Monday Musings

Hello boys and girls… and hello Monday.  As I’m writing this ending out the week, I guess I’ll start with our weather and how we’ve been dancing into the 100 degree temps this week.

I should be used to it after living my entire life in the South.

I should be used to going from warm, sunny, pleasant, perfect days that are enjoyable to be  outside, to the weather turning crazy hot in an instant leaving those mild days a memory till fall rolls around.

Maybe I’m mean, but I think, really, the weather reporters don’t need a job when all they do is show a picture of the sun shining all week and the temperatures listed at 100-102.

I mean if you have nothing else to share, you don’t need to be there telling us nothing has changed. 😛

Exercise and the heat

Once those temperatures start getting hotter again, I know I’ll be feeling it in my workouts. I am pretty acclimated to training outside but when there have been months of mild weather, it does take me a few weeks to get used to the heat and humidity again. Even going out early, like 7-730, it’s already warm, often hot, and then there’s the humidity along with it.

This turns most workouts into a crazy sweat fest. No one. And I mean  no one, takes my offers of a hug when I come in from working out.

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Believe it or not, this is still early in the morning and I have a hot 5k in front of me.

 

Of course if I’m not out running, then I’m doing this….

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It’s cool to be all matchy, matchy with your bike, right?

 

Needless to say, I try and become a little more aggressive with my hydration during these hotter days.  Once I learned how to check my sweat rate, I was amazed at how many pounds of fluid I could lose in a training session. Anywhere from 2-5 pounds depending on the temperature and duration of my workout.

I learned that I needed to replace those lost pounds with 16oz of water for each lost pound and then keep drinking to maintain normal hydration.

I know the drill and do it. And I’ll have to stay on top of things since it appears summer is gonna be really hot as I get my training ramped up for my second duathlon in November.

The race organizers just dropped the date this week for it so I anticipate that registration will open soon.

I tell you this… once I cough up money for an event… there is no backing out and it gets me more motivated knowing I’ve made that commitment.

Of course nutrition will be as important as ever….

I whipped up my own tasty salad to take with me when I worked with my son this week. I shared in a previous post I’ve been helping him some at work so instead of running out to a drive thru for a salad, I put one together that’s cheaper and tastier.

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Spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado, green apples, grilled chicken, feta cheese with a lime vinaigrette dressing.

Oh… if you missed my spotlight on apples post and how good they are for you find it here…  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/01/spotlight-on-apples/

Seriously though as the weather gets warmer I love the lightness of salads and how they fill me up but don’t make me feel lethargic like eating a more carbohydrate laden meal would.

Of course with salads, you can make endless combinations that won’t get boring. When making your own just make sure you add plenty of protein in with your veggies and add in variety of textures and flavors. Watch the dressing you use because you can add 100’s of calories to a healthy meal.

I hate seeing people trying to make a better food choice with a salad and then drowning it in Ranch dressing. At that point, a sandwich would be healthier and offer way less calories than a salad covered in so much dressing.

Consider using dressing on side and dipping your fork into it or look for dressings that have a low calorie content. Better yet, whip up some of your own for a tasty treat.

So I’ve got these other projects….

I have a room my now married son vacated so I decided I was going to paint it this week when I scored paint for 5.00 a gallon. How could I not??

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I hadn’t used this particular brand so I wasn’t sure exactly how the paint would be. It turned out to be as thick and covering as a big name brand I always buy. I had brushes so my total purchase here was 11.65 for this little room project.

Go me.

I’m almost done ’cause I wanna get back to some of my furniture projects I’ve got going on.  I have one really needy chair waiting for my attention and a cute vanity I’m eager to get started with.

Ha… I have plenty of projects waiting for me. I don’t NEED any other projects, yet I keep my eyes open for anything cute or unique that comes along and needs some help.

Painting, writing, training for my duathlon, life stuff, some extracurricular “work”, I also finally got a business page launched for my vintage furniture… ah… sometimes I’m busy.

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This is where I enjoy crafting out my posts for the blog 🙂 I hadn’t been here in awhile.

 

Iced coffee. That’s where it’s at during the summer months for me. My baristas usually have it served up before I’ve made it through the line.

If you get coffee at coffee shops I seriously hope you appreciate the young people behind the counter who are serving up your coffee. They put up with more in their days sometimes than you and I will ever have to. I have unfortunately seen several instances where customers acted in sad, deplorable ways because something wasn’t “right”. I believe of course, if I’m paying for something that it should be what I want. I also believe you can express yourself in a courteous way if there is a problem with your order.

It is disturbing to me how some people seem to view themselves as “above” those behind the counter and can therefore speak in ugly ways.

That’s just… not… cool.

Drinks need food…

Last week was Memorial Day in the states and I shared some recipes I’d be experimenting with on the family.

One that was a huge hit was a brownie recipe….

Mocha brownies with coffee cream cheese frosting.

The bad thing about them? I should’ve doubled the recipe as there were battles breaking out over who got the last one. I had to laugh when the recipe said to refrigerate left overs.

Left overs. Right.

They were beyond amazing. If you want the recipe, find it in this post….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/28/monday-musings-13/

You’ll also find the recipe for an avocado salad I made… it was pretty good too.

That’s a wrap…

Did you make any new recipes this week?  Are you dealing with really hot weather and how does that affect any training you might be doing? Do you have a favorite hot weather drink?

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So You Want To Be A Runner

I was checking my notifications the other day and realized someone had tagged me in their friends post. This person was looking for advice on starting to run, ideally when the weather was warmer and how did they start?

Ok, first of all, running is a pretty natural thing. Our bodies are designed for it and most are capable of doing it.

Most don’t do it because well let’s be honest, it’s hard.  I was thinking on a run the other day the only way to get better or stronger at it is to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone.

I can run decently fast ( I think) for a middle aged woman tipping into her senior discount years. Speed is relevant depending on the individual and certainly not a factor to being a good runner. I just like being able to do it. I know when I get out of my comfort zone I’m capable of delivering up faster speeds…

 

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Somehow my running evolved into doing a run and cycle event with my first duathlon last Nov.

 

 

Faster speeds though are hard, require a lot more effort than an easy run, and can make me feel powerful and helpless all at once.

So that being said, anyone can run if they don’t have some health limitation ( and thinking it’s hard doesn’t count)

The next thing. I’m not an expert, ok?

I’m not some running coach or a person who’s run their entire life. ( I was in my late 40’s when I got started) I never, ever would’ve thought I’d become a runner. Ever.

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And then… all the sudden…. I’m finishing a 50K….  am I a runner now??

 

 

I do think now in terms of miles and distance. I think that a mile driving or on a treadmill is…. for….ever….but a mile on foot can go by rather quickly. I can grumble driving behind a slow person that I could run there faster… yeah….

I guess I’m a runner.

I believe anyone can go run without having to focus on all the technical stuff, unless you have big goals and want to keep improving your game.

Then we need to talk about intervals, speed training, long runs, negative splits and pacing etc….

Well how do I get started?

Listen, you don’t need a lot of fancy gear to run but you do need some solid good shoes under you.

** hubby does delight in reminding me how my low maintenance, not expensive athletic shenanigans have changed** haha the more you get into it, the more cool stuff you find to make it fun…

I spend more money on my running shoes than anything that goes on my feet. Other than my cycling shoes but thankfully those last longer since they aren’t taking a pounding.

Go to a sports store and try several on. Don’t drag out shoes you’ve had 5 years… please don’t.

And don’t buy the prettiest ones. I’m right there with you on liking those but you really need to go for what fits and supports you best and then go for your color.

Once you get set with your shoes, you can pretty much wear what you’re most comfortable in.  Again, the more time you spend doing it, the more you’ll figure out how you’re most comfortable doing it.  What you choose to run in will be determined by your budget, how much you like to be covered, and how you can stay cool/warm enough doing it.

I’ve actually learned to shop discount type stores and have found name brand sports bras and the boy shorts I prefer to run in at a fraction of the cost as the sports store sells them.

The weather, to run or not to run

 

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Enjoying a rare sunny warm run in Feb.

 

 

When I first started off with my running adventures I was what I now think of as a “fair weather” runner. If the weather was the slightest bit not good, I stayed in for another type of workout.

Funny thing over these years how that has changed. I’ve trained in everything from pouring rain, to freezing cold with wind slicing through me. Maybe I am crazy.. or ridiculously disciplined.. there could be a fine line there..

If I have an event I’m training for my take is, I have no idea what the weather will be like on race day. If I train in it all, then I’m better prepared for whatever it is.

I weirdly now like being out when the weather is a bit rough and less than perfect. But that’s me… were talking about you…

This will all come down to what you want to do, your commitment, and if it’s a matter of staying in for safety ( I won’t run in fog, lightning or icy roads there is to much risk)

If it’s cold, layer up accordingly but keep in mind running warms you up fast! I know once I hit my first mile all engines are go and I am often tossing something in the trees till I come back by to claim it. I just don’t run as well being to warm, and you probably won’t either.

You will have to determine how much layering you need to stay comfortable.

Same with hot weather, getting over heated or having soggy clothes hanging off of your body isn’t fun ( hello dri-wick fabric) how much you run in to stay cool will be determined by your personal level of modesty and what you can move best in. I spend most of my time in boy shorts and a sports bra and I’m comfortable in that.

Hitting the road

Assuming you’ve not run before, or haven’t run in a long time, I’m going to suggest you start the way I basically fell into running…

the walk/run method. It’s a great way to practice running yet allowing your body to adapt to the rigors that running places on it. It can also protect you from injury when you do to much to soon.

You start off with small increments of  walking,  and running. If you’ve never run before those running seconds might seem like eternity to you, trust me, the wheels won’t fall off, hold on.

Using a walk/ run method allows you to gradually increase your running time and ease into your mileage.

Start with this plan to get you going

So that’s about it peeps. If you want to run, it’s easy to get started. You just have to get your mind in gear to make it happen, and hey, don’t forget to go get those cool new running shoes!

Do you run? What do you enjoy most about it?  Do you want to but haven’t known how to get started?

 

Duathlon Journey: The Recap

It’s now 2 weeks out since I did my first multi sport race, the duathlon,  that I’ve been blabbing up for months to you.  I finally got my little paws on some of the pics they took while on course so I could use them when I wrote this.

You didn’t expect me to just use random stock photos off Google, did you ? 😛

Where do I start?

As I knew it would be, I felt the let down once it was over. The months of training, the days in front of me with my goal at the end, now finished.

Something to celebrate, right? A new adventure conquered, new challenges overcome, another athletic event that I never dreamed I’d do accomplished.

I guess I should mention I’ve had this race on my list for several years now. Due to an injury I was getting over at one point and other things that came up I had been unable to really pursue it.

All I wanted to do was get to a point where I could at least run the distance for the duathlon even if it meant my distance running might still be on hold for awhile.

As I slowly crept back into running, I was getting stronger and more powerful on the bike. I learned I was fairly good at it and could eat up a lot of miles in a quick time.

I knew this would be the year so when registration opened in June, I paid up and made the commitment.

My first duathlon was etched on my calendar.

As you know from previous posts, I was committed to my training, even training in weather that was less than ideal because on race day you never know what you will get. I gave up being a fair weather athlete a long time ago. I know if I’m going to build not just my body, but mind, I need to know how to handle more adverse conditions.

Of course there was more than just me involved in the event…let’s not forget… the bike.

I can’t neglect saying how grateful I am for a wonderful bike shop and the guys who keep my little Cannondale in top shape. 2 weeks out from race I picked it up looking almost all kinds of new again. Poor thing, I’d put some serious miles on it. Not only did they get new tires on it, and clean the chain ( ohhhh it IS silver haha) they checked my brakes, tweaked and adjusted some other things, and made sure my fit was perfect on it. I love being in a place “talking shop” with others who do what I do, and who challenge me to press on to bigger things.

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My bike rarely gets to ride shotgun 😉

 

With the bike in good working order, it was taper time whether I wanted it or not, a winding down to race day. I kept riding and short runs but the ultimate goal was to arrive at the start line healthy and energetic for the task in front of me.

Race Day

There are two things I think athletes worry about before a big event they’ve been training for.

Getting sick and the weather.

Thankfully, I was strong and healthy and the weather although a brisk low 40’s in the morning, was clear, bright and the sun soon showed up for the festivities.

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Waiting in the crisp, cold, beautiful morning with a ton of hyper energy pre-race

There’s something about being at a race with other athletes and this energy that’s almost palpable that makes my heart beat fast.

Although I’ve done many running races before this was my first multi sport event and my first biking event. I checked into the transition area, got marked ( I was sooo excited to finally do something where I got marked… but unfortunately it was under my shirt ha oh well) I got my gear set up and did some light jogging around parking lot to loosen up and set my mind for what was coming.

This event was the state Championship Duathlon and was hosted by a local college. Many college tri teams from across the state were there to race. I was surrounded by athletes the ages of my kids or younger 😛

This race is also listed as “the toughest in the state”.

They tell no lies about that… tough is an understatement.

I understood what was in front of me having trained on it, but I had a healthy fear and respect for it every time I stepped out there. To under estimate it would certainly sink me.

My plan for the race? Simple and straight forward.

To run and bike just like I’d trained and not get caught up in the hype and energy of the crowd but stay in my head and run my own race. I knew the first half mile- mile out was a brutal start as it’s all up a long and winding hill. I knew how I’d paced myself in practice and my goal was to stay there.

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Heading into the hills for the first run.. it was bit to chilly to toss clothes yet!

 

I settled into my first mile which was a little faster than I had been running it but that was ok. Then my Garmin came up at mile 2 telling me I’d just done it in 9:29 I was pretty happy with that. Overall, when I finished my 5k it was over a minute faster than the week before when I’d practiced and my fastest 5k in a long time.

Amazing what a competitive spirit will do haha

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Wrapping the 5k heading to the transition area.

 

Ok so this was all new to me, the whole multi sport, transitioning thing. It’s one thing to practice transition when you are alone ( I had it down to 30 seconds) it’s a whole new game when you’re surrounded by a zillion other bikes and athletes gear and come running in to change and find nothing is like you left it.

Yikes!

My first transition time was longer than I wanted mainly because I knew I had to lose the jacket and peel down to my cycling shorts. I perform way better a little chilled than warm and knew the bike was gonna demand a lot from me so I took a little extra time to do that.

Once on the bike, I knew I would close a gap because I’m strong on the hills. It should be noted we biked right back out where we had run, running up and down hills, then getting on the bike to ride them, ha hello quads.

One by one I methodically picked off cyclists in front of me, a game almost. I churned along knowing some of the toughest stuff was still coming, but also reminding myself I was more than capable and had done it before.

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AND a smile for the photographer.  Still smiling after cresting the monster hill that’s behind me

I had to really focus on what I was doing approaching the huge hill as I noted a half dozen cyclists pushing bikes up.

This seriously can mess with my head. I narrowed my vision and did what I had practiced when I rode it… I recited a nursery rhyme in my head…

“One, two buckle my shoe, three, four shut the door….”

Don’t ask.

It just popped in one day as I was grinding up and it became a game, how many times till I reached the top?  ( 2 “ish” times if you’re wondering haha)

But powered up it I did.

On the return trip I pushed hard knowing the last run leg was in front of me… so close to finishing.

The last run.

From practice I already knew how that felt. It’s hard. It’s not just the physical, it’s mental too. I have learned so much about dialing into my head and trying not to be distracted at what’s around me. As I made a turn where the aid station was the young people manning it were doing the usual “you’re doing awesome, almost done!” mantra. I quipped I had paid money to do this when I hear behind me… “yeah, but you’ve been kicking my butt the whole time!” I looked over my shoulder at this young college girl behind me, one I had sailed by on my bike, it was the motivation I needed to finish off that last half mile.

The Finish Line

When I saw the finish line I can’t describe the feelings and emotions that came over me. I saw my time and was pretty happy with that too.

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The home stretch, still smiling.. And yeah, I had lost more clothes 😛

 

I heard the announcer call my number and name as I ran across the finish  line and as the guy behind lines guided me where to go I felt it coming on… tears forming in my eyes… I took a deep breath willing myself not to sob out loud.

I did it. My first duathlon. I did it!  I was simply overcome with emotion.

He saw my face and bless his heart was immediately concerned. “are you ok? do you need anything?”

I assured him I was physically fine but just overwhelmed…. my emotions came out after all the months of training to finally be there in that moment… I just couldn’t hold them back.

As I left the finish area I found hubby and again, just sobbed on him. He too was immediately concerned, but he’s more used to my emotions at times like that than poor unsuspecting guy at finish line. And can I just say how much I appreciate all of his awesome support for what I do? An amazing guy he cheers and supports and encourages my madness. I couldn’t do what I do without him or his support.

Of course I went to the tent to use the laptop to pull up my bib number and get my stats. My time was pretty much what I’d seen when I hit the finish line, however it was another number that caught my attention and I choked out to hubby…

“Am I reading this right?? Does it mean what I think it means??”

I hadn’t really breathed out loud to anyone that it would be kinda awesome to place in my age group.. but this number told me I placed first in my age group.

More tears. Sweet heavens. I’m such a baby.

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Does my smile say it all? Nothing felt better that day.

 

Honestly… I can’t describe how it all felt.  To have accomplished something so big, to have challenged myself beyond what I thought I could do, was overwhelming and rewarding all at once.

The aftermath

I know the let down that comes from preparation of big events. It’s weird to not have this specific “thing” I’m training for. I also  get used to my body physically changing as it peaks into top condition ( a place I loath giving up) but I also know I can’t keep myself at this level all the time.  I loved marking off my training calendar each day as I knocked out what needed to be done and seeing those days move me closer to my goal.

It’s hard to come off the physical and mental high that events like this bring.

So the solution is??

Ha… plan my next adventure! 2018 is coming and I’m already planning the duathlon again as my fall event. I want a shot at getting a new PR.

I have a spring half marathon in mind as well as my first long ride, a 60 mile, ’cause why start small?

I haven’t ruled out someday …maybe… a triathlon… it seems HUGE to me right now but I’m also reminded what I just did would’ve seemed huge to me a few years ago but I did it.

If you’ve stayed with me to this point can I remind you that as the saying goes, you’re never to old set new goals or dream new dreams.

Set some new goals for yourself in 2018.

Or have you already? What plans do you have for yourself in the upcoming year? Tell me.

Reflections From The Road

It’s a quiet afternoon in my fav coffee cave which is a bit unusual given the time of day but I’m not gonna complain about that. Sometimes, I wonder where all the people have come from and why they are taking up my space haha

It’s also another day in this long week that is nothing but grey skies and feels perpetually like morning…. all… day… long.

Sometimes it makes it hard to feel like doing anything more than grabbing a blanket, a good book and chilling somewhere.

Instead, I’m going to write and let my thoughts out if you’ll humor me. Writing is often cathartic for me and let’s me examine things more closely through words.

As in… thinking about my first multi sport race this upcoming Sunday. My first duathlon.

Did I mention it’s listed as the toughest in the state? Yeah I don’t start with easy things.

I’ve certainly spent a significant amount of time on the road preparing for it. So much time to think and reflect, to ponder this journey that I’ve taken myself on.

I view myself as somehow a most unlikely candidate to turn into a duathlete.

This journey has been over 2 years in the making. It’s been out there in front of me, sometimes taunting and sometimes a bit illusive as I’ve had to bide my time waiting for the right moment.

You see when I first got the crazy idea I was fully in the mix of an ugly Achilles injury that had me doing no running at all. It’s during this time that cycling came into the picture a bit more. I had thought the following year I’d be up to it but just had things working against me that kept me from fully pursuing it. I remember seeing the cyclist out that year during the race and feeling a bittersweet longing to be able to do what they were doing.

My goal, my wish, began to be “just let me get healthy enough to run the distance required for the duathlon”. which at the time was bookend 5k’s.

All I had to do was run 6.20 miles … in two parts.  Was that asking to much ?

I diligently rehabbed myself. Spent a lot of time strength training, learning to row to stay strong with my cardio ( for the record rowing to me has many similar feelings to running), and doing cycling. As I got better I took it back to the road for some strong walking. It just felt good to be out there going through the motions even if I couldn’t all out run yet.

Time moved on, I improved and was able to pick up some running again, albeit, cautiously .

This time… the duathlon seemed more feasible. I continued with slow. easy, short “runs”. I stretched, foam rolled, iced and did whatever I could to keep getting better.

When I saw the promotions start coming up for it this past May I knew it would be something I’d take on in this year.

In June I made the commitment and registered. And I say commitment ’cause when you cough up money to pay for an event, you’ve just invested yourself fully to it.

With that, my “official” training began.

I think back to those first brick sessions I did. ( fyi a brick session refers to back to back activities. For me it was a bike and run session. Eventually it turned into a run/bike/run sessions)

I did only 8-10 miles on the bike and then a 2 mile run. I remember getting off bike, changing shoes, and then taking off on legs that felt like loose spaghetti noodles.

It’s hard work changing gears from one activity to another!

I wondered how long it would take or if I would adapt to getting my body from cycling mode to running.

Months later, it’s definitely still work especially after running and cycling, then running again but I’ve found I’m stronger and have managed some decent mile times… you know… for an old lady 😛

And here I am. Months later with the race staring me down the face.

I’m as ready as I can be. I’ve worked hard and prepared to the best of my abilities. I’ve trained in horrible weather and good weather. Right now the forecast is for a chilly but sunny day and I couldn’t be more thrilled with that!

I’ve practiced riding those crazy hills. I remember the first time I took on one that I thought would eat my lunch, which then fed into a second hill immediately after.

 

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So this is the first one…. it doesn’t look so scary in this pic 😛

I cried when I topped the second one. I know. I’m such a girl.

Doing hard physical things and accomplishing them brings out strong emotions in me. Maybe it’s a relief that I could do it. Maybe it’s overcoming something I thought might be insurmountable.  Or once again realizing I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for.

Spend some time on the road making your body work hard, you begin to see what you’re made of. You begin to see how your mind and body can work together or against each other.

I’ve learned I can push a bit longer and farther. I can dial in and focus on that moment in front of me and set aside anything else so I can keep pressing on to my goal.  I’ve learned how to listen to my breathing, to keep it even and steady even when I’m working hard. I listen to my body but try not to let it convince me it wants to quit or back off because it’s getting uncomfortable. ( not injured or hurt, but out of my comfort zone, there’s a difference )

If there’s one thing endurance sports has taught me it’s about discipline, determination, perseverance, and sacrifice.

I’ve learned to deal with hot, warm, humid weather.

 

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Nothing like a good sweat to cleanse the soul haha

 

As well as those  mornings I’ve geared up and headed out into a cold, wet, rainy, or foggy misty morning to train.

Yeah. All I really wanted to do was stay in warm and dry. Yes I considered I might be crazy but there was a deeper thing in me that wouldn’t let me give in or back off from what I had committed to undertake.

If race day dialed up a cold, wet, foggy morning I better be able to handle myself in those conditions.

Of course months of training has leaned me out more, almost a side effect of all my training. I know it’s working when hubby tells me I feel to thin haha

I’ve peaked in my training and with that comes a physique that reflects my work, endurance to do my running and cycling, and improved times doing them.

There is a bittersweet aspect to this as well. I know there will be the inevitable “let down” when it is finished. The thing I’ve focused on will be done, my goal accomplished. It will be time to thing of new goals.  I know these feelings go along with the excitement and thrill of doing it.

Now.. it’s almost show time.

With days out I’ll focus on stretching, rolling, eating well, getting rest and of course making sure my gear is ready and I have the coolest clothes to wear 😉

Looking good helps your performance, right ?

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Sporting the new cold weather cycling jacket I got for the event.

 

One thing I always remind myself of before races… the world doesn’t stop spinning based on my performance. It somehow takes some of the hyper energy off me.

Oh. I didn’t mention that did I? All the hyper energy and edginess counting down to it.. the “taper week”. That energy continues to build till I’m standing on the start line.

As much as I want to do the very best I’m capable of, the fact remains, when I cross that finish line, I’m a winner.

I win because I set out goals and dreams for myself and I worked hard and pursued them and I won’t go through life wondering “if” I could do it.

And nothing will feel better than that.

What’s Your Next

whats your next

 

Happy Monday beautiful people!  Even as I write that I’m aware in the crazy way the universe rolls, it’s actually the end of Monday for some of you on this planet and you are now preparing for Tuesday.

This can be a bit much for my brain to process so I’ll just leave it here and say I hope you’ve had an awesome day no matter what it technically is.

For me though, it’s Monday. Monday morning.

And for the record I’m not “anti-Monday”. I’m glad I’m blessed to still be here, to experience another day of life.

Perspective people, perspective.

My last few Mondays, and today, and the next several will be heavy training days for me. I kick start my week by doing the entire duathlon course start to finish. It does seem rather daunting when I’m slowly coming to life waiting for the coffee to brew wondering if I’m gonnna churn out all the energy this task in front of me will require.

Of course that is my non-coffee brain thinking. Once I wake up more and slip into my gear I’m all business and ready for the task at hand.

Weeks remain till race day. I’m already feeling that edginess that comes over me as an event approaches.

It’s not just the race, it’s the awareness that all of it will be… over.

I’m well acquainted with the feelings and emotions of preparing for a big athletic event and the inevitable let down of emotions when it’s done.

There is something that can’t be explained in the preparation and training ultimately culminating in this event I’ve prepared for.

In those miles and hours of training leading up to it, there is a sort of hunger that develops. A hunger that really is disguised as passion.  To see myself improve, make better times, take things on a bit more effortlessly as my body adapts to the rigors of what it’s being put through.

Honestly, it’s a bit addicting.

All the while in my mind though is the question… “what’s next?”

That question can taunt and challenge. It can intimidate and have a level of fear. It can also be the thing that makes me examine how much more I can bring to the table.

What’s my next thing

It’s never far from my mind. I’ve been asked if I’m gonna do a marathon again. Ha, I will most likely start with a half to warm up to it.

Yes, I love distance running and I love what it’s taught me and how I’ve grown from my experiences on the road.  In some crazy ways, I’ve missed it.

Obviously, training for the duathlon, my athletic goals have been much more laser focused. My running has been shorter and geared to my event. Not to mention, doing a multi sport race requires my body to perform in different ways so I need to keep my energies centered on that.

But I’m heading back to distance running. Maybe a spring half marathon…we’ll see. I already have fully acknowledged I’m gonna miss those brick training days ( combined running and cycling back to back) I’ve come to enjoy the challenge and hard work of them and I may just keep one built into my training week… because… duathlons. 😉

What’s your next thing

ok this has been leading somewhere. Let’s talk about you.

Do you work and strive for something specific without a thought to where do you go from there?

How do you continue to grow, change and challenge yourself?

Do you see your current endeavor as a learning process to get to a new level?

Yeah I know, not everyone is doing something athletic oriented, but you for sure, have goals or dreams something you’re pressing on towards.

I’ve loved every step of the journey I’ve been on that’s built me as an athlete ( well, most steps haha) I’ve accepted it’s where I am at that moment.

You as well should embrace your journey to your goals.

But for all of us we should never lose sight of the fact we can always do more, be more, achieve more.

Maybe I’m wired a bit more intensely. Maybe the physical challenges I’ve put myself through have only caused me to wonder… what else am I capable of?

You know, that statement applies to you too, right?

What else are you capable of? How big can you dream? What new thing can you take on?

That next step

Don’t get me wrong. That next step once you hit a goal might actually scare you, and that’s ok.

I had 4 half marathons under me without a single thought to running a full one. I mean come on, that’s 26.2 miles! It was when I finished my fifth and walked off the course with my best time ever that the idea floated into my mind…

“It’s time to consider a full marathon”

I shoved it out of my head and dismissed the idea as a lack of carbs to my brain for the crazy thought.  Really. There’s no way I’d do a full marathon.

That was in the spring, and by end of year, I had my first one under me.

I had only a fleeting thought after I committed of wondering “if” I could do it. I stomped it out and never let myself think I couldn’t.

A few pointers

Nothing in our lives accidently happens. If you want to do something, you’ve got to be intentional.

~ Set your new goal.  I’m still so old fashioned and love writing stuff out where I can see it. Use a calendar to make reminders or things you need to do daily or weekly.

~ See yourself doing it.  Don’t allow any idea to creep in that makes you doubt yourself. Your mind is a powerful playing field!

~ Engage with like minded people who can encourage you on your journey.

~ Be the best student you can of what you are pursuing… always be learning!

~Don’t be afraid of new challenges. These bring us more growth.

Getting to the next step might be big and scary and we might wonder if we have what it takes.

You do. We all do.

Enjoy your journey, embrace where you are, but never stop asking “what’s next”.

 

 

 

The Thing That Scares You

“Fear will either create you or destroy you.”

afraid

I hadn’t been in long from my morning workout, recovery drink in hand, when I finally landed in a chair and searched up the race I had started training for.

I ran my hand down my legs which were still gritty and grimy from time out on the road and covered in a heavy dose of dried salt …a shower would come soon but first…

My  running and cycling that morning had been a part of my training for a local duathlon… my first duathlon.

Of course the fact it was listed as “the toughest in the state” or that it was the “championship race” for this  type of event somehow hadn’t scared me off yet.

The website boldly unfolded in front of me… pictures popped  up of familiar scenery I was used to seeing out on my runs or cycling adventures.

I felt the excitement stir in me of taking on something new and challenging.

It was immediately followed by tears as I watched young, fast athletes speeding by.

Tears.

What was I thinking?? I’m skating into territory I have no experience in nor am I one of these young trained triathletes. I’ve never, ever done an event like this. I’m crazy.

For the love of chocolate, I’m an ordinary middle aged Mom/grandmother, what I am thinking??

This course is tough. I have a healthy dose of respect/fear for it.

Not in a weird way, but just a respect knowing that it will be by far, the hardest athletic challenge I’ve gone through.

If I’m honest with you, as I was myself, there was that component of feeling scared.

But…why?

What was scaring me? What did I feel afraid of?

terrifying

Ok, yes I understood it would be crazy hard. So maybe there was feeling scared of what if’s…

What if I couldn’t do it? What if I failed? What if I was last? Or worse, didn’t finish?

What. If.

I sat there comparing myself to younger athletes instead of giving myself credit for all I could do and was very capable of doing. I sat there forgetting my own strength and power that I had earned through hours and hours of training.

I lost sight of what I preach to everyone else… you are your competition. You only need to focus on your times, your speeds, your abilities.

No one else’s matter.

Unless you’re an elite. Then it matters very much hahaha 😛

I’ve never been concerned about anyone else’s times or paces. I don’t mentally pit myself against others and decide I’m lacking in some way so this was a foreign feeling to me.

I wiped my face which felt as gritty from dried sweat as my legs did… that shower would need to be soon….

I reminded myself that I was my only competition and if I never started, and never did it, and let some vague fear scare me off I’d never know what new levels I could take myself to.

I’ve had moments in the past as I considered the marathon, and then the 50K. If those don’t raise a tiny bit of feeling scared in you, I don’t know what will.

Thing is, I never, ever allowed myself to camp in the fear zone. I stomped it down, trained, and did it.

So here I am. Registration is now open and I’ve made the official commitment.. you know…. coughing up the money 😉

I know it will be hard but I’m looking forward to seeing how I can do with this. I’ve taken time to remember, I haven’t come out of an athletic back round but only started when I was in my mid 40’s and consider all I’ve been privileged to do.

Doing it is the thing. No matter what, when I cross that finish line, I will win.

I win because I stomped down fears and feelings of inadequacy and I will have accomplished something I’ve never done and I will be stronger for it.

It beats sitting around wondering if I COULD do it and missing out on all I learn in the process. Rest assured, you will be getting updates on my training in the upcoming months. Race day is Nov. 19.

So I’ll leave you with this…

Do you let fears hamper you from pursuing something bigger than you? Have you allowed them to and not gone after something you wanted?

Or… have you stomped down fears and chased something down you wanted? How did you feel?

What did you do to remind yourself you could do it? How did you overcome it?

Tell me I’m not the only one who’s encountered this 😉

“Every single one of us possesses the strength to attempt something he isn’t sure he can accomplish.” ~ Scott Jurek

 

The Wonders Of Walking

This mornings athletic adventures had me out on foot…. and no… not running. I’m still refraining from that.

Walking though does give me that same sense of being out on the road… the preparation and the feel. The excitement of being out and…going…

Mind you, I don’t just stroll like I’m with my grandma…

My walking speed usually throws me into what is a “slow” running pace so needless to say I’m breathing hard, my heart is working and sweat is free flowing which I love.

Chatting with my big kids over the weekend about various athletic adventures my oldest son throws out at me….

“Don’t you ever like just… walk?!?”

 

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This particular evening walk was actually for my son… he was playing that crazy Pokémon game and needed a 10K distance. The things I do…..

 

 

Haha that made me laugh,   I mean I do, it just seems so tame to me now days compared to you know, running forever, or flying down the road on my bike like a demon.

Not just that.. it’s the miles.. mentally it’s hard to not want to go long….

However, if you’ve read my beginning story, I started off as a walker. I did my “token” 2 miles a day and that was enough.  I never envisoned doing more or running or anything like that.

I walked 2 miles and it seemed adequate. And it was… for awhile.

(Side note….  never stay doing the same thing forever. Your body is an amazing and adaptive machine and you stop losing ongoing benefits or changes in your body. Always look to add or change things up in your workouts)

Anyway, obviously my walking mileage did increase and it did eventually turn into running.

You know the biggest reason why? As I mentioned in the beginning, I walk fast. It just became easier to trot along than trying to maintain a constant fast walk pace.  When I tried it for awhile and realized the wheels didn’t fall off and running wasn’t so hard, it was just a natural progression to keep increasing my running time to the time I was actually walking.

Great was the day I celebrated I could run a mile without stopping.  Of course, after some time, it seemed crazy I could run miles. That my friends, is just disciplined training to get to that point….

The rest is history.

I turned into a lover of running. At the top of the list is the fact it makes me feel so strong and empowered. It shaped me up physically and became a way to clear my head, unwind, let go of the things bothering me and I often do my most creative thinking out on the road.

I get running isn’t for everyone. Heck, even my doctor gives me a hard time about it ( but freely admits he isn’t a runner and doesn’t get the whole “runners high
thing so there’s that….)

Some people want to run and have physical limitations as to why they can’t. Others just don’t want to.  Some think they can’t, but the reality is, our bodies are made for that kind of movement and they really can.

It’s just hard and in the beginning people don’t like it ’cause that’s when they realize they are really cardiovascularly out of shape and they hate it. In time though, as those internal muscles are consistently worked out, they get in shape too and you can put out more effort and feel amazing and not like you’re dying 😛

However, if there is one thing that doctors get behind is that anyone, and I mean anyone, can get out and start walking.

Coach potato to athlete, walking has benefits.

If you’ve been sedentary walking is something you can very much taylor to your needs and abilities. You can then add on a little more distance at a time as your body adapts and handles the new stress you’re putting on it. ( this isn’t a bad thing) with consistent effort walking is a great tool to help with weight loss. Just be reasonable in the beginning and set realistic goals for yourself. Having aching muscles from to much over use will only sideline you… and you don’t want that.

As an athlete, it’s a great recovery workout allowing your muscles to work, stretch and move but not overly tax them . I’ve found it helpful after my marathons to just be out stretching my legs to keep any soreness from setting in.

Of course your pace should be brisk, making you breath hard with your heart beating strong too.  If you sweat, that’s a total bonus 😉

Walking not only conditions your body but it’s also good mental therapy  as well. Not surprising that some articles I’ve read talk about how walking ( or exercise in general) can help reduce depression and negative feelings.

Of course it can… I think exercise is the least under-used drug out there. But that’s just my opinion….

If you are looking for something to get you out the door walking is free and all you really need are a decent pair of supportive shoes and a willingness to explore.

Then the only one who will limit you is well, really, you.

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I was out of town here. I was actually walking this huge mountain in the area I was staying. The added bonus? All the signs telling you to watch for snakes 😉