Birthday Reflections

And just like that, it’s time to celebrate another birthday.

Is it me, or does time really ( seem) to move faster as you get older?

Gone are the days where the only concern was how much play time you had or which friends were available to hang out. Lazy summers and no cares in the world.

Those times in our lives seem rather fleeting don’t they?

But wait. Hang with me.

This isn’t a sappy post, but one I more enjoy doing as a way of reflection on the year gone by.

It gives me opportunity to see areas of growth and areas I need to shape up more.

I’m smack in the mid 50s now.

#50ish

Go me.

I get Aarp fliers in the mail and am close to qualifying for discounts in some places.

Yes.

Yes I will shamelessly work my age to save a few bucks 🤣

I go for my yearly doctor visits and the little 20 something girl checking me in acts surprised I don’t have a bag of meds with me.

Ah well. Whatever.

Age is merely a number that I’ve never allowed to define me.

Have you ever noticed though, how people do? And boy, do some people get bent out of shape when you don’t stay in the box and play by all the same old and tired “rules”.

**yawn** what’s a box?

Like at certain ages there are expected normal behaviors because you’re “that age.”

Listen, I have no problem diving onto a swing and flying through the air when I’m with the grand babies at the park or any other unadultish shenanigans.

The expectation of society is as you get older you should lay things aside, and uh, “act your age”.

Whatever that means.

Just be quiet and fade away…not likely.

So here I am grateful for another year to live, move, and breathe in this beautiful gift we have called life.

Wisdom

I have to laugh as I hear so many of my young friends bemoaning the fact that they are only a couple years from….30.

It does amuse me ’cause I’m well to the other side of that and I know that life is still good, better even, and really it’s ok.

I enjoyed all the decades behind me but I long for none of them. Each one was a season in my life. A season to learn and grow. To gain wisdom and a wee bit of maturity 😉

It is now, sitting in the middle of another decade, that I can reflect how each one was a working out of the woman I am.

Good times, bad times, hard and easy, frustrations and joys, light and dark, every single season was shaping me.

Wisdom is a gift I greatly appreciate and I can see it more clearly now that ever.

Comfortable in the skin I live in

I have always been comfortable in my existence. But getting older has only solidified that.

I’m good with myself.

I don’t say that in an egotistical way, just a fact. To be comfortable with who you are, the very essence of who you are, is freedom.

It means being ok with your good stuff and not so good stuff. It’s knowing I’m not perfect but strive to be the best I can be. I try to remain open and teachable.

It’s also accepting every part of my physical self and never, ever comparing myself to someone else. To do so only would breed dissatisfaction and be an affront to my Maker.

There is only one of me. I will appreciate the gift of that.

No approval needed.

I don’t need approval to be me….and same goes for you. By that I mean at this stage of my life, I know who I am.

I know what I like and what I don’t like. I know what makes my heart sing and what weighs it down. I know how to speak up when I need to in being able to express myself, how I think or feel,or to nicely say no thank you to something.

I know how to stand up and own who I am ( and I don’t mean in a rude or disrespectful way) I know who I am.

It’s not worrying about others or their personal opinions. It’s not being concerned if someone approves or disapproves based on what they would or wouldn’t do.

This past year I’ve…….

Experienced alot of things. Lots of ordinary life stuff, but also bigger events that have challenged me.

I started my fifth year with this blog. It’s been an outlet in writing but my main goal is to keep offering sensible, sane, realistic lifestyle and fitness encouragement and help. I’m blessed by all of you who take the time to read, comment, and offer words of encouragement back to me. I’ve slowly built my own brand as Sassyfitnesschick and plan to keep offering my own flavor of health and fitness tips, all with a side dish of sass 😉

I trained for, and finished my second duathlon. I also again, took first in my age group. I cannot tell you what a challenging yet fulfilling event this was for me. The training as much as the cold,rainy, miserable race day all shaped me in a different way.

I learned more about resilience,tenacity and a whole lotta stubbornness in me.

Ok…well.. the stubbornness is nothing new 😉

I recently was talking to hubby about something and I said ” I don’t quit” to which from behind his glasses and iPad I get a snort followed by “realllyy??”

And then…”Well that’s not a bad thing”

And I don’t. I jump into the deep end with anything I do and I give it my all.

This month marks my one year anniversary since I started my little vintage business last year. When I jumped in I thought I’d try a few months and see how it went. Before I knew it I had hit the 6 month mark. Spring time I moved into a bigger space ( and bigger rent) yet somehow each month it seemed I was to keep going.

Last month when I was notified the lease on building wasnt being renewed and I’d have to either uproot and move elsewhere or just fold it all up and…quit…well that just wasn’t an option. And then there was a perfect space just waiting for me…and now I’m in and settled and can hardly wait to see how this year unfolds.

As a writer, who has a blog, it’s hard for me to not observe people. As a very social creature it’s quite easy for me to interact with just about anyone. This year I’ve met some interesting people, and not always people who look “normal”. By that I mean they are colorful in their clothing choices,word choices,art work on their bodies or offbeat fashion style, not to mention colorful personalities. I find that refreshing. I love how they are good at pushing back against the norm. Long ago, when my oldest was in a rock band, I learned not to judge books by their covers.

My home could often be filled with big men in all black, wearing tons of makeup, plenty of piercings and other non- main stream looks. Yet under it all were sweet guys who loved raiding my cookie jar. Being reminded of those truths makes it quite easy for me to appreciate those who march to the beat of their own drum.

That’s how life works right?

Day by day it unfolds full of the daily norm, the unexpected, the high’s and low’s and if we look for it, plenty of joys too.

The unfolding of this last year has shown me ( more than ever) that I really can do anything. I’ve learned so much more about mental discipline. It’s the strength and unwillingness to quit which spills out into everything I do.

New challenges can be hard and I strive too let them to do the work of making me stronger. I’m facing some now and am trying to remind myself of this.

Getting older isn’t some horrible thing.

Some will never have the chance to experience it.

What’s horrible is remaining unchanged, unyielding, holding onto grudges, judging, poor behaviors, or personal slights, refusing to see different view points or being unwilling to listen to how another person sees something. It’s horrible to age and still hold onto things that should’ve been let go of a long time ago. In my opinion those things are far worse than getting older.

I think age really, is a huge state of mind. I believe how we view it impacts how out loud we live all our days.

My goal is to do it gracefully, to love well, to continue to be open and teachable, to learn and grow from this ride called life, and most of all, never, ever quit.

Cheers to a new year!

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Saturday Snippets

Happy Saturday… another edition here for you to digest with your morning coffee. This weekend here in south Texas promises to be perfect… like sunny and mid 70’s… so I’ll be outside soaking it up working on some furniture projects. ( Did you miss my posts on my furniture shenanigans? Find them here…. https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/23/steps-to-transforming-vintage-furniture/       https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/25/the-journey-of-opening-a-vintage-business/  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/22/the-art-of-flipping-furniture/

I soaked up a bit too much last weekend and got some sunburn… like it’s February right? how can that be. My skin reminded me it’s been hidden for months and not outdoors being exposed to the elements training…

I am good about using sunblock but I just got outside and lost in my work and kinda forgot to spray the stuff on.

oh well… I am rather brown now haha

And I will definitely make that the first thing I do before I spend the day working outside.

Today though I want to leave you with a thought. I saw this quote months ago and planned to do something with it..so here we are..

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I’ve thought often how people can be content sitting on the sidelines and just observing but never really taking the plunge into something.

Taking the plunge into their dreams, hopes, ambitions, goals, life.

For some reason they are held back… by fear? uncertainty? the unknown or “what if’s”?

All of us will have different goals, interests, desires etc.

A different “calling” on our life if you will

Years ago I would’ve never seen myself where I am today, nor would I have seen myself accomplishing things I thought only “other” people did.

Not only did the idea of running seem crazy, running half, full and an ultra marathon seemed completely and totally insane.

And a duathlon? Go run, then bike, then go run again.

No… no where would I have seen that coming. Like that stuff is hard.

Yet, because I kept putting one foot in front of the other, somehow, all of that unfolded unfront of me.

Were there times I doubted myself? Absolutely.

After a training session that didn’t go like I planned or feeling tired it could happen. I’d mentally talk to myself, regroup, and get after it again.

I DID have what it took to do those things.

I realized I’d never felt more alive being out on the road doing hard work than anything else I’d ever done.

Ok, in all fairness I do have a “dive into the deep end” mentality when it comes to taking things on… but to take a middle aged non-athletic woman and turn her into an athlete?

It didn’t happen by sitting on the sidelines observing life and others who were doing it. It required me getting out of my comfort zone and getting stretched far beyond limits I thought I had.

I wanted to participate in life…in the things that made my heart beat fast and made me think again what wonderful machines are bodies are and how they can be trained to do amazing things. I wanted to participate in challenging my perceived limits.

And I wanted to savor what it felt like doing it, not just merely watching or thinking I “couldn’t” do it.

I have big goals ahead for myself. I am far from content sitting back and not continuing to push and work for more.

I will never be the one spectating, sitting on the side lines.

I want to be in the mix of something that challenges me more whether it’s athletically or learning new skills that I don’t know.

Which one are you? Where do you want to be? It’s never to late to make changes and set new goals.

Life… is for participating.

There Is No “Try”

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

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

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

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

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

Slang.

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

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

And they let me have a blog………

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

Try.

 

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

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

Try.

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

I’ll try to be there…..

I’ll try to get the time off…..

I’ll try to call…..

I’ll try to make the meeting….

I’ll try to come by…..

I’m going to try and go to the gym….

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

I’m going to try to eat better…..

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

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

They are giving themselves a way out.

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

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

Do or Don’t.

Do or don’t. Skip the “try”.

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

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

Exercise can be work, hard work.

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

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

The whole process promises to make us… uncomfortable.

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

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

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

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

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

That’s a pretty long way.

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

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

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

The dialog went something like this….

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

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

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

That brought me up.

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

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

You know what I did?

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

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

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

It was exhilarating.

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

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

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When you remove “try”  you can do big things

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Small Success And Great Ambition

It was the typical usual morning. Wake up, do some stretching before stumbling out of bed and heading to kitchen for the first of my coffee fix.

Let dogs out, let dogs in, feed dogs, let dogs out.

Grab second cup of coffee and check in to social media world.  Scrolling through I can see who’s been up all night if there are a zillion posts from them ( sleep people, sleep) I keep on scrolling squinting with one eye pasts the political posts and cheesy memes, blandly go through all the advertisements and for sale ads (unless some cute furniture item catches my eye) smile at the usual real life, real people photos, giggle over some posts that make my day already at the still dark thirty hour, and then, sometimes, something comes along that makes me pause and think… like this one..

great ambitions

I read it, then read it again. I kinda just let it breathe over me. There are some posts that strike me like that. They make me pause, reflect, look inside and examine it and then consider it’s impact on me.

The person posting it asked what it meant to the reader and was encouraging feedback. Although it was still early in the morning I let my mind engage and began thinking of what it meant to me, how I perceived it and what my take was on that thought.

I am not the only one I pondered, who has had great ambitions or currently has them.

Of course I believe those are largely dependent on the individual too. I mean, my ambitions might not be as big as someone else’s, but then, mine are quite a bit bigger than others.

If we get lost in the pursuit of our ambitions it might be easy to dismiss the small successes that lead us there, right? We could be so single minded and focused on the “big” thing we are pursuing we could stomp right over small successes and never give them a thought, perhaps even not seeing them as relevant.

In general, I think people can be so focused on hitting the goal, they may miss the important things learned on the journey getting there.

Those small things are what grow us, build us, and shape where we go and who we are along the way. If we are moldable, we learn and that shapes us on our way to the bigger things we pursue.

As I pondered those ideas in the early morning hour I started thinking about how learning to run one mile had led to me running more miles until ultimately, several years later I did a race that had 31.6 miles in it.

It took lots of small successes for me to step out and do a 50K.  It took time building my mileage little by little.

I never took it for granted, the privilege and ability of my body to run.

Small success to me meant overcoming things like a desire to stay in bed when it was dark out and I was getting up to go for my long run. Or leaving when it was cold or wet.  Overcoming myself to do bigger things kept me on the path to those bigger ambitions I had.

Similarly, I thought about last year when I made the commitment and signed up for my first duathlon.  There were so many small successes that led to me ultimately not only doing it, but placing first in my age group too.

After my very first training session that was a bike ride, immediately followed by a run, I wondered what I was doing.

It felt awkward. My legs felt like spaghetti noodles the first half mile. I wondered if I was really going to be able to get this thing down.

I did it again the following week and the week after that. Not always fast, not always the most skilled, but I did it. It then turned into a run/bike/run training session.

And I got stronger, not that the training was easier, I was adapting to it.

Small baby steps all the while I was keeping my eye on the prize, that big thing my overachieving self was pursuing. An ambitious goal for a average middle aged female athlete, competing in the race listed as the toughest in the state.

If there’s anything athletics has taught me, ( well, it’s taught me a lot but….)  it’s taught me to appreciate all those small things that get me to my final goal, the big thing I’m pursuing. Because it takes week after week of those small things to nail the lofty ambitious goals I tend to set for myself.

As I continued to sip from my almost empty coffee cup, I thought of so many other things in my life that if looked at in a separate way, might seem inconsequential, yet again they had a specific place in my life for getting me to that “bigger” thing.

I always want to be pursuing something ambitious, something bigger than life that scares me a little. I don’t want to get so comfortable being “comfortable” that I lose the rush of a new dream or vision or opportunity to challenge myself some more.

But I never want to become complacent and unaware of the small steps, the small victories, and sometimes not noticed successes that lead me to the top, for those things pave the road to my accomplishments.

So I’ll leave the same thought with you, that my friend left with me….

How do you personally define this? Do you relate? Do you ever think of the small things as being important to the “big” thing you pursue? Or do they seem unimportant?

Goals And Challenges

Goals. Dreams. New adventures. New challenges.

2017 culminated for me with all of those things coming together at once as I finished the year with my first multi sport event, a duathlon. If you don’t know that is a run/bike/run event. Find my recap on it here…..  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/12/05/duathlon-journey-the-recap/

It was certainly something I never saw myself doing a couple years ago, much less placing first in my age group, that’s for sure. I’ve found in the pursuit of these  sports I love, I’ve had to lay a foundation and then just start building on it.

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Yeah I’m smiling a little. All that hard work paid off.

 

Running takes some serious base miles before you start extending distance.  Even in distance running, there are days where I do interval runs to push myself faster. Short runs. Long runs. Speed. Or just easy miles.

Cycling in similar ways takes some base building although I found it fairly easy to transition to cycling. I guess all that running built some powerful legs that work on the bike too 😛

Of course, I can’t forget the strength training. Lifting weights, core work, and simple body moves all contribute to building a body for activities I love.

 

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Who says muscles and cycling don’t go together

 

Starting into this year, without a scheduled event at this point, I still practice a variety of activities during the week, just not as intense right now. Well.. mostly… haha

One of my training sessions is always a bit tough and it should be because it’s all about building strength.

What you may be wondering, do I speak of ?

Hills.

If you want to build your legs and butt, do hills. If you want to turn your cardiovascular system into an efficient machine, do hills.

And when I say do them, I mean frequently. Start walking them, eventually you can run a part, and then finally, you will scale up them like nothing.

Hills singlehandedly make me feel like a beast, whether I’m on foot or bike.

That being said, 5 miles on foot this morning, with plenty of hill repeats. As I turned around and headed back, I saw the hill in front of me, the one in this photo.

big hill
it’s way more fun running down this 😉

 

 

As I approached it I started thinking about what it felt like on the bike. I felt the familiar… I’m not sure what is the best word here… fear? it’s more like a healthy respect of something that is bigger than me. No matter how many times I do it, when I see it in the distance, I feel that anticipation and adrenaline rush.

Immediately the thought came to mind… “what are you afraid of?” I already knew the answer before it came.

“Failing”. My inner dialogue continued.. “and have you ever failed? Have you ever failed to do what’s in front of you?”

The answer was “No”. Not even in my beginning cycling days when I’d be in the wrong gear and have to muscle it up did I ever NOT ride all the way up.

I was reminded (again)  that if I dont do something that puts a healthy fear in me, it’s not a challenge, I might as well go home.

I just can’t do that.

It just feels so powerful when I accomplish something that challenged not just my body, but my mind. I’ve found tremendous growth occurs when I let that “healthy, fearful respect” of something challenge me. And when I’m challenged in that way, I’m changed.

It helps me see and understand I don’t have to be limited in what I do. The important part is being available and going after it.

I was having a tire fixed on my bike today. I thought it was “just” a flat. It turns out it was the tube and tire… gone… shot.

When I do it, I do it up right haha

Anyway, the guy who owns the place and sold me my little Cannondale has encouraged my cycling endeavors and made sure the bike was in top condition before my duathlon. He asks me today… ” soooo is a triathlon in your future?”

Why yes, yes I did laugh.

He looks at me… “you don’t swim?”

My response, “Oh I can ok enough, but I’m certainly not a competitive swimmer.”

He gives me that level look and says, “of course you know you can do it. Just get out there”

Here’s a little not known secret about me… I just don’t like having my face in the water. It really just weirds me out. And I will seriously need to move past that if I’m to consider a tri in some distant future.

Am I capable? I know I am. I never saw myself as a long distance runner or now a duathlete, yet here I am.

I guess you could say there’s a bit of healthy fear when I look a triathlon fully in the face. I’ve felt it each time I’ve considered a bigger athletic goal.

I either look it in the eye, stomp down those feelings and tackle it… or… I turn and run and never know what I’m fully capable of achieving.

What about you? Can you relate to any of this? Have you felt a healthy fear of pursuing something that seemed way bigger than you thought possible?

If something scares you… maybe you just need to go ahead and do it. You’ll never know how it will grow you until you let it stretch you outta your comfort zone.

It’s outside of our comfort zone we discover what we’re really made of.

 

terrifying

Time Vs. Priorities

i_dont_have_time-960x675One day. 24 hours. 1,440 minutes. 86,400 seconds.  Time. It’s something we all start off with the same amount of each day but that is where any similarities stop.

How we spend this daily valuable resource largely depends on our lives and what we choose to do with it.

There are some things that are non-negotiable in our days.

Work and travel time to and from. Sleep. Meals. Appointments to be kept are all things that automatically deduct from our daily bank account of time.

Then there could be everything from caring to our homes, raising kids, doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, doing errands the list goes on.

Of course, there are important things ( priorities) in each of our days. You know, those things that are always at the top of the to-do list to get done and HAVE to be done. We may wish we could be doing something more fun but those priorities have to take place first.

In the ways of fitness and exercise, what I hear most is… “well, I just don’t have time to exercise”… which always confuses me ’cause an hour or so is such a small part of a 24 hour day that I’m not sure what keeps someone so busy they don’t have time for themselves.

Is it guilt? Or is it just a convenient way to dismiss working out? Or is it just letting other  things have precedence over the equally important task of taking care of our bodies.

The quote I’ve used today I’ve shared before on social media.

It’s often met with crickets in regards to exercise.

Why? Because I guess at a basic level all of us intellectually know we need to do activities that support us and encourage health and wellness in our lives.

However, those activities are often hard.  Learning to eat better or say no to things isn’t always easy. Teaching ourselves to eat less or make better food choices isn’t easy. We like our old comfortable ways and want to stay in them.

Getting out of our house and outdoors to walk or ride a bike takes effort. Driving to the gym means planning and making it work in our schedules. And let’s face it, when we’re out of shape, exercise is hard and it sometimes makes us ache! It might  not be the thing you wanna sign up for initially.

You don’t get it, I don’t have time…really.

Hey, I understand! Life does get busy. There are some days for me that I just don’t see anything else fitting into it. Literally, I’m up super early for an appointment or something equally important and the rest of the day seems like I’m running and not the kind of running I’d prefer to be doing. I’ve learned to not stress over those days because I know I’ll be at it the next day.

I’ve had days where I’ve been up earlier and restructured my workout to fit the time I had in the morning to still get ready and be on time for where I needed to go.  Do you know what you can pack into 20 minutes??  A lot.

As I’ve trained myself and built new habits, it’s become something I automatically do… structure my day to accommodate my exercise.

You can do it too. Trust me.

Will you have to be intentional? Yes. Will you have to get out of your comfort zone? Absolutely. Will you have to plan and make it a part of your new schedule? Yep.

The question that begs to be asked….

Is it worth it to you?

Simple and straightforward, right?

What’s it worth to you? If it’s a priority, you’ll make it one. If not, you’ll continue to talk or think about it but never be intentional at making it happen.

How do you spend your time?

Seriously. How do you spend your free time in your day? How much time is spent on your phone playing games or surfing the web? How much time is spent laying on the sofa or sitting in the chair watching tv?

More than you realize I’m sure.

Remember we’re only talking about an hour of your day to do something positive for yourself.

What if I want to start? How?

Awesome! Making a commitment and having that desire is the most important one to take. I’ve said so many times before, scheduling your time is key to success and making it happen.

. determine what you want to do. What sounds fun or interesting that will hold your attention?

. Once you decide that, you need to determine what time of day is best for you. Are you a morning person? evening? Your job might determine when you schedule your time. But figure it out.

. With an activity, and your best time determined, now write it down or put it in whatever digital device you choose to use.

. What other steps do you need to take to make your commitment happen? will you need shoes or any type of gear? Join a gym? Schedule a personal coach? Get up a half hour earlier?  Figure it out.

. The final thing would be making sure you keep your appointment with yourself. This honestly comes down to your own determination and not quitting on your commitment. This can take a little time as your build this new habit into your life, because it will be a new habit, hopefully a positive lifelong one.

Time vs. priority. What will it be?

Have you had to learn to make exercise a priority? How did you accomplish it?

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Reflections From The Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With that, my “official” training began.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Nothing like a good sweat to cleanse the soul haha

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now.. it’s almost show time.

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

Looking good helps your performance, right ?

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

 

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

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

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

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

And nothing will feel better than that.