Sunday, September 21, 2014

Today Is The Day

My last 72 hours have gone like this:

Friday afternoon I met a girlfriend and her husband for lunch to discuss the treatment she is receiving for breast cancer.   She is in her second round of chemotherapy.  She has lost her hair but not her spirit.  She is fighting an exhausting battle and continues to try and work between doctor's appointments and hospital stays.  Some days are great and some days she can't get out of bed due to fatigue and exhaustion.

Sunday morning I dropped my father-in-law who has Alzheimer's off at his assisted living facility after church.  I walked him into the dining hall and sat him down with the other patients who live at the center.  They were all eating quietly with bibs around their necks, slowly, methodically spooning their meals into their mouths.  It was so somber and heartbreaking to me.  

Then Sunday afternoon I took a meal into another friend's home who has just had a double mastectomy.  She is a carrier of the same breast cancer gene that took her mother's life.  She can't lift anything for the next six weeks, including her three children, ages 4, 2 and six months.  She is a single mother relying on the kindness of family to get her through this difficult time.  Bedridden, she just wanted to talk and so that's exactly what we did. 

As I left her house I had the overwhelming desire to yell from the rooftops, or the write from the blogtops:  Get outside!  Go and do!  Try something new and LIVE!

If you have a dream to run a marathon, start today.  If you thought cycling might be fun, go buy the best bike you can afford.  Schedule a time at a driving range.  Attend your first yoga class.  Join a tai chi group.  Because whether life is short, or life is long, today you can do it.  Tomorrow, who knows?  

Exercise induced endorphins are real.  There's a high from letting your skin feel the rush of wind as you crest a climb on a bike and start a downward descent.  Runner's high is real.  And if you've never seen a sunrise through your goggles while swimming backstroke with your face toward the sky, you're really missing something.   The thwack of hitting a golf ball accurately and watching it soar is fun.  Same with smacking a tennis ball right in the center of a racket.  And the view from the top of a mountain after a grueling hike is better than anything you can imagine.  

Choose your sport and go for it.  Get outside and see the sunset or the sunrise.  Smell the scents of fresh cut grass or orange blossoms that only linger during certain times of the day.  Run through a sprinkler when you're hot to cool your body.  Dive off a cliff and let that exhiliration make your heart beat faster.  

The days are long but years are short.  Make your dream a reality.  Time is a funny and precious thing.  We take it for granted while it is ahead of us.  And treasure it when it's behind us.  

It's time to _______________________. (YOU fill in the blank)  Let your heart decide what your next move is.  But don't wait too long.  You've really only got today.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

One Year No DIet Soda

One year ago this week I gave up diet soda.  No more Sonic runs for the happy hour extra large Diet Coke.  No more Polar Ice styrofoam with the "good" ice filled with my favorite fizzy beverage, Coke Zero.  I left my old habits behind and went cold turkey out into the world without a cold, sweet drink to keep me company.

I can't say I don't ever look at a tall glass of Coke and feel the crave.  Sometimes it seems that that opening snap and the fizz of a bubbling can of soda is practically whispering "Drink Me!" like Alice in Wonderland. But 52 weeks in, I have resisted the urge and can proudly call myself Diet Coke Free.

So how did I do it?  I have a few go-tos that I cannot live without:


Also lovingly referred to as my adult sippy cup, I filled this tall tumbler throughout the day with icy cold water and refilled whenever it was empty.  The glorious thing about this cup is it's insulation keeps the liquid cold and the mug doesn't sweat.  I could keep some ice water in it in my car in August and I would still find a chilled beverage way after I thought it would have melted.  There are generic versions of this cup and you can actually get them in bulk on Amazon.  But Starbucks cups are pretty and that seemed to add to my desire to carry water around with me.

This water isn't for everybody.  My kids and family don't love it.  Which is fine for me because I DO!  Hint is just as it's name suggests, pure water with a hint of natural flavors, like blackberry or watermelon.  I think they are tasty and give my water a little boost of flavor when I need it.  It keeps water interesting.

There's a new restaurant in town called Flower Child, which I love.  The food is light and healthy, the atmosphere is breezy and fun.  And the lineup of tasty beverages is great!  I love the lemonades with mint or pomegrante; the restaurant serves six or seven varieties of teas and lemonades each day.   Without that craving for carbonation, my new indulgence is these sweet mixed drinks with no caffeine or carbonation or chemicals.  They may have a few more calories that a diet soda, but I think I'm swapping something not-so-good for something better.  And I have not seen any weight gain this past year.  If anything, possible weight loss.


Yes, I still drink caffeine.  Maybe someday I will give that up too.  But for now,  I confess, I use Crystal Light with caffeine to boost my beverages with a little energy.  It's a little kick start in the mid- morning or afternoon that keeps me happy and alert.  I find that when I do add Crystal Light to my drinks I am much more aware of the caffeine dosage I am taking throughout the day, instead of just sipping on diet soda ALL DAY LONG.  Maybe I'm justifying,  who knows, but a little caffeine is better than a lot, right?

So that's how I did it.  And if I can do it, you can too.  Don't be a slave to a Sonic run.  Drink water.  Keep it by your bedside table.  Take a big swig in the morning and keep a tumbler near by with ice, cold pure agua.  It's good for you.  You'll never regret being a water drinker.  Your skin, your hair, and your waistline will thank you.  And then you can thank me...wink!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Donkey Label: Trusted Steed Without The Ego

The perks of working in a bike shop are many.  But one of my favorites is product testing.  I recently was given Donkey Label Women's Specific Chamois Cream.  And I have to say: two thumbs up.  The cream kept my under carriage quite comfortable and chafe-free while I rode.

I am a fan of chamois creams and use them faithfully.  I thought I'd never find anything better than Assos or DZ's Nuts.  But this balm blows all others out of the water.  It's just delightful.  And it is 100 percent organic so you can practically eat the stuff...if you wanted to.  Personally I  chose to use it on my most important lady parts.  I love the scent, the essential oils and the texture of this Donkey Label products.  It's a great find for all cyclists.  

So just when I was ready to actually buy my second tub of balm, I noticed something new on our shelves:  Recovery Oil.  Now that sounded fabulous! I bought a bottle and used it this weekend.

Can you say WINNER WINNER (chicken dinner)?  I loved this product even MORE than the balm.  The oils in this concoction were superb and helped cool and alleviate my sensitive skin issues post ride.  I'd buy this stuff in gallons if I could.

It just makes sense that you should take care of your important parts AFTER a ride as well as DURING a ride.  I am a believer, Donkey Label!  Your balms, your oils, your clothing -- all high quality, made in America, and excellent quality.  I can't get enough pairs of your socks, which outsell any other brand on our shelves 10 to one.

Donkey Label is where it's at.  Become a believer and bask in their superior products and down-to-earth vibe. Because we're all just trusted steeds trying to keep up with those racehorses, right?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Few Good Things

by Cameron Diaz
I hope these past weeks have been filled with things like sand between your toes, sunsets, mint lemonade, and ice cold watermelon.  Our family has been surviving the heat by leaving the hot oven known as Arizona, for cooler temps in California and the beautiful mountains of Park City, Utah.  

During my travels, I have discovered some treasures and tips I thought I'd pass along to you!

1.  The Body Book by Cameron Diaz
If you judge a book by a cover, you'd give this book a 10.  But there's so much more to this read than the model shot of the nearly naked Cameron Diaz on it's cover.  This book has so much great information on nutrition, health and how to take care of one's body.  What I like about this book, is that Diaz confesses that despite being thin her entire life, she was not always the model of healthy living.  She was a drive-thru junkie and ate fast-food daily.  When she did change her nutrition, her skin began to glow and her overall well-being improved.  She writes like she was talking to you as a friend.  It's important to be strong, to eat a variety and fruits and vegetables, to drink lots of water, and to get those endorphins that come from exercise and sweat!  Kudos, Cameron, your book is spot on!

2.  Knowledge: Nutritionist versus Licensed Dietician
As an associate coach at Sigma Human Performance, I am able provide coaching packages that include personalized training plans that can be paired with nutritional food plans.  Katie Rhodes is on staff at Sigma as the Licensed Dietician.  Katie recently explained to our staff that she IS NOT a nutritionist, and we should not confuse the two.  While Licensed Dieticians have a degree from a university, anyone who is interested or has looked into nutrition can call themselves a nutritionist.   If you want solid advice from a credentialed authority, you should consult the expertise from a LD, not someone who likes recipes and shares tips and
ideas which may or may not be accurate.  Good to know, Katie, and thanks for clearing that up.

3.  Small Town Races
Spudman fun, it's a tradition 

Over the past month, I've participated in three races that were set in small town locations.  First, the American Fork Half Marathon, which winds through AF Canyon and finishes at the local high school. This race was absolutely beautiful with the canyon as it's backdrop.  The weather was perfect and they offered Kneader's french toast at the finish line!  Delicious.  

Second, was the Deseret News Half Marathon.  While not quite so small town, this race followed a course down a canyon and through a parade route for the state's Pioneer Day festivities.  I love a parade!   It was nice to finish in a big tree-lined park with Utah Creamies (another state treasure) at the finish line.  Utah in the summer is devine.

And finally, the Spudman Triathlon in Burley, Idaho.  The thing about this race is it is all about family, friends and fun.  Those triathletes with TT bikes and aero helmets are out of place here.  This is a perfect race for first timers, or those with a fear of swimming.  A current in the river allows for non-swimmers to float on their back to T1 and still get out of the water in about 35 minutes.  

The local Lions Club has hosted this race for 28 years.  Everyone gets a Idaho spud in their swag bags as well as at the pre-race meal.  The course travels through bucolic farmlands with neighbors aiming their hose and sprinklers onto the streets for a little cool refreshment.  An occasional buzz from the crop dusters above is the only sound you'll hear on this quiet, happy course.  I'm sure most of the entrants would never stop in Burley, Idaho.  But this town should be proud of the event they host.  They do it right and I'm sure most entrants plan a yearly trek to this small town just for this race.  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gliding Versus Extension

by Sheila Taormina

In freestyle swimming, gliding is holding your leading arm out in front of your body for too long. Gliding makes you slower (see this post The Swimming Equation). Some swimmers, particularly triathletes, glide simply because it feels easier, but when you glide, you are missing the opportunity to take more strokes that will propel you forward faster. Gliding feels easier because it’s slower, just like soft-pedaling your bike or walking up a hill instead of running. Both are easier, both are much slower than racing.

So “How long is too long to hold your arm out in front?” When does arm extension become gliding?

During her career as a Olympic swimmer and world cup triathlete, Sheila Taormina reviewed archival video of the world’s top swimmers to analyze their swimming technique, stroke counts, and stroke rates. What she found makes answering this reader simple:

Extension becomes gliding at 1.7 seconds or longer.

Many gliders have stroke rates of 2 to 3 seconds per arm cycle. Since they are taking fewer strokes to cross the pool, these swimmers have low stroke counts, but they are also taking a lot longer to do it. (In this post, Sheila explains The Swimming Equation, showing why gliding slows swimmers down.)

In Chapter 7 of Swim Speed Secrets, Sheila includes a table that shows the stroke rates of the world’s fastest swimmers. Top swimmers swim with a stroke rate between 1.15 and 1.6 seconds. Any longer is gliding instead of swimming fast. The most common stroke rate among top swimmers is 1.3-1.4 seconds per cycle.

This may sound like a quicker cadence than you’d expect. When watching the summer Olympics, for example, some of the big guys look like they are hardly moving their arms as they set new world records. Even the elites who extend the most, like Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe, simply appear as if they are moving their arms slowly. If you got a stopwatch and counted the time from one arm’s entry to its re-entry, you’d find that Phelps and Thorpe have stroke rates of 1.5-1.6 seconds per full arm cycle. Female elites swim on the faster end of the range. Sprinters in the 50m and 100m distances stroke even faster, between 1 and 1.2 seconds per cycle.

How to Time Your Freestyle Swimming Stroke Rate Swimming CadenceAre you a glider? Here’s a simple test to find your stroke rate:

Get a friend, a stopwatch, a clipboard, paper, pencil, and head to the pool.
Warm up.
Swim a series of 100s at your goal race pace.
During these, your friend should time one full arm cycle. That is, start the stopwatch as soon as your leading arm hits the water and then stop it when that same arm hits the water surface in front of you again. (It doesn’t matter which arm.)
Your friendly assistant should time your stroke several times during each 100. She should also occasionally time two full cycles (right arm then left arm) and divide that time by two to minimize error from reaction time.
Now you have some data! Review the stroke rates your friend wrote down. You should now know your current stroke rate. If your rate is over 1.6 seconds, then you are presented with a wonderful opportunity: speed up your cadence and you’ll instantly swim faster!

Turning TV Time into Tube Time

Reader Beth, who has been writing about her progress with the Swim Speed Workouts program through comments on the Test Team reports, makes an excellent suggestion for comparing your stroke rate to the pros: Watch them race on TV or via online video and move your arms along. If their stroke rate feels fast, you probably need to speed up your arm cycles. You can also turn tube time into Tube Time: get your swim tubing and do a tubing set that matches the cadence of the pros on screen.

Swim Speed Workouts includes drills and speed sets designed to improve your stroke rate. If you own the book already, take a look at the green toolkit cards for a discussion of stroke rate and the swimming equation. Workout 5-1 includes sets that help swimmers find that perfect middle ground of short, powerful strokes and proper arm extension.

For a complete discussion of freestyle stroke count and stroke rate, take a look at Swim Speed Secrets.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Bike Haus MTB Night ride

Definitely miss this.  Cool place to work.  Cool people to be around.  Even though I broke my clavicle on this ride in April, I'll be back doing it again next year with flare!
Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.