Monday, November 29, 2010


OK, I have to admit it, I am definitely addicted to food. No I don’t mean that to be funny, I mean I am really addicted. Sure I need food to survive just like everyone else, but I just have to have more and more of it. I can’t help myself sometimes when there is a food I really like, I can’t stop eating it until its gone. This does not bode well for someone who has a sluggish metabolism and has gained a lot of weight which they are trying to lose.

This is where the Weight Watcher’s approach to eating fails me. It allows me to eat anything, literally, but I have to stay within a certain point total for the day. When it comes to those foods I truly love, this becomes problematic as my idea of a portion and theirs definitely do not agree. Their idea is usually somewhere around a cup to cup and a half of any particular food. My idea on the otherhand tends to be 2 or 3 times that for foods I like.

Let’s take cereal as an example. A perfectly reasonable amount for a serving is a cup of cereal and a half cup of milk. For most “healthy” cereals this tends to be between 130 and 180 calories and usually about 3 or 4 points for weight Watchers. Now, when I pour a bowl of cereal, I tend to p0ur between 3 and 4 cups and add 2 cups of milk. The simple math puts this way over 500 calories and likely 12 or 15 points. Obviously not a healthy amount to be eating at any given time.

Now, I normally try to stay sane with what I eat and have a decent amount of success staying within my daily allotment of points, but then there are days that I just go overboard and eat way more than I should, eat - food full of empty calories and just blow my plan out of the water. I find this happens more often on WW than it did when I was eating low carb. I also lost more weight on a low carb diet than I have even come close to on WW. So I’ve decided I need to go back to what works best for me and that is low carb.

My reasoning for moving away from low carb was that I thought I needed the carbs to be able to sustain exercise and compete in the triathlon. At least that is what I told myself and used as a justification. I have been doing some research on the subject and found that its just not true. A proper low carb diet can easily sustain me on long work outs and while competing in an event. So its back to low-carb for me.

Now I will be following the new Atkins low carb plan which stresses 10 to 15 net carbs of foundation vegetables a day. This is a bit different from the traditional low carb plan that everyone usually thinks of which is focused primarily on protein and meat with very few vegetables. I know this will work for me. I have to get in shape. The RAGE triathlon is coming on April 16 so I have 6 months to prepare. This time I will run during the run and break 20 minutes on the swim – just wait and see!

Monday, November 15, 2010


I’m beginning to understand the value of setting goals when it comes to my weight, exercise and getting healthy. My big goal for the past 6 months was to finish the triathlon. Achieved! Now I need to set another goal, look at where I am vs where I need to be and create a plan to achieve it. I also need to set smaller goals to help me reach my next big goal.

I have to admit that I never really thought past the Pumpkinman as far as what I wanted to do next. Sure I have these vague, general thoughts of riding my bike, losing more weight, getting healthier, but those aren’t concrete enough to allow me to measure my progress nor give me a target to shoot for. So, I’m debating what my next goals should be. Part of me Is leaning towards running 2 triathlons this coming year, both sprint distance. The first would be the RAGE in April and the second would be to do the Pumpkinman again in October. I have to admit that Pumpkinman is practically a given so I can see how I’ve improved year over year.

Using these goals I can set some additional parameters like being able to complete the various parts of the triathlons in better times than I ran at Pumpkinman this year. I would love to be able to shave an hour off my 3:30 time. I know this is a very aggressive goal, but with hard work I think I can definitely achieve it.

One area that is ripe for improvement is the run. I know that if I can at least jog part of the course I can shave 10 to 15 minutes off my 55+ minute time.

The swim is another area where a significant improvement can be made. By learning proper technique and practicing more than I did, I know I can do better than 27 minutes. I should be able to shave at least 7 minutes off my swim time.

The bike is the longest portion and therefore the area with the most room for improvement. I was fairly happy with my performance on the bike since it was almost 15 minutes faster than I had ridden the course just a few weeks prior to the event. Another 30 to 40 minutes improvement here would be doable as well.

Taken together, 15 + 7 + 40 = 62 minutes less time overall. This would give me an overall time of around 2:28. Definitely not the fastest, but a significant improvement from this last race.

Of course I look at what I did and how I prepared for the race and I realize that I could have trained harder and maybe hit these times for Pumpkinman. But no, no regrets, no second guessing myself. I finished the event. That is an accomplishment and something to be proud of.

Now it’s time to look ahead and set goals, large and small for the next event(s).

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back in the Saddle

Finally got back on my bike yesterday. First real ride since the triathlon and moving to the new house. I enjoyed it immensely. I only did about 10 miles, but I remembered again why I was getting up at 4:00 in the morning for a large part of the summer. Its fun!

I had thoughts of doing early morning rides up Blue Diamond Road to Charleston and then either taking Charleston to Blue Diamond or staying on Blue Diamond to Mountain Springs, until I rode out to Charleston yesterday in the daylight. The speed limit on Blue Diamond very quickly increases to 65 mph and there is a decent shoulder, but I don't think I trust the early morning drivers on that road. Too many in a hurry and not paying as much attention as they should. No, for my early morning rides, I'll be sticking to the approximately one mile loop through the neighborhood I mapped as well yesterday.

Weekends, when I can ride in daylight, are going to be for attacking the climb up to Blue Diamond or to Mountain Springs. I know Mountain Springs will be a challenge as its close to a 2600 ft elevation change from the house. Blue Diamond is only about a quarter of that. I look forward to the challenge of it, not to mention the downhill ride back home! :-)

One other thing I noticed is how desolate it is heading out in that direction. Ours is basically the last real subdivision on Blue Diamond. Once you are past Fort Apache, there are a few scattered houses, but not much else. this certainly allows the wind to blow with very little obstruction, not to mention some channeling down the canyons. It will be interesting to see how much the wind will be blowing here in the fall and into the spring next year.

I'm now planning on getting up at 4:00 at least twice a week and riding before work, just for the sheer joy of doing it!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Now What?

Now that I’ve reached my goal which pushed me to train for the last 6 months – completing the Pumpkinman Sprint Triathlon, what do I do?

Leading up to the triathlon, I had a goal, a sense of urgency that got me out there and training. I was counting down the time until I had to perform and it helped to motivate me – getting me up at 4:00 in the morning to ride and walk. Now that it’s over, I’m finding some of the urgency is lacking. Add to that the unknown of the new area since we’ve moved over the weekend and my motivation is almost nil. Sure I still want to ride, still want to walk, still want to lose weight, but the urgency is gone.

I had planned on taking the week following the triathlon off anyway so it’s not that I wasn’t planning on taking a break, I’m just finding it harder to convince myself to get up and ride in the morning. I read Elizabeth Waterstraat’s column today on No Excuses (read it here) and I have to decide to remove the mental excuses and get back at it. I still have a very long ways to go to get anywhere near healthy. Sure I finished the triathlon and that is a great achievement, but there is so much more to be done.

I need to learn to swim properly, I need to work on actually being able to run, I need to work on my riding so that I can conquer the climbs without stopping to rest. I would love to be able to handle a decent century ride without being the slowest person out there. These are all things I have to work on and it’s time to start.

Part of what I need to do is to look at myself critically and decide which area to address first. I know I can work on the running, but from many of the articles I’ve read it would be a good idea to shed some more of this weight before I do that so as to help avoid injury. The convenience of a close pool was something I took for granted now that I don’t have one. I should have spent more time in the water leading up to the event than I did. This is something I’ll need to work out logistically speaking so I am going to delay it for a bit as well.

That actually leaves my favorite activity, riding. Maybe the other reasons are just excuses for me to stay with the bike rather than swimming or running, but right now I’ll let them stand. My goal for the next month is to ride at least 3 times a week. I need to identify a fairly safe route near the new house to accomplish this. If nothing else I do have Saturday and Sunday when I can ride in the daylight hours, and now that I’m living near Blue Diamond and For Apache, riding towards or even to Pahrump seems like a very doable goal.

So, now what? – Get riding, that’s what!