Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Leaving, On A Jet Plane

Hey All!

Well, vacation time has FINALLY arrived! I leave tomorrow for my week long- and SO needed- relaxing beach vacation!

I wanted though, to post a few things before I left!

First of all- I want to wish my friend Shelly GOOD LUCK in her FIRST OLYMPIC triathlon this coming weekend! Everyone who reads my blog, please keep her in your thoughts this Sunday as she ROCKS it. I know she's going to do an awesome job, and having you holding her up in your thoughts will keep her motivated to push on through this amazing feat!

Secondly, in the true spirit of Triathlon- and encouraging and motivating others to push past their own doubts and insecurities, my friend Dina (whom I met when competing in the Sprint Triathlon in Naperville) has graciously permitted me to share her Triathlon story with all of you.

I hope you enjoy it.

Have a great week everyone! And I'll post when I return.


Dina's Story:
Max and Me
A journey to the finish line

When I was just about 18 years old I was diagnosed with PCOS. What is that? Polycystic ovary syndrome: Abbreviated PCOS. Polcystic ovary syndrome is a condition in women characterized by irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. PCOS is a disorder of chronically abnormal ovarian function and hyperandrogenism (abnormally elevated androgen levels). It affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age.
I have been struggling with this for 10 years and have gained over 100 lbs. I wasn’t always the fat girl. I was an athlete; I was a gymnast, a tennis and soccer player. I even taught step aerobics in high school. When I was in school and we had to run the mile I was cruising along with ease and I saw the overweight girl struggling and just about ready to give up. I felt terrible for her, so I went back, ran with her and we finished together.
So what happened that I went from a so fit to so fat? But more importantly how would I change? My mom who is my inspiration and mentor encouraged me to do a 5 k with her. It was pretty miserable the whole time, you can tell by my face in my finishing photo. So when she told me that she joined a team called Max Multisport to do a triathlon I figured she was nuts! None the less I would support her; I mean she gave birth to me and all. I guess the least I could do was take a few hours out of a Saturday to cheer her on; I even had a tee shirt made that said “my mom rocks” with her picture on it. I would ask how she was going to do the tri, she would tell me about the practices with the Max team and the encouragement and the support she was receiving from them. She was so proud and confident of what she was doing. She finished her first triathlon and I was there tee shirt and all to be her support and cheerleader. Little did I realize how strong her support system was from Max coaches and teammates. When she crossed the finish line my eyes welled up, it was a bittersweet moment. Sweet because at 50 years old my mom was able to accomplish something that most people will never do- a triathlon. And bitter because I sat there 100 lbs overweight, legs tired from standing at 27 thinking- wow I could never do that.
My mom was hooked on triathlons and when the next season came around she had become a Max workout leader. Next thing I know, I am sitting at the Max informational, quiet as mouse looking like a deer in headlights. All I could think was what am I doing here; I can’t even do a 5k. I don’t even have a bike and the last time I rode one I crashed into a fence. But I listened and Laurie, the coach said “this is your race- no one else’s. Everyone has different reasons for being here. We will work with each woman at her level.” Ok so I have to admit at this point I am feeling a tiny bit empowered. The first practice came and that nagging feeling of doubt and fear whooshed over me. I started running my first few laps and all of a sudden the girls on my team were saying “go Dina, good job Dina.” Hey that’s me! They are cheering for me, they’re not judging me or saying look at that fat girl… they want me to succeed. I forgot how much I missed the comradely between team mates, and I was starting to feel that again. The coaches Laurie and Katie, as well as the work out leaders, Maria, Pam and Diane (my mom) became my biggest supporters. I put everything I had into my team practices, but a lot of the time I would fall behind my team mates but no matter what one of the coaches or workout leaders were there right by my side to support, drive and encourage me to the finish. These ladies were not just Max coaches but they became my friends. I finished my first triathlon on June 13, 2010 in 2 hours and 54 minutes which was about an hour longer than most. But as I was pulling every last bit on energy to cross that finish line my coaches Katie and Laurie, ran by my side until I crossed the finish. They were cheering me on the whole time. It took everything I had to not breakdown and cry from joy.
At 28 years old, 25lbs lighter with over 20 new teammates and friends- I did it!
Just a few weeks later in Wisconsin I finished my 2nd tri. I could have never gone through this journey without the knowledge, support and dedication of my Max family! I will continue to train with Max all year round!
Thank you to Renee for staring an organization that empowers women and shows that we can do anything! Thank you to my coaches Laurie and Katie, as well as the work out leaders, Maria, Pam and Diane! Thank you to my team mates; you were my guiding light to the finish!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Family Who Tri's Together

Today was our Family Relay Tri event. I can not even begin to tell you how proud I am of my Dad and Sister. They truly competed their hearts out today, and we finished with an amazing One Hour and Forty Four Minute total time! My sister ran a 5k in 33 minutes and my dad did his bike leg in 53 minutes! Personal bests for both of them. I am still just so unbelievably impressed with both of them and how hard their trained for this event. I unfortunately probably could have done better if I'm really being honest with my self. Start to finish in the POOL was nine minutes... the Chip time says 11 minutes - so I'm assuming that it took me two minutes to get from the pool to the timing pad that started the transition time. Considering it took me fifteen minutes to swim a 750 it should have taken me 7 1/2 to do a 400 since it's just under half the distance. I should have trained harder and not been so lax- I'm always the first one to tell you that you're swimming stamina falters quickly - I know I should still be proud of my nine minute time, but somehow I feel like I was the half flat wheel on the truck - moving along but not at it's most efficient pace.

I will say though, that this Triathlon was so much different from the one in June. My dad and sister had to stay in the transition area. Once the first group was in the water- all relay participants that weren't swimming had to hang out in transition and weren't allowed to watch the race. - which was a bit odd-

Then, this race was self-paced so you could pretty much just decide where to seed yourself based on how fast you thought you could finish. I put myself in the 10-12 minute group, because I wanted to delay as much as possible, since we had people coming to watch us. They released swimmers in groups of four every 20 seconds or so. I think that doing it this way made the water much, much choppier than it was during the women's tri. One of the ladies in the transition area (who did a half iron man in Minnesota last weekend) and was part of another relay group that became besties with my sister and dad while they hung out in transition, told my sister that the water was much choppier than any of the other races she had done there (at Centennial Beach)

So, while I'm not making excuses for my 9 minutes, I think it may at least be a contributing factor. :-/

The other thing totally not the same as the Women's Tri: the people that did this race laid out their run much different than the run for the womens Tri- and apparently by laying out a different path, shortened (unintentionally) the run course by .2 so it was 3 miles instead of 3.2 - that .2 was added onto the swim leg (in my head I though "Running!?! Me- But I'm here for the SWIM- I didn't practice RUNNING"

So, when I exited the water and made my way to the transition area, I had a nice little jog that needed to be completed before making it to transition. I "jogged" enough to make it to the timing mat- then, I walked

After mulling on these things all day, and accepting that this was my first year of "Tri"ing - I have laid out my goals for next year.

Goal 1. Finish the Women's Tri at or under the 2 hour mark.
I plan to accomplish this by doing the following:
a.) joining a walk to run club through a local running company- and making it my personal goal to RUN the entire 5k next year
b.) Taking Spin Classes in the Winter Months, to strengthen my leg muscles and increase my biking stamina
c.) Obviously, lose weight- the more I lose, the lighter I am, the lighter I am the faster I travel.

I had a "sponsor" provide me with the funds to get the Metabolic Calorie point test done- so I will soon be armed at least with the calorie information that I need. The Cardio Point Test will have to wait until next month- as this Triathlete's funds have been depleted with 2 tuition bills and books for both myself and the husband (see last years rant on the cost of books - same goes for this semester)

I think I am going to have a large group competing with me for either the Naperville Tri or the Naperville Women's Tri as there are many people who have expressed a desire to compete next year- which thrills me! It still hasn't quite sunk in that anyone would draw inspiration from me but I will be glad to have the company participating with me!

The following races have made my shortlist for next year- I wont make an actual decision on which ones Im doing until we get closer:

1. Naperville Women's Tri
2. Naperville Tri
3. Chicago Triathlon - I'm hoping to do this one.. open water swim, lots of running in the sand, and hills- three things that may work against me- but it is on my radar
4. Minnesota's Sharkfest - 1 mile open water swim
5. Bangs Lake Sprint Triathlon - Wauconda Illinois
6. Big Foot Triathlon Lake Geneva Wisconsin

So- those are my shortlist contenders.. Obviously doing all six would be impossible but they are the ones I will be considering next year. 1 and 2 are obvious musts- 3-6 we'll have to be wait and see's.

Anyhow, I sincerely hope from here forward to next summer will be truly transformative. Hopefully, you will stick around for the ride

~Millie :)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just wanted to post a quick thank you

I wanted you guys to know that I do see your comments, for some reason the way Blogger is set up, I can't comment back or acknowledge that something has been posted.
Over the winter months I'm going to be revamping my blog and moving it over to one I can design myself, but everyone's outpouring of support is appreciated, even if I can't comment back personally and say thank you.

But- the emails, the comments, the guest book responses- are all very appreciated!

~Mille :-D <3

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Unsolicited Unkind Advice

I had an office party tonight. There were generous amounts of wine flowing, and someone that I work with decided to take it upon themselves to "suggest" that I should meet with a doctor to discuss Lap Band Surgery. I was totally floored that someone a.) in a professional setting and b.) totally unsolicited would even suggest something like that to someone they only barely know.

I mean, I'm sure it had something to do with the Wine - but still- what the hell. I mean yeah- I competed in a triathlon, and Im doing another one, and who knows maybe people expect me to walk through a magic changing machine or just unzip out of my body and suddenly be a ripped muscle woman. But it doesn't flipping happen like that.

Truly, there is no one more frustrated than myself at how S-L-O-W-L-Y weight comes off- especially when it goes on SO much faster than it comes off. So, I decided that I'm going to bite the bullet and plunk down the dough (a ridiculous amount of dough might I add) on the Calorie and Cardio point tests. - It's been so long since Ive posted that I should probably explain how the whole journey to the Calorie Point occurred.

A Group of my friends also belong to Lifetime Fitness like I do. They are having this 90 day weight loss challenge thingie right now and asked me to join then. I was like "sure why not" its 25 bucks and I'm already doing everything with WW anyways and having the advice from a Personal Trainer will be cool.

So I signed up last week, after my morning swim- and I get cornered by the Nutritionist who is all like "The problem with WW is that the points are general and not specifically tailored to each individual person and a lot of the time you are in calorie deprivation without even realizing it. And since you are doing Triathlon training I'm positive you aren't consuming enough calories for the exercise you are doing etc etc" I told her that I have additional "activity points" that I get for all the exercise that I am doing and she said that even that isn't giving a "realistic" idea to me specifically of how much I need to eat because even the activity points are just generalizations.

SO she told me I hsould get a metabolic test and some other test (through the club - at almost $2oo bucks a pop) and tried to sell me on the nutritional consultations through them instead.

Some of what she said makes sense- because as I said before Ive been training for these triathlons since last summer and I only lost 4 pounds so maybe the metabolic testing would be beneficial. I'm so torn though, because I just hate not knowing if she is genuinely trying to help or just trying to earn her commission for the week.

But after my crap day, Im kind of to the point that I don't really care where her motivation was- maybe it really will help. Especially since once school starts, I'll have to cut my workouts down to accommodate my school schedule, the nutrition information might be helpful.

I just don't get it though - it infuriates me that people seem to think that it's OK to get all in people's business. I mean, I wouldn't walk up to someone with a big wart on their nose and suggest they visit a dermatologist, or tell someone who is mentally unstable to go and see a shrink- why does anyone think its OK to come up to a heavy person and say "hey, you should get lap band surgery"

My response was "Um, I competed in a Triathlon you know, and Im doing another one on Sunday" To which they had no response to- but it's just ridiculous. People seriously amazing.

I really thought writing about it would make me feel better- but it's actually only worked to make me more upset :-/ Oy vey.

Anyhow- we have our family Tri on Sunday. I'm actually really excited for it, because for one, there's no real pressure because it's a relay, and I'll be competing in my strongest event- swimming. Plus I get to introduce the world of Triathlon to my Dad and Sister and show them how much fun, how friendly and inspiring it is. Who knows, maybe next year we'll have a whole gaggle of people doing a full tri.

This Triathlon this weekend closes the book on the Triathlon season for me, but I plan on training all throughout the winter, because I have a long list of Triathlons I want to compete in next year (Ok- not a "LONG" list- Four actually... plus a 1.5 mile open water swim in Minnesota.) This winter I hope will be totally transformative for me. Only time will tell of course, but that is the goal.

Of course, I will continue posting (even if it has become a bit sporadic)

Alright, have a great day everyone!