Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday Mantra: what is the PURPOSE?!

Happy Monday!
I had a beginner triathlon training clinic on Saturday and it was a fun 2 hours packed with what I hope the participants feel was all they  need to know to begin, etc!  It is always such a reminder to me on how passionate I am about fitness and the triathlon LIFESTYLE.  As part of explaining how triathletes fit in training for all 3 sports, plus strength, yoga, plus LIFE, I talked about how every workout should have a purpose.  The purpose/intent of the workout can range from being a VO2 max workout, LT workout, purely aerobic, recovery, brick, hill, downhill, tempo, fun, new terrain, sprints, benchmark/ time trial workouts, or some combination of those.  Now, combine all of those options with 3 sports, and you can either be overwhelmed by  how many workouts to do, OR you can be THRILLED and NEVER EVER BORED!! 

This weekend, I went out for a run on Saturday and the first 2 miles were with my daughter who is just getting to the 2 mile run point, so this was slow and just never stopping, so it served for me as a great warm up for my run.  Since I am not fully "in" my training schedule (although I still have a training schedule currently-  just have not yet formally begun my race season training), I was pretty flexible on my workout and felt so thankful to have a super slow reason to warm up so gently and easily.  My husband then ran about 2 miles of sprints with me... 15 sec and 30 sec sprints, which I DESPERATELY need at this time of year because I have lost really all fast speed that my body has ever had!  So this was great to have someone to do it with.  He pushed me and I thoroughly enjoyed doing the workout on a beautiful fall day.  I then had a nice easy 2 mile jog down and around the lake we live near, before going into what I told myself was a moderate 2 mile tempo run with hills.  The purpose of this was to kind of get a benchwork of what tempo pace for me right now is- approximately.  I was super thrilled that my miles were 7:12 and then 7:11.  I had a nice cool down to get home and was the most joyful, perfect, relaxed workout (relaxed even though I had some times of fierce work in there during the sprints!), and it achieved a PURPOSE that I had intended:  to get in sprints, plus 2 miles of tempo/benchmark.
I had another purpose of my run yesterday which was to get a current offseason 1 mile time.  Was this the optimal time to test- after a day of running 9 miles?  probably not, but I felt well, and just frankly wanted to get it in.  So, I did a 2 mile TM warm up, a mile of .1 build/.1 recover and then my mile for time.  I held 6:15 pace for the mile which was NOT easy, but again.. I was glad to get a time/benchmark for now/this new year of training coming up, etc. 
On the flip side of these workouts- I love right now having each week having a "FUN RUN"-- the ONLY INTENT is to run and love it!  Run filled with joy and gratitude and I love the excitement this brings.  I've been surprised this fall by how I am kind of sticking with this local route with some neighborhood loops that I love and enjoy watching the changing landscape of flowers giving way to fall colors, pumpkins, etc!  My hamstring is coming back a bit from it's 2 month of run issues and I am so thankful to at least be back to the point of doing full workouts, even though I am cautious and monitoring it like an air traffic controller!

I desperately disagree anytime someone thinks that fitness can be boring.. I say no way--- there is too much to do to be bored!  So many workouts, varieties, but I agree, it needs to have a PLAN with a purpose, each workout needs a reason to be done!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

meal planning week of 11/20

Happy Thanksgiving week!

This weeks meal planning is both easy and hard:  Thanksgiving then leftovers for a bit probably, so that takes up a few days.... But then I wanted to plan some healthy things Sunday through Wednesday that don't take up too much fridge room while our turkey thaws!

Here is my plan:
*Sunday:  chicken and stir fry (broccoli, pineapple) over whole grain pasta.
*Monday:  falafel plus salad and green beans.  making mac and cheese for the kids (with the leftover whole wheat pasta because my lil dude is freaking STARVING these days.  literally.  He looks like he is at a buffet at the dinner table-- and he is the shortest kid in his class, so I am all for feeding him to the hilt to get him  GROWING!!!
*Tuesday:  Leftover chicken made into salad wraps with mango salsa.  banana whole wheat muffins.
*Wednesday:  Pasta with meatballs and salad.  I have an open jar of sauce I want to get rid of and meatballs frozen already made that I want to use up/make room in freezer for leftover turkey.  Plus again.... the boy....
*Friday:  leftovers!
*Saturday:  if we are too tired of leftovers already, we will have a cauliflower crust pizza /homemade.

Our Thanksgiving menu is FULL! I love cooking as if I have an entire army coming we are having:
turkey, stuffing, deviled eggs, cranberries, Brussel sprouts/butternut squash/cranberry dish, sweet potato with pineapples/cherries, mashed potatoes, pumpkin chocolate bread, lime jello with mandarin oranges... I mean really... there is no need in the world.  but yes, we are!!!
Dessert - pumpkin cheesecake- never made before, but going for it!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Healthy Meal Planning - next week

It is a constant and never ending struggle for everyone, I know, to keep healthy food stocked, plans made for healthy meals, and action taken on eating healthy to fuel ourselves.  Not one thing will work for everyone, BUT-- this is what works for me, and maybe it will work for some of you.

If I adhere to my following schedule, I am sure to be eating my healthiest:
THURSDAY PM:  I usually try to take some time on Thursday to PLAN next weeks meals- I look at calendar/see days where it is easiest to have quick meals, and hopefully 1-2 days where we have more of a  "real meal" (hopefully that can also have leftovers for another meal with veggies, or a lunch, etc).  So: meal planning is done Thursday pm.

FRIDAY:  At some point, I go through and make grocery list depending on above meal plan/ingredients needed/ also what we are out of.

SATURDAY: In advance, I realize I am super lucky, I know... Ryan does our main grocery shopping.  It rocks.  I give him list/ list of sales at the store he is going to/coupons and he goes shopping-- it is awesome- usually I also can get in one of my workouts while he is doing this, so it works well overall.

SUNDAY:  Sundays I try to have a "real meal"- not necessarily fancy, but just something all together for sure, something that maybe takes a bit more prep (but not necessarily depending on games).
 I spend at least some time on Sunday cooking some things up for week-- such as:
*hard boiling eggs (if I don't do this, I am def. in for a less than healthy week- I do really well if I always have eggs and can have maybe 2 egg whites (or 1 full and 1 white with fruit, etc).
*if fruits/veggies need cutting, sometimes I try to get this done.
*if I am going to be making any casseroles, I sometimes make them and have in fridge so during week, no time has to go into this.
*I usually also have another protein that I cook up or get out and wash/have ready to go in fridge such as:  quinoa, or garbanzo beans in a container with chopped peppers, other veggies (so I can easily have a cup of this for a snack or topping for a salad if needed), also lentils/ etc.
*I also sometimes get all of the kids lunch things out/put in a place to grab and pack for week- a variety so they aren't having the same fruit cup/fruit/crunchy snack with their lunches day after day-- so I grab a variety/ziplock them up or whatever container, and it helps me a lot!

SOOOOOO, this week:  (you'll see I don't do fancy cooking- we do a lot of veggie meals/simple meals, but still healthy):

Sunday:  Ryan is grilling pork chops for him and kids (they haven't had before but we try to get them to try some meat things that I don't eat to get some variety of protein in for them).  We will have with broccoli and broccoli/apple salad.

Monday:  We are having lentil/spinach/tomato soup- easy recipe I can give you if you'd like, with sweet potato biscuits!! (which I LOOOOVE!)

Tuesday:  crockpot black beans (served over brown rice with tomatoes/lowfat shredded cheese and citrus to help absorption of iron).

Wednesday:  hoping for leftovers of something of the above, if not, we are going to have egg salad sandwiches/salad.

Thursday:  Chicken/broccoli/pepper stir fry over either brown rice or couscous

Friday:  fish and veggies... (my Friday staple because it makes me feel okay about having a Friday treat!)

Saturday:  either out or maybe whole wheat crust make your own pizza for family night!

MAKE YOUR PLAN -- it only takes a small amount of time to plan and then I promise you a week of eating healthier than you would have otherwise!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Welcome to the Team- SFQ

I am so excited to share with you my exciting news!  I applied to be on a Triathlon Team with a company that I really felt drawn to-  and I got the email a few days ago titled, "WELCOME TO THE TEAM- SMASH FEST QUEEN!" I am so honored to be chosen to be part of this group, and I am literally motivated beyond belief to make 2017 my BEST YEAR EVER of training and racing! 

I had probably my best year so far in 2016, placing a few times top overall female, which felt great, and which opened my eyes to the possibility of working with a company and team.  I just kept my eyes on my training and races and did my best, while keeping this consideration in the back of my mind until the season end.
Over the past two months, since my season has come to an end in early September, I applied, but did so with a bit of hesitation. When I wasn't in the middle of training and racing, I kind of felt silly applying, unconfident, just small.  I considered not applying.  I don't like being rejected (who does?!) and I have a history of being possibly the number 1 most waitlisted person on the planet (med school 2 years, living on the lawn at UVA, and on and on)... I thrive on training and racing, but I honestly am not too much into my NUMBERS- PR's or rankings, I just do  my best day to day and race HARD, so I wasn't even aware until applying of my USAT rankings.  When I found out my rankings for last year and this year were so high, I felt a little bit more confident applying.. but.. you know.. this is still ME.. just lil ole me who began as someone who couldn't even run more than a mile,  couldn't swim, didn't bike, etc!  And... I mean really, I'm not a spring chicken.. I'm in my 40's now... (do 40 year olds even apply, I wondered?!)  Whatever.  I applied.

And tried to let go of wondering in my mind, but I still kind of kept thinking of it, and trying to not wish for anything and just be ready for a "no"... but still happy that I tried.
Welcome to TEAM SFQ- yes You!
I am thrilled!!!
About SMASH:  Smash is a triathlon, running, cycling apparel company founded by Hillary Biscay (former Ironman pro and ultraman competitor- legendary triathlete) and Michele Landry (top age group triathlete who began designing the performance apparel).
I still have to learn more about the details of being on this team, but I am thrilled and honored.  Information on this past year's Team is on SMASH's website at:

What are my goals and intentions:
I aim to make 2017 my best year of racing, and I will be blogging about some of my training, goals, balancing life, racing, etc.  I'd love for you to follow the blog and keep in touch with me through it- letting me know posts that have helped motivate you, given you helpful training or racing tips, etc.  Also, I will be on Instagram (@sharonrisingsunfit) and posting regularly there!

AND:  you'll see me sporting around in some SMASHFEST training and racing gear- like my favorite bike shorts above that I raced in at Maryland Duathlon this past July! 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

weekly food/meal planning

I haven't had my act together, oh my goodness... but I am doing it- it WILL be a healthy week!

Tomorrow- we have a soccer team out for lunch/mid day meal- so dinner is going to be a lower key salad and sweet potato biscuit dinner:)

Monday:  I am making a crockpot "beef" stew- type thing with red potatoes and oh my gosh I have never done this.  I have a recipe, ryan is doing all the "handling" of the beef, and I have Portobello mushrooms that I am cooking up for myself if I cannot handle the beef:)

Tuesday:  hopefully leftovers/voting day/ kids have off school, we are taking this as a hiking day on Appalachian trail- so I would like to have something to just heat up when we get home- so planning for leftovers!

Wednesday:  brown rice, beans, cheese, tomato burritos- super simple, with oranges to enhance vit C / Iron absorption.

Thursday:  stir fry veggies over brown rice

Friday:  fish and veggies dinner- per our Friday normal:)

Saturday:  either OUT or make your own pizzas (with salad) at home (soccer tournament weekend- so we don't know our schedule yet).

A day for me....

I'm writing this on a Saturday night, home alone, drinking a glass of wine.  I've had a full day to myself- Ryan took the kids to a football game in PA and so I have two nights to myself and they'll be home in the AM.  I have tried to do things I want to do and relax, but it has also felt a bit busy and always going today because I have so much I want to get in on the days I have to myself!

I woke up not too late to my dear Ellie Mae wanting her kibbles:)
I read the newspaper for a bit with coffee which was so nice and relaxing, then I went grocery shopping (!) never do that on a weekend usually and alone and by myself and it felt a bit like heaven... and then came back and gardened- planted a bunch of tulips, did some fall cleanup.
I went to pool and swam, went to two stores real quick on the way home (one was walk in/walk out)-- more on that later, gardened/ walked Ellie Mae/ did house chores, a bit of crocheting/ a bit of work/ a bit of pre holiday organizing and here I am whoa.  I want to sit and watch a movie tonight if I can, BUT this first...

I am trying to organize myself, my mind, my heart, my priorities, my dreams, my plans,  my intentions.
I have been feeling a bit overloaded for awhile.  Work is good and busy, I always stress myself out by wondering if I am doing enough/ too much/ kids- am I doing enough for them/ too much for them/ everything... I need to stop ruminating in my head. 
I have some big goals for my training, but also am still fighting a lingering hip/hamstring injury which also is making it hard for me to think clearly, because everything is coming with a "what if" behind it-- like "what if" I don't get better?
I am trying to plan next years vacations for my family- I guess spring break is out-- so crazy that if you don't plan it like... awhile ago-- there is nothing left....  or maybe there is and I just don't know, and until I plan some other things, I feel like I cannot plan vacations.

Such is the life of having goals and priorities.  Some things must be worked on first.  But at the same time, I need to take risks and just flat out - blind in some ways, step out into the unknown and commit.

Commit without knowing if it will work, if I will be successful, if my plans are the best possible plans EVER.  But sometimes you have to just do it.  What ever IT is:  signing up for a race, planning a vacation, applying for a job/sponsorship/position, going in a different direction with your career and goals, risking things, making BIG decisions.

So, after writing this all out, I kind of feel more motivated to commit. 
To say YES to myself.  I am in.  I am IN for it all.  LIFE, challenges, plans, I am going to make things happen.  I am going to go AFTER IT.  I momentarily thought I'd play it safe.  But after writing this, I feel like I have breathed and had my headspace today to feel refreshed and ready.

ONWARD.  BIG, FUN things.....
stay tuned this week:)
Out of my comfort zone, I will go:)