make up for that 4th swim in terms of getting in a workout. I won't be back in the pool until Tuesday and my fingers are crossed that taking 5 days off will help.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Fundraising: Blown Away

My firm just donated $500 to Swim Across America! I sent out an email to all the attorneys last night, letting them knowing I will be swimming to raise money for cancer research. The firm doesn't have a problem with us letting people know when we're doing these kinds of events.

This morning I had $500 in my fundraising account. I met my goal, just like that, in one fell swoop! I am so grateful. I really do work at the nicest law firm.

If you're reading this and you got my solicitation email, please, don't be put off by the small detail that I have reached my fundraising goal already. Rest assured, I'm still accepting donations for this great cause.

If you're interested in donating and I haven't contacted you directly about it, email me at frazzled dot kelly at gmail and I'll send you the link to my fundraising site.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Mean Girl - Not So Mean Actually

The mean girl was nice to me today. Maybe it was because her buddy the guy wasn't there today. Maybe it was because we swam side by side the whole time and I kept up with her and so she considers me an equal now. Maybe she was just PMSing 2 weeks ago. The point is, things are good. She actually even complimented me on my ability to hold my breath while dolphin kicking across the length of the pool (one of our drills today). A compliment!

So that's good.

Today we did that drill where I feel like I'm drowning. Here's what it looked like on paper:

8 x 50 on 1:05
1st 25 - 3r, 3l, 2r, 2l, 1r, 1l, opposite arm out front, breathe on stroke side
2nd 25 - 3r, 3l, 2r, 2l, 1r, 1l, opposite arm at side, breathe on side opposite stroke

What that means is we were supposed to do 8 50s in one minute five second intervals. The first 25 consists of 3 strokes with the right arm, 3 strokes with the left arm, 2 strokes with the right arm, 2 strokes with left arm, repeat, with the non-stroking arm stretched out front, breathing on your stroke side.

The second 25 is the killer. It's the same thing EXCEPT the non-stroking arm is at your side and you're supposed to breathe on the side opposite your stroking arm.

So we had to count a lot and breathe at weird intervals and it was kind of a mess. And I felt like I was drowning a little on every 2nd 25.

FYI, there was no WAY we were doing those 50s in 1:05. Even super fast guy in the lane next to us said he was doing them on 1:15.

So am I weird when I say, I love Master swimming? Almost drowning on a regular basis is exhilarating apparently!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Beautiful Days!

This past weekend the weather was absolutely perfect! Sunny, clear, not too hot. Amazing!

Unfortunately, I had to work on Saturday, so I had to cancel our weekend camping/hiking trip. But it wasn't so bad. I brought everything I needed home with me on Friday and set myself up in the backyard to work on Saturday. We have 2 big oaks and 1 maple over the backyard, which makes it inconvenient for growing anything that needs sun, but means we have a shady sylvan nook in the back.

You like that use of the word "sylvan"? The nice weather is making me poetic.

So I woke up Saturday morning and went for a swim - my 4th of the week, which means week 5 of my Swim Challenge was a success! Then I came home and made us some smoothies and set up to work in the backyard. (Also, we might have gone to Cheesecake Factory later for linner/dunch for 1/2 price cheesecake for cheesecake day. NOT PALEO. But yummy!)

I managed to get a bunch of work done Saturday which meant even though our camping trip was canceled, we could still have an excursion on Sunday. Jason and I went kayaking and had an awesome time. I also took the opportunity to do about a half hour of open-water swimming in the ocean. It was a little tough, I have to say. First of all, a storm or something had blown in a bunch of seaweed, so I kept running headlong into seaweed and getting it caught in my fingers during my strokes. The water was completely murky, which is very unusual for that beach.

Also, as I swam up the beach, I had to fight the current the whole way, plus the waves which were rolling in at about a 45 degree angle and hitting me in the face periodically. Swimming back was easier, except for it was harder to sight for some reason and I kept getting turned so instead of swimming parallel to the beach, I wound up swimming into shore and had to keep swimming back out. All kinks I need to work out before my swim in September.

That said, it felt really great. I liked the feeling of actually getting somewhere, rather than just going back and forth in the pool. The pool at the Y is 25 yards and sometimes I wish I had a 50-yard pool available because, while I like the boost I get from the flipturns, when I'm swimming distance, it would be nice not to have to turn so often. Swimming in open water definitely appeals to me.

Plus, it was AMAZING to be swimming outside again. I can't express how much I miss swimming in the sun.

So, initial plans foiled, but a great Summer weekend just the same!