Friday, January 29, 2010

After the Party its the After Party - ZenTri Camp

"then finally she went out into the rain
carrying her bicycle chain
and her feet were the pedals
while her appetite steered" - Ani Difranco

The camp was so super awesome. I'm psyched because people are already signing up for next year. When the camp ended on Monday we still had an entire week of Texas left. When Tuesday came it was time to throw myself under the wheel of the training machine, sacrifice myself to the training gods... and it all started with a stupid fight. On very rare occasion I bite at people with my words. When I do, it stops people because its uncharacteristic of me, but its also pretty funny because it usually involves bratty foul language that gets me NOWHERE. So on Tuesday John and I were headed out for a ride together and he said "I know you can do this, I'm going base pace". Okay. I've gone riding with him before, no big deal. "But, if you get dropped don't worry... just follow the map". Suddenly I had to admit that I didn't have a copy of the map because I'm still such a beginner I think everyone else is going to do everything for me. ALSO, the map that I didn't have listed turns as "south" or "east" rather than left or right. FORGET IT. So I had a meltdown (that involved some terrible potty language) about feeling like I was dropped 5 mins into the ride and I turned around, pedaling back to the house to whine and go to bed. It was 75 degrees and sunny. I'm such an asshole.

It turns out that was the BEST thing that could have happened. A friend pointed out to me "you're not a crier" and he was right. I did some research (after a short nap) and got back out there to explore on my own. This was a HUGE step for me. I haven't been riding alone very much because I'm directionally challenged (I can't even trace my own steps) and I don't feel confident about taking care of basic bike issues. I've changed a flat successfully, even a rear-wheel flat, but the last time I tried it didn't go well. So lifting up my skirt and grabbing myself by the bike shorts was exactly what I needed to do.

That day I explored for only 2 hours and found the "Ride of Guru" which was the tail end of the "Ride of Truth" as an out and back. From there I was able to get on my bike, alone, every day in Texas to ride and explore and build up my confidence. Come Saturday, the boys were planning to do the Ride of Truth again but turning it into a century ride. I wanted to tag along... badly... but I didn't want to impose on them. I thought they might have goals for pacing that I wouldn't be able to keep up with. But they invited me along anyway! Not only that, they made me feel super comfortable about the plan. It turns out I AM *pretty awesome* and was able to go faster, more easily, than I thought. John kept saying "I knew you could do this". Yay! It was an awesome day and an even awesomer week :)

Tuesday: 2 hr ride/ yoga
Wednesday: 5 hr ride
Thursday: 3 hr ride/ 45 min run
Friday: 90 min ride
Saturday: 4.5 hour ride
Sunday: 2 hr run

I am completely in love with Texas. Emily and I got pierced on Saturday night to celebrate the camp and our visit and just to do something memorable. I got my nose pierced and she got her belly button pierced. Next year we'll have to top that... any suggestions?

The Twitpic Dinner Challenge - #i8this

(Photographic evidence of me going into a Dairy Queen during the Ride of Truth? It can't be!!!)

Talk about being held accountable! I can't imagine how people are going to respond to this challenge. It may be quite the eye opening experience to share a picture of your dinner with hundreds of your closest friends, every night, for an entire week! Will people eat differently than they normally do? Will they make some extra efforts on the preparation and presentation of their meals? (I know I will). I also think lots of the participants will have a lot of fun with this and will ultimately learn new things about their dietary approach. You'll be able to see how others are eating, share ideas, and discuss your choices.

This all started when I realized I was clicking (with interest) on @TexasDevin's dinner pics that he tweeted for a few nights. He's happy with his healthy diet and excited to share, while I'm inspired by seeing the healthy choices he's making. That got me thinking, what if a bunch of people did this at once? Pretty cool.

The responses were huge! I got more than 23 tweets @ me with only one mention of the idea. All in one night! Now I'm going to make a bigger announcement to get more people. We'll start on Monday, February 1st and keep it going through Sunday, February 7th. This is perfect timing for me because with my upcoming 3 weeks of training in Spain at Strong Like Bull I had planned to eat super clean to get myself ready. I now have the weekend to plan some meals and do some shopping. I know I won't eat all of my dinners at home in a week so you'll even get to see pics of how I order in a restaurant... I wonder if that will make me choose differently?!

When I work with clients I ask them to keep a temporary food diary as an exercise to look for food sensitivities, healthy and unhealthy habits, etc. One thing that people notice is that being held accountable leads to much fewer unhealthy food choices. For example, "If I have a handful of Doritos I'm going to have to log that". This is going to be an EXTREME food journaling experience! Eeeek!

The #i8this Rulez

  • 1. Tweet a pic of one meal per day (breakfast, lunch or dinner)
  • 2. Include a brief description of what it is
  • 3. Add the hash tag #i8this to your post so we can track them in one place
I'm going to blog about the challenge when its over. For other bloggers out there, it would be awesome if you share a link with me to your story so I can mention it in my post.

Lastly, for anyone who tweets #i8this for ALL 7 DAYS I'll add your name to a drawing on February 8th to win a free month of health counseling with me. I know, sounds crazy, right?

Friday, January 22, 2010

ZenTri Camp Day #4

(Rich got to have his picture taken with me and Emily)

The last day of camp was perfect. I still can't believe how smoothly everything went throughout the entire weekend. As a team, everyone really worked well together. I'm totally stoked for next year.

Day 4 started with a talk called Running by the Numbers with John. It was an excellent way to get everyone mentally warmed up for our long run. From there we all piled into cars and drove to Lick Creek Park (I know what you're thinking... get your mind outta the gutter). We broke off into groups depending on our goals for the run. There was a group running straight through, led by John and Rich, and another group doing the famed Push Run with Brett. I had a hard time deciding what to do so I started with the first group and did the second loop with Brett's group. The run started in a swirvy, narrow trail which was extra fun.

For the second loop with Brett's group we ran for 8 mins, then walked for 2 mins. At the 9 min beep we dropped for 15 push ups (I did 10) and 8 power squats. I have to admit, because running is my strongest discipline I've been a bit of a snob about the run/walk method. I think its great when other people do it but I never allow myself to do it. This is partially because I find it so hard to start running again after a walk break and I'd rather just slow it down for a couple of mins. Now I'm training for IMLP and after spectating for the past couple of years and talking to people about their strategies, I figure I'll walk the aid stations and hills during my race. At the end of each run loop at IMLP there's a bit of a hill as you come back into the downtown area. We watched from there last year and I noticed that the people who walked up that hill made it to the top at around the same pace as the people who ran REALLY SLOWLY. The difference was that the runners were more winded. That was when I decided it was okay to walk. With this in mind, I joined Brett's run/walk group. Brett had us hold onto our running form while we were walking, with our elbows bent and wrists high, while we kept our feet turning over quickly. This actually made it much easier to transition back into running. It also crossed my mind at this point that I should be doing longer runs the way I plan to run the marathon at IMLP. Its gonna be hard for me to run with walk breaks for 13, 16, 18 miles because I know I can easily run those distances without walking. I talked to Brett and John and they both agree that I should train the way I plan to race at IMLP, so I'll just have to be disciplined. Maybe I'll get used to it... maybe I'll enjoy it.

After the long run (2 hours) we all came back to the house for some stretching, led by a guy named Bear. Then Rich, Brett and I prepared a super easy and quick healthy lunch for people. It was choose your own adventure style with vegan, paleo, and just-plain-healthy choices: Rich showed how to make his famous tomato and avocado sandwiches and a vita mix blend, Brett showed some paleo varieties with turkey and lettuce wraps, and I made a healthy salmon salad. That worked out really well and left plenty of room for people to be socializing and wrapping up.

After lunch we all said our goodbye's. It was sad to see everyone go, but I'll admit, I was beat! I plopped down on the couch with a sense of satisfaction, fulfillment and gratitude for the weekend. We're already figuring out plans for next year because so many people are asking. I'm REALLY looking forward to it!

And now that camp is over it's time for the after-party. John and I are here for 6 additional days of training camp. I'll blog more about that later but I will say this... I'm 3 days into it and I've never trained this much in my life. Yet, somehow, I feel stronger and more energized than ever. The crazy beautiful weather is definitely helping. I'm working my butt off because John says "Texas is gonna get you ready for Spain and Spain is gonna get you ready for Ironman". I already know he's right.

Monday, January 18, 2010

ZenTri Camp Day #3

Having experienced the pain of the Ride of Truth, I was surprisingly excited to get started. Before we left Rich gave a talk about the Physical and Mental Aspects of Going Long. It was perfect for some pre-ride motivation.

Our entire group of about 12 people managed to stay together for most of the ride. It was tons of fun. I felt great. I'm not sure if it was my new bike, the perfect weather or the awesome company but I didn't want that ride to end. We rode a total of 75 miles after I hadn't been on my bike for more than 90 minutes over the past 10 weeks.

There was an aid station at the halfway mark with lots of real food. We were able to shed layers, grab a bite and use a restroom. Dawn, aka @envirogisgirl, is totally new to triathlon and she jumped in to finish the ride with us. I'm so inspired by Dawn's excitement from getting into the sport and learning to eat healthier. She was AWESOME to have at the camp.

When we finished the ride John decided to brick it and run and I started a group cooking effort while others chilled and watched football. We made collards with black eyed peas and tempeh, quinoa salad, and butternut squash soup. It was quick and easy thanks to Emily's food prep work. She totally rocks.

While we cooked we also got a demo from Rich on making super smoothies with the vita-mix. Everyone loved them and luckily there was plenty to go around.

After dinner we all snuggled in the living room and watched Breaking Away. Awesome day.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

ZenTri Camp Day #2

(John, Roxy and Rich at zazen)

For day #2 of ZenTri Camp I got to do a lot of stuff behind the scenes. We started with zazen, led by Brett with some help by Rich. We learned how to sit and how to relax our mind. We learned techniques to avoid following our thought processes and we talked about the thoughts (and noises) that kept creeping into our heads.

At the end of zazen, Mama ZenTri (Emily) reminded me "if we don't leave now to get the food shopping and prep done we'll run out of time". We both had a hard time pulling ourselves away from the fun and learning but we made the "work" part seem fun anyway. Emily is such a huge part of this camp and its awesome having her hanging out with me and helping me. She is awesomer than you even know.

While we food shopped, the boys did bike fitting and form analysis. It looked like a lot of fun and I know everyone found it helpful.

Then lunch break until everyone met at TAMU for another awesome workout. I stayed with Emily and we prepped food and listened to gangsta rap and Jane's Addiction. The workouts sounded awesome with John leading a strength session with some people and Rich, Brett and the other swimmers helping people fix their form. Everyone came back looking buff.

They also came back hungry and ready for my cooking class. We ate almond ginger tofu, brown rice pilaf and sesame kale. I also made a surprise dessert, blueberry pear crisp. While we ate I gave some tips about making cooking easier without extra effort. When I was done Brett talked about applying minimalism to triathlon. After that, John spoke in detail about creating the perfect swim and bike workouts.

Another KICK ASS day.

Friday, January 15, 2010

ZenTri Camp Day #1

The following quotes are from our first day of camp. Feel free to make your guess as to who said what, in my comments section:

1. "I'm too fat to be manorexic"

2. "Which cigarettes are the healthiest option"

3. "That is NOT funny and it is NOT nice"

4. "I see you chocolate cake"

5. "There is a whole lot of ego in this room right now"

- Kai
- Triboomer
- Fred
- Brett
- John H

Day #1 of ZenTri Base and Nutrition Camp was KICK ASS. We started with a "meet and greet" and everyone got all comfy, real fast. From there we headed to the grocery store for a tour. It was cool having Rich Roll there to lead the tour with me. I guess the store clerk must have recognized me, because as soon as he realized what was going on, he offered us samples of anything we wanted. No joke.

After that Rich gave a talk about his experience with triathlon and the events that brought him to be an Ultraman superstar. Now I think he's even more awesome. In fact, it's an awesomeness that would make you think he must have tattoo sleeves, yet he doesn't. It's crazy.

Then I made a healthy brunch. Everyone LOVED the tofu scramble and they were amazed that it tasted so much like the alternative egg and veggie scramble. Along with that I made steel cut oats and a spiced fruit salad. Everyone's getting sweet loot bags complete with a folder full of recipes and nutritional info.

Next up, John gave an Intro to Base Training talk. Everyone participated and asked questions and there was a ton of helpful information. It was wicked cool to have the perspectives of John, Brett and Rich on training advice.

At TAMU we got to run and we got video analysis by Brett. I ran with Emily and we talked about girl stuff (not really). After that we jumped in the pool. I haven't been in the pool in about 8 weeks so I pretty much forgot how to swim. By 200 yards I was whining under the water. By 500 yards I decided to cancel IMLP. By 1000 yards I remembered how to swim. By 2000 I felt pretty good about getting over that hurdle. Go me.

Then group mexican dinner. I had a beer. Yes I did.

After dinner Brett had a super informative zen talk for us. I sat there listening, applying the ideas not only to triathlon and training but also to other areas of my life. My favorite was "suffering is when you wish for something other than what is". You'll hear all about it, because lucky you, he recorded it for a podcast.

I'm so pumped about this camp. We have tons of ideas flowing for making it even better next year. This camp is so awesome that you would think it had tattoo sleeves, yet it really doesn't. Like honestly. Not a single sleeve.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

ZenTri Base and Nutrition Camp Eve

(Brett and Triboomer and the Vita-Mix)

Sorry I can't blog right now. There are WAY TOO MANY awesome people in this kitchen. I'm in College Station, TX getting ready for Day #1 of the ZenTri Base and Nutrition Camp. I'm sitting here with Texafornia, Triboomer, John Hirsch, and Fred. We're all about to sign off and get some rest for tomorrow. We're starting with a health food store tour and a healthy brunch on our first day. For more details, check out the camp schedule. I'll be blogging the camp gossip column every day so be sure to keep checking in. Meanwhile, this is what's happening right this very second:

We just found a spider in the house.

John is putting some bikes back together (Brett snuck some video footage here).

Emily is putting Kai to bed.

Triboomer is leaving for his hotel.

Brett is winning the Blog Martial Arts competition against John because John's blog is down.

I'm blogging and printing handouts for the campers (getting ready for all the excitement).