You’re a WHAT???

Back in April, during my last build for Gulf Coast, I biked down to New Smyrna Beach with my coach, Pam, to meet my tri-bestie, Megan, for an ocean swim.  While we were waiting for Megan to arrive, I was talking to Pam about some dietary issues that I (and mostly Deb) were having – indigestion, bloating, gaining belly fat even though I was working out like a machine, etc.  I recall feeling so incredibly frustrated.  I never entered the world of triathlon as a means to lose weight, but I kinda thought that once I started training for longer distances that it might happen.

In MY world I felt like our diet was pretty clean – we ate lots of fruits and veggies and lean meats and such; we did not eat gluten or dairy much at all; we out out very rarely – usually only when we traveled for business; and I cooked 90% of our meals from scratch.  So, I was confused.  I felt like we were doing everything right, and yet our results did not bear that fact out.

FoKPam asked me if I would watch a video – and do so with an open mind.  Hey, being open-minded is my JOB, right?  She met me the next day at the pool and handed me the video.  It was Forks Over Knives.  Pam said the video advocated adopting a whole foods, plant-based nutritional strategy and gave tons of evidence supporting the merits of such a strategy.

Hmmmm….  “whole foods, plant based…”  What did THAT mean?

What it meant was:

  • No meat
  • No chicken
  • No fish
  • No seafood
  • No dairy
  • No eggs
  • No cheese
  • No processed foods
  • And little to no oil
  • If it had a mother or a face or came from something with a mother or a face we were to steer clear.

protein1-592x414I took a deep breath…  I WAS open to the idea of TRYING it, but DEB!!!!  What the heck was I supposed to say to Deb?  There was NO WAY she was gonna go for this (or so I thought)… And I am an athletean endurance TRIATHLETE (at least in my own mind) – where was I going to get the PROTEIN I needed to fuel my muscles for training?  This seemed doomed to failure.

But, I promised Pam I would watch the video and we’d go from there.

I got home with my video in hand and I took another deep breath.  You see, no so long before this, Deb had “scolded” me for jumping on diet bandwagons – trying new things in search of some “magic bullet” that would pare the fat from my thighs and elevate my swim-bike-run performance, so you can only imagine her reaction when I proposed that we consider “going vegan.”  Soooo many stereotypes…


However, to her credit, she was just as frustrated as I was, so she agreed to watch the video.

And the more we watched, the more intrigued we became.  When it was over, we talked about the parts of the video that resonated with us.  For me, it was watching the professional and age group iron-distance triathletes and the elite MMA fighter who powered their training and races on a vegan diet.  For Deb, it was the studies (not just on lab rats, but also on large populations of rural Chinese) that showed you could actually turn cancer on and off by adjusting the amount of casein in their diet, as well as the testimonials from people who were so riddled with heart disease and cancer that they were told by their physicians to go home and wait to die… LITERALLY!

We agreed to adopt a whole foods, plant-based diet for 90 days and see what happened.

So, I slowly transitioned up until Gulf Coast and then on May 10th – the day after Gulf Coast, we started our vegan experiment.

Our 90 days were up on August 10th, but we won’t go back to the way we were eating before and here’s why:

  1. Deb immediately started dropping weight.  She wasn’t working out any harder or differently than she had been before, but it was like someone stuck her with a pin and she deflated.  Within the first month, clothes that had been tight were in need of tailoring because they were so loose.
  2. I’ve dropped 10 pounds – of fat!
  3. When I started my training cycle for B2B in early June, I found that I had more stamina and I recovered more quickly than before.  In fact, leading up to GCT, I hurt so bad – all the time!  My chronic backache was gone, my shoulders didn’t hurt anymore, my legs and feet didn’t ache after a long run.  Back to back hard workouts were no longer an issue.
  4. Deb and I both were sleeping better than we had in YEARS!
  5. I am a 50 year old woman – there are hormonal processes going on in my body.  For the 6 months prior to changing our diet I was experiencing between 6-12 “hot flashes” per day – talk about MISERABLE!!  I literally felt like I was going to spontaneously combust!  Within 2 weeks of changing my diet, the hot flashes all but vanished!  I have maybe one per week now – and that’s cool – I can totally deal with that!
  6. We really like the food!  I was cautious at first, but there is such a wonderful myriad of vegetables, fruits, and grains that I had never tried before.  The investment in cooking time is bit more than it was before, but now I just get up early on Sunday morning and prep the meals for the week and it works great.
  7. People think that eating this way is expensive – and there were a few items that I had to purchase to develop a whole foods pantry that WERE a little pricey, but now that it’s done, our food bill is substantially lower than it was before.
  8. Deb and I both feel FANTASTIC!!!  We feel strong and healthy and vital!
  9. Deb just had her annual blood work done and her stats are even better than they were last year (and they were like a 20 year old last year).
  10. Josh enjoys eating this way too and it makes us feel like we are doing the best for him as well.

So, I guess I can officially come out of the closet and say “I’m a VEGAN.”  Color me shocked!  Those are 3 words that I never, EVER thought I would say! This is not some deeply held, moral, or ethical conviction I’ve come to.  I certainly don’t intend to stop wearing leather or anything.  But I’m loving the veggies!!

If you’re curious, I can’t recommend Forks Over Knives (the DVD and the book) more highly (the movie is also on Netflix)!  What have you got to lose?

Going For GREAT!

epiphanyLast week I had something of an epiphany.  Not exactly the type of epiphany where the clouds part and the angels sing, but it was a pretty profound moment.

I was on the trainer – my home way from home lately – and I was tired, and bored, and sore, and I just wanted to be DONE.

mind-blownI was drawing on my most recent inspiration, my friend Meredith who competed in Ironman-Lake Placid last month.  She got hit in the head several times during the swim and got a mild concussion that left her with blurred vision and a blinding headache during the bike.  When she got off her bike in T2, she discovered that both of her feet were covered by full-foot blisters, necessitating that she walk the run… A MARATHON – WALKING 26.2 MILES… with full foot blisters…

It makes my silly little 3 hour trainer ride a walk in the park by comparison.

Anyhow, on the Placid course, Meredith kept asking herself “Am I doing my very best right now in this moment?”

And so, right there on the trainer, I asked myself:  “Ang, are you really giving this your best or are you phoning it i so you can check off the box?”

Sometimes it’s hard to be totally honest with yourself.  But my answer was obvious:  NO!  No, I have not been giving my training or my nutrition or my work or anything else in my life my very BEST lately!  I don’t suck, but I could do so much better!!!

And so, in that moment I resolved to give the things that matter in my life my best. And I realize that sometimes my BEST, might not be very good at all, but if it is MY best in that moment, isn’t that better than just faking my way through?

I have Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 in 54 days and I have a goal to finish in under 6 hours.  That will take my BEST to accomplish.

We have so many huge projects in the pipeline at work and it will take my BEST to get them done on time and at the level of quality required.

I want to drop 10 pounds before B2B.  That will take my BEST effort at eating clean and providing quality fuel for my body so that it can do ITS very BEST during training.

I am excited to see what happens as I stop just getting by and start going for GREAT!!


Short Update and Musings on Cruises

blog fail yetiWell, here we are in mid-August and another 3 months have gone by since I’ve posted.  I really need to get my act together in the blogosphere!!

Soooo, here’s my summer in a nutshell:  Swim, Bike, Run, Work, Sleep, Eat, Repeat…  Normally, “Mom” would fit in there as well; however, this year my son had the wonderful opportunity to spend the bulk of the summer with my family and his Dad in Virginia.  He left on June 5th and I picked him up at the airport yesterday.  I’m not gonna lie – the break was nice, for both of us – but I missed him terribly and am very happy to have him home!

Beach2Battleship-Iron-Distance-TriathlonThis summer’s main endeavors were starting a new 70.3 training cycle for PPD Beach 2 Battleship 70.3 that is just shy of 60 days away!  😮  And I’ve been training while battling some tendonitis in my right foot, so I’m running almost exclusively on an elliptical.  I have a good friend who has hip issues who has successfully and competitively completed triathlon after triathlon (including 2 70.3s) while doing almost all her running on the elliptical!  If anything her run is stronger than it was before.  I’m hoping for similar results.

I also turned 50 years old earlier this month.  FIFTY???  How the hell did THAT happen?  The fact is that age is just a number.  I feel better at 50 than I did at 20!  I celebrated the beginning of my 6th decade on the planet with a BIRTHDAY BRICK!  I woke up early on August 1st – the day before my birthday – and rode my bike for 50 miles, then I drove to LA Fitness and swam 5,000 yards, and finally, I ran 5 miles.  It was hard, but I felt so great afterwards!!  And, the icing on the (birthday) cake was that at no other time in my life could I have finished any one part of that workout, much less all 3 parts!

920After I finished, I received one of my birthday presents – an upgrade to my data life – a Garmin Forerunner 920XT Multisport watch!!!  It is so amazing.  My friend, Meredith Atwood – aka Swim Bike Mom – told me that a 920 would change my life.  I didn’t believe her – I mean, seriously, how can a WATCH change your life?  But she was so right!  This gadget does EVERYTHING!!  It even monitors my sleep and sends me my text messages and Facebook notifications! 🙂  I think I would marry this watch if that were an acceptable thing to do.

My other big birthday present was a CRUISE!! My very first!!  Deb and I decided to drop everything and live out a dream of throwing a bathing suits and a bottle of sunscreen in a bag, jumping in the convertible, heading down to Port Canaveral, and hopping on a cruise ship for a few days of R&R…  Okay, so we packed enough shit for a family of 8 and took my SUV, but the rest is true enough.  😉

ship-Sensation-w600Our ship was the Carnival Sensation – a FUNship – and we were cruising over to the Bahamas (Nassau) and then spending a day at sea, and then back into Port Canaveral – Thursday – Sunday.  We really had a blast!  We put the cellphones in the safe and completely unplugged for 3 days, which was amazing.  And we proved that it is possible to make healthy food choices on a cruise ship – all evidence to the contrary ALLLL around us!  There was a 24/7 buffet available somewhere on the ship.  At any moment you could get eggs, sausage, bacon, fried potatoes, hamburgers, fried chicken, french fries, cake, pie, cookies, ice cream – all manner of greasy, fatty foods that you may as well just apply to your thighs.  But there was also cereal, oatmeal, fruit, salad bars, and an awesome noodle bowl station with all kinds of great veggies that got stir fried up with yummy sauces.  In the dining rooms there was always a vegetarian option or a light option on the menu.

buffetdrinksAnd, you know what?  I found that I actually CRAVED oatmeal and fruit for breakfast and looked forward to my noodle bowl at lunch, and my Indian vegetarian meal at dinner.  It was delicious and satisfying and I felt GOOD after I ate it.  Who knew?  We chose to have a mixed drink each day – on Friday (our port day), I actually had 2 mixed drinks and 2 beers over the course of the day – #ZF!!

I loved the cruise!!!  And I’m already planning our next one – maybe next summer!

So now, off to my trusty steed (my bike)!  I’ll be back soon!