Monday, February 28, 2011

still sick...

I am still fighting the darn cold. Yesterday, I was able to get in 25 miles on the bike and considering how bad I have been feeling, it was a good ride. Unfortunately, I think it wiped me out because today I feel worse! UGH! I am starting to feel like I look like Caratunk Girl's Stay Puff Marshmallow Man

Let's hope tomorrow will be better!


Friday, February 25, 2011


I was walking my dog this morning in my new favorite Tough Chik item, the full zip hoodie! I want to share my love for this item with you!

It is super easy to enter:
1. Be a follower
2. Go to the Tough Chik website and tell me what I am missing! What would like to see us sell?
3. Sign up for the email list

Winner will be selected by random on March 3rd!

Sick and tired

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. After a long weekend off in Portland, I came home and I had a great ride, a less than stellar performance at boot camp and BAM! The achy body, the nagging cough, the fog and slight nausea that has plagued me since. I am not sick, sick but I am not well. Not sick enough to be in bed all day, but not well enough to work out.

My head tells me I need to work out, I am loosing the progress I had made the weeks prior but my body is saying HECK NO! I hate this. I keep telling myself if I just take today off, I will feel better tomorrow. There is always tomorrow, but today is tomorrow and I don't think I can make a work out happen today.

I just need 3 solid months of no travel (not that I am complaining that I get to travel) and good health. Then I think I can get to where I want to be. Two steps forward, one steps back. I am out of town next weekend and April is crazy! The balancing act begins...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Portland: The land of bikes, brews and big bites!

I spent a wonderful weekend in Portland with my husband. He was up there all week for work, so I flew up Friday afternoon to spend the weekend together. I have never visited Portland, so I was very excited.

I LOVE IT! What a great city! Bikes, coffee, local brews, vegetarian restaurants, what more could you want? We went to a great brew pub on Friday night. We split a flight and I had the house veggie burger with sweet potato fries. On Saturday we found a great cafe and I had a scrumptious bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and walnuts. We walked all day, visiting every bike shop in the city and had a lovey lunch at a local vegetarian chain. I had the Cuban bowl, which was brown rice, black beans, sweet potatoes, plantains and pico. Do you see a trend? Without boring you with the rest of my meals...I ate and drank my way through the city.
- a large chocolate chip cookie
- butternut squash ravioli with brown butter sage sauce
- a loaf of fresh bread with olive oil
- chocolate semifreddo
You get the idea....

I truly enjoyed every meal and every drink, but as soon as my plate left the started. First, the pang of guilt. Then the caloric breakdown in my head of what I had consumed. And finally the internal dialogue about portion control and healthier choices.

Can I no longer enjoy a fun weekend with my husband? Am I so programmed to equate food with calories and work outs that I can't enjoy a night out? How sad is that? The whole flight home was a pep talk with myself on how I will go for a good long ride on Monday and straight the the grocery store to stock up on veggies.

All in all, I had a wonderful time. Portland is a lovely city and I will definitely be back. Maybe I should rent a bike to work off every meal as soon as it is consumed :)

I hope you had a good weekend!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Tough Chik Spotlight: Sandra McClintic and Joyce Travis

I am starting a new feature, Tough Chik Spotlight. In this posting I am going to introduce you to women who inspire and influence me and you. I encourage you to nominate women that inspire and influence you. We will feature athletes, survivors and the girl next door. As you will see, TOUGH does not equate muscles and medals although it can. A perfect example is my first spotlight Sandra and Joyce, or as I know them as, Mom and Granny.

I thought it was fitting that my first spotlight would be the two women that started it all. For decades my mother and grandmother have referred to themselves as "tough old birds". It is an old southern saying that eluded to the mental and emotional strength rather than brawn and muscles. When I was training for the San Francisco Marathon I called myself a tough old bird on a fateful call to my mother. She replied "No, you are Tough Chick".
My Mom (Sandra) and My Step-Dad (Steve)

So why are Joyce (Granny) and Sandra (Mom) Tough Chiks? Here are a few reasons:

Joyce -
1. She actually rode a horse to school! You can't complain about your crappy seat on the bus when your granny rode a freakin horse to school!
2. She restored old cars, she knows more about what is under the hood than most men!
3. The only way to properly clean a floor is on your hands and knees, her house is still spotless to this day.
4. I have never heard her complain, no matter what life dealt her. Like living in a trailer with no bathroom and 3 small kids while her husband went to school and worked.
5. She lead by example, her life on the farm in Tennessee taught her that if something needs to get done, you did it. No matter who you are or what sex you are. Being a girl was never an excuse and you can see she passed that on to the other women in my family!
Me and Granny in her Tough Chik hat

1. She went back to school for her undergrad while I was in college and didn't stop until a year and a half ago with her PhD. Yes, she is Dr. Mom! Not knowing how to pay the bills or where this path will lead did not stop her from perusing her dream.
2. She left a marriage. You say why is that so tough? Well, if you have ever had to disrupt a family and leave a man who you have been with since High School, you know that isn't easy.
3. She is an amazing friend, she takes one of her closest friends to Chemo downtown once a month. It takes all day, but my mom knows how much it means to her friend to have a smiling face by her side during her darkest hours.
4. She has an amazing way of dealing with my crazy. Over the years, I have cried on her shoulder for everything from grades to boys to body image issues. Yes, she did convince me that I still had "baby fat" at the age of 16 and that the boys in college were "intimidated" by me. She might have been stretching the truth, but it did make me feel better. I eventually lost the "baby fat" after I layed off beer and I found a man who wasn't intimidated by i guess she knew what she was talking about!
5. She has been through hell, from losing her best friend in her 20's to dealing with a spouse who was an addict, abusive and a paraplegic. She has 2 amazing kids, but we haven't always been a walk in the park (not me...I am perfect!) No matter what she is going through, she will put it all aside to be there for you.

My Mom and I after graduation (PhD)

Both of these women have taught me to never quit, follow your dreams and that I can do it! They make me feel beautiful, confident and smart when I don't believe I am any of these things. They are Tough Chiks for not only what they have been trough, but how they came out the other side. They deal with life's bumps with grace and a truly role models. I am very lucky to have these ladies in my life.

I love you Mom and Granny!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

What a weekend! My weekend started early when my normal Thursday night swim lesson was moved to Friday afternoon for a transition lesson. The email from my AMAZING Coach Ali asked if I was up for transition training at the lake? Well, I read are you up for transition training. I guess the part of your brain that tells you to avoid danger just skipped over the part about "the lake". So a few text messages later, I realize I am at the pool and Ali is at the lake. I throw Pinky (my bike) back on the car and head over to the lake. Luckily they are very close and it was probably a good thing that I did not have all week to manifest all of the dangers that lurk in "scary Lake Mission Viejo". I probably would have found another excuse (see Weather Weenie posting) and backed out. I have never swam in a lake. I have spent summers in Lake Huron as a kid, but never really swam in a lake.

So we ditch the bike due to mechanical issues and decide that we are going to swim and run. The swim area is buoyed off and Ali tells me that we are going to run in and swim the perimeter of the roped off area, run up to our "transition area" put on our shoes and run around the park. Okay I can do this, I tell myself. Since I don't have proper tri attire yet, I am in a swim suit and I start to run into the water and I take about 5 steps. DAMN! This water is cold, my legs are aching in pain the water is so cold. Ali tells me to just jump in "you will get use to it". I am not an "just jump in" kind-of-girl and never have been. You can ask my Mom, but that is a whole different Oprah! I am frozen, literally can't move. Ali tells me to get out and try it again, so I do. This time I get in and start to doggie paddle (I really don't want to put my head in the water) and get acclimated to the water. I put my head in and pop right up.

"I forgot how to swim" I tell Ali. She laughs, "What?"
"Really, I don't know what to do and it is really dark down there!"
We have practiced swimming with our eyes closed at the pool, but nothing can prepare you for looking into that murky water.

I doggie paddle to the first buoy just to give myself a chance to calm my breath and get more comfortable in the water. The cold water takes your breath away and makes it much more difficult to get into a breathing rhythm. I swim a few strokes, doggie paddle a few strokes, pretty much the entire 300-400 yards. But I made it! We get out of the water run up to our transition station. Brush the sand off our feet and run around the park at the lake. Let me tell you, running in a swim suit will give any woman a complex about her thighs! I am sure the residents chilling on the beach will have fascinating dinner conversation.

We do this exercise 2 more times, each time the swim gets better. Not good, but better. I had a small hiccup when I started to imagine swallowing water that the fishes poop in. Fish freak me out. Any animal that eats and poops in the same water grosses me out and now I AM DRINKING IT!!! I push this thought out of my head. My form went out the window, I was in survival mode AND I swear a duck was mocking me. But besides that, I did an okay job considering it was my first time out. The sand in my shoes gave my feet a great exfoliation and I left the lake very proud of myself. I am so happy we did it and I will definitely need more lake practice before the actual race.

The following night I had a dream that I was on my bike and it was pitch black outside. I was trying to cross the lake on a very narrow wood plank bridge, but I was so dark I couldn't see where I was going. Every once in awhile I would veer of the bridge and have to ride over slippery rocks. The whole time I was being chase by the lake guards. Hmmmm...

Saturday was a beautiful sunny day in Southern California. We had a 46 mile training ride and I have to admit, I was off my game. My legs were toast from the week of training. Two leg sessions at boot camp, a 20 mile ride and the lake swim the day before did me no favors. There is no such thing as a bad day on the bike, but this was not a great performance. I was bummed to see that my leg recovery has not improved. I am still open to suggestions!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Alternate iPod Personality

Recently my husband borrowed my iPod for the gym as his battery was dead. He came home and looked at me like I was a stranger, not the woman he has lived with for over 10 years.

"You have Brittney Spears on your iPod????" He asked with a twinge of disgust in his voice.


He has nothing really against Brittney, but she is not what I "typically" listen to. I am a proud Gen X-er (a young one ;), but a Gen X-er) and I love grunge. Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, Alice and Chains, Rage Against The Machine to name a few are my favs. So when he found Brittney, Rhianna, P!nk and The Black Eye Peas on a playlist, he was confused. Was I muscically cheating on him?

I have 2 music personalities, the one that you would normally see if you drove with me in the car and the work-out me. The running, heart pounding, weight lifting, strong, mean and lean me. That girl likes to listen to the anger-driven rock of the 90's but she also enjoys the beat thumping pop music of today (sort of). There is something about imagining theses skinny women in "da club" that motivates me. Is that crazy? My last 10K was P!nk on repeat, she is angry and skinny in "da club" perfect running mix for me. Most of the music that I listen when I run I would never normally listen to.

What is on your current work-out playlist?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ride Debacle

This morning I was super pumped for my first weekday ride in months. I felt like I was playing hooky from my own business and even though it was super windy, I was determined to get on the road for a short ride to shake out the legs.

Picture this: I am dressed in Lycra layers head to toe (Tough Chik of course) as I roll Pinky (my bike) out the front door. We have a Spanish tiled front walkway that leads to a landing at our front door. I have been meaning to replace my cleats as they are very worn, but they slip into my pedals so smoothly I have put this purchase off.

So I am leading Pinky out of the front door by the handle bars and my worn, smooth cleat slips on the tile causing me to tumble on my side. And it hurt! I cuss myself for being such a klutz and not buying new cleats. I roll over and stand up with my ego and backside stinging in pain. I am so self consumed that I don't even take Pinky's health into consideration! I pick her up and I am befuddled.

I guess when I slipped, I pulled the handle bar down with me thus thrusting the drop of my handlebar under my top tube! Have you ever seen anything like it?

Of course, my bike mechanic (AKA husband) is out of town. After a few 911 text messages, I loosened the bolts on the stem a freed Pinky! She is now resting comfortably and I decided against a ride. I felt like it was a bad omen.

Monday, February 7, 2011

My Healthy Vegetarian Super Bowl Snacks

I am a huge football fan and I love the Pittsburgh Steelers.  No, I am not from Pittsburgh but my husband is and I love the city, I was even married there.  I am from Houston and when I met my husband, Bud Adams had just moved the Oilers to Tennessee and Houstonians were NOT HAPPY.  So I was a woman without a team, vulnerable and in love when Marc swooped in and I crossed to the other side.  My mom was upset, since she hated the Steelers from the 70's with the big rivalry between them and the Oilers.  But she forgave me and is now okay with my love for the Black and Gold.

Yesterday my BFF and I had our own SB party.  My husband is traveling for work, so we decided to have a healthy vegetarian party just the two of us.  I didn't want to go anywhere because I wanted to watch the game, this is serious stuff!

Here is what we had:
Instead of fried tortilla chips and fatty cheese dips, we have baby carrots, snap peas and mini heirloom tomatoes with a spicy hummus!

Instead of greasy potato chips, we had baked, sea salted Kale!

Instead of fried french fries, we had amazing baked sweet potato fries!

Instead of buffalo wings or chicken fingers (no disgusting adjectiveneeded) we had my Spicy Tempeh Fingers! 

For those unaware of tempeh, it is a "traditional soy product originally from Indonesia. It is made by a natural culturing and controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into a cake form, similar to a very firm vegetarian burger patty".  It is NOT pretty, but it is yummy!

To make my Spicy Tempeh Fingers you slice tempeh into 1/4 inch fingers.  Spray both sides of the fingers lightly with olive oil spray and sprinkle them with a creole seasoning (I use Tony Chachere's).  Then pan fry the fingers and after one side is browned, flip them over and after a few minutes lightly sprinkle low fat cheese to finish.  Again, they aren't pretty and my photo is blurry but give it a try!
Unfortunately the Steelers were not victorious, but our healthy Super Bowl meal was!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

41 miles with ALC

Yesterday was 41 miles with the AIDS Lifecycle training group.  We have a mix of every kind of rider, gristly veteran roadies to riders with kick stands and even a guy on a mt. bike.  To see us rolling up to a light, we are really a group of misfits.  Currenlty we have 2 rides, this week we had a standard route of 34 miles and the advanced route of 41 miles.

Marc and I are riding the advanced option and Molly is riding the standard option.  Marc and I have been riding together steadily for about 2 years.  We know each others strengths and weaknesses.  I know that Marc starts and finishes strong and I peak in the middle.  He is a sprinter and I am a climber, together we make the perfect cyclist.  But we have spent so much time riding just the two of us, we are having trouble in a group situation.  Like an awkward teenager who spends to much time on-line.  I am not fast enough out of the gate to keep up with the hammer heads in the group and we are faster than the next group back.  We end up much of the training ride just the two of us.  I feel like we are missing a component of the ride.

Molly, on the other hand, is having a great time on her rides meeting new friends and riding with a different folks on each ride.  She is getting training and the social aspect of the group rides.  Now I can slow downs and take breaks in order to hang out, but is that helping me in training?  The group takes a break (usually at a Starbucks) half way through the ride.  I stop, down a pack of Honey Stingers and some water and I am ready to go.  The group grabs a coffee and a pastry and take a 15-20 minute break.  I can't wait that long, my legs get cold and it is like starting the ride all over.  I need to get moving!  But I feel bad that I don't hang out, but for me it is too hard on my legs.

Regardless, we have met so many great and kind cyclists and I am so excited to make more friends.  Anytime you can meet a group of people who are willing to wake up early on a Saturday to go for a chilly ride, start temp was 46 (that is freezing here), you know you are in good company.  I can't wait for next week!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Jell-O Legs

My legs are tired, not sore, tired.  Something has got to give.  I have been doing boot camp 2-3 times a week, swimming 1x week and riding 2-3 x week.  I swim on Thursdays and ride on Saturday and Sunday.  By the time the weekend rolls around, my legs are just tired.  I always take a day off to rest, but now I am forced to take a second day off just to be able to preform on the other 5 days.  The fact that I am taking 2 days off a week is giving me great anxiety.  Swimming is relatively new to me so I know that it is more tolling on my legs due to the unfamiliar movement.  Boot camp is very hard on my legs, but it is such a great work out!

So my new paired down training schedule is:
Monday - Rest or Boot Camp (hopefully)
Tuesday - Boot Camp
Wednesday - Upper body weight training (if my legs are tired) or Boot Camp
Thursday - Swim
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Long Ride
Sunday - Short Ride

I would love to throw a run in there somewhere but I just can't put anything else on my legs.  The rest of my body can handle it, my legs can't keep up.  I have always dismissed "recovery" drinks and bars.  I have been a firm believer of eating real food, not engeniered stuff, but maybe there is something to this recovery segment.

A little background on my diet, I am a vegetarian.  I eat whole real food, no (or very little) processed food.  A lot of fruit, veggies, greek yogurt, whole grains and my fav Temphe!  During a ride I will eat a package of stingers, but that is about it 160 calories and only water.  I am thinking that I need to consume more on rides over 3 hours.

Any thoughts on recovery foods?  I know a lot of triathletes work out twice a day and right now there is no way my body can take it.  I am at a loss, and ideas?