A Return to Adventure!

50 Hikes in 12 Months

Health: Interesting Observations on the Health Fitness Beauty Quest

abstract treeWhen I started my Health Fitness Beauty Quest in early September, I wasn’t quite sure what I would discover. I was pretty sure whatever it was I would be more knowledgable and healthier. What exactly that would be had yet to be found. Well, here I am on December 10th and I have had many AHA! moments as well as some, Hmmm….interesting moments.

In this post, I will share those moments as it relates to taking the USANA nutritional supplements provided to me by Penny Muckelroy who is an Independent Distributor for the company. Penny gave me a bag full of nutritional items she felt I would need in order to move in a positive direction. The goal was to improve my nutritional health on a cellular level. Penny explained to me that if each individual cell was healthy, then my entire body would be healthy. Sounds simple enough. In order to do that I needed to take a handful of supplements twice a day. These were given to me in AM and PM packs. As in, take this handful of pills in the morning and this second handful of pills in the evening. Seemed like overkill to me, but I was on the quest and listening to my advisors and following their instructions towards better health was the entire point.

USANA AM/PM Pack Supplements

USANA AM/PM Pack Supplements

The Ride

So for a few weeks I took them and other than fluorescent bathroom breaks, nothing seemed to change. At least that was what I thought. About 3-4 weeks into the AM/PM packs, I went for one of my weekly bike rides with my bike group. We went for a normal weekday ride of 18 miles. No big deal, right? Well, actually it was a big deal. About 1/3 of the way I noticed I didn’t feel tired. Then at the halfway mark I still didn’t feel tired. Then we finished the 18 miles and I felt like I could have ridden 18 miles more. What was going on? Then it hit me. The only big thing I had changed was in adding the AM/PM packs to my day.

I thought about all those rides and bike tours I had done in the past (20-54 miles) where I had always felt the fatigue during the ride and pushed myself to complete the tours. All this time I thought that the fatigue was part of the ride. Little did I know I was pushing my cells to do so much on what apparently was an empty gas tank. When I started taking the AM/PM packs my cells began receiving the nutrition they were missing. They charged themselves up and then I really felt what it was like to ride at full power. What a difference!

A Glance In The Mirror

At about two months into taking the AM/PM packs I noticed something else entirely. I was fresh out of the shower, going from robe to my clothes for the day when I happened to glance at my full-length mirror. I was so surprised by what I saw…or should I say what I didn’t see that I stopped for a closer look. I am a 44 year old woman who has a couple of kids under her belt and has lived a bit on the frivolous side of life. So I am sure it is no surprise that I have cellulite and stretch marks on my body. What caused me to stop and stare at myself was what appeared to be smooth skin in places that hadn’t seen smooth skin in years. I went closer to the mirror and I could see the stretch marks, but they were very faint and my skin felt smooth and soft to the touch. I was amazed. Am I saying that if you take the AM/PM packs that this will happen to you? No. I have no idea what will happen to you. I am merely sharing what I am noticing is happening to me.

Shiny and Thick

It is no secret that as we ladies get older hair dye becomes an important part of our beauty routine. Hair dye is not the kindest thing we can do to our hair. In my case, it exasperated things by drying out my hair. So, I now had dry thin hair that on good days I could manage with lots of deep conditioners, leave-in treatments, mousse and hairspray. On bad days my hair resembled a dry haystack.  So, in the third month I was surprised to discover that my hair which has always been fine and in recent years thinning felt thicker to the touch. It also looked shiny. I mean healthy shiny. It was actually bouncy and soft to the touch. When the heck did this happen?!

My Thoughts

When I started taking the AM/PM packs, I had no idea that where I would see the biggest difference would be in the challenging areas of my body. My hair had become more and more of a problem the older I have gotten. I had long ago written off the stretch marks and cellulite as just part of getting older. I thought the energy levels I was experiencing when cycling were what they should be and had no idea how much I was missing.

I cannot say that anyone reading this will experience what I have in just the few short months of my Health Fitness Beauty Quest. In my opinion I am still in the infancy of what I will learn and experience as I move forward. What I can say is that I have found a whole lot of positive benefits to taking the USANA AM/PM nutritional supplement packs on a daily basis.

In the beginning I took the AM/PM packs with little expectation. Now I look forward to taking them. I wonder what the next AHA! moment will be and can’t wait to see how my body will improve as I nourish it on the cellular level. I now am beginning to understand what Penny meant when she explained the importance of doing so back in September. I am so much wiser now than I was then.

I do appreciate all of your encouragement here on the blog in the comments as well as your replies and tweets on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for continuing to support me on my journey.

Meeting Bicycle Touring Peeps: Matt and Pam

Earlier this year I came across a site called CrazyGuyOnABike. It is a place where folks from all across the globe can journal their bike tours. Folks tour from coast to coast, border to border and everything in between sharing the story of their bicycle touring adventures. I have been all kinds of inspired from reading the journal entries of cyclists who ride all over the world. Did I mention it is inspiring? Oh, I did? Well, it really is inspiring.

Dinner with Cyclists Matt and Pam who are traveling across the country from California to Florida.

Dinner with Cyclists Matt and Pam who are traveling across the country from California to Florida.

Last week I happened upon a journal for Matt and Pam who are cycling from California to Florida along what is commonly known at the Southern Tier. I began corresponding with them in the hopes of being able to visit with them somewhere along the Central Texas portion of their ride. Luckily everything worked out for us to meet for an early dinner while they were taking a couple of rest days in Comfort, TX. Below is the quick audio interview and a picture from our delicious dinner at PO PO Restaurant.

I really enjoyed spending time with Matt and Pam. I hope they didn’t mind all the interrogating…er..um…questions I had regarding the down and dirty aspects to bike touring that typically don’t make it to the journal entries of CrazyGuyOnABike. Thank you both for your candor, honesty and not balking when I asked the tough questions. I hope to begin my own CrazyGuyOnABike adventure in early April.

So, if Matt and Pam’s journey interests you, if you have ever been on a bike tour or are fired up and ready to join my West Texas Triangle Tour let me hear form you in the comments or via email.

Martindale Triathlon Complete!

On Saturday, October 26th I participated in my first ever triathlon. As much as I thought I had prepared for the 7 mile run/16.5mile bike/5.5mile kayak I was not. I wasn’t concerned with cycling since I had been doing that regularly for the last 2 1/2 years. I had participated in bike tours of up to 54 miles. Kayaking was something I had picked up recently, but felt pretty good about. What had me concerned was the running.

Now if you’ve been following my blog, then you may recall a post titled, “I’m A Runner”. And I was back about 8-10 years ago. In mid-September I started the run portion of my training in earnest. The more I did it, the better I felt about things. I have never been a fast runner, cyclists (insert given sport here), but I have always been someone who finishes. So, I knew the only way I wouldn’t complete the triathlon would be if I were injured. Thank goodness that did not happen.

To get my body accustomed to shift from running to cycling, I started stacking my workouts with a short run followed by a short cycle. I felt okay and thought I would be able to finish the run and bike portions of the triathlon within the 3 hour time limit.

The morning of the event, Michelle Geyer and myself discovered that there were some hardcore folks competing and that quite a few of the folks participating were doing so in teams. One person to run another to ride then a team kayak. When a fellow participant asked, “You are doing it all?” in a surprised disbelieving tone I knew I was in trouble. My response was, “It’s our first triathlon, we didn’t know any better.” That’s not to say there were not other “doing it all” folks there, but I get the feeling they were the ones who looked a whole lot more fit than this recreational cyclists/runner/kayaker.

It didn’t take long for me to find myself running solo. I was extra glad I had brought along my iPad Mini inside my backpack. I had been training using Todd Lange’s 10K101 podcast and needed the familiar beat, encouragement and rhythm to keep me going. Todd was there to tell me I was doing a good job, tell me when to run and when to walk and even had crowd sounds to cheer me on. Call me crazy but I was so thankful that I even told the recorded Todd, “Thanks!” when I heard words of encouragement. I knew I was the last of the runners, but I also knew I wasn’t going to give up.

It was an out and back course so it wasn’t too long before I started seeing runners on their way back. I decided to encourage them by cheering them on and giving them high fives. It was funny because encouraging them actually encouraged me. Naturally they were supportive in return.

When I finally made it to the run/bike transition the organizers and volunteers cheered me into the bike corral. Although I was encouraged to speak to the Race Director before proceeding. They told me that I had 1 hour and 10 minutes to complete the 16.5 mile bike portion before the 3 hour cut-off. I told them that I wasn’t in this event to win or compete. This was simply a challenge with myself to see it through and that if they would let me do that then I considered it a win. They understood my goal and wished me luck.

I headed and out and saw cyclist who were completing their second leg of the triathlon and knew I really needed to cycle as fast as I could. This was where I knew I could make up time. Cycling was my real strength in this event. My legs were worn from the run and I faced a headwind in the first few miles. When I got to my second turn was when I encountered the man who became my own personal cheerleader. He was on a motorcycle and helping to direct the cyclists. Being the last one meant that he was waiting on me. And wait on me he did. He told me how much time I had at each turn. Would come back to check on me and tell me I needed to, “Ride like hell” and “You’ve got this!” and “Pedal as fast as you can”. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was going about as fast as I could on legs that felt like lead. He was also there when I was rounding the last turn to let me know that it was exactly the 3 hour mark and to, “Ride in with my head held high”.

As I neared the end of the bike ride, I heard cheers and looked up to see my family with signs encouraging me to “go faster” and telling me, “you can do it”. They made me feel like I had already won. When I pulled in to move to the kayak portion, I was met by a spitfire of a woman who told me, “Get changed and lets go. You’ve got a personal escort.” In my thrilled but bewildered state I complied and in no time at all I was kayaking.

Jeannette, my kayaking hero

Jeannette, my kayaking hero

The spitfire’s name was Jeanette and over the course of the next 5.5 miles of kayaking she became my friend and inspiration. Her story of how she became an adventure racer is one that requires a post all it’s own. I hope to sit down with Jeannette soon for an interview so that you can hear it in her own words. I wish I could share more, but what I will tell you is that my life changed that day. The Martindale Triathlon and it’s wonderful, and in my mind heroic, volunteers are worth their weight in gold.

I finished the entire event but if you look me up you’ll see that I am labeled “disqualified”. By finishing the run and bike portion in 3 hours and 13 minutes I went beyond the official time limit by 13 minutes. When I climbed out of that kayak on even more wobbly legs my family was there once again to cheer my success. And that’s exactly what it was, a success. I set out to see if I could complete a triathlon and by God I did.

Fitness: Martindale Triathlon

TriathlonTomorrow morning Michelle Geyer and I will be making our first ever attempt at a triathlon (7 mile run/16.5 mile bike/5 mile kayak). Event starts at 9am.

We must complete two legs of the event (7 mile run and 16.5 mile bike) within a 3 hour window. My goal is to complete the 7 mile run by 1 1/2 hours (I’m more of a tortoise than a hare). My goal for the 16.5 mile cycling is to complete it in no more than 1 hour 15 minutes. Allowing 15 minutes for the transition from running to cycling.

I am doing this event not as a competition against anyone else but more as a personal accomplishment. I just want to finish the entire event.

Originally, I was concerned with the run portion of the event since it had been a good long while (over 2 1/2 years) since I had done any serious running. The Duathlon I participated in last year (2 mile run/15 mile bike/2 mile run) was tough on me. The fact I did not train for the run portion had a whole lot to do with the difficulty and extreme soreness afterwards. A 7 mile run is not something I could even begin to take lightly. So, this time I knew I needed to actually put some training time into running.

I found the 5K101 training podcast by Todd Lange and knew right away I had found the perfect training partner. I started out running with the 5K101 podcast and quickly graduated to the 10K101 podcast. 1 1/2 weeks before the triathlon I actually completed a 7 mile run in 1 hour, 29 minutes and 32 seconds. Talk about cutting it close. I then knew that I could handle the run. The next training test was to combo or stack two events. 4 days before the triathlon, Michelle and I went out for a 4 mile run and a 13 mile bike. I felt pretty good about that training, too. All in all, I was feeling confident about completing the triathlon within the time requirements.

Can I admit to now being nervous about the kayaking portion? With my slow running and cycling, I already know I’ll be left way behind everyone else. During our training I have felt comfortable kayaking with Michelle, but the idea of kayaking solo is a bit daunting. I have been told this is a calm portion of the river but for someone who has only kayaked 3 times calm could mean something entirely different to this newbie vs. someone who is a seasoned pro.

I am going to rely on my training and hope that the Good Lord will see to my safety. See you all on the flip side.

 

Struggling on a Saturday Morning Run

I am a speaker at an inner circle retreat in Tennessee this weekend. I decided to go for a run to keep up with my triathlon training. To say it was less than stellar would be putting it mildly.


nike run struggle

Health Assessment Part 3: The Bloodwork

In part three of the Health Assessment, Dr. Ho from Pinnacle Wellness draws some blood and explains what I will learn once the results are back from the lab.

 

 

Disclosure: Pinnacle Wellness is providing me with services for the health portion of my Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest. I will share my personal experiences of my weekly visits through audio posts and videos which will be posted on the site as well as on the Health|Fitness|Beauty Quest YouTube channel.

Fitness: The Workouts

Quick update: As many of you know, I am training for the Martindale Triathlon which is happening at the end of the month. My main concern has been the running since it had been 2 1/2 years since I put forth some serious effort towards any kind of running. Using the 5K101 podcast training, taking the USANA supplements from Penny Muckelroy and about 3 weeks later, I am on track to complete the 7 miles without much fuss.

Here is the workout I did on Sunday in the rain. I felt so good I could have done a few more miles, but the rain was falling harder and I knew that I need to stick to training and not overdue it if I want to be successful.

Ran well on a rainy Sunday afternoon

Ran well on a rainy Sunday afternoon

 

Health: Spine Check and X-rays

In part 2 of the Health Assessment, Dr. Q takes a look at my spine to see it’s current state. During the check, I learn a whole lot about which part of my body is carrying more weight than the other, how carrying a bowling ball is very similar to what my spine has to do with my head and that I may not be as straight or as centered as I thought.

 

 

Disclosure: Pinnacle Wellness is providing me with services for the health portion of my Health | Fitness | Beauty Quest. I will share my personal experiences of my weekly visits through audio posts and videos which will be posted on the site as well as on the Health|Fitness|Beauty Quest YouTube channel.

Health: The Background

After my interview with Dr. Ho and Dr. Q, I scheduled a health assessment at Pinnacle Wellness. I completed a double-sided two page form which was unlike any I had ever filled out at a doctor’s office. I knew right then and there this was no ordinary place. I was even more intrigued to learn more about how the Pinnacle Wellness philosophy would impact my journey.

 

When I sat down with Dr. Q, one of the first things he did during my Health Assessment was ask me questions related to my working habits, physical activity, drinking, eating habits and more. The part  I found rather interesting was when he asked me about the physical health and happiness during my childhood and teen years. There is a method to their system so I invite you to join me in part 1 of a 3 part Health Assessment Series.

 

Food: Keeping Track

I have decided the best way to really understand the balance between fitness and food is to keep track of them both. I already do a fairly good job of tracking my bike rides with MapMyRide and runs with Nike+. I took a look at several tools and apps, but after review opted to work within the “Log Food” under the Nutrition section of MapMyRide.

Synching

It actually works pretty well because I have my Nike+ runs sync with MapMyRide. So, whether I run or bike all my workouts are tracked in one place. Which makes tracking food in the same place a no-brainer. Here is a snapshot of the workout and food consumption calories from Saturday:

MapMyRide Food and Fitness Log

 

The Numbers

As you know the part of the taking you on my Health|Fitness|Beauty journey is sharing all the pros and cons nitty gritty. Did you notice the Daily Snapshot not only lists allowed daily calorie intake and calories burned, it also shows my age, height and weight? This was pretty tough for me to share. I pondered this for a while. I realized that while I am not using weight loss as an indicator of success, it does give everyone a true picture of my starting point. I have not owned a scale for a long time and do not plan on owning one anytime in the future.  My philosophy when it comes to fitness has more to do with the way I feel and how my clothes fit than it does a number on a scale.

What platforms and/or apps do you use to keep track of your health and fitness goals?