Before the stockings have been unhung from the chimney with care and the last remnants of wrapping paper have been fished out from under the sofa, it shows up.
Stark, plain, and sucking the joy from the holidays, the diet products appear overnight replacing the cheery Christmas items that were there only days before.
Scales, diet drinks, supplements, pills, potions and more. All of it aimed at consumers who are aware that they have enjoyed their holiday feasting and endless bowls of chocolates, maybe a little to much.
It didn’t take long for things to start showing up on my newsfeed with offers of help by joining groups, or buying secret sauce potions that would magically get rid of Christmas fluff.
If there is one thing that predictably shows up at the start of a new year are diet traps.
I’m not quiet on this topic
I speak out on this quite often, much to the annoyance of some. I am vocal on the topic because the diet industry rakes in millions of dollars a year from people desperate for a miracle fix. This comes often at a high price.
Whether it’s from grocery store shakes, pills, and meal replacments or pricey products from MLM companies making pie in the sky promises, the competition is fierce to collect on those who are desperate to lose weight and get fit.
Some thing’s may work…
Listen, there is a vehicle for everyone that will lead them to success on their weight loss journey. There could be a certain “thing” that works for a person that starts them on a path to success. That, is more rare than not. Most will have good intentions and buy into some program or structured plan ( that is not tailored for their body and specific needs) they will throw money at it, make a go of it for maybe 4-6 weeks before they fall back into their old habits. The only thing lighter being their bank account.
So what works?
As much as I’m “anti-diet” and the whole quackery of the diet industry, I’m very much about sane and practical methods that are sustainable and can be done for your life. These practices are *free* and really require a person to make a daily commitment to small consistent choices. This will lead to weight loss and a sustainable way of living. Oh…and it won’t suck the joy from your life either.
Tips and tricks
There are things you can do that will lead to good habits and building good habits can make positive changes in your life
Move. Every day if possible do some purposeful activity even if it’s a 10 minute walk. Do something for yourself. Challenge yourself to increase your time.
Rest. Often overlooked, getting sleep and having energy for your activities will make you feel good.
Water. Most people come nowhere near drinking water they need that keeps you hydrated and provides crucial fluid to your body. Try to get a glass in first thing in morning, even before your coffee ☕
Intuitive eating. This basically means listen to your body. Hungry? Eat. Hunger satisfied? Stop eating. Not hungry? Don’t eat. We have become so conditioned to eat at specific times without listening to our bodies that we are losing touch with our natural body signals.
Don’t starve. Nothing will derail you faster and send you running back to the Cheetos than depriving yourself of food. Food is fuel and you need a certain amount to operate optimally. You don’t have to starve and be miserable to lose weight.
Eat. Make your daily food intake healthy whole foods as much as possible. Eat balanced meals that incorporate all food groups. Eat foods you like, in moderation. Remember that “listening to your body’ thing 😉 and don’t remove all “treats” from your life. Just be mindful of them and selective on what you do have. Remember a treat is an occasional thing.
Know your triggers. If certain foods trip you up or cause you to binge, don’t have them available. Try to understand the reasons why you eat, basically, what’s your relationship with food? Most of us have deep reasons why we eat and it goes beyond hunger.
Be kind to yourself. Life is a journey. Make your goal of weight loss and fitness a part of your journey. Take one day at a time and remember slow and steady is the best plan to success. Weight loss ( done right) takes time and not “2 weeks”.
Happy New Year kids. What goals do you have this year?
Hey kids! Happy Monday and the start of a new week. Honestly, with this past year, on any given day I’m thinking ” where are we in this week?!”
Please tell me I’m not alone in this….
We’ve been enjoying a milder than usual summer here in south Texas. When I say milder I mean we’ve not had any 100 degree days. And to make things even better we’ve had more rain than we ever see in a Texas summer. Like things are still green! And not crunching under your feet….amazing.
Oh it’s still hot enough and we’ve also got that wonderful humidity to go with it too.
Which makes morning workouts awesome
I had to forfeit my morning walk the other day when unexpected thunderstorms showed up. So I went to my plan b, heading into my own little gym in my garage. But gosh by the time I finished, I looked like I had been out in the rain. Serious sweat fest.
I opted to start with 20 minutes on the elliptical and followed up with 40 minutes strength training. I love mixing up my workouts. Sometimes I start and end with cardio and sandwich strength training in the middle.
I did get out for my power walk the next day. I’ve been increasing my miles and wanted to incorporate these huge hills into those miles. I planned to do a couple sets of them when I got down there, which I did.
The large number on top is what I watch while I’m cooling down. The rate at which it drops back to normal gives me a good idea of my recovery heart rate. Minutes after I took this pic, it had dropped to the 70.
I think when people start an exercise program they aren’t really thinking about how it builds their heart and lungs, which are obviously muscles. Your recovery heart rate gives you a good idea of how your exercise is helping your heart
It is recommended to get a 150 minutes of cardio exercise a week. Are you getting yours?
I believe everyone should have some kind of exercise goals. We all have a starting place from where we can begin working to build our strength and fitness. Recently, I personally found this so true and was so grateful to fall back on a foundation of strength and fitness.
Why you may ask?
Well kids, April 15th I had total knee replacement surgery. I fully plan to write a specific post on my experience with the process, my recovery, and how cool high tech surgery is now days. More than ever was I grateful for all the days I had spent training my body working out and building strength as I leaned into that while my other leg got back on track.
I won’t spend a lot of time on it in this post, yes I’m doing great. I will say I set a goal to do a 18 mile race on my bike, 10 weeks post op, and I did. 😉
So that has been one of the um… more interesting….things I’ve been up to
Then there’s my vintage business
If you’ve followed me awhile, you know I have a business where I flip vintage furniture, among other things. That has grown quite a bit this past year and I’m grateful!
Just one of the many projects I’ve been working on. *** so…many.. projects… ****
Then there’s food
I do have fun exploring new recipes. I made this recently, it always goes over well.
I hope no matter how your day is going, that you will find the good in your day and be grateful. Grateful for the life you have and literally the next breath you take. I hope that you see the good in life and embrace it and you find joy in ordinary moments ❤
So boys and girls, for fun today, I thought we would discuss the benefits of the elliptical machine.
Let me state, I usually prefer to be out on the road and not on machines, but there are times and places for everything.
Sometimes I use it as a warm up for strength training, about 15-20 minutes to loosen my old body up. Sometimes I use it at the beginning and end with weight training in the middle, makes for a nice solid workout.
The other day though, I just felt like slamming out a serious cardio sesh so I did a little over an hour on it.
The thing I love about that? It gives me the same exhausted, sweaty,exhilarating feeling I can get with a solid run.
Which I’ll take, since running is off my plate for now. 😑
It’s not all fun and games
In the comparison of running to the elliptical it works like this for me :
First 10 minutes on it…..”Oh my word, are we done yet? Why am I doing this??”
20 minutes in…..sweat has been free flowing for awhile, I’m keeping a steady pace, thinking “ok maybe I’ll do 30 minutes ”
35 minutes in, all of my favorite metal music in my ear, I’m totally in my zone thinking “hey I’ll just do 45 minutes….”
40 in, “I forgot how amazing this feels, I’ll stop at 50”
Then…..I’m hitting that hour mark….
Sweat in my eyes, blinded by it, heart strongly pumping, breathing hard because I’ve gone all out in the last minutes……
There is something so therapeutic about it, something cleansing and satisfying in the work of it.
Ok…but admittedly I’m a weirdo and you may not get the same sick thrill from it I do.
But can I share some positive benefits of tackling it for any time period?
Benefits of elliptical training
It can aid weight loss. A 30 minute session can burn between 150-400 calories.
It’s low impact. So if you have any joint issues it is a perfect non impact exercise that can pack a good cardio punch.
Offers a whole body workout. Not only using the stepping motion for lower body but using handle levers that work with the upper body give a total body workout.
A big boost for your cardio health. Love it or hate it, cardio exercise benefits your heart and lungs, strengthening them so they can do their work more efficiently with less work. Spending 20 -30 minutes on the elliptical will greatly help your heart.
Improves cardio stamina. A high intensity session of 15 minutes or moderate for 30 minutes will greatly improve cardio stamina. Building yourself up will also allow you to have more stamina in other exercises.
Helps to improve balance and mobility. Elliptical trainers are good for conditioning your body for better balance and mobility.
The Elliptical trainer workout also helps improve blood circulation. Better blood circulation helps maintain oxygen flow to all parts of the body. It boosts immunity, reducing the risk of diseases and chronic sickness. Good circulation also keeps the vital organs healthy and helps improve sleep quality. It also reduces your skin and hair issues.
Spending just 5 minutes on the elliptical machine can help you feel less stressed. That’s because exercising releases serotonin, the “feel-good” hormone. Serotonin has blood pressure-lowering or antihypertensive effects.
Doing low-intensity or moderate-intensity elliptical workout every day can have a positive effect on hypertension. However, you must consult your doctor if you are taking medicines for hypertension or have undergone major surgery.
Elliptical exercise is weight-bearing. This means your muscles and bones need to work to push the pedals. This causes muscle wear and tear, which is good for building stronger muscles and bones. This workout is great for people with osteoporosis and those with a high risk of fracture.
There you have it! Some positive and beneficial reasons to try out and implement an elliptical into your fitness routine.
Now your turn, have you tried one before? What is your take on it?
I’m in the midst of reading a book ( among many other projects) right now. With so many active things to keep me moving, getting still to read is a treat.Not only am I carefully reading through the smart, intelligent writing of this book, I’m also fact gathering for the book review I will write on it. The book is titled “Give Yourself More” by Georgie Fear and K. Aleisha Fetters. ” a science backed six part plan for women to hit their weight loss goals “I had the pleasure of writing reviews for Georgie’s book “Lean Habits For Weight Loss”, both editions. Be sure to check those out in my past posts.What I love about this book so far is the sound truths women need to hear and be reminded of.You are enough. It’s ok to take up space, to be strong and powerful.It’s ok to eat food, real food that is healthy, tasty and nutritious.I’m so tired of seeing ads, sales posts, multi level marketing companies etc telling women the only way to lose weight is to go on a cleanse or fast. That they need to detox their bodies to get healthy. That they have to be miserable, hungry, live off shakes and pre-made who knows what fake foods, or denied of adequate food to lose weight. Really, how fun IS it to be at a party or out to dinner and you are sitting there watching everyone enjoy themselves while you are denying yourself the pleasure of good food? Why when you can enjoy in moderation and balance and not sabatoge your goals, really you can.Ah! I digress.I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m just so dang passionate about this topic.I was talking about exerciseA few years back, I wasn’t on the “exercise is awesome” train. Like many of you I viewed it as a painful chore to get done.Something I “had ” to do to lose weight or to validate myself in some way.Like many of you, I’d determine a day I was starting and I was going to get it done.Once for all, I’d become permanently hooked on it.Then I’d crash and burn a couple weeks into it. Sound familiar to you? I’ve seen far to many people get on social media with a similar agenda. There are so many consistent similarities I can almost see the end before it starts.Why is it like that? Thankfully, I’ve learned a whole lot about myself these past few years and what exercise means to me. I pushed through those initial weeks, then months, and moved to a whole beautiful world on the other side.I love my workouts, I miss them when they don’t happen. I love how they make me feel, mentally and physically. I love the side effects of building a strong body.There are so many wonderful benefits when you stay strong and push through your mental struggles to do it.Oh, the bookYes, I was telling you about what I was reading.The author asked ( me, you, the reader) how we viewed exercise.Did we see it as a form of punishment, something to atone for the foods we ate, something to get done to lose weight? These ideas are geared towards us becoming “less”. To be Smaller, take up less space, be less. We are critical with our bodies picking out flaws or short comings, focusing on what is “wrong” with us instead of celebrating our body for all the awesome things it can do.It was mentioned that as ( women) we’ve lost the ability to enjoy movement, something as simple as a walk in the evening or playing outside with our kids.Our bodies are designed and made for movement.Yet we’ve made it something to dread or a form of punishment for eating the very food our bodies need for fuel.We’ve bought into the ” no pain no gain” mentality. That we must hurt or suffer for it to matter.Not true.A personal perspective During my strength training yesterday I was thinking about how people can view exercise as punishment. I’m long past that and although often “work ” I enjoy and appreciate exercise. I love the feel of my heart beating strongly, the deep breathes from my lungs and the sweat pouring off of me.I was also thinking about progress and appreciating our bodies even if we aren’t happy with something. And I thought about how I can lift things 99% of people around me can’t do.Like my 185 dead lift, or my 110 bench press, or doing butterfly situps with a 35 lb weight plate, and renegade rows with 25lb dumbbells and so much more…. And I thought about how freaking awesome my body is, middle-aged and all, tipping more towards the 60s after my last birthday, but how much stronger and more powerful it is now than it ever has been. And that my friends, is the bomb. 😁The Joy Of Exercise I guess you could say by now I have ( mostly ) 😀 found the joy of exercise. I have found the ability to appreciate it, for how it makes me feel and not use it as a means to the end.So how do you get that? How do you walk that path that turns into consistency and is built into your daily life?* think of activities you truly enjoy and start there. Do you enjoy feeling the evening air on your face after dinner? Go for a walk around the block. The next day do it twice. Think about what you see and feel. Just enjoy the movement of being outside. *Focus on activities that you will be consistent in.*Strive for at least 30 minutes to do your activity, most days of the week.* Be positive about your body, thinking of the ways it is serving you in that activity.* What do you want to get better at? What goals can you set to do that? When I started running nothing made me want to get better at what I was doing than having an event to train for. Since I was my only competition I was always looking for ways to improve my running game.* Don’t use your activites with the idea of weight loss or for punishment for eating. Appreciate your body for all the awesome things it can do for you!* Plan in variety. The more activities you can choose from the less you will be likely to feel bored with constant repetition of the same activity. My physical activities have ranged from running to cycling, rowing, weight lifting, boxing, walking, and the elliptical. Every day I pick a different activity, or activities. Exercise is now, more than ever, important for our mental and physical well being. Love your body, appreciate it, and offer it exercise as a form of self care, not punishment.Tell me, what has been your mindset on exercise ? Punishment for eating or a tool for weight loss? Or an activity to be celebrated and enjoyed?
There are lots of “new” terms being thrown around in the last few months. Some I’ve honestly come to despise….social distancing anyone?
However, one phrase,although not newly coined, has been something overlooked in many lives. “Self care” is something that many have put on the back burner even before the global issue became a concern.
I think self care is even more relevant and important now than ever. With so many forced to stay home a new, weird daily life has formed for many. Our routines are displaced and many of us have tried to maintain normal activities as much as possible.
Yet, sometimes it requires extra effort to make it happen. I’ve heard many say how they are trying to get back in a fitness routine, that life has gotten them off track.
Oh do I understand about fighting back to get in an established routine! My year started off with my husband having cancer surgery mid January which turned into a 36 day stay because of various things. My workouts were hit and miss as my days were in a roll of waking up and heading to hospital and spending the day there. I had no energy to even contemplate it when I got home. I squeezed in workouts where I could and when I could dial up the mental as well as physical energy to do it.
Once he was home ( end of February) we had a couple weeks as we tried to get back to normal. He required some help and care and I was still focused on getting him settled back into home life. Work outs were sparse but I always felt better after.
Then when all the world weirdness started and days were a blur into another it made it a bit harder in some ways. I did however, have one thing going for me in that, I’ve always worked out at home. It meant digging deep into my discipline ( cause motivation can be a fleeting thing) and taking myself out the back door most days of the week.
There is a wonderful beauty of working out in my own little space. Whether I choose to hit the road
or stay in to do strength training or use the elliptical ( my surrogate running for now) I can do it. I’m not bound to someone’s arbitrary rules and my sweat is all that I’m dealing with. Not to mention, I don’t feel a need to look a certain way.
So how do you get back on track
You start. You start somewhere. You determine that you will do something that is positive for you. If you prefer mornings, know the night before what you are doing. Maybe it has to be later in day or after work. Whenever your preferred time of day is, set it to your schedule. You might set out clothes and accessories you need so you see them waiting. Don’t make any excuses to cancel out.
Engage your mind
I often have people tell me they admire my motivation. My response is motivation is fleeting. Yes, you can get motivated to do something but that feeling can quickly leave. Discipline however, that is what often drives me. I’ve disciplined my mind to push into what I know I need to do . Discipline feels powerful and controlled. It is the thing that moves me from merely thinking about it to actually doing it. To get started again, you need to mentally engage yourself .
Do what you love
Doing things I enjoy and that challenge me have kept me at it. If I find myself doing too many days of an activity that is making me feel…restless…I change things up. I always tell people they should have more than one activity, but no matter what they should enjoy those activities. If you hate running, don’t run. Brisk walking can give you lots of good benefits. Get back to the thing that makes you happy and you enjoy.
Take it easy on yourself
As I’ve been pushing back into more athletic activities, I’ve had a few moments of frustration feeling like I’m not where I was like, 6 months ago, and yeah that annoys me. However, I was out on the bike this week and I’ve been hitting really big hills I haven’t seen in awhile and I scaled them just fine so maybe I’m not the weakling I thought I’d been reduced to 😅
No matter what activity you may have gotten off track with, be kind to yourself as you get back to it. You might be surprised that you are in better shape than you thought.
Your self care is important
During these trying days, with conflicting information, disrupted life and schedules, lack of work for many, self care is more important than ever. It may not be about achieving a certain level of fitness as much right now, as it is about your mental care as well. Exercise is one of the best tools to combat depression and anxiety, as well as potentially helping you sleep better and overall feel good about yourself. I find I do my most creative thinking during exercise, as well as problem solving. Self care isn’t selfish, its necessary for you to be healthy inside and out.
How are you doing with self care during these trying times? Have you had a plan or do you need to get on board and get back to what you were doing?
Every single holiday season I can’t help but notice.
Before the last sugar cookie is gone, the stockings are still hung by chimney with care, with the remnants of bows and ribbons still peeping out from hidden places, it has arrived.
What is “it”, you may be wondering?
The commercial reminder that you are “fat, over weight, out of shape and need to do something about it”.
It shows up in the stores where tasty treats used to be days before…. man made, processed food products to make you skinny now fill the aisles and shelves.
Drinks, potions, meal replacement shakes, pressed bars of some kind of concoction, protein this and that added to random food products….you name it…it’s there waiting to help you get skinny and fit.
After all, you cookie glutton, you over did it and need to atone for the sins of your eating.
Ugh! How I hate all of that!
I passed a woman picking up a pack of meal replacement shakes….I had to hold myself back from slapping them out of her hand and telling her not to do it.
Ha…can you imagine? 🤣
I’m passionate, what can I say?
Seriously though, it just makes me sad that so many will make their somber resolutions to get it “right” this year, to finally be successful at losing weight or hitting a new goal, but going about it all wrong.
The wrong way
There is a way that many think is “right” yet it’s almost always guaranteed to fail.
It looks something like this….
New year, time to get on track.
Make a resolute plan.
Eat up all the “bad” food because, hey, I’m dieting and there won’t be ANY fun foods allowed. Who knows when I’ll get to eat it again.
Prepare to diet by greatly restricting your calories in a greater deficit than you require ( this ensures you will be constantly hungry and thinking of food)
Eat tiny boring meals of “diet” type foods ’cause that’s what you’re supposed to do.
Remove any pleasurable foods from your day.
Constantly think of when you can eat again.
Pick up some type of exercise and throw yourself into it.. hard… ( hey does it really matter if your body is not at that fitness level yet? ) you have to work hard and punish yourself for eating and gaining weight.
Daily weigh in letting the scale be your judge and jury. Loving yourself if it gives you what you want, being disgusted if the numbers don’t come up like you hope.
Repeat this process a week, maybe two, losing a couple pounds before running back to your normal life like a comfy old friend.
You resign yourself to always being this way.
The right way
Ok, I was kinda being funny, but the sad part is, this is very much a reality for lots of people.
They have good intentions and want to be successful but just go about it in the wrong way.
What can work? How do you once for all get over the place you’re in?
Keep it simple.
Nothing says you have to do all kinds of hard, crazy, or painful things to reach your health and fitness goals.
Instead, consider this:
Don’t make over blown promises with unattainable goals. Telling yourself you’re going to workout 5 days a week when you haven’t done anything is unattainable.
Saying you will commit to a 5-10 minute walk each day is much more short term and easily accomplished goal.
Instead of “making” yourself eat healthy foods why not experiment with a couple new healthy options that sound appealing to you. Try a new dish or fruit or vegetable. Cut out a sugary drink, eat a little less. Modify portions.
Weigh only once a week with the goal being 1-2 pounds which is sane and reasonable.
Make a single, short daily commitment to yourself, anything that is positive and helpful to your fitness and health goals.
A daily commitment that takes 10 minutes or less is completely doable no matter the kind of day you are having.
Several weeks of keeping simple, daily commitments will show you that you can take steps towards bigger goals and be successful with them.
Simple resolutions will potentially keep you from quitting, empower you, and give you the confidence to move forward with bigger,life changing goals.
Tell me, what approach have you tried to weigh loss and fitness?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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?
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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?
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😉 )
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.
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?
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.
Ah, then I returned to find no power which meant no hot shower and a chilly house to come back to.
Cold. Wet. Hungry.
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.
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.
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.