Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reef Flip Flops

I forgot to add in my post yesterday about my vacation, to talk about something else.

So,  a few years back, I went to Florida with some friends.  And at that time, I wore these Nike Sandals that sort of look like TEVA Sandals.  They were super comfortable and allowed me to walk around the parks for hours and hours and never got one blister or even felt the slightest bit of pain in my feet.  Those are the sandals that I packed in my suitcase with me this trip for the parks.

Well, apparently with all the lost weight, my feet have shrunk. The sandals were too big.  And of course, being on vacation at Disney World, it's not like I could pop over to the nearest store and find a new pair of shoes.  So, I soldiered through with the Nike Sandals.  I thought I'd be fine wearing them until the 90 degree heat made my feet sweat.  Once my feet started sweating. my feet slipped around in those shoes like ice cream on a hot spoon.  Resulting in some of the largest and nastiest blisters on my arches I have ever seen or experienced.

By the end of the first day at the park  I was in tears the pain was so bad.  We left Universal and outside in the City Walk was some kind of store that had a sign that said "Try our flip flops- The Most Comfortable shoe you'll ever own"  At that point I didn't care how comfortable it was, I just needed to get something else on my feet other than the too big Nike Sandals that were rubbing my arches incessantly.

The Reef Flip Flops were $21.95 at this shop on the City Walk.  I have no idea if that is the average price or the "You Stupid Tourists" - Price Gouge that is synonymous Orlando Florida.  I bought them and even while standing in line to pay for the I was already removing my sandals.

They are no lying, the most  comfortable flip flopI have ever owned.  I own a pair of Croc Flip Flops (which, I still swear by as your go to flip flop for the pool-  and they are still my 2nd favorite pair of flip flops behind these new ones)  but these Reef Flip Flops are even more comfortable than those.

It is like walking on a cloud especially designed for my foot.  I don't think I will ever go back to wearing any other flip flop other than these Reef ones.  They have a website with dozens of other styles which I have only had a chance to peruse briefly, but seriously.  Check them out.  I wore them for the rest of my vacation and did not have another problem with my feet.

Their website is

I *think* mine are the Reef Sweetwater-  but I'm not 100% sure because mine are black and Teal and I don't see anything on their website that are those colors (which its possible I paid premium price for last years shoe- in Orlando, it wouldn't surprise me)

Here's what mine look like- if someone knows which line they are.  I'm sure you can tell that I literally wore them all week-  they need to be washed lol.

Have you ever owned a pair of Reef Flip Flops?  Do you agree they are fab?  Or-  what is your go-to shoe that you just can not live without?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flo- Rida

Harry Potter Ride- Universal Orlando
Photo Credit by Yours Truly :)
Ok, if you don't watch "Outsourced"  you will most likely be scratching your head at the title of the blog.  No, I'm not talking about the Rap guy... the topic of tonights blog:  My vacation.

So, as Ive already said-  I love the sun, the sun does not like me.  Seriously, Im the love child of Casper the Friendly Ghost, and a Cullen- I'm sure of it.   If the circus freakshows of yesteryear were still around, in my current state I could probably be a headliner in their shows.  I could be "Lobster/Lizard Girl" or "The Human Boil" -  sun poisoning-  all over my body.  I was in 100 proof sunblock too.  I just learned today though that apparently anti-biotics reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen- and as you know I have been sick and though my Zpack technically was "finished"  it stays in your body up to two weeks after you take it.  Good to know.  I guess that explains why I could probably get a job at Disney World right now as Sebastian the Lobster for the Little Mermaid exhibit.

We didn't actually do Disney though.  Being a Harry Potter fan, we decided this trip was ALL about Universal Studios.  Now before I had gone down, I had read on a lot of websites- and actually I follow this guys blog as well Banks Lee & Three Clicks-  and I knew already going down that I wouldn't be able to ride on the Harry Potter ride.  However, after reading up on a lot of the other rides, people who posted heavier weights and larger sizes than I am, said that they were able to ride the rest of the rides with "no problem"  so I figured Id be o.k. too.  Yeah-  not the case.  Our first day at Universal, my husband and I went on the Mummy ride.  Now there is a coaster outside of the ride that you can test to make sure that you "fit".  I tested it-  sat in it, and pulled the lap bar down no problem.  So I thought "oh thank goodness I won't have to be embarrassed for the entire day"    So we stand in line for the ride, get to the front of the line, sit in our row, I pull the lap bar down with no problem, when the teenager inspecting our belts raises his hand up just as he gets to me.  I'm thinking- what is he raising his hand for?  My lap belt is down, I'm in here just fine.  He informs me that the lap bar needs to engage 3 times to ride- mine had only engaged 2 clicks- not 3.  I was told that I couldn't ride the ride unless it clicked 3 times.
Well. I carry all my weight in my gut.  The lap bar wouldn't go to the damn third click- so shamefacedly I had to get off the ride.

As I was getting off, I had the worst urge to explain to the kid "You know, I've completed 2 Triathlons....  and I've lost 65 pounds already"  but I realized the kid doesn't care.  He just wants to punch in his time and move along.  There was a guy who was in the row behind- much, much heavier than I am, that was able to ride the ride by lifting up his roll, and placing it over the lap bar.  I guess, men, with beer guts can do that-  women however, have different anatomies (lol clearly) so "lifting up" doesn't quite work when it blends into your lower abdomen also.

I tried not to let it get me down, and kept telling myself how far Ive come- but the sad fact is that I am still a tub-  and according to the "safety standards" of most roller coaster companies- that means I am not eligible to ride most roller coasters now a days.  I knew going into it that Universal in general is very fat-unfriendly, so I shouldn't really be all that disappointed.  But, it just continues to highlight how much of life I am missing out on by being heavy.

I will make it back there, eventually, to ride the Harry Potter ride.  If Banks Lee worked hard enough to get to  three clicks-  I can, you can, we all can.

Until then, I just have to remind myself, that just because there was a setback in my journey and a knock to my ego- doesn't negate the hundreds of other positive strides that I have made.

While I was on vacation I realized that I have sorely neglected my "Loving Myself" exercises.  At this point, the month is almost over-  so I'm going to reset and start again on April 1st.

Have there been times in your own weight loss journey when all your positive strides seemed overshadowed by a setback?  How did you handle it?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Motivation Monday- Catherine

Morning all!  I am back from my vacation, and will post more about the past weeks goings-on later.  But, as promised, another installment of Motivation for you on this Monday Morning.  Today's guest blogger is my cousin Catherine.  She is a twenty-something student who recently completed the Race to the Top of the Rock for MS.  In her own words,  here is her inspiring story:

I participated in The Climb to the Top in NYC on February 27th. When Millie asked me to do a write-up on my experience, I was totally for it. Actually, she helped motivate myself during my training, since this was my first race I have done like this, so I was more than happy to share my experience.

I heard about the event when I was dropping off my dry cleaning one day back in October. As I was putting down my clothes, I saw a bunch of pamphlets that said, Climb to the Top for MS (multiple sclerosis). I reached for the pamphlet right away and started to read. The event was a challenge to climb to the  Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Plaza.  The first thing that came to mind was “hey, 69 flights, I can do that – right?” Then I thought of my grandfather who had MS, and I was like “I’m going to do this for him.”

So, the next day I signed  at the gym. In the pamphlet it said that if someone was able to complete a 5k, that they could easily climb 69 flights.  Since I was new to the gym, I got a free evaluation from a trainer. Now, I am back in school and my schedule is crazy, and I will admit, I am pathetically out of shape AND I made that perfectly clear to the trainer when he was asking me all these questions. Now I would consider myself to be an athletic by nature type of girl. I played sports my whole life, but I will admit that I am in no way the shape I was like 15 years ago, when I was at my peak.

Back to the trainer,  I also told him about the event and how I would like to have him help me think of a regime I could do every day that would get me into shape for my climb. To make a longer story short, my hour long evaluation, was an evaluation from HELL. You would think that a typical eval. would have you on the treadmill, to see how well you can do at different speeds and inclines, as well as some flexibility and balance tests. NO, that is not what I got. I got all lunge, squats, jump up on the box thing, sit-ups, push-ups, ALL back to back to back, with no rest and no water breaks. Ummm, let’s just say I had to stop it at minute 45 because I felt dizzy, lightheaded, and nauseous. The trainer wanted me to continue, but I couldn’t. I was like, “I know my body, and I doesn’t feel right”. 
He brought me upstairs and was like, “I’m confused. We didn’t do anything intense, so there shouldn’t have been a reason for you to feel like that. At this rate, I don’t think you’ll be able to do the event and to be honest, I don’t train people that do half-a**.” Now, when he said that, I was still feeling the effects of what I had just done, so, I all I could muster up and say was, “yeah.” I left the session completely confused and was like, “crap, am I going to be able to do this?, maybe he was right.”

I told a few of my friends what the trainer had said and they were like, ummmm, hold up, no one tells you what you can or cannot do. He handled that completely wrong,  A) a trainer is suppose to motivate you, not put you down, B) he didn’t even have me do a warm-up routine and C) he didn’t have me stretch after I was done with my evaluation. Let’s just say I couldn’t move for  at least 5 days, that’s how sore I was AND it wasn’t even a good sore from a good workout. Thanks to my friends I  finally began feeling like myself again, I realized I can do this!

So, on November 1st I started on a regular walking/running routine. I wanted to run for at least a month to build up my stamina before I started on any type of muscular endurance training. I started off by speed walking for one week every day for 45 minutes to an hour. For my 2nd week, I added for every 5 minutes I walked, I would run 1 minute. The 3rd week, I would increase the time I ran each day, by two minutes. So, by the time the end of week 4 came, I was running at least 20 minutes, if not more, a day. Which, I was pretty impressed with. I was starting to feel like I was on the right track and could move onto working on building up my leg muscles.

Well, hello stair climber. I have done the stair climber a few times before and it is one good workout. I was feeling pretty confident and decided to start out climbing for 5 minutes and a normal pace. At first, I was like, I could get the hang of this, but once minute 2:30 came along, that was a different story. It was slowly getting harder and harder. I was determined to go to 5 minutes and I did. Once the machine stopped and my feet were on the floor, they felt like jelly!!!  In those 5 minutes I accomplished 27 flights of stairs. Which to be honest, I don’t know how that was possible, but I’d take it.

I started to rotate from my climbing to every other day at this point, but, would continue to run every day.  Now, I didn’t think it would happen, but I got a killer sinus infection, that put me back the first two weeks or so in January, plus my student teaching started and by the time I got back from school, I’d be exhausted. Needless to say, my training was then only done on the weekends. The good thing was that I had a lot of stairs in the building I was teaching at, so each day, on any break I had, I would climb the stairs. I think I estimated a good 12 flights per day, give or take a few.

The week before the event, I was starting to get the jitters. I was so afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to physically do the event, and that since my training was lessened, that my outcome would be horrible. I realized that since this was my first big race, that to finish it would be such an accomplishment, and let me tell you, it was!

I got up at 6am on February 27th and headed into the city to Rockefeller Plaza. When I got the main concourse for check in, I was overwhelmed. The amount of people there doing this race, was amazing. There was over 1,000 people partaking, and 25% had MS. My time was called at 8:30 and I lined up. While I was in line, I started to talk to a few people, one person’s father had MS, while another’s sister had MS. There were also people there who had MS and were climbing. That’s when it hit me and the adrenaline came on. 8:40 came and we were told to start heading to the stairwell. People were cheering, it was amazing. We got to the stairwell, each person was called a minute apart from each other, so the stairwell wouldn’t get jammed. At 8:45 my climb started.

The first few flights weren’t bad, but once flight 10 came, I was like “holy cow, this is going to be interesting.” The first rest stop wasn’t until the 27th flight, so I had a while until I got there. All I kept thinking was, “one step at a time, one step at a time.” I just kept climbing and climbing. I got to the 27 floor in 10 minutes. Had some water, caught my breath and continued on my journey. There were 2 more rest stops along the way. I would take a break here and there on the stairwell to catch  my breath, but would continue on. I realized that by using the banister to help pull my body up, was a great trick.

The second rest stop was at flight 40. I made it there in like 8 minutes. I was told one last rest stop was going to be at flight 55. So, I continued on. One of the great things about this event is that they had volunteers at every flight cheering you on. When you checked in you could put on a bib that says who you are climbing for. I put Grandpa in big letters. As I was on flight 52, one of the volunteers yelled “that’s right, keep going for Grandpa.” That is exactly what I did. I got to flight 55, had some water, really caught my breath and went for the last leg, 14 flights to go!! I pushed and pushed. With 3 flights to go, I tried my best to really race to the top. I got to the top and got outside on the observation deck and my mom was waiting right at the finish line, cheering me on. The view was spectacular and really defined what you just did. I completed the race 26:25. I couldn’t believe it!!  I doubted myself so much at first, and to see that I could finish it, was amazing. They said the average time for people was 30 minutes, so to have finished below that was awesome.
This was definitely one of the greatest moments of my life. If I have one thing to share, it is never give up. Millie told me that the first time you do a race, it is all about finishing it the first time and proving to yourself that you can do it, regardless of the time!! I cannot wait to do the race again next year and I m looking forward to doing some 5k’s along the way. I can’t wait to share my experience a year from now, if Millie will let me.

Are you training for a race or did you recently complete one?  I'd love to have you share your inspiring story as a guest blogger on See Millie Tri.  Email me at Millie [at] See Millie Tri [dot] com and let me know when your race is.  I would love to share your success with everyone else!  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pushing Past Your Perceived Limit

Art by Mark Bryan
Today was an interesting morning.  I woke up at 3 in the morning, head spinning with thoughts, and completely unable to get back to sleep.  I spent the next 2 hours and 45 minutes lying awake trying to will myself back to sleep- it didn't work.

So At 5:45 I got out of bed and headed to the gym.  Now, I know that I complain about this alot- and a lot of you are probably sick of hearing about it- but, seriously,Lifetime-  
:Begin Rant: 

if I wanted to know what it was like to swim in the artic, I'd book a cruise on the Titanic.  Warm up the effing pool already.  There is no worse feeling than jumping into a shockingly cold pool.  And I'm not even talking "oh boy that's cold what a wakeup!"  no, a "holy bloody *^#%#  that's teeth chattering cold" 
I'm ahead of myself though- because I get to the gym at 6ish (I think it was like 6:09) and the pool was PACKED.  I mean wall to wall people PACKED.  Ugh-  Tri season is in full swing.  I hate sharing lanes,  loathe it actually.  At the Y- as Ive said before, no big deal, because the lanes are a normal size, but at Lifetime, the laps are teensy weensy.  For example-  I am 5 feet 9 inches tall.  I don't know what that equates to inches wise in my wingspan, but I can touch both lap lanes standing in the middle of the lane.  Now, try sharing that tiny space with some gigundo Iron Man.  Or even with another woman.  And it's not even about sharing such a small space per se-  it's having to slow down and change your stroke every time the two of you pass each other - lest you hook arms (which Ive done numerous times- its painful)  not to mention that its impossible to get a good workout going when you're worrying about someone else in your lane (and I can't even entertain the thought of backstroking when someone else is in the lane.)
So-  I waited for a lane to open up- a solo lane.  By the time this happened it was ten to 7. So I only had roughly 45 minutes to do my workout.  I decided to just go, and do as much as I could and regardless of what that was I'd just have to be okay with it. 
And, amazingly, in roughly 50ish  minutes- I swam a mile and a half! Never in a million years did I think I could swim that far in that little of a time period. (Little for me anyway)-  olympians swim a mile in like 15 minutes. - obviously, I'm not an olympian teehee.

Mr Nice Guy Ironman was in the lane next to mine, and as we swam, I pushed myself to keep pace with him.  The old competative spirit kicked in full throttle, and for the most part I was able to stay neck and neck with him (Ok, sometimes it moved to head and shoulder.. and a few times it was shoulder and knee) but, I would touch the wall each pass within seconds of him.  Can I tell you how much I miss competing on a swim team?  One of these days, I'll join the Masters and swim at meets again.  

Typically though, when I swim, I swim in 400 meter passes (100 Free, 100 Back, 100 Breast, 100 kickboard- repeat 4 times [my workout consists of more than this, since this is only 1600m - the rest is a combo of sprints, and working with paddles or fins )  and I don't typically push past longer than 400 meter passes because my brain tells my body that Im too tired and incapable and I stop and take a rest.  But, the motivation of having someone beside me to pit myself against, enabled me to keep going, keep swimming, and I was able to swim 1000m before I even stopped the first time.  Keeping pace with an Iron man felt freaking phenomenal.  Of course, as I type this, my arms are on fire, and my shoulders are aching.  But of course in a good way. :)

The best part of this whole experience is proving to myself over and over again how much more capable I am than I ever think I am.  And I'm really starting to absorb that over the past few weeks.  I'm actually really bummed (exercise wise, - honestly Im counting the hours otherwise)  Im going on vacation and am going to miss exercising in the way that I'm used to.  I plan to still work out as I am able to, but it won't be anywhere near the intensity that I have been.

Alright-  I'm hitting a brick wall.  I think its going to be a fairly early night... as I said, I  was up at 3 and Im seriously nodding off as I write this.  So I'm wrapping it up now.  I hope this post makes sense!  :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hello Old Friend

From Picasa Web Album
I'm quite sure that I am still on an endorphin high from Saturday's butt kicking.  I still feel great.  Sore, but great.  I had told Brutus on Saturday that I wanted him to keep tabs of how often I swipe into the gym and if I am not there at least once a day, that he has full permission to beat the snot out of me on Saturday's.  With the newfound fear of Brutus to keep me motivated, I headed off to the pool this morning.  Lifetime apparently still hasn't gotten their ISH together, and the water in the pool is STILL(!!)  Frigid!  Now I remember what caused me to stop swimming in the first place - previous to getting sick and school getting in the way.  What the heck is the deal, why on earth has the pool gone from tolerable, to cold but tolerable enough, to slightly cold, to FRIGID.  It's ridiculous.  I jumped in and started swimming right away because, well, what better way to keep warm.  I was really nervous that I had lost a lot of ground, not being in the pool for a while, but to my surprise, I was still able to do a 1400 this morning. Which-  wow-  its amazing how far I've come.  At one point during this journey 1400 was on my "one day I'll be able to do that"  and now 1400 is a "light" day (or what I can usually do when I havent swam in a while)  -  a mile (or 1650) is my "medium" day and a "Hard" day is a 2000m.  I love that I have come so far in the pool.  Oh- which reminds me, I'm behind on loving myself!  I have to go and meet a friend for dinner, so I will love myself when I get home (wow three posts in one day, aren't you guys lucky!)

Anyhow, I realized today and I was doing my laps, that my stroking has changed over the past year or so.  I wasn't stroking incorrectly before, but, I was not engaging all of the muscles needed, which resulted in my body drooping under the water creating underwater drag to pull against.  But, with a stronger abdominal core and back muscles, I am able to skim just beneath the pools surface, creating less drag, and less effort per stroke!

We are really in the full swing of Triathlon training.  All of the Tris are back in the water from Ironmen all the way down to the sprinters.  (want to learn how to scope out your appropriate lane?  Check out my earlier post Public Lap Pools are Like High School Lunch Tables )  This created a very choppy morning of swimming.  Lots and lots of Ironmen in the pool today!

And, surprisingly-  one Ironman was actually a really nice guy!  We talked in the Hot Tub after the workout.  He was telling me about Ironman Wisconsin and how hard it is (He said, much harder than Kona because of all of the hills on the bike route- with no rest or reprieve) and that he's has a Half Iron man in about six weeks in California.  I was shocked.  If I keep meeting all these nice Ironmen, I'm really going to have to append my blanket "Iron Men Are Arrogant AHoles" statement.  Though, I must say, they really aren't *all *  aholes.  I have a friend George who did IM Wisconin, and he's a great guy.  Not arrogant at all.  But the ones that train at Lifetime-  the majority of them are definitely jerks.

Oh my, I'm running late! I'll post a bit more later and talk about loving myself!

Motivation Monday!

Photo From Picassa Web Albums

So, I've decided to start a new thing here at See Millie Tri.

Monday Morning Motivation!  

I want to use this new piece to demonstrate that no matter what your size, age, or ability, YOU are capbale of that 5k you've been considering, or the Aqua Bike that you're just not sure if you can complete..  perhaps you've done some 5ks or you've biked some and you want to foray into something else.  You can!  There are SO MANY people out there right now committing to running races for charity or their own personal satisfaction.  They took the first step.  They said-  ok, I'm doing this.  That first step is the hardest part.  Yes, the training is going to be hard, but once you get going, you'll be a steaming locomotive- destined for that finish line.  Today's motivator, is my friend Sarah.  Sarah is a mid-twenties professional, grad student, and soon to be bride.  With wedding day weight loss as her primary goal, Sarah decided to bite the bullet and sign up for her first 5k.  In her own words,  here is her experience...

I can’t remember a time where I haven’t been overweight. I was teased for being the fat kid growing up. As I got older, the teasing stopped. At least to my face…as far as I know. I started my weight loss journey in high school. My first try was the Atkins Diet. I lost weight. I felt great. But the second I got a carb in my mouth, it was over. Of course now we know that the Atkins Diet isn’t the best. In my early 20s, my best friend, Jeremy, and I started our own diet. And we lost weight. I was down about 40 pounds. I started dating! I got comfortable! The weight came back…with 10 more pounds of its friends.
In 2008, I ballooned to my highest. I joined Weight Watchers. I fell in love with Weight Watchers. I love 60 pounds. Then life got in the way. I had gained all but 13 of those pounds back. So…jump to January 12th, 2011. I joined Weight Watchers for the second time in my life.  I’ve been doing great…I’m down 10 pounds. I plan to look fabulous at my June wedding :)

So when Mille asked me to write a guest entry on her blog…I was flattered. But why? Two weeks ago, I ran in my first 5k. Based on my history, it should not come as a surprise that the old me would not believe that the current me would have ran in a 5k. It was the “Save the Boobies – Steps for the Chest” 5k. I initially got involved in this when a co-worker pressured me in to signing up. This co-worker is a very good friend of mine. She is very much in to fitness, has run marathons and doesn’t have an extra ounce of fat on her body. “It’ll be fun!” she says. My response was “I’ll probably die.” I signed up for this 5k pretty closely to the time I joined Weight Watchers again. So, I hit the gym. I did not train like I should have for this 5k. I trained by using the elliptical, using the resistance training. I did not do any actual running to train…which seems kind of backward. Had I done that, I believe my time would have been better. But, despite my lack of running,  I had a great time. I actually got a high from it.
Since that 5k…I’ve been working very hard at the gym. I have even signed up for my next 5k on April 10th – Broadway Bridge Run for Special Olympics in Kansas City. I’m very excited about it. My goal for this next 5k is to beat my time for my first 5k which was 43 minutes. This time, I have been going to the gym – about 4 times per week. I run on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Right now, I run for as long as I can, take a 2 minute break and then back to running. I can run well over a mile now without stopping. My goal is to get to 2 miles before the race. For the first time, I’m very excited about getting in shape. Running in 5ks. Going to the gym.
 I’ve never been a runner. When I did Weight Watchers in 2008, I did start running in my neighborhood. But I was never running miles and miles at a time. So, this new training that I’ve been doing hasn’t been too bad. I’m still about 50 pounds overweight but can outrun some of the skinny bitches at the gym :) Right now, I’m not doing any workouts outside of my running training. After this next 5K, I plan to incorporate weights to tone-up.

The motivation for getting in shape is not for superficial reason. Sure, it feels good to look good. But my main motivation is my health. Heart disease is a big problem in my family. I really don’t want that to affect me. I want to be around a long time to share my life with my future-husband. And I want to be around for my future children.  If Millie will let me, I will write about my experience at my next 5k.

So-  what is it that YOU want to do this week to push yourself.   Even if it's not signing up for a race.  Maybe it's starting a workout routine, or even cutting out pop?  This week, take that first step towards a healthier you.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Got My Butt Kicked by Brutus!

Image from Popshopology
So this morning was the first day with my new trainer.  :)

His real name is Will-  but Brutus is more fitting for someone whose sole responsibility is to whip me into crying sniveling submission.

No crying.... yet.  And I say yet, because I am quite sure that eventually he will push me further than *I* think I can go (and when I'm tired and uncomfortable- thats when the tears come-  after the swearing like a sailor ).

Our sessions will be an hour long.  The first twenty or thirty minutes were about what I've done up to now, what my eating schedule is, and what my goals are for the future.  Then it began...

With an evil laugh like Dastardly Dog, we set off to the torture chamber   personal training area.  I had told him my concerns about running on treadmills and the problem I have with my feet, and thankfully he is an anti-treadmill trainer - score-.  Since running is my, pardon the pun, achilles heel, we focused on that for the day.   Once I come back from vaca, he'll have my whole plan laid out for me.  Can I briefly just say how flipping excited I am to come back from vacation?  I seriously must be a glutton for punishment.

So, in order to have a strong and healthy run, according to Brutus, I need strong hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and lower back, which will support my abdominal cage and help me with a more successful run - ie less effort more stamina.

He showed me how to do a proper squat.  Which in all honest, I have always flown a bit blind on the proper form.  Yeah you can watch people do it on workout videos or in an exercise class, but I highly suggest you have someone watch your mechanics so you really know what a squat should feel like.  From the very first correct squat that I did, I could immediately feel the difference between a correct squat and an incorrect squat.

In a correct squat there should be absolutely NO stress or ache or pressure on your knees.  If you are squatting correctly, all of the "burn" should be felt in the back of your thighs and your glutes (that's where I felt it anyway).  With my proper squat technique I was able to do SIXTY  yes, six zero squats today.  (Not all at once. Brutus had me doing circuits of 20 squats a circuit-  and by the third circuit oooohhhh lordy I felt the burn.. oh boy did I feel it)

Slow Fat Triathlete by Jayne Williams
I am getting a bit ahead of myself.  Last year when I trained the first time, I had read in Slow Fat Triathlete that she had joined a running club to get the most out of her running (  we all know how my foray with the run club went)  -  if you are new to my blog  here's my recap of my first run session with the run club  Gazelles of the Serengetti .  Anyhow, she mentioned in her section about running club that they had to do all of these warm up exercises in which she would swing her legs up, or out or do some combination of puppet-like movements and it made her feel like a total idiot.  Yes,  those very same movements, Brutus had me do to warm up.  I jogged.  I kicked my legs out in front of me.  I lifted my knees up like a drum major at homecoming.  And yes, I felt like a total idiot the entire time.  But- it's good for me.  So, looking like an idiot or not, I will high kick the heck out of my legs until the cows come home.

After my kick kick step - jazz hands-  routine,  we went into the meat of the torture  workout.  We did three circuits of squats, legs raises and something called a Burpee-  which is most certainly cruel and unusal punishment            athletically stimulating. If you haven't had the pleasure of experiencing a Burpee, perhaps I'll bring the ole' video camera to the next session and post a V-Blog.  Essentially, you put your hands on a flat surface, kick your legs back as far as you can (either singly or together) and bring them forward again.  I did it both ways,  the two legged jump began putting stress on my arches and balls of my feet, and was burning pretty bad, so we changed to the singular variety.

The words "Times Up" Never sounded sweeter.  And I'm not even gonna lie.  I had to "stretch out" (ie sit on the floor and stretch and then huff and puff and stare) for a good oh, five minutes after the workout just to get enough feeling back in my legs to tackle the stairs.  Yes, it was painful.  But it was sweet sweet pain.  And seriously I can't wait for more.  How sick is that  :)  I've become a glutton for punishment.

Anyhow,  I fully intend to at least do these few exercises while I'm on vacation.  I can't come back having completely fallen behind again.  I leave on Friday morning, but I intend fully to be in the gym every day this week until then.  I asked Brutus to monitor my gym activity, and that if he doesn't see me checked into the club every single day, I gave him full permission to kick the ever living snot out of me on Saturdays to make up for the missed days.  Oh man am I looking forward to this!  (Is it possible to still be high on endorphins twelve hours after a workout?)

Have a great weekend!  Go out there and do something challenging!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Things and Things and More Things!

Photo Courtesy of Results Health & Fitness 
I'm sure Ive discussed this before (or maybe I just posted about this on Facebook)  I finally decided on a trainer.  He's a personal trainer through my gym.  And, the butt kicking starts in the morning.  How strange is it that I feel like a kid on Christmas?  I honestly can not wait for tomorrow morning.  I'm so excited to take another step in my journey.  Tomorrow (Saturday) bright and early, I will be walking into that gym and working my butt off.

Well, in all honesty I don't know how much kicking of my butt he'll be doing on the first meeting.  I'm sure they'll be a whole lot of how'do ya do and such.  But hopefully he'll at least get to kick my butt at least a tiny bit.  The real pain will most likely start when I come back from vacation, but regardless-  the page on the next chapter has turned and I'm excitedly heading straight into it!

I can't wait  :)

Oh and I forgot, I need to love myself some more:

Loving Myself 10

I love that I am now able to appreciate workouts as a step taken in the journey to create a me that I love.  

Loving Myself 11 

I love that slowly but surely, I am replacing fear and trepidition with excitement and anticipation.  The old me would be dreading tomorrow, afraid of what would happen, afraid of the unknown, afraid of the work that would be required of me, and knowing how hard it is going to be - being afraid of looking weak.  But the new me says "Hell yeah-  BRING IT"

Movie Night!

Friday night!  What do most people do on Friday nights?  They go to the movies.  I was actually being all journalistic and researching the percentage to impress you, my loyal reader, but alas, I found pages and pages worth of documentation on how many people were killed in each Friday the 13th movie, but alas there are no statistics on how many Americans attend the movies on a Friday night.  Sans percentage, we'll just say that a lot of people will find themselves in a theater either tonight, tomorrow or on Sunday.

Whilst in said theater, after the ticket purchase and before settling into those comfy movie theater chairs, you are usually titillated with the buttery deliciousness wafting from the concession stand.  Sometimes, you possess the willpower to pass by without purchase, but what if, you and the concession stand could actually be friends without ruining your diet?

Shape Magazine put together a list of the best movie munchies.  (Though most of their list is for half portions of each of these treats- and really, who only eats half?)

Vitamin Water  makes the top of their list, because it is zero calories and essentially is nothing but flavored water.  But in all honesty who ever feels satisfied in a movie theater full of popcorn noshers and candy eaters just sipping daintily on a vitamin water?  If all I needed to feel satisfied was vitamin water, I wouldn't be a tub.

The next best option is an Edy's Strawberry Fruit Bar which has only 80 calories and no fat.  But again, between the never ending pre-pre show commercials, and the twenty minutes of previews, this ice cream bar would be long gone before the show even started.  Again thumbs down on the satisfaction front.

After that, Shape Magazine suggests drinking  a slushie.  A 16 ounce slushie is 220 calories.  I can jump on board with a slushie-  as it will probably take most of the movie to consume.  However, if you are looking for something to chew, the slushie is most likely not going to satisfy, but if you're looking for something to attract your sweet tooth and also quench your thirst, the slushie may be for you.

If you are a Popcorn and really, who isn't.  They say that it is o.k. for you to have a SMALL popcorn with NO BUTTER. for 225 Calories and 6 grams of fat.  If you absolutely must have the butter, one serving of butter (that would be a slight coating along the top of the kernels- and not holding the butter down ensuring coating not only along the top of the bag, but shaking it a bit to make sure that it also drips along the inside corners)  will tack on an extra 17 grams of fat.  But in all honesty, if you're a tub-  just stay away from the popcorn completely.  Way too much temptation and it is way too easy to underestimate the butter and overestimate how "good" you did with your popcorn.

For the non - vegetarians, they say a Hot Dog is also a great way to go.  I'll refrain from my commentary on the ole' hot dog.  But I'll leave you with four  words.  Upton Sinclairs' "The Jungle" - need I say more?  Aside from the fact that  a.  they smell  b. the entire theater is going to be subject to the stench of your steaming meat rod  c. eating a hot dog before a movie isn't exactly the sexiest thing you can do while on a date (even if it's a date with your ball and chain)  and-  your hot dog will be long forgotten before the movie even starts.  So, I say, for these and many other reasons, pass on the meat log.

The rest of the article focuses on candies (and keep in mind, they *think* you will only eat a half of a box)  but they all sit comfortably in the 150-250 range (so even for a whole box or bag you're looking at 300-500 calories-  doable in my opinion).  They are as follows:

Gummie Stars-  175 calories- 0 Fat
Milk Duds -  170 Calories  6 g fat
Twizzlers -  263 Calories - 1 gram of fat  (These are my personal favorite-  they take a long time to chew, so you still feel satisfied, they are sweet enough to curb a sweet tooth, and there are so many in a bag you feel like you're "getting something" for your money
Junior Mints-  298 Calories  5 Grams of Fat

It was a long week, and if you're headed out to the movies, you deserve a treat.  Just remember that your Friday or Saturday night treat does not need to be tomorrow mornings regret!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Loving Myself 6-9

We all know I'm behind on giving myself the love.  This is seriously a whole lot harder than I thought it was going to be.  Maybe this is a sign of just how short I cut myself and am unable to appreciate myself.  Sitting here thinking about it, I am kind of mean to myself most of the time.  When I'm working out and I get tired, instead of saying "C'mon Millie, you can do it. Just one more- push"  It's "You're so weak. Look at you, can't even finish X  what makes you think you can do Y"

So, loving myself in this exercise is actually a helpful and good thing- if I could only find things to love myself for!  This is totally one of those times when you wish you could cheat off someone else-  and I'm totally not even going to lie, I just googled "Things To Love About Yourself"  to no avail.

I guess I'm stuck having to find things on my own that I love about myself.

Loving Myself 6

I love my laugh (as well as I love to laugh) -  as a kid, my mom and sister used to always make fun of my laugh.  There is nothing quiet or subtle about my laugh.  You will know I'm laughing from easily across the room, and perhaps from another room.  But that is the great thing about my laugh.  It's real. Its genuine.  It's a hearty, appreciative belly of a laugh.  Yeah, people laugh at my laughing, but so what is my laugh is laughable.  Laughter is after all the best medicine is it not?

Loving Myself 7 

I love my singing.  And I mean this in the functionality of a singing voice- not a "oh wow, look at me I have such a great voice" way.  I love that after a bad day, I can roll up my windows, turn my stereo up on my drive home, and belt away.  Singing opens up a special door in my heart and soul, and the emotions pour out - happy emotions, sad emotions,  instead of tears, its words and songs, and the world melts away and I feel better.  And it's just me, and my car stereo, and some Indigo Girls, or some Dixie Chicks, a little Madonna or maybe some old school Dolly Parton... perhaps a hair band, or some Glee-  regardless of what it is or what the mood is, my ability to sing (hey some people can't sing to save their lives)  with a strong voice (even if it's just for me, or tucked safely within a choir) is my favorite outlet.

Loving Myself 8 

I love my hair.  I have great hair.  I always have.  I'm actually thoroughly blessed to have such awesome hair.  Of my siblings and I, I definitely swam in the deep end of the hair gene pool.  While they were both blessed to be natural blond beauties, they both have very thin very baby fine hair.  I have a whole mess of hair.  I have enough hair for two people.  When I sit down in a hairdressers chair, they fawn over how much hair I have.  And it's great hair.  It styles easily (though, it is sort of temperamental -  it doesn't appreciate being blown dry, or curled too often, and it only likes very specific brands of products- if I stray from them, my hair and I are in a fight)  it grows fairly quickly, and naturally I have great color (though recently those nasty little buggers the gray hairs have started showing up!-  so I've been dying it  more out of vain "necessity" than because I had a snap desire to be red, black, highlighted, etc) 

I've also been fortunate enough to have been able to grow and donate my hair to Locks of Love Four times.  So I imagine there are little girls - or grown women- all over the place who are enjoying my great hair.

Loving Myself 9 

I love my eyes.  Ive always thought (aside from the hair)  that they were my best feature.  They are hazel-  though in more recent years they have gone the way of jade/emerald green.  When I'm tired or really made they become crazy intense green, and people ask me if I'm wearing contacts.  They do change color occasionally.  When I was younger, they would change with the seasons.  Now their changing is sporadic- and mainly stays in the green color family- with the occasional slate gray in the dead of winter.  But, my eyes- neato - and that's why I love them.  

Do You Sabotage Your Diet?

I know Im way behind on my loving myself posts.  I have to go and see how many I've actually done... I think only five-  so I believe I need to love myself 4 times tonight.

I came across this article on Yahoo News about eating styles and how these styles can sabotage your weight loss.   For me, I know I fit perfectly into the "Weekender" category.  I'm much, much better about this now- especially during Tri Training because I'm working out all weekend long for hours at a time, and somehow, when you've put that much sweat equity into your weekend, you find yourself looking at that fattening food and thinking "hmm it's not really worth it to me for the few minutes of satisfaction" I used to do weight watchers a few years back, and my friend and I who did it together, would weigh in early on Saturday mornings and then we would head out for breakfast together.  And you would not believe how many women from our Weight Watchers meetings we would see at the breakfast place across the street.  Apparently a lot of Weight Watcher women were on the 5 day plan.

Type # 1: The Weekender   You live "by the book" all week, only to throw it out the window on Friday night. Or maybe you travel a lot for work or pleasure, and as soon as your surroundings change, so do your eating and daily calorie-counting habits. 

Fix It: 
Go (mildly) wild on Wednesday. It's hard to resist going nuts on Saturday and ordering the mac ’n’ cheese when you've been buttoned up for 5 days straight, so consider working one splurge night into your week. If you inject a little food-related fun into the weekdays, you'll be less likely to "reward" yourself with major damage on the weekends. 

The mid - week "treat" is actually a fairly good idea- if you know that you will then have enough will power not to fall into your regular habits over the weekend and end up having treats on Wednesdays AND all Weekend.

The 2nd Type of Diet Sabotage - I also used to be  very familiar with

Type # 2: The Calorie Drinker One of the biggest diet mistakes is thinking that if it's something you sip, the calories won't stick. Unfortunately, liquid calories are stealth fatteners—they go down quickly, making it easy to drink more and rack up the calories—fast. Fix It: 
Make smarter switches. Whether your weakness is sweet coffee drinks or soda, there's a way to alter your particular poison so it doesn't sabotage your progress. Skip the sweetener (and whipped cream) in coffee and drink seltzer instead of sugar-packed soda. You’ll save hundreds of calories and barely notice the change. 

My husband and I, back in our ridiculously unhealthy days would each be able to polish off a 2 liter of pop in a day.  Mix that in with a morning Starbucks as well as drinking pop at work all day as well- and calorie consumption from drinks surpass ridiculous.  I've cut out pop all but completely from my diet.  And honestly I don't even miss it.  Every once in a while, in a social situation I'll have a pop, mainly because I'm not a big alcohol drinker (don't get me wrong I'll let my hair down with the a-aaa-al-ca-hol)  but I have to be in the mood to drink.  I'm not a "lets have a glass a wine with dinner, or a beer on Friday nights kind of gal)  but now most of my drinking consists of Water-  water, more water,   crystal lite, and LaCroix seltzer.

And that is the "fix" that they discuss.  I personally love LaCroix water.  It's slightly flavored, its still bubbly, and gives you the feeling of having pop without all the calories (plus drinking pop is really, really bad for you- especially for your poor pancreas) 

Thankfully,  I avoid number 3 fairly well.  I recently read an article in I believe it was prevention about "Are Your Co-Workers Making You Fat"  and seriously, if you work with a group of bad-food-choice making enablers, they probably ARE making you fat.  You can find out very quickly if your working environment is partially to blame.  Bring your lunch for one whole week - and stick to what you brought no matter what.  How many of those days were your co-workers eating food from restaurants?  And had you not eaten what you brought every day- how many of those days would you have been eating out with them?  That's only lunch-  never mind the treats that get brought in for birthdays, or free samples from vendors, and all the other reasons food never -endingly surrounds you at work.

Type # 3: The Low-Hanging "Fruit" Grabber  These days we're confronted with calories everywhere we go, from bagels in the conference room to king-size chocolate bars in the checkout aisle. In an environment with such an abundance of cheap, easy calories, temptation lurks around every corner and chips away at your willpower. Fix It: 
Track every single bite. It's always important to track your meals, but in this case, it's extra important that you take note of everything that slips between your lips. Until now, you probably haven't been "counting" all those free samples at the supermarket, but they can easily cost you 100 calories or more. Seeing how all those extra bites add up is motivation enough to make you say no to the free muffin sample.  

I never thought I was a stress eater until I really started to focus on what I was eating and when (it really helps to keep a food journal of some type so you can see what you eat and when and what emotions were behind what you ate)  

For me, when papers are due, or when I have a lot of homework I need to get done, tends to be the most typical time for mindless stress eating.  I've combatted these urges by keeping gum by my computer at home.  So, as I'm writing/researching/typing I can pop away on my gum and it keeps my jaw busy curbing that need for constant movement.  On the really stressful days I'll resort to popcorn, pistachios or pretzels.  All are hard and take time to chew and with the pistachios, getting them open takes so much effort it also helps curb the stresses.

Type # 4: The Stress Eater  Do you find yourself looking for solace in a red velvet cupcake after a long, stressful day? Do you empty a bag of tortilla chips whenever your mother-in-law is in town? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then stress eating is a part of your life--and probably a major hindrance to your weight loss. 

Fix It:  Name that theme.  Are there any common themes among your stress-related binges? Do they generally occur at work? Do they happen mostly in the evenings, when you’re dealing with family, bills, or housework? If you know that a certain situation or person tends to push you over the edge, prepare yourself for the stress that will inevitably come. Just being aware that a binge-inducing situation is on the horizon can help you brace for it and lower the chances that you'll give in. 

Now- emotional stress eating is an entirely different monster, and I have no tips for avoiding that one, because that monster still lurks in my closet and under my bed and rears his ugly head every once in a while.  -  Coloring does help a bit though :) As Ive said before.

Thankfully-  out of the five-  this last one is not me at all (yay finally something I can't identify with lol)

Type # 5: The Judger  Do you wonder why you're not losing weight when you seem to be doing everything right? You may be falling for healthy buzzwords on a package of high-calorie processed food. Even actual "healthy" foods--some of which offer many benefits--can be calorie bombs. 

Fix It: Don't buy into marketing gimmicks. Read every food nutrition label and decide for yourself whether or not something makes sense for your calorie budget. Also, stop personalizing your food choices. Try not to categorize them as "good" or "bad"--and definitely don't apply that black-and-white thinking to your character. Eating an apple does not make you a "good" person any more than eating a cookie makes you a "bad" person! If you're an ecoconscious eater, "good" and "bad" have other connotations for you. While your efforts to green our planet are applause-worthy, don't forget that words like organic, sustainable, and grass-fed do not necessarily mean "low in calories." Being good to the Earth doesn't automatically mean you're making good choices for your waistline.
Finally, beware of healthy calories. If eating larger portions of lower-calorie foods is your thing, that's fine, but some foods can throw you off your budget when you indulge with too much abandon. For example, almonds are often touted for their nutritional power--and they do pack lots of protein and a nice dose of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. But if you eat just 1/2 cup of almonds (easy to do in one sitting), you're taking in 400 calories.

I am a huge proponent of perimeter shopping.  Packaged processed foods are NOT GOOD for you.  AT ALL.  Even before I picked up Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism and found out all the physiological damage processed foods do to your body, I avoided a lot of that crap.  If they have to take things out of your food and fill it back up with a bunch of junk that you can't pronounce to make it calorie -free enough for you to eat it- you should n't be eating it in the first place.  Jillian says (and I concur)  if it didn't come from the ground or have a mother DON"T EAT IT.  And it is SO TRUE!  Stick with all natural things! If you want cookies, make your own! (just don't eat the whole batch in one sitting....not like I'm speaking from experience or anything....)  If you want to have french fries, buy a potato and fry it at home. Or better yet- buy a potato and bake it. 

If you want to read the entire article without my .02 interjected into every paragraph, you can find it here

I'm going to work on loving myself right now! 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Woman! Heal Thyself!

This virus that has made residence in my body is apparently that creepy relative that never gets the hint to leave a party.  Though I no longer feel like I have been hit by a Mac truck, chewed up by a T-Rex, Spit Out and then rolled flat with a bulldozer, I still have next to no voice, a hacking cough, stuffed nose, and get wiped out pretty easily.

Mr. Millie came down with the bug a week before I did- and though he's starting to feel better, he too still has the sniffly-coughy-wheezy portion of this bug as well.  

I was feeling better today (phone sex operator voice, stuffed nose and non-smokers -smoker cough not withstanding)  and though "Hmm, I certainly can't swim, but maybe I can at least try and get a mile or two walk in"

So, I rushed home, changed and hopped on the treadmill, only to jump off wheezing and lightheaded a few minutes later.  Boy I hope that this thing works its way through my system quickly.  Regardless of the fact that I leave for vacation next Friday-  I'm starting to fall dangerously behind on my triathlon training.  To the point that I'm starting to get worried.  

It's not like on vacation I'm going to be able to hard core train... even if I make use of the gym facilities every day- the fact that I'm "vacation" goes without saying its supposed to be time to unwind and recharge.  So balls out training every day doesn't exactly fit into the schedule.  

So, there go another 10 days.  -  which then puts me three and a half weeks behind.  I'm trying not to let the fear monsters set up camp in my brain- its far too early for fear monsters.  But I'm looking at the calendar and I come back from vacation and it's the last week of March already.  Leaving only April and May before the first Tri the 2nd week of june.  

I'm getting ahead of myself though, and allowing the neurotic control freak side of me take over the calm sensible side.  It will work out.

Since Ive been sick-  I'm behind on my days of Loving Myself.    So I'll wrap this up with Days 2-7

Day 2

I love my shoulders.  They are swimmers shoulders. Broad, and slowly becoming chiseled and sleek.  Every so often, my hand will run across my shoulder, when I'm scratching and itch or putting on a sweater, in my head I'll be like "damn, there's a muscle there!  Ooh!  There's another one! and the spend minutes flexing and unflexing checking out my muscles :)

 Day 3

I love being funny.  A lot of the time, I don't realize that Ive said something funny, until someone says "wow, that was funny"  But at other times, when I say something sarcastic or biting, or make a joke intentionally and people laugh - I totally get a charge like "really? You're laughing? You mean, I'm funny"  and it makes me want to do it again and again.

Day 4

I love being a plethora of useless information.  My friends call me the walking Google.  I read - a lot.  And a naturally inquisitive nature sends me off on research tangents frequently.  Example- I'm reading an article in a magazine that paints some celebrity as the modern day Imelda Marcos-  if I didn't already know who Imelda Marcos was, I'd go off and research who she was and why in fact a celebrities attitudes could be likened to her.  And then it gets stored in the many filing cabinets of seemingly useless information inside my head.  Perhaps it's a writer thing?  Storing interesting factoids and tidbits for future use in a novel or a story.  Whatever it is, I love knowing random factoids and producing them at any given moment.

 Day 5

 You know, this is a whole lot harder to do in one sitting :-/  coming up with all this stuff that I love about myself is really difficult.  I may have to stop at 5 and do 6,7,8 tomorrow.

This sort of fits in with fact number four, but I love the fact that I can hear a song once and remember it for always.  I seriously, can still sing my solo from my 3rd Grade Play.  Music has always been special to me, so I think that it gets stored in a different part of my brain than the rest of my memories.  And I love how there is always a song that perfectly fits a situation- be it a happy time, a sad time, a time that needs to be destressed or for reflection, there is always a song or lyric perfect for the occasion.

Alright- Im all loved out for the day.

I'll love myself some more tomorrow.  Man-   I don't know how I'm going to make it  to 30 days of this :)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sickness Setback

I rarely get sick.  I think a combination of being a city commuter for so many years, combined with all the germs that you get exposed to at a gym, my immune system has become incredibly resilient.  Unfortunately, when sleeping in the same bed with someone who breathes sick germs on you day after day after day - I guess those evil sick germs won the battle and have  infested my body.  So, needless to say, I'm sick :( I'm trying not to allow the little panic goblins to invade my brain and make me worry about how this is setting back my training.  I don't want to be blase' about the almost week long set back, but I'm hoping that working out extra hard in the coming weeks will still get me in enough shape for the Tri.  

I didn't post yesterday - I spent most of the day knocked out in bed, and I didn't really have much to say.  So I still owe you "Loving Myself" Day 2 - and now Day 3 as well.

The reason I came on here though, I wanted to share with you something I have been keeping quiet for weeks-  a feat that was none to easy for a blabber mouth like me!  Today on  you can find a special post by me, their FEATURED BLOGGER!!!   Take a look and let me know what you think! :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kettlebell- A Thing That Makes You Go ARGH!

To append onto my food post : Mr. Millie has classes on Mondays-  as I already said.  Right now, our schedules are frenetic, made even more so because Mr. Millie's bosses from corporate are in his facility this week.  So he has to go in early all week to take care of things with the honchos.  This screws up the morning schedule, because usually I'm the one leaving at a quarter to six to go and swim, and he is leaving at a quarter to eight for work.  Because of our two dogs, and one with an injury, we have to stay home and keep an eye on his as much as possible.  -  so this has cut out any possibility of an evening jaunt to the health club.  This completely screws me, because, as I said before this is supposed to be week one of Tri Training.  Swimming I'm totally not worried about in the slightest.  Even if I lose some of the ground I gained, I was up to a mile and a half swim before my "hiatus" so worst case scenario, I drop back down to a 1000m or a 1200m swim-  which still keeps me in good shape for the Tri.

Thankfully, I have both a spin bike and a treadmill at home, so I can still keep up with those.

Ive been concerned with the development of core muscles.  They are obviously needed for both running and biking (and who are we kidding you need them in swimming too if you are stroking properly)  and mine are fairly weak due to a long winter spent on the couch doing homework.

So, I decided to get a Kettlebell and start a Kettlebell Workout.  I have heard awesome things.  I went to Target, intent on getting Bob Harper's Kettlebell Workout.  I follow him on twitter (@MyTrainerBob)  and he said his can be purchased exclusively at Target.  I get stop at Target on my way home Monday and, of course, not a Kettlebell to be found.  (of his anyway).  But, I was dead set on getting a Kettlebell THAT NIGHT- because this was my intended Monday workout- so I was not going home empty handed.  So, instead I purchased Reebok's Kettlebell Routine (about $15 cheaper than Bob Harpers at $39.99)

When I began researching Kettlebells to begin with, I read a lot of blogs that said "Don't start with less than 20 lbs if you are already in shape-  one even said "even if your muscle is buried under some fat- twenty pounds is the minimum you need to get the job done"

Well,  Target didn't have the 20 pounder-  and as I said, I wanted it NOW- not tomorrow, not wait for it to arrive ordering it online.  So I settled for a 10 pound weight.

Let me tell you-  ten pounds is PLENTY.  I also bought Jillian Michaels "Shred It" because I figured that the Reebox DVD that comes with the weight wouldn't be intense enough.  Yeah, I was dead wrong!

The workout DVD is only twenty minutes long, and it is definitely long enough.  Five minutes in, I was already sweating. Ten Minutes in, I was crying for my mama,  by Twenty Minutes I was grunting and groaning and swearing like a sailor.  But it is definitely worth it!

I feel sore (a good sore!  A " I kicked some ass and took names" sore) today.  Just the thought of sitting down in my office chair made me whimper.  But, I know that this means I will get some massive results from my puny twenty minute dvd.  Eventually, I will work my way up to Jillian's DVD.  For now, Im plenty happy with my 20 minute Reebok Workout with my ten pound Kettlebell.

I'm really excited though to find new workouts that I enjoy.  I am definitely keeping the kettlebell in my rotation!

On a brief secondary note.  My friend Robby over at the blog Fat Girl Vs. World did something amazing in the month of February.  She challenged everyone to write down one thing every day in the month that they loved about themselves  Love Yourself Challenge  and at the end of the month, they wrote themselves a love letter. 

This is such an amazing idea.  Because we all get so mired down with our shortcomings, that we forget to celebrate our victories.  And, we stop seeing ourselves through our own eyes, and judge ourselves on the subjective opinions of the other people in our lives.

Everyday this month, if you want to join me, I will take a brief moment to love myself.  You can feel free to share with me your own postings of appreciation to yourself, or just write them down in a journal for your eyes only.   But the entire month of March, I want all of you to spend some time appreciating the good that you possess and not worry so much about the things that may not have worked out so well.

So with out further ado:

Day 1 of Loving Myself:

I Love That I Am A Genuinely Nice Person.  -  it makes me feel good to help other people-  whether it is helping a stranger find the aisle they are looking for in the grocery store, sending a card to a friend who has been a bit down, being an ear, a hand to hold, or a person in your corner, nothing makes me feel better on a bad day than brightening someone elses.  

I have a plaque hanging in my house, and I make sure to embrace the saying as often as I can:

Live Simply, Care Deeply, Love Generously.

And I think I do a pretty good job doing it.  

Go To Meal #4 - Leek & Kale Quiche (aka She Began With The Best Intentions)

Mr Millie has school on Monday nights (yes, also on Wednesday nights as I said before) and he also has the big guys from his corporate office in all week, so he had to go into the office crazy early today (and the rest of the week) for meetings and such.  Why am I telling you this?  Well, this was supposed to be my swim day.  I couldn't swim because of work schedules and the dogs being left alone for too long.  Plus, with Bozley's injured ACL once we come home from work, we try to stay home so that they at least have some time with us.

This put me in a bit of a connundrum.  Tri training is supposed to begin today.  I can't not workout and set myself back even further than I already am.  So, I decided that I would work on my core tonight- something I can easily do at home.  {more on the Bob Harper Kettlebell Connundrum on the next post}

I decided that I would make a quiche with the Leeks I purchased at the grocery store this past weekend.  I found this recipe on Spark People  Now due to limited time and lack of some of the ingredients- My modifications are in parentheses


    CRUST:  ( No Time To Make My Own- I bought the Pre-Made Pilsbury Pie Crusts) I'm quite sure Mrs. Plant Food Fabulous  will have something to say about this one :) 
    1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour 
    1/2 cup pine nuts 1/4 tsp. baking powder 
    1/4 cup plain, unsweetened soymilk 
    2 Tbs. olive oil 1/4 tsp. salt 
    4 Tbs. olive oil, divided 2 medium leeks, white and light green parts chopped (about 3 cups) 
    1 lb. light firm or extra-firm tofu, drained and cut into 1.5-inch cubes - (I didn't have any tofu in my fridge, and since I'm a vegetarian and not a vegan, I replaced the tofu with 1 egg and 2 handfuls of  Italian Blend cheese) 
    2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (forgot to add this one in!  OOPS!) 
    2 tsp. miso paste  (No Miso Paste either so I used Vegetable Stock)  
    1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.) 
    1 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs (I used regular breadcrumbs, I couldn't find whole wheat ones at Target) 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil 
    1/4 cup chopped reconstituted sun-dried tomatoes, drained ( I have a sensitivity to Cooked Tomatoes, so I left them out) 


1. To make Crust: Preheat oven to 350F. Coat
9-inch springform pan with 
cooking spray. Pulse
flour, pine nuts and baking powder in food
processor until finely ground. Whisk together
soymilk, oil and salt in bowl. Stir in flour mixture.
Press into pan. Bake 5 minutes, then cool.

2. To make Filling: Heat 1 Tbs. oil in skillet over
medium heat. Add leeks, and sauté 8 minutes, or
until softened. Set aside. Bring large saucepan of
water to a boil. Add tofu, and simmer 5 minutes.
Drain, and pat dry. 
Whisk together remaining oil,
lemon juice, miso, garlic and salt in bowl. Mash in
tofu with fork. Stir in breadcrumbs, basil,
sun-dried tomatoes and leeks.

3. Spoon filling into crust. Bake 40 minutes, or
until crust is browned. Cool 5 minutes, then
unmold. Cut into 10 slices.

Number of Servings: 10

Recipe submitted by SparkPeople user NEWSUGARMOON.
Number of Servings: 10

Here are my leeks

You only use the white parts of the leeks, the green parts get cut off -  does anyone know what you can do with the green parts?  It feels wasteful to throw them away.  I'll probably give them to the bunnies outside if there isn't anything to use them for.

At the last minute, I apparently was under the delusion that I am Julia Childs, and I decided that I also could use the Kale that I had.

Now, since then I have learned that Kale needs to be purchased Organic- typically I buy most of my produce organically at Whole Foods or Trader Joes (and even Dominicks and Jewel have organic produce at a relatively good price once in a while) But when I bought this I saw it was $0.97 and just bought it, forgetting to check if it was organic- it wasn't)

:Sidenote:  I know there is a debate versus Organic vs Non Organic-  the fruits and vegetables you want to purchase organically are the ones in which you are eating the outermost skin-  so bananas, oranges, Pumpkins, Squashes - vegetables in which you don't eat the skins dont need to be purchased organically if you are trying to save money.  You should be most concerned about ingesting pesticides on the skin of fruits and vegetables you are eating.

I read that you need to soak Leeks and Greens to get all the grittiness out of them

So these were first doused in veggie wash

And then soaked in warm water.

I soaked them for about five ish minutes and then ran them over cold water in a colander.
After that, I put them in my Cuisinart and mushed them together. with the olive oil and garlic.  (This was probably my mistake with the Kale-  I didn't cook it first, I just pulsed it raw.)  Since this cooking experience, my sister, Mrs. Plant Food Fabulous informed me that Kale needs to be cooked down with some form of acid like Lemon Juice or Orange juice to get the bitterness out of them.

This is what it looked like after I blended them together.

I added  1 egg, a cup of Vegetable Stock, 1 cup of Bread Crumbs, and 2 pinch-fulls of cheese and stirred it all up 

Ater stirring it, I put it in my pre-made pie crust- put it in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Here's the Money Shot:

For the most part,  it was pretty good.  The Kale to Leek ratio was definitely off- as I could taste more bitter kale than smooth leek.  But the pieces that I got that were just leek, was actually really good.  So, my addition of the Kale pretty much ruined the dish.  So I would suggest that if you make this- don't try to be all Julia Childs like I did-  and just go with the leeks.

I also, after eating it, had a severe reaction to the Kale, which we have since deduced it was probably the pesticides I had a reaction to and not the Kale itself.  I will purchase an organic kale and see if it is any different.  After eating it though, my throat closed up, ears and throat began to fiercely itch and I had to jump in the shower just to rid the remnants of the kale off of me.   - which is why this is getting posted on TUESDAY instead of MONDAY.  

This will definitely be a Go To Meal-  I will most definitely use this one again, without the Kale.  Perhaps I will try leek and spinach- or I'll just stick with the Leek Recipe first and then figure it out from there :)

So, even though this specific one didn't turn out "perfect" I am marking this one in the success column.  I will most definitely try this one again.  And, technically even though it took forty minutes to cook, the prep time was super fast (ten minutes tops)  and I could stick it in the oven and do my workout while I waited for it to cook.