Slow and Steady

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: New Beginnings

Every end is a new beginning.

I love this idea. It is incredibly timely since it is the beginning of a new year for me and my family. I also love the repeating feeling I can find in this new year, the regular new year, the first of a month and honestly how Monday's feel. I love starting fresh, I love starting anew, but I wish I could see every day that way. To be more forgiving of myself and others and be able to wake up and feel like it is a new day and I can make it great. I am still locked on larger blocks of time like weeks, months and years. So that I can regain some persepective I am going to recap and a few helps me if I write things down.

Since last Rosh Hashanah
  • I have mostly kept all my weight off (within 3-5lbs of my 40lb weight loss)
  • I PR'd my 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathon and marathon times 
  • I was promoted at work
  • My daughter started daycare and she is learning so much
  • My son advanced to pre-K as a 3 year old
  • My husband was elected to a board of directors, did I mention he is not very social?
  • I lost my 18 year old cousin to cancer
  • I lost my last living grandparent
  • We took our first family vacation
  • I just recently turned a corner with some family members I was having ups and downs with, such a relief and so much more fun
  • My husband and I made our first large financial pledge to a charitable cause (we really felt like grown ups)
Wow, the big things are working out, but sometimes I focus on the little things. The whole "can't see the forest for the trees" syndrome. I guess when I post semi regularly I am focused on whether I completed a workout or whether my weight that day or that week is where I wished it was and I complain a lot. When I look at the big picture, things are going well with the appropriate levels of challenges we all need to learn and grow. There is always room for improvement, but really I have so much more to be thankful for than I realize.

As a fresh start to this blog, my "Why I Kick A$$" section will now be updated to "The Big Picture" The Big Picture will give me the opportunity to recover from the complaining I am sure to continue to do in my daily postings, LOL. I may through in a few "Why I Kick A$$" things every now and then as needed, but I would like to be more big picture oriented this year.

The Big Picture: My husband and I held hands and giggled like teenagers inappropriately at religious services last night. We weren't disruptive, but I love that we still enjoy each others company in a youthful way.

Thankful Three
  1. For new beginnings
  2. For new bras
  3. For a weekend away that starts tomorrow

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Motivation: New Goals

The ability to concentrate 
and to use your time well 
is everything if you want to succeed 
in business--
or almost anywhere else for that matter.
Lee Iacocca

I have not been concentrating on much. It is amazing how things can be going along so well and suddenly everything is different. Ok, so maybe not suddenly, but it feels like it. It feels like yesterday I was running fast. It feels like yesterday I was super excited I got into the Nike Women's Marathon. It feels like yesterday that I had high hopes for all Olympic distance triathlons this season. At some point, ok in April my world flipped upside down. It was then followed by a few more changes in May and June and by the time I figured it out it was July. I am not sure what happened to August, seemed like it passed in a blink, but here I am at the September wondering how am I using my time? How do I want to use my time?

I was thinking back to how I started the year. I had my fastest 10K in January, I ran a progressive trail series January through March, PR'd the 1/2 marathon distance in March and was well on my way to having a fantastic year. What was I doing right? Let's go back to basics folks,

  • When you set goals, write them down
  • Be specific
  • Carry your goals around in your purse or wallet
  • Tell people about your goals
  • Set benchmarks-measurable/attainable
  • Have a schedule for accomplishing them
I literally did all of these things and easily, steadily and on schedule being successful. I still don't know what things are going to look like fitness wise for me, but I guess it is a good time to reassess. The season is winding down so there will be very little of the feeling like I'm missing out for the next few months since events are sparse. Also, the people around me will be going into off season mode and anything I do that is more fitness geared vs running/TRI focus will just seem like off season working everyone else! Yes I totally care what people think.

Things I am thinking about:
  • First, get through the marathon 10/16/11
  • Consider putting my workouts on the family calendar-schedule!
  • Register for 1 trail running event before December 31st
  • Maybe return to yoga
One thing I would like to try, when I am ready, are training "blocks." I hate feeling like a failure for not meeting the crazy long training plans I have played with in the past. I don't mind one over arching goal/"A" race, but I would like my next shot at that to be in more digestable piece with breaks built in between. I think I have touched on this idea before, but I am looking forward to giving it a real shot next training cycle.

Why I Kick A$$: I am owning up to my goal setting/success challenges by being solution oriented.

Thankful Three
  1. For Super Hubby being home from his epic Montana Fly Fishing Trip
  2. For a Disneyland Bachelorette Party this weekend
  3. For girls night tonight

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tuesday Tidbit: Don't Judge Me

We can never judge the lives of other, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It's one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it's another to think that yours is the only path.
~Paulo Coehlo

I loved the feedback I got on my request for help earlier this week. I have been in denial and you all are right. I need to prioritize my training. Ok, maybe not prioritize my training, figure out my priorities is more like it. I loved that you guys "get it." Yes it's my age. Yes it is the stage I am in in life with 2 kids under 4. Yes it is that I have a new job that requires much of my focus. Yes it is that I am lazy and not prioritizing my training, because running a marathon has gone from high up on the list to barely hanging on. I feel like I am in total survival mode lately and it has everything to do with the stresses in my life. Not major stresses, but enough little ones that some days I wonder which way is up. I know there are "right" ways to do things, like actually train for the marathon I am registered for and there are perceptions about the "right path." Some might say, "respect the distance" and let this one go. Others might say, "starting is winning," and several other philiosophies like, go out there and "see what happens." I am registered and as of today still want to start the run, but I am having difficulty accepting that because of my training issues.

So no real questions today folks, just some thinking out loud. It is one of those times I wish I had a hard and fast philosophy about my running, but having a structured philosophy takes time and energy of which I have neither. I am truly afraid to reorganize my thoughts on fitness, running, TRI and so forth. I don't want to paint myself into a corner with definition, but I also don't want to miss the canvas by not having any vision for myself either.

Current coping mechanism: 
Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly on White Bread. Yeah, you read that right, WHITE bread. Don't judge me. In case you were considering judging me, let this sink in- I think my grape jelly has high fructose corn syrup in it and my peanut butter has hydrogenated oils. This is not fact, but I am guessing it is true. Too lazy to check, LOL. (note: I have purchased white bread only a handful of times in the last 10 years, but it is so nostalgic for me and yummy to boot)

Why I Kick A$$: I survived my office relocation and lived to suffer the tiny details of getting a new place up and running.
Thankful Three:
  1. For my niece for staying over with the kids tonight
  2. For people who comment, I really do love your feedback
  3. For another day in the books, this is destined to be a long week

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Turn Around: Help!

Help, I need somebody,
Help, not just anybody,
Help, you know I need someone, help.

When I was younger, so much younger than today,

I never needed anybody's help in any way.
But now these days are gone, I'm not so self assured,
Now I find I've changed my mind and opened up the doors.

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down

And I do appreciate you being round.
Help me, get my feet back on the ground,
Won't you please, please help me?
~The Beatles

Wednesday Hump Day sounds funny, but like an out and back run it marks the turn around to the work week. While I should be rejoicing in the fact that there are only 2 more days in the typical work week, my next "weekend" will not come until 9/23. Seriously.

Help is right, "when I was younger, so much younger than today, I never needed anybody's help in anyway... I am feeling down." Yes I am ambitious. Yes I am a slacker. That usually doesn't stop me from being able to do whatever I want whenever I want. But these days I am just busy, busy, busy. I am five weeks away from the Nike Women's Marathon in S.F. and big shocker I continue to be under trained. Usually not a big deal, but I went out for a 12 mile run on Sunday and wouldn't you know, my left ITB acted up at mile 8 for 2 full miles. I took Monday off, cross trained on Tuesday and was supposed to run tonight, but woke up late, worked late and missed my chance. My office relocation is in full swing and I will be working late Thursday, Friday, Saturday and probably Sunday. WTH?! I have no idea how I am going to squeeze in my long run Sunday since A. I'll be completely drained from work and B. I am using up all my babysitter credits so I can work a bazillion hours or my all time favorite, C. My ITB will get worse because apparently people aren't just supposed to do long runs and nothing else during the week.

I remember a time when I was much younger than today when I could skip workouts, wake up and completely dominate anything I attempted. Now I have to drag myself out of bed achy and sore, hope for the best vs. cruising with total confidence, and barely muddle through the worst vs. dominating like I am used to. So help. I need somebody. Help. Not just anybody. I kinda got help from my trainer Tuesday when she texted me at 4:55am so I could get out of bed and make it to the 6am bootcamp. She tried that again today, but I declined the 6am class because I was going to work at 7:00 am, which because I was so sore and tired turned into 8:05. Total wasted morning. I hate feeling fatigued.

So how does one adjust to this life of having to try? 
Why I Kick A$$: I totally scored some HALO bars from P over at Adventures of An Average Athlete. She is so much more than average, go check her out, you'll LOVE her blog.

Thankful Three
  1. For whiskey night cap
  2. For Monday...oh I can't wait for Monday when this office move is over
  3. For Nutter Butters

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday Sampler: Enough time in the Day

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.  
~Leonardo DaVinci
  1. Slept in
  2. Watched Tangled in bed with the kiddos
  3. Went to the children's museum with my cousin and her daughter
  4. Had an early dinner with my other cousin including watermelon wheat beer at a great Ale House. I forgot how yummy fish and chips are
  5. Stopped for fancy chocoloate fondue dessert
  6. Ended my night with a nice long conversation with my favorite Seattle friend
  7. Now time to go snuggle up with the best husband ever, I definitely married up
Why I Kick A$$: My day was awesome, it was easy and it was so needed.
Thankful Three
  1. Enough time in the day
  2. For Rocky Road Fondue
  3. For a group to run with tomorrow-safety in numbers

Monday, September 5, 2011

Monday Motivation: Safety Tip #0904

Better a thousand times careful 
than once dead. 

I am a freak'n magnet for dangerous situations. If you read my safety post HERE, you'll see where I made some mistakes. This time I made even few mistakes and still ended up in a dangerous situation. I was running on a popular route yesterday, score +1 for me. I was running with a friend, another +1. I was running at 8:30 AM with plenty of daylight, +1. A stranger spoke to us and I responded, -1. It got creepy, so we took off and said nice talking to you, +1. Then we turned down a side street to get to a more populated main street, +1. I called my hubby to say a guy was creeping us out and told him where we were just in case something awful happened, someone would know where to look for us, +1.

The guy followed us. Followed us on the side street. Followed us onto the main drag with plenty of traffic. Seriously, this guy was not deterred. We decided to cut over the 6 lanes of traffic, no crosswalk, we jaywalked ran to get away from Mr. Stranger Danger on a major thoroughfare and guess what?! O-M-G. There was a center garden type divide thing and I decided enough was enough, our taking detours and going on a more public street and trying to cross 6 lanes of traffic weren't working and I was S-C-A-R-E-D. So I did what any panicked person should do, the EXTREME. I doubled back from the center divide stood in the middle of traffic and flagged down vehicles for help. Mr. Stranger Danger kept walking, but still looked back at us as if considering still coming back after us even though we were trying to stop traffic. PSYCHO! We called 9-1-1, but I don't think anything came of it. So what did I learn?
  • Our situation went from feeling creeped out to feeling like we were in true danger quickly. VERY QUICKLY.
  • That even with all the +1's above, there is always the extra pyscho guy that is going to break the rules.
  • That knowing to bail on our planned route and getting to a more populated place and having been with a partner could have literally saved my life yesterday.
  • That my "being nice" conversation wasn't necessary. Who cares if you come off rude, safe is more important than congeniality.
I talked to lots of people about this and got lots of "advice" like "you should have called the police sooner." TRUE. I pay tax dollars, I shouldn't worry about false alarms, when someone is creeping me out, it is more important to be safe. In a matter of 1 block our iffy situation turned from weird to all out scary. O.N.E. Block. This person had no fear and was stupid enough to ask questions in our conversation that weren't even sneaky. He asked, "how far are you running?" "Is this your regular route?" and other fact finding questions that were not in a natural flow of conversation. C-R-E-E-P-Y. I was not going to write about this feeling that I would be judged, I mean seriously how can this happen to one person so frequently, two creepy encounters in less than 1 year? Well it happened and it happened to me and my mother said, it probably happens more people than I know because not everyone reports these creepy situations to the police. This is my blog and while it is therapeutic to type about it, I also wanted to share some things I learned from this experience.

I am fortunate to have friends in law enforcement and while I did lots of things right, I knew that there was more I should know about responding to dangerous situations. One piece of bad advice I got was to turn around and tell the person to stop, leave me alone and that I have called the police. That maybe saying this and confronting them would make them stop and leave me alone. However, when I spoke to my probation officer friend he had the following advice that I want to share with you. KEEP MOVING. Run, keep going, but DO NOT STOP. Individuals seeking to harm you, will do just that and may have weapons on them. The closer one is to someone willing to harm them the worse off they are especially if you allow Mr. Stranger Danger to get close enough to you. While he didn't brandish a weapon, it doesn't mean he didn't have one. In fact the police asked me that specific question, did he have a weapon?

So I am on the hunt for a good pepper spray. Will it save my life? Maybe. Will it give me a level of confidence to run again, a little. I have to take whatever I can get in the form of feeling safe. While a running partner should have deterred the average pyscho path, it appears having my dogs with me is going have to be an added safety measure. Mr. Stranger Danger could have ditched us as a twosome for another woman running "solo," but she had her dog with her. We saw her about 10 steps before we went from feeling creeped out to scared-out-of-our-minds. In retrospect I wish we would have stopped her and told her this guy was following us so we could have stayed next to her and the dog and let him either pass us by or take on all three of us plus Cujo. She probably wouldn't have appreciated being pulled into our situation, but as I reflect on all the things we could have done differently, that idea does cross my mind enlist as much help as possible.

This is a great reference LINK for those seeking more safety tips. I won't say I am not traumatized, because I am. I don't know how I am going to go about my life. It is easy to say that it is running and I am afraid and therefore won't run. But this could have been walking to my car at the grocery store, this could have been going to the park with my kids, crazy people are everywhere and one cannot stop living because they are afraid. Easier said than done, yes, but really the most important thing is never to be complacent. To be alert. To be safe. Know what to do.

Why I Kick A$$: I played it smart by having a partner and running in the daylight. I identified the creepiness of the converstaion. I responded the right way and tried to remove myself from the situation. I did what I had to do and stood in the middle of traffic to save us. I kick ass because I am alive.

Thankful Three
  1. For the power healing through love, prayer and education
  2. For having had a running partner who if worse came to worse would have been a great fighting partner
  3. For a husband who ran out of the house barefoot and sped to pick us up

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday: Don't Suck, Just Do It

No question is so difficult to answer 
as that to which the answer is obvious.
-George Bernard Shaw

So when I was in Mammoth Lakes last month I stopped in a Nike cross country shop and saw a super cute sweat shirt that said, "Don't Suck, Just Do It." I couldn't find my photo, so you'll get a google image of a t-shirt I found instead.

Anyhow, onto to the message. I have been such a slouch when it comes to working out. I recently let the pressure of 7 weeks to the marathon finally motivate me to get my butt in gear. I started TRX Monday, ran with a group Wednesday and hit the TRX gym again tonight. Still trying to decide whether I will swim at 5:30 AM tomorrow or do TRX at 6:00AM. I totally need swim because I am signing up for a local "Club Championship" TRI at the end of the month, but I am totally in love with the endorphin/confidence boost my new workouts have been giving me. Tough choice. 

My trainer's facebook post recently was "Strong is the New Skinny." LOVE IT! So all this funk, feeling fat and lazy and overwhelmed has been exhausting. Literally exhausting. I have been wondering how and when it would stop. Hello?! How obvious is the answer to that question? It has all been about me not getting enough "me" workout time. So George Bernard Shaw said it eloquently, but NIKE hit the nail on the head in a more straight forward fashion. Funk, Fat, Lazy and Overwhelmed, SUCKS. I don't want to suck and the answer this whole time has been, just do it.
  • Just go to bed early
  • Just get enough sleep
  • Just get out of bed with the first alarm
  • Just lace up your sneakers
  • Just do 20 minutes if you don't have an hour
  • Just do the things you know will make you feel better
Obvious answers. Easy answers. I feel like I am repeating myself as I do believe I wrote a post about this very same topic a few months back. Huh, I guess history really does repeat itself. Am I insane? I once read doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is insanity. Every time I stop working out regularly (ok fairly regularly) then I get all worked up and in a funk. So why do I keep falling off the wagon? I have established the consequence of not working out, icky feeling me. While I am on my tangent of self analyzing. Why don't we talk about my schizophrenic workout and interest attempts.

Just Do It, probably doesn't mean everything, but I kind of like to try a lot of things and I rarely stick with anything. Running and triathlon are the longest running interests I have second only to basketball. In the last year I have sporadically done Master's swim, Krav Maga for a few months, women's basketball league and now TRX. Last year it was all about running, TRI and cycling. The year before it was personal training and running, before that I was into Bikram yoga for a while too. I have been a vegetarian, I have kept kosher, I wanted to be a teacher (High School, Spanish, Professor of Ethnic Studies, Ethics and others I am sure), a basketball coach, a life coach, a counselor and a consultant. I have been wanting to go back to school for a PhD, write a book, publish poetry, be a fitness model, full time athlete and try new career tracts within my agency. Getting back to Mr. Shaw, the answer to all my questions are OBVIOUS. Obviously I can do ALL of these things. Simultaneously? Maybe not. I am quite talented you see, with tons of potential and I think that is why it is hard for me to focus. I don't usually say how completely awesome I am because I don't always feel completely awesome. I think I am a little afraid of myself because I am pretty darn good at everything I do, so I truly believe with focus I could achieve any one (or more) of the things I have listed that I want to do.

It is not that I lose interest necessarily in all the efforts, I love most things I try. The problem is that I don't want to limit myself to one thing I know that I will not want to spend ALL my time doing. I like variety. I need variety. I thrive on having experience and exposure to a wide variety of things. So until I find the showstopper that steals my heart, the way fly fishing has stolen my husband's heart, I'll just keep trying. I'll try not to suck and hopefully recognize the obvious answers to the questions in my life.  
Are you a little schizophrenic with your interests too?

Why I Kick A$$: Because I am so naturally talented that I can try different things and be successful.

Thankful Three
  1. For blogging, it is so much fun
  2. For my husband and the Snicker's ice cream bar he just brought home
  3. For Rock Star day at the kids school