The Road To A Duathlon

Today’s post is a compilation of thoughts, reflections, and an overall recap from my recent duathlon.  I largely write this to exercise my mind and the emotions that come from not only doing this type of event, but the months of training and ultimate finishing of it as well.

It is perhaps, hard to explain. It’s easier to understand if you’ve ever undertaken a similar event but really, for anyone who does this, or triathlons, we all have our “whys” for what we do.

It’s the thing that puts us out there not just for the race but the months leading up to it.

So, if you wish to continue, get comfy and go along on the ride with me. I promise to not bore you with stats and stuff like that 😉

Maybe you’ve never entertained the idea of something so crazy, or perhaps you’ve wondered if you could do it and are sitting on a fence pondering that idea. I’ll just say this… anyone… can do anything they determine they are going to do.

You might not be the fastest or most skilled but by damn, you can do it if you determine you’re going to.

How did an ordinary woman get to this point?

Seriously. It’s a thought that’s danced through my head on more than one occasion.

Somehow a middle aged, wife, mom, grandmother, jack of all trades, previously non-athletic person turned into an athlete. And not just one who plays with one sport, but a duathlete.

I’d have to say it’s largely come from chasing down one goal after another. Once I saw I could do something bigger than I thought I could do, I’d set the bar for another goal, yet larger one.

Although I hated being sidetracked a couple years ago with an Achilles injury, that’s what put me on the bike more. I could cycle and get those miles I craved I wasn’t getting from running. Turns out all that running made me super strong and pretty capable on the bike, not a bad thing.

I kept at the bike as I healed. I learned and practiced. I shamelessly talked to anyone who could tell me what I needed to know. I kept increasing my miles and riding hard terrain.

I wanted to do the duathlon the year I was still recovering from my running injury but when it got to the time I needed to be training, I just felt like my leg wasn’t ready for running.

Last year everything was in place for me to do it.

I invested myself heavily into training, practiced transitions, did brick sessions once or twice a week ( run/bike, or bike/run) to train my body to the demands of shifting from one activity to the next.

Race day I went out and did what I’d trained myself to do. Being my first multi sport event I felt like such an inexperienced baby but I got it done.

And done enough  to place first in my age group. I secretly hoped I’d be good enough to place but hadn’t voiced it out loud.

Overall, it was a good experience and I set my sites on 2018 and doing it again.

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I love the excitement of picking up a new race number.

Same game, new year, new adventures.

As I began training this year I at least understood more of what was involved and required of me to do this event. This duathlon is a championship race and it’s listed as the “toughest in the state.”  They tell no lies about this.

I knew the physical demands as well as mental demands.

There were however, new life things I didn’t have going on last year in competition with me for training.

Namely, a 4 day a week job that took up leisure time.  Yes, I could still get in training on most mornings, I just didn’t have as much time to extend those sessions.

Running. Straight up, running was harder this year. I think there are a variety of reasons, but it is what it is.

Because of that I didn’t push myself as much on it. Yes, I knew I could do it. Would it be ultimately what I wanted in time/pace etc? Maybe not but I’d just have to be good with it.

I kept to my cycling and training on the hardest roads I could find. Hills are definitely one place my strength really shines and since the duathlon course was loaded with some hard monster sized ones it made sense to keep my physical and mental training honed in this area.

The struggle is real.

As race day approached, mixed with my usual pre-race nerves was the overwhelming feeling of…

“What am I doing??”

I found myself wondering if something might come up and then I wouldn’t be able to do it. Like .. “what if I got sick?”  haha something every athlete worries about before an event.

I questioned my training. I questioned my abilities. I questioned if I had what it took to do it ( which is kinda laughable considering I’d done it last year and I’d been training for it this year)

I remember pouring out all my angst to hubby to which he responded….

“You know you can do it. Just go and do it. When you cross the finish line it will be amazing. I don’t even know how you do what you do.”

Somehow those words settled me.

No matter what, doing it, and seeing myself across the finish line was all that mattered.

Quitting was never an option.

Race time….

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Early morning warming up… finish line I got my eye on you

Needless to say like any athlete with an event coming up, I stalked the weather hoping it would be…well… decent.  I’d trained in all kinds of weather but really, who doesn’t want race day to be prime?

Temperatures were promised in the mid-50s with a chance of rain… afternoon rain.

ok well, to me the promised temps were decent… I could still work up a sweat with that.

However, weather you know, has a mind of it’s own…..on the way to the race it started raining some.

Ok no worries. Except once I got there in the early morning dark it appeared the rain wasn’t interested in waiting till the afternoon. Intermittent showers were our friend through out the morning.

Not only that, the comfortable, warmish weather shifted with some arriving wind knocking it into the mid 40’s.

Now we had some rain, wind and much colder air.

All of the athletes were being warned to drop the PSI in their tires, to watch their speed and to be careful on corners.

I was grateful that the rain didn’t daunt me, that I had spent time in it training…. but still… I understood the roads were slick and I also understood that meant a newer level of caution.

Of course I’d dressed more for warmer weather but thankfully had my waterproof cycling jacket on ( which was a bit to warm for the first run leg) I tossed it when I transitioned to the bike…. which made for a colder than anticipated bike ride being wet and flying down the road at rapid speeds.

None of that mattered…. this is what we had for the race…. deal with it.

As I was running the parking lot warming up in the breaking dawn with rain coming down on me one of the police officers stopped me and said “are you sure you want to be out here doing this?” I laughed and told him there were probably a few of us who might think being home, comfy with a cup of coffee, would be preferable to being out at 630 on a cold, wet morning shaking out our legs and nerves pre race.

But then I added….” you have to understand that every single one of us out here might be a wee bit insane. It’s that insanity that has us here and will drive us to finish today ”

He gave me a big laugh and told me to please be careful out there as I went loping off.

And I still stand by that. Being a little crazy is what keeps you out there and is the undercurrent to getting the work done.

And nothing…nothing… feels better when that insanity brings you across the finish line.

The first leg of race, the 5K was just crappy and I knew it would be. It wasn’t my best time and it wasn’t anything that impressed me. I just focused on moving through it knowing I’d close ground once I got on the bike.

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Working that run… evidently the lady drafting me had the same idea about sleeping on the run 😉

 

 

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Nothing but a sea of bikes in the transition area, A cold and wet morning.

I moved through transition as quickly as I could. I think this year I had it about 1:15. Not only are you transitioning into new gear, preparing for another sport, I believe your mind has got to transition as well.

As I knew I would, once I took off on bike I started covering ground and picking off other cyclists. This became as game as I settled into the ride. I was trying to not think about how much colder it was as I sped down the road in shorts and a sleeveless cycling jersey.

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Those clips were slippery that day….

As the miles disappeared I knew I was getting close before we would turn and head back.

The miles with the beastly hills were what I still had to tackle. Only today they were wet and dark looming like large, formidable sentries in front of us.

This however, was home turf and I felt comfortable in it.

As I got closer to the first huge hill that is my nemesis, the one I have a love hate relationship with, I could see it littered with cyclists… all pushing their bikes up.

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This is a sun shiny pic of the “hill”… it looks more formidable grey and wet

My mental game had been pretty strong at that point, but seeing all those people pushing their bikes up, well that can really start to do a number on my mind.

I’ve never, ever since I started riding that beast had to push my bike up and I didn’t plan to start anytime soon.

I locked my mind down, looked directly at the road in front of my bike and plowed up that hill past them.  I think at that point if anyone had gotten in front of me or challenged me on anything,  I could’ve taken them on my mental game was just that strong.  I got on top of the hill, and began to prepare for the second one which was just over the top of the one I’d just climbed.  Again I had to dodge people pushing their bikes up.

I had a brief moment to let the bike do the work before we hit the final back hills. As I came around a curve that was so familiar to me, and prepared to fly up a hill, there were cyclists walking their bikes down saying the spotters had encouraged people to walk down.

Ha. Not likely.

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This was a slippery slope on duathlon day… slowed things down a bit… I only hit 39.5 mph coming off it 😛

I got to the top and prepared for the descent down the back of the hill… again coming back I had to pass people pushing up. Once again I locked my mind down… set my focus directly in front of me and shouldered into it.

The two spotters at the top were like… “wow, nice work ma’am” ha I hardly had time to acknowledge them before I was flying off the hill again, now on my way back to the start line.

A few miles from getting back to the transition area I was aware that I was oh so cold, my feet felt numb and then out of the blue stabbing cramps in my quad, up into my hip, wrapping into my hamstring.

I’ve never had that happen before.  Thankfully I was able to stand up and keep riding and work it out without having to stop.

It was debatable for awhile.

Cold. Cramps. Wet.  Battling mental demons along the way. So many battles that day.

The end was closer. I fought for this thing and I would finish it out.

And finish I did. The last run was a surprise in that it was longer than last year (ah) so where I thought we’d turn and head back…well… no.. we got to keep going for a bit longer.

When I finally got to the stretch and could see that finish line, the big red numbers with the race time, the announcer calling my number, saw my husband patiently waiting for me, knew my months of work was about to pay off,  it was worth it.

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The most non glamorous pic ever… yet one of the most beautiful to me as it represents the finish of what I started. At this point I’m moments away from crossing that finish line after a 3.10 mile run, a 16 mile tough ride, and a 1.5 mile run.  Emotions are running high.

It was worth the months of training, the early mornings, the tired legs, the days that left me exhausted, the doubts were crushed, and once again, there was that overwhelming immense satisfaction in stepping across that finish line.

It makes me weep every time.

My emotions run high as it all culminates  …. the proverbial icing on the cake… my own personal victory.

And well, it was pretty cool to check my stats and see it showed me as first in my age group. 🙂

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So cold, wet, hungry and tired…  but I’ve got some smiles for this….

I’d never entertained that because I just thought my time wouldn’t be so impressive. Once they posted times for both genders, I could see that my finish time was what some of the 20-24 year old guys placed in … so there’s that 😛

So what’s next?

I don’t have any plans of slowing down or sitting on the sidelines watching life. I’d love to do at least two duathlons in 2018. I’d also like to ease back into distance running  and maybe cut my teeth on a half marathon again. It’s technically now “off season” although I don’t see myself not training. I will add in an extra strength training day ’cause muscles are nice to have in a variety of ways. 😉 Not just that, it’s freaking cool to be strong and being strong is what helps me get through the tough part of these events.

I am such a baby in this world of multi sport events so I have plenty of room to grow, learn and improve. I guess that’s what keeps me coming back, knowing I can constantly challenge myself.

And finally, I’ve gotta say thank you to my amazing family, my husband and kids, my tribe who love me, encourage me, tell me I’m crazy, and are so proud and supportive of what I do. My husband who willingly gets up at crazy hours to go with me, who endures the weather, takes pics, and is the smiling face I’m looking for when I come in, who buys me food and coffee when I’m frozen and starving….. his support is crucial to what I do.

And of course my friends who love me, cheer me on and also love telling me I’m crazy… I appreciate all of your encouragement and support  🙂

Thank you for sharing in my recent adventures by reading this post! Your turn, tell me about your adventures…what you’ve done or what you may be planning to do. Do those dreams ever just scare you a little? How have you felt when you accomplished something you’ve never done?

 

 

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Monday Musings

Hello World! What a week it’s been. We just wrapped up Thanksgiving here in the states ( sorry my Canadian friends, I know your turkey and pumpkin pies are a distant memory now 😉 ) and I’m left wondering why it whirled by so fast.

All in all it was a good week. There was shopping to be done and food to be prepped for the big day. I always admire those perfectly set, Norman Rockwell style pictures I see of some families meals and I’m over here figuring the best way to feed a lot of people before the turkey starts chillin’ up.

Really though, it’s the people that are there that make it what it is, right? No one is concerned over the plate or glass. People want to feel comfortable, enjoy good food and better dessert and watch some football 😉

Food, laughter, more food, pie.

Thanksgiving is easy ( mostly) it’s all about the food. You don’t have to buy gifts, or wrap or worry about parties. You just throw down a bunch of tasty dishes and let people at it.

 

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Pie. I made this a few days before Thanksgiving to see if it was any good. Well, needless to say it made it to the Thanksgiving menu. I’ll try and add recipe at the end

Of course Thanksgiving weekend is also my kick off for Christmas. It’s time to wrap up all my Fall decorating items, and start Christmas decorating. I love being able to create beautiful areas to look at through out my home so it takes me a good part of the weekend to get it set up. I just love creating magic others appreciate.

Christmas makes me still feel like a kid 😛 

One of the “traditions” we enjoy is going to a festival our town hosts every year called “Dickens on Main”.  Sometimes you can get a little shopping in ( not easy with loads of extra people in the stores) and it’s fun to catch up with people and buy some of the tasty street vendor snacks… like Kettle Korn.

If you don’t know what that is, it’s popcorn that’s sweet with a hint of salt. It’s perfect when it’s crisp, steaming and hot from the huge metal kettle they cook it in.

They also have a snow machine…. yeah…. that’s what happens when you live in south Texas… you gotta make the stuff and shoot it through a machine.

Unless… unless…. it’s one of those very rare moments that came to us last December. We got real, real snow.

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How gorgeous is this ???

Anyway, I don’t hold out any hope we will see that this year so I have to live vicariously through last year.

I promise to share more fun Christmas recipes, pics and fun ideas in another post : )

Once decorating is done I can focus on shopping and Christmas cookies.. and candy… and cookies…

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A sneak Christmas peak……

And that is why I keep running and cycling….

Oh. Speaking of that…. I may or may not have mentioned I had a duathlon coming up… 😉  which was last weekend… I have so much in my head to still process out over that event. Stay tuned for a post this week on it. I’ve been dragging my feet waiting for a few race pics to come in to add to my post.

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I love picking up my race pack and a new number. Never, ever wear the shirt till you actually own the race 😉
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Early morning warming up settling pre-race nerves. That finish line looming behind me. The weather did an unexpected shift into cold, wet and windy.

Anyway, I have an entire duathlon recap post planned so stay tuned for that this week 🙂

I will say, I always have such a euphoria at finishing, followed by a let down that what I’ve been working towards is now over.

What do I do now? What’s the next “thing”?  I will be pondering that in the days ahead.

Speaking of days ahead….

I am almost finished with all my decorating. I have plans to do some shopping and (hopefully) finding a few perfect gifts this week.

Why does it seem like once Thanksgiving is over you are ushered on the Christmas bus at full speed ahead?

Every year I fight against that and try to just focus on things that matter and remember what the season is about.

Seeing people fight over electronic devices and TV’s and boxes of cheap made in China items piled everywhere isn’t what I want Christmas to be about.

I want to embrace the peace, the joy, the love of the season and I try to offer that where I go, even if I sometimes have to chew on my lip to behave.

Now let’s talk about some food….

First just some words of advice. If you feel like you “over did it” eating this past week, leave it and move on.

Get back to normal eating and your purposeful exercise.  That is enough. Please don’t think you can “work off” food you ate.  All you will do working out harder is maybe hurt yourself or make yourself sore so you want to not workout for a few days.

Don’t take on guilt for what you feel you over did on. That isn’t what the day is about. Guilt and food are two words that shouldn’t go together. You can read more about that in my post here…..  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/07/food-and-guilty-feelings/

And below I’ll share a few things I made for Thanksgiving…..

 

 

 

All of these recipes made an appearance at my Thanksgiving table.  I’m such a sucker for desserts haha. Of course I also had the traditional pumpkin and pecan pies as well.

Other popular items of course are fresh green beans and a jalapeno corn casserole that I’ve had to literally triple up on the recipe ( grown men children devour it haha)

Ok your turn! What do you like best about Thanksgiving ? Favorite food?  Christmas is coming…do you think the commercialism is pushed on us?  How do you embrace a joy and peace in a time where people seem to be moodier and less than happy?

Exercise For Dummies

So I was bouncing around a lot of ideas for a new post (there are many to be had) I draw from so many places for inspiration. I’m often left looking at an over arching question of “what do my readers need?”

As much as I love writing from the trenches of life, I know if you take your time to read you wanna walk off with something that has encouraged you, motivated you, inspired you or educated you in some way.

One of my most popular posts, Healthy Eating For Dummies   https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/09/05/healthy-eating-tips-for-dummies/      was the simple kind of education topic that people seemed to need. This was driven by talking to friends, and seeing posts from others that made me realize there’s so much in the health/fitness world that makes things seem hard and complex when in reality, they don’t need to be.

People often think if they are going to start exercising, it should be an all out, full speed, into what ever they are chosing to do without giving much thought to the fact they are in a body that isn’t used to that kinda work.

What happens then?

Usually, the day or two after, they are so sore they can’t move and the mere idea of going back to it makes the shudder.

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If you haven’t been exercising, an all out approach is simply not smart.

Go Big or Go Home

I was scrolling through Pinterest one day ( follow me there) I may or may not have been looking for delicious chocolate recipes….

My newsfeed is a weird combination of wicked desserts they show me, and fitness plans to make me look like a MMA fighter.

I wanna have both please  😉

Anyway, there was this one that literally was a series of moves that totaled over 500 reps of several exercises.

The subtitle said get ready to wipe the sweat from your face or something like that.

What just stopped me in my tracks was the sheer craziness of it. Even as fit as I think I am, that would’ve been crazy.

I want to walk the next day 😛

Yeah there’s probably one or two people who’d go in and tackle it. Honestly though for  the average person it’s aimed at, makes it dangerous, not smart.

It’s why I’m kinda not impressed with the current trendy “boot camps”

Why?

Because if you’re getting up one morning all fired up to start and “today is the day!” you decide the fitness journey begins, you will honestly hurt yourself attempting such a workout. Those environments although they modify, often are conducive with people working beyond what their current physical abilities really are because they will try and keep up with the guy ( or girl) next to them.

It’s so important to know where you are, what you’re starting point is, what (if any) physical limitations you have, and work from there. Literally that has to be the place you begin to build from.

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Haha this is why you build a fitness base

 

And don’t feel bad about it or worry about it.

We all have our starting points. Consider it your base to your fitness foundation.

Get ready!

First, if you have any health considerations or concerns, talk to your doctor before you begin.

From that point, determine what goals you have or what you want to accomplish. We are all different in what we want to do and where our interests are.

Do you want to train for a 5k? Have dedicated time at the gym several days a week? Be able to walk around the block without getting winded?

Whatever it is, set a goal that can keep you focused.

There are so many activities to choose from but walking is something anyone can start at any time.

All doctors can support the idea of walking and often encourage their patients to do so. All you need is some good shoes and discipline to take yourself out and do it.

Walking is really a good, safe, and easy way to ease into fitness activities. You can adjust your pace as you feel stronger and you can lengthen distance as you get comfortable with your current distance.

Make sure your goals are clear, realistic, and concise.

The biggest key to failure and not keeping at it is starting off to aggressively early on then not sticking with it in the long run.  Your main goal is to build new habits you can stick with and that is done by going slow and steady.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/02/28/the-tortoise-and-hare-weight-loss-approach/

How much is enough?

It’s recommended you get in 30 minutes of brisk aerobic activity, 5 days a week for over all health.  This includes things like running, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, dancing etc

To help with weight loss, more may be required.

Don’t under estimate that even small amounts in a day are beneficial to your health and wellness.

The more fit you become, the more you will most likely feel challenged to do. Don’t be afraid to extend your goals as you improve.

Aim for balanced fitness.

When I began my health and fitness journey, ( wow this is my anniversary month!) I started walking each day, about 2 miles. Eventually, I started running parts of it. At some point I turned into a runner ha.

But one thing I’m glad I learned early on is doing activities that work, train, and condition all of my body. Certain activities involve more muscle groups than others. Neglected, these can become weak areas in our body due to neglect of not using them as intensely as others.

It was on days I couldn’t run outside that I started doing strength training.

Let’s take a quick look at what these different activities are and how they can help us.

Cardio: It’s the activity people complain about the most because you have to work hard enough to get your heart and lungs really moving and well, that makes people uncomfortable. Mainly ’cause it makes them realize they are internally out of shape.

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Start by doing an aerobic activity, like walking or running, for a sustained 20-30 minutes, four to five times a week. To ensure you’re working at an optimum level, try the “talk test”: Make sure you can carry on a basic level of conversation without being too winded. If you can sing a song, you’re going to easy.

Strength conditioning: I find this to be so important in supporting my other activities. Not only that, I can lift a sofa or heavy cabinet if I’m called upon 😉

Start by doing one set of exercises targeting each of the major muscle groups.  Start by using a weight at which you can comfortably perform the exercise eight to 12 times in a set. When you think you can handle more, gradually increase either the weight, the number of repetitions, or number of sets. To maximize the benefits, do strength training at least twice a week( ladies this is SO important for us! You want to keep your muscle mass as you age and weights are where it’s at. Not only that, muscles look cool 😉 )

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Never work the same body part two days in a row.

Flexibility training: This can be static stretching but I prefer some yoga to help keep me flexible and to help my overall mobility for life and my other activities. You not only want to stay flexible but mobile, meaning a complete full range of motion in your body.

Implementing all of these components will help keep you strong and fit no matter what activity you choose.

In summary…

Find what you love, know your starting fitness level, start slow and gradually build on where you are.

Set small, concise goals to aim for.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

Make exercise a habit for life.

Don’t over do in the beginning.

Celebrate all your new victories!

If you have a developed exercise program, what tips or tricks helped you stay with it?

 

 

Monday Musings

Hello world! In the words of an old Staind song…. “it’s been awhile….”  since I’ve offered something up.  I’m still here and per usual, got stuff on my mind.

First of all, here in Texas we’ve had an unusually high amount of rain and overall wet stuff for what seems like weeks now… which can feel like…eternity….

Cloudy, rainy, foggy days seem to literally suck my creativity out of me for some reason. Not just writing, but with my furniture projects too.  Am I the only one who gets derailed when the weather is awful?

Last week it was wet and cold. I layered up and took off for a 4 mile run while the rain had seemingly stopped for awhile. Well, stopped till I was about half through then the skies opened up.

I just kept going. I was already out and semi wet from the misty air, might as well finish and get it done.

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This photo doesn’t reflect the fact my clothes are all wet 😛

 

Ah, then I returned to find no power which meant no hot shower  and a chilly house to come back to.

Cold. Wet. Hungry.

Good times.

It just felt wonderful to be out, moving, even if it was cold and wet. There’s no guarantee of the weather the day of the duathlon next month ( which we’ll discuss more in a bit) so I try and suck it up and train in the awful weather too.

Other things happening in November….

Here in the states, it will be time for our elections. We have a tremendous freedom, privilege and responsibility to vote for those we feel can lead and represent us best. I saw a sign out on my bike ride today encouraging voters to vote a certain way to support a parties “Agenda”.  Guess we’ve all got an agenda but we really need to vote for those who hopefully have a less self serving agenda.

Please, make it a priority to go to the voting booth and exercise your right to use your voice.

Oh… and football….

Football is back in full swing and having a family with lots of men, well, needless to say it’s a standing party every Sunday and some week nights too.  Even now as I’m writing, I can hear the cheers, yelling and excitement of them watching the game.

I should mention, my kids who are now adults, several married with kids of their own, have chosen to live close by.. And when I say close I mean they walk over from their house to mine.  We’ve been blessed with land and they have chosen to stay close.

I don’t take that for granted as I know for many, they only see kids and grandkids a few times a year.

My home becomes a place of controlled chaos, kids, toys, dogs, food and stuff every where during this time.  I’m not as much worried about trying to keep a spotless house as I am making sure they all always feel welcome and want to hang out here.

Those are the simple things that make life good, right?

Now about that duathlon…..

it’s less than a month out. November 18 it’s going down and it’s only my second time so I hardly feel like a pro at it.

And because of that, it’s exactly why it was back on my radar as soon as I finished my first one. There is so much room to grow and improve my game because well, any time you are juggling multi sports, it just gets more intense and there’s a whole lot more involved. It’s not “just” running or “just” cycling… it’s both and both demand hard work.

I like a challenge what can I say?

Here’s the deal though. This year, life has been different. I don’t feel like I’ve had the extra time to do “more” training.  The weather has been less than ideal for months now which in the name of safety has cancelled many outdoor workout sessions. I do have a “Plan B” which is indoor strength training or rowing or boxing or a combination of it all but it’s not the same as putting those miles in.

I am working several days during the week with my son so that wasn’t planned and although he knows I need to get my training in before I come, I don’t have a lot of extra time for doing more.

On top of that a couple weeks ago my leg started acting up. I can’t say it’s my knee, but more like on the outside of it.

Like where did this come from??   I do NOT have time for any of these kind of shenanigans.

Properly warming up it tends to not be to bothersome… but it’s there.

Saturday I finally got to get back on the road for a 4 mile run. With the weather and my schedule it had been a week since I had been able to run so I let myself go pretty easy for half of it.

It was in the last half mile that I really started feeling it… and then the overwhelming emotion of what I was training to do…. and then the tears started falling.

My gosh have you ever tried running and crying ? It is not a good combination.

I have to say, endurance sports bring out an emotion in me that I had never experienced before I started doing them.

The tears can come from anger over a situation I can’t control, frustration when I want to do better,  to falling with joy when I do something I didn’t think I could do. Like the very first time I rode up this massive, massive hill.

I just can’t stop it from happening but have to rein it in so I can keep doing what I’m doing ’cause you know, crying and breathing to support my exercise don’t go well together.

Last year, as I crossed the finish line for the duathlon, the tears were there. The poor guy guiding me in and directing me off course as I finished was all “Are you ok? Are you hurt?” I assured him I was fine but the enormity of just finishing something I had worked so hard for, sacrificed so much for, invested myself in ways I never thought possible just washed over me. It is an emotional experience I can’t explain.

I had done it.

But the tears falling during my run on Saturday were ones of frustration, momentary self doubt, angst over the worry of an injury so close to the race, and the general feeling of “what the hell am I doing??”

This is a state championship race. Most of the athletes are college age young adults. No I don’t compete directly against them but they make up a huge part of their field.

The course is listed as the toughest in the state, and it is.  I cannot imagine even attempting it without some real training under me.  It’s brutal.

And maybe that’s where I am, knowing all these things.

Me, a middle aged wife, mom, grandmother in the mix of these young athletes at the top of their game.

Me, just beginning to dabble in multi sport events, but loving the challenge of it, yet feeling like I have so much yet to learn, surrounded by those who seem so experienced with it.

So many thoughts running rampant through my head as I finished my run with my leg reminding me it was there.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s good to have some feelings of inadequacy with such a big event.

Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m strong and capable. Physically, I know I can grind it out. I just went out and rode the whole course today and topped it with a mile run.

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Smiling after 21 miles on the bike and a mile run on Sunday

Will it be in a time I want? Only race day will really reveal that.

Saturday I wore my t shirt I got last year for finishing ( that’s the only t shirt I’ll ever collect, the finisher one) and I got to thinking that I had earned the right to wear that little shirt.

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It represented months of work, sacrifice, early mornings, aching muscles, learning new things, training in cold, rain and heat, tears, and more sacrifice.

I earned that shirt and in the same way, I’ve earned the right to be heading back there again.

I’ve learned a few things you can only learn in events with the transition areas so I’m hoping to tighten my time down there.  I know the course. I know the freaking hard parts and the places I can “briefly” recover before hitting more hard places.

I don’t know what the weather will be like or other random factors.

I do know I can get my mental game locked in tightly, protect my body as best as I can and keep it healthy and go that day ready to take no prisoners.

I really would like to scoop up first in my AG again.

Regardless, I’ll be there, as ready as I can mentally and physically ready to do “My” best, not worrying about anyone else and what they are doing. I’m fiercely competitive so that will add to my fire too.

I’ve earned the right to be there and I’m ready to what I’ve trained for all these months and that will have to be enough.

Processing these things out before an event seems to be how I roll.  Does anyone else relate to that?

And of course before I leave you…..

Food. This weather has definitely been about comfort foods. I’ll share a recipe everyone has gone crazy over and it’s soooo easy.

FYI I subbed greek yogurt for sour cream… less fat… more protein.

https://www.plainchicken.com/2009/01/creamy-chicken-casserole.html

Now tell me about your week. What’s new out there with all of you? Anyone training for an event? Do you have any favorite comfort foods?

Things No One Told Me About Exercise

Exercise. It’s one of those subjects that when the topic comes up, people delicately shudder and walk off as if you’ve mentioned the plaque or some other horrible ill.

There are jokes made about pain and sweat and how hard it is.

There are comments about how “they should start to do something” or their “doctor told them to” or “my friend is trying to get me to go with them” and many other similar thoughts.

We can be challenged, made to feel guilty, or completely ignore the idea.

For some, just the mere thought of having to move their bodies in purposeful exercise makes them sweat.

Honestly, I was in a similar boat a few years ago.

Then one day, like many people are, I was at a doctor appointment  for my yearly check up.  When he asked me what I did for exercise I told him I “used” to go for little walks but hadn’t done it in a long time. He encouraged me to do something, to at least get back into walking and to try and drop a few pounds.

I literally left his office that day, went home, took my first walk and pretty much never stopped after that.

fun and games

 

It wasn’t all fun and games.

I didn’t skip out and dive into my walks happy. No. I grumbled over it. I lamented being fat and “having” to exercise. ( gosh have I learned a lot since then) I hated being hot and I would’ve preferred staying in and doing something else.

I wanted to come up with reasons not to do it, but I’m kinda stubborn and when I get into something I get determined to make it work.

Yet somehow in all of the talk about the “how’s” and “why’s” for exercise, there’s a whole lotta things that never get mentioned.

Exercise IS hard.

In the beginning it feels like… death. You wonder why on earth you signed up for this fresh hell and how is it really gonna benefit you? Where are the results already?

Seriously, I’d dutifully go for my 2 mile walk and want, ya know, instant results, for my efforts.

Honestly though, I always did feel mentally better after I did it, so there’s that.

Exercise reminds you that you are really outta shape.

Admit it. Who hasn’t gone up a flight of stairs, tried to run for a short distance, or even gone for a brisk walk without breathing like a freight train and feeling like your heart is gonna come out of your chest.

Good times.

Yet I never got the memo that those were some of the awesome side effects I could encounter when I decided to pursue exercising.

I hated that feeling ’cause it did tell me I needed to work on what was inside of me as well as what was on the outside.

Let’s not forget  the other awesome side effects of looking like a red ripened tomato ’cause your blood is wildly rushing and you have sweaty hair plastered to your face.

You ache and feel muscles you never knew you had.

No wonder people run away from exercise.

Don’t do what you hate.

If I had a chocolate bar for the times I’ve had people come to me asking about exercise activities to do but they start with… “Ok, well like, I reallllyyy hate running. I mean, I know YOU like it and all but for me…well..no.”

I simply tell them, well then, don’t run.

Hey I never imagined I’d turn into a runner. That stuff is hard. But somehow, in some weird way, I started doing it and before I knew it… I was running.

I won’t lie. There’s a pleasure and pain pay off to it, but it’s always fiercely rewarding so I’m kinda loathe to give it up 😉

Find something you can enjoy and look forward to and then become the biggest expert at it you can. It’s that simple and it’s the best way to stick with it.

It eventually WILL pay off.

It will. Trust me. It won’t pay off after 9 days or maybe even a month, but it will. But long before you may see physical changes, you will mentally feel better. Going for purposeful exercise can clear your head, help you problem solve, and make you feel better overall. It’s a great day to unwind from your day or start it. I prefer and have turned into a morning workout girl for a variety of reasons.

Mornings are when people typically want/need almost nothing from me so I can take that time. I also feel like it starts my day in an energetic positive way… even if I may still be rubbing sleep out of my eyes why the sun comes up behind me. I am also smart enough to know it is easier to have excuses later in the evening than morning so I just make it my first priority.

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Shhhh is there something behind me? How I love starting my day

 

No matter what time you choose know you are making an investment in yourself and it will have pay offs.

You’ll actually start to look forward to it.

Really, you will. Once you’ve built it into a new habit it will become easier to incorporate it in your day and you’ll come to actually crave that time, even when you know it will be hard and it will be work.

You won’t mind that because you will come to understand that it makes you feel good and that’s a pretty nice side effect to hard work.

I honestly schedule appointments and other activities around making sure I have time for my training and some moments to get cleaned up and human looking  after I’m done . This is as important as anything else in my day and  I make no apologies for putting it on my agenda.

You shouldn’t either.

Some things won’t feel so hard.

Really. In the beginning when you are gasping for air like a fish out of water and your heart is pounding you may think you’ll never adapt.

You will.

Your body will begin to do all the miraculous things it can and make adaptations so the work “feels” easier but the reality is you are getting stronger. You’ll be able to walk or run longer, lift more and as you make progress you can ( and should) keep pushing on for more that feels hard again.

Years ago when I started doing a little lifting I had these cute 5 lb weights.

Yes, for real. ( I’d never let anyone get away with that now 😉 )

Anyway, I decided I’d make a big move up to 8 lbs. at the time, I felt it a little more. When that started feeling like nothing after a million times, I made a huge move to 15 lbs. ( go big or go home right?? haha)

I won’t lie. That was work. I could barely do 6-8 reps without deciding it was enough. ( girl arms)

I worked those weights a lot. I did what I could do and when I felt like I could add “just one more rep” before my arm fell off, I did it.

Obviously, I camped there for awhile gradually building in sets of high reps that kept me feeling it.

A while back, I realized the 15lb weights felt like the previous ones, like easy, no effort.

I got the small barbell, tossed on about 25 lbs and oh yeah, I’m feeling it again.

Seriously, the first time I could barely squeak out  3-5 reps before it was fail  ( meaning I couldn’t curl it one more time)

I just worked that in each time… I’d push for one more rep…

Now, I’m kinda proud to say I can do 3 sets of 8 before my arms are yelling at me. Even though I use heavier weight for other moves, the 25 is for single arm work and my arms are definitely earning their muscles haha

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Strength training isn’t just about lifting stuff, it’s about being strong for the other activities I’ve come to love.

 

I’m serious… keep at what you do… no matter how small it seems… and build on it. You’ll get stronger and the work in some ways, can feel easier.

It can really build your confidence

So you’re thinking, “well, I am a confident person without working out”. Yeah, I was too.  But when you start exercising and putting your body through vigorous work, it changes and you get stronger and you’re doing things other people tease and make jokes about, it will build your confidence even more.

When you set goals, sometimes bigger than you foresee being able to do, go through training, sacrifice, sweat, tears, exhaustion and a whole list of fun things, you’ll get it.

Train for and run a marathon, it will give you the confidence you can do anything. Trust me.

You’ll meet amazing people doing what you do.

So, I’m a little bit.. social.

I’m mentally seeing my hubby reading this choking, reading that last line to which he would snort and say… “A little?!?”

Ok well maybe, quite a bit.

Turning into an athlete certainly has brought me into different circles, and in those circles, meeting some amazing and talented people.

A few years back when I was selected to be in Runners World, “Runners Body” edition, https://sassyfitnesschick.com/runners-world-body-edition-feature/   I was privileged to share the pages with some amazing athletes scattered all across the U.S.  These were people I would’ve never encountered otherwise. After the magazine hit the market (Dec 2012) thanks to the world of social media many of us connected.  Many of us to this day, are connected and cheering on each others accomplishments.

Locally, I love knowing people who perform in similar sports as I do and having that common ground to discuss our fields of interest ( this often saves the sanity of our loved ones who may or may not be weary of hearing of our times, our negative running splits, or what technique is best for releasing worked muscle groups 😛 )

Knowing these people remind me I can always strive for more, to get more from myself, and to keep setting bigger goals.

My Ironman friends… well… are you even human???

Maybe… someday… who knows.

All that to say, you can meet some interesting people when you get out there.  And if you’re semi- social like I am… well it goes together like peanut butter and jelly 😉

Energetic. You’ll get more energy.

I will admit. That was a hard sell in the beginning. How… how… could I get more energy when I could barely drag my carcass off the sofa to go do something ?

This didn’t happen over night. However, the more I did, the more energy I seemed to get. It’s like exercise became the breeding ground for more energy.

Weird, I know, but it happens.

Just start, it will come.

That whole healthy thing.

Ok, I knew intellectually, before I started working out, that it had some health benefits. However, I had no experience with it.  This takes a little time but when you start eating better and exercising, it has positive results on your body, inside and out.

My doctor tells me each year at my annual check up my labs are boring and normal, which I think is a good thing.

My good cholesterol level is off the charts past “normal” to which he tells me is generated from all the exercise I do.

There’s a win.

My resting heart rate is usually dancing around in the 40-50 bpm range, thanks cardio and a whole lot of endurance training.

The things I do in my daily life are easy and I have strength to do things on my own and not need “help”.

Let’s not forget how exercise also constantly is generating new cells and growth which many believe is the best anti-aging medicine.

Find some posts below I’ve written on this topic….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/24/exercise-and-aging/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/24/aging-and-the-fountain-of-youth/

Have I sold you yet?

I hope, I’ve presented some valid ideas for making you want to build your own exercise plan.

I’ve written this article in a somewhat playful way to share with you things I never really knew or understood about exercise.

It IS important. It’s not just for weight loss but is good for our bodies. We’ve been made for movement. Find a post on that idea below…..

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/28/no-exercise-required/   and it’s valuable for our total health and well being, inside and out.

Do yourself a favor and start. Start small, start somewhere but get going. You can thank me later 😉

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After workout… when you can cheer for yourself for getting it done… and yes, you can 😉

 

Your turn…. how do you view exercise? Or how have you viewed it? Do you appreciate the benefits of it ?

 

 

 

 

 

There Is No “Try”

There are many words or slang in the English language that either annoy me, bother me or trouble me.

I thought if I had to see or read a post with “Bae” in it one more time, I’d vomit. If there was ever a contest for dumbest slang words, I’d nominate that one.  There are of course others that could make the list.

Then there are clever words that were kinda amusing as I watched my daughter in law use the word “clutch”

She would use it in a situation and ask my son or myself, “did I use it right?”  that alone was entertaining.

( for the record, it means exactly what you need, exactly when you need it)

Slang.

Then there are normal words that trouble me when I go to write them ’cause I feel like a first grade kid again having to think them through….. “Am I spelling it right???”

Restaurant, Wednesday, February, Rhyme, Rhythm and a plethora of others make me slow down my typing skills. ( for the record, I just had to very carefully, methodically, type those out 😉 )

And they let me have a blog………

But there is one tiny little, easy to spell, almost innocuous word that can always trouble me.

Try.

 

star-wars-do-or-do-not-there-is-no-try-yoda-quote

 

It’s defined as …. “To make an effort or attempt to do something

Now you’re probably sitting there tossing down your morning coffee rubbing sleep from your eyes wondering why I’m over here hating on such a tiny word.

Try.

Maybe because when I hear the word used it comes along with conditions.

I’ll try to be there…..

I’ll try to get the time off…..

I’ll try to call…..

I’ll try to make the meeting….

I’ll try to come by…..

I’m going to try and go to the gym….

I’m going to try and get up earlier to workout….

I’m going to try to eat better…..

Are you seeing it? when you use the word “try” you’re leaving yourself an out, a way to commit but still escape responsibility or follow through if you decide you’d rather not.

If someone tells me something and they use the word “try” in it, I’ve already dismissed them as not being serious about what’s being discussed.

They are giving themselves a way out.

They are going to “attempt” or “make an effort” to do something but there’s a strong probability it won’t happen.

Hey, I’m not pointing fingers. I’ve used it before too. Maybe that’s why I can say this, maybe I see it a bit more clearly.

Do or Don’t.

Do or don’t. Skip the “try”.

Yes, I understand it requires commitment to go in one direction or another but at least it’s decisive.

But let’s take it out to our commitment to ourselves.  When we say we are going to “try” and eat better, start an exercise plan, go to the gym, get to the doctor etc. we are giving ourselves an out, a way to escape from the self inflicted torture we are setting ourselves up for.

Exercise can be work, hard work.

Losing weight involves making different choices and learning to eat better foods and perhaps leaving some behind.

Going to the doctor who is going to tell us that we are over weight and need to lose some for our health convicts us. Well, hopefully it does and you listen and take steps to change things.

The whole process promises to make us… uncomfortable.

No wonder we throw in the word try when it comes to lifestyle changes.

To try something is to accept the possibility of failure. If you set out to do something, the possibility of failure doesn’t enter your mind.

I remember after I had finished my ( I think, third, half marathon) the thought came to me that now was the time for a full.

At first, I dismissed it as craziness and endorphins from running my best half yet.

The idea persisted. But gosh, that’s a full 26.2 miles of hoofing it along on my own two feet!

That’s a pretty long way.

It didn’t take much for me to commit to it. I knew it was time. I knew I was ready.

I signed up and found the training plan I wanted to use.

It hit me one day not long into my eagerness to pursue this new adventure.

The dialog went something like this….

“What, and I mean WHAT are you thinking?? 26.2 miles!” ( this would be my logical brain speaking)

My free spirit , not sane part of my brain responded, “Yeah, I know. I get that. It’s pretty long. I can do this.”

Logical brain… “you’ve not really thought this through. You are trying something you’ve never done. It’s long. It’s hard. What if you fail? What if you can’t do it?”

That brought me up.

I was trying something I’d never, ever considered in my life. I must be insane. Who signs up for a 26.2 mile run???

What if I couldn’t do it? What if logical brain really WAS right?

You know what I did?

I stomped logical brain down, never let myself consider again that I couldn’t do it or would fail at it, trained my butt off, and ran my first marathon that year on one of the hottest November days Texas had seen.

It was brutal. But I finished with the goal to do one again the next year.

I had never been more physically wasted, tired, drained ( physically and emotionally) ever in my life.

It was exhilarating.

Taking on and training for a marathon, it gave me the confidence I could do anything, that I can try anything and that I can take on the world.

I did another marathon, and then a 50k. If you’ve followed me for awhile then you know I also have gone on to do a duathlon and am training for my second this year.

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When you remove “try”  you can do big things

I would have accomplished none of that if I hadn’t been determined and just set out to do it.

I never allowed the idea of failure to come into my mind again.  Training and then doing it made me victorious no matter what. It really comes down to our “state” of mind, what we believe, what we focus on.

I never approached it as I’m going to “try” because that would give me an out, a way to say, “hey, this is hard, I’m old, I don’t have what it takes, but at least, I tried!”

No. I know I would’ve hated myself for caving into such things.

I would challenge you to remove that word when you approach new or challenging goals or plans in your life.

Contemplating a new exercise or a new goal? Maybe you are going to find healthy recipes or join a class.

Think of how you use  the word “try” in general, but specifically when it comes to new challenges. Don’t allow “try” to be your escape hatch.

With a different perspective you might find yourself removing obstacles and doing amazing things you never thought you’d accomplish.

 

Have you thought like that before? Have you thought you’d “try” something fully knowing you might not commit to the process?

 

 

Monday Musings

Hello world and welcome to another edition of Monday Musings!

It’s been a crazy weekend and as I write this ( late Sunday evening) it feels amazing to finally sit and get comfy and chill for awhile.

I’m listening to thunder in the distance and the sound of rain falling outside on my deck. Heaven knows we really need the rain here so I’m grateful for that. I also kinda like the sound of evening storms. Do you ?

We hosted my grandsons 6th birthday party this weekend so we were all pretty happy the rain held off all Saturday for his party. We had one of those huge inflatable water slides and probably didn’t need any extra water to go with it 😉

On a side note… you know it IS true…. grandkids are all the amazing things your friends always whispered to you before you had them.. but you thought they were lying or crazy or some other adjective.

Anyway, we did the party, he had a blast and that’s what matters.

I still have an obscene amount of balloons gracing my dining room….

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I finally got some time to work on some of my projects for my space at the Vintage store. If you missed my post on my journey into a vintage business, find it here.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/25/the-journey-of-opening-a-vintage-business/

I love doing small things to fill in at my shop. I scooped this little wood caddy up on a local garage sale site this week.

It was kinda…. well…. sad… but I was already envisioning it’s future beauty….

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Pathetic, right?

But then… just give me a little time with something and then this happens…..

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Does it even look the same now ??

Look inside… I love this…

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Uh…yeah it was a pain in the butt cutting out those squares but so worth it 🙂

I think it came out super cute… such a bright cheery little thing now compared to its former self 🙂

Oh and I’m pretty excited to have had several people contact me to do custom orders for them. Meaning, they have a piece they want me to do some wizardry on.

One girl has a 7 foot buffet. For the love of heaven… nothing small….

I had been chatting with her answering questions, looking at pics and she messaged one night asking if I had an estimate together. I took a deep breath, finished it off, and sent it thinking she’d either decline my price or take it.

The next morning her message simply read… “When can I bring it by?”

Ha… I guess I got the job.

My weekends need to be productive ’cause I’ve kinda signed on to help my son at his shop for awhile since the woman who typically is up front is off gallivanting on a month plus long vacay.

Which means I’m like… a working outside the home kinda woman…  most of the week.

Gah.

So my mornings start with me hitting the floor early to get my workout in, showering and eating yogurt and berries while I get ready at Ninja speeds so I can get in to the shop at a reasonable time.

My “boss” knows I’m training for a duathlon so he’s willing to work with my training schedule 😉

Oh yeah speaking of that…..

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I already rode up this sucker, now the fun part 😉

How about a look down one of the hills I ride on the regular?  and don’t be jealous of my snappy Cannondale bike.

So I get some training in before I go to work…..

My son has a small engine repair shop. I run the front taking in orders, checking people out, answering phone and doing anything else he throws at me.

Like helping him lift a heavy generator into the back of a truck.

Those “Practice”  squats and deadlifts  in my workouts do have pay offs for real life 😛

I had forgotten how… “fun”…. dealing with the public can be in customer service ways or how people can have such high demands and well, gosh, they can be horribly rude.

One customer… “well, I’m not happy. I had this in here for repair recently and it doesn’t seem to be working now.”

Me: “Ok, well when was it in? If it’s recent then we can fix it under warranty, no problem. ”

Customer… “yeah it was in March I think.”

Me: ” Uh… so you mean like about 6 months ago….”

( I always use my smile when I’m dealing out an obvious statement to Mr. Customer)

Then you find out they were using it and ran over a rock or a stump…. like no.. we are not responsible for fixing your stuff for free when you trash it, just because you had it in here 6 months before…

And yes, yes they do expect that.

Or they want stuff fixed but don’t want to pay for what needs to be done, like fix it for free or do just enough to make it work but not do the actual work to fix problem so they can come back and complain.

The other day this man was ranting about a charge for a pick up and delivery fee ( which is the cheapest in town for this service) he’s… older… one day he’s asking me if I’d come cut his grass and telling me he’d make me zucchini bread and the next he’s ranting about the charge and how he’s gonna write negative reviews on us and blah, blah, blah, I just casually tell him no worries we’ll be fine, and may I please have his card number?

Threats are always great too.

When he called back to ask about the exact charge to his card, I told him, as I asked if he’d like a receipt I heard a weird noise and realized he’d just simply hung up on me.

Ah yes. The world of customer service.

I’m constantly amazed not just working there but out in the rest of the world, how horribly awful people can behave to workers behind the counter….like they have a given right to treat them badly…. just because….

I’ve seen to many people go off on baristas at Starbucks over a drink. Like for real. Even if it’s not right, can’t you be decent, talk nicely, and state the problem?

Didn’t your mommy teach you to be polite and respectful ?

The world would be a nicer place if we all took a deep breath and smiled a little, right?

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Saturday morning… coffee n braids 😉 I love my Starbucks baristas.

 

How has your week been? Any new adventures? Any thoughts on the world of customer service? How do you feel when someone is acting poorly to a person behind the counter?