Tag: training

Medals for Everyone!

US Swimmers!

How amazing has this swim Olympics been?  I’m honestly sorry to see it go (with the open water and triathlon coming next week but I don’t know if they will be broadcast).  I know I feel inspired.

Micheal Phelps has always said one of his main goals “is getting new faces into the sport. Getting kids who could be afraid of water to feel comfortable in the pool.”

As amazing as Beijing was for Phelps, Lochte and Coughlin it was practically a 3 member team.  In London we have seen an incredible variety of medalists.  By my count the US has 20 different swimmers that have medaled in races (not counting prelim swimmers like Coughlin).   14 gold, 8 silver, 6 bronze with more to come tomorrow.

The thing about this that excites me as a complete amateur swimmer there are 20 athletes to look to and be inspired by.  It’s like the dream team of swimming! It really does inspire me to want to try harder and be as great as I can be.  To see so many people succeed makes it feel more likely that I can succeed in my goals, small as they might be.

I also greatly admire the Olympic spirit I’ve seen in the US swimmers.  Everyone is always talking about the egos of Lochte and Phelps but all I’ve seen is graciousness and smiles even in defeat.  What else can you ask for in an Olympian?

If I compare Phelps’ response to getting silver in the 200 to the Russian women in their silver in gymnastics, I don’t know how you can not see that he handled himself pretty darn well?  True with Lochte too even after losing to Phelps and getting bronze in his 200 back he was gracious and a complete gentleman.

The American women have done so much better than anyone would have thought.  I think everyone expected to see golds for Franklin but to have Vollmer, Soni, Shmitt and today Ledecky  (and the relay) all gold is  awesome!

Everyone of their stories amazes and excites me.  I want to be more like an Olympian.  Sometimes I can be so undisciplined.  I’m doing this wellness challenge and going without sugar for 21 days is seeming like the hardest thing in the world.  Surely if Michael Phelps can win 20+ medals I can go without sugar for 21 days :).

I’d like to meet an Olympian someday.  Find out what it’s really like.  I’ve also set a goal to start saving my money so I can go to the games in Rio. I’ve got 4 years to save and I think it is going to be awesome.  (Plus, you get to go to Rio. Win, win!).

Amazing relay!

Anyway, I hope all of you have enjoyed watching the Olympics as much as me.  Not only swimming has inspired me. I’ve loved watching the water polo, volleyball, gymnastics, rowing, kayaking, basketball, everything.   I’m inspired by every Olympic athlete, especially the Americans.  And how fun this year to get to follow the athletes on twitter and read their responses and ‘feel’ like you are having a conversation with them!  I can wish Ryan Lochte happy birthday or congratulate Michael Phelps on his wins.   I feel like I’m practically there cheering them on!  It makes it feel all the more real.  It’s so cool!

The only people I feel sorry for in these Olympics is all the poor saps in Vegas who tried to predict these games.  Not so much! For example, nobody at the swimswam prediction game put Manaudou as even a medalist on the 50 free, let alone gold.  Not one ballot!  It’s so great!

Thank you to all the amazing athletes.  Now we will be on to track and field.  Not quite as compelling as swimming for me, but still it’s going to be awesome.  I hope Lolo Jones can pull out a miracle. Rooting for her!

You know how with gymnastics and ice skating they have tours that go around the country and you can see all the Olympians?  I wish you could do that with swimming but might not work as nicely for a show. ;).  Still it’d be so cool to see them swim someday.

Well, better pull myself away from Olympic viewing and try to sleep.  I can’t believe my race is next week.  Ahhh! I don’t feel ready even though I did my practice 5k a month ago.  I don’t feel ready.  Still, I’m going to take a lesson from these amazing athletes and try my hardest and finish the race. 🙂 (and I have a new goal to get an Olympian to tweet me after my race! I love living in 2012!)

Lochte, Phelps, Cseh winners of 200 IM. What a great race that was. I will miss watching this rivalry.
Go USA Swimming!
Gold medal in 4 by 200 relay. So great!

Still my favorite story of the games.  Double gold for Dana Vollmer after facing failure and succeeding.  So awesome!  Makes me want to confront my failures and not give up.

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This Fat Girl Kicks Butt

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have taken up boxing.  This has long been an interest of mine ever since I took self defense at BYU.  It was such a thrill to be able to kick the tar out of my teacher (he had padding!).  Plus, it is the kind of thing that growing up big you don’t think you can do.  Not in a depressing, sad way but in a nonchalant, not even think twice about it way.  It didn’t even occur to me to try something like boxing let alone that I might actually be good at it.

Despite loving my class I let the hobby slip away and didn’t pick it up again until earlier this year.  Let’s be honest the last year and change has been tough for me and I can’t tell you how great it feels to get the stress out with each punch.  I started out going to boxing is for girls which I still attend and think is awesome but it is a bit of a drive from my house.  Still, I go when I can.

Fortunately I saw a trainer named Ben at my gym doing a UFC type of training and I was so excited! I asked him if he would train me and its been great.  He is such a creative trainer, always coming up with new tools and routines but my favorite is still the UFC, mixed martial arts routines. He’s also a super encouraging guy that makes me laugh.  We have great chemistry which is essential in finding a trainer or a friend for that matter.

I did it twice this week.  Make no mistake it is a hard workout.  I sweat like a marathon runner but it is so satisfying. I honestly never want to stop and only do so when my body revolts.

It’s also so exciting to see people watching me and I can tell they are thinking ‘wow, that fat girl can kick and punch’.  Booyah!  Everyone always sees me as this sweet smiling Mormon girl but there are other sides to me and how great to get that out in such a constructive and satisfying way.  I love it! It just goes to show that you should keep trying new things and thinking outside the box.  You never know when you will hit upon something that you not only like but are actually good at.  At the very least you will keep exercise interesting.

To me it the perfect contrast to swimming, which is all about fluidity and peace.  Boxing is tough, aggressive and exciting. The two makes for a perfect exercise life. Rahhh!

Here is a video of the training.  Doesn’t it look like fun? It’s so great!

Btw, I saw Warrior this week.  Loved it! Very inspiring with a good script and great acting.

Perfect Saturday

So I’m a very social person but to me the perfect day is one that combines activities and ‘veg’ time as I like to call it.  Today is a perfect example.  I woke up early and then went to pick up my bountiful basket.  The last few have been a bit skimpy but not this week.  It is huge!  We went with the tropical and blackberry addition but it ended up being still just under $40.  Pretty incredible.  The tropical basket has little tiny coconuts.  I’m not sure how to use them but that’s part of the fun. The blackberries are divine.  I’ve already eaten 2 containers!

All of this for under $40!

It was funny when I was picking up my basket a girl looked at the artichoke and said ‘What the heck is that?’.  I guess spending a lot of time in California I was introduced to artichokes from an early age.  I can understand never having tried them but to have no idea what they are?  Funny.

After picking up my basket I went to Boxing is for Girls and it was intense but awesome.  They have you do around a half hour of circuit training and this time it was relays with various tasks.  Its amazing how something that looks so easy like moving on your feet and hands with your but in the air is super hard. Wow! The last half of the class is punching practice and its my favorite.  You do some sets to practice your form and then they bring out the punching bags and you can go at it.  It really is a blast.  My friend Polly came last week and I didn’t know if she was really liking it but after the punching she was psyched.  She even signed up for a pass.

Love this photo
Jab Jab!

After boxing I came home, made lunch and watched my DVR of Say Yes to the Dress (the Atlanta version really isn’t as good!).  Then I made some almond flour cheese crackers.  I was reminded of them by my friend Jill who had them when I taught my class on low glycemic cooking.   This time I didn’t have quite enough almond flour so I had to use some brown rice flour.  I also tried a spin on the recipe and added some Tabasco.   Yum!

cheese crackers. Loaded with protein and flavor. Don’t overdo it because they do have a lot of calories from the almond flour. Still delicious.

Cheese Crackers with Almond Flour (Gluten Free)
(Makes about 30 crackers, recipe from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam. This recipe is half the amount in the book, so double it and make the full recipe if you prefer.)

2 1/2 cup blanched almond flour (not the same as almond meal) (I use honeyville farms made right here in Utah).
1/4 tsp. salt (I used fine grind sea salt)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar and lightly packed it into measuring cup)
3  T  grapeseed oil (or olive oil works great if you don’t have  grapeseed)
2 large egg

 Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Grate 1/2 cup cheddar cheese.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda and cheese. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the egg and oil. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well-combined.Cut two pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Put one piece of parchment on cutting board and put dough on top, or half the dough if baking on small baking sheet. (I made the dough into the shape of the parchment.) Put second piece of parchment on top of the dough and roll out with rolling pin until dough covers the parchment sheet.Remove top parchment and cut dough into pieces 2 inches square.  Slide the parchment with the cut dough onto baking sheet and bake crackers 12-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.Let crackers cool on the baking sheet for 30 minutes (or if you need to bake another batch like I did, carefully slide first batch off to cutting board to cool while you use baking sheet to bake the second batch.)

I had kind of gotten out of my low glycemic baking.  Not sure why but I think I’m going to dive into it again.  Elana Amsterdam certainly has lots of recipes for me to try! :).

Now I have the rest of the day to relax, rub essential oils on my wounds (another banner exercise week, 4 workouts.  Next week I have one planned every day except Sunday.  If I can pull it off it will be one of the only times I’ve done that.  It’s the home stretch.  My swim is coming in 14 days!)

To me this is the perfect Saturday.  Got enough busyness to feel productive but enough relax time to feel relaxed.  After the week I’ve had I need to feel relaxed. Maybe I will even read for a while.  Luxury!

(I was just reading over the post and wondered- who is interested in the various activities of my Saturday?  Well, maybe nobody but there it is. Enjoy!)

Life at the Gym

PROGRESS AND GOALS

So just got back from a tough workout with Coach Dave- 1500 yards in 300 intervals each time going faster. My best time was 7 min 14 sec which I feel really good about.   I’m going to keep training and working hard for the Great Salt Lake Swim that which is coming up on June 9th.  Its a 1 mile swim but the water will be pretty cold so it will be a challenge.

I have also signed up for the 5K at the Deer Creek Open Water Swim!  This is the longest I have ever attempted but I have close to 6 months to prepare and I know I can do it.  I figure most of my friends did the 5k last year and I can hold my own with most of them.  My Dad might be able to come and be my paddler which would be a great experience together.  Its so motivating to have a race to look forward to.  Thanks in advance to all who are working to make both races happen.  They need volunteers for simple tasks if anyone is available June 9 or August 11th let me know.  Can’t wait!

I also am determined to get below 250 if it kills me.  Ok maybe not kill me but you get the idea.  I’ve worked so hard and last week I had a weight gain.  Was totally bummed out but I’m using it as a catalyst to try even harder.  I decided to sign up for a fresh meal delivery service here in Salt Lake that will help me get a better idea of portion controls and limit my diet with greater ease (with my new freezer this is even easier).  Its not something I would want to do forever but I think to help me get ready for the race it will be worth trying out.  Plus, the company does not have auto-renewal so to try it out for 2 weeks can’t hurt.

I’m also continuing with the bountiful baskets and between my freezer, portion controlled meals and lots of fresh produce I figure I will be doing all I can to eat right.

I know its weird but I love post work out photos. Its like a way of saying to myself- yes I did that! Don't you love the goggle eyes and swim cap line!

Sometimes in my quest for greater success I can forget how far I’ve come.  Take a look at these 2 photos one is from 2010 and one taken today.

2010 with my awesome trainer Michele. She has been with me through literally thick and thin! Weighed around 305 lbs
Michele and I today. Weigh around 260

I admit in 2010 I had hoped for a more dramatic before and after but I can tell a difference.  I certainly can feel the difference. It feels good to be able to say I tried as hard as I could to take care of my body and despite what felt like the gates of Hell opening up after me last year I am still pushing forward.

NEVER JUDGE

I also had a good experience today at the gym.  There is a lady who is in my ward who also goes to my gym.  She seemed sweet but on the surface not someone I would have a ton in common with (wears a ton of make up, dresses in designer clothes etc).

I was just in a good mood and went up to her and said ‘we should work out together sometime.  I’m sure you’re way ahead of me but it might be fun.  I’m kind of a lone warrior here.”  She said she would love that and asked if I did other things besides swimming.  I said ‘I’m not the most coordinated person in the world (huge understatement) but I will give most anything a try. I like kickboxing, yoga, spinning, working out on the machines. “

She seemed really happy that I talked to her and afterwards texted me saying “Can’t wait to work out with you :)”.   Just goes to show you shouldn’t judge by appearances. You lose out on a lot of friends that way.

She also said ‘you always seem really positive at the gym.  I think it would be great to work out together.’ This made me happy that people are watching me and maybe even a little inspired despite all my moaning and groaning!

BIKE

I’m also thinking about buying a bike.  The idea is to find a bike that I can tottle around Draper on turning everyday experiences into an active experience.  I need a bike with a seat that is large and frame that’s easy to mount.  Most bikes I don’t feel balanced enough on or that it can support me but this one looks very interesting.  Its called a Trek Navigator 2.0 and has 21 gears, low frame, big seat, front shocks and the local bike shop price is actually lower than I’ve found online.

So far the reviews I’ve read online are really good.  Thoughts?

SPRING WALK

One last thing.  Yesterday I was without a car because I have a company car and on occasion the company needs to use it!  My friend Jill was super duper nice to let me use her car so I could make my voice lesson (which was awesome.  I’m learning Defying Gravity and it is so thrilling! I’ve come so far and feel the song encapsulates the last  couple years of my life. ) .  Anyway, after dropping her car off I got to walk home in the beautiful Spring weather.  Everything is lush and smells delicious.

I snapped this quick pick with my camera phone (all of these photos were taken with my camera phone.  Not bad hah!). I’m so grateful to live in such a beautiful place and that God gives me glimpses of His grandeur on occasion.

Sometimes I forget how beautiful Utah is and how stunning the mountains are. Often I have to look up and remember that they are there and it takes my breath away. I'm so lucky to live here and I never want to move.

Back in the Pool

Today I am tired and sore but glad to be so.  As I was working on my diagnosis I didn’t want to muddle my chronic pain symptoms with exercise related pain so I held off of any hard training.  This means its been a few weeks since I did a serious swim- really since the QUAC swim.  QUAC was awesome but it was very tough to recover from.   I think because I was going through other stress and the gnawing pain in my ribcage (which in itself is a stressor) it made the recovery more difficult.

Anyway, I wanted to be able to tell my doctor for sure that the pain I was feeling was the chronic pain, not something from exercise.  Also with labs and doctors visits I had to be careful to get my work hours in and that left less time for exercising; however, after a promising week of results with  my thyroid medicine I felt like I was ready to get back to training. As much as I moan and groan about workouts I really do miss them when I can’t do them anymore.  Especially swimming.

Today I met with my swim coach for the first time in over a month (crazy how fast the time goes!).  He gave me a good workout- 1500 meters with intervals (250m fast, 250m slow, 200m fast, 200m slow…all the way down to 50m).  It was intense and my arms felt heavy but it was awesome!

Back in the pool! My face was so red after the workout. Something about these post-workout photos I love

There is something about diving into the water that I find so therapeutic.  There is a peace in the white noise of water that I love.  You can scream under water and nobody knows. I find the minute I dive in my mind becomes clear and the repetition of the strokes allows me to mull over the problems in my life.   Most importantly my body floats away, the pain with it.  I don’t feel like a heavy girl in the water.  I feel like I am flying!

It was great to get back in the water!  Tomorrow I meet with my trainer, thursday swim with my friends and Saturday I am taking boxing lessons!  I’m so excited about that!  Yes, I’ve always wanted to take boxing lessons!  There is a gym in Salt Lake that teaches boxing classes just for women.   http://www.boxingisforgirls.com. I think it will be awesome.  I took self defense at BYU and loved it. So, take notice and don’t tick me off in the future.  I will be trained! 🙂

I got my first bountiful basket this Saturday!  It was delicious! I’ve been enjoying the oranges this week and all the yummy vegetables.  I made corned beef and cabbage on Sunday and that was yummy (my fridge is now stuffed with crockpot meals I’ve made the last few weeks!).   Today I had a steak.  My mother can not make steak.  Cooks it to death.  Once I learned how to make it right I love it! Its expensive and high in calories but for an occasional indulgence Ok. Especially after my intense swim.  Don’t get too worried because with all my delicious veggies I made a massive salad to go with the steak!

There is something better about carefully selected produce.  You don’t really realize it until you try the good stuff and there is such a difference.  Yesterday I had dinner at Anna’s and she made ginger ice cream.  With the fresh grapefruit and orange sections the citrus and ginger combined well, creating a delicious dessert.

My friend Kate and I decided we will do the baskets every other week.  For $20 how can you go wrong?  (We split the box equaling $21.50 per person). This week they had special pineapples to order.  Hope they will have something like that next week.  Yum!