Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends #CleverHaiti

Heart of Haiti Available At Macys

When I was asked “Who Has Helped You” in your journey… I couldn’t just pick one person.  However, an image came into my head of a picture that my dad took the day I completed my first Triathlon.  In this picture, the people who are my greatest support surround me, and have all helped me in many different ways. 

Meredith, my triathlon inspiration, sanity finder, editor, story idea sounding board and all around tirelessly supportive friend. (She’s in the other orange shirt, we did the race together). 

My friend Jenny is the world’s most tireless cheerleader(the one holding the green pompoms).  Sunshine on my dark days, there to hold me up and believe I was capable of much more than I ever thought possible.  She is the friend that was planning her cheer leading supplies for race day, the second I announced I was thinking about racing. 

My friends Kandi, Elizabeth and Whitney:  Who checked in with me constantly to make sure I was staying on track with my training- and of course my family.  But help isn’t just about showing up on race day. 

Lindsey, whom I’ve known the shortest amount of time, is tirelessly my cheerleader, accountability partner, and advice giver.

There are people whom I know only by Twitter Handles or Blog Names, who provided support, accountability, an ear or helpful advice- and I couldn’t have done it without them either.  

So finding a singular woman who has helped me is proving difficult.  Just as I’m sure that if you had to think of one singular person who has helped you, it might be hard to make a definitive decision on just one. 

With Mother’s Day coming up, what better time to show those women who have helped you, how much you appreciate them.   I have the ability to extend a  special offer to you, thanks to the Clever Collective and Macy’s Heart of Haiti.

If you purchase from the Heart of Haiti collection May 3rd through May 8th, and use Promo Code CLEVERGIRLS you will receive an additional 15% your purchase, while also helping local artisans in Haiti get back on their feet.  - To view the Shop for a Better World / Heart Of Haiti collection in its entirety (including just added items for Spring), visit:

 I was selected for this very special “CleverHaiti” opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity. All opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Thing That Sucks About Chicago In the Spring

From LondonerryNews.Com
Sometimes,  I wish I lived somewhere less temperate.  Where the weather was dependable & stable.  First March came in like a lamb, and I thought "this is awesome!"  I can get back on the training band wagon, get my bike out, ride my little heart out & start to run.  Then-  Mother Nature got confused and decided March would go OUT like a Lion instead of coming in like one.  Cold.  Snow.  Sleet.  Snow again.  Sleety Snow.  Sleety Rain.  Rain.  More Rain.  Rain Again.  Cold.  More rain.  Now-  April showers have only brought-  my inability to swim in the mornings (lightning means Millie can't be in the lap pool)  and delayed/shortened or cancelled workouts in the evenings.

Brutus still kicks the snot out of me on Saturdays, and actually as I sit here typing this, my arms are still crying from this past Saturday's beat down.  Which-  funny sidenote-  Brutus had me doing weightlifting on Saturday to prepare me for my upcoming "Show Me Your Guns" challenge.  By the end of the workout, I already knew I was in the weeds.  My arms were so tired it was an effort just to scratch my nose.  By Saturday night (which happened to be Easter Vigil-  also know as the Marathon Mass-  which my choir sings at)  I felt a pain in my arms that I can not even describe.    When Brutus and I started our workout on Saturday, I had completely forgotten that I'm a bell ringer.  As in, I ring bells-  at mass.  I can't even put into an accurate statement the excrutiatingly painful experience that was.  Note to self-  don't work on arms and shoulders, when ringing bells later in the day.

Its now Tuesday night- and my arms are STILL hurting.  Still!  Im hoping to get back to the gym tomorrow.  I woke up this morning again to thunder and lightning so I didn't even bother attempting to drive to the gym.

That is the other problem with having 2 people who work full time and attend school  (and I know I talk about this a lot and I'm really not complaining...)  but between work schedules and school schedules, and trying to be sure that someone is home to let the dogs out, feed them etc before leaving again-  trying to squeeze "gym time" in is SO FLIPPING HARD.  At least when it's not raining- I can come home, let the dogs out hang out with them for a bit then grab my bike and just ride around the neighborhood or slap on my shoes and go for a walk/run (and sometimes even take a dog with me)  but-  when the weather is crap and we're both grasping at straws as the curtain start to close on the term-  finding a spare second just to think- let alone workout-  has become near impossible.

I just wish the damn weather would start cooperating.  Thankfully-  May 2nd is almost here.  May 2nd-  it's the lighthouse I'm anchoring my sanity to.   May 2nd....  almost here....  then, I'm free... at least for a little while.  I can regain my sanity.  Get back into a routine again.  Breathe.  Relax.  Let me brain unwind.  Less than a week-  I can make it.

And, of course, I'm still holding out hope that one of these days I'll wake up to the sounds of birds chirping instead of my sump pump pushing out rain water, and the low rumbling of thunder.

Monday Motivation (Two-fer Tuesday Edition) - Karen

With all the technical difficulties I had, and the lateness of delivery my blogs last night-  I had to move Karen over to Tuesday. :)  Sorry Karen!!    Karen is a friend I have met through the Blogosphere.  She has a blog Losing To Win  .  I read about her training for her first 5K and asked her if she would be a guest blogger- and she graciously accepted.  In her own words, here is her journey

Hello.  I’m Karen and I write about losing weight, working out and redefining my body image and myself at Losing to Win.  I’ve always enjoyed exercising but strayed a bit for a while I struggled with binge eating disorder.  I pretty much stopped exercising for about 2 years while I worked through the binge cycles and the corresponding therapy to treat myself.  It was not an easy time, but I’m happy to say I’m coming out the other side now and am working out again, losing weight and feeling like I understand why I was bingeing and how to not continue that self-destructive pattern of eating and behaviors.

Since I didn’t work out for so long, when I started again, I felt like I was starting anew.  I decided to just try everything and not be held back by fears.  So I went after the thing I had always been most afraid of – running.  I didn’t really think I’d ever be able to run a minute, never mind a mile.  I was afraid I couldn’t breathe right, I was afraid I’d hurt my hips or my back.  I was afraid I’d be slow.  I was afraid I’d never be considered a “real runner” (whatever that is).   

I did some research since I had no idea where to start and found that the Couch to 5K program is incredibly popular and seems to be easy to follow.  So many bloggers, twitterers and friends have used that program to literally go from the couch to running a 5K, so I decided it was time to try it.  The first week, you’re running 60 second intervals, so it starts off light.  But that first week, running a 60 second interval was challenging for me.  I had to push myself to do it.  But it got easier the next week and then I was running 90 second intervals….I was increasing my running ability seconds at a time.   The program has you running three days a week and each workout takes about 30 minutes to complete.  It builds you up slowly and steadily.  I focused on one training run at a time and within weeks I was running for 20 minutes at a time!  That’s 1.5 to 2 miles depending on your pace! 
I had some days where I struggled with the idea of whether or not I was a runner.  I remember one particular workout where I was running on the treadmill at the gym and I was surrounded by about 6 other runners.  They were all going faster than me, I perceived them all to be fitter than me, and I defined each of them as a “real runner” and me as someone that didn’t belong in their crowd.  I was about to give up and jump off the treadmill and go home….until I realized that I was also running.  I was running alongside these people and how did that make me any less or any different?  Perhaps to the person behind me in the gym, they saw ME as a runner too.

I think we tell ourselves all kinds of things to prevent us from doing what we want or need to do.  It’s being able to recognize those voices and quiet or calm them that allows us to break through barriers and move forward in our journeys.  I decided to run a 5K when I knew it was time to do something else that scared me.  By signing up for the 5K, I was declaring that I am indeed a runner.  And I was going to run alongside a bunch of other “real runners”.  I decided not to focus on my time at all, but just focus on finishing.  I had a secret goal of not finishing last, but even if I did, at least I’d be finishing! 

The morning of the race I was so nervous.  I had these silly fears that I’d forget how to run, that all my training would be out the window.  But of course once the race started and I had my music on and my sneakers tight, I knew what to do.  Put one foot in front of the other and breathe steadily.  I had to stop and walk sometimes on the run.  And that’s OK.  Because I was listening to my body.  When I could run, I ran.  When I needed a break, I walked.  Most importantly, I allowed myself to be a runner that day.  And crossing that finish line (at 39 minutes and 20 seconds) was about the biggest gift I could have given myself!

Just like I thought I’d never go a week or a month or even a day without a binge, I also never thought I’d be able to run a 5K.  The things we tell ourselves are powerful….and we have to believe in ourselves to allow us to move forward and reach goals!  If I can do it, you surely can too!
If you want to follow Karen's journey... you can find her at  Losing To Win 

Have you recently completed a race or are you in the process of training for one?  I'd love to have you share your journey!  Email me at Millie [at] See Millie Tri [dot] com

Monday, April 25, 2011


Photo provided by

Look at me getting all Challenge-y and stuff.

I belong to a cooperative called Fitblogger .  I've been a guest blogger  on the site,  but recently I read this article Weight Training Workouts  and thought "Why is it that we as women are so intimated by weight training machines?"  We will take classes,  jump on the elliptical, arc trainer, spin bike or treadmill, but how many women actually visit the weight lifting section of the gym?

According to Brutus (and the article)  if you want to lose weight, you need to be doing more than logging the gerbil miles.  You need to be building lean muscle to help burn off the fat.  Which got me thinking-  what better way to introduce people to the benefits of weight lifting than with a CHALLENGE!

:cue the trumpets: 

Provided by Vector Graphics

Introducing my FIRST EVER-  Challenge!

I'm calling it :  SHOW ME YOUR GUNS  

My friend Rita at Fitblogger is going to be the completely non-biased judge for this little challenge we're going to have.

So-  here is the task- should you choose to accept it.


Starts:  May 1st
Ends:  July 24th
Midpoint Checkin :  June 12th

Length-  12 weeks

Open To:  Whomever wants to participate.  Men can too!!

What it entails:

  • Fill out the Sign Up Sheet
  • Follow the Fitblogger 12 Week Lifting Challenge  (more details on this and ways to modify it later)
  • Submit Before & After Pictures  (Front & Side Views -  PLEASE wear a shirt that is somewhat tight to the body so we can best see the changes)  
  • The Unbiased Judge will determine who has shown the most improvement over the 12 weeks and will be awarded an awesome prize pack!
Prizes include:

  • A Custom Designed "Show Me Your Guns" Challenge Winner Tank
  • Custom Designed Bragging Badge for your Blog or Facebook Profile
  • 1 Year Subscription to Women's Health Magazine
  • A Fitblogger Gym Bag

So-  do YOU have what it takes?  Submit your ticket to the GUN SHOW-  here

 Participating in the challenge is for entertainment purposes only.  Anyone who participates should consult with a physician or their chosen professionals to insure that they are proceeding in the safest possible fashion.  The 12 Week Weight Lifting Challenge is not intended to treat, diagnose, or provide advice to anyone looking to lose weight, and by participating in the challenge you acknowledge you are doing so at your own risk.  

Motivation Monday- Alex

Better late than never!  It is still *technically* Monday, even if it is Monday night!  But,  I am thrilled to be able to introduce you to our first ever MALE Guest Blogger.  Woohoo!  Alex is an almost-fifty (he said it, not me :)  )  year old from New Jersey who recently participated in Runapalooza, a relay Marathon on the Jersey Shore...So, lets all give a good fist pump (sorry- I couldn't resist)  for Alex's journey, in his own words.  

Technology be damned, I think that this is as good as its going to get today.  Sorry Alex-  I hope the spacing/formatting etc  doesn't show up all wonky when I post this!

Hi everyone, my name is Alex and I live in Wayne, N.J.  Millie is one of my good internet friends because of a forum we met on many (8 or 9?) years ago for reality TV.   I am quickly closing in on 50 years old (unbelievable) and have been mildly active throughout my life as I’ve always enjoyed bowling, golfing and skiing.   I started running about a year ago because I was getting married last June (to my beautiful wife Kim) so I wanted to look good for the big day.  Well, that and I wanted to golf better.  Golf is always an underlying motivator for me to do something if I think it will help me play better!  I was pushing my highest weight ever at that time – about 235-240.  Here is a picture of me from a bowling tournament I went to early last year (March, 2010).  I’m on the left.  Oh, and in case you were wondering – no, I was not hiding a bowling ball under my shirt!

I started slowly, doing about a mile a few times a week.  I figured it was better to run for 10-12 minutes than do nothing at all.  Because the runs were short, it wasn’t “too” painful and I didn’t quit, even though I really didn’t enjoy doing it.  After a couple months I increased to 1.8 miles and stayed at that distance for quite a long time.  It was during this time that I discovered Millie’s blog and I was blown away by her drive to participate in a triathlon.  I love that spirit.  I myself have never really wanted to run in a race or be in a triathlon.  Even though our goals differed, I mentioned to her often how motivated she made me feel through the compassion she expressed in her blog.  I felt her joy when she completed her triathlon last year - it was a fantastic moment for her!

By the way, I think I looked much better for the wedding.  I was down to about 220-225.  Here’s a picture of me and Kim the day we got married on the beach in the Dominican Republic – what a perfect day!  In addition, my golf handicap in 2010 went down to as low as 10.8, which is easily the best I ever have golfed in my life.  After we returned home from the wedding, Kim and I bought a real good used treadmill.  It turned out to be a great investment.  The winter in New Jersey was very bad with lots of snow so having this treadmill was instrumental in me continuing to run while the roads were ice and snow covered (for what seemed like forever!).
Last month (March, 2011) I got a call from my good friend John.  He and his wife Mary often run with the Jersey Shore Running Club – and they had an upcoming event that they have done for years where up to five people do a marathon relay called Runapalooza, each person running at least one leg and passing a baton.  Then there’s a huge party at the Asbury Park Convention Hall afterward with beer.  John wanted to know if I be interested.  I asked him when it was and how far I had to run.  He said it was on April 16th and probably 3 or 4 miles.  I was regularly running my 2 miles on the treadmill and they had beer after, so I said sure, I could do it.  I like beer!  Then there were some email exchanges about if we had enough people to do the longer legs and it became uncertain if we could do it, so I offered to run one of the longer legs if I needed.  So on April 7th (9 days before the event) we got confirmation that we were definitely doing the race, but John still didn’t know how long my leg would be.
Without knowing that and the event only 9 days away, I started running some longer runs just in case.  I did three miles on Friday, 4/8 and four miles on Monday, 4/11.   Then on the Tuesday before the event, I found out that he needed me to do the 4th leg - which was 6.0 miles!  Good thing I had been training (barely) to go a little longer because I had never run anything over 4 miles in my life!   So the next morning I got up real early in the dark, drizzle and wind and ran 5 miles – and it wasn’t too bad!   Honestly, I couldn’t believe I was running such long distances (for me).  Not to mention I was down to about 215 pounds.  I was pretty certain I was ready for race day!
RACE DAY:  I was a little nervous about the whole thing that morning.  I just didn’t know what to expect.  Lots of people were running this event (there were over 400 teams) and I was used to running alone.  The slowest teams started at 8:00 am and the fastest as late as 10:00 am.  They do this so most of the teams finish around the same time.  Our team was a slower team (estimated 10 min. miles) so we started at 8:40 am.  We figured my leg would start around 11:30 am at transition point #3 in Manasquan.  Kim and I arrived down in the area of the race around 10 am so we were able to go to the transition point #2 (in Point Pleasant Beach) and see our team do a hand off there.  There were cars everywhere as teams rolled in with SUVs full of runners.   It was a cold and windy day, about 42 degrees and the wind was blowing at about 20-25 mph out of the northeast.  We walked up to the boardwalk and there were hundreds of people waiting for the runners and cheering them on.  We found my teammates and waited for Mary to finish the 2nd leg – and pass the baton to another teammate (a different John).  Once the hand off was made, I knew it was about 45 minutes until my leg.   So we got back in the car and drove to Manasquan, which is about a 10-15 minute drive.  We passed John on the road on the way and beeped our horn at him, yelling encouragement!   

Once in Manasquan I got myself ready.  I stretched, ate a banana, drank some water and waited with the gang of people on the boardwalk.  I could feel my nerves jangling a little bit. I was thinking to myself “Can I really run six miles –am I physically ready – am I out of my mind”?  All those things that probably run through people’s heads their first time.  And then suddenly we could see John’s red jacket coming up the boardwalk!  It was time!  He came, passed me the baton – and I was off!  The running went fairly well overall.  I tried to settle into my pace but think I was running a little quicker than normal.  It was hard to stay calm with so many runners passing me by.  I was definitely one of the slower runners, although I did pass a few along the way so I wasn’t the slowest turtle on the course.  On my leg there were four stretches of boardwalk with some intermixed road running between them.  The toughest part of the whole run was the long stretch of boardwalk in Spring Lake.  It was towards the end of the run and probably about 2 miles long.  I thought I’d never make it to the end of that thing!  Along the way there would be small groups of people cheering the runners on.  The ocean was furiously pounding waves about 100 yards to my right.  When the running got tough I just looked out at the ocean and thought of how amazing this whole thing was and that I was really doing it!!  And I swear that during this part of the run I also thought of this blog, of Millie and her triathlon and all other people that have done something like this for the first time recently.  I also thought of my nephew Chris who paid the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq in 2004, giving me the freedom to live in the beautiful country and do these great things.  So I just kept on running.   And before I knew it I was off of the Spring Lake boardwalk and only about ½ mile away from the transition, so my pace picked up a little knowing I was so close!!  I jumped up on the boardwalk in Belmar and could see the crowd.  I ran into the tunnel of people and there was my teammate Javier waiting for the handoff!  I did it – I ran the six miles non-stop in a race!  

Afterwards we headed up to Asbury Park and met up with our team at Convention Hall.   We finished in 4:19, which is just under ten minute miles, right on our estimated time.  We came in 351st place out of 413 teams (you can see the results here – we were the Beach Bums).  By the way, check out that winning team – 2:13 – that team was made up of only TWO runners!!  Wow – I know I’ll never be that fast!  They weren’t gazelles as Millie calls them, they were cheetahs!  

Here’s a picture inside Convention Hall of me with teammates John and Mary.  The other John and Javier had already left before I realized we didn’t get a team picture.  Actually I will admit I did enjoy the entire experience much more than I thought I would.  Oh and yes, I had plenty of beer at the after party in Convention Hall.  I mean, that’s why I went, right?   I still don’t consider myself a runner and probably never will.  However I have decided I will never stop running so long as my legs will let me, so next year I’ll be in the Jersey Shore Marathon relay again.  I feel great and this experience has taught me that it’s never too late to start.  If anyone that reads this blog isn’t sure how they can possibly do it, I’ll tell you to just do a little bit and don’t stop.  It is much better to do something than nothing at all like I did for too many years!  It wasn’t too late for me and it isn’t for you either!  

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!   

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fad Diets

Photo Courtesy of

I was having lunch with my co-workers today, and we were discussing weight loss/healthy living/ etc.  One person mentioned that they are waiting for the arrival of "Eat Right for Your Type"  while another one discussed that they were thinking of doing the "Paleo Diet".  Also discussed was here say about Kate Middleton and how she is doing some new french fad-ish diet that is a morph between Atkins and the Zone diet.    All of these different types of diets have gotten me thinking. On at this very moment, there are 11,038 diet books (hardcover), and 7,399 "diet products" (diet pills, patches and cleanses).  

 It is amazing how we all so desperately want a quick fix (myself included- considering I have not only bought into many of these fad diets, but also am probably the most impatient person when it comes to weight loss),  that we will gladly hand over our money to any charlatan promising "miracle weight loss".

No one "miraculously" wakes up one morning and discovers they are now sixty pounds heavier.  And certainly there isn't a person out there who doesn't  exercise for one day, and suddenly discovers the next morning that none of their clothes fit anymore.  So, why do we all want this to happen on the way back down?  We work out for two weeks, watch our calories, are "good", and yet we are heartbroken when we "only lose a pound"  or "are still the same size we were two weeks ago"

Weight loss takes time.  Diet isn't another word for miracle, and if you really want to lose sustainable weight and truly make steps that you will be able to stick with, fad diets aren't your answer.

I'm sure I'm going to catch some flack from so-and-so's that are going to say that they have lost weight and kept it off with XYZ diet.  I'm not Dear Abby, and I'm not really trying to give advice on which diet is best.  These observations really aren't about that.  It's more of a discussion looking at the reasons why we all want instant gratification, and we are disappointed when we don't receive it.  The weight crept up on us, and it's going to creep back down again

We all need to revisit the story of the tortoise and the hare though, and remember that slow and steady wins the race.  .

Monday, April 18, 2011

Motivation Monday- Traci

Good Morning Everyone!!  Monday has arrived once again!  (Darn Monday's for being so dependable!  Wouldn't it be nice if Mondays just occasionally forgot to show up, and we could have a Sunday part 2).  But alas, here we are again.  The bright spot on a Monday (for me anyway), is sharing with you yet another Motivational Story.  Today's guest blogger is my friend Traci.  Traci is a forty-something Nurse Practitioner and Published Writer.  Last Sunday, she too ran Chicago's Shamrock Shuffle. In her own words,  here is her experience:

Traci Pictured on Far Right

I have always exercised, though I’ve never been much of a runner. I did run a short stent of cross –country in high school, and of course did training runs while playing softball in high school. After college and getting married and having kids, I still exercised, though it was usually biking, walking, and lifting weights. I found running to be too hard, and the times I would attempt it, something would start hurting-which I passed off as the fun of the aging process.
Last year, my best friend of almost 30 years started exercising and losing weight. In a year, she has dropped over 100 pounds and exercises every day. While talking with her, I mentioned that we should walk the “Shamrock Shuffle” downtown together-another friend had walked it and said that it was a lot of fun. I can tell you that I was quite amazed when she looked me straight in the eye and said, “Let’s run it.”
Though I groaned at the prospect, I felt I could not let her down. Shortly after Christmas, I found the C25K program on Face Book (couch to 5K), and it set the program up as a nine week session, gradually incorporating running and walking until the entire workout was running. Within the first couple of weeks, I was hooked-and it was easier than I had thought. I won’t tell you there were days that weren’t tough-I still have those days now- but I had also joined a running blog which had members from all over the country and even one from Ireland that I have gotten very close to. We helped and encouraged each other daily, and this was a huge help, not to mention my friends and family who assured me that I could do it.  I was a little concerned as the Shamrock Shuffle is an 8K, but after the C25K program was finished, I added a half mile a week to my training until I was running the 5 miles 3 times weekly the week before the race.
I was fortunate that I didn’t really experience any real injuries-did have a little issue with “runner’s knee” a week or two into the program, but that quickly went away. I gauged my progress by the decreasing amount of Ibuprofen I had to take after running! I can also say that I feel better while running and have definitely experienced the “runner’s high” that everyone talks about-though not every day! It is by far and away the best exercise for your weight as well-within just a few weeks, I lost those last stubborn few pounds that had been hanging around seemingly forever and I feel that I am in the best shape I have ever been-at 48 years old and a grandmother!
Race day was fantastic-the weather was perfect, and my friend and I stayed together for most of the run, though I finished a minute or so before her. My brother, nephew, and sister-in-law also ran the race with us. I have never experienced such a wonderful outpouring of support from our fellow runners as well as observers throughout the course, and of course, our families that came to watch. It was a fantastic feeling to cross that finish line-and not to be anywhere near last!!
Now I will continue to run-the 8K was on my “bucket list” but now I would like to push that to maybe a 10K or a half marathon in the future. There is an 83 year old gentleman who is running Boston next week-so don’t ever think you are too old to be running, or even to start. I promise you that the benefits you reap will be well worth the occasional difficulty-happy running!
I wanted to add that #1 Im *really* glad that I'm not the only one that needs to take aspirin after exercising.  I thought it was just because I am a huffy puffer, but it's nice to know that even skinny in shape people need some pain relief :)   And #2   in case you want to check out Traci's book (and you totally should, because it's awesome)  you can order it through Amazon -  here   (and Traci does not know I am shamelessly plugging her book, but since I'm here and all - and have the platform to spread the word-  I figure why not!  :)  )

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!    

Sunday, April 17, 2011

If It Doesn't Hurt You're Not Working Hard Enough

Yesterday was another sweat-producing, muscle aching, swear inducing workout with my buddy Brutus. And seriously, no one can bring out the sailor in me than Brutus and his favorite exercise-  the Figure 8 Squat.  Just thinking about that bleeping move summons from the depths of my insides a string of expletives that would make a Gordon Ramsay blush. :for the head scratchers, Gordon Ramsay is a British Chef who drops F-Bombs more frequently than he does butter in a pan.:

Thankfully (and seriously, I  tremble at the thought of mentioning this, because I know what it will mean for next Saturday)  I am not as tear inducing-ly sore as I was *last* weekend.  I can actually sit down with little pain today.  Though, my husband and I were shopping at the Outlet Mall today, and I carry a very large purse, which normally wouldn't even phase me.  However, after just twenty or so minutes of walking around the mall my arms were crying.  I guess I worked my arms out more than I thought I did yesterday.

While Brutus and I were chatting, he mentioned how sore he was from his workout the day before.  And I'm thinking "You're sore?  Mr 99 % muscle, I could bounce a quarter off your body and have it shoot into the atmosphere-  Not that I think about it mind you-  I'm married-  I'm just trying to give you the visual-  he's -built-  seriously, built. Anyway-  I said "wow, it's good to know that even super built muscle men hurt after their workouts too- not just out of shape huffy puffers."  His response,  if it doesn't hurt, you're not working hard enough.  Well-  I guess based on my pain, you can be rest assured Im working PLENTY hard.  P LEN TY .

I wanted to re-touch on some information that I did last week after my session with Brutus.  I was reading Eating Well magazine yesterday, and noticed there was an article on "3 Foods to Fuel Your Workout". It's a slight misrepresentation however, because when you open the magazine and get to the article (page 19) it's actually entitled "3 Ways to Pump Up Your Workout"  In the article, there is discussion of a study in the Journal of Physiology regarding eating and workouts (similar to the Shape article I discussed last week).  It says the same thing-  don't eat breakfast before you workout if you want to burn more calories.  However, this really needs to have a huge asterisk next to it.

As I said last week- Brutus says there is a difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercising.  Aerobic exercising is dependant on oxygen in the blood, so it does not need a fuel source in order to perform.  Anaerobic exercise (interval training/weightlifting)  goes to glucose/glycogen stores to deliver energy to the muscles.  What does this mean-  YOU MUST EAT before doing an anaerobic workout.  I ate a peanut butter/banana on 1 slice of multi grain bread and a slim fast (I was out of protein powder)  and it made a world of difference in my workout.  And trust me, Brutus worked me OUT.

I'm going to be announcing a challenge/contest in the next few days that will begin on May 1st.  It has some awesome prizes that I super geeked to announce-  and I really think that everyone will benefit from joining in the challenge.  I need to discuss some things with Brutus and tie up some of the loose ends on the details, but in the coming days I will be rolling it out- so stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Needed! Running Partner- Slow Huffy Puffer Who Also Hates Running, Preferred

In my inbox today was this little nugget from Women's Health Magazine: 6 Reasons You Should Be Running .  And, I get it-  sign number nine billion eight hundred and fifty two.  I know!  I should be running.  If I ever want to actually compete in a tri instead of just participating, I need to be able to run.  But at the weight of a tub, the thought of pounding the pavement isn't really all that appealing to me.  

The article discusses the many benefits of running- from increased calorie burn, less stress, less belly fat, and strengthened joints (which was an interesting tidbit) but still, I don't know why I am so hesitant to get up and go.  Perhaps even while running with the gazelles last year I took it too fast.  Everyone - even the article- says that you really have to ease your way into running.  Maybe I just need to slow it down even more.

My main problem though is that with running, I am completely incapable of pushing myself.  Completely.  Swimming-  no problem, I could push myself time and time and time again, regardless of the pain, discomfort, or how tired it makes me.  Because swimming is my comfort zone.  Biking- I'm not all that able to push myself, but I can definitely keep myself going longer than I can with running.  With running, the second it gets hard or it starts to hurt-  I immediately pull up and start to walk again.

I need a running partner.  Someone who:

1.  Runs slow
2. Does more walking than running
3. Would be willing to run with me on weekdays
4.  Preferably hates running as much as I do... that way, we can learn to love it together :)  Or at least, loathe it together.

Weekends are full between Trainer Brutus on Saturdays  and biking on Sundays.

We'd start out with 30 minute "runs" following the couch to 5k Program.

If anyone wants to be my running buddy, please let me know!

I'm Not One to Keep My Mouth Shut

So, here in Chicago, there is a bit of hullabaloo surrounding a school in the city telling parents that they are no longer allowed to pack and send lunches for their children.  The thinking behind this being that the schools supposedly know what is better for the kids than the parents do.  That, and they feel that children will be getting a more nutritious lunch from the school.  The article cites that it is a "Pop versus Milk" thing.  But if that were actually the case, why not just ban pop?  Why not take out the pop machines and only sell things like milk/juice/lemonade  or water.

What makes anyone think that a blanket decision encompassing all children is the best idea?  Additionally, since when are cafeteria lunches healthy??

What does the average kid eat in their lunch if packed from home?

Sandwich of some kind
Snack of Some kind- bag o'chips, cookies etc
Juice box or can of pop

What would they get in a cafeteria?

Processed and preservative laden meat or pizza
"Fruit" swimming in sugar laden syrup
Pudding or some other form of dessert

Personally for me, I would think the healthier option would continue to be whatever is made at home.  I think it is awfully forward of any school to be deciding they know what is better for a child than a parent does.  And quite honestly, what business is it of any school to tell a parent how or what they should be feeding their kids?  I think the entire idea of this is ludicrous.

I don't have any kids in schools at the moment, but I would assume that most parents would be outraged if someone came along and told them that they no longer had control over what was being fed to their children.  For me, it isn't even the issue of cafeteria lunches costing roughly $2 a day- though I understand that argument as well.  For me personally, and I'm quite certain for a large conglomerate of my friends with children, the issue would be someone else telling me how to parent or what they think is right for my child.

Am I over reacting on this one?  What would you do if your kids came home with a letter tomorrow saying that the school was now going to decide for you, what your child is going to eat every day?

If you would like to read the full article, you can find it here

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My New Bike!!!!

This weekend after getting a butt kicking from Brutus, Mr Millie and I headed over to my favorite bike shop  Performance Bicycle.  The plan was to find a bike for Mr. Millie so that he and I could ride together. We had to buy a bike this past weekend because I belong to their loyalty program, and buying a bike this weekend afforded me double reward points.  (woot!)  Mr. Millie received gift cards for his birthday last year, and timing - or lack there of-  delayed his bike purchasing until now.

I'm sure you're wondering why I'm talking about Mr Millie when this is entitled "My Bike".  The plan was for him to buy a road bike, and that I would share it with him and use it during races.  However, after speaking with my friends at Performance Bike, we were informed that road bikes are custom fit to each person.  Because of that, Mr Millie generously gave me his gift cards so that I could buy a road bike for myself.  However, since it was a double points weekend-  we have enough points to get him a bike too!!!  I have to wait for my rewards card to be credited all of my points but a few weeks from now, Mr Millie will have a bike too!  Win ! Win!

But, enough about Mr Millie, and more about my gorgeous new racing bike (no really- love you honey, but this post is about my new beauty)

Here's she is!  My beauty.  The Scattante  R 570 Road Bike.  The only difference between this picture and my new baby is that mine is navy blue not shocking electric blue.

Baby needs a name though.  Originally, because I am apparently color blind,  I was calling her "Pearl"- short for "The Black Pearl"  - because I thought she was black. Looking at her a bit more though, baby is navy- so she needs a new name.  So give me some ideas!!!

I have to go back on Thursday to have her custom fit to me but I took her out for a spin today and she is fabulous!  I can't wait to take her out on the trails and really see what I can do with her. :)

And, thanks of course to my wonderful husband of 7 years (on Sunday) for forgoing a bike for the moment and having me to get one first. <3  love you honey! 

Motivation Monday- Tuesday Edition! - Elizabeth

Better late than never!  So, we’ll call this “Motivation Monday- Tuesday edition” Today's guest blogger is my friend Elizabeth.  She is a thirty-something Manager and Interior Designer who recently completed Chicago’s Shamrock Shuffle.   In her own words,  here is her inspiring story:

Thanks Millie for asking me to be your guest blogger!!
Yesterday, I participated in the Shamrock Shuffle for the second time. It is an 8K run that starts off the Chicago running season. There were about 34,000 people running in it. I started actively running about a year and a half ago. It was something I was never good at and wanted to overcome. So, I started off slow and had a goal. My goal was the Shamrock shuffle of 2010. I had a great support group the day of the race. I trained for it and was super nervous but I did well and finished. The shuffle of 2010 was SOOOO cold but this year’s shuffle was a couple weeks later in the year and the temperature were averaged in the 80’s. It was a beautiful day for a run! This year was a bit of a challenge for me because last year after the shuffle I began training for the Soldier Field 10 Mile race.  I was doing great with my training and was super excited and totally ready for the next challenge.  Then the worst thing could have happened… I discovered I fractured my right foot and was put in a boot for just about 6 months the week before the race. Talk about a total set back and disappointment.
So, my great achievement in running came to a fast stop. I continued to have a lot of trouble with the foot for several months after the boot came off. I started back running again in the end of January, slowly and not over doing it. I still do not have all my speed back that I had last year but week by week I am increasing my pace. I was not sure if I would be able to do the shuffle this year but I was very happy that I successfully completed the finish line. My foot did begin to hurt during the run. I am attributing it more to the adjustment of running outside and the really hot temperature.  I listened to my body and slowed down when I needed to.
It is such a great feeling to know that I have successfully completed 2 Shamrock shuffles. I hope to run it yearly and am going to add other runs to my summer agenda. My next goal will be to run the Newport, RI Half in October with some of my college friends. From this experience I have learned that you can achieve things in life even of you think you can’t. You have to be in the right state of mind and listen to your body.  It was great to be back outside running yesterday and the adrenalin and the excitement of the people and the crowd cheering all the runners on. Even after a big setback I am back in the game and ready for the 2011 running season!!

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!  

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Brutus - The Return

Image from Curious Inkling
As I sit here, on my couch, on Saturday night-  all I can think of is thank goodness I live in a ranch, because honestly I think I would probably just sleep on a couch all night instead of going up stairs.  If the usb cable to connect my body bug wasn't in my office, I would be checking it right now to see how many calories I burned today.

I learned a valuable lesson today though, that before I continue on, I wanted to address.  There is so much information and misinformation out there regarding workouts and what you should or shouldn't be doing before you workout.  I read an article in Shape magazine not more than a week ago, that said if you workout in the morning and on an empty stomach you will burn more calories that if you eat beforehand.  I do this with swimming all the time - mainly because of #1 the whole "dont eat and swim" thing that all of our mothers petrified us with as children  and secondly, eating and then lying facedown in the water causes whatever I ate (even if its something small like a luna bar or protein shake) to pay me a little return visit as I swim.  Ugh its the worst.

Anyhow, I chose to sleep this morning instead of eat.  I did have a luna bar in my purse that I brought with me, but I forgot how to get to Brutus' gym ended up getting lost and forgot all about the bar.

Brutus' style of workouts is to keep the body in constant motion, doing reps of three or four different exercises.  I got through the warm up, finished my squats and was just about to move into the next grouping when I got *really* dizzy.  And had to stop.  I told Brutus about missing breakfast and how usually when I swim Im fine on no breakfast- and he explained the difference between aerobic exercising like swimming and working weights etc like I was currently doing (he used a workouty kinesology sounding word that I have since forgotten so at the risk of misrepresenting what he said, I;ll explain it in a broken down way lol)  But- he said that if you're planning on lifting weights or doing the type of dynamic, constantly moving workouts that we do, that you should be eating a carb and a protein before working out.  So I will definitely NOT be making that mistake again lol

I recovered, but had to tone it down a notch for the rest of the workout.  So, yeah - the workout was a tad dialed down, but definitely still got some form of workout considering that for most of the afternoon I spent cursing the fact that I am a squatter and not a pointer...  ;-)  (the act of sitting down certainly reminds me of just how hard I worked those muscles today)

We talked about focusing more on weightloss vs on Tri specific training.  Though we are still going to incorporate a lot of exercises that will continue to benefit my training in the off chance I feel ready for my event in 8 weeks.

I'm still tossing around the idea of the Run for the Zoo event that Lifetime is sponsoring.  A  5k through Brookfield Zoo sounds like a lot of fun!  I'm going to see how my scheduled Run day goes on Tuesday and decide then.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thinking about Thoughts

I've been in my own head a lot lately- and instead of internalizing as I usually do, I figured I would at least share.  So-  between being sick, being on vacation, and now recovering from my sun poisoning I'm disgustingly behind in my training.  My first intended Triathlon is the first week of June.  That's 8 weeks away.  I'm nowhere near ready.  I'm quite certain that I'm going to have to defer.  And I know how disappointing that is - to me as well -  but I just don't think there is anyway that I am going to be able to get race ready in less than 8 weeks.  Which is a complete disappointment to me.  I have to be honest with myself though-  crappy winter, cold pools, never ending cold and snow- illness, injury, school, and god knows what else has just been too much to deal with this season.

There is still the Triathlon in August- and I think I can better prepare for that one.  I have Brutus to work with me, and if I have him to work with for five months before the first tri versus two months, I have a much better chance of actually competing in the race instead of just participating.  So I think my goals are going to shift and refocus a bit.

It just seems weird that See Millie Tri  will only be Tri-ing once this season.  Which brings me to my other thoughts.  Losing weight and Training for Tri's don't really work all that well together.  Yeah there is some general slimming down that happens while training for a Triathlon but actual Weightloss isn't really your focus while your training and with all the working out you are doing-  you are more concerned with developing strength and stamina -  plus piling in the calories (in a good way- not a lets eat a whole bag of chips in one sitting way)  to support the needs of your body.

But, Ive never made it a secret that Mr Millie and I want kids and that I need to slim down to start IVF.  We've been talking, and Ive been talking to Brutus about my goals-  and by the end of the year, I want to be IVF ready-  that means a BMI Of under 40 and preferably under 35.   In order for my BMI to get under 35- I need to lose about 75 pounds by the end of the year- which is roughly 12 pounds a month.  The average or "suggested" weightloss is 8-10 pounds a month, so 12 pounds a month is really lofty, but  that is my hope anyway.

I didn't meet with Brutus on Saturday because the boils on the undersides of my legs were the most painful of all of them.  But, I plan to tell Brutus on Saturday that I want to shift my focus a bit more towards weight loss less towards Triathlon-ing (for now)  and re-focus in June training for the August Tri.

I'm really confident that working with Brutus I can achieve my goals.  He works you until you're a drop of goo-  but in a way that empowers me and reignites that little spark inside me that says "I can"

Right now, its just a whisper-  but soon-  it will come back roaring.

It's weird, because every time I see an IronMan  I think "wow, what if"... then sensible me says "Millie you can't even run a 5k.. you expect to swim three miles, bike a hundred and then run a full marathon"  and little Millie, who is holding the dim candle whispering "I Can"  tells me "You will..... someday"  and for some crazy reason, I actually believe it.

But that lofty goal is far far away-  post weight loss, post (fingers crossed) child birthing - but its there and maybe someday I will be able to get branded with the pride that says I am an Ironman.

For now though-  Ill continue t focus on my little old Sprint Triathlons.  -  Perhaps I'll do some five k's this summer and get my body used to running, and really rock it come August.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Motivation Monday! - Lindsay

Morning all!  We made it to Monday already? So quickly-  blah.  Well at least a spot of sunshine in our Monday morning....   another installment of Motivation Monday!  Today's guest blogger is my friend Lindsay.  She is a thirty-something mother of three  who recently completed the Dallas Rock and Roll Half Marathon.   In her own words,  here is her inspiring story:

I just wanted to start off this blog post by thanking Millie for this opportunity to write about this really amazing experience in my life.

My name is Lindsay and I live in Texas with my husband James, and I am a stay at home mom to three children. Jared is my oldest, he is almost 9 years old. He was diagnosed with Autism when he was three. Lauren is 6 years old and practically a mini version of me with blond hair and blue eyes. Our third child is Brandon and he is just the sweetest, most laidback little guy.

Long before starting my family, I struggled with my weight. One of my brother's favorite nicknames for me was Big Butt Jabba the Hut. It was horrifying when our entire high school caught on. It has been almost 15 years since I graduated high school, and to this day I feel the agony I felt in the hallway when I heard someone say it. During my junior year of high school, I started to cut back on what I was eating and as a joke, I tried out for my high school cheerleading squad. As my luck would have it, they picked me to be on the team. Due to all the practices, I got down to my lowest weight ever and my self esteem skyrocketed. Then I went to college, and didn't just gain the Freshman 15. I was so embarrassed and disgusted about the way I looked, that I actually covered all my mirrors in my dorm room with newspaper. And when that didn't help (along with some family issues), I transferred colleges. I arrived at Texas A&M University my Junior year. On the plane ride down, I decided that I was going to create a new life for myself. And I did. By the time I graduated, I was in better shape than I was in high school. I was lean and strong and was proud to be myself.
Pretty soon after college, James and I started our family. I didn't really struggle much with the pregnancy weight loss with the first two, but after Brandon was a nightmare. I was eating the same foods and working out like I always had been, but nothing really was changing. (Okay, maybe I ate a few more Hershey Kisses or pints of ice cream than before!) So I joined Weight Watchers and hired a personal trainer. When I thought that the starvation from Weight Watchers was going to do me in, Sheila would wear me down in the gym. But it paid off, and I have been holding pretty steady at my goal weight since then.

People will tell me, "Wow! You look so great after having three kids!" and let me tell you, that makes me feel good! Especially if it's from someone that knew me when I was Big Butt Jabba the Hut!!! So I'm pretty sure you were wondering why I mentioned Jared having Autism earlier. Life with a husband and three kids is really hectic. Add Autism in the mix and some days I find myself counting down the hours until bedtime. As blessed as I am to be able to stay at home with our three kids, sometimes I feel like I just don't have anything to offer this world. No goals, no promotions...just potty training, refereeing, cleaning scraped knees, and repeating the same requests over and over!

At the end of January, my brother-in-law's partner flew to Houston to do the Houston Marathon. I had told Norm that I had thought about running the Houston Half, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to finish. He said I was already halfway there in training since I normally run 6 miles a day, at least 4, but usually 5 days a week. I looked up some training schedules and half marathons in the state. I found out that the Dallas Rock N Roll Marathon was two months out and I knew I'd have plenty of time to train. I was even more excited when I found out that it benefitted the Susan G. Komen For The Cure Foundation. My grandmother, mother-in-law, and two good friends are breast cancer survivors, and I knew that if they could fight that battle, I could surely do this! And selfishly, I knew that I was going to have time outside of the house (especially on long run days) and away from the kids. Time that I didn't have to think about Jared's disability or doing mundane chores.

I followed Hal Higdon's (free) half marathon training schedule and every week I posted on Facebook how my long runs went. I felt some sort of accountability posting, and I knew that people would rally behind me on them. I really didn't struggle until the 11 and 12 mile runs, but I just kept remembering why I was doing this in the first place and then all the doubt and pain would go away. I tell people that I became spiritually stronger during these long runs because I would literally pray out for strength when I'd run. I'd work out whatever issues I was struggling with and you would think that I would be exhausted after these runs, but I wasn't. Well, my legs were, but my heart and mind felt strong and I was a much better mom and wife. It also didn't hurt that I had Eminem, Rihanna, Beyonce, Ke$ha and a few other artists to jam to!

Bright and early on March 27, my husband, the kids, and my in-laws went with me to Dallas to watch me run my first half marathon. Gotta love my mother-in-law for making signs for me with the kids!

It was the most surreal experience. As far as you could see there were runners.

As I'm standing there these other runners, I started to panic. OMG. We are about to run 13.1 miles. I have never run 13.1 miles before. What was I thinking signing up for this? Is it too late to get out of this corral? Why can't I just be happy that I'm a stay at home mom of three kids? Why do I have to be more than that? What on Earth am I trying to prove??? And then before I know it, I'm at the start line. The Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders are to my left.

I can see my family up ahead waiting for me to cross the start line. And we're off!

I passed my family and blew kisses, and then I got focused on what I had done during my training. I quickly found my pace and settled into it. The citizens of Dallas lined the ENTIRE course with hysterical signs, and they had bands and water stations strategically placed the entire course.

This is me at mile 3 or 4. I probably could be running faster since I'm goofing off!

I remembered what Millie's dad told me before the run my OWN race. And I did. Just like in training, I got to Mile 11 and 12 and while my lungs felt fine, my legs began to burn. I noticed that I was falling behind on my pace and just at the right time I was passed by a woman with a shirt honoring someone that she had lost to breast cancer. And underneath it said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I dug my heels into the pavement and before I knew it, I was rounding the corner of the Cotton Bowl Stadium. I knew I was close when I heard the University of Texas Longhorn Band. I don't even have words to describe the feelings rushing through my body when I saw the finish line.

I was super excited that one of the event photographers captured this picture of me trying to capture a picture of one of the most proud moments of my life (besides getting married and giving birth)!

Crossing the finish line was one of the most amazing, overwhelming, and exciting feelings I've ever had. Even typing this a week later brings tears to my eyes. I am so incredibly proud of myself and the 14,000 other runners who faced their fears and finished the race too!

During my training I paced at 10 minute miles. My ultimate goal was to finish, but I had hoped that I would finish with a 2:10 time. Out of those 14,000 runners, I finished in 4,013 place with a time of 2:06:42!  Not only did I meet both my goals, I finished faster than I thought I would! AND I beat Miss Texas 2011 by four minutes!

I am so glad that I didn't give up on myself throughout my training. That on the days when I wanted to quit or had major negative self talk, I used it to empower me. How I fought for myself on those really tough days proved to me that I am not just some lame stay at home mom. I am an amazing, strong, resilient woman who can conquer anything I put my head and heart into. One final thought...I had no idea of the impact this was making on my kids. I ran into the kid's Physical Education teacher at Target midweek. She congratulated me on my run. Jared and Lauren were so proud of me that they told her when they saw her on Monday. Totally melted my heart.

Thanks again Millie for letting me be a part of your Motivation Monday. I hope that my story inspires someone to try something they've always wanted to do, but been hesitant to do until this point. And if anyone wants to join me in September, I'll be running the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Philadelphia!!!

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!