Tuesday, November 27, 2012

conscious leadership workshop and the search for authenticity

it's been over a year since i have looked at this blog or even thought about writing anything in it. though in the last few weeks i have been examining a few things which culminated with--or perhaps just marked the starting line of further exploration with this post. (it has little to do with racing and training fyi since that is what this blog has mostly been about...just fair warning)

the examination started with a sense of being less than satisfied with the expression of my authentic self. there have been a few points, touch points if you will, that i come back to as being expressions of my true and authentic self in all aspects. i am blessed and challenged that one of these moments that had a huge impact came when i was in my teens. i went on these summer hiking trips that really shaped showed me who i really was/am apart from my family unit. the blue ridge mountains hold a place in my heart (and are tattooed on my lower back) that will be forever held.  these trips seemed to bring out qualities i never believed i had and never tried to cultivate. they were just somehow known to me. expressed without trying or being conscious of trying. concretely leading without saying to myself "self we need to lead this situation," it was organic and genuine. there are other qualities but that is not the point.

my recent contemplations have had to do with two okay really three questions. one: why am i not expressing my authentic self in some life aspects...two: what is holding me back from kicking the "why" to the curb and just being truly authentic and three: how can i get back to that expression of authentic self i felt in the woods.

i must admit that this musing is not a fully formed idea however it's more of a visualization and externalization of ideas and insights in order to gain the ability to leap over the chasm as it were for a solution and innovative way to solve the problem. one idea per post it note...

there are several thought paths that i have been going down and these will be externalized in no specific order. since i have felt like i have been expressing less than my authentic self one path of thought has been okay so how have i been _thinking_ i am doing to express my authentic self. what comes to mind is sport. four marathons, three ironmans and countless other races and months of training interspersed in there are/were supposed to be and expression of who i am. yet i have lacked much satisfaction from the completion of these events save perhaps the first time in each event and  IMWI in september. i was really genuinely happy--felt true, pure joy and pleasure--when i completed the race in WI--my worst time of three IM races. now that i am reflecting upon this race i see that i "allowed" myself the space to say this can be the last one my last IM--you don't have to push yourself to race three more to "catch up with" others in the community who have done more. i let my self off the time goal hook and allowed myself to really just think about what i was doing. 140.6 miles under your own power is incredible and i don't care how many other longer races there are that is an f-ing long way to go. my finish line picture shows this emotion (to my surprise this is the first time i really felt it) so why do i race or rather why have i raced in the past. because reflecting on a lot of the racing (and training for that matter) that i have been doing has not been a fun or fulfilling experience. do i continue do i do something new? trying trail running/racing....we will see... 

so great--now what. what other ways have i been expressing my authentic self...learning and knowledge come to mind. i have moved away from a career as a chef and went back to school to learn and grow in nutrition. great done. what else...well reading lots of books about food and sport and the combination of food and sport...okay i see a theme i need to branch out from food and sport!  and i have been in some ways and i feel those can be further explored as growth opportunities. a lot of what i want to cultivate is more of a sense of how to navigate my new(ish) career and my personal values in a setting of business and as j calls them wicked (social) problems. he's been really integral in helping me understand and start to embrace this concept...more to learn 

what else. okay there is service. the nutrition hotline which is great but sporadic in my ability to feel that authenticity come through. and there is writing and blogging for other organizations. ahh we are on to something there.part of that missing piece of self comes from a disconnect with the writing that used to quite and still my mind as well has help me to reflect on themes and moments that i want to remember. okay i'm now in the present moment embracing the lack by writing...feeling a little more authentic now ;)

another expression is yoga. it's been gone for a couple years but it's beginning to return slowly but surely. however i started by approaching it as sport realizing (with the help of a friend) that i wanted a challenge but not unconditional following of someone else's path. my practice is slowly becoming more regular and more about my spiritual intelligence...however it's still a lot about sweating profusely for an hour. 

today i had an "ah ha" (ooo palindrome!!!!)  about all of this. and really i have to thank whole foods for creating something called the academy for conscious leadership and giving me the opportunity to participate because this is huge to me. perhaps i was just open to this at the "right" time. the questions was asked "what personal challenge do you need to realize your potential in life?"

hmmm....and of course i answer the question with a question...damn. here is my question

are all of these physical challenges i have taken on (and think i want to take on) helping me realize my _true_ potential? what else other than these physical challenges (which i really have been focusing most of my time on outside of work and husband) will really (really, really really) bring me to realize my potential?

the answer to this questions is still up in the air and up for discussion but this ethereal answer also (i think) will lead back to the expression of authentic self. so perhaps we (well I) need to examine the qualities of the earlier authentic self in the blue ridge mountains to understand more of what i am missing presently in expressing authentic self...

camping feels like it's in order at some point in this process and perhaps a spirit animal....

lots to do...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

San Antonio Marathon 11.13.11

The Tuesday prior to race day was my last quality workout before the big day...three miles at MGP...with about 1.5 warm up and cool down...a small group of us who were still left (as SA is the last of the fall marathons) gathered at our usual spot outside of Rogue to chat a bit before heading out to run...the talk was all about the weather...apparently it was going to be hot on race day...people we chatting about what they were going to do and what was going to be different...now if you are one who races you know that as soon as there is a weather report that touches on your race day you begin to obsess over it...you check it daily...sometimes multiple times a day...you check several different weather sites just to make sure that your trusty bookmarked site is giving you the best predictions...and then you talk about it with your training mates...

for some odd reason...i'm one of those athletes that only half listens to the talk that is going on...i do not check the weather..okay only once a few days out to make sure i have the right amount of clothing planned...but that is it...why you ask? well...there is nothing that i can do about the weather...i can't will it to be colder or warmer or less windy or less wet....i can only adapt to what it's going to throw my way...i know how to do that...

so it was going to be hot on race day...i trained this season through days that were 104 degrees...i ran long runs for 6 months starting at 5.30 in the morning just to finish before it hit the 100 degree mark...humidity was also high all summer...lots and lots of heat....lots and lots of salt pills...and lots and lots of fluid...i had that under control...

my training had been solid...consistent...strong...injury free...and i successfully ran 7 20+ mile runs 19 without pumping gel in me every five minutes... i ran several weeks at 60 miles...several more at 50...i felt really strong...and like i had achieved a new level of running...i was ready to kick butt in san antonio...

i was nervous leading up to the race...i had goals...time goals and other goals...that i had trained very hard for...and i was keeping my fingers crossed that it would fall together come the morning of the 13th...

j and i had driven down saturday morning after my 20 minute shake out run...had an easy, uneventful ride down went right to the expo...spent about 15 minutes there...got everything i needed...and checked in early to the hotel...after a carb heavy lunch...we walked down to the river walk...found some overly expensive mediocre coffee and settled in to some chairs...me to go over my race plan and maps again...j to write some more of book #4 that he had intently been working on the past few weeks...on the river walk it was warm but felt a bit of a chill in the breeze...i was hoping that a cool breeze would stick around...spent some more time reading and relaxing until dinner of takeout pasta from a spot that had a 2 hour wait for a table...takeout was just fine with me...overheard someone say the night before the marathon was their busiest of the year...i believe it...

in bed before 9 and actually got some sleep...not super great...but good enough to feel well rested...morning breakfast...1/2 cup big bowl cereal 1/2 cup oats, almond milk and strawberries...and coffee of course...checked the weather one last time 55 degrees...yeah! i even put on my sweatpants to walk to the start line...it still might be okay...out the door just before 6.30...we walked out the door and i was hit by a wall of humidity...ugh...i looked up and saw a haze hovering around the second story of all of the buildings...we walked though gear check...found my corral...i stood in line for the bathroom...and sat on a curb...by that point i was sweating...so i took my pants off...but kept my sweatshirt on...

hung out on the curb...hit the bathroom a couple more times....drank my vespa...off with the sweatshirt...one more bathroom break...and it was time to go...it took about 8 minutes to get to the start line...they were stopping groups of people letting the group ahead run for a few minutes...then letting the next ones go....there were supposed to be volunteers leading the corrals...but i never saw any...when it was my turn to go i was in the second row...kind of a cool feeling :) and off we went...

i took the first mile super slow...i knew a lot more people were running the half marathon...and coach and i had discussed that a lot of people would pass me at the beginning...i was okay with this...i was not going to go out too fast...was smiling and feeling good...hit mile 1 just over 9.00...a little slower than i had planned but not a big deal at all...i hadn't gone out too fast and that was one check off the list of goals for this race...good!...next few miles were uneventful...i was hitting my goal times and feeling really good...yeah it was humid...but over cast so that was a plus...the miles were ticking along 8.30s...getting a little under 8.30 it was going well...through the split with the half marathoners...at about 11...i was feeling good....

but then felt the chills...grr...not a good sign for this early in the race...i had taken 2 salt tabs at the start and had 2 an hour for the rest of the race...i was taking two cups at every station alternating water and cytomax...dumping some water on my head to keep the core temp down...by this point i was starting to have to battle the sun...the clouds were dissipating and the sun was coming out in full force...the humidity had dropped (i learned later it was at about 96% at the start of the race!)...by the half i was down by 4 minutes...by 17 i was down by 6...my time goal was out of reach...but there were still other goals to reach for..this was going to be a race of mental toughness

at this point a tightness in my hamstring was pretty persistent...my mantra for the next couple miles was loosen up loosen up...i heard quick-light-feet repeat a few times as well...trying to change up my stride...quicken the pace a bit to give some relief to the tired muscles...my splits were getting slower and slower...and the shade was getting smaller and smaller...and it was really hot...the race course was a mess...there were people walking and wobbling all over the place...volunteers couldn't keep their hands full of water cups...i grabbed some off of tables a few times...city buses were placed all over the course for people to jump in an cool off...it was tempting at a few points...people were spraying hoses at runners to try and cool us off...they were handing out salt...not electrolyte tablets...just plain salt...like those packets you get in your fries...that was weird...

i had never seen so many runners so beaten down...the majority of people were walking...i was "running" it was not pretty but i was running...by now we had gotten back to a segment of the course where it was out and back on the same road...i looked at those going out...and felt some sympathy...they had about an 8 mile loop out that way with no shade...i heard a guys say "we must be getting close to the turn around" oh...he had no idea...i was so surprised by how many runners were still going OUT...i was thankful to be headed back IN...

at some point the half and the full joined back on the same course separated by a fence...i think it was about 3 miles to go...i was suffering...i grunted out loud a few times...just that grrrrr keep running...finish this race kind of frustration...then i saw amy, jess and cheryl...amy jogged up along side of me...and i had to do everything in my power to not cry... "keep it together" ...thanks amy..she always knows what to say...i was just so frustrated...sad and angry...i knew i had let her down...and let myself down...but it was not for lack of trying...that is for sure...

got my head back together...and slogged out the final 2.2 miles...getting more and more excited as i got closer...just because i knew i could stop...and get something cold to drink...someone had ice at the final water stop...i could not have been happier with that...turned the final corner...and went UP what felt like a huge hill saw a few teammates (thanks guys!) cheering....and hit the finish line (arms up!) done...4.07.00

not the 3.40 i was going for...but also not my worst marathon...i don't think i could have finished with that time had a not had a great training season given the conditions....of course i'm pissed that the stars did not align for me last sunday...but here are somethings that i am proud of...
-consistancy in my training
-huge mileage milestones
-that one 24 miler matt and i ran together where we had a HUGE strong finish
-running a 4.07 on a really crappy day
-not going out too fast
-hitting my nutrition spot on

so now what...i have some time before i start training for IMWI 2012...i know i will again run a marathon with the goal of a 3.40...i'm pretty fit...and there is one here in Austin in a few months...hmmm....it's a thought...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dusting off this blog

I know it's been forever since i've done anything over here...so this post is as good as any...I've signed up for ironman #3...Ironman Wisconsin September 9th 2012....i love that the nickname is IMmoo...and one of my facebook friends just informed me that it's rated the second hardest IM....awesome :) BRING IT!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Reflection on 5 days of Food Stamps

I began this assignment with a plan of how I was going to be able to make it through the week while at my rotation and in my fourth week of marathon training. I knew that I needed to have a plan in order to make everything work together. Typically I write out a week’s worth of dinners and use that as the bases of my grocery list. I estimate possible leftovers then add additional items to the list to fill out both lunch and breakfast. I did the same for my week of food stamp meals however I was much more conscientious of what I was going to add for breakfast and lunch due to the cost associated with my typical choices.

One of the major changes to my normal routine was one shopping trip for the week at HEB. I normally shop at Whole Foods and get most staples, fruit and vegetables on one day I typically will go to the store at least one other time to pick up something else like fresh seafood or other item that does not keep well. This past week I only shopped Sunday for the remainder of the week.

Lunches normally consist of leftovers or big fresh salads (mostly bought from the Whole Foods salad bar when I am working at the office). I knew that this was not an option for this week as I would be at Cedar Springs. I decided to make a bulgur based salad with chickpeas and veggies dressed with a red wine dressing for my lunch for the week. I also added a few slices of bakes tofu to the dish to add some more protein. Both recipes I found on the Snap website.  I portioned out the tofu and salad for the week in five to go containers and was all set for lunches.

Breakfast was also changed during this week. I normally have a smoothie with oats and spinach added after I workout and a mid morning snack at about ten. This week I went for something I knew was affordable and hopefully sustain me through to lunch—oatmeal. I added peanut butter and banana to it in order to make the meal more balanced.

I found most of the recipes that I used for dinners this week on the snap website with some slight variations. The arroz con pollo turned out to be a big hit with the addition of some oregano and a jalapeno. Typically I don’t use recipes when cooking dinner. This week I felt that it would be best to follow some from the snap site due to cost savings.

While the plan got me through the menu planning, shopping and some preparation it was defiantly not a fool proof option. Most of the time I am fine having the same things a few times during the week, but not being able to have a choice for my meals this week made me reject both my breakfast and lunch by Wednesday. On my run Wednesday morning all I could think about was how much I didn’t want oatmeal and what did I have that would fit my budget so I could have something different. I ended up with a one egg breakfast taco that made me much happier. Lunch Wednesday turned out to be peanut butter and jelly since I couldn’t do another day of the bulgur salad. It seemed so strange to me that this rejection of my own food occurred. Most days out of the week I have the same smoothie over and over again while I have plenty of options around me. When I was restricted with my choice (ie only oats) I wanted nothing to do with it.

It was interesting to me to be working in an eating disorder facility during this experiment. I felt that I could begin to understand the prison that restriction is. It was also difficult to pass up a cupcake that was offered due to a birthday in the office. When my five days were over I was seriously craving many of the foods that I had to say no to during the week.

It was also rather difficult to maintain proper nutrition for my marathon training. I was not able to have my normal pre run snack, recovery drink, typical amount of food and my electrolyte replacement tablets. I run about six days most weeks and meet with my group one of those days for a quality workout. This Tuesday’s quality workout was really lacking in quality. I came to the run knowing that it was going to be tough. I didn’t have enough time to get in a snack between my lunch and my run. While normally I would have popped a  gel I did not have that option this week. Also, I had been drinking water all day as I do normally however my food stamps meal plan lacked the electrolyte replacement tablets that I put in every other liter of water. I was a little nervous of the consequences of that move. We had a six mile run Tuesday evening and it was the hardest six miles I have run in an extended period of time. By the end of the run I was experiencing symptoms of heat stroke and dehydration. I was glad that I was familiar with the signs and symptoms and knew what to do to get through my workout. I really hope I don’t have to try that again.

I don’t think that the diet that I followed was nutritionally adequate for the week. It was lacking in vitamins and minerals while I even made an effort to add vegetables and fruits where I could. I know that I am not the typical food stamp user and was thankful for my knowledge of cooking during this process. I know that my culinary background was helpful in stretching the budget and using the carbohydrate base of most of the week’s dishes like a blank canvas and squeezing in nutritionally dense foods where I could.

This project was just as difficult as I had imagined and even more difficult than I thought it would be in some respects. I knew that it would be difficult to work on a budget, but I was able to overcome that and get some variety in for the evening meal. Aspects that were more difficult than expected were the repetition of foods and the lack of adequate quality as well as quantity for my training. I am glad to have done the experiment and had fun coming up with creative dishes based on the snap recipes I found. I’m sure that the three others that I ran with on Tuesday are glad that I can get back to being the one who doesn’t mess up her nutrition and has solutions for their nutrition issues. Now I’m headed to Whole Foods to restock the pantry. 
Day 4
Breakfast: two egg breakfast taco with spinach= $0.74
Lunch: left overs + apple = $1.53
Dinner: Turkey Burger and baked sweet potato fries= $2.08

Day 5
Breakfast: oatmeal with pb chopped apple and cinnamon= $0.42
Lunch: left overs + apple= $1.82
Dinner: homemade mac-n-cheese (nondairy) with broccoli and not dogs=$2.36

Total for the week= $20.09 
total i had to spend =$21.90 
lets go celebrate with the $1.81 i have left :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 3

on my wednesday morning run...i thought about breakfast...and the thought of the same oatmeal again was not at all appealing...so i decided to switch it up...which is strange because normally i would choose oatmeal but knowing that i kind of "had" to choose it made me not want it at all...so i made an egg/spinach/salsa breakfast taco and crossed my fingers the cost was okay...it was almost $0.40 more than the oats but i was happy for a change...

same thing happened with lunch...so it was pb+j with veggies and an apple...which turned out to be not filling enough...i'm starting to get how it would have to work in order to stay satisfied...it's keeping it carb heavy...as i had been the first two days...

Breakfast: egg, spinach, salsa, tortilla=$0.94
Lunch: pb+j on wheat, 1/2 cucumber, 1 normal carrot, 1 small apple=$0.57
Dinner: arroz con pollo = $2.13
treat: 1 liter sparkling water $0.53
total so far =$10.96

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 2

I knew now that the hunger level was going to be okay...so i knew that i could get through the next days...but i was a little worried about how my workout was going to feel with no electrylyte supplementation during the day or pre run...i had made sure to save my apple from lunch for an afternoon snack to help the run...but unfortunatly i never got around to eating it...by the time i did i was on my way to run practice so that was not a good choice either...mild dehydration symptoms by the end of the 6 miles....made it through strides and strength...then home for something...and fast...turned out to be left overs from last nights pasta (it was just sauce left) so i made more noodles to go with...and added salt...

Breakfast: oats+PB+almond milk+banana (i ate as a morning snack) $0.59
Lunch: bulgur salad + Tofu - apple (i never got around to eating) $1.03
Dinner: left over sauce (i counted all ingredients in yesterdays total)+noodles+spinach= $1.25
Total = $2.87
running total =$2.87+$3.92=$6.79

Monday, June 6, 2011

The remainder of Day 1

so i was a little surprised that i left some oats in my bowl this morning before heading out the door...i thought about saving them and packing them in my lunch as a snack "just in case"...i've been worried that my meals would not be satisfying...i decided to not and see how things went...

i started a new rotation today at a facility that does partial hospitalization...i was not sure of the particulars...like was it okay to pack my lunch or did i need to model behavior for patients....i packed and decided to go for it...

turns out this was a good option...worked through lunch and was satisfied (i was surprised)...i even saved the apple i packed for a later afternoon snack

Lunch: bulgur salad + 2 slices baked tofu + 1 small apple = $1.53
Dinner: spaghetti w/sauce + salad = $1.80
Total for the day = $3.92
Recipes i am using are below...they are from the snap website....and i have altered some slightly...if anthing significant is done i have factored that in to the cost of the recipe...
Baked Tofu -i subbed 1/2 tsp sesame oil for the vegetable oil


2 Tablespoons soy sauce

1 minced clove garlic or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger (optional)
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 package (16 ounce) drained tofu, firm or extra firm, water packed

Italian Broccoli and Pasta

2 cups fettucini noodles, uncooked
3 Tablespoons chopped green onion (also called scallions)
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 can (14.5 ounce) stewed tomatoes
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese--                                                  
-I cut out the cheese here 

5 A Day Bulgur Wheat


1 medium chopped onion

1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup shredded carrots
1 small chopped green pepper - may use red or yellow pepper
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley or 2 Tablespoons dried
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 1/2 cups dry bulgur
2 cups chicken broth, low-sodium
8 ounces canned, drained chickpeas 
-i added some red wine vinegar and used veggie broth and subbed olive for canola