Iron Girl Training: Week 1

Week 1 Training is officially in the books and it went decently.

My training was supposed to be as follows:

  • Monday: Off
  • Tuesday: 15 Minute Run
  • Wednesday: 5 Mile Bike
  • Thursday: 200 Yard Swim
  • Friday: Off
  • Saturday: 15 Minute Run
  • Sunday: 5 Mile Bike

It did not go as planned.  The biggest problem was I didn’t do the bike rides correctly.  I only did one 2 mile ride.  Ugh.  I definitely need to focus on that for next week.  Otherwise, swimming and running occurred as planned.

Just Keep Swimming

I went swimming by myself this evening at the gym.  Goal: 200 meters.  I did at least that, but not sure exactly, as I stopped at the 5′ mark and turned around.  I had thought that was halfway, but it looked more like 75% of the way, so at least I know I hit at least my target.

It didn’t go so well.  I was having a hard time coordinating breathing and arms and legs and whatever else I was supposed to be doing.  Definitely glad I’m taking another round of swim lessons in a couple weeks!

It took about 10 minutes total, but that involved a lot of stopping and practicing breathing and kicking in place.  It definitely didn’t go as I had planned, but I’ll just keep swimming and will get there eventually…

What I Read: April

I have been reading a ton this year.  Too much maybe, if that’s possible, though I tend to take off reading in the summer as work is so busy with summer reading I like just relax.  Now that I’ve found podcasts (better late than never), my reading will go down a bit as I haven’t been listening to audiobooks.  I also want to get back into reading magazines a bit more.  I read 19 books in April, though I may finish one more tonight, but I’ll put that in the May list.

Triathlon Training Fundamentals: A Beginner’s Guide to Essential Gear, Nutrition, and Training Schedules by Will Peveler: When a friend mentioned I should start thinking about triathlons I ordered a bunch of books from the library and this was the first that came in.  It was a great reference guide and one I will go back to. (4 stars)

Triathlons for Women by Sally Edwards: Motivational but the training plans based on heart rate are overwhelming for a newbie. (3 stars)

Peking to Paris: Life and Love on a Short Drive Around Half the World by Dina Bennett: This was a fascinating look at a sport/event I’d never heard of.  I love travel memoirs, though this didn’t get into the places they went as much as I’d have preferred.  The author was a little to insecure for my taste, but a good read overall. (3 stars)

The Woman Triathlete: Technique, Equipment, and Training Advice Tailored to Your Needs by Christina Gandolfo: Great, useful advice. (4 stars)

Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones: I love this series and highly recommend the audiobooks for it.  Funny as always, though if Chalie used the word “affianced” one more time I may have screamed. (4 stars)

The Ice Princess by Camilla Läckberg: I had had this on my to read list for quite a while and I’m glad I finally got to it.  Good Swedish thriller and I’ve already checked out the second book in the series. (4 stars)

Eighth Grave After Dark by Darynda Jones: Not my favorite in the series, but not the worst either.  There is too much talk about how hot Reyes is (we all get it) and she changed something drastically from what happened in previous books which was really annoying.  I’m on the wait list for the audiobook for the 9th book in the series, so I’m hoping it gets better again.  I gave it an extra star because Cookie got married. (3 stars)

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister: It always amazes me when authors can write such a short book that has so many large themes in it and have it all work. Phenomenal. (5 stars)

Be Iron Fit, 2nd: Time-Efficient Training Secrets for Ultimate Fitness by Don Fink: This was listed on a lot of books to read for beginner triathletes for its motivation factor. I would agree that it is tremendously motivation and also that the time management tips are useful for everyone. Something to pick up in the future if I lose my mind and want to head this route 🙂 (3 stars)

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna: Reminds me of the Sark books I read in college. I think this would be of most enjoyment to late teens – twenties. Read as I am currently involved in her #the100daychallenge on Instagram. (3 stars)

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne: Fascinating first-person point of view thriller. Definitely put this on your summer TBR list. ARC provided by Library Journal for collection development purposes. (4 stars)

Running: A Love Story: 10 Years, 5 Marathons, and 1 Life-Changing Sport by Jen A. Miller: Jen went though a lot of bad relations which get discussed while she talks about her training.  An interesting memoir about her trying to figure out life. (4 stars)

Paris, He Said by Christine Sneed: Not recommended as an audiobook as the accents aren’t very good.  I normally love a good chicklit book set in Paris, but this was wasn’t so good.  Use your time to watch the last 2 episodes of the last season of Sex in the City instead. (2 stars)

Comfort Secrets for Busy Women by Jennifer Louden: I think that this book, similar to <U>The Crossroads of Should and Must</U> listed above are good if you’re in the right season of life and I’m not in that season currently (which is a good thing for me.)  If you’re working on making your life better and are into journaling, this book is for you. (3 stars)

Slow Fat Triathlete: Live Your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now by Jayne Williams: Not this is a triathlon book more my speed.  I really enjoyed Jayne’s story, like the race reports scattered throughout, and am more motivated than ever to train for a sprint tri. (4 stars)

Coraline by Neil Gaiman: Some day I will find the right Neil Gaiman book for me, but this wasn’t it.  I am, however, looking forward to reading it with my son in a couple years. (3 stars)

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling: A re-read for a book challenge I am in on Goodreads.  Probably my least favorite Harry Potter books, but if you haven’t read it, start at book 1 and work your way forward.  Even more relevant in our current age. (4 stars)

The Irresistible Blueberry Bakeshop & Cafe by Mary Simses: Now this is a great chicklit book.  Nice romance with some interesting family history research thrown in.  Predictable in the way this genre is supposed to be. (4 stars)
You Are an Ironman: How Six Weekend Warriors Chased Their Dream of Finishing the World’s Toughest Triathlon by Jacques Steinberg: A fascinating and motivational book about 6 people who train for the Ironman Arizona.  I particularly enjoyed Bryan’s story and how he want from overweight and unhealthy couch potato to Ironman in 3 years.  This is a book I’ll pick up again when my motivation is waning.  Recommendations for similar books appreciated. (4 stars)

List of 100 Dreams

Originally written in 2015, updated monthly.

  1. Visit all 50 states
  2. Take Julian on first trip to Europe
  3. Go with Aaron to Paris
  4. Visit every continent
  5. Go on an around the world cruise
  6. Visit every Canadian Provence
  7. Read 100 books in a year 2016
  8. Publish an article related to work
  9. Run a marathon
  10. Learn to swim  March-April 2017
  11. Trace each of my family lines into the 1600s
  12. Visit each of my ancestral home towns
    1. Messancy, Belgium 1/2013
  13. Keep up a regular exercise routine (3x or more per week) for a year (and beyond)
  14. Raise a happy, curious, interesting little man 2016-present
  15. Go on a family vacation with mom & Chris
  16. Take Julian to Disney World
  17. See the 7 wonders of the world
  18. Drive Route 66
  19. Take a train across Canada
  20. Take the Trans-Siberian railroad
  21. Pay off my student loans
    1. 1 down 12/2016
  22. Go to the cherry blossom festival in Washington, DC
  23. Go to Diwali in India
  24. Celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  25. Hit my 50th wedding anniversary
  26. Host quarterly dinner parties
  27. Have a cookie decorating party 2016
  28. Take Julian to Strong Museum of Play
  29. Show Aaron & Julian around Hamburg, Germany
  30. Visit at least 100 countries in the world
  31. Get to all European countries
  32. Learn to walk in heals
  33. Run a mile in under 10 minutes
  34. Do downward facing dog in yoga with my heels on the ground
  35. Touch each ocean
    1. Atlantic & Pacific Done
  36. Be a member of a non-profit board 2017 CNYGS
  37. Read aloud Harry Potter books with Julian
  38. Visit the pyramids in Egypt
  39. Visit Machu Picchu
  40. Take Route 20 across the country
  41. Take a Galapagos cruise
  42. Have one go-to recipe for potlucks
  43. Be ready for anyone to visit at any time
  44. Hire a housekeeper for monthly deep cleaning
  45. Eat at a Michelin starred restaurant in France
  46. Go hiking in the Adirondacks
  47. Live close enough to water that I get to see it every day (lake/ocean)
  48. Become a philanthropist
  49. Own a king size bed
  50. Continue visiting Kingston, Ontario every year with Aaron
    1. Done: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
  51. Travel so much that I need to get extra pages for my passport
  52. Visit Roswell, NM
  53. Visit Easter Island
  54. Run a 5K (no walk breaks)
  55. Buy knee high boots
  56. See the Oberammergau Passion Play
  57. See the Hill Cumorah Pageant
  58. Go to Carnival in Rio
  59. Go to the Pingxi Lantern Festival in Thailand
  60. Ride a gondola under the Bridge of Signs with Aaron
  61. Go with Aaron & Julian to the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona and have Julian do the little kid run with the bulls
  62. Take Julian to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in NYC
  63. Go to the summer Olympics
  64. Go to the winter Olympics
  65. Go to the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, China
  66. Walk on the Great Wall of China
  67. See the Mayan pyramids
  68. Visit the Cardiff giant
  69. See the Northern Lights
  70. Hike to Mount Everest Base Camp
  71. Visit the Taj Mahal
  72. Be conversational in a language other than English
  73. Run on the beach
  74. Be a recognized expert in something
  75. Fly first class
    1. To Atlanta, November 2016
  76. Visit a psychic at Lily Dale
  77. Visit Mexico
  78. Take a cruise on the Panama Canal
  79. Visit Istanbul
  80. Visit Normandy
  81. Visit the White Cliffs of Dover
  82. Eat Thai food in Thailand
  83. Do the Not Since Moses 5K
  84. Sign Julian up for a kids run
  85. Go to Petra, Jordan
  86. Go to Santorini, Greece
  87. Go back to the Basilique Saint-Denis in Paris
  88. Drive the Freedom Trail in Cayuga County & visit Harriet Tubman’s house
  89. Visit the Rose Garden in Thornden Park in the summer
  90. Stay in an Over Water Villa in the Maldives
  91. Have a Singapore Sling with Aaron at the Raffles in Singapore
  92. Go to Angkor Wat in Cambodia
  93. Visit the Sistine Chapel
  94. Snorkel along the Great Barrier Reef
  95. Visit Pompeii, Italy
  96. Visit the Garden of Speculation
  97. Visit Pearl Harbor
  98. Get back in my DKNY jeans
  99. Complete the Syrathon
  100. Visit Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec
  101. Attend a meditation retreat
  102. Get a massage
  103. Write a genealogy article
  104. Take Julian on a train when he’s old enough to enjoy it 2/17/17 Syracuse -> Depew
  105. Take Julian to the train museum in Scranton
  106. Visit the Carturesri Carusel in Bucharest
  107. Take Julian to the carousels in Binghamton
  108. Take Aaron & Julian on overnight drive to see sunrise at Acadia Park
  109. Complete a sprint triathlon
  110. Do a #100daysproject
  111. Do a NY wine tour
  112. Do a Napa wine tour

Adult Swim (Not That One)


I made a <A HREF=””>List of Dreams</A> a long time ago and update if randomly as new things pop up on my radar (much easier now that it’s in OneNote and not on loose leaf paper).  One thing I’ve always included is learning how to swim.

As a child, I had tubes in my ears starting around age two until middle school due to bad ear infections.  One aspect of having tubes means that you can’t get water in your ears and if you’ve ever used ear plugs you know that they aren’t the most reliable.  As such, no swimming lessons for me and even though we had a pool when I was growing up, I never learned to swim outside of basic doggy paddle with my head above the water.

This year I finally decided to take the plunge (pun fully intended) and signed up for swimming lessons at my local Gold’s Gym.  While I was there, I signed up my 3 year old as well.  Taking lessons as an adult has been interesting, particularly since I’ve watched the preschoolers learn at the same time.

There are pluses and minuses to learning early versus later, like with anything.  I think the biggest plus is that I actually listen and pay attention to what the teacher is saying and can then try to do it.  The little kids definitely try as well, but their first sets of lessons are more about acclimating to the water, where as the adults were expected to learn to swim in the same amount of time (7 weeks).  All three of us could do a basic freestyle stroke by the end of class 3.

Fear is one of the biggest minuses.  Little kids don’t tend to have as much fear as adults do about things like this; they haven’t built up dread about the water.  While I still have a fear about jumping into the pool after being pushed in a couple times as a child, I’m lucky that the water doesn’t scare me (where as my son likes the 2 jumps into the pool at the end of the lesson the best).  If you are afraid of the water, this process will take longer and that’s okay.  I was afraid of the deep end and not being able to touch the floor, but having the teacher stay with me and the lifeguard ready made me get past that fear.  I’m still cautious, but having swam to the 8 feet deep area multiple times means I know I can do it and be okay.

One of the other minuses as an adult, particularly as an adult obese woman, is the bathing suit.  One of my other classmates wore a sports bra and high-waist exercise capris.  I went with a tankini, but recently bought a one piece as the tank part kept floating up when I was swimming, defeating the purpose.

I cannot say enough how happy and proud of myself I am for finally crossing this item off my to do list.  It turns out I love the water and swimming; so much so that I added a new item to my list: complete a triathlon.  If you’ve always wanted to swim, go find a good teacher (if you’re in CNY I have one to recommend!), get an outfit and some goggles, and do it.  Do it even if you aren’t pleased with your body, because once you’re in the water, you’ll be pretty much weightless and the extra weight means lots of bouyancy 🙂

Weighing In: Week 2


For week two I am down 1.6 pounds, for a total of 3.8!  Woot-woot!

Now for some of the nitty gritty.  I have been having a hard time with all the junk food available at work.  Our patrons bring us cookies and candy and all things treats.  And I can ignore it sometimes, but I definitely ate too many cookies and sweets this week.

I’ve also been having a hard time making it from lunch to dinner.  I think the problem here is that I’ve been using a lot of frozen meals for lunch and they just don’t keep me full.  I plan on doing better about getting an actual real food lunch together as I think that will really help.

Bigger & Better Than Ever


Yesterday I went back to WeightWatchers, bigger and better than ever before.  Speaking of bigger, I was literally 5 pounds under my 40 weeks pregnant weight.  Ugh.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve done WW.  I’ve gotten down close to goal and not close.  I stay for a few months or six months and then see that I’m losing slowly (yay PCOS) and decide to stop, only to (frequently) gain it all back and then some.

So why am I back now?  I want to start training for an Iron Girl and need to fuel myself accordingly.  And I need to lose some of this weight to be happier with photos, fit in airplane and amusement park ride seats, and to be able to keep up with my son.  Plus, I really want to feel hot.  To buy cute clothes and shop at Vickie’s.

I last did WW maybe 9 months – a year ago.  I was doing pretty well.  Almost to my 5% down, then the election happened.  And a work thing happened.  And I was just DONE.  So I began to comfort myself with all the carbs and fast food and hibernating in my apartment.  And up my weight went.  Up, up, OMG so much up.

And now it’s time to get it going back down.  So I learned to swim.  I started doing Couch to 5K again.  I began researching sprint triathlons.  And finally, yesterday morning, I sucked it up, went back to WW where everyone knows my name.  I’m back to Connect (AsAmandaWanders) to make connections and find motivation throughout the week.  I have a LONG way to go.  So super long.  50+ pounds to get back to my wedding weight, 100 pounds to get back to my average college weight and about 10 more to get to goal.  But stopping has never worked, so I’m in.  I am in until one day I hit lifetime and then WW can start paying me for once.  Let’s do this.

Middle Age

0408171912_HDROver the weekend we went to Rhode Island to celebrate a friend’s upcoming 40th birthday.  She had asked on Facebook if 40 is considered middle aged and while I was pondering that, I Google searched it and came across this study from the UK that said, on average, people believed that youth ended at 35, old age began at 58, and those 23 years in between are when people are middle aged.

At first I thought “really?”  I’ve been 35 for 4 months now.  I’m middle aged? Then I kept thinking about it.  I couldn’t get this survey out of my mind.  And the more I thought about it the more I realized how freeing the idea was.  I feel like middle age is when you finally get over acting and being how everyone expects and start doing what you want, how you want.

No one would ever accuse me of doing much that I didn’t want, but I definitely still under societal expectations in a way I wish I didn’t.  Over the past month though, I just keep thinking, no, now is the time to do what I want.  Whether that be taking swimming lessons, starting a #the100dayproject on Instagram, and going over my work and volunteer commitments to make sure I’m only doing things that are making me happy and moving me further along the path I want to go.

My word for 2017 is compass.  I’m working at being intentional in all aspects of my life and this whole middle age thing makes want to be even more so.  Not to get too down, but I’ve learned over my life and particularly in the past couple years that no one knows how long we have in this life so live it up.  I have a lot more to write on this topic thanks to a recent Wellspring session, so let’s end this with saying that I’m living pretty well and it just keeps getting better.