Happy Monday beautiful people! It’s really Sunday evening as I write this, and I’m finally finding a moment to sit down after a long busy day and catch my breath.
Football has been on all day and of course all my men must keep the sound at a level that resembles being at the actual football game.
When the games are over, the sound comes down, it’s then I’m reminded how nice a quieter house is.
With everyone here I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have such a wonderful family…. even if they do have the football games ridiculously loud 😉
It’s hard to not reflect on how blessed I am with my family. I have an amazing, wonderful husband, great kids, my sons wives, grandkids ( another on the way arriving in the spring!) and my daughters boyfriend who after 2 years of putting up with her 😉 is also family.
I’m grateful for who we are as a group. For the love, laughter, silliness and uniqueness of each person. I guess I’ve become even more appreciative in a world where so many families aren’t like that, who are mean spirited and cut throat to one another, where jealousy and petty things take place over the value of relationships. These behaviors are so sad to me.
It just makes me want to hold closer those I love and what we have. I don’t mean “perfection” because not one single person or family is “perfect”… that also is an illusion many try to present…. just learn to love perfectly with not perfect people.
But really though, if you don’t take care of your family, at the end of the day what do you have? The world is a rough place, love those who are yours, over look faults, be patient with weaknesses, set loving boundaries, speak truth, love fiercely and value the uniqueness of those who are your tribe.
Ok I’m gonna get off my soapbox now 😉
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Speaking of family… for me Christmas and family are closely tied together.
This past week I’ve gotten all my Christmas decorating done and my massive tree all decorated.
All 13 feet of it.
It’s got over 400 lights, 180 feet of silver beaded garland, and 100’s of ornaments. It took pretty much every ornament I have and my 6’0 body hanging precariously off the very top of a 6’0 ladder… but it’s done.
It is really, I think, the most spectacular tree we’ve ever had.
I love turning all the lights off at night and just sitting in the quiet house before I go to bed and just looking at it.
I find those times peaceful as it lets my mind unwind and wander and reflect on so many things. It’s a practice I’ve enjoyed for years and I find simple joy in it.
Here… I’ll let you have a sneak peak at it all….
Long before you young whippersnappers had that crazy little Elf on a shelf thing going on, I had this little guy be a part of all my Christmases…which are getting up there now 😉
According to what I was told a long time ago, these little guys came on dish soap bottles back in the dark ages.
My grandmother was the one who got them ( a green and a red one) the green I retrieved from an old tub of my mom’s where Christmas decorations go to die. Although faded and more worn looking I dragged him out and he has a spot on my primitive toy tree ( I’ll show you later )
The red one comes out every year to quietly perch among the branches of my tree.
I don’t have to do anything with him, move him around or pose him in a bowl of cereal.
He’s just a quiet sentinel marking another Christmas in his family.
I love having things from my childhood past to share with my kids and grandkids. Those things evoke feelings and memories of Christmases long ago and the people I loved who I shared them with.
I hope these traditions continue a long time in my family.
But on the topic of trees….
I somehow, in the past few years, have managed to have more than one tree. I’ve got little theme trees that I haven’t been able to resist doing.
A primitive toy tree surrounded by my old rocking horse obsession. A cool black and silver tree that holds all my kids ornaments they lovingly brought home from school projects years ago, a silver tree that holds tons of little glass ornaments that date back to my great grandmother. It’s so vintage looking… I love it.
A few years ago I got a pink one. Sorry, I’m a girl and pink is like one of my favorite colors. It’s in my kitchen and it’s all gingerbread and candy themed and my granddaughters adore looking at it. It’s full of whimsical sparkly play candy and garland although I do buy various colored candy canes to add to it.
I think I’ve got like five theme trees around my home… but hey! It’s better than being a crazy cat lady, right??
In other news….
in a busy month with not only usual life activities, but holiday preparations as well it might be tempting to skip your workouts.
May I suggest something short and sweet that also brings a punch ? HIIT (high intensity interval training) is hard work in a short amount of time.
Got 20 minutes?
Here’s an example of one I did last week.
10 push ups
10 jumping squats
20 jumping jacks
20 mountain climbers
30 sit ups
30 second plank hold
Do as may sets as you can in 20 minutes.
It was a cold morning when I did this. I was sweating at the end. I managed to get 5 sets done. I was thinking that didn’t seem like…a lot.. until I realized I had done 150 sit ups in those 5 sets. I do butterfly sit ups with a 25 lb weight plate to make it a little harder. I do a longer hold on my plank as well.
It’s important to remember that you can always modify a workout to your current physical abilities. If you’re stronger, add some weight or push a little harder.
If you are just starting out, reduce reps if you need to and go at an easy pace.
Short, powerful workouts are very effective and if you are limited on time, they offer a high energy boost and get you on your way.
Visit me on Pinterest and find more short workouts on my fitness boards.
Ok and you know I need to leave you with something tasty….
I will also encourage you to maintain healthy eating habits during the festive season of Christmas and all that goes with it however there are going to be tasty treats to eat as well…..
My daughter in law found this recipe and suggested we should try it. We are quite the dessert lab rats around here haha
These are delicious and will probably be added to our list of favorites. Don’t take my word for it, go make it and see what you think.
My cookie baking and candy making will be getting going soon so I’ll share some of my favorites with you in an up coming post 🙂
So tell me… are you ready for Christmas? How goes the decorating? Are you done shopping yet? Do you have a favorite Christmas item or recipe?
Today’s post is a compilation of thoughts, reflections, and an overall recap from my recent duathlon. I largely write this to exercise my mind and the emotions that come from not only doing this type of event, but the months of training and ultimate finishing of it as well.
It is perhaps, hard to explain. It’s easier to understand if you’ve ever undertaken a similar event but really, for anyone who does this, or triathlons, we all have our “whys” for what we do.
It’s the thing that puts us out there not just for the race but the months leading up to it.
So, if you wish to continue, get comfy and go along on the ride with me. I promise to not bore you with stats and stuff like that 😉
Maybe you’ve never entertained the idea of something so crazy, or perhaps you’ve wondered if you could do it and are sitting on a fence pondering that idea. I’ll just say this… anyone… can do anything they determine they are going to do.
You might not be the fastest or most skilled but by damn, you can do it if you determine you’re going to.
How did an ordinary woman get to this point?
Seriously. It’s a thought that’s danced through my head on more than one occasion.
Somehow a middle aged, wife, mom, grandmother, jack of all trades, previously non-athletic person turned into an athlete. And not just one who plays with one sport, but a duathlete.
I’d have to say it’s largely come from chasing down one goal after another. Once I saw I could do something bigger than I thought I could do, I’d set the bar for another goal, yet larger one.
Although I hated being sidetracked a couple years ago with an Achilles injury, that’s what put me on the bike more. I could cycle and get those miles I craved I wasn’t getting from running. Turns out all that running made me super strong and pretty capable on the bike, not a bad thing.
I kept at the bike as I healed. I learned and practiced. I shamelessly talked to anyone who could tell me what I needed to know. I kept increasing my miles and riding hard terrain.
I wanted to do the duathlon the year I was still recovering from my running injury but when it got to the time I needed to be training, I just felt like my leg wasn’t ready for running.
Last year everything was in place for me to do it.
I invested myself heavily into training, practiced transitions, did brick sessions once or twice a week ( run/bike, or bike/run) to train my body to the demands of shifting from one activity to the next.
Race day I went out and did what I’d trained myself to do. Being my first multi sport event I felt like such an inexperienced baby but I got it done.
And done enough to place first in my age group. I secretly hoped I’d be good enough to place but hadn’t voiced it out loud.
Overall, it was a good experience and I set my sites on 2018 and doing it again.
Same game, new year, new adventures.
As I began training this year I at least understood more of what was involved and required of me to do this event. This duathlon is a championship race and it’s listed as the “toughest in the state.” They tell no lies about this.
I knew the physical demands as well as mental demands.
There were however, new life things I didn’t have going on last year in competition with me for training.
Namely, a 4 day a week job that took up leisure time. Yes, I could still get in training on most mornings, I just didn’t have as much time to extend those sessions.
Running. Straight up, running was harder this year. I think there are a variety of reasons, but it is what it is.
Because of that I didn’t push myself as much on it. Yes, I knew I could do it. Would it be ultimately what I wanted in time/pace etc? Maybe not but I’d just have to be good with it.
I kept to my cycling and training on the hardest roads I could find. Hills are definitely one place my strength really shines and since the duathlon course was loaded with some hard monster sized ones it made sense to keep my physical and mental training honed in this area.
The struggle is real.
As race day approached, mixed with my usual pre-race nerves was the overwhelming feeling of…
“What am I doing??”
I found myself wondering if something might come up and then I wouldn’t be able to do it. Like .. “what if I got sick?” haha something every athlete worries about before an event.
I questioned my training. I questioned my abilities. I questioned if I had what it took to do it ( which is kinda laughable considering I’d done it last year and I’d been training for it this year)
I remember pouring out all my angst to hubby to which he responded….
“You know you can do it. Just go and do it. When you cross the finish line it will be amazing. I don’t even know how you do what you do.”
Somehow those words settled me.
No matter what, doing it, and seeing myself across the finish line was all that mattered.
Quitting was never an option.
Needless to say like any athlete with an event coming up, I stalked the weather hoping it would be…well… decent. I’d trained in all kinds of weather but really, who doesn’t want race day to be prime?
Temperatures were promised in the mid-50s with a chance of rain… afternoon rain.
ok well, to me the promised temps were decent… I could still work up a sweat with that.
However, weather you know, has a mind of it’s own…..on the way to the race it started raining some.
Ok no worries. Except once I got there in the early morning dark it appeared the rain wasn’t interested in waiting till the afternoon. Intermittent showers were our friend through out the morning.
Not only that, the comfortable, warmish weather shifted with some arriving wind knocking it into the mid 40’s.
Now we had some rain, wind and much colder air.
All of the athletes were being warned to drop the PSI in their tires, to watch their speed and to be careful on corners.
I was grateful that the rain didn’t daunt me, that I had spent time in it training…. but still… I understood the roads were slick and I also understood that meant a newer level of caution.
Of course I’d dressed more for warmer weather but thankfully had my waterproof cycling jacket on ( which was a bit to warm for the first run leg) I tossed it when I transitioned to the bike…. which made for a colder than anticipated bike ride being wet and flying down the road at rapid speeds.
None of that mattered…. this is what we had for the race…. deal with it.
As I was running the parking lot warming up in the breaking dawn with rain coming down on me one of the police officers stopped me and said “are you sure you want to be out here doing this?” I laughed and told him there were probably a few of us who might think being home, comfy with a cup of coffee, would be preferable to being out at 630 on a cold, wet morning shaking out our legs and nerves pre race.
But then I added….” you have to understand that every single one of us out here might be a wee bit insane. It’s that insanity that has us here and will drive us to finish today ”
He gave me a big laugh and told me to please be careful out there as I went loping off.
And I still stand by that. Being a little crazy is what keeps you out there and is the undercurrent to getting the work done.
And nothing…nothing… feels better when that insanity brings you across the finish line.
The first leg of race, the 5K was just crappy and I knew it would be. It wasn’t my best time and it wasn’t anything that impressed me. I just focused on moving through it knowing I’d close ground once I got on the bike.
I moved through transition as quickly as I could. I think this year I had it about 1:15. Not only are you transitioning into new gear, preparing for another sport, I believe your mind has got to transition as well.
As I knew I would, once I took off on bike I started covering ground and picking off other cyclists. This became as game as I settled into the ride. I was trying to not think about how much colder it was as I sped down the road in shorts and a sleeveless cycling jersey.
As the miles disappeared I knew I was getting close before we would turn and head back.
The miles with the beastly hills were what I still had to tackle. Only today they were wet and dark looming like large, formidable sentries in front of us.
This however, was home turf and I felt comfortable in it.
As I got closer to the first huge hill that is my nemesis, the one I have a love hate relationship with, I could see it littered with cyclists… all pushing their bikes up.
My mental game had been pretty strong at that point, but seeing all those people pushing their bikes up, well that can really start to do a number on my mind.
I’ve never, ever since I started riding that beast had to push my bike up and I didn’t plan to start anytime soon.
I locked my mind down, looked directly at the road in front of my bike and plowed up that hill past them. I think at that point if anyone had gotten in front of me or challenged me on anything, I could’ve taken them on my mental game was just that strong. I got on top of the hill, and began to prepare for the second one which was just over the top of the one I’d just climbed. Again I had to dodge people pushing their bikes up.
I had a brief moment to let the bike do the work before we hit the final back hills. As I came around a curve that was so familiar to me, and prepared to fly up a hill, there were cyclists walking their bikes down saying the spotters had encouraged people to walk down.
Ha. Not likely.
I got to the top and prepared for the descent down the back of the hill… again coming back I had to pass people pushing up. Once again I locked my mind down… set my focus directly in front of me and shouldered into it.
The two spotters at the top were like… “wow, nice work ma’am” ha I hardly had time to acknowledge them before I was flying off the hill again, now on my way back to the start line.
A few miles from getting back to the transition area I was aware that I was oh so cold, my feet felt numb and then out of the blue stabbing cramps in my quad, up into my hip, wrapping into my hamstring.
I’ve never had that happen before. Thankfully I was able to stand up and keep riding and work it out without having to stop.
It was debatable for awhile.
Cold. Cramps. Wet. Battling mental demons along the way. So many battles that day.
The end was closer. I fought for this thing and I would finish it out.
And finish I did. The last run was a surprise in that it was longer than last year (ah) so where I thought we’d turn and head back…well… no.. we got to keep going for a bit longer.
When I finally got to the stretch and could see that finish line, the big red numbers with the race time, the announcer calling my number, saw my husband patiently waiting for me, knew my months of work was about to pay off, it was worth it.
It was worth the months of training, the early mornings, the tired legs, the days that left me exhausted, the doubts were crushed, and once again, there was that overwhelming immense satisfaction in stepping across that finish line.
It makes me weep every time.
My emotions run high as it all culminates …. the proverbial icing on the cake… my own personal victory.
And well, it was pretty cool to check my stats and see it showed me as first in my age group. 🙂
I’d never entertained that because I just thought my time wouldn’t be so impressive. Once they posted times for both genders, I could see that my finish time was what some of the 20-24 year old guys placed in … so there’s that 😛
So what’s next?
I don’t have any plans of slowing down or sitting on the sidelines watching life. I’d love to do at least two duathlons in 2018. I’d also like to ease back into distance running and maybe cut my teeth on a half marathon again. It’s technically now “off season” although I don’t see myself not training. I will add in an extra strength training day ’cause muscles are nice to have in a variety of ways. 😉 Not just that, it’s freaking cool to be strong and being strong is what helps me get through the tough part of these events.
I am such a baby in this world of multi sport events so I have plenty of room to grow, learn and improve. I guess that’s what keeps me coming back, knowing I can constantly challenge myself.
And finally, I’ve gotta say thank you to my amazing family, my husband and kids, my tribe who love me, encourage me, tell me I’m crazy, and are so proud and supportive of what I do. My husband who willingly gets up at crazy hours to go with me, who endures the weather, takes pics, and is the smiling face I’m looking for when I come in, who buys me food and coffee when I’m frozen and starving….. his support is crucial to what I do.
And of course my friends who love me, cheer me on and also love telling me I’m crazy… I appreciate all of your encouragement and support 🙂
Thank you for sharing in my recent adventures by reading this post! Your turn, tell me about your adventures…what you’ve done or what you may be planning to do. Do those dreams ever just scare you a little? How have you felt when you accomplished something you’ve never done?
That’s such a relative term, isn’t it? What is easy for one person, may not be so for the other.
Webster defines easy as ” achieved without great effort, presenting few difficulties”
Reading has always come easy for me. I loved it as a child and was a classic bookworm. Summers were for dragging bags of books home to get immersed in.
Words come easy to me. It’s satisfying to use them in creative ways, to paint pictures and to be able to describe and tell a story.
Now imagine my shock when one of my sons really didn’t like reading. At all.
Why? Because it was work for him. It was hard and he had to have no distractions otherwise it didn’t “stick”. Words were hard and he did not find the joy in it that I did.
It’s precisely why one year, I too, read “Where The Red Fern Grows”, out loud to him. In reading it to him, it somehow stuck better, and even though he was older we both enjoyed that time each night reading a chapter so he was ready for the quiz the next day on it.
Word got around that was going on and soon his friends who hadn’t read would ask him…”so what’s going on in the current chapter?”
But ugh… seriously… damn sad book. Tears fell for both of us.
Reading and words were easy for me. My son struggled.
I guess we can see this applied almost anywhere in life, right?
The shining athlete, the top scholar, the jack of all trades who can seemingly do anything, the cook who effortlessly whips a gourmet meal out of nothing but flour, salt, beans and some peanut butter.
Ok, I’m teasing on that, but we all know that ONE person who can work with nothing and make something, and Suzy Q is struggling to follow directions on a box.
All of us can do things, can strive for improving on them yet it will never come easy.
For the love of numbers, I hate math. I’m always semi in awe of people who wield numbers the way I can words.
They look at those algebra equations and it all….makes… sense.
Amazing. Like how does your brain DO that??
I barely, and I mean barely, skated by my last math class in high school and I really think it’s ’cause my teacher just had a level of mercy on me.
And I did show up for extra tutoring so there was that…..
I was never, ever so glad to say good bye to math class. It’s what freaks me out about ever doing any college stuff. I took a practice exam once for the English and nailed it off the charts.
We won’t discuss the math one…… 😉
Easy for some, but not for me.
Hold on… I’m going somewhere….
I was thinking a few times this week during my workouts how some things I view as “easy”, most people think are crazy and can’t imagine doing. They view it as ridiculously hard. Hubby tells me all the time he doesn’t know how I do what I do.
This usually comes when we’re driving up a huge hill and I’m telling him what it feels like on bike or foot. Or telling him about my run/bike/run sessions.
I do it. I don’t think about it. It’s work but it mostly comes easy for me.
Recently doing dead lifts I thought how they weight was starting to feel not as challenging. I’ve been doing around 140lb, at a 3 set 10 reps as a part of my strength training.
Now some of you who lift a lot.. no laughing.
I try not to overwork my body on weights because training right now, I hit the road the next day and sometimes my legs and lower body are asking why I killed them the day before.
Strength training is icing on the cake for my other sports.
Here’s the deal.
In the term of being “easy”, it’s not.
Honestly, to think of lifting something weighing 140lbs straight up off the floor would seem like work.
My body is going through this wonderful thing called adaptation. I’ve been doing it long enough now that in some ways it’s starting to feel easier, but really, I’m just getting stronger and it means I’m going to have to up my game soon.
When it comes to exercise, so many people put at the top of the list, it’s hard.
Why? Well, because in the beginning, it is!
Exercise can quickly reveal to you that you are out of shape and need to be doing it more.
No one likes that feeling.
Exercise really, I don’t think, comes “easy” to anyone. Well, at least in the beginning stages.
And if you’re wanting to continue, grow and improve, if it starts to feel easy, you should be looking at the next step.
How do I get to the easy part?
In the running world, we talk about base miles. Basically, a foundation that you can build on. You train and work in certain mileage that allows your body to get stronger and make those adaptations that come from the rigors of running.
So many cool things change inside your body as it adapts to it. These changes are good and allow you to stay on your feet longer, work harder and go farther distances without injury.
I didn’t wake up one morning and just decide to go run a marathon. It took months of training building my body and adding more mileage each week.
This is how you need to approach getting into a new exercise regime.
It has to be slow and steady, no matter what activity you may choose to participate in. Doing it in this manner not only keeps your body from hating you the next day, it encourages you to keep pressing on to the next step.
And for you the next step might be literally committing to evening walks around the block. Or it could mean increasing your distance if you’ve stayed at the same distance forever. You could be thinking of dusting off the bike in the garage ( and you better be wearing a helmet!)
Maybe you want to start lifting some weights. I can’t stress enough to make sure it’s heavy to make you work. I mean maybe 4-6 reps before you can’t lift one more.
Find a starting point and then build from there. Always be mindful to do enough, but not to much in the beginning, to avoid injury.
With a careful, intentional approach, in time you will find yourself thinking that what once seemed so hard, now seems easy.
Tell me. Can you relate? Have you moved from a point of it being hard and painful to feeling easier?
Send a boat. Seriously. Send one. The rain has been going on here long enough and I’m starting to feel like if I should sit still to long I may get moldy.
In the south we hate to complain about rain ’cause when it’s done, it goes and we don’t see it for awhile, but I think we’re all ready for a break. The ground just can’t hold anymore and smooshes under you when you walk.
Yes, I just used smooshes. Enjoy that 😉
I’ve come to the realization if I’m running or cycling I’m gonna get wet from more than just my sweat. I’m ok with that, mostly.
Have you ever been on a bike, flying along, with water flying from the sky and it’s all over your glasses?
I’ve yet to figure how to make that all work as I need/ prefer to have them on.. tricky though.. with water on them and not wanting the wind in my eyes.
Speaking of my athletic shenanigans……
I took off on Friday with the intent of doing a brick session, meaning a run/bike training work out.
The weather guy had promised a “mostly dry” day ahead. I pondered that statement when I walked out and felt light, misty rain hit me.
No big deal. I grabbed my bike and other gear, got set up and took off to do my 5K run.
Finished off the run. swapped gear, and got on the road for miles on the bike. It always feels good to settle in and have time to drink something and catch my breath from the run.
My mind moved ahead to the route I was taking as the miles dropped under me. I approached a road that I turn on and ride into the cul de sac before looping back the way I came.
There’s a house that sits on the corner and the people there have a couple dogs. It’s not usually an important thing to me however one of them last summer decided it wanted to chomp my thigh when it chased me into the cul de sac and I had to really slow down because of all the loose gravel.
It took me a couple rides down that road before I started to relax again. So whenever I ride I’m always aware.
This was my mental status on Friday. However as I approached to turn on the side road I saw one of the dogs through trees in front of the house…. immediately aware…
Oh my gosh they are out and loose.
It’s funny…well not funny… but my mind began to immediately seek out the best way to avoid conflict.
First, I’m obviously not turning up the road as planned. If I kept going straight it took me down a huge hill that immediately dropped into a sharp, fast “S” curve. As much as I love playing daredevil off those hills. the idea of doing it with dogs chasing me didn’t seem prudent.
I determined to come to a stop as quick as possible, unclip, and hopefully put my bike between us.
I guess I wasn’t aware of this, but now instead of having two dogs, there were four, ( when did they get more??) who began barking and heading towards me, including one who snacked on my thigh last year.
It just happens so fast….
Before I could fully stop to unclip, he came charging up and yes, again, chomped me in the thigh.
By now the owner was calling all of them and they were scampering off sniffing grass and what not.
Shaking I got off my bike, my upper thigh already throbbing, blood running down my leg.
Then damn it, tears.
It hurt, but seeing four dogs coming at me had been a little unnerving. I can’t explain how my brain was processing things, but I couldn’t get it all going in time to avoid the bite.
Tears because I was angry as I knew my ride was over, that I’d need to go home and tend to myself. Angry because I already felt like I’m behind in my training and this clipped the rest of my training time.
Angry because that stupid dog bit me….again.
The owner was like… “Oh that’s bad bite.”
I’d say as it was a full mouth bite.
At that point I just wanted to get home. She asked that I wait while she herded them inside.
Here’s what you need to know. I live in areas where the roads are mostly quiet and there aren’t a lot of people up and down them. It’s great training ground. Plenty of hills, inclines and flat roads.
Being outside with your dogs with you, not in a fence, isn’t awful, necessarily. The problem is, if someone comes along and you have a dog that already goes after someone on a bike, he should never be loose. I mean, realistically, they don’t know when someone will come along and well, then, it’s to late.
After getting home and cleaning up, I sent hubby a lovely leg photo. Probably not the kind of leg photo he may have preferred as this one was a thigh with teeth marks, bruising, and blood. Let’s just say I won’t win any great leg contests right now 😛
Of course, he wanted me to go to the clinic to be seen. Which of course I did.
Something I hadn’t really planned into my day.
Before I got back home, the owner was sending messages that they were calling authorities, that the dog would be quarantined and was current on shots etc.
The thing that concerns me with all of this is…. the dog was very focused and intent on what it was about. Headed right into me to bite. I carry a lot of heavy muscle on my thighs and it took the impact and still had damage. But what if I was a smaller person? Or worse, a kid on a bike? They might not stand up under it as well.
So I’ve got some decisions to make and things to consider with this.
I hate having to deal with it. I hate that my leg is swollen and tender and I seem to hit it on everything. I hate something making me feel insecure. ( after last years event it took several times that way before I didn’t feel tense riding there)
Could I not ride that way?
Yeah, I guess. But why shouldn’t I be able to ride a public road without fear of being attacked? It’s not my responsibility to keep my dog under wraps.
and this is the second time…..
Anyway… that was my exciting way of ending my week…
In the ways of work…
it’s been a busy week in my vintage furniture world. I sold several things this week, picked up another custom order and got the coolest table and chair set… that I want to keep. That is the cool thing about doing this. If I find something I love, I rework it, and it gets added to my collection.
I’m going to freshen it up and it will be a unique kitchen set, It’s legs and details on table…. so gorgeous!
I’m telling you… you just can’t go down to the local furniture place and find things like this anymore.
Oh and I also got some fun fabric for my chair projects.
I scored a set of 8 antique harp back chairs that I’m getting this week. I guess we’ll see what I do with them…
I know we are approaching Fall….
my daughter in law asked me the other day if I was going to decorate for fall. I told her when it’s not 99 degrees and feels like summer.
I just want a little bit of a weather change, that’s all. Just a bit of crisp in the air.
The warm, muggy, humid, sauna like weather we’ve been having has not put me in a festive mood wanting all things Pumpkin Spice
Speaking of that…shame on Starbucks for getting greedy rolling out Pumpkin Spice in August,
Are you kidding me? August?
Not feeling it guys, not feeling it.
The grey days though have put me in the mood for soup and cozy foods. One favorite around here is taco soup. Toss all the ingredients in a crock pot and whoever shows up can grab something to eat. It also reheats well too.
I’ve got another busy week ahead…per usual…. and as always new adventures wait.
What does your week ahead hold? Are you ready for fall and a change of seasons?
Exercise. It’s one of those subjects that when the topic comes up, people delicately shudder and walk off as if you’ve mentioned the plaque or some other horrible ill.
There are jokes made about pain and sweat and how hard it is.
There are comments about how “they should start to do something” or their “doctor told them to” or “my friend is trying to get me to go with them” and many other similar thoughts.
We can be challenged, made to feel guilty, or completely ignore the idea.
For some, just the mere thought of having to move their bodies in purposeful exercise makes them sweat.
Honestly, I was in a similar boat a few years ago.
Then one day, like many people are, I was at a doctor appointment for my yearly check up. When he asked me what I did for exercise I told him I “used” to go for little walks but hadn’t done it in a long time. He encouraged me to do something, to at least get back into walking and to try and drop a few pounds.
I literally left his office that day, went home, took my first walk and pretty much never stopped after that.
It wasn’t all fun and games.
I didn’t skip out and dive into my walks happy. No. I grumbled over it. I lamented being fat and “having” to exercise. ( gosh have I learned a lot since then) I hated being hot and I would’ve preferred staying in and doing something else.
I wanted to come up with reasons not to do it, but I’m kinda stubborn and when I get into something I get determined to make it work.
Yet somehow in all of the talk about the “how’s” and “why’s” for exercise, there’s a whole lotta things that never get mentioned.
Exercise IS hard.
In the beginning it feels like… death. You wonder why on earth you signed up for this fresh hell and how is it really gonna benefit you? Where are the results already?
Seriously, I’d dutifully go for my 2 mile walk and want, ya know, instant results, for my efforts.
Honestly though, I always did feel mentally better after I did it, so there’s that.
Exercise reminds you that you are really outta shape.
Admit it. Who hasn’t gone up a flight of stairs, tried to run for a short distance, or even gone for a brisk walk without breathing like a freight train and feeling like your heart is gonna come out of your chest.
Yet I never got the memo that those were some of the awesome side effects I could encounter when I decided to pursue exercising.
I hated that feeling ’cause it did tell me I needed to work on what was inside of me as well as what was on the outside.
Let’s not forget the other awesome side effects of looking like a red ripened tomato ’cause your blood is wildly rushing and you have sweaty hair plastered to your face.
You ache and feel muscles you never knew you had.
No wonder people run away from exercise.
Don’t do what you hate.
If I had a chocolate bar for the times I’ve had people come to me asking about exercise activities to do but they start with… “Ok, well like, I reallllyyy hate running. I mean, I know YOU like it and all but for me…well..no.”
I simply tell them, well then, don’t run.
Hey I never imagined I’d turn into a runner. That stuff is hard. But somehow, in some weird way, I started doing it and before I knew it… I was running.
I won’t lie. There’s a pleasure and pain pay off to it, but it’s always fiercely rewarding so I’m kinda loathe to give it up 😉
Find something you can enjoy and look forward to and then become the biggest expert at it you can. It’s that simple and it’s the best way to stick with it.
It eventually WILL pay off.
It will. Trust me. It won’t pay off after 9 days or maybe even a month, but it will. But long before you may see physical changes, you will mentally feel better. Going for purposeful exercise can clear your head, help you problem solve, and make you feel better overall. It’s a great day to unwind from your day or start it. I prefer and have turned into a morning workout girl for a variety of reasons.
Mornings are when people typically want/need almost nothing from me so I can take that time. I also feel like it starts my day in an energetic positive way… even if I may still be rubbing sleep out of my eyes why the sun comes up behind me. I am also smart enough to know it is easier to have excuses later in the evening than morning so I just make it my first priority.
No matter what time you choose know you are making an investment in yourself and it will have pay offs.
You’ll actually start to look forward to it.
Really, you will. Once you’ve built it into a new habit it will become easier to incorporate it in your day and you’ll come to actually crave that time, even when you know it will be hard and it will be work.
You won’t mind that because you will come to understand that it makes you feel good and that’s a pretty nice side effect to hard work.
I honestly schedule appointments and other activities around making sure I have time for my training and some moments to get cleaned up and human looking after I’m done . This is as important as anything else in my day and I make no apologies for putting it on my agenda.
You shouldn’t either.
Some things won’t feel so hard.
Really. In the beginning when you are gasping for air like a fish out of water and your heart is pounding you may think you’ll never adapt.
Your body will begin to do all the miraculous things it can and make adaptations so the work “feels” easier but the reality is you are getting stronger. You’ll be able to walk or run longer, lift more and as you make progress you can ( and should) keep pushing on for more that feels hard again.
Years ago when I started doing a little lifting I had these cute 5 lb weights.
Yes, for real. ( I’d never let anyone get away with that now 😉 )
Anyway, I decided I’d make a big move up to 8 lbs. at the time, I felt it a little more. When that started feeling like nothing after a million times, I made a huge move to 15 lbs. ( go big or go home right?? haha)
I won’t lie. That was work. I could barely do 6-8 reps without deciding it was enough. ( girl arms)
I worked those weights a lot. I did what I could do and when I felt like I could add “just one more rep” before my arm fell off, I did it.
Obviously, I camped there for awhile gradually building in sets of high reps that kept me feeling it.
A while back, I realized the 15lb weights felt like the previous ones, like easy, no effort.
I got the small barbell, tossed on about 25 lbs and oh yeah, I’m feeling it again.
Seriously, the first time I could barely squeak out 3-5 reps before it was fail ( meaning I couldn’t curl it one more time)
I just worked that in each time… I’d push for one more rep…
Now, I’m kinda proud to say I can do 3 sets of 8 before my arms are yelling at me. Even though I use heavier weight for other moves, the 25 is for single arm work and my arms are definitely earning their muscles haha
I’m serious… keep at what you do… no matter how small it seems… and build on it. You’ll get stronger and the work in some ways, can feel easier.
It can really build your confidence
So you’re thinking, “well, I am a confident person without working out”. Yeah, I was too. But when you start exercising and putting your body through vigorous work, it changes and you get stronger and you’re doing things other people tease and make jokes about, it will build your confidence even more.
When you set goals, sometimes bigger than you foresee being able to do, go through training, sacrifice, sweat, tears, exhaustion and a whole list of fun things, you’ll get it.
Train for and run a marathon, it will give you the confidence you can do anything. Trust me.
You’ll meet amazing people doing what you do.
So, I’m a little bit.. social.
I’m mentally seeing my hubby reading this choking, reading that last line to which he would snort and say… “A little?!?”
Ok well maybe, quite a bit.
Turning into an athlete certainly has brought me into different circles, and in those circles, meeting some amazing and talented people.
A few years back when I was selected to be in Runners World, “Runners Body” edition, https://sassyfitnesschick.com/runners-world-body-edition-feature/ I was privileged to share the pages with some amazing athletes scattered all across the U.S. These were people I would’ve never encountered otherwise. After the magazine hit the market (Dec 2012) thanks to the world of social media many of us connected. Many of us to this day, are connected and cheering on each others accomplishments.
Locally, I love knowing people who perform in similar sports as I do and having that common ground to discuss our fields of interest ( this often saves the sanity of our loved ones who may or may not be weary of hearing of our times, our negative running splits, or what technique is best for releasing worked muscle groups 😛 )
Knowing these people remind me I can always strive for more, to get more from myself, and to keep setting bigger goals.
My Ironman friends… well… are you even human???
Maybe… someday… who knows.
All that to say, you can meet some interesting people when you get out there. And if you’re semi- social like I am… well it goes together like peanut butter and jelly 😉
Energetic. You’ll get more energy.
I will admit. That was a hard sell in the beginning. How… how… could I get more energy when I could barely drag my carcass off the sofa to go do something ?
This didn’t happen over night. However, the more I did, the more energy I seemed to get. It’s like exercise became the breeding ground for more energy.
Weird, I know, but it happens.
Just start, it will come.
That whole healthy thing.
Ok, I knew intellectually, before I started working out, that it had some health benefits. However, I had no experience with it. This takes a little time but when you start eating better and exercising, it has positive results on your body, inside and out.
My doctor tells me each year at my annual check up my labs are boring and normal, which I think is a good thing.
My good cholesterol level is off the charts past “normal” to which he tells me is generated from all the exercise I do.
There’s a win.
My resting heart rate is usually dancing around in the 40-50 bpm range, thanks cardio and a whole lot of endurance training.
The things I do in my daily life are easy and I have strength to do things on my own and not need “help”.
Let’s not forget how exercise also constantly is generating new cells and growth which many believe is the best anti-aging medicine.
Find some posts below I’ve written on this topic….
Hello world! Yeah I know, no Monday Musings yesterday. I had nothing to muse over. Well not entirely it was more like a busy weekend and it just didn’t happen. But if you wanna read some of the past ones, find some here.
The life of writing involves making myself sit and be still and grind it out when I’d rather be up and moving. If there were only a way to do other stuff AND dictate my posts while doing it, that would be awesome 🙂
Anyway I thought we’d talk today about some common myths in regards to fitness and health. I heard something this past week that got me to thinking and I was gonna give it a nod in my Monday Musings but decided there was enough fodder for it to have an entire post of it’s own.
Let’s face it, in the world of health and fitness there’s a lot of things that aren’t true yet people unknowingly buy into them all the time.
Let’s consider a few in this post….
Feel the burn.
I’ve seen this quite a bit lately in different places. The whole “feel the burn” thing in regards to working out.
Now I’m not sure about you, but if something feels like it’s burning during a workout, I’m fairly sure that’s not a good thing.
Feeling a burn could indicate you have over done something or doing more than your body is physically conditioned for at that point.
This is not the same as just working hard in a session and pushing yourself within your current physical conditioning. Our bodies require time to change and adapt to what we put them through, this doesn’t happen overnight or in a few sessions when you feel like you’ve got your “beast mode” on.
If something feels like it’s burning, you really need to stop and not go to that point anymore lest you pick up and injury that sidelines you for awhile.
A gradual, consistent approach that continues to build will let you work harder and longer with less risk for injuries.
The longer you workout or the more you do in a day the better
You might mentally think you are doing something great but really unless you’re an elite athlete getting in some extra work you are simply setting yourself up for potential injury and at best being over tired, sore and not feeling great after the fact.
Stick to a structured daily workout plan, give it your best efforts and call it a wrap. Think quality over quantity. If you need to do other things consider yoga or stretching to help keep those worked muscles relaxed and loose for your next workout session.
You get no extra gold stars for excess workouts. 😉
I’ve gained weight but I know it’s muscle.
I’ve heard this when someone has been working out for like…6-8 weeks. Building muscle is work, hard work. If you’re a woman, it gets even harder. We often don’t lift heavy enough, or often enough and eat enough to build muscle in that fast of a manner. It has taken me time to build muscle, years. Although cycling and running have contributed to my muscle building, I do specific weight lifting a couple times a week alongside that.
If you want to build muscle it will take time, determination, consistency and good nutrition. Did I mention time ?
If you’re gaining weight that early on, you might be eating more than you need so adjust your calorie intake.
I’m skipping breakfast because I want to lose weight.
Do you know that breakfast really is the most important meal of your day? Your body has been fasting for hours ( think your last meal the night before) eating properly helps kick start your metabolism for the day, wards off hunger and helps prevent binging later on when you are full blown hungry. It will also give you energy for your morning. Not only that having proper fuel helps you to be focused and alert, without it you can be irritable and grouchy. Skipping breakfast won’t contribute to weight loss, but it will keep you hungry and focused on food.
It doesn’t have to be a huge meal, but one that is healthy and offers adequate protein and carbs to fuel your body and brain.
Eating lots of protein gives you more muscle.
Listen, I’m always one who will preach eating protein to you ’cause it delivers a big bang for keeping you from feeling hungry for long periods of time. Your body needs protein to build muscles and grow cells and hair and nails and all that other cool physical stuff. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues.
However, when it comes to fat loss and a better body, protein is the king of nutrients. Protein can reduce hunger and boost metabolism.
But in the often misguided fitness world, the more is better approach is often heralded as the way to do things.
Yes, you need adequate protein. Yes, if you are athletic you need more than the average sedentary person, but consuming high amounts won’t necessarily put Popeye muscles on you.
Why? Our bodies know what they need and the amounts needed and can only ingest 12-15 grams per meal. At a point, the excess protein is excreted or stored as fat if it’s surplus calories.
Building muscle is a combination (again) of consistent hard work, daily discipline, lifting heavy and good nutrition.
Not massive quantities of protein.
Try and consume your protein from natural food sources and limit manmade protein drinks, shakes, powders, bars, supplements etc etc.
The 1200 calorie diet.
Ah yes. The standard caloric intake often given to women. Men do get a bit more but it’s just as limiting.
It still amazes me that these standard diets are often assigned to people without any given consideration to their personal needs.
Eating to low amount of calories is just as counterproductive as to many.
If you are seeking to lose weight you need to have a good understanding of yourself, your lifestyle, and your physical level of activity.
All of us have a basic level of calories our bodies need to just be alive. That means to support a beating heart, brain activity, cell growth, breathing… you know.. just the normal things. Our basic BMR ( basal metabolic rate) will be different for all of us again based on our age, sex, fitness level, jobs etc.
It’s important you know what you’re baseline is and not eat calories under that.
From there, you would determine what kind of work do you do? Is it physically demanding or is it a desk job? What kind of purposeful exercise do you do? None? Light ( 1-2 days a week) moderate (3-5) or more intense (6-7)?
All of these things come into play determining your daily caloric needs. And this can be a shifting scale most days.
For instance, I know on my long training days, I’ll be burning off a lot of calories and making my body work hard. I know I’ll have higher caloric needs based on my day in general, as well as my purposeful exercise. I know I can consume more calories on those days over days where I might just run a 5K that morning to where I don’t really alter my normal eating.
I am aware that on any given day I may need more or less calories depending on my activity level.
When you have a better idea of your personal needs, you can determine the calories you need to lose weight, or maintain your weight.
Eating a big meal makes you gain weight.
OK this is one that for sure comes up around Thanksgiving. For some crazy reason people go hop on a scale the day after.
Like… why? Do you just wanna feel crappy for enjoying your day?
Listen up, if you show a gain, it’s not fat ok? You aren’t gonna toss on 2-4 pounds of fat overnight.
Yes, the scale *could* show a gain but I’m gonna just say it’s most likely water weight from all those carbs you took in the day before from potatoes, rolls, dressing, pies etc.
Carbs, if you don’t know this, are like little sponges that hold onto water. Why do you think body builders restrict carbs when they are close to competition? To deplete water out of their muscles.
I would suggest if you go back to your normal eating, getting normal exercise and check again in a couple days, you’ll have weight *loss*.
To stay in shape you only need one or two days a week.
Sorry. That might clear your head or give you a quick burst of energy but it won’t get you in shape or help with any weight loss goals.
Ideally, you should really strive to workout most days of the week for optimal health benefits.
Start with a couple days but aim to get in at least 5-6.
You can crunch your way to good abs.
Sorry… but no. I cringe when I hear people talking about doing crunches and dutifully going through the motions. The reality is it’s an ineffective way to get those abs. Instead you should be doing things in a combination of interval training, utilizing carbs wisely, getting adequate sleep and keeping stress levels low. Of course the right training moves help too. Moves like squats, deadlifts, and chin ups can contribute to that shaped mid section.
I’m eating healthy, I will lose weight.
Truth is…. you will lose weight if you take in less calories than you need in a day and create a deficit. Yes, eating healthy foods is definitely what you should strive to have in your day, but if you eat to much of anything your body will take what it needs and store the rest for fat.
Eat healthy, focus on eating just enough to satisfy your hunger, and then move on with your day. Don’t get caught in the thinking you are going to lose weight if you have no idea of your calorie consumption in the day.
Be mindful of another “trap” by drinking “healthy” liquid calories in the trendy shakes and smoothies. The calories are often astronomical in it and you’d do better eating regular food.
My son used to get a smoothie from a local place. He asked me to stop and get him one and bring it to work. Me being me, I’m standing there picking apart menu and code words that still mean sugar no matter how you try and gloss it over ( good publicity makes you feel like you’re doing yourself a healthy favor) I found the one I was buying for him and almost fainted when I saw it had nearly 1,200 calories in it. True, it was a large one, but still, that is an obscene amount of calories for something that is being promoted as “healthy” it is close to exceeding daily caloric intake.
When I told him he was shocked and stopped buying them.
Working out will turn fat into muscle.
No. You have fat and you have muscle. You can’t make one be the other. You can lose fat and you will be able to see your muscles better but you won’t turn your excess fat into muscle nor will muscle turn into fat.
Oh and another myth I’ll put in here that ties in, my favorite, muscle weighs more than fat. ( a way to justify weight gain)
5lbs is still 5lbs. muscle however, is sleek, compact and lean and fat is thick, bulky and fluffy. Having more muscle under your skin gives that “toned” look people always go on about. Toned is a weird way of saying you have some muscle holding your skin out.
And that’s about all I have to say on that topic 😉
I guess I could keep on with other points but I need to bring it to and end. If you are unsure of something in regards to health and fitness, find credible sources to gain information. Don’t go by what the bulky dude at the gym does or the girl in the yoga pants tells you to eat. Educate yourself on things so you can make the best choices for you.
Tell me, are there some myths you’ve heard that people believe in?
Hello world! Time for another edition of Monday Musings, a general collection of my random thoughts, observations, and other life stuff that’s going down.
So what about that Super Bowl last weekend? Between hubby and three sons I’ve had to get on the football wagon in these past years or get left behind.
That being said, I weirdly miss it once the “big” game happens and then there’s nothing active or current going on with it. I actually got excited last fall when someone said it was almost football season.
What happened to me???
That being said… of course I was watching last weeks events unfold with the Patriots “we’re just here to scoop up another ring” and the Eagles “we’ve never won and have no rings but are ready to bring our A game” to the big field.
Ok… so I’m always a sucker for the underdog. I can’t help it. Damn that compassionate spirit and what not. I wanted to see them have the win. The other guys, they’ve got enough bragging rights and rings, they can try next year.
And what a game it was. The Eagles came out and played like they wanted to take the win, the ring, and the Disneyland trip home with them. Not that Patriots didn’t try and deliver, they just didn’t deliver, enough.
So although I was only like, one of two, cheering for the Eagles win it didn’t matter. It was a cool experience watching men overcome with emotion to achieve that. As an athlete ( on a much smaller scale!) I understand emotions that come from the accomplishments of doing something you haven’t done before.
It’s worth the tears.
Speaking of athletic shenanigans
This last week I’ve spent a little more time doing indoor strength training. When I say that I don’t mean solely weights, although I do. But, like using your body and that alone, is the way to build some strength. No matter what you may or may not have, you have a body and can do exercises to build strength with it.
Squats of all varieties, lunges, jump squats, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, push ups, ( sweet heavens how I hate them) Russian twists, planks, side planks, V up’s the list goes on.
So I incorporate a lot of that, I use real weights too ’cause you know…girl muscles… and I kinda like out flexing most guys haha but seriously, I just like being strong for life, ya know?
It’s great to build muscles, but if you can’t walk a block or run a flight of stairs, um, you need to rethink cardio.
So before strength training I usually knock out either 10 minutes on the rowing machine which gives me around 1.3 miles or so, I sometimes do a 20 minute round of boxing or a quick run. Of course other days in my week are nothing but cardio….enter running and cycling 😉
Speaking of strength ….
the winter Olympics are upon us. Although I haven’t seen much yet, can I say all the snowboarding athletes. Holy cow Batman!
And Americans have been scooping up some gold goodies too.
The Olympics are the cream of the lot when it comes to athletes. I wanna be one when I grow up.
Complete, total machines.
I’m fascinated at all they have had to do, and continue to do to maintain the level the operate at.
Well. Wait. Do they have like… a senior Olympics? I might be able to do that! haha
Do you have a favorite Olympic sport or event you enjoy watching?
In fun projects I’ve been up to this week….
So I may have mentioned when I’m not preaching athletic stuff or learning about nutrition one of my other “hobbies” has become old, antique furniture. There’s a certain thrill of “the hunt” and if I’m successful I get “the prize”. I want the odd, unique, different things I don’t see floating around. It’s so exciting when I get the prize AND for the price I want.
There’s something therapeutic about transforming a piece and giving it new life.
Like this ugly little night stand…. I’m so in love with how it turned out….
I wanted a project piece to experiment with pink. I love pink. I just wanted something to practice that look on. This night stand was headed to the dumpster when I snatched it from my son thinking I’d clean it up and donate it. One day while working out as I was pondering my desire to do something pink, I realized this was just sitting there, staring at me waiting to be transformed….
Since I really had nothing to lose it was fun to let go with it. The piece had been speaking to me and I had a vision for what to do with it. Now I really want to practice this on a bigger real piece of furniture. Like an old school vanity….
I also got this super cool, unique, interesting piece this week, I’ve never seen anything like it….
Thankfully, I came across a man who is very knowledgeable in this work of knowing furniture. I shamelessly pick his brain on various things regarding a couple pieces I got recently. So of course, when I could turn up nothing on this ( for the love of old things I don’t even know WHAT to call it to search it up) I shot him a pic asking if he had a clue.
Oh lucky me. He knows his stuff… and this is what I learned….
A dresser like this is called a cheval dresser. He went on to say based on the hardware ( which I’m in love with and can’t believe it’s all still on it… with a real key hole) he thinks it’s English made and made of quartersawn oak and get this… circa 1900! AH!
One interesting factoid you probably don’t know…. As I’ve acquired a few pieces recently I of course, want to know how old it is. Evidently at the turn of the century (20th) they stamped the mirror on the back before putting the wood cover over it. This would reveal the month and year it was made. You can understand how tempting it is for me to want to pull the back off of a vanity mirror to know it’s age.. but then there are all of the neat brass tacks holding it in place and that checks me from doing it.
Anyway, he went on to tell me if I can look behind mirror, if the back of mirror is red or gold it was made in England. If it’s silver, it’s American. Regardless, it’s still circa 1900 wherever it was crafted.
So ok, yeah I’m a wee bit excited at this online find. Oh, did I mention I paid only 80.00 for it?
Obviously my remodel thoughts on it now are quite a bit different as I will be sanding it back to it’s original beautiful wood tone… it will be so worth it.
I love a good challenge.
The wood around mirror top has some broken pieces so that’s where I’m setting my hand to first. Then, on to the next thing.
My other acquisition this week was a 1920’s ladies writing desk….
So it’s been a busy kinda week, but a fun, good kinda busy. I love doing so many creative things. Writing is definitely a wonderful outlet, exercise is always a creative time, but transforming things let’s more of my creativity come out. Stay tuned in upcoming weeks for updates on their transformation.
Tell me, what do you enjoy doing? What’s your passion or something you have a love for that makes your heart sing?