The Road To A Duathlon

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did an ordinary woman get to this point?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20181117_084546
I love the excitement of picking up a new race number.

Same game, new year, new adventures.

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

I knew the physical demands as well as mental demands.

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

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

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

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

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

The struggle is real.

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

“What am I doing??”

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

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

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

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

Somehow those words settled me.

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

Quitting was never an option.

Race time….

20181118_065808 (1)
Early morning warming up… finish line I got my eye on you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FB_IMG_1543286021948
Working that run… evidently the lady drafting me had the same idea about sleeping on the run 😉

 

 

FB_IMG_1543286472101
Nothing but a sea of bikes in the transition area, A cold and wet morning.

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

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

FB_IMG_1543286680758
Those clips were slippery that day….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ha. Not likely.

IMG_20180809_100855_560
This was a slippery slope on duathlon day… slowed things down a bit… I only hit 39.5 mph coming off it 😛

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

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

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

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

It was debatable for awhile.

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

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

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

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

20181128_191232
The most non glamorous pic ever… yet one of the most beautiful to me as it represents the finish of what I started. At this point I’m moments away from crossing that finish line after a 3.10 mile run, a 16 mile tough ride, and a 1.5 mile run.  Emotions are running high.

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

It makes me weep every time.

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

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

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

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

So what’s next?

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Advertisements

Exercise For Dummies

So I was bouncing around a lot of ideas for a new post (there are many to be had) I draw from so many places for inspiration. I’m often left looking at an over arching question of “what do my readers need?”

As much as I love writing from the trenches of life, I know if you take your time to read you wanna walk off with something that has encouraged you, motivated you, inspired you or educated you in some way.

One of my most popular posts, Healthy Eating For Dummies   https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/09/05/healthy-eating-tips-for-dummies/      was the simple kind of education topic that people seemed to need. This was driven by talking to friends, and seeing posts from others that made me realize there’s so much in the health/fitness world that makes things seem hard and complex when in reality, they don’t need to be.

People often think if they are going to start exercising, it should be an all out, full speed, into what ever they are chosing to do without giving much thought to the fact they are in a body that isn’t used to that kinda work.

What happens then?

Usually, the day or two after, they are so sore they can’t move and the mere idea of going back to it makes the shudder.

grumpy

If you haven’t been exercising, an all out approach is simply not smart.

Go Big or Go Home

I was scrolling through Pinterest one day ( follow me there) I may or may not have been looking for delicious chocolate recipes….

My newsfeed is a weird combination of wicked desserts they show me, and fitness plans to make me look like a MMA fighter.

I wanna have both please  😉

Anyway, there was this one that literally was a series of moves that totaled over 500 reps of several exercises.

The subtitle said get ready to wipe the sweat from your face or something like that.

What just stopped me in my tracks was the sheer craziness of it. Even as fit as I think I am, that would’ve been crazy.

I want to walk the next day 😛

Yeah there’s probably one or two people who’d go in and tackle it. Honestly though for  the average person it’s aimed at, makes it dangerous, not smart.

It’s why I’m kinda not impressed with the current trendy “boot camps”

Why?

Because if you’re getting up one morning all fired up to start and “today is the day!” you decide the fitness journey begins, you will honestly hurt yourself attempting such a workout. Those environments although they modify, often are conducive with people working beyond what their current physical abilities really are because they will try and keep up with the guy ( or girl) next to them.

It’s so important to know where you are, what you’re starting point is, what (if any) physical limitations you have, and work from there. Literally that has to be the place you begin to build from.

running
Haha this is why you build a fitness base

 

And don’t feel bad about it or worry about it.

We all have our starting points. Consider it your base to your fitness foundation.

Get ready!

First, if you have any health considerations or concerns, talk to your doctor before you begin.

From that point, determine what goals you have or what you want to accomplish. We are all different in what we want to do and where our interests are.

Do you want to train for a 5k? Have dedicated time at the gym several days a week? Be able to walk around the block without getting winded?

Whatever it is, set a goal that can keep you focused.

There are so many activities to choose from but walking is something anyone can start at any time.

All doctors can support the idea of walking and often encourage their patients to do so. All you need is some good shoes and discipline to take yourself out and do it.

Walking is really a good, safe, and easy way to ease into fitness activities. You can adjust your pace as you feel stronger and you can lengthen distance as you get comfortable with your current distance.

Make sure your goals are clear, realistic, and concise.

The biggest key to failure and not keeping at it is starting off to aggressively early on then not sticking with it in the long run.  Your main goal is to build new habits you can stick with and that is done by going slow and steady.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/02/28/the-tortoise-and-hare-weight-loss-approach/

How much is enough?

It’s recommended you get in 30 minutes of brisk aerobic activity, 5 days a week for over all health.  This includes things like running, brisk walking, cycling, swimming, rowing, dancing etc

To help with weight loss, more may be required.

Don’t under estimate that even small amounts in a day are beneficial to your health and wellness.

The more fit you become, the more you will most likely feel challenged to do. Don’t be afraid to extend your goals as you improve.

Aim for balanced fitness.

When I began my health and fitness journey, ( wow this is my anniversary month!) I started walking each day, about 2 miles. Eventually, I started running parts of it. At some point I turned into a runner ha.

But one thing I’m glad I learned early on is doing activities that work, train, and condition all of my body. Certain activities involve more muscle groups than others. Neglected, these can become weak areas in our body due to neglect of not using them as intensely as others.

It was on days I couldn’t run outside that I started doing strength training.

Let’s take a quick look at what these different activities are and how they can help us.

Cardio: It’s the activity people complain about the most because you have to work hard enough to get your heart and lungs really moving and well, that makes people uncomfortable. Mainly ’cause it makes them realize they are internally out of shape.

cardio

Start by doing an aerobic activity, like walking or running, for a sustained 20-30 minutes, four to five times a week. To ensure you’re working at an optimum level, try the “talk test”: Make sure you can carry on a basic level of conversation without being too winded. If you can sing a song, you’re going to easy.

Strength conditioning: I find this to be so important in supporting my other activities. Not only that, I can lift a sofa or heavy cabinet if I’m called upon 😉

Start by doing one set of exercises targeting each of the major muscle groups.  Start by using a weight at which you can comfortably perform the exercise eight to 12 times in a set. When you think you can handle more, gradually increase either the weight, the number of repetitions, or number of sets. To maximize the benefits, do strength training at least twice a week( ladies this is SO important for us! You want to keep your muscle mass as you age and weights are where it’s at. Not only that, muscles look cool 😉 )

20180315_085813

Never work the same body part two days in a row.

Flexibility training: This can be static stretching but I prefer some yoga to help keep me flexible and to help my overall mobility for life and my other activities. You not only want to stay flexible but mobile, meaning a complete full range of motion in your body.

Implementing all of these components will help keep you strong and fit no matter what activity you choose.

In summary…

Find what you love, know your starting fitness level, start slow and gradually build on where you are.

Set small, concise goals to aim for.

Don’t compare yourself to others.

Make exercise a habit for life.

Don’t over do in the beginning.

Celebrate all your new victories!

If you have a developed exercise program, what tips or tricks helped you stay with it?

 

 

Monday Musings

Hello world! In the words of an old Staind song…. “it’s been awhile….”  since I’ve offered something up.  I’m still here and per usual, got stuff on my mind.

First of all, here in Texas we’ve had an unusually high amount of rain and overall wet stuff for what seems like weeks now… which can feel like…eternity….

Cloudy, rainy, foggy days seem to literally suck my creativity out of me for some reason. Not just writing, but with my furniture projects too.  Am I the only one who gets derailed when the weather is awful?

Last week it was wet and cold. I layered up and took off for a 4 mile run while the rain had seemingly stopped for awhile. Well, stopped till I was about half through then the skies opened up.

I just kept going. I was already out and semi wet from the misty air, might as well finish and get it done.

IMG_20181016_120217_871
This photo doesn’t reflect the fact my clothes are all wet 😛

 

Ah, then I returned to find no power which meant no hot shower  and a chilly house to come back to.

Cold. Wet. Hungry.

Good times.

It just felt wonderful to be out, moving, even if it was cold and wet. There’s no guarantee of the weather the day of the duathlon next month ( which we’ll discuss more in a bit) so I try and suck it up and train in the awful weather too.

Other things happening in November….

Here in the states, it will be time for our elections. We have a tremendous freedom, privilege and responsibility to vote for those we feel can lead and represent us best. I saw a sign out on my bike ride today encouraging voters to vote a certain way to support a parties “Agenda”.  Guess we’ve all got an agenda but we really need to vote for those who hopefully have a less self serving agenda.

Please, make it a priority to go to the voting booth and exercise your right to use your voice.

Oh… and football….

Football is back in full swing and having a family with lots of men, well, needless to say it’s a standing party every Sunday and some week nights too.  Even now as I’m writing, I can hear the cheers, yelling and excitement of them watching the game.

I should mention, my kids who are now adults, several married with kids of their own, have chosen to live close by.. And when I say close I mean they walk over from their house to mine.  We’ve been blessed with land and they have chosen to stay close.

I don’t take that for granted as I know for many, they only see kids and grandkids a few times a year.

My home becomes a place of controlled chaos, kids, toys, dogs, food and stuff every where during this time.  I’m not as much worried about trying to keep a spotless house as I am making sure they all always feel welcome and want to hang out here.

Those are the simple things that make life good, right?

Now about that duathlon…..

it’s less than a month out. November 18 it’s going down and it’s only my second time so I hardly feel like a pro at it.

And because of that, it’s exactly why it was back on my radar as soon as I finished my first one. There is so much room to grow and improve my game because well, any time you are juggling multi sports, it just gets more intense and there’s a whole lot more involved. It’s not “just” running or “just” cycling… it’s both and both demand hard work.

I like a challenge what can I say?

Here’s the deal though. This year, life has been different. I don’t feel like I’ve had the extra time to do “more” training.  The weather has been less than ideal for months now which in the name of safety has cancelled many outdoor workout sessions. I do have a “Plan B” which is indoor strength training or rowing or boxing or a combination of it all but it’s not the same as putting those miles in.

I am working several days during the week with my son so that wasn’t planned and although he knows I need to get my training in before I come, I don’t have a lot of extra time for doing more.

On top of that a couple weeks ago my leg started acting up. I can’t say it’s my knee, but more like on the outside of it.

Like where did this come from??   I do NOT have time for any of these kind of shenanigans.

Properly warming up it tends to not be to bothersome… but it’s there.

Saturday I finally got to get back on the road for a 4 mile run. With the weather and my schedule it had been a week since I had been able to run so I let myself go pretty easy for half of it.

It was in the last half mile that I really started feeling it… and then the overwhelming emotion of what I was training to do…. and then the tears started falling.

My gosh have you ever tried running and crying ? It is not a good combination.

I have to say, endurance sports bring out an emotion in me that I had never experienced before I started doing them.

The tears can come from anger over a situation I can’t control, frustration when I want to do better,  to falling with joy when I do something I didn’t think I could do. Like the very first time I rode up this massive, massive hill.

I just can’t stop it from happening but have to rein it in so I can keep doing what I’m doing ’cause you know, crying and breathing to support my exercise don’t go well together.

Last year, as I crossed the finish line for the duathlon, the tears were there. The poor guy guiding me in and directing me off course as I finished was all “Are you ok? Are you hurt?” I assured him I was fine but the enormity of just finishing something I had worked so hard for, sacrificed so much for, invested myself in ways I never thought possible just washed over me. It is an emotional experience I can’t explain.

I had done it.

But the tears falling during my run on Saturday were ones of frustration, momentary self doubt, angst over the worry of an injury so close to the race, and the general feeling of “what the hell am I doing??”

This is a state championship race. Most of the athletes are college age young adults. No I don’t compete directly against them but they make up a huge part of their field.

The course is listed as the toughest in the state, and it is.  I cannot imagine even attempting it without some real training under me.  It’s brutal.

And maybe that’s where I am, knowing all these things.

Me, a middle aged wife, mom, grandmother in the mix of these young athletes at the top of their game.

Me, just beginning to dabble in multi sport events, but loving the challenge of it, yet feeling like I have so much yet to learn, surrounded by those who seem so experienced with it.

So many thoughts running rampant through my head as I finished my run with my leg reminding me it was there.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s good to have some feelings of inadequacy with such a big event.

Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m strong and capable. Physically, I know I can grind it out. I just went out and rode the whole course today and topped it with a mile run.

IMG_20181021_142450_797
Smiling after 21 miles on the bike and a mile run on Sunday

Will it be in a time I want? Only race day will really reveal that.

Saturday I wore my t shirt I got last year for finishing ( that’s the only t shirt I’ll ever collect, the finisher one) and I got to thinking that I had earned the right to wear that little shirt.

20181021_151004

It represented months of work, sacrifice, early mornings, aching muscles, learning new things, training in cold, rain and heat, tears, and more sacrifice.

I earned that shirt and in the same way, I’ve earned the right to be heading back there again.

I’ve learned a few things you can only learn in events with the transition areas so I’m hoping to tighten my time down there.  I know the course. I know the freaking hard parts and the places I can “briefly” recover before hitting more hard places.

I don’t know what the weather will be like or other random factors.

I do know I can get my mental game locked in tightly, protect my body as best as I can and keep it healthy and go that day ready to take no prisoners.

I really would like to scoop up first in my AG again.

Regardless, I’ll be there, as ready as I can mentally and physically ready to do “My” best, not worrying about anyone else and what they are doing. I’m fiercely competitive so that will add to my fire too.

I’ve earned the right to be there and I’m ready to what I’ve trained for all these months and that will have to be enough.

Processing these things out before an event seems to be how I roll.  Does anyone else relate to that?

And of course before I leave you…..

Food. This weather has definitely been about comfort foods. I’ll share a recipe everyone has gone crazy over and it’s soooo easy.

FYI I subbed greek yogurt for sour cream… less fat… more protein.

https://www.plainchicken.com/2009/01/creamy-chicken-casserole.html

Now tell me about your week. What’s new out there with all of you? Anyone training for an event? Do you have any favorite comfort foods?

8 Easy Ways To Stay Active

Hello beautiful people. It’s evening as I write this, unwinding with my preferred drug of choice, a big mug of coffee and patting myself on the back that I didn’t give in to any basic urges and punch someone today.

Working with, and dealing with the public has challenged that a lot lately.

I’m constantly amazed at the sense of entitlement so many have and it’s been an extraordinary and amazing to thing to not only keep my hands to myself, but my tongue too as my brain can conjure up sarcastic comments like crazy.

It’s work keeping that in!

Haha ok I jest…. well…. partially…

But let’s say I’m glad to now be relaxing and letting the ideas out of my head that have been bouncing around for awhile.

I thought we’d talk a bit about ways to make staying active easier. We are ending summer here in the states and moving towards fall and maybe a bit of winter here in the south. Typically a time of year when most begin to want to hibernate inside and the idea of exercise seems like an even bigger chore. Unless you are already a dedicated gym goer or have a disciplined exercise program you may not be thinking it’s a time of year you want to start getting active.

IMG_20180113_103918_782
Earlier this year… the sun looks deceiving… but it was in the high 20’s out riding. Coldest ride ever.  Just call me Ninja. This is what happens when exercise is just something you do 😛

 

So what are some steps to build a fitness plan?

No one, and I’m pretty sure no one, decides they are just gonna scamper into getting active. Let’s be honest, most dread the idea of having to do exercise even though they may talk about it and really want to do it.

You may admire those who are active, understand the benefits of doing it, and strive to do it yourself but somehow you can’t quite put it together. Of course you also understand that staying active take a lot of work and discipline.

Don’t get discouraged. Some planning and structure will go a long way to your success. Staying active does require more work than being sedentary but it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult to maintain.

Let’s take a look at some ideas to help.

Find the thing you want to do.

It’s important to choose something you think you will enjoy and can stick with. Don’t worry about being “good” at it or thinking you can’t do something. Just get out there and start taking baby steps. In time, you’ll gain confidence at it. If you like what you’re doing, you’ll look forward to your time working out.

Be consistent.

Like building any new habit, consistency is key. Find a time to workout in the day that is suitable for you and your schedule. Forget what your neighbor or sister is doing, you do your thing. Find a time that you can devote to yourself and put it in your day.

For me mornings have evolved over the past few years.  In the beginning it was what I did to get the job done before the rest of my day started. It was hard to get up earlier to get it done but I did.

Mornings are best for me because in the 24 hours of my day it’s when I have people needing and wanting me the least.

I’ve actually come to love being out on the road early. There’s something quite satisfying knocking out miles while the sun is coming up and the world is still getting coffee.

20180919_072924
Favorite view from my bike

Not only that, it just sets an energetic tone for the entire rest of my day.

Pick your time of day and stick to it.

Get your gear ready the night before.

Now days it doesn’t take much for me to reach for my exercise clothes. When I had to be up on Saturdays at 5a.m. for long runs, I had everything laid out for me to just step into. My mind immediately, although still sleepy, knew it was time to get serious. ( I do not wear athletic clothes as “leisure wear”, for me they represent work and my mind shifts to a different mode once I’m in them)

If your clothes, shoes, socks, accessories etc are there and waiting you won’t have to think about putting it all together. Even if you are an evening work out person, have it laid out and waiting.  It will be one less thing you have to think about doing.

Get your nutrition in order.

Knowing what you will have for breakfast and having it prepped will give you less reason to skip on fueling properly. If you are an early morning person, you may have food ready the night before.

Having healthy snacks prepped for pre and post workouts will keep your energy levels up and will be one less thing you have to attend to when you finish.

Have stretches or moves you use at the end of each workout.

I have several go-to yoga moves that feel good after I’ve been running and cycling. This helps my body recover after a workout and ease tight muscles.

Have some stretching and mobility exercises that you can use afterwards. Not only does it feel good, it helps your body to recover faster.

Leave your gear in the same place.

My running bag has everything from some spare change to extra cycling gloves, my running belt, ipod (although I rarely use it on the road anymore) my helmet, glasses, a clean top, and a whole host of other things. I always know where my stuff is at in a moment.

Find a bag or space that is dedicated to what you need for your workouts to keep you organized.

Focus on your workout.

ok I’m notorious for being in the midst of a workout thinking about what needs my attention when I’m done, what I want to write about next, or being distracted by other random thoughts.

This totally takes my mental focus off what my body is doing and keeps me working hard on the task in front of me.

Be in the moment with what you’re doing. Appreciate all your body can do for you, think about how movement feels. All the other stuff will still be waiting for you when you finish.

Plan your workouts.

Seriously.

I literally schedule appointments around knowing the time it takes me to get them in and clean up and look like a respectable human again.

With my duathlon training I consider what days in my week I can devote to my longer sessions, my run/ bike days, and put them there. Shorter mornings may be one of my fast high intensity workouts that I can slam out in 30 minutes or less. Regardless, I know where to fit them in and how much time it will take.

And no, there’s nothing wrong with scheduling that anymore than scheduling a doctors appointment. It’s important, just do it.

With some planning, structure, and intentional purpose you can build a strong and healthy exercise program that will serve you well. When our minds know what to expect we can look forward to being active and truly benefit from each activity.

20180924_095707
Find an activity you can enjoy and look forward to doing 🙂

Tell me, do you have any tips or tricks that helped you get on a disciplined path for exercise?

 

 

Monday Musings

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.

IMG_20180914_141533_900
It was still fun and games…until….

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.”

Really??

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.

Damage control?

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.

20180916_200134

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.

20180910_133652
Smiles for a new week ahead

What does your week ahead hold? Are you ready for fall and a change of seasons?

 

Monday Musings

Hello Monday. Another one in the works.

Monday, the day of the week that seems to garner the most whining, complaining and lamenting. It’s the killjoy of the week, the black sheep of the family,  the ugly step-child, or the stuff you stepped in on your shoe.

I’m never sure why Monday always gets such a bad rap.

Oh I know, the party’s over, right?

 

monday5

 

Back to work, the grind, the no fun and games grind of the work week.

monday2
Some of you relate….

Of course some of you get up with your positive pants on and head into work and you be like…..

 

monday4

And with all the negative Monday talk have you ever wondered if…….monday3

Yeah, something to ponder.

But then, I’m over here like….monday.png

I guess for me it’s easier to embrace it as another day of opportunities and chances to do things.

It’s another day we’ve been given this amazing gift called, life, and we are complaining about Monday.

You. Are. Alive.

One more day to spin around the sun, see things, do things, feel, touch, love, and experience life.

Yes, you might view Monday as the armpit of the week, but don’t miss out on living while you feel that way.

Speaking of living….

Yikes. I seem to be meeting myself coming and going lately.  Working with my son for awhile at his business ( means being gone all day) training for my duathlon, maintaining the household/ life stuff, writing for this blog, doing research for mentioned blog ;), and attempting to work on my projects for my business leaves me feeling like I want another hour or two in my day, preferably to sit and be still for a moment.

Training is rolling along for the duathlon.

I took off Sunday morning to go run both legs of the course where the race will run. I’ve done it like. twice, since last years race. As I shared in a recent Instagram post, it’s not an “easy” 5k. I mean really, to me a 5k is a distance I’m just warming up in. But this 5k, literally out the start line, is on an incline and you head right into hills, big hills. It continues pretty much until they turn us around to head back, then there is some down hill work, but also more up and down action too.

Anyway, I wanted to be out there to get it under me again mentally as well as physically. The heat and humidity is just a part of what goes with my training so that adds to fun as well.

As I was heading into the final stretch I checked my watch to see that I had clipped a 10 minute mile… now for a lot of you that’s like…slow.

For a 50ish year old woman, I’m okish with that 😉 especially given the mile it had been. I saw my finishing time was close to what I did in the duathlon last year when I was in my peak condition and all I could think is… “I need to get my average pace down”.

I’m hard on myself. I expect a lot and I  have high goals. don’t like to feel like I’m not working towards improvement in what I do.

The beauty of athletics right? The sky is the limit on reaching new goals no matter how small or big they may be.

I reminded myself that my last mile was worth cheering over and a decent time on that course was celebratory too.

20180902_085627
Finished both run legs for the duathlon… smile time.

Of course I might’ve been smiling ’cause I knew food would be imminent. It’s not a good sign when I take off and my tummy is already growling.  Food never, ever tastes better than post workout and my hunger is deep, real, and needy.

Do you ever let yourself get that hungry? Trust me, you appreciate food on a whole new level when you are that kinda needy.

Speaking of food….

20180823_103353

nothing like finding a random snack hanging out in my purse haha I guess it beats having candy in there  or something of that nature.

In the category of things that make me go hmmmm.

Featured stories on the daily news leave me shaking my head.

  • daily interaction with your children will help them grow and thrive.
  • eating a diet with less processed food and sugars will help you lose weight.
  • exercise can help you feel and look better.
  • eating a diet high in vegetable and fruits can help prevent many cancers.
  • reading to your children will grow their vocabulary.
  • smoking can shorten your life, be aging and cause other health issues.

I mean, aren’t these “no brainer” kinda things? Common sense? Like you should just know this stuff? Maybe not but it always leaves me scratching my head when I hear stuff that just seems like you’d know to do it or not do it.

When I’m not trying to eat well and train for a duathlon….

Ok I’ve shared in other posts about my new little vintage business.   https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/25/the-journey-of-opening-a-vintage-business/    Believe it or not, it’s been a month since I jumped in the deep end and got my little space at a local shop. I’m so excited that the month has gone really well! I’ve sold a lot of things, I’ve also sold stuff online and picked up some custom orders too.

This is where I start thinking I need 8 days a week with 36 hours in a day…..

especially with the upcoming holiday season on top of it all.

Goodness.

I’ve got plenty of projects going on. I scored this cute little number the other day…

20180902_125957

I have a thing for these old phone tables. This one is unique so I was excited to literally stumble across it one day last week at a local thrift shop. I love the fabric on seat and it appears rather new so I’m working with it… I already have a vision for what the rest will look like so stay tuned.

Ok, it’s getting late for me and I need to wrap this up… but first..  this week when I was doing a shift at the shop… I saw one of the girls selling this…. I instantly related….

20180901_154834

I mean… really…. I do believe this could be true 😛  Coffee is a the soothing beverage of life. It can pat me on the back and remind me I can do great things haha

I do believe it could be my spirit animal.

Do you have one?  How do you feel about Mondays? Tell me something cool and interesting from your week.

Nutrition Vs. Exercise For Weight Loss

Hello world! Oh my gosh it’s been a crazy week. If you saw my last post you know I took the plunge and dived into “officially” starting a little baby business. Find my post here on that topic…..  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/25/the-journey-of-opening-a-vintage-business/

20180727_154051
Doors in old buildings are really short! I’m like Alice in Wonderland 😉

Anyway, besides trying to make that all good and lovely, I’ve been trying to work on those old relic furniture pieces that I love bringing back to life to go in my little cozy room at the Vintage store.

In the mix of  all that you know I’m training for a duathlon. It’s official “official” as I actually paid the MONEY today to torture myself… I mean….. participate….. mostly in a field of athletes that are my kids age….

Yeah, I’m out there reppin’ the old people, cheer me on 😉

I’m pushing more on my training, but gosh, the weather is pushing back pretty hard too as in… heat and humidity.

I knocked out 24.5 on the bike Sat and followed it with a 2 mile run.  Sunday I took off on the duathlon course and ran the first and last leg of the race course.

20180729_091802
After my Sunday run…It’s just me in the parking lot so I can make my own sweat angel, right ? 😛

No matter how early I get out there, that sun is already waiting. But here’s what I’ve learned from past training in the heat. Come cooler weather, there are happy payoffs as my body now finds it wayyyyy easier to work, which typically means my speeds increase too.

Let’s see how that all plays out this year.

In other horrifying news…..

My Garmin bit the dust. As in… it’s not working for me anymore. Literally the face plate came off and I guess, weirdly, it likes that securely in place to make sure it all works well. This is my second one in 2 years.

20180728_160839
I’m pretty sure my Garmin isn’t gonna work this way.

Am I just hard on the poor things or do they have a short life?

I got the Garmin Vivoactive HR when it first hit the market. I love that it tracked all of my activities and even some I knew I’d never use….hello…golf?

It also tracked my heart rate which was a feature I really wanted. As my training increased, I watched my resting heart rate drop lower and lower ( remember your heart is a super important muscle that gets worked and strengthened too. A lower resting rate means it has to work less hard)  and in other non-athletic things it was synced to my phone which gave me at a glance info on everything from incoming calls to my socials and a bunch of other nifty things.

I feel crippled without the thing right now. My arm bears obvious signs of our relationship….

20180729_081526

I’ll keep you posted on how this plays out….. meanwhile… no stats to track which bothers me ’cause it’s a constant carrot in front of me working for better times and not to mention, tracking my distance…

( as this post goes live this morning, I spoke with Garmin and they are gonna hook me up with the newest Vivoactive Garmin… yay! I promise a report on the new model )

Onto todays topic….I have one….

it seems lately I’ve caught convos from people who are  riding the ongoing wagon of losing weight and attempting to change the lifestyle they live.  Eating and nutrition now days to me, seem cut and dried. I guess my understanding has grown over the past few years of what good nutrition is and what the  hype and nonsense are that ultimately won’t work.

I remember last year my husband coming home from his yearly check up and discussing his convo with doctor and telling me… “you aren’t going to like what he said” as I gave him a blank look to which he responded… “he said exercise won’t make you lose weight”

My response was… “He’s right”.

It’s a common myth that if you exercise you will easily lose weight and have no worries.

diet-

Don’t misread me here… exercise is great and our bodies are made for movement. We’ve become a lazy, sedentary, “please make it as easy and effortless as possible for us”, world.  All things set aside, we need exercise just for the health of our bodies, not for weight loss.

The first and foremost way to losing weight, keeping it off, and living a healthy lifestyle is to eat a proper amount of calories to support your (personal ) lifestyle. Eat to many calories, you’ll gain. Create a deficit and you’ll slowly lose. Exercise or not.

This is the smart way to go about it.

There are other factors that are invisible calories. Or things we don’t think we get many calories from.

Sugary drinks and alcohol being two big offenders.

When someone mentions they are trying to lose weight but aren’t being successful, but drinking is a part of their lifestyle, I can assess that is a possible link that’s hindering them. Alcohol packs a huge punch of calories and has high levels of sugars and carbs. And let’s not forget all the negatives it has on the body, in general.

And then there are sugary drinks, sodas, juices, fluffy coffee drinks with whipped cream and all that stuff. Do that frequently enough it will hinder your weight loss efforts.

I think these areas people often turn a blind eye to not wanting to see that those beverages contribute to their lack of success.

Your body requires a certain number of calories a day to live and carry out the activities you do.  You must eat and drink within the right perimeter for your needs, and if weight loss is the goal, you must create a small deficit each day to accomplish that goal.

How exercise ties in.

I wrote a post recently called No Exercise Required.  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/28/no-exercise-required/

I laughed when someone told my husband they read it thinking I was gonna tell them they didn’t need to exercise.

Exercise is important overall for our health. It is not the magic thing to make us lose weight but it can be a helpful tool as you’ll obviously use more calories in your day which can help contribute to your deficit as mentioned above.

Do enough vigorous exercise all week and you’ll most likely find it easy to not just lose weight but maintain it as well.

Well, I mean, as long as you don’t use your exercise as a reason to justify eating more otherwise, you’re gonna be losing the battle.

Having a good nutrition plan in place alongside strong vigorous exercise (most) days of the week is a good combo to lose weight.

Thankfully, I’ve never fallen into the mindset that I just ran or biked a million miles I can eat all the food. I eat enough to satisfy my appetite and leave it there.

So when I hear someone talking about their weight loss struggles or lack of success in that dept, naturally I inquire as to what purposeful exercise they participate in.

When I get a response of they do “some things” or they walk around the block a couple days a week, this is not the kind of exercise that will be a helpful tool to weight loss goals.

The recommendation here in the U.S. is 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week. I think this is a great starting point but if you want to see changes, you need to work on kicking that time up.

And like it or not, cardio exercise is the thing that drives fat loss. Most people don’t like cardio work because this is when they come to the quick realization of how out of shape they are. Cardio is like brisk, quick walking, running, cycling,  rowing, jump rope or any other activity that makes your heart and lungs really work.

So what’s gonna help me lose weight?

Both. However, your diet needs to be what you are most diligent on. Going for a 2 mile walk then thinking you can go grab a donut pretty well negates anything ( caloric) you just did. Yeah, you’ll feel good for getting out and have your head cleared and maybe come up with a creative solution for a problem but you won’t be helping your weight loss goals.

When it comes to exercise, go ahead and be prepared to get a little uncomfortable. It’s ok to feel that way, and you will till your body starts getting stronger and adjusting to the new demands you put on it.

Eating healthy and sensibly ( at least 85% of the time) ’cause you know.. ice cream or cake… or whatever floats your boat… root beer float? there’s life going on too… eat right and make a diligent effort to workout vigorously ( most days) of the week and in a slow and steady way, you will see weight loss.

If after a month you feel you aren’t seeing results, you may want to track everything you eat and drink to see where the weak areas are. Seeing it in black and white works better than mentally dismissing something as “not that big of a deal.”

Remember most of all, the biggest key to success is to keep moving forward and not giving up.

Tell me what things you’ve found that work best for you? Have you found the right balance of diet and exercise to met your goals?