The Road To A Duathlon

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did an ordinary woman get to this point?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Same game, new year, new adventures.

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

I knew the physical demands as well as mental demands.

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

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

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

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

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

The struggle is real.

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

“What am I doing??”

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

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

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

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

Somehow those words settled me.

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

Quitting was never an option.

Race time….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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Those clips were slippery that day….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ha. Not likely.

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

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

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

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

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

It was debatable for awhile.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It makes me weep every time.

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

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

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

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

So what’s next?

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Monday Musings

Hello world 🙂  As I’m writing this it’s at the end of the weekend…. a weekend that has been near perfect weather. A weekend that has breathed the promise of fall and changing seasons and all things cozy.

Forget the fact it’s still warm enough for shorts…..

The sun was out and after so many weeks of mostly rain and dark cloudy days, this sunny weekend was a balm for my soul and I know, many others.

This meant some long overdue work outside in the yard and it was wonderful to just be able to work outside in the sun and feel the wind on my skin and hair.

There was some time spent cutting grass…. I don’t mind using a push mower and honestly enjoy the work of pushing it everwhere. We’ve got a lot to cut so it can keep me busy.

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Ready for work… need your grass cut ?

 

The electric company was also out cutting trees back this week and left some oak trees cut laying off the side of the road. Well, actually, it was down the hill…. so it was run down, grab chunks of wood, and back up the hill with it.

Me… I’m thinking… I should go get those, drag them home, and get hubby or my son to get the chain saw and cut them into more manageable pieces that we can use later for our fireplace ( eventually we’ll get one or two cold days :-P)  and I love having a fire on those cold dark nights.

So I apprehended the red flyer wagon laying around my grandkids use occasionally and loaded it up and dragged the wood back home.

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Uh… yeah.. it was a little workout haha

It was overall one of those satisfying, working weekends.

Don’t over look the fact that doing some extra movement outside can be a fun part of keeping fit 🙂

Oh… but then… food.

When I’m not doing athletic things or other activities, I am a wicked baker. So there’s cookies…..

I made two kinds. Hubby had requested oatmeal raisin but then I just wanted something chocolate …so…..

I’ll share recipes below. Find all of my tasty dessert recipes on Pinterest. ( you can also find lots of exercise tips and workouts too 😉 )

https://www.inspiredtaste.net/18596/soft-and-chewy-oatmeal-raisin-cookie-recipe/

https://www.ihearteating.com/chewy-brown-sugar-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe/

I’d never made a chocolate cookie recipe where you melted butter first, then stirred everything else in. I loved how fast and simple these were and sooo good too 🙂

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Aren’t they pretty ?

 

In other weekend fun….

One of the things hubby and I enjoy doing is going for breakfast dates at a local place in town. The building is old. It’s not fancy.  During the winter it can be stupid cold in there ’cause their heat is sketchy at best. On any given morning you’re hoping you can score a table because the place is packed and sometimes you are wrestling for the last fork in the utensil holder.

The food is good and the coffee is too.

This past week I couldn’t help but again get distracted people watching and observing.

Couples, families, friends meeting for coffee the place hummed with a low key activity and bright energy.

It’s one of the cool things about living in a kinda smallish town… the local eating place. The place that isn’t fancied up… it’s just down home cozy.

That’s one of the things I love about my home town. These small areas that still feel “homey” in the mix of growth and things changing so much.

Not only can you meet new people but it’s often a place to catch up with friends you may not have seen in awhile.

For a social person like me….well.. it’s a good fit 😉

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A cozy corner you can sit and watch the world go by in….

Oh… and so like… Halloween is this week.

Stay tuned… perhaps in next weeks post I’ll have a pic of my costume. Let’s just say I’m putting my own spin on Glinda the Good Witch from Wizard of Oz.

Am I the only one who mooches candy of their kid while you’re out making the rounds to houses gathering candy? Please tell me I’m not 😉

Actually now days I’m mooching it off my grandkids hahaha

Of course once Halloween is over, it seems like things are full speed to Christmas. My kids have already begun to present their gift lists to me.

How early do you start shopping ?

And finally… that approaching duathlon…

Got a solid brick training session in on one of my days last week. Out on the road in the dark early morning, fog still in the air, I really wanted to be inside drinking coffee.

But somehow, there I was, out on the road taking off for my first run. I kept it short. A 2 mile run, followed with a 10 bike ride, then a 2 mile run.

I’ll tell you, it’s always that last leg that I have to intentionally and purposefully dial in on my mental muscle. I guess because at that point I know I’m close to finishing and I have to remind my legs, we aren’t quite done yet.

I have to stay focused and sometimes that’s hard when I know finishing is so close!

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Finished for the morning!

I’m actually anticipating a training week ahead that doesn’t involve wet stuff outside! Although I know race day can offer up anything, I’m hoping for perfect weather like we had last year.

That’s a wrap for this week….

It’s another busy week ahead with lots going on. What will be keeping you busy? Have you tried any new recipes? Had any new adventures?

 

 

 

Who Am I?

I read a post recently by two bloggers who are really hustlers in the blogging world. They write with a purpose to help other bloggers be successful at what they do. They offer tips, tricks and ideas on every aspect of blogging.

Some of it to me is well, really, common sense.

Blogging at it’s most basic concept ( in my mind) is casually chatting with a friend over a  cup of coffee.

I talk and chatter, as the blogger, and the reader gets to engage by commenting and responding back.

Blogging isn’t complicated when you know the direction you wish to go, then set out to be good in that direction of what you feel called to write on.

Oh. And ideally not bore your readers into an early death. Boredom is the kiss of death.

Please, please, please I don’t wanna be boring haha

In one of the posts written by the author, they discussed being you, authentically you, with your readers. ( I promise, I don’t hold back) but they indicated sharing about who you are so when the reader comes to your posts they have a better idea of who’s behind the writing.

So that being said, I thought we’d step away from our usual programmed affair and I’d bring some “real me” stuff into it.

The blogging world

it still kinda surprises me when people follow me whether it’s via Word press, e-mail, or on my social media accounts.

Part of me is still like…. they want to read my stuff. How cool IS that? Maybe because in a world with millions of people, and so much clamoring at our attention, it’s nice to know people will take some of their valuable time to read my posts.

So.. thank you…

I’ve always enjoyed writing in one way or another. Words come rather effortlessly for me and ideas often clamor to escape my head. As I’ve moved along in this it has become easier and easier to find my voice and use it.

Basically, I can speak my mind.

I “toyed” with the idea of starting a blog for several years ( AH! do you know how daunting that seems?! and IS for someone who is not a techie person? )  but when a small local paper I was writing health and fitness articles for unceremoniously gave my little humble area to a …guy…. and thanked me and sent me off….

Well… let’s just say anger, annoyance and irritation were just the catalyst to move me to blog world. I have always kinda been that way… make something bigger and better than what I thought was so good before.

And really.. what’s better than going from your local town and surrounding areas… to having the entire world be able to read my ramblings?

So within a few weeks I had figured out all the basics to get my page set up , found some tutorials for things that were stumping me, and well, have faked the rest haha

No, not really. I am a quick study though so that helps.

With a bit of nervous apprehension I hit that publish button on my first post and well… here I am 3.5 years later…find my very first post here….

I’m still learning and I’m open to being taught new things in this process.

I don’t overthink things or make the idea of blogging into more than what it is.

I’m not hung up on all the techie stuff and trying to figure which SEO’s will propel me into the mainstream of reading.

Although, thanks Google, my post on the keto/dash diet has consistently sat in the top  search positions for awhile now…. so there’s that 😉

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/21/keto-and-dash-diet-review/

Mostly, though, I just like to have fun with writing. And hopefully educating… and motivating… and offering up a healthy dose of sassiness while I’m at it.

Besides being a writer, who am I?

I have a quick wit, I’m far to sassy for my own good at times, sarcasm can be a second language, I laugh at things I probably shouldn’t laugh at, I’m clever on a lot of levels, I will tease unmercifully with people I like, I’m to soft hearted sometimes, but can be as tough as nails when I have to be. I’m stubborn and a bit hard headed but it can serve me well at times.  As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to use my voice and not shy from it, but have learned the value of remaining silent if I need to be.

I’m extremely social and feed off energy of others. I don’t usually meet a stranger which works well for me on a daily basis.  I love meeting new and interesting people who have something different to bring into my life. Basically, I prefer not to stay in my same social “bubble”.

I’m random. If I wanna do something I do it. There’s adventure in that.

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Why yes, yes I’ll do a random selfie showing off my new nails and promoting a current blog post on my social stories.

I don’t go with the flow and I find conformity largely boring.

I’m not afraid to jump into a new challenge or take on something I’ve not done.

I’m Texas born and bred, I’ve never left the area or gorgeous state I was raised in. I’ve seen my town grow way to much, way to fast, but it’s still home and I can’t dream of being anywhere else.

I got married, had kids and made permanent camp here.

As weird as it is, all my kids are adults now, some married, and I’ve got some precious grandbabies too.

I’m a homey kinda person meaning I enjoy things like cooking and baking ( from scratch) I was taught the ropes by a mom and grandmother who knew their way around a kitchen and taught me the art of not just cooking but doing things that make a home, “home”.

Christmas is hands down my favorite holiday and I love the creativity of decorating and creating fun visual areas through the house to look at.

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A small snap of my favorite Christmas treasure… my antique cardboard Christmas village with original Barclay skaters

My daughter in law told me one year that my house was the kind where people should be able to come in and roam around looking while eating cookies… such a sweet compliment.

I love black coffee and on some days I drink copious amounts of it. Coffee is my legal drug 😉

In my mid 40’s I started dabbling in exercise. The bug kinda bit when I turned into a runner… yeah… who accidentally starts running? haha

The trend continued as I fell more in love with exercise and how I felt. I learned more about myself and what I can do in the process. It was a heady experience knowing what my body could be trained to do.

Along came cycling and now who would’ve thought, I’ve turned into a multi sport athlete.

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Out doing what I love….

I was working on losing some weight and the exercise regime certainly helped. So did learning more about what I put in my mouth. It has been a slow determined process but I’ve taught myself a lot about nutrition and now willingly make better food choices for my overall health and wellness.

I started sharing my experiences on social media, people were interested and started following me, which lead to me wanting to branch out and do more, thus began my blog.

And well, here we are.

The main focus I have here at Sassyfitnesschick, is to talk sane, sensible, and practical health, nutrition and exercise.

There is so much nonsense when it comes to these areas and I want to be a voice of sanity in the tidal wave of craziness.

I want people to know they don’t have to suffer and go through extreme things just to lose weight and get fit. I want to teach that they can slowly adjust eating habits and patterns that will lead to permanent changes. Or that exercise can start slow and easy ( as it should)

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I just feel bad when I see good people desperately clinging to things that will ultimately get them nowhere or worse, spending LOTS of money of products that promise them the golden ring but all they do is throw away their money and are still fat and unhappy.

Of course there will be some times I’m just gonna talk about life because as I’ve shared with you, there is more to me than “just” my passion for sharing sanity in the realm of health and fitness.

I’ve shared about my new adventures in flipping furniture and how it’s turning into my little side business… I’ll continue to share my passion with you.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/25/the-journey-of-opening-a-vintage-business/

Of course there are also so many other awesome topics to write on you can bet I’ll be bringing more real life to you as well.

Most of all thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments.  Thank you for being a part of my world through my writing.

Thank you…some of you out there.. who have the same witty spunk I do. I like you …. you’re my tribe haha 😛

I appreciate you all and look forward to sharing more adventures with you in the future.

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Loved this shirt… nothing happens unless we hustle… right?

Another #50ish Birthday

So today is my birthday, the day I came crashing into history.   Another chance to spin around the sun once more.  The older I get the less I view that as something I’m entitled to. It’s a gift pure and simple and one worthy of celebrating, appreciating, and giving thanks for.

Before I get going on this I do wanna give a shout out to Chunky Tribe Creations for working with me on creating this fun birthday tank using one of my signature hash tags. She was super sweet and went out of her way to be helpful with my…uh… unusual request.  Find them on Facebook and check out their page.  Black is one of my favorite colors and I love how the pink and white compliment it and pull it all together.

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A special birthday shirt because, why not?

 

I “technically” won’t roll to my new age until the evening of my birthday, according to my mothers meticulous record of my birth day.

I love how vintage, old and cool my baby book looks now.

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I’m vintage. Nifty.

You can see I came into this world longer and bigger than most of my petite 6 or 7 lb counterparts.

I kinda never slowed down and grew into all of my 6’0 height by middle school… awkward at best and not knowing what to do with all of me.

Fast forward a very good number of years and I am more than comfortable in my skin and taking up all my space on this planet.

I don’t shrink back, try to be small, or less than anything I am.

I guess that’s one thing about getting older, right?  Getting to where you know who you are and owning it. Making no apologies for anything or to anyone for being yourself.

It’s a matter of simply being comfortable in your skin and embracing and loving yourself.

And yeah, it’s really ok to love yourself. If you don’t, how do you expect others to?

Age brings wisdom… or so they say….but there won’t be grey hair to prove it

I guess you don’t get to this point in life where you haven’t learned a thing or two… or at least you should have. I have a lot of younger friends and I enjoy their enthusiasm, energy and zest for life. It sometimes doesn’t take long though for me to realize in chatting with them that I do have words of wisdom and advice that I can offer. Sometimes I relate to situations, other times it’s a matter of just being able to see things in a more clear, objective way.

Hey, I guess age does have it’s benefits, right?

My daughter in laws often tell me the same thing, that they appreciate my wisdom. I love that they come to me when they need advice, counsel, or to just talk.

I think being older often lets you see things in a more objective manner, to discern them differently or a little more rationally.

I’m not afraid to use my voice

I think when you’re younger, you may hold back or not feel comfortable speaking your thoughts, ideas, objections or view points.

Being older I’m not afraid to let go, or to hold back. I’ve learned silence can be powerful but I’m not afraid to speak my mind and call it like I see it either.

I can see black and white, but I also know there is a grey ground too when it comes to topics or thoughts and ideas.

Having a blog and being active on social media has certainly given me a broader platform to use my voice and to speak out loud, to live out loud, and that feels powerful.

Speaking of power….

getting older means you know yourself better, what you can do and accomplish and you’ve learned what you’re made of by now and that’s pretty empowering.  The more struggles, trials, life learning events and other fun stuff you go through only builds and strengthens you in a deeper way.

My first tattoo ( ha and supposedly, “only” tattoo) was a wrist bracelet that says “strength”. It is one of my life words. When I see it, it’s a constant reminder of what I’m made of, what I’ve been forged by, and that I have strength for all things I deal with in life.

I have earned this in these years of my life, this deep strength.

Don’t sweat the small stuff….

If there’s one thing I quietly observe in the world around me is how often people waste time on things that don’t matter. They waste time on unnecessary drama with people they love when they could be loving them or enjoying that time together instead of camping on stuff that just doesn’t matter.

Through social media I often observe people throwing dirty laundry and drama out for the world to view. It’s rather sad, but more sad is that they are wasting time that could be spent loving, laughing, and appreciating the lives they have together.

Remember, none of us are entitled to anything. Don’t squander it over the small stuff that doesn’t matter.

I’m older and I’m really ok with that….really.

I had to laugh the other day when my daughter asked my age and came in a number of years behind where I am.

She said” I’m sorry Mom, I just forget, I don’t think about your age!”

And I don’t either. It’s rather irrelevant to me. I do what I want and do what makes me feel good, alive and what’s fun.

I don’t ever plan to be hindered by some age card or held back in any way.

I have to roll my eyes when I see some copy and paste post going around about older women and how they look at 20 something aged women wishing they were still there or looked like them or whatever… hahaha… no.

Don’t get me wrong. My 20’s were great. I was happy, I was happy with life and all that stuff. I was starting my family and tending babies and running a household.  Life was good.

Life is still good.

But the reality is I’m in better physical shape now then I was then. I’m also way more confident, stronger, smarter and in touch with myself than I was then.  I know what I’m about, what I want, what I don’t want.

I don’t wish to be something I used to be, to do so only takes away from what I am now.

Reflecting back on this past year….

As I write this, I’m thinking back over this past year, ways I’ve grown, things I’ve accomplished and learned.

In the ways of my family, they’ve grown and some have married, started new households and new jobs. I’ve graduated my final one from high school last year and watched her start her second semester of college.  I celebrated another year with a man I’ve been with most of my life now.

I not only went out and trained for my first multi-sport event last year, the duathlon, I took first in my age group. Never would I have seen myself doing that, yet I did, and I’m going after it again this year.

I also stumbled into a new hobby/new business at the beginning of the year as I started flipping old antique furniture. I had zero experience with it but it turns out I’m pretty good at it and people like it so I’m gonna see where it continues to grow to.

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks??

Unapologetically me.

I guess on the topic of getting old I can just say that I’m unapologetically me. I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, yet there are others who love every weird, funny, smart, quirky, sassy vibe about me.

And that’s cool in both directions.

I’ve learned other peoples problems or hang ups they may have are their own, not mine. It’s irrelevant to me and my life.

I will never march to the beat of someone else’s drummer. I will always go against the flow and I will never intentionally conform to someone else’s standards or thoughts.

Now on with the celebrations….

Ok so I’ve kinda been working the birthday thing all week, even though as I write this, the 11th is the “official” day.

I think birthdays are worth celebrating no matter how old you get.

Cake… heck yes. My daughter made me an amazing German Chocolate one that we all devoured. Toss some ice cream on it too.

I love presents and all those unexpected treats. No, I’m not to big for gifts.

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Metallic rose gold Converse 🙂

Speaking of gifts… my daughter knows of my Converse love and gifted me with these lovelies to sport around. How pretty are they ??

Of course I shared with you in my Monday Musings post this week, hubby totally surprised me with a Go Pro, to which I’m in the process of assembling and getting all put together.

You can read about that here…..https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/09/monday-musings-18/

Then it will be off for some adventures with it. 😉

Being older has some other advantages…..

Like… I have no idea what the most popular mini van, “sport” van, or SUV is no days… I traded mine in for a  Charger R/T Max almost 2 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I know more about it’s 0-60 abilities than I do features on new vans 😉 #nomoremomcars

I skim into the grocery store  peacefully getting what I need while I pass Moms with kids hanging off baskets or crying babies. Bless them but I’ve been there, done that, free now.

I can come in a total mess from a workout and get ready in record time. Although my mane of hair definitely takes the longest, I learned a long time ago less is more with makeup.  All the things young women go through  now days with makeup, I’ve got no time for that. You’ll just have to look at my awkward “un contoured, un bronzed, un highlighted” face 😉

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50ish and unfiltered. Hubby asked me one morning what I was doing… I was actually heavy into strength training… he got this little gem in his phone.  This might make him more cautious about asking in the future 😉

 

I’ve got more “me” time. All my kids are grown, self sufficient, get themselves up and off for work, tend to their own needs, or better yet they live in their own homes.  I can do things during the day I want to do.

I can stop for a coffee and read on the patio at my local coffee hangout…one of my fav leisure activities. Coffee, reading, and people watching.

Also, another birthday puts me closer to getting a Senior citizen discount on my breakfast… so there’s that 😉

In the year ahead….

I’m not gonna get all deep and introspective on you. My approach to my new year is simple….

Take no prisoners.

Take challenges, take risks, work hard, don’t be afraid to fail when attempting new things, seize new opportunities, live fearlessly, believe strongly in myself in what I can do, love with abandon, let go of what is useless, embrace the things that matter, be kind, accept some things are what they are, work hard, and never let age be an excuse to not accomplish something new.

I think that’s a crazy fine way to head into another year of being #50ish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Musings

So I’m gonna start today off with a rant. Why not. And you might laugh or be surprised when I tell you the rant is over…. donuts.

Yes. Donuts.

I don’t really eat them much, rarely actually.

But I do have a little thing for powdered sugar donuts. I’ve talked about them before.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/09/22/food-choices-deprivation-or-empowerment/

Sometimes in the mornings I just want one or two. That’s it.

I don’t binge on them or eat a half a bag. I have the discipline/self control/ whatever you want to call it to have a taste and put them away.

In fact unless some of the others who live in my household eat them, I will often throw half a bag away when they’ve sat for awhile. ( here’s a nod to all the preservatives that keep them alive and well haha)

Anyway….

Since I am selective in how I eat them I expect them to be good, ya know? With the most recent purchase it appears they have somehow changed up the donut recipe, and not for the better.

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Posing with a bag of defective donuts. Why am I smiling???

The donuts are like… sponges. Chewy sponges. Sugar coated chewy sponges.

They are awful. Hideous. Not worth wasting calories on.

I’m contacting the company and asking them what they’ve done to my little white, fluffy tasty treats. I’m going to whine and cry and ask them… why?? Why did you go and mess with a good thing?

Incase you don’t know, the donut should be rather light, fluffy, and kinda melt in your mouth with the powdered sugar.

It should not be like chewing through a kitchen sponge.

I guess that’s one way to break me from them, right?

**sniff, sniff**

I’m done whining now….

Ok maybe I don’t really need them after my doctor appointment this past week.

Yes, everything is good.  I don’t talk much about this but I have hypothyroidism.

I really never mention it ’cause 1) I don’t want to be defined by anything and 2) it’s not a big deal to me as I see my doctor yearly to monitor my TSH levels and I take my meds like a good girl.  I also think eating healthy and exercise help as well.

But besides my check up on my thyroid  he runs a whole panel of blood tests. He got to my cholesterol and said “Your HDL ( the good kind of cholesterol) is 79.”

It should be mentioned here that the highest level the lab has as, I guess, an “optimal” level is 39mg.

He laughs and calls me an over achiever and then says “it’s all that exercise you do that drives it up”

Consistent, daily, vigorous exercise is the best way to help your good cholesterol levels. So if you struggle with cholesterol issues, you might want to consider trying to get more purposeful movement into your week.

It’s not only good for your cholesterol, but all of your body as well.

In my furniture adventures…..

 

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An old window screen with a few additions

 

Ok this isn’t like, furniture, but it is old and crusty. Look how cute this old window screen turned out with some additions to it 🙂

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Vintage buffet

I did score this vintage buffet this week. Other than some veneer damage on top ( ugh, which I’m removing) it won’t have much repair work to start transformation.

20180607_121008Actually this little piece will be adorable as a coffee bar or a entry way piece. There are so many ways to repurpose  buffets.

In the past few weeks I’ve finished off a few chairs and a cute table. I have several things on the list for the upcoming week, including the buffet.  Hubby has told me I get nothing else… but he accompanied me on a run for some stuff this past weekend haha

Seriously. I’m so grateful for how he supports all my craziness and adventurous ideas 🙂

I promise a peek at the buffet when it’s all done.

When I’m not doing furniture….

I’m slowly working my training back up in preparation for the duathlon later this year. I think if there’s one thing I’ve had to learn as an athlete is the ebb and flow of a training season. It is SO hard to give up a high level of fitness, to be at a peak, and then come off that and have to start building it again.

Not that I’m “out of shape”  not even being in peak condition I know I can still do more physically than most people. I have a good physical “base” to build on as I start my training. I just kinda wish I could always stay at that level although I know my ( or any athletes) body isn’t designed to always be in such peak condition.

So I’ll start increasing my training, building each week, and celebrating as I conquer new goals.

I’ll start with a brick session today  ( bike/ run) and gradually add  those workouts in twice a week. There will be specific long rides and on foot, mile repeats working on kicking up my speed a little.

And in the mix, I’ll keep up strength training to keep my body strong and balanced for my on road activities and because I like having some muscles too 😛

I’ve written a couple posts on that… find them here…….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2016/03/03/muscles-are-for-girls/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/10/menopause-muscles-and-middle-age/

Seriously though, I feel so alive when I’m out on the road whether I’m running or cycling. I’m ready to work hard and enjoy the fruit of my labors 🙂

I’m ready to take on this tough duathlon again.

Now… have I ever mentioned……

My son is in the ball python business.  Yeah. Snakes. Check out this little baby, and it literally is a baby at only about 12 days old.

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He’s being a little shy and hiding out ….

Oh no! Have I creeped you out now????

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Getting a little more adventurous now….
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I think he likes me now.

 

I may have just lost half my readers showing these photos haha

Evidently, according to my son, ball pythons are big business now days. While I was letting this little guy crawl around he casually informs me it’s a 1,500.00 snake.

Yikes!

And you may now have assessed that I’m not a girl who runs from snakes.

Here’s the deal, after raising three boys, I’ve learned to roll with just about anything… it definitely has made me a stronger woman on a lot of levels.

If you’re still with me….

tell me if you’re someone who gets creeped out over snakes or if you find them interesting?

Are you sympathetic over my donut plight ? Have you ever been disappointed in some particular food you find enjoyable to have it not measure up?

Have you tried any new foods or recipes this week ? Summer heat is in full swing and I am more about eating light foods and plenty of salads. Do you have any light, cool recipes you prefer ?

Do you have an upcoming event you are training for?

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?

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.