I don’t know really where to start my story.  Maybe just introduce myself and then go from there.  My name is Bethany, I’m Matt’s younger sister.  My story is a lot different than his, but hopefully they will both end the same, with a Triathlon.

When I was 16 years old I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome {PCOS}, one of the side effects is that it makes it difficult for people with PCOS to lose weight.  My weight is something I have struggled with as long as I can remember.  I would be able to lose 20-30 pounds then gain all of it back, plus some.  I tried everything, a nutritionist, weight watchers, a personal trainer, having a doctor monitored diet and just tracking what I was eating, and so much more.  Nothing seemed to work for me and I finally decided to pursue my options.  I was unhealthy and unhappy.  I began looking into bariatric weight loss surgery and decided that it was the right decision for me.  After working with my surgical weight loss center for almost 4 months I was able to get the gastric sleeve on June 26, 2014.  My highest weight with them was 250 pounds, something I am so ashamed to admit.  However, as of today I am 6 weeks out and have lost 53 pounds, I am down to 197.  My goal weight is to be between 120-130 pounds.

I have noticed so many differences in myself, I am more confident, I’m not afraid to put myself out there and I began running with my dog, Levi.  I promised my brother that next year I would do a triathlon with him…a sprint triathlon, I’m not crazy or delusional enough to think that in a year I would be able to compete in a full one.

I don’t want to get into my surgery and the trouble I have had with it because that’s not why I’m here.  I’m here to document my training and what I am doing to succeed.  If anyone has questions about the surgery I’m happy to answer them I just don’t want that to be the focus.  Just know that having a weight loss surgery should be your last option, it is not the easy way out by any means and it changes your ENTIRE life.  Thankfully, it has changed mine for the better.

I want to make myself a better athlete, I want to be in shape, I want to be healthy and I want to do it for me.

I have started researching how to compete in a triathlon, I am working on building my endurance when I run, and I will soon begin riding my bike regularly.  Swimming has always been easy for me and I know that it will be my easiest (and I say that knowing that it will still be difficult) portion of the race.

Anyway, so that’s my story.  Stick around as I will try to update this as I hit my struggles, have my successes and everything in between.  Oh, and maybe my brother will start writing more….

 

 

It has been a long time since I’ve posted on my blog and there are a plethora of reasons why, but I wanted to give everyone an update on what’s going on and what I’ve been up to over the last year or so. If you have read this blog in the past, you are aware that last year I was pursuing a goal of finishing a half-ironman 70.3. Along the way, I was going to participate in other triathlons and my first full marathon.  I came extremely close to my goal of completing the 70.3…just about 10 days away to be exact!

After competing in the Great Snake River Triathlon sprint distance (my first river swim race which was awesome) and having a decent race (in which I placed 3rd in my age group), I settled back into my half-ironman training. That fateful morning August 6th, 2013 is a day I won’t ever forget.

That morning, I woke up early to go on about a 75 minute hill ride. As I left my driveway, my chain fell off my bike (which had never happened before) and I nearly ran into my mailbox. I fixed the chain, cleaned my hands and went on my merry way. It was a chilly morning and I nearly turned back twice to get a jacket but decided against it. Less than 1.5 miles from my home, after taking a drink from my water bottle, I was getting back to my normal riding speed before something happened…

I remember distinctly hearing the sound of a crunch behind me like two cars getting in an accident. My initial reaction was to look behind me and before I could do that, I remember being propelled forward. At this point, I have conflicting memories of what happened…but the next thing I know I was on the side of the road sliding gravel very fast. I ended up rolling into some grass along the side of the road and laying on my stomach. My first reaction was to look up and see what had just happened. I saw a car stopping which gave me some comfort. I then laid my head on the grass and came to realization of how much pain I was experiencing. My mind was racing and all I could think was “I was just hit by a car, I was just hit by a car, I was just hit by a car” over and over and over again.

It took a minute for the individual who hit me to get over to me. When she came over, she asked if I was ok and my response was “I don’t know.” She asked if I could stand up and I repeated “I don’t know.” I was probably more rough with her than I should’ve been but in my defense I was dealing with a pretty serious incident and the beginnings of shock. After feeling that all my limbs were still intact, I slowly got back on my feet. My left ankle was really tight but I was able to walk on it…kinda. I really didn’t lose it until, I hobbled over and saw my bike…

You can see where my bike landed, the helmet is where I ended up.

You can see where my bike landed, the helmet is where I ended up.

Seeing my bike sent a flurry of emotions through me that made me realize that the training I had been going through for the last 10 months was not going to come to fruition. It was very hard for me, and at that point, I couldn’t fight off the tears anymore. I called my wife and told her what had happened and I called a friend to come pick me up. By the time my good friend arrived, I was in a state of shock, shaking almost uncontrollably. He got me and my bike home, and with the help of my neighbor got me in the house. A little bit later, I was having x-rays on my ankle revealing that it was broken. After that, the road rash which compromised a large portion of the left side of my body was cleaned, which was very, very painful.

Two days later, I underwent surgery (which a few months later would end up in a second surgery) to insert two screws into my left ankle to put it back together. The surgery really took me out of commission for awhile both physically and emotionally. I was really in a funk for a period of time because of all I had put into getting ready for a race that wouldn’t be able to attend. I was fortunate to have good friends and family to be so caring and compassionate to me and my family. My faith played a big part in me being positive about the whole situation. I made it a point to attend church the Sunday after my surgery because I really felt it necessary to show gratitude that the situation wasn’t worse.

I felt the need to attend church just a few days after my surgery because I felt it was important to show my gratitude that things weren't worse.

I felt the need to attend church just a few days after my surgery because I felt it was important to show my gratitude that things weren’t worse.

I have started and stopped writing this post many times and debated about putting it out there. In the end, I’ve decided that I wanted to share my story because it does have a happy ending which I intend to share in coming posts. This is the first of many to come.

Bikers, be careful out there. Motorists, be careful out there. It is important for me to say that I have no ill feelings towards the individual that hit me. I know there are lessons that I have and will learn from this and I’m sure the same goes for her. My intention is to share more about this incident as time goes forward because I have some lofty goals. In the end, life is good and it is our job not to forget that!

Quote of the Day

Posted: March 1, 2013 by ichoosetotri in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

“Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way.”
-Abraham Lincoln

Have a great weekend!

 

I’m currently traveling for business and I’m noticing something and I wanted to see if I’m the only one noticing this.  Today, on my first flight, I sat next to a triathlete and avid runner.  I’ve overheard people behind me discussing running Tough Mudders, I saw a guy in the airport wearing an Ironman finisher shirt.  It isn’t just today either, it seems like nearly everywhere I go I’ve been seeing this trend of triathletes and endurance athletes…am I the only one?

This guy that I sat next to on my first flight is also a big proponent of the paleo diet, so he gave my some insights and things to try when I get back.  Anybody have any thoughts on the paleo diet?

So, am I the only one noticing a trend towards more fitness or am I just seeing this now because I’m in the sport?

I wanted to share one of my new favorite treats that we have been making lately.  They’re quite similar to no bake cookies and are quite tasty.  As I said in my Improving Nutrition post, I really am making an effort to watch what I eat and improve my eating habits.  With that said, it is pretty difficult for me to get through a day without sweets…quite difficult actually.  This recipe has come in handy and really helps when I get a snack crave.

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I don’t know if they look all that great in the picture, but I sure like them!  One little variation we did which I liked was to mix half chocolate chips and half peanut butter.  It has been a great snack for me to keep in the fridge at work for when the munchies come along.  They really are a healthy little snack because they have peanut butter, oats, coconut,  and flax seed…outside the chocolate chips, its a very healthy energy packed meal.  Anyway, I don’t foresee this turning into a food blog, but I’m guessing I should be concerned that I am reposting something from a blog called Joyously Domestic…anyway, the recipe can be found here.  Enjoy!

Triathlons and Babies

Posted: February 22, 2013 by ichoosetotri in Triathlon
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Some of you may not believe this post but it is the true story of my next door neighbor and his path to his first triathlon fourth child.  A few months ago, my neighbor Nicolas and I were talking and I told him about the triathlon I had just started training for.  He said he had thought about doing a triathlon before but had just never followed through with it.  We talked about the date of the race I was doing and he said that his wife was due with their 4th child a few weeks after the race.  He thought she would probably have the baby a little early but it should still be a couple weeks before the race.  He thought he would be fine for the race with the baby coming a few weeks later.

The months went by with training and we both got more and more excited for the race.  Eventually, the week of the race came.  A few days  before the race we were talking about the upcoming race and he mentioned that his wife was already dilated to a 4.  I asked him, are you sure she’s not going to have this baby before the race?  He said probably not, she usually does this for awhile before the baby is born.  I didn’t think too much of it but I had my doubts about whether or not he would be able to make this race.

The morning of the race we rode up together to get our transition area all set up.  Nicolas had thought about doing the olympic distance race which started at 7:30 but he later decided against it.  We got to the race venue and set up our transition area and watched the start of the olympic race to see a couple friends start out.  About 5 minutes after the olympic start, we headed back up to transition and Nicolas talked to a friend for a few minutes.  While walking away from them, he pulled his phone out of his pocket, and said oh I missed a call from Natalie and she left a voicemail.  He started listening to the voicemail, and immediately started sprinting back towards transition…and I felt the need to follow!  After listening to the voicemail, Nicolas put his phone down and said, she’s having the baby!  He ran into transition (which was closed) and the race director was wondering what was going on.  I had to tell him that his wife was having a baby!  He bought the excuse and let us pull out his gear.  We grabbed everything and put it in his truck and off he went in a whirlwind.  From there, I didn’t have a clue what happened until later because I was doing my race.

I later found out that Nicolas barely made it home in time to take Natalie to the hospital.  They arrived to the hospital about 20 minutes before the baby was born!   Nicolas missed his first triathlon, but made it just in time for the birth of his 4th child, Coleson.  It was a wild experience for me and I can only imagine how it was for them!

This past week was my birthday, and I wanted to continue getting triathlon gear for the upcoming season.  I asked my coach to take a look at my bike and he said that my bike was fine unless I wanted to spend some decent money on an upgrade.  I wasn’t really looking to spend a bunch of money on a bike but he suggested upgrading the frame.  After looking into frame upgrades, I went to bike shop to see what they had.  They had a clearance on a bike my size, and it was pretty tough to say no!  Before diving into the new one, here’s the bike I rode last year:

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The blue and yellow meanie is my old 2002 Masi Vincere.  It was a great bike and was my first ever road bike.  I had some great times on this bike and raced my first triathlons on it, I also set a new speed record for me on it.  Needless to say, this bike served me very well!

So, I decided to upgrade my bike, I purchased a 2009 Raleigh Competition.  Even though it is a 2009, it is a new bike that the local bike shop had not sold and were clearing out.  Here’s a picture:

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I am so excited to get out on this bike.  It is carbon throughout and has all 105 components.  The bigger thing is that this bike is a much better fit for me than the last bike, it is a 53 cm frame where the older bike was a 56.  I still need to get aero bars and triathlon shoes, so if anyone wants to donate to the cause let me know!  In all seriousness, this bike should last me for years to come and be a fantastic racing bike.  This is definitely my most favorite piece of tri gear so far.  I just wish I could take it out for a spin, but here’s a picture from my Saturday morning run…less than ideal road bike conditions to say the least!

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So any cool tri gear purchases for you all?  This is an expensive sport!

It is important to remember what we’re thankful for…and you can do this outside of Thanksgiving!  Today, I am grateful for a recovery week!!!  For the last 4 weeks I have been nearly killing myself with the Muscular Endurance phase.  For those who aren’t familiar with the muscular endurance phase of triathlon training, it is where you do your workouts for a time period.  So for example, before this recovery week, I was doing leg press at 30% of max for 4 minutes straight.  For that exercise, I would do 220 reps (give or take) in a 4 minute period, and do 2 sets…it is rough!!  But, it is supposedly where you put the “iron” in “ironman” according to my coach.  I still have two weeks left in this phase, but until next week, I am recovering and for that I am thankful!  I most definitely needed to rest a bit.

I’m sure we’re all thankful for recovery weeks, what else are you all thankful for in regards to your exercise?

So I have to be honest…and this is very hard for me to admit…I LOVE to eat. Yes, I know it is hard to believe but I am addicted to food. I love breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. Having grown up in the south, I love my food fried, greasy, delicious, and fattening. My favorite meal would have to be breakfast…I love home made biscuits, dried-beef gravy, sausage, bacon, fried apples, hashbrowns, eggs, molasses…just a perfect southern breakfast.

Slowly, but surely, I am learning to improve my eating habits.  One of the biggest things has been portion size.  Rather than waiting that full feeling to stop eating, I have been trying to stop eating before I feel full.  That isn’t the easiest task in the world, but I have been able to do it with some success.  Lately, I have also been doing my best to eat better.  I know that is a vague statement but I have been able to transition to some more healthy choices on the menu and I can honestly say that it is making a big difference.  Something that inspired me was a recent post from Iowa Tri Bob about his recent pursuit of eating better and trying different diets/nutrition “techniques” for lack of a better word.  After reading that, I spent some time reading up on different things he had posted and I made a decision to “improve.”  Yes, I know improve isn’t a quantifiable objective, but that was the goal.  With that in mind, here’s some things that I have discovered.

First, I’m a big fan of green smoothies.  These have been my meal of choice after my weight workouts.  I don’t really have a recipe, but this is generally what I throw in; spinach, skim milk, ice, a small amount of honey, greek yogurt, ground flax seed, and a fruit of some sort…generally frozen peaches or a banana.  I love them and they are extremely nutritious.  In fact, my two little girls generally will ask for them for breakfast now.  So, a green smoothie along with a couple scrambled eggs and a piece of whole grain toast are generally my breakfast after a harder weight workout.

Second, I’ve discovered some ingredients that had not known about before.  These would be flax seed and quinoa.  Flax seed is a fantastic ingredient for so many dishes for a triathlete, it is very high in fiber, omega-3’s, and is very effective in reducing inflammation.  You can add it to just about anything as well.  To get the best results with flax seeds, grind them, the shells are pretty tough to digest apparently.  Quinoa is another ingredient that I had never been exposed to before a couple of months ago at a family party.  It has a huge protein content…among other things.  If you haven’t ever googled quinoa recipes, give it a shot.  You can add quinoa to just about anything and increase its nutritional value.

Before this post gets too long, the main point is that I am finally coming around to the fact that exercise alone can only get you so far…and I am finally getting to be ok with that fact.  The last six weeks, we have had a family health challenge and I decided to actually put some effort into my eating habits and I have seen tremendous results.  So, learn from my mistakes and actually put the effort into eating well.  There’s a whole world of nutritiousness out there that is quite tasty and well fuel your triathlon engine even further than you thought!

So, what are you doing to keep your nutrition and eating in check?

 

This post is a little overdue but I wanted to share it nonetheless.  I’m now 3 months into my training and I have to say that it is going really well.  I just completed the Max Strength phase and it was challenging!  I spent the last 4 weeks in this phase and every week would progressively more weight.  The final week of the phase I was doing low reps of roughly 90% of my max.  Whereas the anatomical adaptation was low weight/high reps, the max strength phase was high weight/low reps.  Here’s how my max changed for each of the given exercises I completed:

Leg Press: 440, 525 – 19.3% increase

Shoulder Press: 220, 210 – 4.5% decrease (??)

Hamstring Curls: 160, 205 – 28.1% increase

Front Lat Pull Downs: 160, 190 – 18.75% increase

Tricep Pull Down – 130, 140 – 7.7% increase

I had increases in every exercise except shoulder press.  I don’t find that very surprising.  I’ve had some nagging shoulder pain that has impacted me most on the shoulder press.  I enjoy the weight exercises and have another month to go but I will definitely enjoy spending more time on the three disciplines.

Since finishing this phase I have spent some time swimming and running.  With swimming, I felt so much more powerful in the water.  It was a very noticeable difference.  With running, my form has been correcting because of all the weight lifting.  I have had a problem with my running form where my feet weren’t quite as linear as they could be.  I have noticed a huge change in that, I have significantly more control as I run.  I am much more linear in my form.

So, I definitely recommend for triathletes.  I haven’t yet raced since doing so much weight lifting but so far I can honestly say that this workout regime has had a huge impact on my preparation so far.

Have any of you coupled weights with your workouts?