fitness

Whole30 results: 24 of 25 desired “non-scale victories” (pain relief!)

Could you feel better?
If you’re not feeling like your best, healthiest, most energetic self – or, if you are having a lot of joint pain, as I was – you might want to try Whole30. Having recently discovered that I have some new digestive/gut issues and food sensitivities – which my new, naturopathic physician explains is not at all unusual in women of peri-menopausal age (who knew?!) – I embarked on the Whole30 program to see if it could help reset my health. There were 25 things I hoped to see happen out of it…and I realized 24 of them. Plus some other wonderful, unexpected victories.

Food can be sneaky.
Whole30 wisely asserts that the food you eat either makes you MORE healthy…or LESS healthy. There is no food neutral. Food is sneaky, affecting you in subtle ways you would never connect to your diet. TRUE TRUE T-R-U-E. All too often, we forget to even really think about what we’re putting in our bodies and the effects it may be having, silently, without us noticing yet. It’s quite easy, over time, to lose touch with what we are supposed to feel like. To live in a state of denial. Maybe we can get away with this for a while, but eventually it catches up with us and bites us in the ass.

What are you putting in your body? Is it really as good for you as you think? 
For quite a few years, I’ve been a very “healthy” eater by most standards, eating my fruits and veggies, along with plenty of whole grains, some beans, dairy “for calcium,” a little meat, and, like most Americans, way. too. much. SUGAR. 

  • I’m not generally a huge meat fan; in fact, I was a vegan for several years before my son was born a decade ago. Not so much for ethical reasons – though I certainly respect that choice  - but just because I don’t really like it.  Now, however, after this Whole30 experiment, I do find that eating the right, healthy meats and fish (wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef, etc.) does improve my health. 
  • Unfortunately, while we’re taught that grains and legumes and dairy are good for us, they can, for some of us, at some point, become major contributors to systemic inflammation, joint pain (HUGE for me for the past year), and a whole host of health issues. I’m not saying that’s the case for everyone. I’m not going to get into or debate the science behind it. I’m no expert, by any stretch. All I can tell you is that in my personal experience it’s very true. Read It Starts With Food. It is so good that I read it on vacation and loved every minute of it. 

What you eat: A variety of healthy, whole foods, in ample quantities, three times a day, with 4-5 hours between meals.
Whole30 is similar to a strict Paleo – but please don’t let that scare you off. I’ve learned that there are a LOT of misconceptions about Paleo as “the caveman diet” being piles and piles of meat and bacon. You do eat animal protein at every meal, but contrary to popular belief your plate typically has more vegetables on it than anything else!

It’s not so bad, really…grass-fed burger with mocha spice rub, Paleo bacon, spinach and asparagus. Needs avocado…

There are many “rules” of Whole30, and the gist of it is you eat ONLY a lot of healthy whole foods – eggs, meats, vegetables and little fruit, and plenty of healthy fats like avocado, olive and coconut (as oils and in their solid forms). Sounds TERRIBLE, huh? Eating MORE healthy fat was one of the most revolutionary changes to me. They say “do not fear the fat” and it’s true. Many of us are still fat-phobic from the 80s/90s low-fat/fat-free BS, and I really believe eating more of these healthy fats is one big reason my joints are super happy, among other things. You avoid all processed sugar, dairy, grains of any kind (including corn), and soy. You read EVERY label, because there are sneaky ingredients and sugars and chemical crap even in places you would not expect them, like bacon. (I had NO idea that most bacon, even the good nitrate-free kind, has added sugar.)

There are myriad “science-y” reasons why this is better (disclaimer redux: I am not an expert. Read the book). Perhaps the simplest, most memorable one is simple opportunity cost. If we’re filling our plates with grains and beans and other things in which the nutrients really aren’t that plentiful or bioavailable, we’re missing out on having room in our bellies for the foods richest in both macronutrients and micronutrients.  Makes total sense, right? Yet it’s not how we usually eat. We fill ourselves up on fluff that puts us in a state of chronic inflammation. 

My results…24 out of 25 NSVs!!! Plus some more that I hadn’t even thought about.
While this Whole30 started as a bit of a roller coaster…my body is now REJOICING, in so many ways. Whole30 is about the “non-scale victory” or “NSV”. When I started, I identified 25 of them from their long list of possibilities that I was hoping to see as a result of this program. And…no joke…24 OF THEM HAVE HAPPENED.

They are: flatter stomach – less joint swelling – less stiff joints – less painful joints (SO MUCH LESS PAINFUL) – less stomach pain – fewer seasonal allergies – reduction in food allergies – less chronic pain (DID I MENTION…SO MUCH LESS PAIN) – less back pain, too – improved body image – less reliance on the scale (more about this later) – higher productivity – higher energy levels – more energy at work – recover from exercise more effectively (HUGE. I’ve had a TON of trouble recovering for the past year and felt like I could NOT build muscle. No longer a problem.) – healthier relationship with food – practicing mindful eating – listening to my body – don’t use food as stress management – no more food guilt or shame – when I do indulge, I savor it – meal prep is organized and efficient (still room for improvement here). Granted, some of those are quite similar to each other, but STILL. It’s pretty remarkable. I feel RADICALLY better than I did just 30 days ago.

First bike ride in two months or so…crazy hilly and windy 24 miles…ZERO hip/SI joint pain and INCREDIBLE recovery. WOO-HOO!!!

Additional NSVs I had not even THOUGHT about beforehand: Softer, healthier skin and hair – check. Sleeping better – check. Drinking less coffee – spending way less on coffee drinks – check. Feeling more energetically stable – check. Fitting back into my favorite shorts before the end of summer – check! More knowledge to teach my son about healthy eating and more conviction to do it – check and check. And that *might* just be the best one of all.

The ONE on my starting list that I didn’t see happen? Elimination of under-eye circles. They are lighter, but still there. I’m not sure Whole30 can be held entirely responsible for that at my age of almost-47… ;)

At last, it’s not about the scale.
Whole30 is not ABOUT weight loss, but it is usually a fringe benefit. In my case, I lost a few pounds and my clothes fit much better. More importantly, I feel like I can quickly and effectively build MUSCLE again in a way that I haven’t been able to in over a year. This Winter I felt like I was trying and trying to strengthen, to no avail. Turns out, my body probably wasn’t effectively absorbing the nutrients it was getting, nor was it getting enough of them.

What’s next?
After Whole30 or whenever you’re ready you reintroduce the foods that you miss, one group at a time, and see clearly how they make you feel. But as much as I miss ice cream, I feel that I’ve got more to learn. I just learned some things from my new naturopath this week and on the Whole30 forums that I think will further affect my progress. So, I’m going to stay the course a bit longer.

For example, I’ve started eating fruit at the start of a meal instead of at the end, when I eat it (2-3 servings a day TOPS), because it’s better for digestion, according to the naturopath. And I just started making sure that I eat a meal within an hour of waking up in the morning. Apparently that’s pretty key for fixing screwed up digestive hormones. It’s also quite tricky some days, and different when you train in the morning. There’s a whole extra set of recommendations for training and the Whole30. In short, you eat a little fat and protein before your workout, a mini “bonus” meal immediately afterwards and/or your regular meal shortly thereafter depending on timing.

I have to say, I’ve learned a lot these past couple of weeks on the Whole30 forum. The moderators are incredibly responsive and helpful and it’s an all-around great experience.  I’m looking forward to digging more into the forum on Whole30 for athletes.

Bottom line, I am SO GRATEFUL to Melissa and Dallas Hartwig who started this program, and highly recommend it. Do you feel like Whole30 might be helpful for you? Can I try to answer any questions? 

 

Weight gain is *not* actually the end of the world? Weird.

Me and my bestie Erica after rocking our St. Patrick’s Day races.
She ran the Lucky Leprechaun with ease and I finished 2nd AG at the Luck O’ The Irish.

Well, Spring is here, in spirit if not in temperature. We’ve survived quite an *interesting* winter…and interesting is a euphemism for a bunch of words that I would only use if I swore like a sailor (which, let’s face it, I do, but not here). It’s been interesting from a fitness training standpoint, too. I’ve learned a LOT working with my new triathlon coach, Jenny. It hasn’t always been pretty; in fact, it mostly hasn’t been pretty (she’s a strong, tolerant woman). But now that I’ve gone through it and had my little “a-ha moment” it seems worth passing on.

If you know me, you know that I think about my weight occasionally (*cough. cough*). I struggled with being overweight for most of my life. Over the course of the past almost-two-years during which I’ve lost 35-ish pounds and gotten in rather good shape, I’ve generally counted every. little. calorie. And…it worked for me. Until it didn’t.

When I started working with Jenny in December, she pointed out that I was always putting in my daily workout logs how tired I was, how I didn’t feel energetic during my workouts. It’s so obvious in hindsight, but it hadn’t occurred to me that perhaps I wasn’t fueling adequately. She questioned whether I was eating enough (how could this be possible?! I am not the kind of girl to undereat) and strongly recommended that I stop obsessing about calories and just…eat.

*incredulous pause*

Talk about having your safety net pulled away…that loss of tight control was a scary, scary place to go. But I went. My workouts IMMEDIATELY felt better. Go figure.

Very gradually, I started gaining weight, and FREAKING. THE HELL. OUT.

I can laugh about it now. At the time I was not amused…I was a mess. Even though I’ve read repeatedly in my Racing Weight “bible” that it is perfectly normal, even HEALTHY, for athletes to gain up to 8% over their “ideal” racing weight during the off season…”healthy weight gain” was such a foreign concept to me personally that I just could NOT get my head around it. But I was determined to give this crazy concept a chance.

I did solid, consistent base training all winter – mostly biking and running (and rehabbing a pulled tricep, so no swimming). I added new leg/core strength workouts and weekly Pilates. I feel more “solid” in my “powerhouse” (a Pilates term for basically everything between your mid-thighs and your midsection) by far than I ever have before.

I ate before workouts and drank protein shakes after workouts. I ate good food, and, yes, a *few* too many baked goods (a weakness of mine…I do love me a good ginger cookie.) I was very far from perfect. As of March, I’ve gained – *GASP* – FIVE WHOLE POUNDS. Maybe even seven, if I go by the low end of my “normal” range.

Shameful, right? Mortifying. Hideous. I’m Jabba the Hutt over here.

Except yesterday, I ran my first race of the year, a hilly 5K. I had NO idea what to expect. It seemed possible that, since I’ve been doing base training, not speedwork, and since I’ve gained FIVE WHOLE POUNDS that my performance would be…abysmal. Yet, somehow, it seemed equally possible that, since I’ve been training very consistently, and have thighs like freaking tree trunks and a firmer core, that my performance would be fine. Maybe even better than fine.

Well guess what? I ran my my ass off and finished SECOND in my age group (out of 33) whereas in my 5Ks before this uncomfortable experiment I was sixth and seventh.

So, I gained five pounds. AND IT IS FINE. *mind completely blown* I’d still like to see them go, and they will over the course of Spring training. But right now, today, I am completely 100% OK with them. They DON’T MATTER. Not a whit.

Thank you, Jenny. You were right. All that time I spent being pissed because you told me to stop counting calories was wasted. :)

I frequently see people recommend ‘throwing away the scale.’ I don’t necessarily agree with that, at least not for everyone; research does support that ongoing tracking creates accountability that helps those who lose weight to regain less than those who don’t weigh themselves regularly. Not all of us are skilled at holding ourselves accountable without the numbers. Instead, I think it should be about learning to create a healthier relationship with the scale. And sometimes it takes trying something wild and crazy like this to learn.

What do you think?

Stronger body, Stronger life

How Taking Great Care of Your Body Can Strengthen Your Mind, Your Spirit and Your Purpose

Recently, I had the honor and pleasure of speaking on this topic at a women’s retreat. I really enjoyed having the chance to meet these wonderful women and share my story. My hope was (is) that it might inspire even one woman to make positive changes. So here ’tis…

 

This is my mother, Eunice. When she died in 1995, she was morbidly obese, chain smoked, had drinking and gambling problems (at least I considered them problems…she considered them hobbies), and hadn’t been to a doctor until her cancer was too advanced for her to stand a chance. She was also a terrific mother, with a huge heart, who went to church religiously, delivered meals to the elderly and was greatly loved by many for her outgoing spirit and absurd sense of humor. Who knows, perhaps if she had taken better care of her body, my son Griffin would have had the chance to know her spirit. Or perhaps not. Regardless, I’m certain that witnessing her terrible physical decline has been a powerful influence on where I am today, at 45, in by far the best physical shape of my life, talking to you about the power of a strong body in building a strong life.

GROWING UP WITH THE MAGIC PANTRY OF CRAP

If genetics and environment are responsible for one’s bodily strength as an adult, I was in serious trouble on both counts. My brothers and I grew up with a kitchen pantry that magically replenished itself with Captain Crunch, Lucky Charms, Cheetos, Doritos and all the other -itos. Fried ring bologna and liver sausage were permanently on the menu, along with a German delicacy of bacon wrapped in beef slathered in gravy. I had learned to swallow carrots whole, but didn’t know green vegetables existed until I was 20. It’s not shocking, then, that by third grade or so, I was wearing a combination of clothes from the “chubby” section at JC Penney, and clothing made *specially* for me.

HELLOOOOOOOOO “200″

As an adult, although I learned better nutrition in college (thank you, God) and always liked exercise, I hit the big “200″ on the scale in the year 2000, shortly after I moved to Milwaukee with a Moroccan who liked to feed me and throw things. Fortunately that chapter was short. And all photographic evidence has been systematically destroyed.

I hired a nutritionist and a personal trainer. I love the nutritionist to this day for helping me fit in my dress…that I wore when I married the personal trainer.

I found the lost weight again when I was pregnant with our son, two weeks later. I went from a full on vegan diet to summer sausage and pickle sandwiches, and gained 60 pounds. I don’t know what the statute of limitations is on calling weight “baby weight,” but I’m fairly certain it’s less than 8 years. Yet as recently as 18 months ago, I remained 40 pounds overweight, mostly sedentary, and not a happy camper. (Oddly enough, there are also few remaining photos from this time period…)

Seeking a healthful weight and a strong body has been a life-long roller coaster ride. And then..a light bulb went on.

HOLY CRAP. MY BODY IS A GIFT WITH WHICH I CAN DO AMAZING THINGS.

Everyone’s bodily gifts are different. And everyone’s journey to find the light will be different. In my case, I was asked to run a half marathon on a charity team in honor of a beautiful baby boy named Paxton Andrews, who was battling cancer. I wasn’t a runner, and hadn’t attempted it in over a decade. But, the right inspiration can overcome almost anything, and four months later, I crossed my first half marathon finish line.

My run raised over $2,000 for MACC Fund, to fight childhood cancer. Sadly, however, Paxton ended his battle with cancer that July, at just four months old. And pediatric cancer research remains woefully underfunded. NOT. ACCEPTABLE. I encourage you to learn more about the Paxton Andrews Foundation and support their amazing work.

Last year, I joined the Racers Against Childhood Cancer running and triathlon team, to continue doing what I can to help raise funds. (My page is here and your support in any amount is appreciated from the bottom of my heart.) In the past six months, I’ve done my second half marathon, ridden a century (100 miles) on my bike, and learned to swim. I’m in training for the Door County Half Iron Distance triathlon this July…a 1.2 mile swim followed by a 56-mile bike ride followed by a half marathon…and for a fall marathon. With every intention of doing a full IronMan triathlon one day. Maybe soon…maybe when I am 70.

I AM BLESSED. SO, SO BLESSED.

The ability to do all of this is a HUGE GIFT. For many people, including some of my friends, it is sadly not a possibility. Which makes it that much MORE of a gift. I am trying to keep that top of mind. And I am trying to make the most of it while it lasts.

DO WHAT MOVES YOU.

If running is your thing, when you start, your body might only want to run a block or two. If you persist, it can run like you never thought possible. It can run three, five, ten, 13.1, twenty or more miles. And, in doing so, completely change your view of WHAT IS POSSIBLE. Which is the real magic. If running is not your thing, try biking or swimming or roller derby or anything that intrigues YOU. Just try something, and then try something else, until you find some things you love.

DO SOME GOOD STRENGTH TRAINING.

My happy place…the weight room

I cannot recommend it highly enough. For anyone of any age. But particularly as we age, it is VITAL to help us maintain muscle mass and metabolism and bone density. You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym and pump iron, if you aren’t comfortable doing that, though I recommend it. Use your body and do pushups and squats and other body weight exercises, at a minimum.

EAT REAL FOOD!!!

You can exercise all day long, and if you’re pumping junk into your body, you’re still going to feel like junk. Eat real, unprocessed food. And do what you need to do to hold yourself accountable for the quality and the amount of what you’re eating. There’s an app for that…it’s called MyFitnessPal. Answer to question asked in retreat: NO, LEAN CUISINE IS NOT REAL FOOD.

IT WILL CHANGE EVERYTHING.

I promise you, as your body gets stronger, your life will be stronger in sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo many ways.

Foremost among them: even when you think you CAN’T do something…there’s NO WAY…you will come to learn that you CAN. I can remember thinking “there is no way I will ever be able to run 5 miles.” Then, eventually, I ran 20. This new knowledge that you CAN will replace the conversation in your head about why you can’t, and create all sorts of new possibility.

As my friend Lynn, who just added a strength training program to her world, said, “Staying fit and strong means there are less “no”s in your life.” I LOVE that thought.

As Heidi, who just lost 100 pounds, said, “I just can feel my strength…when I work out, I feel strong. It’s a feeling of confidence that I can accomplish big things because I have gotten myself to be really healthy.”

Then there’s Deb, who ran her first marathon in 2012: “The biggest benefit was increased confidence and the knowledge that I’m strong enough to take on just about anything. At one point I could not run a mile, but then I ran 26.2. Slowly yes, but it took a lot of physical and more mental strength to do it. You gain confidence that the next step will be a steady one. You gain confidence that the next step will bring amazing people into your life. You gain confidence that what you’re doing isn’t selfish or self-serving but that you’re actually influencing others.”

And Tracey: “I feel like it has given me confidence more than anything. I went from being a shy, introverted stay-at-home mom to not only running ultramarathons, but organizing races, teaching bootcamps, coaching, and actually getting excited about meeting new people. I think it translates to so many more things in life outside of just being physically strong.”

So, yes, a stronger body CAN bring NEW CONFIDENCE and POWER and PURPOSE and MEANING to your entire life.

If you’re a parent, it can help make you the kind of positive, energetic parent that you want to be. And you will pass the knowledge that you CAN do big things on to your children. If you’re a professional, it can help make you the kind of positive, energetic, confident professional that you want to be. Whatever you are, whatever you do, I promise you that discovering the power and strength of your body will make you a better one.

I don’t know about you, but I want to see just how strong and beautiful my body can get before I die. And what more I can do with it.So, regardless of what your bodily gift is and what your journey of choice is – I encourage you to not waste it.

Remember: YOUR BODY IS A GIFT WITH WHICH YOU CAN DO AMAZING THINGS. 

Trying something new: #YMCAMKE

Pumped to be adding a new workout home to my roster…YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. Disclosure…I’ve been given a free family membership to the YMCA to try it out for six months and share my experiences there. Even though I’ve never been a member before, I’ve always heard great things about the Y, so I’m super happy to both try it out and to help.

I’ve always wanted to try the Y. I’ve belonged to the WAC (Wisconsin Athletic Club) since I moved here ten-ish years ago. I met my husband there, and he still works as a trainer there. I also belong to cheapo-gym-that-says-it’s-not-a-gym, Planet Fitness, because it’s right across the street from my office…well, now the Downtown YMCA is, too, and it’s a LOT nicer than PF. So, YAY. With three places to choose from, and a home workout room that is shaping up to be pretty sweet, too (thanks for the treadmill, Santa!) I really can’t make any excuses, like, EVER. EV-ER.

I’ll be going mostly to the Downtown YMCA, where I’m excited to use the track (six laps to a mile) and hopefully get in some TRX and kettlebell classes. Strength training FTW! I’ll also be taking G to the West Suburban YMCA to swim and for swim lessons…they are a pretty great deal. He wants to try martial arts classes, too, and they have a ton of other great programs. He is going crazy to go in and get his very own membership card.

Lately I’ve been noticing that a LOT of my friends go to the YMCA of Milwaukee…more than I realized. Erica and Kirsten, go there. Eileen in my bike group the Bella Donnas teaches a great Y-Cycle class, I’m told. Deb swims there. Tracey and Sun are trying it out too. So, here’s to trying new things!

Like (*gulp*) triathlons…Olympic and Half Iron distance. More about that later.

Trying anything new this year? Have you tried the YMCA?

Set BIG fitness goals. Goals that make you want to puke.

IT’S A NEW DAY. A FRESH START.

A wise friend (Sheila, I think?) posted that goals that aren’t written down are just wishes. And I agree, writing them down starts the process of making them real. So it shall be done, this New Year’s morning before dawn. I LOVE A NEW YEAR. Don’t you love a new year, a fresh start?!

2013 was a GOOD year, injuries and all. I lost over 20 pounds (34 total now since 2012), set new 5K and half marathon PRs, finished my first century, and, quite unexpectedly, learned to *really* swim. Equally important, I met some new running and tri friends, joined Badgerland Striders and a tri group. So, now 2014 is here and PRAISE GOD the Christmas cookies are GONE. There’s a little extra squish around my middle to prove it. Squish aside, I consider myself a fairly fit person. And 2014 is going to be the year I get *REALLY* FIT…specifically:

“Racing Weight” lean… 16-18% body fat fit, to be precise. Which is likely a weight loss of another 9-ish pounds. (It’s true what they say, these last pounds really are the hardest, but I know as training really gets cranked up here it’ll happen.)

This morning already – against my better judgement – I registered for my first two triathlons. Olympic distance in June and HALF FREAKING IRON distance in July. GULP. I really do kind of want to puke right now, but honestly, if at least one of your goals doesn’t make you nervous as hell, you’re not aiming high enough IMHO. I also plan to do a fall marathon, which no longer seems scary *at all* compared to a triathlon swim.

To make these goals real, there are a whole host of sub-goals on which I’ll need to focus…

Keeping my son G involved and engaged and spending as much time with him as I possibly can! Being nice to my husband, who is a huuuuuge part of my support system. Being nice to MYSELF…loving my body for what it can do in spite of the (temporary!) extra squish around my middle. Eating extreeeeeeeemely well for fueling and recovery. GETTING. MORE. SLEEP. HAVING MORE FUN along the way. Managing money very carefully to support/save for the god-awful-expensive triathlon habit…that’s next on today’s agenda, after a healthy breakfast and some agility drills on the track. And a nap. :)

All right then. What BIG, vomity goals have you set for yourself for 2014? GO GET EM.

Digging for discipline, because regret sucks more.

Photo Credit: Frederic Mancosu, Flickr Creative Commons

This tweet from @Tri_Psychology yesterday got me thinking:
“Suffer the pain of discipline, or suffer the pain of regret.”

So true, isn’t it? As a goal-oriented person, especially, it’s an either/or proposition. There is inevitably some amount of regret that comes along with letting time pass without sticking to your goals, plans, guides, intentions. I see friends set goals all the time and then let them go, instead of finding the discipline to stick with them, and then I see the pain of their regret. Personally, and from observations of others, I think the regret is much, MUCH more painful.

Not that I, myself, am perfect by any wild stretch of the imagination. Quite the contrary. While I have found a wealth of discipline and met many goals over the past year and a half, it is sometimes a two-steps-forward-one-step-back proposition. The hardest thing for me is finishing a hard training cycle…and then finishing those events and having to adjust to greatly reduced calorie intake. Or, put more simply: it’s hard to stop eating! To turn on a dime from hard training mode to maintenance or weight loss mode. Which is why I’m digging for discipline right now, to avoid taking that step back.

It’s been three weeks since my last event (Door County Century) and still I’ve been eating like a defensive lineman. Last fall after my first half marathon, I ended up gaining back about 8 “holiday” pounds before I managed to put the brakes on, turn myself around, and lose 20. Now, it’s a year later…I see myself falling into the same it’s-fall-let’s-eat pattern, and, NO. Just no. I will not let it happen this time. Even for three weeks, I loathe the feeling of being regretful about my choices. I know I’ll never be perfect, and everyone slips, and some splurges are OK and all that. But NO. I can do better than I am doing. And that kind of regret is treacherous, to self-esteem, among other things.

So I’m going on public record with my next goal, because that usually helps. It’s WEEK 40 of 2013 right now. Which means there are 12 WEEKS of 2013 LEFT to make more progress before the new year, instead of backsliding. And there are 16 WEEKS until the IceBreaker Indoor Marathon Relay. My goal is to lose my LAST 8 POUNDS by that race, and reach my ultimate goal weight of 135…starting 2014 in by far the best shape of my life, at the age of 45.

Holy shit, did that just happen? Did I *publicly* state my weight? THIS is a huge moment for me, y’all. After being fat on and off for most of my life, I am 100% cool with telling the world my weight. WOW. *pauses to soak this in*

I’ve got big goals for 2014 and 2015, so I need to head into the new year in a good place. Assuming that the swim training goes well this fall, I plan to do a sprint or olympic tri in Spring 2014, a half iron distance tri in Fall 2014, a full marathon in 2015 and IronMan Wisconsin in Fall 2015. There. I said it. Out loud. Those goals may change, if, say, I end up hating the swim, but as of today that is the PLAN.

So. Now. How about YOU? Any regrets that you’re tired of living with? Goals you set this year and didn’t meet? Goals for the rest of the year or next year that you’re digging for the discipline to meet? Is there anything I can do to help?

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