There's a lot going on right now, so I thought I'd take some time to update on life's happenings and training too!
Tomorrow I will give my next "Food is Food" talk at work! This month we're discussing how to best utilize the bountiful harvest of summer, right now and throughout the winter months! The recipe demo is going to be cream of tomato soup, based off this recipe. It should be fun and I can't wait!
On Sunday my husband and sister raced a local triathlon, while I stayed on the sidelines as a volunteer, "team mom," spectator and photographer. Both did well, neither aiming to set personal records but rather to go out and have some fun! Local triathlons like this one are the BEST. Literally we left our house only 45 minutes before the race start, and it was a quick 10 minute drive to get there.
In my spare time (of about zero) I am working on two personal projects. The first involves revamping my blog under a new platform. I don't know when I'll actually switch over to the new style, but I'm really happy with how it's looking so far. It's much more clean cut, organized and easier to navigate, so stay tuned...
The second project I'm working on involves organizing and decorating my home office. It is slowly evolving into a bright n' colorful room filled with cycling and generally motivating fitness memorabilia (including a Boston Marathon collage) in different shades of teal, black and white. While a definite work in progress, it's nice to have this small mini project to pour my creative energy into rather than trying to tackle any big home projects right now.
Perhaps the biggest "happening" in my life right now (and a major reason I'm working on to create a functional home office) is that I am going back to school! Well... sort of :)
As of two days ago, I'm officially an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech for the upcoming academic year!! It's a dream come true for me to return to my alma mater and teach for the department that shaped and mentored me to become the dietitian I am today, and I feelextremely blessed for the opportunity to do so. I will be teaching a senior level two-semester course, preparing students with the clinical knowledge and skills they will need to successfully complete their internship, and beyond.
My goal races for the fall seem to be approaching all too quickly. I'm now only 25 days away from the Patriot's Half Ironman and 77 days away from the B2B Full Iron-Distance Triathlon !! I just received my first installment of my athlete newsletter for the B2B and feel as if there are SO many logistics to consider with this endeavor. Never mind that right now, currently I am focused on surviving the actual training =P
Training has been a bit up and down over the past month. First, the positive: I LOVE being back into the groove of tri-training again and all the longer workouts, on my good days I can see definite fitness gains and my confidence in tackling these longer distances is growing. The more I delve into the training, the more I know my decision to tackle this race was for the right reasons.
As for the "not so positive," breathing has continued to be an issue since I was initially diagnosed with "pleurisy" back in mid-June. While it is not an everyday struggle, it has definitely been a source of concern, stress and definite limiting factor for training at times. On some occasions, I am able to "tough it out" and push through the shortness of breath, but in other instances I have been forced to cut workouts short, scale way back on effort or just skip the workout all together.
So, long story short, I was not going to let the issue go. After a series of visits to the doc (again...and again) to rule out other possible sources, I was finally able to see a pulmonary specialist last week. Between my physical symptoms and impaired lung capacity determined via spriometry, I was told that I have definite impaired lung capacity (likely secondary to some level of asthma) and was sent home with two bronchodilators, i.e. inhalers. And that's where I'm at...
Overall, swimming is actually going quite well right now. As much as I used to hate swimming and have to drag myself to the pool (in college), some days I feel quite fishey and enjoy my pool time immensely. I've also changed things up a bit by swimming outside with a local group each Thursday. Due to my breathing difficulties, some workouts are particularly rough, but on my good days I feel as if I'm getting stronger, more efficient and more comfortable with the longer distances.
Oh running, how I love you! Two weeks ago I REALLY enjoyed getting back on the track again (first time since last summer) and throwing down a few quicker intervals (5x 800). It was a great change of pace from the norm and a great mental confidence boost to know I still have some speed in my legs! The hubby joined in towards the end of my workout and gave me the encouragement I needed to tough out my last interval.
I've done a few long runs over the past couple of weeks, none of which have felt great, but nonetheless I still enjoyed them and got'm done. I don't suspect that the 26.2 miles at the end of my ironman will feel great either, so it's been a 'suck it up' and keep moving kind of deal.
I've had a a few more challenging long rides recently which are definitely helping me to develop the mental side of things to go along with the physical. Three weeks ago I completed my longest ride to date, 75 miles, but throughout the entirety of the ride I was nauseated, congested and could barely stand to stay down in my aerobars. I knew going into this ride it was going to be a tough day, but I stubbornly chose to do it anyway. Some days surviving suffices and this was one of those days.
And then there was this past weekend, where it rained consistently enough that I moved my 56 mile ride indoors and logged a solid 3hrs, 20 minutes on the trainer. Ouch! It was a major PR for time spent on riding indoors, and I think a major PR in terms of amount of sweat generated too :) On a positive note, I learned A LOT about my personal sweating rate, which is key information in effectively hydrating in these longer rides and races to come! Special kuddos to my coach for hosting me (there's no way I would have lasted that long on my old trainer and with the distraction of being at home) and to my sister, who essentially sat with me the entire ride to keep me company. Those are some special people!
"Life is like riding a bicycle.
Kristen Chang is Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics (CSSD) and triathlete residing in southwest Virginia with her husband and dogs. Follow along as she shares favorite fueling recipes, general wellness and sport nutrition tips and stories from her athletic endeavors.
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