Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Welcome Back!

What was gone?

Poultry. Almost a year ago, my trainer and I decided to eliminate poultry from my diet. My trainer had his reasons, but for me it was about lack of discipline. Although there are healthy chicken choices, I was just not making them. Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and biscuits in the airport while traveling (not the grilled kind either), Publix Mardi Gras wings (so yummy), and Chicken Quesadillas (with a plate full of chips to compliment) were my choices, and I would make them more often than I needed!

Giving up poultry really wasn't that hard for me. Once I determined that my health was more important than the taste of the bad choices I was making, it wasn't a big deal. This is how I've managed not eating beef or pork for the last 10 years. I really hadn't missed poultry at all. Grilled chicken and regular old turkey just seemed lame. Veggie and blackbean burgers replaced turkey burgers. It was all good.

Recently my Sweetie moved back to ATL. He is an awesome clean eating cook. He has really helped me add variety to my eating plan. Lately, he has been making chicken and peppers and his technique is very clean. One day, the chicken and peppers smelled so good that I decided to try some (no need to offend the cook, right?).

Well, that chicken was so tender, so flavorful AND SO HEALTHY that I determined that I don't have to totally give up chicken. My Sweetie's chicken is sooo good that I don't feel deprived by eating just some plain old grilled chicken. Because it's sooo tasty, the calories from (not to mention the money spent on) bad chicken choices won't seem worth it.

So here's to my Sweetie and his chicken and peppers! Tasty and packed with muscle building protein. Next, I'll have to try these super fancy chicken burgers he makes (all still within moderation, of course).

Well, I better get to bed soon (it's only 8:50 PM). I have a 5:00 AM training run tomorrow.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Keep the Momentum Going!!

I have vented my frustrations; I have re-evaluated my training/eating plan; I have declared I'm going to get in that green bikini by Memorial Day weekend, and today I am steady and closer to the 140s than I am to the 160s!

For this, I am excited. But, this only means that I must maintain focus and keep my eyes on the prize! I must remember that consistency is key. I must, in the words of my Sweetie: Keep the Momentum Going!

I know I WILL reach my goals! I am armed with the tools; I just need to employ them with consistency! I have this conversation with so many friends in my support network. We get close to our goals and then for some reason, we allow ourselves to take a few steps back. I say "allow ourselves" because at the end of the day (at least for Shay Shay) it is about self-discipline and focus. If things seem out of control, and I start to incorporate not so great habits or neglect to perform my really good habits, it's about me. I let things get out of sorts. I can't blame anyone else but me! I have the control! And I WILL REACH MY GOALS!!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Just Some Good Ol' Fashion Honesty and Frustration

Things are actually going well with my running and tennis. I still am not getting to kettlebells as much as I would like, but I know I'll be able to get there a few times this week. Although I know I am getting fitter every day, I am still frustrated by the darn scale! I can't seem to shake the mid-150s to save my life!! I must say that this is FRUSTRATING!!! Yeah, I know it's not all about the numbers (heck, I am wearing size 8 slacks as I type! Two years ago, I would not have dreamed of getting back into a size 8). And, yeah, I am in the best shape of my life. And, yeah, I have more muscle mass now. But, I WANT TO GET OUT OF THE 150s, and I NEED to flatten out my back and get my obliques (aka for Shay Shay: the NOT so loving handles) in better shape if I'm going to debut that green bikini by Memorial Day weekend!! And, this is NOT just about Shay Shay's vanity issues. From a health standpoint, I really am still carrying a little too much fat for my age and height. So, losing pounds = losing fat (IF I KEEP UP THE STRENGTH TRAINING--CANNOT AFFORD TO LOSE MUSCLE!!).

Okay, Shay Shay. Enough of the venting. I know what I need to do and how I need to do it! I just need to DO IT!!! Once again--the Three Cs: Commitment, Consistency, and Seeing Results! I'm committed to this, but I need to be more consistent with strength training (even while training for the half-marathon), and I know I WILL See Results!

Whew, now, I'm feeling better and ready to conquer!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Oh How Sweet It Is!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

And a Sweet Day it is! Today, I did what I never thought I would ever do (but knew I had to if I'm going to be ready for the ING Georgia Half-Marathon). I ran for 1 hour 50 minutes; approximately 8 miles!!!!!!! Now, for many folks, this is not a big deal. But, for Shay Shay--it's a BIG SWEET DEAL!!! Prior to training for the ING Georgia I had never run more than 5 minutes! I used my bum ankles and sometimes annoying knees as an excuse.

But today, I hit the pavement, and I am really on my way to those 13.2 miles!!! I probably could have run more because the more I ran the better I felt; but heck, that's all the training plan had in store for me today and it is Valentine's Day. Now, don't get me wrong, there was a point around minute 40 that I thought about stopping for the day. It was getting darker, and I thought tomorrow morning would be brighter. I could just do the session in the morning. But, I stuck with it, and I'm SOOOO GLAD I DID!!

To top it all off, as I approached the front door at the completion of my run there was my Sweetie with a card and a big dose of kudos! I opened the card to the tunes of She's a Brick House by the oh so funky Commodores. It was PERFECT because today I really do feel like a "Brick House. . .Mighty, Mighty, letting it all hang out!"

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rocky and Shay Shay--Eyes of the Tiger!

Remember Rocky IV? I sure do. I remember going to the theatre with my parents and being totally engrossed in the drama of it all as he battled and endured the strong and powerful Russian athlete. Although I was just a young kid, I remember being struck by the very different methods of training by the athletes. The Russian trained in a state-of-the-art facility with highly technical equipment and was surrounded by scientist monitoring his every move. Rocky, on the other hand, took it to the barn and the snow-covered roads and mountains. He used his body weight (and others for that matter--remember him lifting his family in that wagon?!?!) and simple tools in the barn and outdoors to get himself ready for the fight of his life (pretty much literally). These simple, but gut wrenching methods surpassed the highly technical workouts of the Russian. In the Russian's words, Rocky "was not human."

Rocky IV may have been fiction, but it teaches a real lesson about training. Besides having the overwhelming desire and discipline to be great, I am learning that I get the most challenge out of the most simple workouts. What are you talking about Shay Shay?

I remember the days when trainer Murph and I were just starting to work together. He had me pulling him (yes all 200 lbs of him) up and down the gym with a rope (my good friend would yell--now I know who to get to tow my truck), doing "prison" squats, and lots of step ups and step up jumps. Many days we would never use the machines. It was exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time.

And let's not forget kettlebells. I can't say enough about this form of training. This is a no frills gym; the training space is about the size of many family rooms, and I LOVE IT! And, I mean really, we are just swinging and lifting what look cannonballs with handles, but what a workout!

And running. My training run today is really what sparked this Ode to Rocky. Because of cold temperatures, I had been doing my runs in the gym on the treadmill. Today I finally hit the pavement for a 55 minute run. I felt pretty confident as I had done an hour on the treadmill at a pretty good speed with not much problem at all. But today, I must admit--it was TOUGH!! Running on pavement, I knew, would be different, but I did not have a full appreciation of how much tougher it would be. Now that it's over, I feel great about meeting the challenge and look forward to my 1, 50 minute run Saturday! The only way I'm really going to tackle this half-marathon is to get outdoors like Rocky and "eat lightning" and "crap thunder"!! Boxing Trainer Mickey, Rocky (1976)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sacrificing, but Winning in Life!

So, I had this idea that I want to do more than just exercise to get fit. I want to be an athlete. So, as I've shared before, I'm focusing on improving my tennis game (including reading a great book: The Inner Game of Tennis), I'm training for a half-marathon, eating for fuel (most days and working on getting better) and trying more non-traditional forms of training (like kettlebells-although this type of training is really catching on now).

What I am finding out that being a true athlete takes more than the average motivation and discipline. It takes real sacrifice--not just saying no to the calamari, fried potatoes, and homemade bread (some of Shay Shay's favorites). When I think about it, I've had to sacrifice time (time away from my Sweetie and some friends who don't share the love of tennis, and I have to hit the bed early to be fresh for the next training day), my body (my knees hurt from time to time; I have an annoying pain in my foot from playing tennis that I have been nursing the last few days AND I NEED A SERIOUS PEDICURE by a Professional--I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THIS BODY; it's the only one I have), and money (tennis, gym, and marathon fees aren't cheap, so I've had to cut back on some other things, recall that professional pedicure I need? ).

As one of my dear friends says, "Girl, why are you doing all of this again?" Really, despite the sacrifices, I AM HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE!!! Yeah, I need to figure out this time management thing, but I will figure it out and my Sweetie and friends have been super supportive of me. And yes, my body is not as young as it use to be, but I'm figuring out how to take better care of it when it gets a little beat up. And, if I wasn't spending money on tennis and gym related things, I'd be eating out and buying shoes and purses that I don't need or have room for (I have quite a nice collection already).

I truly feel like I'm Winning in Life! Work does not consume me, but I am more productive than ever. I'm meeting terrific new people. I feel great (and looking pretty darn good too! Watch out Summer--Shay Shay WILL BE READY!!).

So, actually, I don't feel like I'm sacrificing all that much because I am gaining SO MUCH MORE!!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The McGhee Super Slammers: A Class Act!

Saturday was a BEAUTIFUL day for Tennis. It was the USTA Semi-finals and The McGhee Super Slammers were FIRED UP and READY TO GO! We fought hard in our 5 matches, but came up short -- 2-3. It was a tough loss--REALLY TOUGH LOSS! But, it is now behind us (sort of us) and we are ready to get back on the courts (most of us today for other leagues, including me (icing my foot now) and are looking for to the next season!

I am looking forward to getting better, getting stronger, getting more consistent, and getting more fit on the courts. Most of all, I am looking forward to getting back on the courts with this WONDERFUL GROUP OF WOMEN and our AWESOME and DEDICATED Coach Jerome!!! I have learned a lot about tennis and sportsmanship from these, but most of all I have built friendships.

Congratulations to the McGhee Super Slammers on a Season Well Done! In the words of our Captain: A Class Act. A Class Act, indeed!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sometimes I Wonder, Why Bother?

Lately, my sweetie and I have been growing frustrated with our dates. It's not because we don't enjoy each other's company. We always have a great time (including enjoying the awesome sounds and performance of one of my favorites John Legend on Tuesday at my favorite venue The Beautiful Fox Theatre! Thank you again, Sweetie!!!!). It's because we can't seem to find a restaurant that is not super expensive (and not used for a treat meal) that suits us anymore!! What are you talking about Shay Shay?

Well, we are cooking a lot more these days, and we are pretty darn good in the kitchen. Some of our clean eating favorites: blackened salmon or tilapia, garlic sauteed spinach or roasted broccoli, baked sweet potato fries, quinoa/quinoa chili. Hmmm, yummy.

So, when we go to the medium priced restaurants and try to get a somewhat healthy meal--the fish is never seasoned quite right; if veggies are drowned in butter, they can't seem to prepare them, and so on. Then, we tried a healthy place full of clean eating choices (even recommended in Oxygen magazine). Perfect, right? WRONG! Because we were use to eating so many of the things on the menu, we were a little bored with the choices! ARRGGHH

What are we to do? Well, we are going to keep cooking and for the most part save restaurants for the treat days/days when we don't mind spending a little extra dough. And heck, we can save a little dough in the process.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shay Shay is Still Taking this Journey One Consistent Day at a Time!

Now that I have won the Battle with The Crud, I'm am back on track toward consistency with clean eating and training--taking one day at a day. Each day has become a goal day: 1. Eat 4-6 clean meals a day, emphasis on protein and complex carbs; 2. train with either kettlebells or weights and half-marathon training or crossing training and tennis, as appropriate; 3. get 7-8 quality hours of sleep a night.

I had gained about 2 lbs over the last week and a half. It's not a dire circumstance, but 2 lbs gained is not part of the grand plan! I'm not discouraged or upset--just more motivated and determined to be consistent with my lifestyle.

Consistency really is the key for me now. My body has gotten use to eating pretty clean, so if I treat even just a little too much and don't incorporate enough consistent training--here comes the pounds. The good thing is that I know this about my body. I know how it reacts to certain conditions. But, knowledge in of itself is not truly empowering. Making positive changes with the knowledge is empowering!

Shay Shay is powering up, fired up, and ready to go!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Oh, how Sweet it is!! We're Going to Round 3!

The McGhee Super Slammers do it again!!!!! The play-offs are not for the faint at heart! We battled on the courts for over 6 hours yesterday!!! I really have TENNIS FEVER (as I watch Federer and Nadal battle in the Australian Open Finals --at the CRACK OF DAWN)!!! This is truly an awesome experience. The athletic and mental skill and toughness of the players, the cheering in the stands from teammates (and no team can cheer like the McGhee Super Slammers!!!!!!) and fellow McGhee Tennis Center players---what a time!!! Nothing makes the day sweeter than to end the long day with a team victory and advancement to the next round. Last night's win came down to the last match (the team must win 3 of 5 to win), and the Dynamic Duo Darlene and Alexis DID THEIR THING AS ALWAYS!! When the battle is tough, you better bet on them! I LOVE to just watch them together.

All of our team played extremely well--extremely well doesn't even do justice. WE PLAYED OUR BOOTIES OFF!! Here's a snapshot of the rest of the team:

Alissa, our Line 1 singles player is a BEAST on the courts . Her endurance is off the chain! Push-ups on the courts between sets--I mean this girl is TOUGH!!

Marci, our Line 2 singles player is OH SOOOO SMOOTH on the courts. Fitness, skill, and smart tennis--these are her weapons and she is dangerous!

Angela and Timika, our Line 1 doubles players and team captains (your example is GOLDEN) are another Dynamic Duo! They are BAAAD. Again, don't bet against them! You'll lose!!

Then there is Renee and Shay Shay, Line 2 doubles. You would have never thought we played together for the first time yesterday! What chemistry on the courts!! We both love to get the tough shots! Look out!!!

Imani (my T2 tennis partner; let's do our thing Wednesday) and Gwen did not play today, but their contribution to our victory is just as important. There is nothing like hearing your fellow teammates cheering you on and believing in you!! And I don't mean a little good point here and there-- I mean CHEERING and Chanting and Jumping Up and Down, and Turning Around! Cheering is ESSENTIAL to Victory!

Kathy and Lauren couldn't make it out, but we would not be advancing to Round 3 without their contributions during the season.

And, Coach Jerome--you're the best! We WIN because of your instruction!!!

So, let's take advantage of the HOME Court next week and Do the Darn Thang!!! IT IS OUR HOUSE!!

I will post pictures from our post-match celebration of our team and Captain Angela's 40th Birthday later. OH DID WE PARTY!!!!!!

See you on the courts!