Monday, March 23, 2015

One of those days



Today is one of those days where I need this reminder.

I woke up at my usual time for Monday morning, 3:45 am.  I felt good as I put my feet on the ground and got my day going.  I had prepped for the day last night so that I didn't have to think too much this morning. Last night's prep included getting my breakfast made ahead of time (CrockPot Oatmeal) and my clothes laid out.  I went to bed at a time that allowed me more than then usual 4 hours of sleep I have been getting on Sunday evenings.

I got to the gym and coached a great group that will always have my respect for being there at 5:30 am.  I admire their dedication to getting and keeping themselves healthy and fit.  I had some time between classes, so I decided to practice BodyFlow.  As I started into the practice I could tell that something was a little bit off.  As I continued through my tracks I felt myself struggling to get into the poses.  Finally, after about 30 minutes, I heard my friend, Monika, in my head.  She was asking me if I was breathing into the poses or fighting to get to each place.  I started to breathe.  Then I remembered something Tina says over and over in class: "just accept where you are today, in this space, wherever that may be."  I continued to relax and let go of the expectation of achieving a certain pose a certain way.  I finished practicing feeling tense and more than a little discouraged.

I coached the next class, which was also a great group, ran through some errands and headed home.  I was feeling tired, frustrated and like I hadn't accomplished enough this morning.  I decided I would either take my bike out for a ride or go for a run.  Then, as I was trying to prep for either workout...I found that I just couldn't.  I don't have it today.  I'm tired.  The ugly little voice in my head is telling me all sorts of nasty thoughts, but I'm ignoring those words.  I can't help but wonder if that voice ever goes away or if I will just get better at ignoring it over time.

Today I'm going to take Tina's advice and just listen to what my body is telling me quite clearly, I need to slow down, at least for this moment.  I'm going to rest for the remainder of the day and enjoy my afternoon and evening with my kids.  I'm also going to remind myself that strength is built in rest and that allowing my mind and body to recover isn't being weak, it is giving myself the space to grow stronger.  And add the reminder that growing stronger takes time.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Standing

I'm sitting here at the beginning of my last week of being 41.  I am feeling pensive and more than a little emotional as I reflect over my past year.  So much has changed in my world and I am discovering an entirely new perspective on my life.

I've rekindled my passion for being in training mode for a race.  Nothing compares to the adrenaline rush of pushing past my  boundaries.  There is such power knowing that i crushed the little voice of doubt that whispered insistently that i couldn't accomplish a particular workout.  When looking at a training schedule and questioning whether or not I have what it takes to make it through, then looking back and seeing that I had everything I needed inside the entire time.  That knowledge bring a sense of fulfillment unlike any other.


I'm tackling new challenges at the same time as I struggle some days to stand on my own two feet.  On those dark days I turn to the lyrics of "Stand in the Rain" by Superchick:


Stand in the rain, stand your ground

Stand up when it's all crashing down

You stand through the pain, you won't drown

And one day what's lost can be found

You stand in the rain

I know I'll stand taller than before.  I've already seen huge breathroughs and found some amazing joy.  But as I sit and look back over these past 365 days, I'm accepting that this past year has been soul crushingly hard.  I'm also learning that what I've let go is giving me the opportunity to open up to all the wonder that is to come.




So.  Bring it on 42.  There isn't anything I can't do.  Watch me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Getting Lost to Get Found

I walked into my garage today, as I do every day, since I moved into this house in December.  I've looked at my bike trainer every day since I moved.  I look at my beautiful bike, custom fit for my petite frame, each morning as I leave for work and every evening when I return.  After a few weeks I put my bike in the closet in the back of the garage because I knew I couldn't tackle anything else in addition to all that I had going on at that moment.

Then last Tuesday happened.

I was surrounded by these amazing athletes.  Triathletes, runners, obstacle course competitors - all of them dedicated to their sport.  All of them amazing and so inspirational.  And I was privileged to stand among them.  Then I was told that I belonged to that cadre of inspiration.  I didn't quite agree with that idea.  I didn't have a race on my calendar, I didn't have anything incredible to discuss.  Yes, I had completed some cool things, but I didn't see myself as being on par with the collection of talent I saw around me.  

Then I listened to some of the words that were shared with me.  

And those words started to sink in and take hold.  I've spent some time reflecting on the things I've done and what the significance is to me and my world.  I've started to get back to what really drives me and my intensity.  

I love racing.  I love competing.  I love the regimen and demand of training for a goal.  There is nothing that can compare to feeling of knowing that I am pushing past my own limits and crushing my fears while reaching for something that I once considered unattainable.  

Over the last year I lost that focus.  And that is okay.  I needed to get a little lost.  I needed to lose that part of myself so that I could find it again.

I found it today.  

Today was the day that I pulled my bike out of the closet.  I unwrapped the trainer and set it up in my new home.  Today, as I was riding my beautiful bike on the trainer I bought over a year ago - in a different life - I found myself again.  As my heart was pounding, as I was breathless and I was fully immersed in a workout that existed just for me I realized that I am ready to get back to what makes my heart race and gives me so much joy.  

It's different this time around.  For a million reasons, but mostly, because this time, it is for me.  No one else. I can't wait.  

I've found me again.  It's a pretty awesome place to be. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fear

Fear is a funny thing.  It can paralyze or it can motivate.

Fear has prompted me to take great leaps of faith and has frozen me in place for inordinate lengths of time.




I have started this year by standing toe to toe with many of my fears.

I have already learned that what I am most afraid of are the things that also hold me back from becoming all that is possible for me to achieve.

I am learning to look fear in the face and step INTO the fear and trust that it will all be okay.

One of my biggest fears is failing.  I'm always afraid of failing, of not being 'good enough'.  I know that much of this fear (if not all of it) is based in my struggle to recognize my accomplishments.

One specific area I feel that I fail is swimming.  I haven't been able to overcome my lack of comfort in the water and I'm afraid it won't ever get better.  I'm terrified that I will always struggle in the water and never find my stride enough to actually take on the training to complete a longer distance triathlon.

After spending time with some incredible athletes on Tuesday, courtesy of Atlanta Multi-Sports Magazine, I am facing that fear.  I will not let the fear of not being good enough keep me from trying to master something I have yet to gain momentum.  The athletes I had the opportunity to laugh with, stand tall with and learn from are both my inspiration and source of motivation.  ALL of us have challenges and obstacles.  It is whether or not we choose to overcome them that truly tells our story.

I may be afraid, it might not be what I expect, but I won't let the fear of failing stop me.

Monday, January 19, 2015

6 years

What a difference 6 years can make.



6 years ago I began a journey that has taken me to a place I never imagined.  This place is far different than I would have envisioned that lifetime ago.  It is better in some ways and harder in other ways.  But I wouldn't change this journey.  I wouldn't change this path.

Today I put on my running shoes for the first time in exactly three months and one week.  October 12, 2014 I ran the Chicago Marathon and had the time of my life.  I PR'd by 17 minutes after having less than stellar training runs leading to the race.  I also knew, deep in my heart, while I was in Chicago that my life was about to take a sharp turn.  I didn't want to acknowledge that upcoming change but as I look back over that weekend, I knew something was happening inside of me that I couldn't avoid any longer.  That weekend was one of strength, joy, independence and conquering fears.

Since that epic weekend I haven't strapped on my running shoes.  Not once.  Part of the reason was all the craziness that took over my life.  Moving, adjusting, holidays and trying to get a handle on a new way of looking at life and living.  There was another reason, though.  I was afraid to run.  Running was a catalyst for my journey.  Running was the medium where I found my zen.  It was also a source of a lot of angst.  Chicago was beautiful and amazing and an accomplishment.  It was a statement of how far I had come and how much I had changed.  It was the perfect running memory and I was afraid to mar it with any other running memories.

Until today.  Today was my day to run.  I have been feeling the need to get out and find the peaceful zen I can only achieve while running.  I can let my mind go and allow thoughts and feelings to wander in and out at will while I run.  My most inspired lessons and posts have come to me while running.  I open up my heart and soul when I run.  It is a feeling unlike any other.  I challenge my body while running but my mind is freed.

I pushed through the fear and put on my shoes and ran today.  Without meaning to, I donned the exact same outfit that I used to run Chicago.  I won't lie and say the run felt AMAZING.  It was hard.  My muscles aren't used to that kind of push.  But it was FREEING.  I found that zen place that I have been missing.  My soul let go and my mind opened up.  And here is what I thought:

I started this crazy journey 6 years ago.  I had no idea that my life would change so much.  I had no inkling that I could find such love, support and strength inside my own soul and from the people that have become part of my world.  I had no way to know that I had the most amazing support from within and around me the whole time.  While I was running I decided that I would post about the difference between the beginning and now.

It starts with a picture.


It continues with words I choose to hold in my heart and soul as I move through this phase of the journey:

strength
wisdom
kindness
love
resilience
peace
support
permission

I will finish it by bringing it back to the numbers.  I didn't run today to push hard or achieve a particular pace.  I ran to free my heart and mind.  But what I discovered is that I haven't lost my pace or my fitness in my time off.  Here are the stats: my overall distance: 7.5 miles.  My overall pace: 9:21 min/mi.  My last two miles, running up hill, were sub-8:30 min/mi.  Maybe my Boston Qualifier will happen sooner rather than later.  Who knows.  

Until next time.  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Steve Jobs, Injuries and Love



I was driving to AdrenalineGX this morning to teach BodyPump followed by CXWORX.  I am taking over this class from another instructor who is moving to a far away place.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to teach these classes.

Even though these are not new formats for me, I was a nervous wreck.  I got hurt last week teaching another class and I have been laying low since the injury occurred.  I haven't lifted a bar in over a week.  My injury has been healing nicely and I was told by my sports massage therapist that it would be okay to work out as long as I took it easy.  But injury aside, I was nervous about teaching the class.  I still get butterflies before each class that I teach.  I love what I do THAT MUCH.  I have been a Les Mills Instructor for three years and I still get those nervous tinglings and heart beating faster feelings of excitement going in to teach.

The class was awesome and I can honestly say I felt better afterward than I did going in.  I was able to stay and talk with some members and I was touched by the number of "Thank You" words I received.

Then, I received a text that just cemented my current feeling of being grateful for a job that I love and am passionate about.  The text came from a client that I had trained yesterday.  This person worked so hard, but was struggling yesterday.  Everything was challenging.  Then the negative self-talk kicked in.  I was able to talk it out and figure out that dehydration was a likely source of a lot of the fatigue.  I jokingly stated that I was going to text reminders about drinking water.  She approached me after the session and said that she really did want the reminders and could she give me her number so I could keep her on track with hydration.  I did (after checking with the other trainers she works with) and I texted her last night and then this afternoon.  She sent me back a picture of a glass of water and the words, "I feel so much better today, THANK YOU!"

I can't describe the feeling of knowing that something I said has had such a positive impact.  To hear that, to know that she is feeling better, and to know that I played a small role in that process warms my heart.



Steve Jobs had it absolutely right.  I love my job.  I love what I do and how I can help others.  There is no better feeling on earth.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Day by Day


Change is hard.

Huge life changes mean that goals and challenges that once meant everything need to be set aside for the here and now.

Small moments and small victories make my days feel significant.  My goal of completing an Olympic or Half-Ironman Triathlon are on hold for today.  I don't have a single race on my calendar for the year.  Not one.

And you know what?


I'm totally okay with this situation.  I haven't let my dreams go.  I'm just allowing myself the time and space to grow into my new world.  So if I don't post as often about my running, or my training, or something else new and exciting, I haven't gone anywhere.  I'm just adjusting and getting stronger on the inside as well as the outside.

I said it before and I'll say it again.  This is my year.  This is my time.  It's time to grow.  It's time to shine.  It's time to fly.