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."


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:




(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.


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!