Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Perfect Example Of "Anything Is Possible"

When you buy a bike from a speciality bike store, you typically get a free subscription to some form of bicycling magazine as well. I get a physical copy of Bike Magazine every month, and my dad gets the Digital Copy of Bicycling Magazine. So, he forwards me his issue every month. I just checked my email a few minutes ago, and was looking for a brief distraction from working, and found this article


If this doesn't prove that anyone is capable of so much more than they believe themselves to be, I don't know what does. To briefly summarzie (but I HIGHLY suggest you read the article, because it is just THAT inspirational) this man was Five Hundred Pounds and practically immobile, looking out his window one day and sees a middle aged man riding a bicycle and decides that he wants to try it. But, because of his weight, he can't ride a standard bike, so he finds someone to craft one to hold up to his five hundred pound frame.

After finding a bike, he begins the slow and steady journey, one bike mile at a time, towards getting healthy. Now, four or so years later, he weighs an astonishing 180 something pounds and logs more than TWENTY THOUSAND miles on his bike every year.

If a man who weighs five hundred pounds can start such an amazing journey, surely you can too. Maybe it's a five k, maybe it's to join a volleyball league, or perhaps even try a Triathlon! Whatever it is, you are FULLY CAPABLE of achieving it, you just need to believe that you can!

'Til Next Time,


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why A Triathlon?

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone! Hopefully your Thanksgiving was full of everything you love and enjoy. The bulk of my weekend so far unfortunately has been dealing with a broken car (still no diagnosis on what is wrong with it) and homework. Being an almost full time student and working full time, has forced me into an almost completely sedentary lifestyle since the Hot Chocolate 5K, but in a week, once all these projects and papers are turned in and I have closed the book on another semester, that will change. However, I get asked a lot "why of all things, did you choose a Triathlon"

The reason is multi-tiered. I am a self-admitted reality show junkie. Though, my frenetic daily schedule has forced me to scale back to almost nothing (I just can't seem to let go of America's Next Top Model, The Apprentice or Project Runway- thank God for TIVO) this weekend, while resting my brain I caught some episodes of Giuliana and Bill ( if you are scratching your head on this one.. Giuliana is a host on E! and Bill Rancic was the winner of the 1st season of The Apprentice now they are married and live in Chicago (most of the time)

Anyhow, this season chronicles their struggles to conceive and all the procedures that she has gone through (failed IUI and an IVF that resulted in a miscarriage) - in a recent episode she decided that she wanted to participate in the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Chicago. And when people asked her why she did it, she wanted to do something that she was in control of, after having gone through so many procedures where you are at the mercy of doctors, your body, and Mother Nature.

I could relate 100% to what she was saying and for me, that was part of it. I am just so sick of people telling me that I can't do something.

I can't get pregnant because I have an Endocrine Disorder which has put my hormones so out of whack that it makes it near impossible to lose weight. But in order for my hormones to try and rebalance themselves, I need to lose weight. And if I want any hope of having a successful IVF (especially since now I have to shell out twenty thousand dollars of my own money to do it- don't even get me started on Health Insurance Catch 22's) I need to lose weight. - I am so wrapped up in Catch 22's and impossibilities and big fat NO signs everywhere I turn, that I just reached a boiling point. My life has been filled with so many "I Can't"s that I wanted to take life by the balls, spit in its face and scream at it that I WILL!

I needed to get into shape and lose weight anyway and after having been inspired by the participants in the 2009 Women's Triathlon, I figured- why not? I'm a good swimmer, Ive been swimming on a team since I was a kid. I figured that biking would be something easily attainable, so the only crux for me would be the run. And from that little seed of inspiration grew a tree, and that tree dug its roots in firmly, and is ready to continue to grow.

Now, I just need to pass along those seeds of inspiration, and together we can build and inspiration forrest. People email me or tell me in person "don't be offended (these have become my least favorite words in the whole world) - but after hearing that YOU did a triathlon, I figured, well if she can do it, so can I"

And, it doesn't offend me... well, ok maybe it hurts my feelings a little bit, but it's more the whole "dont be offended, but Im going to say something offensive but I really mean something nice by it" mentality. To clarify, I want people to be inspired to do a triathlon (or whatever goal they have- 5k, joining a gym, or even taking a walk around the block after dinner) because they realize what can come from taking the first step. Not thinking "well if that tub can do a triathlon surely I can" - but, if that's whats gonna inspire you, so be it, but the judgement does sting a bit... so if this is the case, perhaps soften the delivery :)

But, my purpose for the blog isn't for fame, or to become the next "Julie & Julia" (though I totally would Not pass up the opportunity to meet Matt Lauer <3 :o) <3 <--- that's me, swooning...

The purpose of the blog is to inspire. I want you to know that you are capable of so many things that you think are unacheivable. If you set your sights on a target, and you work towards that goal with honest intention and determination, you will NEVER be a failure.

What is thought to be IMpossible, IS POSSIBLE.

So, what goals are you going to set your sights on today?


Thursday, November 18, 2010

What To Do In The "Off Season"

:Throws Confetti:

This is my 100th Post on this blog! Wow- too bad its not something more exciting than more of the same. I guess I could make something up and be all like "Hey everyone, in honor of my hundredth post, I ran a MARATHON, Barefoot, UPHILL, In the SNOW"..how bout THEM apples.

But alas, when you were done laughing hysterically and wiping the tears from your eyes picturing me, the huffy puffer who can't even run a 5K without getting injured, doing a full Marathon- yes it is quite a funny thought.. I'll briefly pause so you can recompose yourselves before continuing on with my point.

Good.. got it out of your system now? yeah thought so...

So, since clearly pretending to do something phenomenal just to make the milestone more memorable doesn't do anyone any good. So, no pomp and circumstance here, just more of the same.

The OFFSEASON.... technically, we've been in the "Off season" since September... except instead of "off season" mine has turned into "sit on your lazy bum and get fat season"

Ok, not entirely, I *did* do a 5K.. but I'm certainly not doing what I should be in the off season, which is continuing to train.

According to a great Triathlete website called Tri Fuel (here is a link to the article: http://www.trifuel.com/training/strength-training/three-reasons-triathletes-should-strength-train-in-the-offseason)

We should be doing strength training and developing our core muscles over the winter to prepare ourselves for what lies ahead.

Since Training will begin again in just a few short months, I am grossly behind in my "off season" training.

Some time ago, I researched Strength Training workouts for budding Triathletes such as myself, and this book :

Srength Training for Triathles by Patrick Hagermann

I actually own this book (with now has a gorgeous about 2 cm thick coating of dust on it, and hasn't moved from it's sacred spot on my dining room table- thus simultaneously also demonstrating just how much use the diniing room table gets for activities other than storing, stacking, and sorting)

I do have it though, and intend to use it in the upcoming few weeks. At that time, I will be happy to provide you with my opinion.

I am also on the lookout for a Spin DVD that I can use with my Indoor Spin Bike in the winter months and would love to hear some suggestions. I will purchase whatever is suggested to me, and will willingly be the guinea pig for anyone else in the market for indoor spin DVD's.

So- Happy 100 posts to me... wish it was a more exciting post!

To the next 100 !


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Swimming- My Neglected Red-Headed Stepchild

I received an email a few minutes ago from Swimplan asking me why I haven't logged in and updated my work outs lately (um, lets try like more than 3 months-.... thanks for staying on top of that Swimplan) actually though, in all honesty, they may have kept on top of it,but had I seen the emails I would have deleted them anyway. It's not Swimplans fault that Im neglecting my swimming.

However, for any swimmer, novice to advanced, Swimplan is a great resource to use. It gives you customized swimming plans (you can use them weekly, bi-weekly, monthly) however long it takes you to "conquer" the plan (ie when it stops beating the crap out of you everytime you're in the pool)

My email offered me premium membership (temporarily) for my non-paying membership. I don't know if this is special to me because Ive been ignoring them, or if everyone gets this current deal. But, it's worth checking out. In regards to swimming, yes I have been avoiding it like I would be annual women's doctor appointment.. but it's not because I don't love it.

I'm honestly considering changing gyms - to a place where childrens swimming classes and swim teams don't take precendence in lap swimming lanes, and where the pool doesn't feel like someone filled it with ice cubes the night previous, and where the people aren't always trying to up sell you. Of course, researching new gyms takes time- of which, I don't currently have. And waking up at 5:30 in the morning to get into a freezing cold pool because this is the only time the little kiddles aren't in the pool, doesn't really work with my current frenetic schedule.

December 8th is my yellow brick road of hope. The last day of classes until the end of January (do you hear the choir of angels singing Hallelujah?) That is when I will make my decision on whether or not to move to a new gym.

Schedules are begining to show up for the 2011 Triathlon Season. I really hope to inspire many, many people to dust off those running shoes, put air in the tires of the old bike hanging in the garage, and get out there and TRI this season. Wouldnt it be great to have a whole contingent of people running and passing along that inspiration.

The hampsters in the old brain have been working overtime churning the idea wheel... more to come as the weeks progress... but I want everyone over the next few months to start thinking about it.... "What if *I* TRI-ed"

Til next time!

~Millie :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oh, What A Feeling

Yesterday was the day. About 4:45 in the morning, I grudgingly got out of my warm bed at my Dad's house, and prepared for what I feared was going to be the biggest humiliation in my life. The night before around a game of cards, we had discussed what would happen if they in fact did enforce the 15/min mile stipulation- and had decided if in fact that was the case, and we were forced off the course, we could at least say "oh well, we tried" and head back to the finish line for some hot chocolate and fondue.

We arrived in the city at about ten minutes to six, parked and headed towards the event area. Now, being that the race was held in the heart of the downtown area of the third biggest city in the country, we pracitically needed to walk a 5K just to get to the race. Okay, maybe I'm over-exaggerating a bit... we needed to walk a four k ;-)

It was a hike though. No big deal at the beginning of the race, when you are all hopped up on adrenaline, on new morning muscles, full of promise and expectation- an entirely different story after the race, when you are sore, dejected, and spent. - More on that later.

It was as cold as Mr WeatherMan promised it would be- a balmy 28 degrees at post time- Im sure colder when we arrived down there pre-sunrise. So, in lieu of standing around and freezing our rears off, we snuck into the volunteer tent and stood around trying to look inconspicuous for an hour or so.

I must say- some of these runner folk- are hard core. Like gazelle's to the nth degree. The pack was seperated into 5K runners ( the casual joggers) and the 15K runners (read: hard core)- so hard core in fact that some were even running in shorts and running tank tops - yes, you read that right- shorts and tank tops in 28 degree weather. They scoffed at cold weather, flipped their chins at the mere thought of being cold. They knew their superiorly toned bodies and agile quickness would warm them as they went. They'd be running so fast, the cold would have to try and keep up with them.

And then there was me. In three layers of shirts, plus a Polar Teck zip up trying to focus on the race instead of how cold I was becoming. Thankfully. my dad gave me his hat (it apparently hadn't dawned on me prior to leaving my house that I may want to keep my head or at the very least my ears warm)- with the promise that I would warm up as the race progressed.

Throughout the Pre Race Mr Microphone- whomever he was- kept telling us that "even the 5K racers were expected to maintain a 15 minute mile" I was panicked. What were they going to do to me? How would they know I wasn't maintaining that pace? As I knew there was no way in heck I was going to maintain that pace.

Post time came, and my dad headed off to run with the rest of the gazelles, and my stepmom and I headed off to the back of the pack. Slight problem though- thirty thousand people sandwiched into three blocks made little room for maneuvering. Therefore, we ended up mingled into the 12 minute mile racers. The race started and we got jostled big time. I felt like I was in the game Frogger trying to dodge all the gazelles whizzing past me. At the half mile mark, we started to run down a hill, and not being so confident on my Rocktape wrapped knee and ankle, I was afraid to really do more than walk gingerly down, and this is where my stepmom and I separated.

Mile marker one is where the flat part of the course began, and I confidently picked up speed ( -side note- I'm starting to rethink the Triathlon in Lake Geneva--- if I can't even handle a teensy weensy hill on a paved street how the heck do I think I can handle an entire bike and running route of them) at Mile Marker one and a half I was starting to feel fairly good, I was alternating walking and jogging at about a 2 or 2 1/2 minute pace (-side note- it was so cold outside, that at the water station, the cups of water and gatorade actually had little frozen bits of liquid in them- a nice shock to the old system )

My dad was right, around this time I was actually getting quite warm, but I didn'nt want to stop and remove anything or switch stuff around, as I was afraid if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to get moving again.

Mile Marker two, I started to feel a tightening in my achilles tendon. Ive experienced those problems before, my podiatrist had said the reason I had these problems were because of the pronation in my ankle due to the weakened tendons from the previous foot turning problems I had as a kid. But I had taped it in Rocktape that morning, so I ignored the tightening figuring it would loosen itself up and kept pushing. Mile Marker two snaked down the Lakefront and then into Grant Park, under Lake Shore drive and back towards the finishing line. It was about MM two and a half. when we tranistioned from paved ground of the shoreline bike path up onto a grass path and then onto the Grant Park trail. It was at this time (transitioning up the grassy knoll) that I hear a pop followed by hot searing pain in my left foot. I slowed to slower than a walk - more like a hobble- and tried to stretch it and walk it off a bit. No such luck. I pull off the course as more people pass me by, and try stretching it against a tree. The pain just gets worse and worse. At this point my dad calls my cell phone wondering where on the course I am- he, like the rest of the gazelles, had finished a long time ago- but thinking back on it, it must have been about forty five minutes after the start of the race, which means, I was probably sub-twenty minute miles which in the book of this huffy puffer, I had actually managed a fairly good pace then for my first 2 miles.

I tell him my location, that I did something to my ankle, but I'm going to try to push through. I make it to about 2 and 3 quarter miles, and I could feel my foot swelling, so I hobbled over to a bench to try and assess the situation. There was a medic shooting the bull with one of the volunteers and he asked me if I wanted to drop out of the race. I told him no, I was fine, I was just removing my tape and I'd be moving along. There was no way I was going to show up shamefacedly ridining on the back of a medic-mobile. What would I tell everyone? How would I even be able to tell so many people that I couldn't even complete a Five K. I removed the Rocktape wrapped around my ankle.. and it provided enough relief for me to keep going. I passed under the photo's who take the final picture before heading towards Mile Marker three and into the finish chute. I honestly think they didn't even bother to take a picture- though my Dad says that there were four up there, so he's sure one of them did. I personally think they saw me pop a squat on the bench and figured "heh- shes probably quitting, why waste my time"

I made it to Mile Marker three, received another phone call from my Dad telling me that I should meet him at Buckingham Fountain that way he could bring the car around to get me. Maybe he knew that Buckingham Fountain was past the finish line and that would motivate me to keep going, but I wasn't planning on quitting anyhow. I saw mile marker three and I have not seen anything so good ever. Mile Marker three meant I was almost there... only a few hundred more feet and I would be finished.

I hobbled down the chute trying to hobble/jog/walk/limp my way to the finish line as 15K runners ran on my heels- yup--- you read that right- fifteen k runners managed to finish their entire race faster than I did my 5K... no, that wasn't humiliating at all. Neither was the fact that Mr. Microphone was announcing names as they came to the finish line and he saw me, and walked right past me not even bothering to announce me. BUt there it was, the finish line... a few more hobbles and I was across it, and done. Thank the Lord I was done.

I'm sure my finish line pictures will be more than entertaining once they are finally posted. Because I was anything but smiling,but I remember thinking oh wait, Im finished, I should look happy and try to at least smile.

I skipped the fondue and hot chocolate post finish (too far to walk to the fondue tent) and thankfully my Dad and Stepmom walked back and got the car so I wouldn't have to hobble all the way back.

But- I finished, and that is all that matters. And, previous to said problem with my foot I think I was doing pretty good. I'm going to continue working on my running through the winter and I still have my eye on the "run the entire 5K" prize by the time Tri Season starts up again in June.

I also learned a few other things:

1. I am far more capable of doing things than I ever give myself credit for.

2. I really loathe crowds more than I thought I did... I really think that the Chicago Triathlon is going to be removed from my list. I can't imagine trying to share the lake/bike roads/ run paths with that many people for a triathlon.

3. Inspiration and motivation keeps you going when your own head tells you to quit. I can not even find the words to explain how much the emails, texts, facebook posts and messages meant to me... I carried everyone of you with me through my race. So, a big thank you to all of you for your encouragement. :)

Til next time!

~Millie : )

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Upon the suggestion of a few, I am going to try running with Rocktape, instead of my traditional Cho-Pat Knee and Ankle supports. The main reason for the switch - though Cho Pat gives my knee the support that I need, it doesn't like to stay in place, so I'm constantly having to stop to pull it up and/or adjust it. Additionally, unless I pull it so tight that my leg practically tingles, the velcro continues to loosen the longer I use it.

It isn't cheap (about twenty bucks) but if it works (and it says it's water proof so that would be great for Tri Season) then it will be well worth the investment. I've watched a few videos on RockTapes website on how to apply the tape, so lets hope I do it right- because if there is a way to totally screw it up in application, I will somehow find the way. I'm not 100% comfortable with switching to something entirely new on race day, as I like to stay set in what I typically use... but it came highly recommended by a trainer friend of mine- so I'm going to roll with it.

Less than a day left. My bib and cool swag were picked up for me today by my Dad, so I am race ready (in the technical participant aspect)... the physically fit aspect, yeah... I am fairly certain that I will be in a world of hurt come Saturday morning. But hey, at least if personal success, accomplishing my goals, sticking to it and not giving up aren't motivation enough for me race day,... perhaps the promise of delicious chocolate will be :)

'Til next time!

~Millie :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

D-Day is Fast Approaching

I am so screwed. And seriously. I’m not even kidding in any way shape or form this time. This isn’t the typical, couple days before the big race freak-out under valuing my abilities. No… I am Pucked- with a capital F.

I received my bib confirmation and all the rest of the information necessary for packet pickup. Within all that information parking, start time, etc etc was a little teensy thorn in my proverbial side. Fifteen Minute Mile- Maximum.

Um, fifteen minutes? To all you runners out there, I’m sure you’re like “jeez you can walk a fifteen minute mile” but to a huffy puffer like me… a fifteen minute mile is as practically unattainable as a pair of 7 Jeans. (Neither can be achieved without massive amounts of weight loss- for the non-fashionistas that didn’t quite connect the two)

When I run for running club, we just run and walk for an hour. Once finished, we head back to the store, stretch, and go home. She never says “ok, what we did tonight was at a x mile/minute pace” And, considering that the rest of the running group could have showered, changed, and put a roast in the oven, between the time they arrive back at the store and the time I arrive back at the store. I know my pace is much much slower than a fifteen minute mile. The OTHER reason I know this.. is that on “off” days (before my school schedule derailed me anyhow) I was working on the Elliptical Machine to increase my stamina.

I worked on it for thirty minutes. And in that thirty-minute time span, I went a mile and a half. So, I have a TWENTY-minute mile pace. What’s going to happen? Are the fifteen-minute mile police going to come out, guns drawn, whistles blowing, and force me off the course? Is there going to be a blaring siren screaming “Move it or lose it tub” Or, is the fifteen minute mile merely a “suggestion” and not quite enforced?

I guess, I’ll be able to provide this answer to you in less than 2 days. and D day fast approaches. Have I mentioned how much I hate running?

IN other news… I’m thinking of cancelling my membership to Lifetime (the freezing cold pool just does not appeal to me whatsoever with the winter months fast approaching) and considering joining the fitness center at the hospital. I hear their lap lanes are less crowded and *da daaa da daaaaaa * they have an indoor running track! So, all winter long, I could go around that track at my own pace, without feeling like the lonely loser that everyone leaves behid on running outings. I just need to find the time to go over there and meet with someone and figure out how much it costs – Big gulp- because Ive heard it’s expensive.

I really hate to blog and dash, but this Gumby is being pulled in far too many directions these days, and I have miles and miles to go before I wake… not literal miles today anyway (thank God) just literary miles.

Til next time!