Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday Snap: Tunneling Into Memories

Memorial Day, a day to remember. Thankfully, none of our immediate family members have been killed in the service of our country, though many of them have served in the armed forces, representing all branches of the service but the Coast Guard. We have Army (my husband and father-in-law), National Guard (my dad), Navy (my grandpa and brother-in-law), Air Force (uncle) and Marines (another brother-in-law). So it was a weekend to hear stories and memories.

It was also a time for reminiscing of a different sort: my mom had planned a big reunion of our family's theatre. Ah, this goes in the Things You May Not Know About Me Category. I grew up in a theatre family. Not only did they own a theatre, but my grandma, grandpa, mom, dad, sister, and I all acted, sang, and danced in the theatre. This was over a span of about 25 years, so there have been many many people involved with the theatre in that time. My mom had  put in a ton of work: getting together posters, playbills, costumes, props, and photos and renting a community hall where we all gathered. It was nice to see some folks I haven't set eyes on in decades, and reminisce about all the fun we had. We also got to tour the new theatre building that is going to be replacing the one we built (which is slated to be torn down for a new thoroughfare).

We also got to spend a lot of time with my dad, hearing his stories of the time he spent in the FBI and some of  the interesting cases he worked on. The kids definitely got a lot of family history all in one fell swoop. My dad is also a big-time railroad buff, so the photo above is from a little side-trip we made up to an abandoned train town and tunnel.

Since I didn't have much time to work out, I forced myself to do a Tabata sprint run today. Ugh, that always hurts! But it's good for an intense workout in a minimum amount of time.

I hope you all got to have some wonderful memories today, whether of a loved one who has passed or from living relative and friends. Memorial Day has become synonymous with barbecues and parties, but it's nice to take the time to spend it remembering as well.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Flex This Muscle

What are these people lining up for at 9:59 this morning? An event so important that they would congregate in ever-increasing numbers in this lobby? It's something that makes where I live pretty interesting, as smallish cities go.

There are three things that really distinguish my little city from any other in the U.S. of A. Things that make us completely unique. Firstly, we are known as "Track Town USA", we host the Olympic trials, the stadium at world-famous Hayward Field fills up for track meets, and one can be passed by an Olympian or world-class runner at any given time while jogging on our wonderful running trails.

Secondly, we are the only mid-size town to consistently make it into Kryptonite Lock's Top 10 Worst Cities for Bicycle Theft list year after year. All the other cities on the list are big places like NYC and LA. I'd like to think that this is because we have a LOT of people who ride bikes here, and also because we're known to be a pretty tolerant city for homeless people (and come to think of it, I have seen a park hobo riding a carbon fiber framed triathlon bike, with the aerobars turned upwards as if they were tall handlebars). Probably the fact that we have a lot of meth labs here also factors in.

But finally, the answer to the question about all of the people lining up is that we have the highest per capita library use in the country. Yes, that mob are all queued up to enter the library at its 10:00 a.m. opening time this morning. We Eugeneans collectively check out over 10,000 items a day from our library (and with just over 130,000 people, that's a lot over the course of a year!)

So often on athletic blogs we talk about training and nutrition and building muscle and gaining endurance, we sort of leave the brain right out of the equation. But it's important to strike a balance. The other day, a serious triathlete friend of mine said she had been training so hard in the last twelve months that she hadn't read one book all year. One Book. All Year! Wow, that just boggled my mind. I mean, I totally understand. Because you have X amount of hours of free time when you're a mom and you're working and cooking dinners and doing laundry and trying to fit time in to train sometimes eats up everything you've got available.

BUT, I think we also have to make the grey matter upstairs a priority too. When we neglect part of ourself, whether it's our intellectual selves, our spiritual selves, or our physical selves, we become lopsided and out of sync. We need to occasionally just skip that run and sit down with a good book. Or turn off that alarm and lie in bed and pray or meditate or somehow center our spiritual selves. Uni-dimensionality is something that I think as athletes we have to become aware of and actively work to counter.

So if it's been too long since you played a board game, read a book, or did a crossword puzzle, maybe it's a good day to make time for it.

You know, looking at that photo, I noticed one more interesting thing about my city. Despite the figures that 68% of Americans are obese, with 35% being obese, my city is overwhelmingly not. Perhaps it's all that bike riding to the library?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

And There Was Much Rejoicing

The ancient peoples had ceremonies to mark the turning of the season:  celebrations of spring planting, the solstice, the harvest festivals.

For me, the season turns on one day: the day the outdoor pool opens. Despite yesterday's rainstorms, today was all sunshine as the long course (50 meter) lap lanes beckoned. I jumped on my bike and rolled out of the driveway at 6:50 a.m. and was sitting in the outdoor hot tub "warming up" by 7:15. By 7:30 I had 50 meters of glorious lap lane all to myself.

When the lifeguards came around to tell us the lap swimming was over at 8:30, I was reluctant to leave my lane, I was having so much fun.I was picturing them with one of those Vaudeville Stage Hooks, dragging me out of my lane.

So in case you want to share in the fun, here's my first long course workout of the season:

Warmup: 200 Each SKPDS (swim, kick, drill, pull, swim)

10 x 100:   Odds: 50 of Catchup Drill, 50 Swim focusing on glide and distance per stroke
                   Evens: Fast Distance Pace

6 x 250:  #1 Slow, #2 Medium,#3  Fast, #4 Slow, #5 Medium, #6 Fast  on the 4:20 interval

4 x 100 1st 50 stroke (other than crawl)

200 EZ

4100 long course meters

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

8 Weeks To Your First Triathlon: Weeks 3 and 4

Holy Lost Time Batman! Robin has been busy. Between last week's birthday shenanigans for my mom and this week's marathon dance recital rehearsals for my daughter, plus the fact that hubby is traveling three out of every four weeks these days (leaving me to fend for the two kids and seventeen animals all by my little ol' self)  I got sidetracked in a major way. Not only that, but when it came to 11:00 every night I actually for once in my life did the sensible thing: I went to sleep instead of staying up and working on my blog.

But what that means is I'm a bit behind in posting my training plan updates, for which I heartily apologize!!  So without further ado, here are weeks three and four in the eight week triathlon training plan.

As always, you can find the whole plan HERE in Google Doc format

The plan in an easy-to-print  2-page table format is here

Week 2 is here.

Week 1 and the plan overview/explanation are here.


DAY 1: BIKE 7 Miles

DAY 2: SWIM 6 x 100
10 minute warm up
100 Timed Swim (4 lengths of a 25 yard pool) at your medium (distance) pace
5 x 100, rest :60 seconds. Try to hold the same pace per 100 as your first one
10 minute cool down.

DAY 3: RUN 3 x 800 Meters + 1 x 400 Meters
Warm up  with 10 minutes of running or run/walk, do joint rotations
Run: 800 Meters or ½ mile, rest :60 seconds, Run 800 Meters or ½ mile, rest :60 seconds, Run 800 Meters or ½ mile, rest :60 seconds

Cool down with 10 minutes of running/walking

DAY 4: SWIM 2 x (200 + 50 Breaststroke) + 2 x 100
10 minute warm up
Today we’re going to add in some breaststroke to our workout. Breaststroke is a great stroke to use for sighting in an open water (lake) swim because you can easily keep your head above water.
200,  rest :60
50 breaststroke, rest :30
200,  rest :60
50 breaststroke, rest :30
2 x 100, rest :30
2 x 100, rest :45
10 minute cool down.

DAY 5: BIKE 8 Miles

DAY 6:  2 x 1200 Meters
Warm up  with 10 minutes of running or run/walk, do joint rotations
Run: 1200 Meters (3 laps of a track, or ¾ mile), rest :90 seconds

Run 1200 Meters, rest 90 seconds
Cool down with 10 minutes of running/walking



DAY 1: BIKE 9 Miles

DAY 2: 10 Minute Timed Swim
10 minute warm up
Use your watch or the pool clock to time yourself for a 10 minute swim. Count the number of laps you swim in 10 minutes. Write this down in your workout log.
10 minute cool down.

DAY 3: RUN One Mile Timed, plus 2 x 800

Warm  up  with 10 minutes of running or run/walk, do joint rotations
Run: One mile (1600 meters or 4 laps at a track), time your mile with a watch, rest 2 minutes

Then run 800 meters (1/2 mile), rest :60 seconds
Run 800 meters, rest :60 seconds
Cool down with 10 minutes of running/walking

DAY 4: SWIM 300 + 2 x 150 + 2 x 100

10 minute warm up
Swim 300 (12 lengths of a 25 yard pool), rest 2 minutes
2 x 150, rest :60
2 x 100, rest :45
10 minute cool down.


BRICK stands for “Bike, Run, ICK! Now you’ll find out why. Hint: Your legs feel funny when you run after biking.

Set up a “transition area” at your house, garage, a track, or even in the back of your car or van, where you have your running gear handy.

Warm up  with 10 minutes of running or run/walk, do joint rotations, then:

Bike 6 miles
Transition to your running gear and lock up or stow your bike
Run 1.5 miles
Cool down with 10 minutes of running/walking

DAY 6 & 7: REST

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How To Be 70 Years Young

What we gain from training and racing might seem temporary: a finish line photo, a smile, the great feeling of a hard workout, a medal, maybe a PR. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that we are actually remaking ourselves from the insides out. Maybe you can't tell the difference between two people standing side by side. Maybe it's not obvious in blue jeans and sneakers which one of them is the athlete and which is not. But if you looked inside of them, at how strong and sturdy their heart is, how robust their muscles, how supple their joints and ligaments, you would see that one of these bodies is going to last a whole lot longer and do a whole lot more than the other one. And if you could fast forward those bodies a few decades, the differences would be staggering, inside and out.

My mom turned 70 this week. Seventy! I can hardly believe it. A lot of seventy year olds might be content with a  visit from their daughter and grandkids. Maybe they'd hoist themselves off the couch for a peck on the cheek, accept a card or a present. What did my mom want for her birthday? To go kayaking. Yeah, isn't that the kind of 70th birthday you'd like to have some day?? So we loaded up the boats and headed off to the Long Tom River on her special day, and had a great time on this absolutely beautiful little piece of water. 

That night, my sis rolled into town on the Amtrak from Seattle, and she and my mom headed out to the coast to camp for a few days. I joined them on Friday night, and Saturday morning saw us all standing on the shore of one of my favorite little bodies of water, Cleawox Lake. My sister and I pulled on our wetsuits and swam (yes, insanity does run in the family!) and my mom kept us company in her kayak. We followed that with a hike around the lake. I love that my whole family is so active, so vital and alive. I love that I can share this with them, that my parents gave us this love of the outdoors and of challenging ourselves.  

More than anything, I love my mom. Happy Birthday Marsha! 70 Years Young.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Are You Missing An Opportunity To Train?

I am constantly amazed by how few triathletes commute by bike. It's one of the easiest ways to get in extra training time with far less time taken from your day than a normal workout. And if you think that because you've got traffic and stoplights to deal with that you're not getting a good cycling workout in, or that it doesn't "count" if it isn't on your supercool tri bike, think again! Over the past few years, almost 1/3 of my total mileage has come from commuting by bike, and my bike times are as competitive as they were when I was using my triathlon bike exclusively. As an example of how efficient this is, take my old commute of 11 miles each way:

In a car, the commute took me 18 minutes (no traffic) to 45 minutes (heavy traffic) one way. On the bike, it always took 45 minutes (bike lanes negated any influence from traffic jams). So on heavy traffic days, I could get an hour and a half workout with no extra time taken from my day whatsoever. On light traffic days, I got a 90 minute workout, while only using 54 minutes of time (when you subtract the time I would've spent commuting in the car). On average, I probably got a 90 minute workout for 45 minutes of time. That's a big time savings over a week or a month.

Since it's National Bike To Work Week here in the U.S., many cities have events designed to help new bike commuters make the leap. In my town, they're serving up free breakfast to bike commuters, along with putting on seminars, giving away bells and tune-ups, and having a bike-powered concert. It's a great time of year to try commuting, and with gas prices going up, more people are turning to bikes than ever before.

If you're new to bike commuting, Paul Dorn has a nice page with tips on all aspects of the two-wheeled commute, and his Twitter Feed is full of helpful tips and articles. What are you waiting for? Get on the bike and ditch the cager commute.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sunday Snap: Lost in the Woods

You know how in those old Grimm's fairy tales, the kids that get lost in the woods leave a trail of small stones or crumbs to follow? It doesn't work that way for me. If I lost my son in the woods, forget about the pebbles or the breadcrumbs, I would follow a trail of computer parts and accessories to track him down.

The good news is that the boy is an absolute genius with computer hardware. The bad news is that our upstairs hallway looks like the Island of Misfit Hard Drives. He gets these old computers and scavenges them for any usable pieces, then creates a Frankenstein hybrid computer with bits and pieces from all of them. He just built a computer for his sister last week, which of course totally made her day. Now she's got one in her room that she can use for homework or watch movies on. He even made sure it had all the software she needed installed. Of course, for a day or two he would roll his eyes when she would call out "Product Support, oh Product Support, I need help!" from the top of the stairs. But he would trudge on up and help her troubleshoot. What a guy.

And the really really good news is that he's going to be building me a computer starting this week, something to replace the ancient limping-along-on-its-last-legs Dell I'm using right now. I'm probably the last person on earth using Windows XP. No wait, I know my mom still uses it, so that makes two of us. But I've had this thing for almost 7 years, so it's definitely time to upgrade. And at least I won't lose anymore blog posts to the Blue Screen of Death when he's done.

Of course, he wanted to put my computer in this crazy Gamer computer case. Okay, I admit that the red LED lights are cool, and the fact that it has several fans to keep everything cool is probably a good feature. But c'mon folks, gamers are just a little nutty about stuff like this. A computer case called the "Scout" or the "Sniper"?? Get real! I mean, I don't even name my bikes silly stuff like that (okay, I did have one named "Hi Ho Silver", but my kids named that one when they were small). We settled on a less ostentatious case that still had the cooling fans, you'll be happy to know.

So now I have to get some sleep so I can get us all to karate in the morning, and I have to go peel my teenager away from his beloved hardware treasure trove. Happy weekend to all.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Why Chuck Norris Jokes Are Dangerous

They've been tweeted, Facebooked, and made into Demotivational Posters, and everyone with kids has heard a hundred or so of them. But why are Chuck Norris jokes not just dangerous, but a threat to our society in general?

Because they are the worst kind of lie, the kind we tell ourselves. We like to convince ourselves that hard work doesn't matter, that people like Chuck Norris become skilled, fast, powerful, strong, and fit because of their impossible super powers
Some people wear Superman pajamas. Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas.

We'd like to think that, like Rocky Balboa or the Karate Kid, Chuck Norris went to some mystic guru-like sensei, worked hard for about, oh, 8 weeks or so, and emerged as the Karate Champion of the World and a Universal Badass. But the truth is that Chuck Norris, like anyone who has achieved anything meaningful, worked very hard to get there. He studied, he trained, he fought, he even lost, he learned from his mistakes and went back to fight some more, and to train some more, and to train even more. And eventually, he became very very good.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of us believe that we should instantly be great at something when we first try it. Or if not instantly, we should, in a matter of weeks, begin mastering the skills. Instead, Malcolm Gladwell argues in his (excellent) book Outliers that true mastery takes about 10,000 hours. TEN. THOUSAND. HOURS. Cogitate on that one for awhile. He gives many examples of successful businessmen, athletes, and entrepreneurs that show how each one had a combination of opportunities that allowed them access to those 10,000 hours. Of course it also takes skill. But skill alone is not enough. Even highly skilled people have to work hard to get good.

What does this mean for those of us who are trying to transform ourselves? In a way, I think it can bring a sense of relief and peace. If we release ourselves from the expectation that we'll be awesome overnight, that we'll acquire the necessary skills in an immediate time frame, then we can gift ourselves with the opportunity to simply suck for awhile. We can then take our time, we can allow ourselves to learn and grow and get better in our own way. We can also allow ourselves to not only make mistakes, but to learn from them. Instead of letting a failure derail us from our goals, we can pick ourselves up and carry on. After all, even Chuck Norris failed his first black belt test. It didn't stop him though, did it?

When we turn away from the American "Magic Wand" approach to mastery and instead accept the notion that meaningful change is often slow and incremental, we also avoid what author David Wong calls "Effort Shock". In his excellent essay How the Karate Kid Ruined the Modern World, Wong argues that Effort Shock (similar to Sticker Shock where we realize that the price of something is far higher than anticipated) comes when

We have a vague idea in our head of the "price" of certain accomplishments, how difficult it should be to get a degree, or succeed at a job, or stay in shape, or raise a kid, or build a house. And that vague idea is almost always catastrophically wrong.

So the next time you're prone to be hard on yourself for failing to live up to your (probably unrealistic) expectations about how something should come more easily, remember that meaningful change comes one step at a time. And that if someone is standing in your way, it's quite likely that person is you. Or, as Chuck Norris himself (the Universal Badass himself) says:

You can usually see your way around the blocks that other people put in your path, but the blocks you create yourself, the ones that come from inside your own thinking, seem rooted in the ground and as wide as the horizon. As indeed they are, for you yourself are standing in the way. The way around the block is from the inside.
Learn to think kindly of yourself, to pay yourself the respect you'd pay someone else. Learn to greet yourself the way you'd greet a stranger - politely, open to the possibility that you might be about to make a friend for life, aware that the person standing in front of you could be anyone, could come from anywhere, could be about to accomplish anything. The stranger could be about to make any number of dreams come true. And having greeted the stranger, realize that all those things are equally true of yourself.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Week 2: Eight Weeks To Your First Triathlon

This weekend's Iron Girl race clinic went really well. I had a blast talking about everything first-timers need to know to do a Sprint Tri. And Julie brought her mannequin Francine, and we had fun demoing how to put on a wetsuit (that is, if you have no arms and your torso detaches at the waist). Fun video of that adventure on her blog!

My printer inconveniently ran out of ink, so I couldn't bring copies of my favorite Triathlon Checklist along, but here it is on the web for anyone who wants to use it for a race!

Here is the 2nd week's installment of the training plan Eight Weeks To Your First Triathlon.

Week 1 can be found here

The entire 8-week plan can be found here

The entire plan, 1-page Table Format is here


DAY 1: BIKE 6 Miles
This is the same as last week, but we’re going to start building on that later this week

DAY 2: SWIM 2 x 150 + 3 x 100
Same as last week’s 2nd workout, except we’re throwing in one more 100:
10 minute warm up
2 x 150,  rest :60
3 x 100, rest :45
10 minute cool down.

DAY 3: RUN 2 x 800 Meters + 1 x 400 Meters
Warm up  with 10 minutes of running or run/walk, do joint rotations
Run: 800 Meters or ½ mile, rest :60 seconds
Run 800 Meters or ½ mile, rest :60 seconds
Run 400 Meters or  ¼ mile, rest :60 seconds
Cool down with 10 minutes of running/walking

DAY 4: SWIM 2 x 200 + 2 x 100
10 minute warm up
2 x 200 (200 = 8 lengths of a 25 yard pool),  rest :60
2 x 100, rest :45
10 minute cool down.

DAY 5: BIKE 7 Miles
Hopefully any soreness in the core, legs, and "biker butt" is abating and we can start extending these rides.

DAY 6:  One mile Timed Run
Warm up  with 10 minutes of running or run/walk, do joint rotations
Run: One mile (4 laps of a track or use Time this mile with a watch, even if you have to walk part of it. It’s good to know how long it takes you to complete! You can be amazed later when it takes you so much less time.
Cool down with 10 minutes of running/walking

DAY 7: Rest

Rest days are very important, do not try to fit in "extra workouts". Do not neglect to rest!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Your Incredible Power To Change Yourself

Alice Bradley has a heartbreaking post on her blog Finslippy today. I suspect that many many people can identify with what she's going through. She feels uncoordinated, like athletic endeavors are not easy for her. She has flexibility issues, strength issues, and things like yoga, kung fu, bellydancing, and now Crossfit have defeated her best efforts over the years.

So she asks whether or not she should stick with Crossfit, try something else entirely, or just give up.

I started to type out an answer there, but it quickly got enormously long. And it seemed to me that the answer is really crucial to what this blog is all about: that the power of incremental change can occur for everyone. That doesn't just mean the athletically gifted, or those that things come easily for. That means everyone.

I want to share my perspective on this here, not just as a coach, but as a mother (after all, this blog is named IronMOM for a reason). With my son's permission, I am sharing his story of overcoming huge odds to persevere and transform himself  and his body via his sport.

Alice, I hope this answers your question. I hope it makes you realize that you have the power within you to make that same kind of transformation. And for all the Alices out there who are not as brave, who are still sitting on the couch and wondering if there's any hope for them, I hope this gives it to you:


Alice,  Oh, my heart hurts for you just reading all of this. But I do NOT think all hope is lost, and here is why:

1) I can assure you that the instructor is not laughing at you inside his head. I have coached a Crossfit-like class (as well as teach swimming, kickboxing, and karate conditioning) and I can tell you that there are many many uncoordinated people in this world. As an instructor I have an enormous amount of respect for any of them who show up in my class. You know why? They are the brave of the brave.
That's you.
Because most of the people who have these same issues are not showing up. They are at home on the couch where it is much safer and much easier. I am in awe of the folks who come to my classes and work hard to get where other people get so easily. I'm betting your instructor feels the same way about you. He should.

2) I have seen first-hand the amazing power of just sticking with one thing, and what it can do for your life. Not just from the people in my classes, but from my own son. He is 14 now, but he was born with Sensory Integration Dysfunction. This means that many things were very very difficult for him, from the first day of his life. The world was too loud, too harsh, too scratchy, too smelly.

And talk about uncoordinated? When he was four, he still could not cross the center line of his body with either hand. It was like his brain had a doorstop that it could not cross. He couldn't dress himself, or do any of the things a normal four year old could do. Lots of therapy later, he still had the motor skills of a child half his age.

He also had vision integration problems, his eyes didn't work together so he constantly ran into things and fell off of chairs just trying to sit down. His hand-eye coordination was non-existant, he couldn't read or write without a great struggle and effort. More therapy: Vision therapy this time.

On top of this, the sensory integration issues when he was a toddler had made him a toe-walker (even the carpet felt too weird to step on). His Achilles tendons shortened to the point that he could hardly put his feet flat on the floor. He had Barbie feet, like someone who had worn high-heeled shoes for decades.

At the age of nine, I took him to a karate dojo. I knew I had to find just the right one, because he was still a very sensitive kid. And you can imagine with all of those strikes against him physically, that if he was someplace where people would be harsh on him or make fun of him for what he couldn't do, his self-image would take a beating. I needed someplace where he would be pushed to excel, but where he would be supported in his journey. Luckily, I found such a dojo. He has now been studying there for five years.

Fast forward to today. He is a brown belt, in his last degree and preparing himself to take the black belt test. I watched him today perform a kata in front of the whole class, solo.

His stances were deep and steady, you could never imagine this kid's heels couldn't touch the floor at one point in his life. A deep karate stance takes a LOT of flexibility in the Achilles tendon.

His spinning side kicks were fast and accurate - could you imagine that his vision, balance, and coordination were once so poor that he couldn't figure out how to sit on a chair without falling off? That he ran into door frames just trying to walk through a door?

His punches are so strong and fast, you would never know that once his muscle tone was reported by a therapist to be "poor" and "floppy". Or that at age five, he couldn't stand on one leg, or hop with both feet together.

I am proud of my son, not because he's a gifted athlete, but because he's a determined one. He is living proof that no matter how weak, inflexible, and uncoordinated you are, if you just show up every day and TRY, it will get better.


You will get stronger. You will get more flexible. You will get more coordinated. It will happen. I know this. I wish I was there to give you a hug and tell you in person. But this will have to do.

Are We There Yet? Another Killer Distance Workout

In preparation for our long distance swims this summer, we've had some doozies of workouts lately. Here's the one I wrote up for Saturday. Previous to this, I don't think I've swum over 5,000 yards in, well, many many years, except for our annual New Year's "Year in Fifties" Swim. But this workout was 5700 yards, and let me tell you I ate about half a chicken, a bag of salad, and 3 bananas when I got home and I was still hungry as a horse.


2 x (100 each: Swim, Kick, Drill, Pull)
4 x 75: build each (each 25 faster within the 75)

2 X:
900, rotate lane leader every 75 (we had five people in our lane, so this gave each of us a small drafting break)
600, alternate by 50's swimming with fists closed, and swimming with hands open
400 Pull
200 Fast
50 EZ

200 Cool Down

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Meatza: Now Teenager Approved!

How do you get a teenager to give up on his beloved pizza? Well, that question would stump the great minds of our times. Mackenzie has been going gluten-free for nine days now. Not totally paleo, but at least a move away from eating non-stop grains. His previous diet, though it included lots of great protein, fruits, and veggies, also was full of cereal, bread, pasta, & pizza, and I don't have to tell you that at fourteen, 5'10", and with two hollow legs, this kid could demolish an entire pizza in about two seconds flat.

So what's a paleo mom to do? Make him a Meatza, of course. I used this terrific recipe from Justin Owings blog, and it came out terrific.

What was the teenage verdict?

"Wow, this is awesome!"
"Best meat dish yet!"
"I think I like this better than pizza!"

He puts all that food into his size 14 feet,
 I'm sure of it!
Say what? Sounds like one happy teenager to me. Best of all, only one piece filled him up (which was a quarter of the Meatza shown in the photo). Yeah, those hollow legs have a hard time finding satisfaction with loads of carbs, but a good dose of free-ranging grass-fed  protein and he was satisfied.

And of course, he ate another slice for breakfast.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Win an Iron Girl Race Entry!

How would competing in your first triathlon empower and transform your life? Tell us and win an entry to Iron Girl's Portland women's triathlon (sorry guys, even if you look totally cute in a running skort, this is a women's-only offer). Plus, you'll get six weeks of coaching from me, either in person (if you live in the Eugene area) or via email if you live elsewhere. You'll get to join Julie from as she embarks on her journey to her first triathlon.

I've always been a huge believer in the transformative power of triathlon in women's lives. Time and time again, I've stood at the finishing line and watched as women cross the line a different person than when they started the race. This is why Iron Girl's mission of empowering women to a healthy lifestyle through women's-only races is something that I feel very positive about partnering with. This contest will run here, and on Chubby Mommy Running Club's blog.


1. Write an entry describing yourself, your journey, and why competing in this triathlon would empower and transform your life.

2. Email your entry to:

everymom2ironmom   at   gmail   dot   com 

   (replace at with @ and dot with . )
   Entries are due by May 15

 3. A neutral source (most likely my husband) will print out all of the entries and remove any identifying information.  Julie from Chubby Mommy Running Club, Mandy from Just Breathe Movement Studio and I will read through them all and pick the lucky gal who will win the free race entry.

4. Even if you don't win, you can get $10 off your race entry by using this coupon code: IGBLOG . You can register for the race here.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Eight Weeks To Your First Triathlon: Training Plan

Are you ready to do your first triathlon, but unsure of how to train for it?  Think it will take you all year to get ready? Think again! In just eight weeks you could be toeing the line for your first race.

In conjunction with the Iron Girl triathlon series, and Julie of the Chubby Mommy Running Club, I am putting on a Triathlon Clinic this weekend to get women ready to do their first Sprint distance triathlon at the Iron Girl race in Portland. As part of that clinic, I've developed an eight week training plan to get you ready for your first race. Once a week, I'll be posting the week's plan here, along with tips and hints. There will be some give-aways as well, so stay tuned!

There are very few things you need in order to participate in this plan. They are:

1. A pair of running shoes
2. A bicycle & helmet
3. A swimsuit and access to a body of water
4. The ability to swim at least a few laps (if you're starting as a non-swimmer, you'll need to go get some good swim instruction before beginning this plan)
5. A notebook to record your workouts and times
6. Good health: as always, it's a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning any plan of exercise, especially if its new to you.

That's it! The workouts in this plan can be done in any order, though I think it's a good idea not to do the same exercise back to back, especially running. So try to alternate activities as much as possible.

The short, printable table format version of the workout is in a Google Doc here:
8 Weeks to Your First Triathlon: table format. (stick this one on your fridge)

The long version with more explanation is here:
8 Weeks to Your First Triathlon! (read for all the details!)

Here's the first two weeks:


DAY 1: BIKE: 6 miles

If you're like many people, you may need to dust off your wheels first! Air up your tires, check your brakes, and make sure your helmet is adjusted properly. If you need to know how far 6 miles is, use and map out a route for yourself. Ride 6 miles at a comfortable pace. If you're unused to riding this far, you may feel some "saddle discomfort", or as we triathletes like to call it "bike butt". This too shall pass.

DAY 2: SWIM: 5 x 100 yards

10 Minute warmup, then:

Today we're going to do a Timed 100 yards (or meters). In most lap pools, that's four lengths of the pool. In some larger 50 meter pools, it will be two lengths, and in some shorter health club pools, it will be five lengths. If you're unsure, ask your lifeguard how long your lap pool is.

Look at the clock (most lap pools will have a pacing clock) or your watch. Swim 100 yards (or meters) at your medium pace (something you think you could sustain for a longer distance). Look at the clock when you're done. This is your pace per 100 yards.

Now we're going to swim a set of four more 100 yards/meters. We write this in a swim workout like this:

4 x 100

After each 100, rest exactly 60 seconds. Keep track of your pace for each 100 and see if they get slower or faster. Write down your paces when you're done.

Cool down with 10 minutes of easy swimming. You're done!

DAY 3: RUN 2 x 800 Meters 

Run or run/walk 10 minutes at an easy pace. I like to stop here and do some joint rotations to warm up my knees, hips, and ankles.

Now we're going to run two half miles with a minute rest in between. You can do these at a track, if you have access to a local school track, or you can use to map out a little half mile course for yourself in your neighborhood.

Run half a mile (800 meters or twice around a track). Rest one minute. Run another half a mile (800 meters).

Cool down with a 10 minute run/walk, and that's it. If you want to keep track of your pace as you progress, write down how long each 800 meter (half mile) took you. If you need to walk, don't worry. Just keep moving and you'll be fine. Remember, there's no rule against walking in a triathlon, and many athletes do it.

DAY 4: BIKE 6 Miles
Same as Day 1 of biking.

DAY 5: SWIM 2 x 150 + 2 x 100

10 minute warm up

Swim 150 yards/meters (6 lengths of most pools) at your medium pace. Rest :60 seconds. Swim another 150
Rest 2 minutes.

We write this as: 2 x 150, r: 60

Then swim 100 yards/meters (4 lengths), rest :45 seconds, swim 100 meters, rest :45 seconds, swim 100 meters.

We write this as 3 x 100, r: 45

10 minute cool down.

DAY 6: RUN 1 Mile

Warm up  with 10 minutes of running or run/walk, do joint rotations

Run: 1 mile, or 4 laps at a track

Cool down with 10 minutes of running/walking


Do not underestimate the importance of REST! Taking a day off every week is crucial to your training as the swimming, biking, and running.

That's it. You are now one week closer to your goal!