Cheers To The Average Athlete

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So yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday here in the good old U.S.A.  to say the results  upset the applecart of many is putting it mildly.  Two big footballs teams battling it out for the top honor of being “the best of the best” in the league. It seemed like the game was in the bag until the Patriots (although not my choice to win 😉 did some pretty incredible athletic things on that field to not only pull from behind, but to take the game into the first overtime ever in Super Bowl history, winning the game and the title.

It’s hard for me to not observe all that goes on in a game from an athletic stand point. I am in awe that these guys can get slammed by 100’s of pounds of bodies on the ground, fly through the air, run at the speed of light, move with the agility of a deer being chased, bounce and land on their feet again. Their moves I often think of as strong male ballet. For such a rough sport I find beauty in the strong athletic movement of it. These are athletes in their prime.

Yes, I know and understand these men train as hard off the field to keep their bodies strong for the sport they play on the field. Nutrition and strength training are vital roles in their success on field.

Ok… so this post isn’t about the fact I may be getting more and more into football…. 😉 it is though, going to be a nod to the average, ordinary, hard working athlete.

To you. To me. To the normal people.

Those  who are disciplined and dedicated in training their bodies for tasks beyond the “usual”. We won’t be under stadium lights in front of a million screaming fans or earning coveted trophies.

No, our rewards will come from the dedication to our own sport ( or if you’re crazy like me…sports…) where we train hard against ourselves, setting new goals, working hard, returning home exhausted with maybe the only one happy to see us being our dog who is happy to wash the sweat from our grimy legs.

We alone know the mornings or evenings we will put ourselves through our sport, sometimes not feeling entirely like doing it. We know the mornings we are up early out getting it done while people still sleep. We understand the aches of a body worked hard and yet somehow, embrace it, preferring that over aches from doing nothing at all.

Our training teaches us more about nutrition and eating smarter to perform better. We learn how to set aside foods we don’t need and focus on foods that are fuel for our bodies to become stronger for our sports. It becomes a learning process that somehow our bodies teach us as we move along. How to eat enough, and eat enough of the right foods.

We set goals, lay out our own “game plan” and train like the world depended on how successful we are at it. We perhaps, have a few events we train for in a year. For some, it could be stepping stones to something bigger.

A 5k that starts off as a lark, leads to training for a 10k, and maybe ultimately a half marathon or more.   A cycling event or  maybe a mix of cycling and running. Perhaps there are loftier goals of full marathons or Ironman competitions or the desire to see just “how far” you can go doing something.

The things we can choose to pursue are limitless… sometimes only hindered by our minds and our thoughts of doubt that could hold us back.

So this post is to all of us, to you, the athletes who are inspiring to every day people who watch you. You may never get a “prize”, or have public accolades, or be famous. But what you do every day, what you work towards, the goals you set, the ambition you embody, the passion you have for your sport, could be inspiring someone else to get out and move. It could inspire them to try something new and different, to get beyond their comfort zone because they see you working it and doing it every day.

And that my friends, is certainly reward enough. To inspire and motivate others is one of the greatest gifts of all.

 

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Motivation Or Discipline?

 

 

motivation

Motivation. the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

Motivation:  we need it in life to accomplish anything we  put our minds too. Without it we lack the ability to get anything done. Some days we are more motivated than others. Some, we don’t care if we get off the sofa all afternoon.

For instance a day like today… cool, cloudy, rainy, it screams… “Stay home and lay on the sofa all day and read!”

I didn’t… I’m actually at Starbucks writing this blog right now so at least I’ll have some level of productivity today 😉

Sometimes, let’s be honest, it’s hard to sustain a constant level of motivation.

Let’s take that over to exercise. I believe sooo many people have good intentions when it comes to doing it. They start off in the week feeling highly motivated to do their chosen activity and then as the week wears on, their motivation begins to lag.

If ONLY we could keep that at a constant level.

Motivation can be a fickle thing.

Do we  need more than a “pull yourself up and drag yourself to the dreaded task motivation ?”

I think so.

In the beginning we do need a level of motivation to get going. We have our reasons to do it and that carries us for a bit.

However, at a point something new takes over, or it has to since as we all know, motivation can lag and eventually disappear.

What is that?  you might be wondering as you sit there tossing down your coffee…. what is the “thing”?

It’s  discipline.

Discipline :The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior.

“the practice of training” .

Disciple begins to be the next step when motivation has moved you out the door.

Discipline is what takes over and moves you out of bed into your workout clothes. It reminds you that you will NOT be happy with yourself if you come up with some lame excuse to not get it done. It is the thing that becomes wired in you to help you accomplish new goals.

I often get asked how I stay so “motivated” but the honest truth is, motivation is not what drives me anymore. It’s pure discipline that’s been hard wired in me now.

Discipline is what makes me structure exercise as a part of my morning routine, makes me put on workout gear first thing when I get up, and already have planned my athletic adventures for the day.

Discipline moves me outside when the weather is less than ideal or I don’t “feel” like it. ( I always feel like it once I get going) Discipline reminds me of my goals and it also reminds me of how awesome I’ll feel when I finish.

Discipline can see ahead and not just the day I’m in. It knows that what I do today, makes me stronger for tomorrow.

Discipline says that goals are not reached by sitting back and doing nothing, or not making it a priority. Discipline doesn’t allow excuses to come in and justify not doing it.

Motivation, can be a much more fickle beast but it’s the first step towards a more disciplined life.

Remember the difference…

Motivation has a “general desire”

Discipline is  “the practice of training”.

Motivation is great to get you moving, but always aim towards a lifestyle of discipline in your endeavors.

Do you see a difference in motivation and discipline? Have you learned the difference in your life?

 

 

Conquering Your Mountains

Conquer: to successfully overcome, to climb ( a mountain successfully).

I had just returned recently from one of my long rides out on the bike when I got a message from my daughter in law. Actually, it was a photo of my new granddaughter, wrapped snuggly in a towel after her bath.

Her big eyes wide open and alert, her tiny nose peeking through, she looked quite content and comfy.

After responding with the usual… ” eek I love her, she’s so cute”… I tell her that’s what I need…

A shower.

I’m in desperate need of it as I’m now sweat dried and dirty from the road.  I told her I had finished up 32 miles to which I get this response…

“you crazy woman!” ( this is a high compliment indeed haha)

It was followed by… “I’m so proud of you for conquering the bike while you can’t run!”

I really don’t think she knew how much those words meant to me.

I had certainly been on a bike in the previous year, but it was a cheap little bike I had picked up from the local Wal-mart and certainly not designed for the things I had been doing to it. I thought the  guy at the first bike shop I went to was simply trying to sell me something pricier when I told him what my riding goals were. I was kind of ( ignorant) to some aspects of cycling at that time… now I know…

I should’ve caught on when during a longer ride the handlebars had come loose and I had to physically manhandle them into place to finish the last 5 miles of my ride.

Cheap bikes aren’t meant to have the life ridden out of them 😛

It was June of this year when I got my first, real, professional road bike. A hot little black and red Cannondale. I found another bike shop where the guys there have taken me in and taught me essential things, and also challenged me on another level as well. It’s also kinda cool to have a place to land where you can talk about your athletic goals and they listen, offer encouragement and suggestions.

So, since June, I’ve been out on the road a lot more. I’ve added more miles, and learned to not be intimidated by crazy monster hills that make me think they’re gonna eat my lunch.

I’ve sharpened my mental muscle a lot more…and I thought it was pretty tough from all that marathon training…but like any muscle…. there’s always room for growth.

Cycling is work. Often hard and demanding work.  You learn to enjoy the downhill moments ’cause you know more hard stuff is coming at you.

Not only that, there is learning about your bike, all that shifting stuff (gah) and also learning how to push yourself more. It’s easy to sometimes stay in your comfort zone, it takes work to get out of it.

So I thought about that whole “conquering the bike” thing.

Being an endurance runner, I will admit, the move to cycling was rather seamless for me. I already had a lot of strength and discipline from distance running so physically it fit me well.

 But It’s not just that…it was learning to conquer:

perceived limitations, my assessment of my abilities, getting out of (yet) another comfort zone, mountains, hills, and more mountains to take on, conquering the mechanics of the bike and riding in a different way,  conquering self-doubt when the next step seems to taunt me that (what if) I don’t have what it takes? It’s also new skills and having an open mind to be taught and learn.

Conquering a new sport when running has been my “baby” for the past couple years.  Hey, at this point, why settle for one sport ? 😛

So I reflected on those simple words she spoke to me and soaked them in… they have come during rides to remind me what I’m capable of, what I’ve learned, and more importantly how I’ve grown and learned.

I’m not done yet. I have so much room to grow, learn, get stronger and better and what I’m doing. But I am confident, I will continue to conquer it.

So I’ll leave these words with you, my faithful readers.

What have you conquered? What seems bigger than you and you find yourself digging deeper to overcome and conquer something you previously didn’t think you could do ? It’s in the journey that we learn and grow but if we are strong and persevere we find we have everything we need in us to conquer and overcome, no matter what it is.

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On top of one of the mountains that challenge me 🙂

Intimidation, Life, And Crushing Goals

Intimidation.

 To intimidate implies inducing fear or a sense of inferiority into another, to make timid; fill with fear. 

If we think of this word what usually comes to mind is in regard to people…. one person intimidating another.

That in my opinion, is the lowest form of cowardice however, this isn’t where I’m going in this post.

I want to talk about how we can be intimidated with life or things in life.

Keep in mind part of the definition…. ” to make timid, or fill with fear”

Intimidation is just fear and fear can be crippling to living our life out loud. It can rob us of our potential and the potential for our lives and what we can accomplish.

I contemplated that in a fresh way this past week.

I try not to live my life in an intimidated way on any level. If there’s one thing living an athletic lifestyle has taught me… being intimidated has no place in it. In turn that has carried over into the rest of my life.

Every new challenge or goal has required a level of strength and discipline to stomp down any aspect of fear and intimidation.

The fear of the unknown. Feeling intimidated or inadequate.

Being able to face a physical challenge that ( in the moment) seemed daunting and out of my perceived abilities.

For instance….Learning to run. I know, sounds easy enough, right? But running is hard.

I remember being up to running around 6 miles several days a week when a friend tossed out at me I should run a half marathon.

I laughed. Yet, she had planted a seed. I rolled it over in my head and within a couple weeks I had signed up to run a half marathon a few months later.

Yes, it feels intimidating to look at running a race that’s 13.1 miles. I felt the worry of “what if”.

Yet I toed that line and did my first half in 2:15. I walked away with a new level of confidence and a new awareness that stomping down potential fears would only make me stronger in what I pursued.

It was the beginning for me in my athletic journey… a take no prisoners and don’t even think you can’t do it mentality.

More half marathons, full marathons, a 50K all eventually fell under my feet.

No room for intimidation.

Yet, there I was again facing it this week out on my bike. Ha, cycling has also taken me to a whole new level of finding out what I’m made of.

It’s demanding and requires much strength. Toss in some major hills and it’s even more fun.

For instance, this one particular hill. ( It’s really a mountain they cleared and paved over if we’re being honest) Anyway, it’s a blast flying down it, but it requires a huge amount of strength mental and physical to ride up.

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You want a strong mental game when you see this coming and I’m fairly sure I break the speed limit on the way down 😉

 

 

It was a part of my route the other day. I’ve ridden it before but  it was always in the front of my mind on my ride… it was coming.

That’s when I realized I was allowing it to intimidate me.

Why? well truth be known, I’m fully aware of the physical demands it requires.

It’s freaking hard. It requires a brutal amount of my strength.

But I know I can do it.. that I have done it… and the way to keep crushing it and putting it in place is to well.. just keep doing it.

Keep heading out there, staring it down and using the same strength I’ve used to muscle through every other challenge and conquer it.

I know every time I do it I will become stronger, mentally and physically.

I will always, of course, have a healthy respect for it. How can I not?

But I’m making a choice to not be intimidated of it. How? I will keep intentionally seeking it out until it begins to feel totally natural to me.

Pushing down fears, taking them head on and not being intimidated with hard things in life builds and strengthens us in ways we can never imagine.

What mountains are in your life that intimidate you or leave you feeling fearful?  There’s only one way to overcome it and that’s by facing it and pushing until you have put it under your feet.

Don’t let those things keep you from the potential that lies in you.

The Commitment To Exercise

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“Uggghhh. Cathie, I don’t know about this whole exercise thing. I just don’t see any results”

The frustrated comments I’ve heard from many of you.

You jump in with good intentions and start doing “something” and at the end of the week you want to look like a ripped fitness model. Ok, well maybe not that extreme, but you do expect some pretty serious results in a short amount of time and the reality is, it’s not gonna happen fast.

There are often unrealistic expectations when someone begins an exercise program. I’d say everyone has (some) goal in mind. And if you’re like me, you’ll get going and those goals will be a constantly shifting process based on your abilities, strength and love for what you’re doing.

Whatever goals you have, whether it’s just a basic level of activity to keep your step tracker happy and move some during the day or if you want to train for a triathlon there is a process of evolving that gets you there.

I think, in my humble opinion for what it’s worth, when someone begins some type of program they overlook things that aren’t as obvious as visible abs or their pants getting looser.

Follow me here….

the minute you step out the door to do something, you’re empowered. The sheer act of getting yourself together and taking steps out the door is huge. Once you’re moving that way, you’re gonna do it.

Then, once you finish, I can say with certainty, you’re going to feel proud of yourself that you did do it. You’ll feel that sense of accomplishment and can celebrate a personal victory. And it’s really ok to pat yourself on the back… no one will be there cheering you on when you come cruising in… but that’s irrelevant… you…did it.

Which moves me to how you’ll mentally feel… which is amazing. Will you maybe be sweaty or a little tired or whatever? That’s possible ( don’t overdo it !) but nothing compares to the mental feeling you have of getting it done.

And the more you build on what you do, the better it feels.

Do you see that none of this…. has anything immediate thing to do with instant weight loss or smaller pants? Oh, it will lead there with consistency, but it’s not present when you wrap up whatever physical activity you’ve chosen for that day.

What about how you start feeling when you can bolt up a flight of stairs and not be winded? When you willfully park further out because you appreciate you can walk and enjoy it and that you don’t feel desperate to be as close as possible to front of store?

How about doing activities around your home and not feeling exhausted from doing it?

With time and persistence, intentionally pursuing your choice of physical activity, your body stats changing and responding to what you’re doing.

And guess what? You’ll anticipate it, look forward to it, have a desire to do it.

Who knows what you might learn about yourself in the process? What you’re capable of or what you might be challenged to do ?

I jokingly say I started off as a reluctant walker. 2 miles a day and I was done and off to other things. That was enough, thank you.

Yet, if you know my story, it continued to eventually grow and expand leading me into an eventual runner and taking on everything from 5K’s to a 50K and everything in between.

To now, a cyclist with my sights set on a lot of bigger goals. I don’t limit myself in what I think I can take on.

All because one day, I just committed to walking out the door.

No focus on anything other than “getting it done”. No ab muscles in sight. My pants at that time a bit larger. Out of shape and no where being a fitness junkie. The idea of being a runner or cyclist so far from my mind I’ll tell you it was.. laughable.

Yet, because of my consistency things did eventually change, and continue to, almost as a “by product” of the activities I currently enjoy and pursue.

Guess what? it will happen for you too.

The changes will happen….but first…..

You’ve gotta get out the door.

Tell me have you taken the steps to get more active? Do you expect quick results ?  Have you been at it for awhile ? What has been your “by product” of physical activity?

 

So You Hate Exercise

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I’ve heard it all now at this point. The exercise jokes. The good natured teasing. The “hey can you do this?” as friends share crazy exercise stunts with me. My son calls me when he needs muscles for a project. If I mention needing something from the store I’m told “well, run and go get it” Recently with the Pokémon Go games going on my sons are asking me if I want to walk 5/10K’s  to “help them out” …..

Ah yes… and you know what? I love it.

Exercise has made me strong and fit and able to do things in the rest of my life when I’m not exercising. When I’m jokingly told to run to the store for something, I honestly know I could do it. When I’m asked to help lift heavy things, I know my body has been trained and I can respond and do the task at hand.

I haven’t always embraced the workouts or been excited for the new  adventure for the day.

Oh no.

I grumbled. I  whined to myself. I found excuses. I pondered ways to wiggle out of doing it. I hated how hard it was.  I didn’t like how my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest or my legs felt like rubber.

No, I wasn’t a huge fan of working out.

And from what I’ve gathered, a lot of you aren’t either. You cite many of the same reasons.

I’ve talked to so many people, trying to encourage them, that if they just start, just take the steps to do something every day they will be on their way.

It isn’t easy. I won’t lie. You have to intentionally get your body dressed, up and out for whatever fun activity you have planned.

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You have to determine that your workout is just as important as the breakfast your going to eat, or the job you will go to, or the grocery shopping you will do or anything else.

That, is a very intentional move my friends.

I talked to a young friend recently whom I hadn’t chatted with in awhile. He told me he had gotten into a routine, going to the gym, and that weeks on vacation had derailed him. But, as he was eager to tell me, “I could hardly wait to get back to it. I know you always told me I could get to that point  ( of wanting to do it) but I had to get started to understand that”

He was a former ” I hate exercise” person.

I know others who were in that club and who have come to the other side 😉

I think, there are some common threads that the former “I hate exercise” club members have in common ( I included myself in this club too)

  • There is a desire, a wish, to improve and be better.
  • The individual learns to ( daily) power through any excuses and go get the job done.
  • They are realistic and start with small goals and gradually increase their activity.
  • They select something they enjoy doing, want to do, and look forward to doing.
  • They understand they are in a competition with no one but themselves.
  • Set backs can happen and you just get right back at it again.
  • Strength isn’t built in a day and you learn to appreciate your body for the amazing machine it is as it adapts to the demands you put on it.
  • You recognize that giving your body purposeful movement isn’t to be viewed as a negative, but rather, a way to show love to it.
  • You begin to love the changes and all the energy you get from your exercise.

Perhaps even now, you are still in that club, but you have the desire to change.  Awesome!

Consider these things as you make that move:

Be patient with yourself.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Commit to the process. Make no excuses. None. ( unless you are honestly ill or injured )

Pick an activity you WANT to do. Heck, pick a couple. I think variety is what keeps you from getting bored. Not only that, multiple activities work all of your body.

Buy the right gear or equipment for your new activity. Even now nothing makes me more excited to get to my activity than knowing I have something new to wear 😉

Focus on the day you are in and just do that day.

Celebrate yourself when you are done. It’s ok to tell yourself “good job!” I mean, honestly, when I come flying back in from a run or miles on my bike, I have no one standing there cheerleading my efforts. It’s ok to be proud of yourself for getting out and getting it done.

Share your accomplishments on social media. Not only do you have accountability, whether you realize it or not, you will be an encouragement to someone else.

Finally, learn to view exercise as a way to love your body and to celebrate all the amazing things it can do.

What motivated you to start exercising? Has it been easy to stay with it?

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So I May Be A Cyclist

How did it happen?  How did I go from nothing… to walking… to lifting some weights and other heavy objects… to running… and then landing on a bike? And then… alternating doing it all?

Like… one sport isn’t enough ??

Evidently not.

I may be a bit of an overachiever. Or at least I have some bigger aspirations to see myself do more than I may have originally thought.

Ok.. so the cycling thing.

I’ve kinda just fallen into it almost by default. I’ve shared before I had gotten a cheapy mountain bike to use for cross training on days I might not run.

There were weeks the bike sat doing nothing. I was happy in my little running world.

Then I’d zip off for 7-10 miles and that would be that.

Until… a stupid injury entered the picture and sidelined the running ( it is still there… cycling doesn’t seem to make it any worse or hurt me… running stirs it up again…sooo… yeah enough on that nagging topic)

So the injury put me on the bike more. It gave me freedom, the miles I craved, the ability to still do some endurance work and more speed than my legs on land could generate.

Fast forward through two cheap bikes till I got my first “real” road bike 2 months ago.

She’s so pretty and we’ve become amazing friends.

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Hello new Cannondale

 

Like all new relationships, we took some time to get to know one another. So for a week I kept mileage short and just got the overall feel of my new wheels under me.

After that, the fun and games began.

Miles started getting longer. I started to take bigger hills. Pushing myself faster. Loving the challenges of working hard. Really loving flying off hills pushing the speed limit 😉

Sweat flying, heart beating strong, legs working… the thrill of feeling my body respond to what I’m doing.. watching the world fly by… powered by only… by.. me.

I’m learning all the strength I’ve built on the road running and all the indoor strength training is having big payoffs on the bike. I think with more training I’m going to be kind of beast like with this cycling thing.

Once you get the bike.. and then the bug gets you… you start doing stuff like this….

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You start buying gear……

 

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And doing crazy things like this….

 

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and this…..     

 

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Sometimes you feel like this after…               

 

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Or look like this….

 

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and at the end, you learn to appreciate Gatorade, even if I do think it still tastes like sweat.
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Then at the end…. you get to see your accomplishments 🙂

 

 

So yeah, I’m not sure, but I think the cycling bug has bitten me and I can hardly wait to see where my lovely new Cannondale and I will go together .

Tell me… is there a sport or activity you are passionate about ?

The Power To Inspire

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Inspire:

fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
Also, motivate, encourage, influence, move or stir.
There are many people in my life who inspire me, who encourage and motivate me.
My husband. My mom. Friends. Even strangers.
On an athletic level I admire so many athletes. Although I am far from the league they are in, there is a common thread ( I believe) no matter what our level of athleticism.
Determination. Focus. Perseverance. Tenacity. Intensity. Drive. Hunger. Passion. Goal driven. An unwillingness to stay the same but to constantly be improving on where we are.
A spirit that never quits and doesn’t know the meaning of it.
I see individuals who haven’t been willing to stay where they are but push to get better, to work harder, to know they won’t be the same months from now.
I want to be like that.
That inspires me. The “me” who is a kinda ordinary, middle-aged mom, grandmother, sassy wife, and late blooming athlete.
My husband often shoots me down when I used the word “ordinary”… ha… he says I’m anything but ordinary… I’ll take that for the compliment I know it is 😉
When I have people tell me I inspire them, well, that’s up there for me on the list of awesome things. If I can inspire people who know me and know what I’m up to with my physical antics, to get out and do something, I couldn’t ask for anything better. If sharing what I’m doing stirs them, makes them think, “Hey, if she can do that, I can try something”
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Yeah, amazing.
But you know who really inspires me?
You.
The one who is still in the process of getting yourself out there. It doesn’t come easy yet and you struggle with making yourself do it, but you do.
The one who is willing to try something new, knows nothing about it, but is game to learn.
The Mom out pushing a stroller.
The older people walking their neighborhoods.
The cyclists flying down the road for miles.
The new runner who is still figuring it out and learning to run more than walk.
The overweight person taking those first steps towards physical freedom.
I’m inspired by those of you who follow my blog, and I see the things you’re out in the world doing and it makes me want to press on. You run, cycle, teach, lead, and inspire in your own worlds. You’re on the road, in the gym, doing boot camps and other crazy things.
Sometimes, as I scroll through my Facebook page, I see posts of my friends who are sharing their activities. I love the posts and pictures. I love seeing them doing something positive and good for themselves.
Seriously, some mornings when I’m still sleepy and the idea of exercise seems…. really tremendous… I’ll see someone’s post and it … inspires me. It reminds me of what I’m working to do, to accomplish. And it motivates me to finish off my coffee, get my gear on, and get moving.
Maybe, just maybe, that inspiring thing goes in both directions.
Don’t ever forget, you have great influence within your own circle that surrounds you. Your passion and what you bring to the table can inspire someone around you, never forget that.
As for me, you’ll find me out on the road, doing something always pushing and working a little harder and wanting a little more and never quite settling for where I’m at.
In the end, if what I do has inspired you, that puts joy in my life knowing I’ve made an impact on others.
Do you ever consider the impact you have on your personal world to inspire others?
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F.E.A.R.

fear

 

Growing up I was an avid reader. I still enjoy reading and I like reading on a wide variety of things only now I can do it on my phone, my computer or in book form ( ok I’m still really old school and love nothing more than going to the library and picking out some books, call me a nerd)

One author I readily devoured, was Stephen King. Why?? Why? I’d ask myself when half way through I realized I was terrified. It had crept up on me as subtle as the morning dawn… fear. It gripped my heart and made me drop the book and go find something wholesome and distracting to do so those feelings would subside.

I swear Pet Cemetery left me jumping at every random scratching sound and had me sleeping with one eye open and I couldn’t blame that on Metallica’s music 😉

Geez. He’s so good at scaring you and making you fearful.

Yet, what was scaring me was nothing more than the extreme and deep mind of a gifted writer.  I really had nothing to fear.

Yet how often in life can fear grip us when we really have nothing to fear? Fears of the unknown, of “what if”, of what would I do, what if this happen? etc. etc.

Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger—if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason.

Look at that last part again…. hang back for no good reason.

What fear causes you to hang back from something or leaves you worried or causes you anxiety for no good reason?

I was thinking this past week (one night when I was supposed to be falling asleep) about a long ride I was going to do the next morning.  The long ride wasn’t what was troubling me. I knew I could handle the mileage. What I was feeling a little fearful about was what I’d encounter on my long ride.

A hill that twisted and turned, which I guess you could say, led up to the top of the mountain it actually was. There was also another significant hill on my route, I felt fairly confident I’d nail that ok.

But this other one, that was troubling me. Ok, if I’m honest with you, my readers all over the world, I was a bit fearful.

discard fear

Why??? That next morning with the miles building under me and settling into the rhythm of the road, it was in my head, a presence almost taunting me.

It left me fearing my abilities, or perhaps, lack thereof to take on something so formidable.  I’m fairly new to the world of cycling and I was riding on terrain where they run one of the toughest cycling races in our state.

Did I have what it would take? I knew I was strong but was I strong enough to muscle that hill ?

What I knew I had to get on top of long before I got there, was my mental game. I couldn’t go into that without my mind firmly being in place. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as an athlete, my mental game has to be as strong, if not stronger, than my body.

Fears, will cripple your mental game.

So I began to mentally talk to myself what was I afraid of?  Really?

I was afraid of not being able to do it, of failing.

I then asked myself, and what if I couldn’t, what was the worst that could happen?

EEK.. get off and push it up the hill??

I was afraid I wouldn’t have the physical strength to do it, that somehow , I’d be lacking.

Fear can cripple us from moving forward, no matter what it is in our life we want to take on.

I didn’t want to “hang back for no good reason”. I wanted to face what it was head on and know that I could do it. I knew once I tackled it, it would not seem as insurmountable as next time.

The sun was out high in the sky although it was still morning. Sweat had already soaked me and was running down my legs and arms, my gloves were wet under my hands. I felt my legs respond to the incline. I tried to make my breathing as focused and even as when I was in childbirth, slow, steady and measured. My heart, it let me know if was doing it’s job 😉

I took that hill, I focused on each pedal stroke, tried to keep my breathing even ( which was pretty hard!), and knew that when I got to the top I’d be back on my “regular” training ground again.

I was so afraid that thing was gonna eat my lunch.

It didn’t.

I did it. I never let that fear come back that I couldn’t.  I felt victorious.

You know what? I just did that hill again yesterday. I have a very healthy respect for it. But you wanna know something?

I improved my time from my first attempt….so there’s that…. I went up it faster.

Fears can cripple us. They can hold us back and keep us from new victories, in all areas of our lives.

I love this quote from Zig Ziglar…

“F-E-A-R has two meanings: ‘Forget everything and run” or ” Face everything and rise” the choice, is yours”

I’ve heard this before, and well for me, face everything and rise is where I’m at.

Now, what about you? Do you have fears that hinder you or cause you to hang back from living?  What will you choose? to rise? or to run?

fear 2

 

 

Another Year Older, Again ?!

So it’s arrived. It showed up without a lot of fanfare or big announcements.  My alarm glared me into foggy reality, a new day to open my eyes, and a calendar that tells me I’m now , officially, another year older.

Go me!

I don’t have any weird hang ups about getting older. The cool thing is… I don’t feel older…

I will admit sometimes, having to stop and think about my exact age. I just don’t give it much thought anymore.

live your life

I’ve  not dreaded another year as if that’s going to change something in me. For the love of chocolate, I’ve been allowed to LIVE another year, who cares what number is attached to it?

I’m loving where I am in life and most of all  love what I’ve been able to accomplish to this point.

I’ve found age to be irrelevant in regards to taking on new adventures and challenges.  On an athletic level and what I’ve accomplished, age has nothing to do with levels of fitness. I can out run and out do people half my age. My kids freely admit they wouldn’t even want to go up against me 😛

I had to laugh at my doctor recently as he suggested that I  “have fun but take it easy as I’m older” I told him I’ve done more physically in the last 3 years than I’ve ever done and I really don’t have any intention of slowing down. Not to mention I’m in the best physical condition I’ve ever been in to take on new adventures.

 

new goal

Ok.. hear me.. I’m not implying acting foolishly. I listen to my body and I know the difference between training hard and if there’s something I need to let heal and get better. That’s a most important aspect of getting older… having a little wisdom 😛

It should be noted about the good doctor here… he… was the one who encouraged me to get back to some exercise 8 years ago.  How could he have imagined the wild adventures his counsel would lead me to ??

So yes, I’ve embraced new challenges. I know that there’s nothing I can’t do if I set my mind to it. Age is not a factor in being a good athlete.

But there’s more too. More to this getting another year older thing.

It’s being comfortable in and with who I am. Finding my voice and using it. Daring to be different.

I realized one morning, flying down the road on my bike at a crazy speed, I will not be sitting back quietly, getting older, watching life go by. I will not be a woman society will box up and set aside…. as if…. my age somehow will dictate my worthiness or abilities in some way.

Nah… I don’t see that happening. I won’t be quiet. I won’t sit back and follow some random rules that  society says I have to play along with. I will think for myself, make my own rules.

Well, oops, I already have.

I will be the older, talkative, energetic and out going free spirit wife, mom, sister, aunt, friend in the tank top and short shorts at the family picnics 😛

I will continue to find humor in random things and laugh freely because laughter is always good for the soul. I will have fun taking crazy selfies at the spur of the moment just for the pure sport and fun of it and chronicle my adventures because it pleases… me.

I for sure, won’t be boring.

Age has taught me a few, I believe, important things….

To appreciate more and grumble less.

To value all I have, it’s not something I’m “entitled” to.

To appreciate all kinds of people and not make split decisions based on the outer appearance.

To truly be comfortable in my own skin.

I’ve learned there are times in life when silence can be as powerful as a spoken word.

But then I’ve also learned to speak up and speak out if I believe in something , see something as wrong, or if it’s something I’m passionate about.

I’ve learned to challenge myself more and not doubt my abilities to do something ( I will admit this one has been hard as I hate the idea of failing at something)

I’ve learned to accept from others the wisdom they can offer me.

I freely and openly engage with new people, believing and understanding, I can always learn something new from others who have different experiences and knowledge.

To love every moment of a “normal” day because when life throws things at you, you long for “normal” days.

Friendships come on all age levels. I love my mature friends who have walked roads before me and can offer sage advice and wisdom, but I also draw so much energy from my young friends who have this passionate nature for life. We encourage each other.

Diversity makes life way more interesting than surrounding yourself with only people “like you.”

I’ve learned to be less concerned over a perceived need for approval.  Mainly because I don’t live my life with a focus on how someone else might do things, or if they approve how I do them.

I don’t take myself to seriously but I’ve also learned how to think deeply.

Being older isn’t a hindrance to pursuing new adventures and challenges.

Ah…. there are so many other things… I could go on….

Let’s just say, as I am waking up to a another year being older, I don’t dread it.

I am a woman who is grateful to have been given life. Who views the years she has lived as opportunities to have gained wisdom, maturity, confidence and an awareness of exactly who she is, what she wants, and where she’s going.

I want to continue to live in a fierce, bold way.

So here’s to life and another year of living out loud.  Cheers to 50ish!

 

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Body powered by black coffee and exercise 😉