Tag Archives: fitness

Back on the Block

Hey there RYPEness…
…it has been a long time!

You know how all of a sudden it seems that “life” just gets in the way of what you are supposed to be doing? How you allow yourself to get derailed because it seems that you are being overloaded with too much “life”. Well, I am hear to tell ya…you ain’t alone. There’s comfort in company, isn’t there?
So, if I could share some things that I’ve learned from my little “life” experiences, I would say this:

  • God never dishes out more than we can handle. Ever.
  • Your test is your testimony…for somebody, somewhere…regardless of if you realize it or not.
  • Challenges make us reassess and dig deep to keep it moving.
  • “That which does not kill us makes us stronger” is a very true statement, because we always come out wiser.

Remembering those little jewels doesn’t necessarily make the blows softer, but it does make getting up, brushing off your knees, and moving forward a requirement. Na wada mean?

“Life” got a little rough for me these last months. My dad’s health was failing, I was under-employed, my bills were stacked, then I got a good paying job but it was kind of demanding – immediately, and my dad’s health continued to spiral, and then my brother’s sister died, and then a friend of mine was killed, and then my daddy died.

OMG.

Man…I am supposed to be training a team of dynamic sistahs for Tri Latta, sharing my healthy well-being advice with whomever would listen, and “Inspiring Women To TRI“; but now I don’t want to even get out of bed…let alone swim, bike or run.

Or so I thought.

Upon returning to Charlotte on a Sunday (my parents are in Cincinnati, so I was there for over two weeks), I couldn’t imagine racing that following Saturday. I hadn’t been in a pool to do a workout in months. I hadn’t ridden my bike in weeks. I hadn’t gone for a run in I don’t know how long. How was I possibly going to do a triathlon, sprint distance or otherwise?

So Tuesday I went for a run, first in like…ever. It was a solo run which was good. I was with my thoughts and prayers, and actually – unbeknownst to me at the time – beginning a healing process for my soul. The run was hard…as hell, but I got through it. So my plan was to just go out there and Tri Latta best way I could.

Friday I head to packet pick up, and while standing there at the participants meeting I received a text message informing me that a good friend of mine had just passed away.

WTF.

That was a moment….to say the least. Do I race? Do I bow out gracefully? Uh…yeah…NO! I kept repeating to myself, ‘you led these awesome ladies to this moment, how dare you consider a bow out now?!

Race.

And racing ended up being the most therapeutic thing I have ever done. The swim was difficult, but I gotta say…for a chick who had not been on a bike in a while, I kinda killed the ride. I mean, definitely wayyyyyy better than I expected. The run, well lets just say I had the inspiration I needed to keep it moving by having a Team RYPEr in front of me who I was chasing in my head, and a work colleague behind me who I refused to let catch me!!! HA! But when I crossed that finish line, a wave of emotion just came over me…just like when I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon ever…which happened to be Tri Latta…11 years ago. Crazy right? After I got myself together, I looked around and began to take it all in. How DOPE AND OFF THE CHAIN the amazing ladies of RYPE looked out there in our DOPE AND OFF THE CHAIN RYPE gear. How much love RYPE was being shown. How proud we were as a team to be the only example in that race that Black women DO Tri! And that we were able to display that to a plethora of little brown faces who happened to be volunteers on the race course (way to go Queen City Dolphins)! It was the most satisfying and purposeful “get cha self up and brush it off” moment I’d ever experienced.

So, all that to say this: It is true what they say…exercise IS a great way to relieve stress, anxiety and depression. You will feel the physical relief once those endorphins are released. Your mind is clearer and you physically feel stronger.

But on top of that, know that there is no feeling like the high you get when you are walking the path that has God intended. “Life” can get tough, but you can never allow it to stop you from crossing the finish line.

The RYPE Train is on the track and moving. Next stop…Tri Ballantyne.

Team RYPE

Team RYPE

 

 

 

RYPEness….START YOUR ENGINES!!!!!!

Yesterday morning during our swim clinic, an interesting conversation ensued about skipping breakfast. Our clinics begin at 6AM…that’s pretty dang-gone early. Anyone who knows me, knows that for me to get somewhere by 6AM is definitely a stretch. But to try to get some breakfast in me first? Mannnnnnn, listen. That’s a task!! However, I realized a while ago that not getting any calories in my belly before a morning workout was definitely a no-no.

So what’s a procrastinating, snooze-button-hitter to do? All of the fitness and nutrition articles state that you should get a healthy breakfast in you 1-2 hours before your workout. Meaning…I’m supposed to get my tail up and fix myself a meal at 4AM??

Yeah.  

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Right.

And although I recognize that as valued advice (it is wise to give your body time to digest your food and get those nutrients into your system) I knew I had to figure out a different plan.

But first…why IS breakfast so important? Well, per FitDay.com, there are a few good reasons why you should partake:

  • It revs up your metabolism. Eating breakfast is a great way to get your metabolism working well for the day. When your body receives food in the morning, it tells your brain that you’re going to need to start working to digest it. This wakes up the system and warms up the metabolism so it’s ready to work throughout the day.

BAM! It starts the metabolism so its ready to WORK! And since you are heading to your WORKout, then this is a good thing! Be it a swim workout, a run, weight training or yoga, you are sabotaging yourself by not starting your engine first. Eating something to start that metabolism is just like allowing your car to warm up a bit before you blast the heat, throw it in drive and floor the accelerator. It’s a way to be kind to your engine…allowing it to go further and do more…for YOU! 

  • It keeps you from binging. Not eating breakfast in the morning may save you calories for the time being, but it sets you up for failure throughout the rest of the day. This is because after not feeding your body for several hours overnight, a lack of food in the morning will leave you grumpy and hungry very early in the day.

So…you show up for that workout, empty stomach and all, muddle your way through that swim, drag yourself out of the pool, sluggishly get dressed for work, and when that box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts is the first thing you see in the break room, your diet for the day is ka-put! Because by this time you are starving, and you are willing to grab the first thing you see.

  • It keeps you in a good mood. Feeding yourself in the morning will keep your spirits up throughout the day for a number of reasons. First and foremost, since your body won’t think that it’s starving after a nutritious meal in the morning, it’s easier to get in a good mood and stay that way. It also provides plenty of needed energy to help you get through the regular tasks of your day, which can help keep your mood bright and optimistic.

Ain’t nothing worse than a grumpy Shelly. Enough said.

So…..now that we have the ‘why’, you need to know the ‘how’, right? It’s easy. Drinking a glass of orange juice and eating a banana can give you a quick 150 calories. It’s not a lot, but its something. Keep Greek yogurt in the fridge, the Chobani Flips are DEE-LISH! There is even one variety with dark chocolate chips and almonds. ImageWHAT! One of those packs about 250 calories. On your lazy Sunday afternoon, make some homemade granola, pre-package servings in ziplock bags and put them in your car. Easy eat-on-the-go engine starter.

Remember….warm engines run better. So regardless of how early that workout is, make sure you eat a little sumthin’ sumthin’ before you get started. It’s the RYPE thing to do!

 

 

 

 

Proper preparation prevents….

…showing up at the gym ready to get your “spin” on and realizing you forgot to pack your shoes.

ImageYep, that’s pretty much how my morning went. I had my day all planned out, starting with a nice 50 minute spin class followed by some good weight training, then off to some meetings, and finally some fun playing laser tag with my 13 year old mentee.

So why am I putting this on my blog? Well, because I want you to avoid derailing your fitness goals by always being prepared.  Your gym bag should be your “ready-set-go” bag. Just like we ensure that our “essentials” are always in our purse, we should approach our gym bag the same manner. To avoid the epic fail that I experienced this morning, I suggest you keep these key things in your bag at all times:

  1. Workout clothes. You never know what your day may throw at you! So make sure that you always have some quality workout threads (including socks!) that are ready to rock and roll whenever you are.
  2. Gym shoes. I know, these things are not cheap. But its a good idea (I am living proof) that having an extra pair of shoes in your bag prevents missed workouts due to being rushed or simple oversight. These shoes don’t necessarily have to be your best or favorite pair. They are there to serve the purpose of back up when our brains have that occasional fart.
  3. Workout log. Its important to keep track of your progress, if for no other reason than to see your victories! Everyone is motivated when they see themselves improving. So keep a little diary with you at all times to record your success. #motivation
  4. Water bottle. There is nothing more annoying then being thirsty and having to go locate the water fountain. So make sure you always have a spare water bottle to fill and tote around as you move through your workout. We all know that water intake is very important!

If you have just these 4 things, the chances of you experience my Saturday morning fail diminish to nearly zero. So learn from my mistakes, and lets stay on that healthy living bandwagon!

Hyped to be RYPE!!!

 

Competition can be your friend!

Hey there RYPEness,

Some months back I talked about hydration and how drinking plenty of water is essential to your healthy well-being. Whether you want shinier hair, younger skin, a healthier body (or all three!), pure, clear water is the world’s best beauty elixir. According to WebMD, here are six good reasons to drink water:

1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids. Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

2. Water Can Help Control Calories. For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help.

3. Water Helps Energize Muscles. Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes shrivel, which can result in muscle fatigue.

4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good. Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss.  

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys. Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine.

6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function. Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation.

Want the details, check out the full article here: http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/6-reasons-to-drink-water

But honestly, I think we all know that we NEED to drink more water. This issue is actually doing the dang-gone thang! So check it out…one of my good friends is an avid user of the app GroupMe. She decided that she would set up a group of her friends, allow everyone to set their own goal of daily water intake, and check in periodically throughout the day on where you are with your water intake. Now…I may be just a tad more competitive than some, but I believe that everyone has a little competitive beast residing within. Those little alerts I get that simply say “60”, indicating that someone has consumed 60 ounces of water at that point, serves as a reminder for me to go drink a glass…or two. It has been really cool to watch how everyone in the group has ramped up, if for no other reason than to stay competitive with the group. And at the end of the day, you have had a little fun…maybe edged out your competition, but most importantly….you got a good, heavy dose of that wonderful clear goodness that our bodies REQUIRE.

So try it! Have fun with it! And then watch how the health benefits of a little friendly competition translate into beautifulness inside and out!!

Yo….I’m at 45 ounces. What say you?

Inspire11

Destination is good!

Hey there RYPEness!!

So we all get into our fitness slumps. Nothing seems exciting anymore. Your favorite run routes have becoming mundane. The weather is not the most friendly for any outside training.  It just plain kinda sucks.

Well…do I have the remedy for the rounding fall and heading into winter training blues! The Reggae Marathon, Half Marathlon & 10K was about the most fun I have had doing a race and then chillin’ hard AFTER the race…ever. From the people, to the excitement of starting a race at 5:15AM, to the music, to the well organized set up (tons of water stations), to the scenery (frequent glimpses of the ocean as you ran down the road lined with cheering Jamaicans and foreign spectators), it was, in a word, AWESOME! And then after you have run your distance, crossed the finish line and gulped down fresh coconut water served right out of the coconut, complete with straw…you grab a Red Stripe and relax your feet in the ocean.

Shiggity don’t get no better than that.

However, if tropical bliss aint your thing, then find a cool destination race in a place of interest to you. There are all kinds of lists that reference good races, like Forbes Magazines Top 10 Marathons Worth Traveling For. Grab a few of your best buddies and get them to sign up too, then the party begins. Motivating each other to do the training workouts is a lot more fun, and then the race itself becomes much more than a race! It’s a way to settle that bet…its a much needed BFF get-away…its a fun party that’s packed with healthy well-being elements that are not only going to enrich your physical self, but your mental and spiritual as well. There is something to be said about all of the studies being done on the concept of group exercise. There is also something to be said about all of the thought and effort being put into executing “cool races in cool places”. Bottom line…it works for people.

So…check the listings, find a race, grab your crew and start the journey! I can guarantee that you may find adding one of these types of races to your schedule will become an annual “must do!”

Just trying to “Inspire YOU to Tri”!

Getting ready to get it in!

Getting ready to get it in!

Baby its cold outside!

Hey there RYPEness!!!

Living here in the Carolina’s, I am typically very spoiled by the winters. Since I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, then left there to take up residence in Chicago, Illinois, I am more than familiar with frigid temperatures.

Don’t mean I like them though!

I left top side purposely so that my exposure to the cold would be short-lived or non-existent! Well…it appears that us folks down here in the good ole south need to prepare ourselves for some cold temperatures this winter. We have definitely skirted the issue the last few years, but this particular year I think that Old Man Winter is going to pay us a few visits and embrace us with his frost.

That being said, what’s a sistah to do when she needs to get her run in? LAYER….strategically!

There is nothing worse than getting out on a run and freezing your tail off. Well, except to get out on a run and realize that you have over-done it with your gear and now you are sweating like a pig and on the brink of spontaneous combustion. Neither scenario gives me warm fuzzies about maintaining my run routine. So what’s a girl to do? GO SHOPPING!!! Oh yeah babeee!

Strategic shopping that is. We need to go get some really good base layers in our lives to make getting out and hitting that pavement more enjoyable. I am not going to go into the different technologies that are out there, seems that every brand has come up with one. From Columbia that uses these little silver dots to reflect your own body heat to keep you warm, to Gore who uses wind guard so that the cold air just wont get through; most reputable brands have developed something that keeps your warm and dry. So find what works best for you.

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Columbia’s Omni Heat Reflective

I ran in the 25th Annual Turkey Trot yesterday, and at race start it was 23 degrees. ANYONE will tell you that in most cases, I would have bowed out gracefully and simply not run. But I knew I’d picked up some nice pieces from TrySports and wanted to find out if they really worked. YEP! They sure do! My hands and head were kept extremely toasty wearing Columbia’s Omni Heat hats and gloves, the gloves were so cool that they have the little finger tips that allow you to use your touch screen on your phone. What in the world did we ever do before that little piece of technology was developed? I kept my torso warm by wearing Mizuno’s Breath Thermo. Their cool technology uses special threads that heat up once your body’s sweat hits it. On my legs I just wore a good pair of running tights that were fleece lined, so I was all good!! As a matter of fact, I was TOO hot! However, it didn’t have to do with my cool, selective running gear, instead more to do with the fleece/felt turkey costume that I ran in.

The TrySports Turkey!

The TrySports Turkey!

So…all this to say, no need to ix-nay your run workout just because the mercury plummets. Instead, invest in some really good key pieces that will keep you warm and dry, then go out an enjoy fitness in the freeze!

Hyped 2b RYPE!

It’s time to be seen!!

Hey there RYPEness!

If you are anything like me, this time of year when it’s super hard to get a workout in. It’s dark in the morning, it’s dark once your work day is finished, and to top things off….IT’S COLD! Definitely presents challenges, but we all know that it’s no excuse not to get ‘er dun! November is National Running Safety month. It’s a fact we would rather not think about, however over 100,000 runners, walkers and cyclist are hit by cars annually. Therefore, as outdoor enthusiast we have to make sure we are doing everything in our power to be seen by the folks driving these machines that happen to be faster and bigger than we are.

Reflective gear, headlights and bright-colored clothing are “must haves” in your arsenal of winter training gear. Wearing light/bright-colored clothing will definitely help you be seen, but not always do the trick. I find that with bright-colored clothes, it helps more for me as a runner to see other people running…but not so much for those driving a car to see you. Headlamps and blinking lights definitely help motorist see you better, not to mention that they also help keep you safe from the sidewalk cracks and wet leaves that if taken the wrong way will definitely lead to a face plant….OUCH! But adding in reflective gear will significantly increase your chances that any motorist will notice that the image they see is a person moving, especially gear that has reflective elements in places that move (arms, legs, sides of torso).

Check out your local running store. There are TONS of reflective clothing options for you to chose from. Brands like Brooks, Adidas and 2XU all make items that help you be seen while out running in the “dark hours”. Check this out:

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SUPER cute running gear from Adidas (you can cop both top and bottom at TrySports, comes in varying color options as well as long running tights: http://www.trysports.com/location/charlotte-sp) The bright colors around the wrist (which includes a thumb hole to help keep those wrist covered and warm), means that while you are running, that brightness is moving, thus helping others recognize you as a moving person, not a stationary object. Both the top and the bottoms are adorned with the Adidas stripes for added cuteness.  AHHH-HAAA!! No those stripes are NOT for just for cuteness. Check out what happens when we use a flash on the camera to simulate vehicle headlights hitting you as you move:

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Those puppies light up! So now, as you jog down the road YOU WILL BE SEEN!! Sounds like the perfect combination right? Looking great and being safe as we continue to inspire women to TRI!

Hyped 2 RYPE!

Aside

Yesterday I completed the inaugural Carolina Half (70.3), it was my fourth half Ironman distance race. I usually give a regular ole race report about the course and things I experienced during the race, but this past week was definitely … Continue reading

Lake Lure Triathlon

Its been a minute since I’ve blogged, but this weekend reminded me of the reason that made me want to blog in the first place, triathlons. The last time I did a tri was August 2011…two wholllllllle years ago. MAN! Especially when considering it’s the inspiration behind my passion: RYPE!

So this past weekend my soror Cretia and I traveled to Lake Lure, NC, which is less than two hours from Charlotte. However…a world away. The mountains, the greenery, the lake….so beautiful and quaint. The movie Dirty Dancing was filmed there (love that movie). And this is the backdrop for the Lake Lure Olympiad Sports Festival, a weekend full of all kinds activities for grown folks and kids alike. Totally cool. The highlight of the festival is the 3 races in 3 days. It starts with a 10K run on Friday, sprint distance tri on Saturday morning, and either a 25 mile bike ride or 5K run up to the top of Chimney Rock.

The faint at heart need not apply.

We chose to just do the sprint distance triathlon on Saturday morning. Now, since we are training for the Carolina Half ironman distance coming up on September 29th, the distances didn’t concern us at all. However, when driving in, and there were nothing but significant hills ALL around us…some steep, some long, some winding so you had no idea what was coming…only to find more climbing…we knew this was NOT gonna be easy.

What?.

So Saturday morning arrives, and it is drop dead gorgeous outside. Few clouds here and there, around 70 degrees…its was so super perfect, I cant even explain.

We park and then proceed to make our way down to the transition area, when we are directed down this kinda long, very steep hill. At the bottom I see the signs for both bike and run OUT. Which means, just to get started on both we have to climb back up this mug. Grrrrr. And I could hear everyone around us mumbling and grumbling about the same thing. HA!

After setting up the area and getting body marked, we head down to the swim start…scanning the crowd for other “A” markings on the back of their thigh. Oh yeah…raced in the Athena category in this race. I know those buck-O-five weighing women have an advantage over me, so I jumped at the chance!! HA! For those who don’t know, Athenas are those women who weigh over…well, lets just say we don’t weigh a buck-O-five…or anywhere close. The male counterpart is the Clydesdales category. ‘Athena’ and ‘Clydesdales’ are both synonymous with the word ‘sexy’, just in case you weren’t clear.

Chat with a few ladies.
Notice we are the only two brown faces in the place. Still amazes me…RYPE TO THE RESCUE!
Say a prayer.
And off we go.

The swim was difficult, it took me longer than usual to find my rhythm. Then when I did and was headed towards the exit, it was actually poorly marked, so sighting was challenging. But eyyy….I finally made it, hopped on the bike and up the hill…then down a short hill to the exit of the property…then up a long winding hill…then down a short one…then a turn up a long one.

Yeah, you get the gist. Hilly. Really, really hilly.

But oh so pretty. We rode past nice open fields, along side flowing creeks, next to mountains, its was so nice. At one point I wanted to hop off the bike and take a break. But I had to keep it moving…especially when I rolled up on this lady who had “A” on her calf.

Say what?? I had not seen one yet! Could she be the leader? My little competitive drive kicked into full gear. I blew past her.

Up hill.

Yeah baby…I was moving. Get back to transition and….yeah, I gotta work on that. My transition times suck. 0:03:37?? What in the world was I doing???

So I head back out on the run….and literally, the 5k is 1.5 miles up and then 1.5 miles down.

That first 1.5 killed me. And as I was approaching the top, I see that other “A” lady on the way back down. Dang! I tried to kick it in top gear, but top gear wasn’t catching, and never caught her.

So…third place it was…uh, YAY! I got my first podium experience! Totally exciting!!

All in all it was a great day! Met cool folks, beautiful scenery, had a first time experience, hung out with my buddies, and got back to doing what I love doing….it was a great day indeed!!

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Get Your Stretch On!!

Hey there RYPEness!

We are getting hot and heavy into our training. Runs are getting longer, rides are getting longer, swim workouts are getting longer!! Although we are looking and feeling great, our muscles are definitely taking a pounding. More often than not, we feel that the amount of exercise that we are doing is more than enough (two-a-days on a reg now!!), and therefore our body needs to be subjected to no more.

…au contraire mon frere! Ya gotta stretch. Two main reasons:

  1. Elasticity! Our daily training requires that our muscles endure a LOT of repetitive motions, and stretching properly will help our muscles push through this. The more elastic our muscles, the more flexible we are. The more flexible we are, the less prone we are to having our muscles tighten up on us during a race! AND!…Flexibility = Increased Speed. Yeah baby.
  2. Injury Prevention! Besides getting all elastic n’ stuff, stretching prevents us from getting injured. As we training, we are building our endurance, which is allowing us to swim, bike and run farther distances. Stretching and having flexible muscles substantially minimizes the chances of pulls, tears and cramps. So you need to ensure you are doing the proper stretches before and after your training sessions.

 

So there ya have it….why you should stretch. Now, I guess you are wondering how you incorporate this. Well, your most intense stretching should always be done AFTER your workout. That’s when you muscles are warm and soft….so you get a better stretch. Your stretch before the workout should be more to loosen up. Also, make sure your stretches are static, meaning not bouncing. You want to stretch to a point of discomfort, but not pain…and hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds.

Here is a list of some good stretches to do:

You can usually run through these stretches in about 15 minutes. So make sure to just pad incorporate that time into you total workout time…BECAUSE ITS KEY TO YOUR RYPENESS!!

See ya!