Friday, January 30, 2015

ENELL Ambassador review: ENELL Lite

Photos courtesy of
As an ENELL Ambassador, I was recently sent an ENELL Lite to try. This was my first experience with the Lite, which I have not seen in stores near me. I have several of the Sport version, and those have become my go-to bras for running and triathlons.

Let's compare the two versions side-by-side:


Obviously, the Sport fabric is shiny, while the Lite's fabric is matte. The Sport fabric doesn't have much stretch, and the Lite's fabric is much softer and has a lot of give. This means that the Lite feels more comfortable for every day and low-impact wear, but it doesn't have the same support as the Sport. I tried running in the Lite, and it felt okay, but then I did a mirror check by jumping up and down a couple of times -- I was definitely not getting the "locked and loaded" support I'm used to from my Sports. From now on, I'll save the Lite for lower-impact activities like yoga, Pilates, strength training, or even daily wear. The front hook system means that there isn't the "uniboob" effect so common with other sports bras.

The stretchier fabric made it harder for me to get it hooked the first time. I am not sure if that was just a factor of me not being used to the bra. The second time I wore it, it seemed easier to get it hooked. I really loved that the fabric wicked away moisture.  It also felt completely light and, for maybe the first time in my adult life, I felt supported without feeling like I was wearing a bra.

The seaming is different too. Both have the same criss-cross seaming in the back, but the front of the Sport has distinctive arch-shaped seams (that often show through a light t-shirt) and the Lite has diagonal seams. I'm not sure what that means for support, but it does mean that the seams are less likely to show through clothes.

I'm enjoying the comfort of this bra and highly recommend you try it for yourself.  The Lite does not come in the new Scuba Blue color, but it is available in black, white, ecru, and Pink Hope.  If you can't find a retailer near you, there are dozens of online retailers and you can always order directly from Enell.  To order, you'd need to first take some simple measurements and use the brand's size chart to find the correct size, from 00 to 8.

Have you tried the Lite yet?  Let me know in the comments. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rest days

I was going to run today, but it's as cold as the moon outside and I just can't make myself get out there. Today is going to be a busy day, so I decided to double up tomorrow in the interest of having another rest day. But that's all the schedule juggling -- now I have to stick to the plan.

This is an easy week -- the schedule my coach gave me has two hard weeks and then an easier one.  I think the rest is just as important mentally as physically. After all that hard work last week, a 6:30 week feels so deliciously lazy.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Completed As Planned

TrainingPeaks (affiliate link), the app I use to plan and track my workouts, has a feature I just noticed. When I would record my workouts on the iPhone app, I was actually manually adding the time. But then I figured out that if I just clicked the "Completed As Planned" button at the top, it automatically filled in the time I had already allocated for the workout.

There is something so satisfying now about clicking that "Completed As Planned" button. It's not an exuberant, half-disbelieving, "I DID IT!!!"

It's a head nod.  Yeah, of course. "Completed As Planned." It makes me feel like the kind of person who just expects to achieve her goals.

By the way, I clicked that "Completed As Planned" button 11 times this week, for a total of 10 hours, 45 minutes, my biggest training week to date. Sure, some of those workouts were easy, but a lot of them were very hard. The last two today especially. I had to juggle things to make them work this week, and that meant stringing a lot of workouts together in one day. But despite the inevitable thoughts that I was tired and maybe should back off, I remembered how good it would feel to look at that whole week and think "Completed As Planned."

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Review: I bought a TIM3 MACHIN3, and I love it

Note: I bought this product with my own money and was not asked to write a review. I just think it is really cool and wanted to share. 

No, it's not a Hot Tub Time Machine, but it's still kind of fun. I bought this updated rice cooker from Kickstarter. And yes, I had a rice cooker before, but just like the TIM3 MACHIN3 ad said, it always burnt the bottom of the rice, was hard to clean, and generally just was a waste of space and money.

This one is different, because it stops cooking and holds the rice at the perfect temperature for up to 12 hours. I made brown rice in it first, and it came out like that perfectly plump, beautiful rice you get at Chinese restaurants.  The next morning, I set it up so that I had steel-cut oats waiting for me for breakfast.

It's easy to make extras and have leftover grains ready, too, so this morning I just warmed my leftover oats in the microwave, and for dinner tonight we will have the leftovers of the brown rice with chicken.

I can't wait to try their quinoa recipe, which has a special toasting cycle.  They also said on their Facebook page that they would be posting recipes for other whole grains soon. I'm not sure I'd bother trying to make my own yogurt because I like the Greek kind.

Obviously, if you're following a Paleo plan, there's nothing to see here. It does also steam and work like a slow cooker, but there are much cheaper options for those functions. If, like me, you're someone who wants to substitute whole grains for than processed ones without spending a lot more time cooking, the TIM3 MACHIN3 might be for you. The Kickstarter campaign is over but it is now available for pre-order.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Biggest training week ever

Today was a big training day in what is my biggest training week to date. I'm so tired but also proud that I got through 3 hours and 34 minutes of workouts today.

I'm really amazed at what having a big goal has done for my training. I know that if I don't get the training hours in, I'll suffer on race day.

A little more than 41 hours down so far, with "only" about 417 hours more training to go.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

For your viewing pleasure: This Girl Can

This makes me want to go work out. See you later!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Blog recommendation: Better View of the Moon

One of my friends from my MFA in Poetry days just started a beautiful blog, Better View of The Moon. I suppose it's not surprising that she takes the mundane things I yammer on about and turns them into something larger and more crafted, as she has continued to work her poetry through motherhood, moves, and job changes. Unlike her, I have made several  halfhearted attempts at book manuscripts and stopped when the writing got difficult. She would say the problem is in my butt.

I almost wasn't going to share because I'm a little jealous. But her work is definitely worth reading, so I hope you will take a look. She writes about struggles I find familiar, like the impossibility of shopping for vintage clothes as a plus-sized woman:
And more writerly things, like the fact that literary magazines seem to think that motherhood is completely unworthy of poetry:

Anyway, stop by and leave an encouraging comment if you enjoy her work. I'm pretty sure that you will.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

"Mad Men" is my oracle

In preparation for the long-awaited final season of Mad Men this spring (still no release date available), I have been re-watching all the episodes.  I had forgotten about how powerful the moment was when Peggy finally tells Don she's leaving the agency. It brought tears to my eyes.

I got my first job at 16, so I have had a lot of last days, but I'm not sure any were as emotional as this.

I love the moment when Peggy is stepping forward into the elevator and suddenly realizes she's excited about starting something new.

Are you Mad for Mad Men like I am?

Monday, January 05, 2015

First Monday of 2015

Today feels like the real start of the new year. Back to a routine, back to work.  I don't start teaching for a little while yet but I have a lot of prep to do.  I don't totally buy in to the whole New Year's Resolutions thing, but I do like to use milestones like this to check in with my goals. I weighed in and took my measurements. I have a lot of work to do.

This year triathlon training is my primary goal, and the weight loss is secondary. I have hours of training to do to prepare for my race, and thanks to my coach, I have a number for those hours: 458. I have done a little more than 26 of those hours already. Last week I logged exactly the 7 1/2 hours of training my program called for. I even turned down a last-minute opportunity to see friends so I would meet that goal. I could have planned around a visit if we had gotten more notice, but I couldn't cancel my evening swim and still make my training hours.

Training for hours each week means I can't restrict calories too drastically. I'm not sure if Weight Watchers is going to work for me given the low points targets that it sets for me.  It seems to me that Weight Watchers was designed more for the typical sedentary person or person who walks and does a few aerobics classes than for someone training hard for hours each week. For now, I'm tracking in both the Weight Watchers app and Lose It! to see if I can figure out a more reasonable target.  I'm also going to ask my leader for advice. I'm also going to use the guidelines in Racing Weight to work on the quality of my food and not just the calories/points.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Enell Ambassador Race Report: Midnight Special 5K

Due to injury, I didn't get to do the Turkey Trot 5K I registered for with Enell, so I decided to do the Midnight Special 5K as a sort of make-up race.

If I hadn't preregistered, I might have wimped out on the race, as windchills were in the single-digits and I knew I would be doing most of the running on a bike trail that had no shelter from the wind.

Instead, I put on my big-girl bra (a Scuba Blue Enell Sport), bundled up, and wore a sparkly scarf just to tell the wind that I didn't care, it was still New Year's Eve.

I'm wearing three tech-fabric shirts and two pairs of tights in this picture. I added a Gore-Tex suit, a stocking cap, and a neck gaiter to this base outfit so I wouldn't freeze. I also had a headlamp so I could see where I was going.
I wish I had gotten pictures of some of the people prepping for the race. I saw men wearing snazzy Goodwill suits and quite a few women with sequined evening gowns over their running gear.  Lots of people wore lights of some sort, as the course is very dark. The race started at 11:45 p.m. on December 31. 

Running out into the cold wind was pretty brutal. I had hoped to run with a friend but everyone I knew was faster than I was that night.  I gave the race my all but I just couldn't make myself move any faster, so I ran alone.  The cold wind made my lungs ache. It was an out-and-back course, and after the turnaround, the wind was at my back and I really warmed up.  It was a clear night and I heard some people in the surrounding houses shooting off fireworks at midnight. 

I didn't get any action photos. My iPhone was in my pocket and registered a temperature warning -- it was too HOT to be used. I thought I saw the 3-mile mark earlier than I really did, so I pushed harder and longer than I planned to. Official results aren't available yet, but I finished right around 35 minutes (about 11:15 pace for those of you keeping score at home).  My husband (who finished the race about 10:00 faster than me) tried to snap a photo of me at the finish and this is all he got.

This is me, but it's blurry. It gives you a sense of how very dark it was.
I was so hot (crazy, I know) at the finish that I had to immediately get inside and start stripping off layers.  I took a little lie-down on the gym floor before getting my first post-race photo.

Removed one pair of tights and one shirt. 
Then I put on the race t-shirt and the medal for a second photo.

The medal reads, "I must be crazy! Midnight Special 5K"
Then I thought I'd better put on my Enell Ambassador jacket, pack up, and head home. I was very tired and we had a little bit of a drive back to the house.

My husband said, "Your face is glowing like..." I replied, "A nuclear reactor?"
I'm glad I did the race -- it was a great way to start 2015 off right. Before the race, we had had plans of going home and toasting with champagne, but we both agreed that all we wanted was sleep.

After all my injury problems, I was happy to feel good and finish strong, especially in such brutal conditions. I am shooting for a sub-30:00 5K time this summer, and quite a few triathlons. I'm grateful for all the support, literal and otherwise, I get from Enell to help me reach my goals.

Happy New Year! Here's to a 2015 filled with big dreams and bigger accomplishments.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07