Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Great Expectations

I had a goal for March, make each week a triple digit mileage week. Before you think I am some ultra marathoner, let me say that 95% of my miles are on a bike. So how did I do?

I started out strong and then I slipped. Now, this week isn't over, so I expect to get in an additional 50 miles. Still 25 miles short of 100 miles.

April is a hectic month, so if I can't pull this off in March...there is no way I can make it in April. I am all for goals, but sometimes I feel that I am just setting my self up for disappointment. I had such great expectations for the month of March, but life got in the way. Weather, work obligations, etc. Overall I am happy that I can get on the bike, run around the lake or go for a swim. At the end of the day does it really matter if I did over 100 miles?

On a much lighter note, this morning I was trying to take a photo of my back. Here are the out takes. Pretty funny....

Monday, March 28, 2011

My Points System

Before you get too excited about my new points system, let preface me this by saying it has nothing to do with training, protein or reducing is much better!

I was a Tough Chik way back when, old skool TC, OGTC (original gangsta tough chik - for those not into 90's rap), you get the point. I was a chubby, slow and a very nonathletic kid. I hated P.E., I was always the first out in dodge ball, wayyyy out field in soft ball, but my stalky build was an asset in Red Rover! But I had a secret weapon, my points system.

When I was 12 tragedy hit my family. I am not going to go into great detail as to what happened, it isn't important. But my life was turned upside down. As you know, life at 12 is hard no matter what is going on at home, especially if you are a chubby, awkward little girl. Your whole world is your peer group at school and it always seem like they have it all. Jamie is more popular, Katy's parents have more money, Tara has cuter clothes, Jenny has a get the point.

Here is where my point system came into play. Now as an adult I can look back on the point system and see it was a remarkable way for a 12 year old child to cope. I believe that we all start and end life with the same number of points, for arguments sake let's say 100. During life's ups and downs you earn and loose points. You are in a bad earn 5 points. You get a great lose 5 points. So during my tragic years, I was earning points that I was going to cash in someday. It was my way of saying we all have our ups and downs.

I shared my points system theory with a good friend as she was going through a rough time and she really seemed to like the idea that she was earning points. We recently had dinner and she told me that my points system really helped her through her tough time. I was floored that my silly little childish system helped an adult. As I started to really think about the system and realized it was pretty ingenious for a 12 yr old.

I thought I would share it with you, maybe you need a point or two right now! I hope you have a great week!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My crazy race schedule!

April is a crazy month for me:
4/2-3 - Carlsbad 5000 - Carlsbad, CA
4/14-17 - Sea Otter Classic - Monterey, CA
4/28-29 - Iron Girl Triathlon - Lake Las Vegas, NV
4/30 - 5/1 - Whiskey Off Road - Prescott, AZ (tentative)

Here is the issue, I am not actually racing in any of them, I am working at the expo. I love, love, love working expos. It is the best part of my job. Getting to connect with the customer and meeting y'all is the best. What it is not good for is my training schedule. All of this traveling makes it hard to train and watch the diet. Each event is a lot of work, early hours and standing for up to 12 hrs a day. It can be exhausting. We try to bring in our own food, but you end up snacking all day and not eating a "real" meal until late that evening.

Since I am training for a long endurance ride, I need to spend as much time on my bike as possible. Maybe I can bring my trainer and bike to the tent and spin while I sell, what do you think? I would really be living the brand! LOL

If you are going to be at any of these event, please stop by to see us! I will be the crazy lady on her bike!

Monday, March 21, 2011

What kind of athlete do you want to be?

What kind of athlete do you want to be? This is a theme that I see in a lot of other blogs and one I am personally struggle with. My passion is cycling, as I have stated over and over. But as you know, cycling takes time, gear, good weather, etc. Then there is the seductive world of triathlon with its variety, plethora of gear and sexy spoke models. Triathletes have bodies like Greek Gods and you think if you can squeeze in one more training session or up your protein intake, you too can look like that!

I am vain, I admit it. I want swimmers arms, cyclist legs and runners body fat percentage. I want to continue to lift weights because, as you are well aware of, cyclist typically don't rock a set of kick a%* guns. If I need to burn calories in short period of time, I go for a run. I want to challenge myself with a triathlon experience. But as I learned this weekend, all of my "cross training" isn't helping me achieve my current goal, AIDS Lifecycle.

On my 65 training mile ride on Saturday, my legs felt weak and rubbery by mile 30. I felt betrayed by my legs and even took an extra rest day this week. After the ride I was discussing my disappointment with my husband and I stated that I need to train more. He responded with, "I think you need to train less. Just ride."

I keep telling myself that I can do it all, but I just don't think I am there yet. I need to fix on a goal and be willing to let a few things slide in order to achieve that goal. Either I do one thing well, or a bunch of things mediocre. So from now on, I am riding and swimming. I will have to pick up the running after my ride in June and hopefully the swimming will help me with my chicken wings! I can only hope to have Jen S.'s guns!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...

DISCLAIMER - I have not be compensated by any of the following companies, most don't even know I am alive (hee hee) these are just a few of my favorite things!

1) My berry bowl

This is how my idea for this post started. My bestie gave me a berry bowl for my b-day and I have probably used it everyday since. You just throw your berries, (or cherry tomatoes, grapes, etc) run cold water over the berries and the holes in the bottom allow the water to drain and BAM you have a bowl to eat out of. This may have been around for ages, but it is new to me. Simple. Genius.

2) Smart Wool Arm Warmers

I love arm warmers, here in So Cal we can start a ride at 45 degrees and end at 70, so they are perfect in our climate. I love the stripes, so fun and cute! I wish I had thought of them!

3) TMB Endurance Bands

When I am not sporting my Tough Chik Headsweats Visor (shameless plug), I am wearing my Endurance Band. I recently bought 2 from TMB and I love them both. I have fine hair and my "wispys" go crazy! My Endurance Band keeps my hair in check! I don't think it makes me faster or stronger, but I am cuter!

4) Antonio Banderas

Not the actor, but the corner. Recently I discovered that on my ride I cross Banderas while riding on Antonio. I thought it was hilarious!

What are your favorite things right now?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Saturday's Ride in honor of Amine Britel

Yesterday I was lucky enough to ride my bike. I have always felt that riding is a gift, and yesterday was no exception. As I was climbing San Joaquin in Newport Beach, this is what I came upon.

Here is the article about Amine from the Newport Beach Patch.

Amine Britel visited Youssef Choukri, his best friend, in a dream a few nights ago.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry about me. I’m doing fine,’ ” recalled Choukri, who was called Brother Youssef by Britel, a testament to their closeness.

“It gave me a lot of comfort,” he said.

Seeking to comfort a distraught friend—or anyone, for that matter—was characteristic of Britel, say those who knew him.

“He was very loving and generous,” Choukri said.

Britel, 41, who lived in Newport Coast, was struck by a car Feb. 21 while riding his bike on San Joaquin Hills Road near Spy Glass Hill Road. Despite resuscitation attempts by paramedics, Britel died at the scene.

“I was shocked,” Britel’s former girlfriend Jessica Robertson said of hearing the news of his death. “I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t think it was real.”

The driver, a 22-year-old woman, was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence.


Britel, known to many in the U.S. as Adam, was born in Morocco in 1969. His life is a record of achievement: success in athletics (an accomplished triathlete and one-time Olympic contender, Britel was always training for the next event, friends say), a degree from UC Berkeley, a Harvard MBA, fluency in three languages.

“Whatever he did, he did the best,” Choukri said.

But people who knew Britel don’t simply recite from the list of his accomplishments when talking about their friend. They talk more about who he was than what he did.

“He had such a big heart. He was one of those genuinely kind people who never said anything negative,” Robertson said. “He was a kind soul and a man of wisdom.”

They talk about his love for family—for his mother, still in Morocco, and two older sisters. They recall his love of travel and adventure and respect for other cultures. They talk about his passion for his native land (Britel hosted a group of Harvard classmates in Morocco, laying the foundation for the travel business he ran from Newport Beach).

“He was always talking about where to go for the next trip,” Robertson said.

And they tell about how he thought Newport Beach was an ideal place to live—running at Crystal Cove State Park, cycling to the Back Bay, eating at Brasserie Pascal, Bandera and Benihana.

“He really loved to be fit ... to work out and enjoy life,” Choukri said.


Britel is back in Morocco, buried near the grave of his father.

“The circumstances of Amine’s death are incredibly sad, and we are all still reeling from it,” said Leila Belkora, Britel’s second cousin.

The woman arrested in connection with Britel’s death, Danae Miller, was released on bail soon after the accident, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The case has not yet been submitted to the Orange County district attorney’s office, a spokeswoman with the office said Monday.

“It’s so frustrating and sad. I feel like she lost her life, too,” Robertson said of Miller. “It’s so tragic.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Tough Chik vs Shannon

When I started this blog, I started it as a way to promote my business. It was going to be a marketing tool and written from the company's, Tough Chik, perspective. The more posts I write, the more it is from my, Shannon, perspective. It has been difficult to figure out if this should come from Shannon or Tough Chik. Tough Chik is well...tough and the more I write I think, "Should THE Tough Chik struggle through a 5 mile run?" (it was very hilly :)

My conclusion is that Shannon is Tough Chik and Tough Chik is Shannon. So, Hi I am Shannon and I am the owner and designer of Tough Chik. I am not an ex-athlete like most of my competition and to be honest I started cycling about 10 years ago (3 seriously) and running about 3 years ago as well. I don't win races, but I love to enter them. I consider myself a cyclist, I am currently training for a 545 mile, 7 day ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. After my ride in June, I plan on entering my first Triathlon.

The whole mission of Tough Chik is that we are all tough and should be proud regardless of your PR, splits or cadence. So the fact that I am not an authority on training, nutrition or health doesn't mean I can't talk about my experiences. Like most of you, I work, I have a family and I try live a healthy and active life. Sometimes I do a better job than others, but I work hard at it.

With that being said, here are my Shannon/Tough Chik's ABC's
* (A) Age: 34

* (B) Bed Size: Queen

* (C) Chore You Really Dislike: Cleaning

* (D) Dogs: Cosmo-a 5yr old terrier mix

* (E) Essential Start To Your Day: coffee - I am addicted :( and breakfast, I wake up hungry

* (F) Favorite Color: Purple

* (G) Gold or Silver: yes, I will take either!

* (H) Height: 5'8

* (I) Instruments You Play: none

* (J) Job Title: Business owner

* (K) Kids: only the four legged variety (Matty and Kramer below and Cosmo above - See D)

* (L) Live: Mission Viejo, CA (South Orange county)

* (M) Mom's Name: Sandy

* (N) Nicknames: Shanny

* (O) Overnight Hospital Stays: 2 nights when I fractured my arm (See post January 29th)

* (P) Pet Peeve: Slow drivers, Vegetarians who eat fish or chicken (pssst you aren't a vegetarian)

* (Q) Quote From A Movie: "I was where near your neighborhood."

* (R) Right or Left Handed: Right

* (S) Siblings: 1 younger brother

* (T) Time You Wake Up: between 7 and 8, I am NOT a morning person

* (U) Underwear: yes, unless I am wearing cycling shorts, then NO!

* (V) Vegetable You Dislike: I pretty much love them all.

* (W) What Makes You Run Late: On the rare occasion I am late (I am chronically early) traffic, I do live in LA

* (X) X-Rays: So many of my arm, I can't even begin to count, teeth, sinuses

* (Y) Yummy Food You Make: Ummm, I cook a lot and pretty much think it is all pretty yummy. I have been known to do some fun stuff with Tempeh and I love to bake. The issue is, I love to eat baked goods. Hence I don't bake!

* (Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Monkeys, I can watch them for hours. We share so many of the same mannerisms.

Well, that is me A to Z!
Shannon/Tough Chik

Monday, March 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me and Pinky!

My birthday was Friday and it was an amazing day. Pinky got a new crank and front derailer. I have trying to figure out if Pinky was a person, what a new drive train would be. Any ideas? Her heart? Her lungs? Either way, Pinky and I are pretty excited!

I had the most amazing birthday meal at a restaurant called Millennium in San Francisco. It is one of the most acclaimed vegetarian restaurants in the city and quite possibly the best meal I have ever had. This time I brought the camera so I can share the joy of this meal. As a vegetarian, it is hard find variety of choices at fine dining. Usually you have the token pasta dish, so to go to dinner and can eat everything on the menu is mind blowing! I couldn't decide, so I ordered two small plates.
Butternut Squash Caponata
grilled bruschetta, hazelnut-lemon "cheese", baby escarole salad with cipollini onions & balsamic vinaigrette, toasted hazelnuts, fresh oregano

Black Bean Torte
whole wheat tortilla, caramelized plantains, smoky black bean puree, pumpkin-habanero papazul, cashew "sour cream", cara cara salad - This was both of our favorite dishes!

Marc had:

Sweet Soy & Chile Glazed Tempeh
Indonesian coconut-peanut sauce, seared bok choy & winter vegetables, pickled mustard greens, coconut red rice, kohlrabi-cucumber salad with lemongrass-lime dressing

He also had the house soup (Thai Sweet Potato) which was amazing and I had the house Gem Salad (not photographed).

My birthday meal also include some sweets (it is my birthday and I am human) from Citizen Cake! Elizabeth Falkner is James Beard award nominated pastry chef and has 2 Michelin stars, she is a bad a**! So if someone offers you her treats, calorie counting goes out the window and you ENJOY! I didn't eat them all by myself, but I did have my share!

No San Francisco birthday celebration would be complete without boas, tiaras, Shannon-tinis, Drag Queens and the fabulous Patrik!

I am the pink big bird on the end!

I am so lucky to share my life with the most amazing man! He spent hours in the garage with Pinky, he planned the best birthday ever and he continues to support and love me. I am a very lucky pink big bird!

It was a night I will never forget, but thank goodness birthdays only come around once a year! I am starting my healthiest year today, for real this time!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

And the winner is....

Paige (two runners and a brown dog)! She was lucky #5

Thank you to everyone who entered and welcome to the Tough Chik blog. We are very happy you are here.

Paige, please send me an email with your mailing address and size! My email is shannon (at) toughchik (dot) com

Thanks again!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March is HERE!!

I love March, mainly because it is my birthday month and growing up as a self appointed princess, the month is MINE! March always started off with my birthday, which you can stretch out for a week to 10 days and then by mid-March it was Spring Break. It made for the perfect month. My b-day money always supported killer Spring break outings in college. Ahhhh memories!

These days, March looks a little different. As an adult, I am lucky if I can get a full day dedicated to me and spring break is dead. I know that sounds harsh, but as I am sitting here sick on March 1, 2011 I feel the magic is slipping away. But don't feel too sorry for me, I am spending a weekend in Paso Robles with the hubby.

The past few weeks have been difficult in the work out/training arena. A long food-fueled weekend in Portland followed by over a week-long cold, February did not end well. So I am rededicating my self to training and healthy eating! I read the best way to keep a goal is to tell your family and friends. So blogsephere, here it is March will be healthier and more active month.

Happy March, I hope you have a great month!